Reliable Asset World IV: Day 1

May 11th, 2017

Reliable Asset World 2017 kicked off on Wednesday with a number of presentations after our IBM keynote. Thought leaders from a range of industries gathered to share their knowledge and demonstrate both new and proven techniques in reliability and maintenance.

The day started with some fun – and education – from Eruditio's Shon Isenhour. 

"Creating and Maintaining a Project Plan that Meets the Needs of Your Team"

Shon Isenhour, CMRP CAMA CMP, Eruditio LLC

Shon opened his session on project planning with the now-famous Helium Stick exercise. We won't spoil it for you, but it's a great and fun tool to quickly and engagingly demonstrate how even simple tasks can end in failure without planning, teamwork, communication and leadership. He asked:

"How many of you have implemented predictive maintenance programs without having good processes, good tools and a strong work order system?"

When it comes to a new plan, application drives remuneration – once team members show they've got the ability, you need to reinforce it. Even the best leaders, Shon pointed out, can stumble when it comes to this step.

"What you're doing is this while you're telling them that. It's throughout the organization – it could be that supervisors and managers are destroying your reinforcement."

Shon invoked the Kotter model of change, an industry standard for over 20 years. It begins with establishing a sense of urgency, something that can vary greatly from industry to industry. Once that urgency is established, it's time to form a powerful guiding coalition. Bring in stakeholders like union stewards and make them part of the team, because they have a vested interest in making changes – and quick. 

Create a vision and strategy, then empower others to act on that vision – this is one one of the hardest steps for leadership teams.

Finally, Shon reminded us that the plan can't be one champion's implementation – because that person might leave. The first followers to join the effort are key, but you need multiple engaged stakeholders across the organization. 

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"Achieving World Class Maintenance with your CMMS"

Charles Strickland, B&W Quality Growers

Charles Strickland, a former member of the US Coast Guard with experience as an electrician and over a decade in maintenance management, spoke on his time in the maintenance field in the agricultural industry with Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS). He described a world where, in many cases, firms are 100 percent reactive maintenance, running machinery until it fails. There's often no real concept of proactive, preventive maintenance. 

He discussed the challenge of dealing with maintenance issues without a CMMS, in environments that were unused to anything beyond the basic requirements of maintenance. For example, 80 percent of CMMS implementations fail to meet their expectations within the first 12 months of use.

The purpose of a CMMS is basically to maintain a database of maintenance operations, aiding maintenance workers and helping verify regulatory compliance. The core of concept is a central storage location – too often, Charles pointed out, every individual in every location ends up using their own method of doing things. 

Even once implemented, many CMMS fail due to a slew of factors, including:

  • People's inherent resistance to change.
  • Lack of planning and preparation before implementation.
  • Lack of oversight and project management, as attention drifts after the initial landing.
  • A lack of documentation and clear analytics programs.

Once those challenges are tackled, Charles said, the benefits of CMMS are myriad. It helps prioritize critical equipment and reduces downtime and repair costs throughout the organization. A CMMS like eMaint can help in the development of a maintenance schedule, reduce overtime and eliminate unnecessary paperwork. 

"Everyone constantly knows where we're at and how we're doing," said Charles. "Executives like pretty graphs. For the most part, a graph tells them what they need to know in a few seconds."

"Establishing the Correct KPIs for Reliable Operations"

Chris Colson – Allied Reliability

"Who wants to be a superhero?"

That's the question Chris posed in the opening to his discussion on reliability and KPIs. He raised the examples of U.S. soldiers who develop a kind of sixth sense for dangers in a combat zone, able to look down a street and identify an improvised explosive device, or a tennis pro who's able to predict whether shots on a televised match will land in or out the lines – but doesn't know how or why.

"The human mind makes about 10 million observations in a given second. You've all done it today, you've all done it right here," said Chris. "On the cognitive side, the side we can actually keep track of, it's only about 40."

Through the process of learning and improvement, you need to be able to measure how you're progressing and where you need improvement. Key performance indicators (KPIs) represent one of the most important tools in evaluating factors critical to organizational success. Chris cited the words of management expert Peter Drucker: "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it."

Chris identified six key factors in selecting a KPI:

  • Aligned: It needs to be aligned with the business's strategic goals and objectives.
  • Attainable: You need to be able to get the data in the first place, at a reasonable cost.
  • Acute: Has to help the whole team move in the same direction.
  • Accurate: The data needs to be reliable and reproducible.
  • Actionable: The insights from the KPIs needs to spur some kind of operational action that the team can execute.
  • Alive: KPIs need to evolve with a businesses' goals as they change.

You should alsobe able to answer these four questions about every KPI you use:

  1. What does this KPI impact?
  2. How is that factor impacted?
  3. What is required to move in the desire direction?
  4. What causes it to go backward in a negative direction?

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Reducing Machinery Vibration with State-of-the-Art Laser Shaft Alignment and Balancing Techniques

Florian Buder – Pruftechnik

Florian Buder, a native of Munich, Germany, made the journey from Quebec this week to discuss the the cutting edge of alignment and balancing techniques for rotating machinery using laser technologies. Pruftechnik serves maintenance professionals in any industry where rotating equipment is in operation.

Current best practices in alignment involve using narrow band alarms and trending them to help identify machinery faults. Narrow frequency bands are sort of like AM radio, Florian explained. If a single band doubles its overall amplitude, it only pushes up the overall amplitude by 8.3 percent. So too with vibration analysis – looking at the whole spectrum makes it difficult to identify the cause of increased noise level.

It's now possible to use software to monitor bearing vibration through envelope analysis of the minute vibrations created by malfunctioning bearings. Defective elements passing bearing defects create distinctive "ringing" of the component. Narrow band filters can strip down a time signal that removes all the excess noise to get closer to a root cause and location, down to whether the problem is in a bearing's inner or outer race.

Florian also discussed cardan shafts, used in industrial applications from trucking to mining to paper mills to transfer torque across a variable-height coupling. Contrary to popular belief, angular misalignment here causes the driven shaft to rotate unevenly during operation, resulting in increased vibration.

"You need to balance those shafts, because if you have an inbalance on that cardan shaft, you will have higher vibration on that machine – which leads to lower service life," he said.

Because cardan shafts are used so extensively, Florian pointed out, precision maintenance of these critical components can ensure better operation, reduce costs and improve efficiency. 

Thanks for checking in on Reliable Asset World Day 1! We'll have more updates as the conference continues.

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