Ultrasound World XXIII: Day 1 Recap

May 11th, 2017

It's that time of year again – maintenance and reliability professionals from all over gather in sunny Clearwater Beach, Florida, for the 13th annual Ultrasound World conference, hosted by UE Systems and colocated with Reliable Asset World.

Maureen Gribble and Adrian Messner of UE Systems gave a warm welcome to exhibitors, presenters and attendees. Adrian set the tone with the theme of this year's event: "Knowledge is only of value when set into action – what can you take back with you and implement in your own organization?"

With that, let's dive into Day 1:

Keynote: "IoT: A Force for Industry Disruption"

Rob Risany and Niraj Kadakia, IBM

What is the Internet of Things? How entrenched is it in our lives as maintenance and reliability professionals – and how can we extract value out of new systems and technologies? Those are a few of the main questions Rob Risany and Niraj Kadakia from IBM addressed in the keynote presentation of the event.

There are 212 billion sensors in the world, along with 50 billion devices that use various sensors to gather information. But 85 percent of those devices don't yet communicate with one another – though that's rapidly changing. Now, those technologies that make up the Internet of Things are sources of disruption, allowing organizations and individuals to gather data in more valuable and efficient ways. How is that related to reliability? Niraj pointed out two primary benefits:

  1. Reduce operating costs by streamlining processes, eliminating variance and reducing waste.
  2. Increasing top line revenue by improving technology to optimize value capture.

The duo demonstrated a few examples of IBM Watson in action, measuring bearings, conveyors and other devices in real time and providing feedback on performance through a mobile app in real time. There is potential for condition-based monitoring in everything from nuclear reactor maintenance to diagnosing that strange noise in your washing machine!

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"Implementing a Condition Based Lubrication Programme for Variable Speed Rotating Equipment"

Dr. James Neal, PhD, CMRP, University of Waikoto, New Zealand

The pre-lunch slot can be a tough one to fill, but conference favorite (and frequent final presenter) Dr. James Neale, PhD, CMRP, kept everyone engaged as usual. In a presentation peppered with audience interaction and life lessons, James discussed the importance of proper lubrication for condition based bearing monitoring.

Condition monitoring is important, but it's not about how much lubricant you use – it's about optimizing the effect of the lubricant. Bearings fail for several reasons:

  • Over- and under-loading
  • Speed
  • Friction levels
  • Environment
  • Installation practices
  • Fatigue

Ultrasound technology can inform technicians about changes in friction earlier than any other tool, providing a necessary early warning system for bearing failure.

James also aligned his presentation with the conference theme, noting, "There are three types of people: Those who do, those who watch, and those who wonder. We want to be doers!"

"Using What We Learn to Make a Difference"

Eric Holt, Michelin

In his first presenter spot at Ultrasound World, Reliability Engineer Eric Holt described how he helped introduce ultrasound and predictive maintenance methods to his plant. That includes:

  • Steam leak detection
  • Arcing prevention
  • Bearing lubrication
  • Gearbox tuning
  • Troubleshooting
  • Finding bad overhead conveyor bearings

The plant also employs student interns to help find steam leaks and create work orders. Those tags always include the cost of steam to demonstrate just how important it is to create a culture of energy awareness and efficiency.

Eric left a few tips for ultrasound implementation. Here are three:

  1. Find the right person to lead your program.
  2. Start simple and build from there.
  3. Collaborate with other plants and peers to share results and ideas.

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"Developing & Implementing an Ultrasound Program at USG Interiors"

Josh Mattson, USG Interiors

USG Interiors is a leader in building products like ceiling tiles, flooring, sheathing and roofing. For 115 years, the organization has worked to expand its boundaries. Now, plant reliability supervisor Josh Mattson is working to improve his plant's predictive maintenance strategy. 

His Minnesota ceiling tile plant recently began implementing ultrasound for a range of applications, such as lubrication, air leak detection, and monitoring bearings, gear reducers and motors.

The program is relatively new, but the results are already clear: For every $1,000 spend on the program, his team has seen $2,000 in avoided costs. That's in air leak detection alone!

Josh's advice for others starting down the reliability path, especially using ultrasound:

  • Be open with the costs and demonstrate the successes.
  • Use the right technicians and find a champion for the program.
  • Work with experts who know the ins and outs, like the folks at UE Systems.

Remember, as well, that ultrasound is a perfect complement for other reliable maintenance techniques like vibration analysis and oil analysis.

"Sustaining an Effective Predictive Maintenance Program"

Bretty Dyess, CMRP, Nissan North America

In the final presentation of Ultrasound World Day 1, PdM Supervisor Bretty Dyess talked on the importance of good leadership and sustainability in his experience with Nissan North America.

The facility Brett operates in has an annual capacity of 450,000 vehicles in a 4.7 million square foot space. His 15-person team implements PdM techniques using all kinds of technologies, including ultrasound, fluid analysis, motor circuit analysis and others. From 2015 to 2016, the team delivered ROI of $29.01 million and 18,900 minutes of avoided downtime.

Brett left us with two crucial lessons:

  1. Manage the talents of the team – empower members to succeed and seek the training the need.
  2. If anyone on the team leaves, the program should be able to run itself – everything should be in place to ensure sustainability.

That wraps up Ultrasound World Day 1! We'll be back with more updates on Day 2.

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