Archive | March/April


6:00 am
March 1, 2008
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Taking it to the extreme…Lubes For Severe Environments

0408_techupdateThe places where lubrication is needed aren’t always made to order. Too often, lubricants are required to stand up (and perform without a hitch) under some of the most severe conditions imaginable—extremely hot and cold environments, hazardous surroundings, contaminated areas, etc. The following list reflects companies and products that take care of the critical equipment and processes that must stay up and running in these types of challenging, often remote, situations.

Royal Purple
Most severe-service equipment reliability problems are caused by heat, contamination and/or load. The severity of these conditions impacts lubricant’s ability to adequately lubricate and protect equipment, resulting in premature failure and reduced operating efficiency. Conventional, low-film strength R & O (rust and oxidation inhibited) oils rely almost solely on their viscosity to protect equipment against wear. A new generation of lubricants offers improved oxidation stability to withstand heat and dramatically increased film strength to withstand severe load. Synfilm, from Royal Purple, has become increasingly popular in severe service applications. Synfilm is a long life, high film strength, synthetic lubricant that’s proven to significantly increase the reliability and life of equipment operating in severe conditions.

Royal Purple 
Porter, TX

The Timken Company 
Timken’s Mill Grease is formulated with high VI paraffinic mineral oil, resulting in better oxidation stability than competitor formulas that use low VI naphtenicbase oil. Use this grease when resistance to water washout and performance under broad operating temperatures are absolutely necessary. Design attributes include superior protection against rust and corrosion, including salt spray, and excellent high-temperature properties, including conditions from -40 F to 400 F. The lubricant contains no heavy metals or other environmentally undesirable additives. Timken’s Mill Grease is applicable for steel mills, paper mills, aluminum mills, foundries, cement plants, power generation, off-road applications, mineral processing, offshore rigs and marine applications.

The Timken Company 
Canton, OH

CITGO Petroleum Corporation 
According to CITGO, its range of synthetics provides exceptional protection for compressors in remote locations, where maintenance and parts replacement demand premium products. CompressorGard PAOs offer superior oxidation and thermal stability for use in rotary vane, rotary screw and centrifugal compressors. The CompressorGard PAGs are recommended for highpressure reciprocating compressors pumping natural gas, hydrogen, helium, CO2 and other polar gases. DE synthetics combine premium diester base stocks with advanced additives for better low-temperature fluidity and thermal conductivity. Compared to conventional lubes, the low vapor pressure of the CompressorGard SS helps reduce oil carryover in a compressed gas stream, and inhibits H2S corrosion. CompressorGard IPG 100 provides increased viscosity at high temperatures, oxidation resistance and good water separation.

CITGO Petroleum Corporation 
Houston, TX

Mobil Industrial Lubricants
Mobilgear 600 XP Gear Oil Series is engineered to deliver exceptional, long-lasting wear and corrosion protection for gearboxes, and can help companies become more competitive by raising their productivity. Surpassing the industry’s most demanding specifications, such as Flender BA Table 7300 A, DIN 51517 Part 3 and AGMA 9005 E02, Mobilgear 600 XP helps control micropitting and is designed to significantly reduce the formation of oil degradation by-products that often lead to frequent oil changes.

Mobil Industrial Lubricants 
Fairfax, VA

CRC Industries
CRC’s Extreme Duty Open Gear & Chain Lube is a heavy duty, extreme pressure lubricant recommended for reducing friction and wear in harsh environments. The formula is specially prepared to penetrate pores in metal, with exceptional “stay-put” characteristics. It assures a smooth, long-lasting, economical and effective coating that will not wash or wear off because of harsh weather and will not break down after repeated use. The lube contains Moly and Graphite, providing lubrication and shock protection, preventing scoring and welding of gear teeth. Its black color guides proper coverage, allowing easy touchup. Use CRC Extreme Duty Open Gear & Chain Lube to lubricate open gears, chains, cables or wire ropes. It is ideal for use on quarry and mining equipment, leaf springs, drive chains, screw threads and flexible couplings. It can also be used on racks and pinions, ball and rod mills, trunions, roller gears and winches.

CRC Industries 
Warminster, PA

The use of synthetic lubricants has become more widespread in automotive and industrial machinery, partly because of the severe demands imposed on the lubricants by downsizing of oil sumps, generating more power and the more stringent performance requirements established by the OEMs. ConocoPhillips Syncon® & Syndustrial ® synthetic lubricants are commonly used in industrial machinery such as air & gas compressors, aero-derivative turbines, underground mining equipment and gearboxes operating in very cold weather or very high temperature environment. They offer significant advantages over conventional lubricants in terms of low temperature pump ability and easier starts in cold weather, as well as energy savings, superior high temperature protection and longer service intervals.

ConocoPhillips Lubricants 
Houston, TX

Designed specifically to perform under harsh conditions and critical chemical service, DuPont™ Krytox® NRT & XHT oils and greases offer an ideal solution to extend equipment life, improve safety and reduce the potential for explosions and fire. Krytox NRT inert lubricants deliver safe, non-reactive, non-flammable lubrication for systems containing LOX, GOX, chlorine and other reactive gasses while extending equipment life. Krytox XHT Extreme High Temperature lubricants perform up to 752 F. From gearboxes, bearings and chains—to seals, actuators, valves, and more—DuPont Krytox NRT & XHT provide unparalleled performance with everyday reliability.

DuPont Performance Lubricants 
Wilmington, DE

JET-LUBE’s industrial 769 Lubricant®, first introduced in 1969, is still delivering high performance in harsh environments. Salt water and salt spray, in particular, are no match for this product. It’s economical, environmentally safe and non-flammable, and it doesn’t evaporate or harden. It contains ashless extreme pressure additives and highly refined lubricating oils that provide superior lubricating protection and anti-wear properties. Additionally, 769 lifts and displaces moisture, while also preventing rust and corrosion. The product is available in a variety of sizes, ranging from 12-oz. aerosol containers to 50-gal. drums.

Houston, TX

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6:00 am
March 1, 2008
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Onboard Pump Intelligence Gives A Timely Heads Up

Kiss unexpected ANSI pump failures good-bye. This industry first is the type of intuitive and efficient early warning system you’ve been wishing for.


We all know it. With so few people and so little time to manage and maintain your equipment and processes, your plant’s ANSI pumps simply may not get as much love and attention as your turbines, compressors and higher-ticket pumping equipment. That’s all about to change!

The new i-FRAME from ITT Goulds provides operations personnel, maintenance managers, reliability engineers and technicians—anyone responsible for monitoring and repairing rotating equipment on a 24/7 basis—with early warning of impending trouble so that changes to the process or machine can be made before failure occurs. The unit’s stainless-steel condition monitor (see inset) is nested securely atop the power end to measure critical vibration and temperature readings. Variations that exceed preset parameters will activate the early warning system by displaying flashing red lights—things that are easily recognized during routine walk-arounds.

Great has gotten better 
According to Patrick Prayne, product manager of ITT Goulds ANSI Process Pumps, the company’s Model 3196 is acknowledged to be the most popular process pump in the world. “Now,” he says, “we’ve made it even better. This increased reliability and condition monitoring intelligence gets to the heart of our most important customer requirement—reduced downtime and equipment life cycle cost.”

In addition to the condition monitor built into the pump, the patent-pending i-FRAME incorporates a number of other standard features designed to increase reliability and the life of the pump, including:

  • Premium severe duty thrust bearings that increase fatigue life by 2 to 5 times that of standard bearings.
  • Dual stainless-steel, bronze bearing isolators for improved corrosion resistance and contaminant exclusion.
  • An optimized sump design to improve heat transfer and collect and concentrate contaminants away from the bearings, resulting in longer bearing life.

Model 3196 units with i-Frame power ends also carry a whopping 5-Year Warranty as standard.

Recognized as a true workhorse in chemical, oil & gas, petrochemical, pulp & paper, and other industrial operations around the globe, the Goulds 3196 comes in 29 different sizes offering a wide range of features for handling challenging applications. According to the manufacturer, its new i-Frame units will be available this April.

ITT Goulds
Seneca Falls, NY

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6:00 am
March 1, 2008
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Compact, durable, lightweight, economical… This New Speed Reducer Takes On Your Toughest Jobs

0408_solutionspotBaldor has introduced the Dodge MagnaGear XTR, an extra-tough speed reducer that has been engineered to offer maximum reliability and superior performance in especially challenging, high-torque applications. According to the manufacturer, the MagnaGear XTR is ideal for bulk material handling in dirty, dusty, harsh environments. That means mining, aggregate, cement, wood products and grain industries, where these robust new products are well suited for a wide range of applications, including conveyors, bucket elevators, feeders, mills and crushers/breakers.

Putting proven technology to work 
Engineered with proven planetary and helical gear technology, the new MagnaGear XTR line covers a full range of horsepowers, up to 2000 HP. Designed as a global product, the reducers are offered with parallel shaft or right-angle configurations, a solid or hollow shaft output and will initially offer torque capacities up to 920,000 lbin. Incorporating a modular design that allows for multiple mounting configurations, they can be used with a variety of soft-start mechanisms.

Developed to meet or exceed AGMA and international standards, heavy-duty, cast iron units feature carburized, hardened and precision-ground gearing. Tandem HBNR lip seals are standard for extra protection. All bearings exceed AGMA standards for L10 life. All components are power matched for optimum performance at a lower installed cost.

A complete line of engineered accessories are available for MagnaGear XTR, including internal lift-off style backstops, cooling systems, rigid couplings, torque arms, swing base mounts, tunnel housings and baseplates.

Baldor Electric Company 
Fort Smith, AR

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6:00 am
March 1, 2008
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Problem Solvers

0408_probsolver_cameraCompact IR Technology

Infrared Cameras’ new compact ICI 7320 is roughly the size of a business card. Offering high image sensitivity and clarity for a 320 x 240 radiometric imager, it operates on a single watt of power using a USB connection. IRFlash software sends real-time radiometric data directly to a hard drive or portable device. Available enclosures provide harsh weather and/or environment protection while meeting all meeting NEMA 4-NEMA 9 specifications.

Infrared Cameras, Inc. 
Beaumont, TX


Lockout/Tagout Compliance

Brady’s new 16- page “Complete LOTO Solutions” handbook lays out a straightforward “4-Steps to Compliance” plan for creating an effective energy control program. Each step includes an explanation of OSHA’s basic requirements, and provides information on the related resources Brady has available for successful implementation of your lockout/tagout program.

Brady Corporation 
Milwaukee, WI

Interactive Tool Helps Manage Energy Costs

Dow Corning has launched an interactive Molykote® Energy Savings Calculator. The online tools helps manage rising energy prices and carbon dioxide emissions by identifying energy and cost savings available through lubrication best practices. Users enter the number of motors, gearboxes, pumps, compressors and fans, the kilowatts needed to run them, their efficiency, the hours per day and days per year into the calculator. They are shown potential reductions in kilowatt hours, CO2 emissions and the associated cost savings.

Dow Corning
Midland, MI

0408_probsolver_shaftShaft Seals For Dry Bulk Processing

According to Woodex Bearing, its custom-engineered MECO shaft seals can increase MTBF by a factor of 4 or more over packed glands in dry bulk process equipment. Rotating on a plane perpendicular to a shaft means there is no relative motion between the shaft and seal, and, thus, no shaft abrasion damage. Seal faces are soft, faulttolerant and almost impossible to break. Like all MECO seals, these robust products are available fully-split for quick installation and rebuilds. Accommodating 6mm or more total shaft runout/misalignment, shock loads and thermal shaft growth, they also contain no internal springs to loosen, corrode or break.

Woodex Bearing Company
Georgetown, ME

0408_probsolver_trampCompact Tramp Oil Separator

Master Chemical’s Master Coalescer Jr.™ is a compact and affordable processor of machine tool coolants. Designed for use with water-miscible coolants and parts-washing fluids that reject tramp oils, it is available in both wheeled and stationary models. Requiring minimal maintenance, these units allow for maximum removal of tramp oil, even while they are running.

Master Chemical Corporation 
Perrysburg, OH


Tank & Vessel Level Measurement

The Gladiator Smart Admittance Level Switch from Hawk is designed to detect the level of liquid, slurry or powder in a tank or vessel. Designed to operate in tough environments, it measures the capacitance between a probe and the wall of the container. The Gladiator is simple to set up and calibrate, and has excellent temperature stability. Several probe types are available to meet specific application requirements, and all types are resistant to product build-up.

Hawk Measurement Systems 
Melbourne, Australia

0408_probsolvers_bearingsSelf-Lubricating Bearings For Dry & Submerged Jobs

Metallized Carbon Corporation offers Metcar grades M-161 and M-162 mechanical materials, unique carbon/graphite Babbit impregnated products designed to operate where conventional lubricating methods can’t. At temperatures up to 350 F, they are well suited for lubricating in submerged low viscosity fluids such as water and fuels. For dry environments, they provide oil-free lubrication at high temperatures. According to the manufacturer, because these materials are completely homogenous and provide continuous lubrication for their long service life, they are ideal for use in bearings, bearing assemblies and mechanical components operating at elevated temperatures. Bearings made from Metcar are self-lubricating, non-galling, dimensionally stable and have high compressive strength.

Metallized Carbon Corp.
Ossining, NY

0408_probsolvers_lanceNew Jet Lance

Lightweight and ergonomic, the NCG40-286 water jet lance from NLB Corp. offers a 40,000 psi and 60- second cartridge change. A one-finger latch prevents accidental actuation and its patented trigger design allows the operator to immediately dump pressure by simply pushing the trigger forward. The lance also can be used with the company’s Viper 40™ self-rotating head, producing rotating water jet action without compressed air.

NLB Corp. 
Wixom, MI

0408_probsolvers_oilmistCalling All Safety-Conscious Oil Mist Users

Inpro/Seal’s OM 32 oil mist seal contains no ferrous materials that could generate sparking conditions by sealing faces or magnets upon wear and eventual component d e g r a d a t i o n . Made of 100% non-sparking bronze, it does not contain any contact surfaces to heat up due to the combustion of volatile materials. Plus, it puts an end to mist condensation on surrounding structures. If the rolling element, primary bearing fails, the OM 32 acts as an emergency sleeve bearing to prevent shaft-to-housing contact. Improvements to the original design include the ability to work with low base lubricant viscosities and the addition of VBXX™, a proprietary technology that eliminates the ingress of contamination.

Inpro/Seal Company 
Rock Island, IL

0408_probsolvers_airUpgraded Air Management Equipment

F or storage, handling and unloading of commodities, AIRLANCO offers the AIRAUGER™ unloading system for storage, handling and unloading of commodities. It safely and efficiently empties commodities from storage facilities utilizing both pitched flooring and air—without bin entry. Capable of being installed in new or existing storage units, all mechanical equipment is situated outside the bin for added safety and ease of service. The system also provides bin aeration of the stored commodity with the same ductwork and fans used during unloading operations.

Falls City, NE

0408_probsolvers_loggerMulti-Tasking Data Logger

Omega’s battery-powered, 3-axis OM-CP-ULTRASHOCK101- 50-EB shock recorder measures and records temperature, pressure and humidity at the selected reading rates, while recording shock at peak acceleration rates. Compact and portable, features include CE compliance, 60-day battery life and data retrieval via a COM or USB port.

OMEGA Engineering, Inc.
Stamford, CT

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6:00 am
March 1, 2008
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Our Perspective: Changing Of The Guard


Ken Bannister, Contributing Editor

Unless you have been in hibernation these past months, you likely have been riveted to unfolding events in what may be one of the most exciting election seasons in United States political history. I am, of course, referring to the race for the Democratic Party’s nomination for President. For the first time, the Democrats will offer the American public either a woman or an African-American as their candidate for the highest office in the land.

As the campaign for President progresses, the candidates for both the Democratic and Republican parties will be offering platforms based on varying degrees of change (i.e. subtle to sweeping changes) to the current administration’s way of doing business. Later, voters will exercise their choice by casting ballots for their preferred platform. That’s how many political systems work—but that’s not how business works. Although politics and business are inherently tied together, business differs greatly when it comes to changes in management.

The first indication most of us receive about a new corporate ownership or the hiring/promotion of a new manager is on the actual day new management takes over. Unlike politics, employees rarely get to influence management change through a democratic questioning and voting process. In and of itself, the changing of the guard is often a good thing in that change must occur if we are to break the status quo and progress. In politics, we can prepare ourselves for change by getting to know the candidates and their platforms prior to voting. In business, we typically aren’t afforded such luxury.

New management/new managers, eager to introduce their version of how the company or department should be managed, often move too quickly and don’t provide their staff adequate time to prepare a business case to showcase any current program excellence. Instead, many first-class programs may be defended poorly and replaced— through ignorance—with inferior approaches.

Over the past decades, I have worked with many corporations that have endured a changing of the guard, in which instantaneous sweeping change frequently has thrown the “baby out with the bath water.” Ironically, in my experience, the program that offers the most for the least expenditure— a lubrication management program—is almost always the first thing on the chopping block. Pending automation of lubrication systems is cancelled in favor of good old grease nipples. Structured lubrication PM tasks are discarded in favor of the good old “lubricate as necessary” approach. Predictive oil sampling is cancelled immediately. It’s all done in the name of costsaving. Thus, small short-term gains are achieved at the expense of large long-term losses.

New management should question their new staff, asking not about what they would get rid of, but rather, what program or part of a program they would keep—and why. If we are not questioned in such a way, we must defend excellence and worthwhile programs by producing the original Return On Investment (ROI) statement, or audit/review that will have documented the original findings creating a need for a program’s introduction. These documents must be presented to the new management along with current success stories, backed up with tangible performance indicators that will include uptime, overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), mean time between failure (MTBF), decreased lubrication-related failures, etc. A good presentation also should include suggestions for making incremental change(s) needed to improve upon the current program.

Defending excellence ensures that good program investment is not lost. This not only makes you look good, it also gives the new management team solid ground from which to manage a successful “changing of the guard.”

Are you ready to defend your lubrication or management program? Good Luck!

Ken Bannister is lead partner and principal consultant for Engtech Industries, Inc. Telephone: (519) 469-9173; e-mail:

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6:00 am
March 1, 2008
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MARTS 2008: Realities In Reliability

With MARTS 2008 quickly approaching, it’s time to take a sneak peak at some of the activities scheduled for this year’s event and the value they can provide for you and your organization.

Maintenance Technology

0408_marts_1In industry today, it’s as important as ever to stay up-todate on the latest technologies, products and practices. This year’s Maintenance & Reliability Technology Summit (MARTS) provides an opportunity to do just that. The fourday summit—geared toward maintenance and reliability mangers, engineers, technicians and other capacity assurance professionals—offers a wealth of technical and business sessions, workshops, value-added products and services and not-to-be-missed professional development and networking opportunities.

Must-attend pre- and post-conference opportunities 
MARTS 2008 kicks off with pre-conference workshops on Monday, April 14. There are six 7-hour workshops to choose from, with topics such as lean maintenance, reliabilitycentered maintenance, lubrication and CMMS.

New to MARTS this year, the Fluid Sealing Association (FSA) and the Hydraulic Institute (HI) are co-sponsoring a special pre-conference workshop on the Fundamentals of Mechanical Seals. Topics to be covered in this powerful all-day session are: mechanical seal designs and arrangements, basic operating principles and application limits, seal chamber design and pressures, installation of mechanical seals, environmental controls and piping plans, pump commissioning and everybody’s favorite, TROUBLESHOOTING. This basic, yet comprehensive course also provides participants with the first cost analysis tool specially designed for evaluating the life cycle costs of mechanical seals. Each attendee will receive a free copy of the 300-page HI/FSA book Mechanical Seals for Pumps: Application Guidelines (a $195 value).

0408_marts_2Similarly, on Thursday, April 17 MARTS will wrap up with five post-conference workshops covering topics such as asset management, cause mapping and IR thermography.

All workshops, pre- and post-, are presented by recognized industry gurus and contributors to Maintenance Technology and Lubrication Management & Technology magazines. Instructors include Contributing Editors Bob Williamson and Ken Bannister, as well as notables like Ed Stanek, Mac Smith, Kim Pease, Mark Galley, Jim Seffrin and technical experts from member companies of the Fluid Sealing Association, among others.

Two professional development courses—with the separate option of certification exams—also will be held during the conference.

  • For those who want to become certified in the maintenance management area, Dave Krings will present an invaluable Professional Certification Review Tuesday, April 15 through Wednesday, April 16. President of Nobreakdowns, a 20/20 Foresight Company, Krings has two key objectives in mind for the participants in his sessions: 1) you’ll be better prepared to take a maintenance management certifi- cation exam; and 2) you’ll be better prepared to develop a systematic maintenance program when you return to your operations. As Krings notes, there are several different certification exams available for maintenance professionals. On Thursday, April 17, though, you will be able to sit for your CMRP (Certified Maintenance & Reliablity Professional) exam, offered by SMRP (the Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals). If this is one of your important professional development goals, you won’t want to miss this convenient opportunity.
  • For those wishing to pursue their CLS certification, Contributing Editor Ray Thibault, CLS, OMA I & II, MLT & MLA I, will conduct a Certified Lubrication Specialist review course Monday, April 14 through Wednesday, April 16, followed by the Certified Lubrication Specialist certifi- cation exam on Thursday, April 17. Retired from Exxon- Mobil after 31 years of service, Thibault is a lubrication powerhouse. His review is one of the best opportunities you’ll ever have to prepare for the CLS exam, which, again is being offered at MARTS through auspices of the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers (STLE).

Both certification exams, the CMRP and CLS, are scheduled for Thursday morning, April 17.


It’s not too late to register and make your travel plans for MARTS 2008. For complete details on this event, all pre- and post-conference offerings, and to access the event’s easy online registration option,

(IMPORTANT NOTE: Space is limited in all of the popular preand post-conference workshops and certification opportunities. Don’t be left out this year. Your professional development is too important for you and your employer. Register now to ensure your seat in the workshop(s) and/or certification exam of your choice.)

Must attend regular conference 
MARTS 2008 Regular Conferences sessions are scheduled over two days—Tuesday and Wednesday, April 15 and 16—and include up to four concurrent sessions in each time slot. All sessions are led by practitioners, experts and other industry leaders who will be offering advice based on their own proven successes in their respective fields. (For a full schedule of speakers and topics, go to Each day of the Regular Conference will begin with a keynote session, both of which focus on reliability.

  • The first keynote, on Tuesday, April 15, features Contributing Editor Bob Williamson. In his 1-hour session, Williamson tackles the question of relating profits—even corporate survival—to reliability and maintenance.
  • In Wednesday morning’s keynote, Peter Martin of Invensys will explore how to make the business case for reliability, from selling ideas to management, to getting approval for projects and furthering reliability objectives.

The Regular Conference wraps up on Wednesday evening with a discussion led by a panel of North American Maintenance Excellence (NAME) award winners. In this session, panel members will divulge how their plants came to be recognized as best practice maintenance operations and give tips on how others can emulate their successes.

0408_marts_3Solving your problems
Don’t forget that more than 50 industry leading companies— including Emerson Process Management, PdMA Corporation and Ludeca, Inc.—also will be exhibiting at MARTS 2008, on both Tuesday and Wednesday during session breaks. Here’s your chance to visit face-to-face with key suppliers to industry in a comfortable, no-pressure networking venue. As in years past, these exhibitors will be demonstrating state-of-the-art technologies and services for the very types of improvements your organization is seeking. We all look forward to seeing you at MARTS 2008!

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6:00 am
March 1, 2008
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Do You Really Know Where Your Machines Are?

Becoming a “Reliable Plant” and staying there requires keeping abreast of constantly changing and improving technologies and practices.

Deron Jozokos LUDECA, Inc.

This article was originally published in the December 2007 issue of Maintenance Technology.

In today’s leaner maintenance departments, companies rely heavily on the reliability of their machinery. While the practice of reliability engineering has been around for many years, it has never been focused on as much as it is now. In today’s maintenance world, reliability engineering positions—not to mention entire departments—have been created to put 100% of their time and effort toward the prevention of unscheduled machinery downtime and critical failures.

Even though the goal of a “Reliable Plant” remains much the same as it has for years, methods and practices for getting to that state are constantly changing and improving with the development of new technologies and practices. A case in point is proper shaft alignment of rotating machinery in the running condition, through the derivation and application of proper coupling target values.

With today’s laser alignment tools and proper training, alignment of machinery has become an easier task than in years past. However, in some cases, companies are finding that even while machines are within excellent alignment tolerances, they still have problems associated with misalignment. This often is a result of thermal growth issues with the machine, dynamic loads, downstream (or upstream) piping movement and other variables.

Many manufacturers supply their equipment with thermal expansion data and recommended alignment targets. The idea is to purposely misalign a machine when the alignment is done “cold,” or offline, so that when the machine reaches its normal running condition the machine is aligned. Compensating with target values is one step closer to proper alignment, but often these values are not as accurate as they were originally intended to be, due to flaws in the methods of their calculation.

Hypothetical applications 
Two identical steam turbine-hot water pump machine trains are sold and supplied with factory-calculated target values. It is late October. One unit is installed in a Louisiana refinery at 90 F, the other in an identical plant in Washington State at 40 F. Both operate at the same temperature, but which machine will be in alignment when it reaches its normal running condition? Consider that the factory calculated the target values using an arbitrary cold temperature of 70 F. Because of the temperature differences, it is possible that both units may be out of alignment at running condition using the factory supplied alignment targets.


Using the “TLC” thermal growth calculation method we can see how much the growth can differ depending on what the ambient temperature is when the alignment is performed. The TLC method is the product of the change in Temperature, the Length of material from base of machine to the centerline of rotation and the Coefficient of expansion for the material involved. Each support foot of each machine needs to be calculated. The calculations for one of the feet at each location are shown in Fig. 1.


These variations at the feet could mean an even greater misalignment at the coupling center, or point of power transmission. The graph in Fig. 2 is based on the thermal growth values shown in Fig 1. It illustrates how these growth values could result in even greater misalignment at the coupling center.

Dealing with “problem” machines 
Many companies seem to have some “problem” machines that they too often accept as being uncorrectable. Extra spare parts become part of the yearly budget and it’s no surprise to anyone when those particular machines break a bearing or lose a seal every few months—while similar machines run without a problem for years.

This type of situation became clear for a South California refinery several years ago. As part of its growing reliability program, the refinery decided to do something about the site’s “problem” machines, as well as those machines without accurate target values. The company utilizes the best laser alignment tools and trains its employees to do correct alignment incorporating target values wherever necessary. Even with these good practices in place, however, some of the machines still have high-failure rates.


Whenever refinery personnel identify a machine that is still having problems with failures associated with misalignment, they install a system called PERMALIGN® to accurately measure any relative movement between the machines from cold to hot or normal running condition. This laser-based system measures and records any movement, whether across a coupling or an absolute movement relative to Earth, and is accurate to 1 micron. (It is the only linearized laser monitoring system with a resolution of 1 micron throughout the entire 0.630” detector range.) The system measures any offset and angular movement over separations of up to 30’, so it can also record data on the site’s large cooling tower fans. Even in the harsh environment that the refinery offers, temperature variations and vibration do not diminish accuracy.

The data collected by the PERMALIGN system can be trended, analyzed and archived using software called WINPERMA®. This software uses the data to translate the relative machine movement into movement at the coupling center in both axes; Vertical Offset, Vertical Angularity, Horizontal Offset and Horizontal Angularity are calculated. A baseline established at the ambient temperature becomes the zero point, then the machines are turned on and allowed to reach their normal running condition. The graph in Fig. 3 shows all four axes of movement so the new alignment targets are easily read. Flags can be marked on the graph to record system events such as when the system was brought on-line, to mark different running loads, a valve opening or any other system event. Let’s look at a recent example of a “problem” machine where the California refinery utilized the PERMALIGN system to measure the movement across the coupling.

In one of its distillation units, the refinery has a set of residuum pumps that are vital to the continuous operation of the unit. If the pumps were to shut down unexpectedly, the whole process would follow suit—leading to a major shutdown, resulting in significantly higher repair cost than just replacing a bearing on a pump. Since these pumps are redundant, if one fails the other picks up the load. On the other hand, when one “problem” pump is out of commission for repair, there is no backup. Of the two pumps, only one of them has a very high failure rate. They are identical pumps and the reason(s) why one of them has a high failure rate and the other does not remains a mystery. They both are aligned using the factory recommended targets, yet only one pump continues to have bearing failures. Vibration readings also are significantly higher on the one pump compared to the other, and vibration analysis points to misalignment. While there are myriad possible causes for this problem, correcting it is the priority. Thus, the PERMALIGN system was installed on the unit to measure the relative movement of the pump and motor.

Once the system was installed on the unit and started recording data, a baseline was established. Since these pumps operate at a very high temperature, they are slowly brought up to operating temperature, as marked on the graph with an event flag. A second flag was placed to note when the pump was brought on line. As the pump reaches its normal operating condition and the data levels out—in this case about eight hours—it can be shut down and allowed to cool.

The data shown in the box near the center of the graph in Fig. 3 are the new target values used for the alignment. These targets were input into the refinery’s ROTALIGN® ULTRA shaft alignment system and the alignment was performed once the unit cooled to ambient temperature. The unit was then put back on line.


A four-month trend of the overall velocity levels measured on the pump using the VIBXPERT® vibration data collector is shown in Fig. 4. The final reading on the trend was taken several days after the alignment was performed using the new target values.

After further investigation into the root cause of the problem pump, it was found that the concrete base had been cracked during a repair on an adjacent machine several years earlier. After the base was repaired, the “cold” position had apparently moved from its original setting, causing the targets to change. This cause was luckily found by a senior millwright reporting the repair after overhearing a conversation concerning the investigation. There was no documentation of the accidental damage or of the repair, so this information may never have been known if not for the millwright coming forward.

Utilizing the latest technologies, the refinery was able to identify a piece of critical machinery that had uncommon characteristics and quickly apply an accurate solution. A complete maintenance history of the machines is now stored in the site’s alignment and condition monitoring software. Proper use of these tools has put this refinery one step closer to what it truly wants to be—a Reliable Plant!

Deron Jozokos is an engineer with LUDECA, INC. Telephone: (305) 591-8935;

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6:00 am
March 1, 2008
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Key Factors In A World-Class Lubrication Program

Companies today have to work hard and smart to survive in a global marketplace. U.S. industry is managing to keep pace with foreign competition, but only through increased productivity gains. One of the key components to being competitive is extending asset life. This type of focus is changing maintenance strategies from reactive and preventive to more of a reliability-centered approach involving increased condition monitoring—both predictive and proactive.

In reliability-focused organizations, lubrication is recognized as a cornerstone of asset management. Key components shared by the most successful programs include:

  • The right attitude
  • A lubricant champion
  • Effective lubricant surveys
  • Proper scheduling & record-keeping
  • Consolidation
  • Competent personnel
  • Training/certification
  • Correct lubricants
  • Minimized contamination
  • Updating and improving
  • Oil analysis

Foster the right attitude 
Many companies don’t recognize the importance of a well-structured lubrication program, assigning routine—but vital—lubrication tasks to the least-qualified individuals in their organizations. This results in equipment failures, many of which may not be traced back to lubrication, but instead are thought to be nothing more than normal equipment breakdown.

More progressive companies recognize the importance of lubrication and don’t bury it in the organization as a meaningless task. They usually assign it as a function in the maintenance organization—in some cases as part of reliability, if such a separate group exists. The lubricator is usually a maintenance technician who has many tasks, the primary one being to maintain the equipment. This designated individual realizes the importance of lubrication as a key component in equipment life. Lubrication is not considered a task that is only performed if time permits.

The right attitude is set at the top of the organization and allowed to permeate through the maintenance and reliability groups that should have responsibility for lubrication. Over the past few years, upper management in more and more plants finally is beginning to recognize the importance of lubrication.

Designate a lubricant champion 
Every plant needs an individual who is considered to be an expert in lubrication and is capable of being an effective conduit between the lubrication supplier and the plant. He/she serves as a consultant in the plant to solve lubrication related problems. In the past, the steel industry had highly qualified lubrication specialists called “lubrication engineers.” It was not uncommon to find more than one individual performing this task in a mill. Their time was allocated primarily to lubrication. Sadly, as personnel cutbacks and retirements have increased over the past few years, lubrication engineers have gone the way of the dinosaur.

Today, plants still have lubricant champions, but typically this role involves many other duties—not just lubrication. For the most part, though, these in-plant experts are keepers and conveyors of priceless lubrication knowledge. Unfortunately, in light of our aging workforce, with countless workers nearing retirement age, little effort is being made in many plants to train others to fill these crucial lubrication champion positions. This vast amount of knowledge needs to be preserved and passed down. While many of these individuals are not actually trained engineers, their know-how and experience has saved their companies millions of dollars by preventing equipment failures. Some plants now are designating the role of lubricant specialist to a maintenance or reliability engineer, but as that person is promoted, the task is assigned to some other individual. Consequently, there still is a loss in continuity.

Conduct effective lubricant surveys 
Every plant needs a complete up-to-date list of equipment that requires lubrication. In large plants, surveys are usually done by area. For example, in an oil refinery, each major area—crude unit, catalytic cracker, reformer, etc.—would be surveyed separately. Conversely, in a small manufacturing plant, the survey would follow the process flow through the plant. This is a daunting task in a plant with thousands of pieces of rotating equipment.

The responsibility for a lube survey falls on the lubricant supplier. This is a cooperative effort where plant personnel and the lubricant vendor visit each piece of equipment to make sure the correct lubricant is applied properly, recording it all in a document to establish lubrication procedures. The following list reflects the recommended minimum amount of information to be recorded on a lube survey:

  • Equipment Name
  • Equipment ID #
  • Sump Capacity
  • Component Lubricated
  • Application Method
  • Lubricant Name
  • Service Frequency Interval (time interval equipment is checked)
  • Oil Change Interval
  • Oil Analysis (yes/no)
  • Special Considerations

Once a lube survey is completed and recorded in the system via an Access or Excel spreadsheet, it will serve as a basis for scheduling the lubrication routes and frequencies. Each lube survey needs to be continuously updated as equipment is added and dropped. Normally, when switching lubricant suppliers, the new vendor will perform a lube survey.

Observe proper scheduling & record-keeping
Once the lube survey has been completed, it will serve as the platform for the lubrication program. It is vital that proper records be maintained and updated. Tools for doing this range from very basic to highly sophisticated. Select the software program that works best for your operations. The more sophisticated programs integrate the lubrication program into a CMMS system from which work orders and scheduling are generated. Lubricant suppliers, as well as outside companies, sell Access-based programs that will adequately schedule all your lubrication activities and turn out daily, weekly and monthly work orders.

Once the lubrication program is implemented, it is only as good as the data that goes back into the system. Develop a simplified procedure for data input to assist the technician(s) who check and lubricate the equipment. Stress the importance of inputting the data on a timely basis. Lubricant scheduling both in addition and changing of lubricants should be updated as conditions change.

Many technicians recognize the importance of proper scheduling and record keeping. Others don’t. Make sure that the personnel in your organization do.

Consolidate without compromising
There are many advantages to limiting the number of lubricants used in a plant, including:

  • Minimized misapplication
  • Lower inventory costs
  • Lower administrative ordering costs
  • Faster inventory turnover
  • Lower drum and handling costs from bulk purchases

Most plants today are using more lubricants than they need. This is particularly true of greases. In some operations, though, greases have been consolidated from 20+ down to only three or four. Look at your grease inventory as the first place to consolidate, and also identify your goals.

One example of a successful consolidation effort took place several years ago in a large chemical plant. The site decided to consolidate to one polyurea grease (ISO VG of 220) for both its electric motors and general purpose fan bearings. To date, the higher ISO VG for the electric motors has had no detrimental effect on the motor bearing life. Likewise, potential problems resulting from misapplication of light ISO VG 100 electric motor grease with the fan bearings has been eliminated.

At another large chemical plant, the consolidation program calls for the site to minimize lubricant types and consolidate to five greases, as well as cut different oil types by 30% in one year.

Under normal conditions the following grease types can cover many potential applications in a typicalplant:

  • Electric motors- Polyurea ISO VG 100
  • General purpose- #2 Lithium Complex ISO VG 150/220
  • High-load low-speed- #2 Lithium Complex ISO VG 460

Centrifugal pumps lend themselves to consolidation. Some OEMs recommend ISO 68 R & O oil for centrifugal pumps while others recommend an ISO 32. Many plants, especially those in warmer climates, have consolidated to an R & O ISO 68 with no problems.

Consolidation should be done without compromising equipment integrity. Be sure to consult your lubricant supplier and OEM to assist in the process.

Hire & retain competent personnel
Lubrication should not be left to the lowest level person in the plant. Unfortunately, this is too frequent of an occurrence in many operations.

The ideal program is to have a separate group for lubrication—a group that is highly trained, certified and well rewarded. This happens in some plants, but it is rare.

Another approach is to use a highly trained individual to perform a number of duties around the equipment, including lubrication. Give him/her a sense of ownership for that equipment where he/she is responsible on an ongoing basis for a certain route in the plant. This will ensure that the same person is lubricating the equipment over an extended time period. Countless problems are created by the lack of consistency inherent with lubrication of equipment by different people.

Some plants use operators for lubrication—which can create a problem because of an operator’s many duties. Lubrication is usually last on the list of tasks to be completed and, in some cases, it can be almost, if not completely, neglected. The preferred approach is to assign maintenance or reliability technicians— who already have equipment ownership—to provide the lubricating. Not only will they lubricate to preserve the asset, they can be proactive in identifying problems, such as equipment noise, oil color, leakage, high temperatures, etc., at an early stage.

Support training/certification 
There seems to have been a real awakening as to the importance of lubrication over the past 10 years—and the fact that training and certification can offer immediate payback for an organization. In the past, most of the lubrication training was provided by the lubricant supplier. This began to change in the late 90s. Today a great deal of training is performed by non-lubricant, outside training companies or associations. A case in point is The Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers (STLE), the world’s oldest lubrication organization— and with over 4000 members, the largest.

STLE has been promoting lubrication for over 50 years through its publications and annual conferences. It serves as an excellent platform for the introduction of new developments in the field of lubrication and, through its many local chapters, provides training and information exchange for the lubrication community.

Certification programs to recognize individuals who have demonstrated a high level of expertise in lubrication practices are available. In 1994, STLE introduced the Certified Lubrication Specialist (CLS) certification. In 2001, the International Conference of Machinery Lubrication introduced the Machinery Lubrication Technician certifications that are designed for lubrication technicians in plants. These recognized certifications have gone a long way in raising awareness of the importance of lubrication to industry.

Companies can reap substantial benefits by exposing their lubricators to new ideas through technical conferences and training classes, and by supporting certification in lubrication for both technicians and engineers.

Use the correct lubricant 
The use of the wrong lubricant can go undetected for many years with no serious consequences. In some cases, however, this situation can lead to catastrophic equipment failure. Using the right product starts with the initial selection of the lubricant for new equipment.

The OEM manual is the first place to look for the correct lubrication recommendation— and the OEM should be consulted if there are any questions. Also, involve your lubricant supplier.

Based on my own experience conducting many lube surveys, in almost every case there has been a small percentage of the wrong lubricant being used on equipment. How can this happen? Usually, the wrong lubricant was initially selected. When performing lube surveys, some suppliers only refer to the current lubricant being used on a piece of equipment and cross it out with their lubricant equivalent. The correct procedure is to check or contact the OEM if there are any doubts on the correct lubricant to use for a particular piece of equipment.

Once the correct lubricant has been selected, there is no guarantee the wrong lubricant will not be added. It has been estimated that everyday at least 15% of lubricants added to equipment are incorrect. People often say that “oil is oil” and “there is no difference,” so they add the first product available. But, would they add just any oil to their automobile engine? Of course not. Thankfully, this group is a small minority.

All equipment should be color-coded with lubricant tags obtained from the lubricant supplier. Each tag has the ISO viscosity grade and a certain color to designate the lubricant type—such as gear oil or hydraulic oil.

Another best practice is to use one container per oil type and be sure that the container also has a color coded lube tag. You may want to put the same tag on the drum or tanks where the oil will be dispensed. Many problems can be avoided with proper labeling and training.

Minimize contamination
Clean oil starts with the new oil you purchase. Determine how clean the oil needs to be by setting cleanliness goals based on the equipment type and criticality. Consult with your lube supplier on how these goals can be met. In most cases filtration will be required before the oil goes into the storage tank.

On receiving drum shipments from your supplier, you need to examine the oil for cleanliness and water before adding it to the equipment. You may randomly sample from several drums per shipment. This will tell you whether you need to filter before adding to the equipment. It is very difficult to meet stringent cleanliness standards in metal drums. There are companies that will guarantee a certain cleanliness level—but only in plastic drums.

Remember that your relationship with your lubricant supplier should never be adversarial on oil cleanliness. You need to work to together as a team to meet a common goal of clean oil for equipment reliability.

Even if you have very clean oil in a drum, dispensing it in a dirty container will defeat the goal of adding clean oil. Try to use plastic sealed containers. Also, only use very clean funnels or use disposable funnels when adding the oil. Once the oil is added, be sure you have the proper filters—if it is a circulating system—to maintain the cleanliness and use desiccant breathers on vents where appropriate. Keep in mind that abrasive wear caused by particles is the most common wear mode—and 70% of the failures in circulating systems are attributed to contamination.

Continuously update & improve 
Your lube program needs to be constantly evaluated for improvements. Having a lubricant champion in your organization working in concert with your lubricant supplier will guarantee continuous improvement in your program. One way to improve is to be open about using synthetics for difficult applications, which could extend equipment and oil life.

You need to evaluate your program every year to determine if your goals were met and to set goals for the following year. Educate yourself by reading lubrication magazines and attending conferences to keep up with new developments

Utilize oil analysis for condition monitoring 
No lubricant program is world-class unless it has a well designed oil analysis program. Your program will more than pay for itself in a very short period of time. Oil analysis provides the following information:

  • Condition of the lubricant
  • Is it suitable for continued use?
  • Can it be reconditioned?
  • Level of contamination
    • Type and level of contaminants
    • Can they be removed?
  • Condition of lubricated equipment
    • Is the wear abnormal?
    • What is the wear mode?
    • What is the rate of wear?

The information provided by regular oil analysis allows you to be predictive with your equipment and proactive with the lubricant condition. When used with other condition monitoring tools, oil analysis will enhance equipment reliability. Utilize your oil analysis laboratory for training and helping you to establish the best possible program for your facility.

Implementing a world-class lubrication program is not extremely difficult— and it has significant benefits. Where is your current program now? Please take a few minutes to answer the following questions:

1. Do you have a separate lubrication group?



2. Is it located in the maintenance organization?



3. Do lubricators perform other functions?



4. Is there someone in your organization designated as a “lubrication expert” who can resolve lubrication problems?



5. Have you done a lubrication survey in the last five years?



6. If the answer to question #5 is yes, do you keep it current?



7. Are you using less than five different types of grease?



8. In the past year have you reduced the number of different lubricant types being used?



9. Do you have a computerized lubricant scheduling program and is it utilized to create work orders?



10. Do you have lubrication scheduling in a CMMS system?



11. If you change a lubricant on a time basis, are these intervals evaluated and updated?



12. Have you had an onsite lubrication training class in the past year?



13. Have any of your personnel attended an offsite lubrication training class in the past year?



14. Have any of your personnel attended a lubrication conference in the past two years?



15. Does anyone in your organization have an MLT or CLS certification?



16. In the last three years, have you found a situation where the wrong lubricant was being used and was it corrected?



17. Do you use sealed plastic containers to dispense lubricants?



18. Are incoming lubricants checked for water and cleanliness?



19. Is hydraulic oil filtered before being added to a reservoir?



20. During the past year, have you upgraded your lubrication program by improving an application method or switching to a better product like a synthetic?



21. Do you currently use an oil analysis program?



22. Do you receive your reports electronically?



23. Do you have someone in your organization who can evaluate the reports?



24. Has someone in your organization had oil analysis training?



25. In the past three years, has oil analysis identified a potential problem that was effectively resolved?



If you were able to answer “yes” to 80% of these questions, you are well on your way to a world-class lubrication program. If you answered “yes” to less than 50% of these questions, you need to reevaluate your lubrication program.

Contributing editor Ray Thibault is based in Cypress (Houston), TX. An STLECertified Lubrication Specialist and Oil Monitoring Analyst, he conducts extensive training in a number of industries. E-mail:; or telephone: (281) 257-1526.

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