Reliable Asset World IV: Day 2

May 15th, 2017

Reliable Asset World IV Day 1 was a huge success! Let's dive into Day 2 to see what our attendees heard from the presenters.

"By Removing Variabilities from Our Process, We Can Expect a More Consistent Product – I'm Talking to You, Maintenance!"

Tom Carr, CMRP, CMRT – Reliability Solutions

Tom Carr, director at Reliability Solutions, kicked off the second day of Reliable Asset World with a discussion on the true purpose and goals of maintenance teams and how they can become more consistent, and thus, more effective.

The goal, said Tom, is Precision Maintenance – where maintenance Tasks are performed with a known, precise, disciplined and well-documented approach. It's important that strategy moves progressively from implementation to sustainability, until it's embedded at an institutional level. It's also key that metrics and performance indicators evolve and grow as the application progresses.

Tom also expanded on the importance of measuring and correcting alignments, a problem which can begin as early as the installation phase. Misalignment equipment can cause early bearing failure, higher motor temperatures, case distortion and more.

A culture of precision alignment

Both leaders and technicians have a role to play in creating a culture of precision alignment, Tom explained. Leaders must set expectations and provide high-quality tools and trainings. They need to be an advocate for good processes and a culture of dedication and precision. 

Technicians, meanwhile, need to build their understanding of alignment issues:

  • How they affect machinery life.
  • Where the alignment process starts.
  • How thermal growth affects alignment under normal operations.
  • Plant and industry standards.

Alignment is critical, but technicians must also work to work for precision maintenance practices in equipment balancing and minimizing assembly errors. Overall, 30 percent of mechanical failures stem from assembly errors, 30 percent from misalignment and 30 percent from imbalances, making them all critical concepts to educate and improve upon.

"Failure Modes and PDM Technologies"

Terry Harris – Reliable Process Solutions

Terry Harris from Reliable Process Solutions spoke on the ways in which equipment fails and how to use predictive and preventive maintenance to avoid as many of those failures as possible. He emphasized the importance of asset criticality software.

"You can't do everything to everything, or use predictive tech on everything," he said. "You need to concentrate on critical assets."

There's a curve of maintenance practices that goes from preventive to reactive maintenance – and if you're finding your failures in the reactive zone you're only going to get 10-20 percent effectiveness. 

Reliability centered maintenance, Terry explained, is about determining the way components fail then developing a strategy around those failures. Facilities that engage in the RCM process can develop a complete maintenance strategy that looks at ways to predict, prevent and eliminate failures. That allows facilities to maintain function with components and processes and allow them to perform optimally.

Do you know how your equipment actually fails?

Terry emphasized the importance of this question within maintenance teams. Too many shops throw equipment in the dumpster, without stopping to look at how and why they failed. There are 50 different ways a motor can fail and 30 different ways that bearings can fail. Without knowing precise causes, it's difficult to craft the correct responses.

Ask yourselves the following questions:

  • What is the precise way the equipment failed?
  • How many different failure modes for each component do I need to figure out?
  • Who at your facility knows all the failure modes?

It's important to have predictive maintenance measurements that are accurate and specific, as it is to build a culture of accountability.

Some of the core technologies Terry covered included:

  • Mechanical ultrasound, which find failures through high frequency sound, often before vibration and thermography.
  • Vibration analysis, which locates failures by measuring the frequency and intensity of machine movement.
  • Thermography, which detects failures by rising temperature.

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"Developing a Reliability Roadmap"

Vlad Bacalu, CMRP – AECOM

Vlad Bacalu, reliability and technical services director at AECOM, spoke on the challenges and benefits of developing a custom road map toward reliability – then sustaining that program after it's mapped out.

He opened up by discussing the question of multitasking and safety, citing a study from the University of Utah that showed distracted drivers using their phones actually had slower reaction times than people legally under the influence of alcohol. Our brains are not as talented as multitasking as we believe – an important consideration for facility and operational safety.

An ideal reliability process, Vlad told us:

  • Lists the important reliability activities that apply based on your reliability maturity level.
  • Assigns those activities to specific processes, people, technologies and tools.
  • Measures results and tracks the cost savings generated by the reliability program.

He also expanded on the importance of operator-performed maintenance, a key part of total productive maintenance systems. Operators who can check their machines and perform minor repairs can make a huge difference to overall team reliability, as they're often the first to encounter a breakdown and thus be able to respond to it.

Root cause analysis is another critical part of the reliability roadmap – it helps develop the proper troubleshooting mindset and tracks problems down to their precise causes, which makes the responses better and more cost effective. 

Predictive is always better than reactive

Predictive maintenance replaces intrusive and disruptive reactive maintenance tasks and establishes baselines to measure and build upon. Reactive maintenance means more stoppages, more cost and often a more frustrated staff.

The people in charge of the reliability roadmap – that might be you – need to remember the following principles:

  • Select appropriate building blocks from the available toolset to tackle your challenges.
  • Create a clear timeline of how these activities will be integrated and sequenced.
  • Identify milestones that allow you to both measure progress and celebrate your team's success to motivate them.

Once that's done, you need to communicate regularly and clearly with your team, using skills matrices and KPIs to show everyone how they can benefit and why reliability is so important.

"The Case for On-Site Water Management of Industrial Oils: A New Method by Infrared Spectroscopy & Results from a Paper Plant"

Randi Price, PhD – Spectro Scientific

The final talk of Reliable Asset World was by Spectro Scientific's Randi Price, on the challenges of measuring water in oil and the techniques used to do so.

Depending on the type of oil and additives in question, water in oil may be dissolved, emulsified or free-floating within the lubricant. Representative sampling is of particular concern when the water's not dissolved, and certain analytical methods for measuring water are completely blind to certain types of water. A method you might use for engine oil that's widely accepted might not work for industrial lubricants.

The gold standard for water measurement is Karl Fischer titration, a laboratory analysis technique that's extremely accurate, but not always possible to do-on site, thanks to the toxic reagents required and the heavy and expensive equipment involved.

There are other options, however:

  • The crackle test.
  • Calcium hydride kits.
  • Relative humidity sensors
  • Infrared spectroscopy.

On-site infrared spectroscopy sampling

It's the last method, infrared, that Randi recommends for on-site applications thanks to its cost, portability and ease of use. There has been some resistance in the industrial space because it's blind to any water that's not dissolved. Free or emulsified water is not captured. 

A new "total water" infrared spectroscopy method use infrared light to look at both the chemical and physical makeup of samples. By measuring the light scatter from water droplets of controlled size and distribution. The FluidScan portable infrared analyzer is able to tell you if you have a water problem quickly and on-site without going into Karl Fischer titration.

By sampling on-site, you're able to avoid the pitfalls doing so later, thanks to the time and space delay between collection and testing inherent in off-site testing.

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James Neale, PhD, CMRP, The University of Waikato, New Zealand – Closing Remarks

Our friend from New Zealand James closed out the conference with his talk about on the four kinds of people that exist in every organization, and how change comes from people with passion and the desire to take risks and disrupt.

James also emphasized the difference between data and wisdom. The world's flooded with data, and without structure it becomes useless. Once organized and collected data becomes information; knowledge is the information acquired through experience and application. Wisdom, finally, is how you use that information in the real world.

"It doesn't matter what you know if you're not going to do anything with that."

No ones cares how much you know until they know how much you care about them. You need to be able to address people's needs and fears, and allow them to contribute.  There are only so many hours in the day – you can't do and fund everything, you need to set priorities. 

James defined character as the ability to carry out at a task long after the initial feeling has passed. Ultimately, that means making a decision: You either act or you're acted upon. 

Finally, James left us with his characterization of the four kinds of people that you'll encounter within organizations:

  • "Dolphins" lead from the front, but also help those in need.
  • "Caterpillars" follow each other, so they end up going around in circles,
  • "Fleas" are excitlably but jumpy – they end up hitting their heads on the ceiling and giving up.
  • Finally, "crabs" are James' least favorite type of animal – they claw each other down into the bucket as they try to escape.

James left us with this proverbial wisdom, which sums up a lot of the important lessons this weekend about teamwork:

"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."

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