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11:52 pm
June 13, 2016
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SKF Battery-Driven Grease Gun Features Integrated Grease Meter

Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 5.38.51 PMLubrication delivery was in the spotlight at the annual SKF Technical Press Day (Monday, June 13) in Philadelphia. The company’s Battery-Driven Grease Gun (TLGB 20), one of several new and notable products rolled out at this year’s event, offers a portable solution for maximizing the efficiency and accuracy in the manual lubrication of bearings, machines, and off-road equipment throughout industry.

The device’s integrated grease meter adds value by dispensing the proper amount of lubricant for an application to prevent over- or under-greasing.

A rechargeable 20-volt lithium battery delivers extended service life to enable timely manual lubrication of equipment anywhere and anytime in a manufacturing plant or in the field.

User-friendly features include a durable, ergonomic design with a three-point stand for operator comfort and convenience. A built-in light serves to illuminate the work area and a display on the tool indicates battery charge level, amount of dispensed grease, pump/motor speed, and blocked lubrication points.

This versatile unit can dispense up to 15 grease cartridges per battery charge and delivers two flow rates adjustable for a specific application. Pressures up to 700 bar (10,000 psi) can be achieved.

Th TLGB20 grease gun comes in a sturdy carrying case with a 900mm (36-in.) high-pressure hose, battery, and 90-min. charger.

The manufacturer notes that the SKF Battery-Driven Grease Gun joins a growing portfolio of unique lubrication-technology solutions for promoting optimized machinery health, reliability, and productivity.

For more information on SKF’s expanding lubrication-related lineup, CLICK HERE.

To learn more about other reliability-focused solutions from SKF (Landsdale, PA and Gothenburg, Sweden), including the company’s extensive bearing, condition-monitoring, and mechatronics portfolios and associated service offerings,  CLICK HERE.





2:38 am
June 7, 2016
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KSB-USA Operations Challenge Team Takes Gold at International Wastewater Technology Championship

Maintenance Technology's Contributing Editor Michelle Segrest (center) with all-star Operations Challenge Team KSB-USA that bested 36 other teams at the third Open Germany Wastewater Technology Championship in Munich, Germany.

Contributing Editor Michelle Segrest (center) with members of the all-star, gold-medal-winning Operations Challenge Team KSB-USA that bested 36 other teams at the third Open Germany Wastewater Technology Championship in Munich, Germany, during IFAT 2016.




Operations Challenge Team KSB-USA has brought home the gold from Munich, Germany, as the overall winner of the third Open German Championship in Wastewater Technology. This all-star, U.S.-based team competed against 36 teams from six countries as part of IFAT 2016, the world’s leading trade fair for water, sewage, waste and raw materials management that ran from May 30-June 3.

Organized by the Water Environment Federation (WEF) and sponsored by pump and valve manufacturer KSB, Inc. (Richmond, VA), the U.S. team included Coach Dave Vogel (CH2M, Lanesborough, MA) and members Dale Burrow (TRA CReWSers, Dallas, winner of 5 Division 1 Operations Challenge Championships); Donnie Cagle (Terminal Velocity, Wake Forest, NC, winner of 10 Division 1 Operations Challenge Championships); and Steve Motley (Terminal Velocity, Virginia Beach, VA, winner of 5 Division 1 Operations Challenge Championships).

“We are so proud of Team KSB-USA and congratulate all of the participants of this fantastic international competition,” said WEF Executive Director Eileen O’Neill. “It was our great honor to have been invited to be a part of IFAT and the Open German Championship, which along with WEF’s own Operations Challenge competition, showcases the incredible dedication, professionalism, and outstanding skills of our operations personnel.”

The 37 teams were judged in five core competencies of wastewater operations during the intense two-day competition. Team KSB-USA accumulated the most combined points from each individual discipline to take first place, followed by two German teams: second-place winner Nuremberg – Die Drei Wreckla, and third-place winner Stadt Stuttgart Pumpis.

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 9.34.51 PMMore About Operations Challenge
The popular, long-running Operations Challenge program is designed to put a spotlight on the often unsung heroes of the wastewater treatment arena. According to the Water Environment Federation (WEF), the best wastewater collection and treatment personnel in the world display their skills at these competitions.

Each team is sponsored by a WEF Member Association or recognized Operator Association. Winners are determined by a weighted point system for five events (collection systems, laboratory, process control, maintenance and safety), each designed to test the diverse skills required for the operation and maintenance of wastewater treatment facilities, their collection systems and laboratories.

Operations Challenge 2016 will take place this fall in New Orleans. as part of WEFTEC 2016, WEF’s 89th annual technical exhibition and conference running from Sept. 24-28, at the Morial Convention Center. For more information, CLICK HERE.


3:50 pm
May 31, 2016
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On the Road with Jane and Gary #1



Jane and Gary have been traveling again. This past week Jane was in New Orleans to attend Schneider Electric’s Connect 2016 event and Gary was in Puerto Rico for the Maintenance Excellent Roundtable conference. Put your ear buds in and spend a few minutes listening to what our travelers experienced.


7:30 pm
May 25, 2016
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Feature-Rich PlantStruxure PES V4.2 Automation System Debuts at Schneider Electric Connect 2016

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 2.23.04 PMSchneider Electric Connect 2016, in New Orleans, is continuing to serve up a full plate of activities and product news today.

First up was this morning’s Plenary session focussing on  cyber-related issues, starting with a presentation on  “HMI & Alarm Management Best Practices.” by Bridget Fitzpatrick, of Wood Group Mustang.

Gary Williams, senior director of Technology, Cyber Security & Communications at Schneider Electric, then took the stage to put cyber threats into context for end users by encouraging attendees to “Be as AGGRESSIVE as a Hacker, or Lose Productivity.”

On the product front, Schneider Electric has announced the release of PlantStruxure PES V4.2 that integrates new hardware with capabilities from the company’s Modicon M580 ePAC lineup to meet demands of Industrial Internet of Things applications.

According to the company, the addition of Modicon M580 redundant controllers delivers exceptional plant and asset availability for critical continuous process operations and, thus helps to improve overall business performance.

How It Works
Fifty percent of today’s PlantStruxure PES projects require at least one pair of redundant controllers within the configuration. Schneider Electric notes that PES V4.2 meets next-gen requirements with the M580 ePAC and the ability to lock down ports within a single configuration environment. The company says the high level of cyber security offered by the  PES V4.2 “ensures nearly 100% uptime for customer systems.”

A core feature of the Modicon M580 ePAC is its Ethernet-based architecture. Integration into the PES solution improves system management and provides customers with a level of standard communication, guaranteeing a future-proof system.

The Foxboro, MA-based manufacturer says new services will be available for engineering and commissioning, which will make navigating a control program easier, as well as improve performance when making project changes. PlantStruxure PES V4.2 is also equipped with ready-to-use application and industry libraries, allowing systems to be built more quickly and with lower engineering costs. By integrating energy-management features from other Schneider Electric automation and power devices, such as asset-centric Altivar drives, the system can help users realize greater energy-cost savings.

The Schneider Electric Connect 2016 Automation Conference runs through Thursday, May 26, at the Marriott New Orleans Hotel. For more information from this event, CLICK HERE.


6:43 pm
May 19, 2016
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Mitsubishi Introduces Higher-Payload RV-F Series 6-Axis Robots

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.48.29 AMMitsubishi Electric Automation, Inc. (Vernon Hills, IL) has expanded its RV-F Series 6-axis-robot offering with 35, 50, and 70 kg-payload models. Commanded by the company’s MEFLA Basic V programming language and coupled with its optional iQ control platform, these high-capacity units are said to be “as intelligent as they are strong,”

The recently released models extend Mitsubishi Electric’s RV-F Series product line to address applications that require higher payloads and longer reaches, including CNC-machine-tending, large material-handling, and assembly applications.

Key Benefits
According to Mitsubishi, its new  RV-35F, RV-50F, and RV-70F  robots are particularly well suited to the automotive, food and beverage, and electronic-manufacturing sectors. Capabilities and features include, among others:

  • Higher payloads. Allows applications that require heavier parts and tooling to be robotically automated.
  • Long reach arm. Allows tasks to be spread farther apart and accommodates larger parts and processes with the ability to extend up to 2050 mm.
  • Seamless integration with the Mitsubishi Electric Factory Automation (MELFA) hardware ecosystem. Easily connects to MELFA’s extensive offering of integrated automation products.
  • Multiple environmental protection ratings. Available in IP40 and IP67 protection ratings to conform to various application requirements.

For more information on Mitsubishi Electric Automation and its complete line of factory solutions, CLICK HERE. 


4:40 pm
May 16, 2016
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Three Illustrations

parrmugConferences have been a big part of my life lately. Fortunately for me, I enjoy them because I enjoy learning. In the two most-recent conferences I’ve attended, from all of the Powerpoint slides and spoken words, three illustrations/graphs stayed with me because they made me analyze things on several levels. I share them with you on this page, hoping they make the same impression on you.

The first comes from Ryan Avery, who presented a keynote address at the Uponor Connections 2016 conference in Las Vegas. Avery’s talk was “Motivating Millennials.” Uponor North America, headquartered in Apple Valley, MN, is a manufacturer of PEX piping systems. The other two graphs are from talks presented at the Reliability Conference, also held in Las Vegas. That conference is produced by the people.

I hope these three visual items generate some thinking and maybe even inspire you to make some changes. MT

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 8.45.27 AM
Ryan Avery tells us that, if you assign shapes to generations, baby boomers are a triangle because we operate in a hierarchical world with someone always at the top, calling the shots. Millennials are a circle because they like to be part of a community and don’t care for bosses. They’d rather be coached. Learn more about millennials here.

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 8.45.38 AMJason Trantner (Mobius Institute, Bainbridge Island, WA), in his talk, “Condition Monitoring is Not Enough: You Can’t Monitor Your Way to Improved Reliability,” suggested that people who are looking on the P-F curve for reliability are just doing a better job of managing failure. True reliability is realized if you go back in time and consider whether you have a bad installation, what happened the last time failure occurred, and even back to the beginning to analyze the original design/specifications.

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 8.45.46 AMIn his talk, “Secrets of Success with Procedures (and Processes),” Jack Nicholas showed this “eyelash curve,” adopted from 4th Generation Management by Brian Joiner. The graph shows what happens to the company learning curve when turnover occurs. If processes and procedures aren’t documented, you get eyelashes as each new employee has to start from scratch. If documentation is done properly, true progress occurs (dashed line). Learn more in Jack’s book, Secrets of Success with Procedures, available at


4:35 pm
May 16, 2016
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Uptime: Rules, Standards, And Mainstream 2016

bobmugnewBy Bob Williamson, Contributing Editor

The Eventful Group, Syracuse, NY, is hosting another U.S. Mainstream Conference this month. If past installments of this series are any indication, Mainstream 2016 in The Woodlands, TX (Houston) will exceed expectations. Scheduled for May 22 to 25, its focus blends maintenance with operations and reliability and offers opportunities for all professionals in our arena to learn what’s new, validate what we’re already doing, and network with peers (and would-be peers) for a continuing dialogue. From a personal standpoint, the photo of a Formula 1 (F1) racecar on the cover of the conference brochure is what sparked this “Uptime” column.

Some readers may be familiar with my NASCAR race-team studies and how the findings permeate my teachings. NASCAR’s approach to racing, however, varies greatly from that of Formula 1. The two motorsports organizations have vastly different rules when it comes to designing, building, operating, and maintaining vehicles that compete in their respective circuits. Such rules serve as “standards” for how things get done in these arguably dissimilar racing businesses and, accordingly, help explain why a 2.3-sec. pit stop in F1 and a 10.5-sec. pit stop in NASCAR can both be considered superior. That said, let’s think about rules in today’s workplace and how they restrict or ensure the way things get done.

Work rules

We see work rules defining what’s allowed and what’s not in countless plants. Many have evolved over time to improve safety and quality, control costs, and protect jobs. Some are based on regulatory requirements (safety, environmental, employment), others on certification compliance (ISO 9000, ISO 14001, ISO 55000). Over time, some are redefined to recognize new realities. Others simply preserve historical practices, leading to a “we’ve always done it that way” mindset.

Paraphrasing the Outback Steakhouse chain, let’s consider a “no rules, just right” work environment. In the worlds of manufacturing, maintenance, and facilities, “no rules” would surely imply that chaos prevails—which could never be a prescription for business success. Still, there’s a nugget hidden in plain sight in this mantra. The word “right” says it all. My thesaurus says “right” means “just, fair, correct, accurate, precise, exact, valid, established, official, absolute.” To me, these synonyms indicate there must be a rule that defines what is correct, as opposed to an implied wrong. Thus, for the sake of consistency in a “no rules, just right” work environment, we would embed standardized definitions of what right is and “how we do it here.”

On the other hand, when we consider work rules as standards for job performance, we can approach things a bit differently. If we keep thinking of such rules only as a way to preserve the status quo, we miss an opportunity to use them to promote and preserve continuous improvement. In today’s markets, new rules and standards are requirements for success in many business sectors.

New rules, just right

Standardized work, a fundamental element of continuous improvement, is often seen as restricting individual best practices. Frequently, it’s perceived as an infringement on “how I have done my work here for years.”

There are, however, thousands of examples where standardized work is successful—including in F1 and NASCAR racing. Looking closely at these motorsports, it’s clear that standardized work isn’t exclusive to their race teams’ pit crews. It permeates all phases of work, at all levels in the organizations. Some standardized work is based on conforming to the regulations of the sport. Some is devoted to preserving a best practice or proven method. And, some is leveraged in driving a relentless pursuit of perfection, i.e., 100% reliability from the way racecars are engineered to the way they are built, operated, and maintained. After all, without policies, standards, and a desire to look for better ways of doing things, we would still be living in caves and making fires to stay warm and cook   our food.

The crux of the matter—in motorsports and other industry sectors—is about more than just looking for a better way. It’s about creating the expectation of what, where, and why to improve, as well as providing the necessary resources, and having a standardized work process in place to guide such improvements. This is the responsibility of top-level management.

Leadership’s huge role

Keep in mind that where there’s no standard, there’s no improvement—only attempts to organize chaos to temporarily minimize penalizing effects. This is why support from the top is so important.

Leadership is a critical success factor in the quest for standardizing a best practice or the way we make sustainable improvements. Management plays a huge role by leading the way to business success, improving the quality of work life, and creating expectation of continuous improvement. Standardization at all levels, in turn, guides how work and improvements are accomplished. A plan and a process for continuous improvement, whether guided by a business policy, a strategic plan, or business goals, must also be standardized.

Continuous improvement should result in benefits to the business and the employees. Leading continuous improvement from the very top of the organization keeps the efforts focused on the needs of the business. Engaging employees in the improvement of their work processes benefits them, as well as the business.

Continuous-improvement leadership, from the very top levels to the front lines of an organization, requires a set of habits that engages employees in their quest for improvement. Leaders do just that: They lead people. But leaders must also manage the process of continuous improvement in the organization. A continuous-improvement work culture, based on standardized work, cannot be delegated to a facilitator, a consultant, or a department of continuous improvement. This form of delegation often results in a predominance of improvement events rather than a sustainable improvement culture.

Suggestions for conference attendees

For readers who are attending Mainstream 2016 in The Woodlands, TX — or any upcoming technical conferences around the world for that matter, Mainstream or otherwise — I offer these standardized work-process suggestions:

  • Share who you are, what you do, and what you know.
  • Learn something new that could improve your workplace, your job, and your mindset.
  • Share what you learned with your peers and your leaders, then give it a try. MT

Bob Williamson, CMRP, CPMM, and a member of the Institute of Asset Management, is in his fourth decade of focusing on the people-side of world-class maintenance and reliability in plants and facilities across North America. Contact him at


9:45 pm
April 27, 2016
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Honeywell Process Solutions Establishes Digital Transformation Biz

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 10.16.29 AMHouston-based Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) has announced the establishment of a new Digital Transformation business unit to help end users harness the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and rapidly deploy technologies to better manage and analyze data. The goal is to assist organization in making their operations safer, more reliable, and more efficient than ever.

Andrew Hird has been named vice president and general manager of the new  unit and will report directly to HPS president Vimal K Kapur. Hird most recently served as HPS’s global vice president of sales, where he gained exposure to customers in industries ranging from oil and gas and mining to power generation, and pulp and paper. He has more than 20 years of experience in industries ranging from oil and gas and mining, to power generation and pulp and paper, including 12 years with Honeywell.

Honeywell technologies that help operators prioritize and manage a growing amount of operational data include, among other things, DynAMo alarm and operations management; Industrial Cyber Security Risk Manager; Assurance 360, a multi-year cooperative service arrangement to maintain, support and optimize performance of the corporation’s control systems; and Honeywell Pulse, a mobility app that allows plant managers to easily monitor real-time operations from a smartphone.

HPS’s IIoT solutions utilize Honeywell’s patented software infrastructure that provides a simple method for capturing big industrial data in a secure portal that can be scaled to meet the varied needs of single-site or enterprise-wide operations.

For the refining and petrochemical industries, HPS will leverage the expertise of Honeywell UOP, a leader in inventing and licensing technologies used globally to turn oil and natural gas into transportation fuels and petrochemicals.

For more information on Honeywell Process Solutions, CLICK HERE.