Defining a Reliability Engineer

July 25, 2017

In order to determine what a Reliability Engineer should be, we must first look at the definition of Reliability.  Reliability can be defined as the probability that a device, system or process will continue to perform its given function without failure for a known time in a known environment.  Based upon this, the role of a Reliability Engineer can be easily defined as increasing the probability that assets will operate when required by determining and driving strategies that prevent failures.  In order to do this, the Reliability Engineer must apply analysis techniques that identify causes of failures, apply practices which prevent these failures and determine strategies which mitigate the consequences of failures that cannot be prevented.  In other words, keep equipment and processes running well.  When they do not, find out why and do something about it.  If you cannot do anything about it, then find a way to protect the processes or mitigate the consequences.

Reliability Engineers have a strategic and tactical role within an organization.  This means being a leader, mentor and teacher.  Developing, supporting and maintaining a reliability roadmap in accordance with clear reliability targets that contribute to the operational goals of the company.  Support efforts that ensure the reliability, operability and maintainability of equipment and processes.  And provide education and analysis that contributes to all of the above.

A Reliability Engineer should be many things, but definitely not a part time position, a firefighter, parts expeditor or reactivity manager when a failure occurs.

As an interesting exercise, write down how you define the role of a Reliability Engineer.  Ask several people to write down the top five things they believe define the role of a Reliability Engineer within your company.  The answers may be quite surprising and very telling about the real reliability culture within your company.

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4 Tips to Help Avoid Soft Foot in Your Machines

July 18, 2017

Soft foot can severely affect the operating condition of a machine, which will undoubtedly shorten its life expectancy. Here are a few simple tips to help avoid soft foot in your machines:

  1. Eliminate rust, dirt and any other contamination from the contact surfaces of the machine feet, shims and frame or foundation.
  2. Never insert more than four shims at a time beneath a single machine foot. More than three shims may cause a spring effect.
  3. Eliminate external forces on the machine such as those from connected piping, conduit, auxiliary supports, etc.
  4. Use high quality, clean and uniform shims when shimming is necessary.

Watch our Shaft Alignment Know-How video on Soft Foot

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A Lubrication Condition or a Mechanical Condition?

July 11, 2017

When monitoring your bearing lubrication with ultrasound, it is important to watch for very high values in your condition indicators (total RMS and Peak values). After applying grease, both values should decrease proportionately. This is a sign the bearing was under-lubricated. If the total RMS value lowers and the peak value stays relatively the same, then the bearing has a mechanical condition that is generating impacts.

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What Customers are Saying about our Shaft Alignment Fundamentals Wall Chart

July 5, 2017

I have had the opportunity to see, first hand, the improvement in the quality of alignments our Tradesmen have been able to achieve and I attribute it to the availability of the wall charts received from LUDECA as the main reason. There isn’t much that the charts don’t cover but, it’s the references to thermal growth and the causes of lack of repeatability and response to corrections made that are the most helpful at least for us. As the Vibration Analyst onsite it’s been a win-win!!! Thanks from all of us at Cameco – Cigar Lake Operation —Ben Harrison, Reliability Technologist

Request your copy of the LUDECA Shaft Alignment Fundamentals wall chart

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Online Vibration, Ultrasound & Temperature Data Integration and Monitoring

June 27, 2017

In today’s modern world information is found all around us and it is available at the simple push of a button; 24/7/365. Machine condition monitoring systems (online systems) have been around for quite a while, but they have typically been reserved for the most critical and most expensive machines at a facility. These critical assets typically comprise of a small number of the total assets at most manufacturing plants. The majority of machines fall under the walk around monitoring approach. If a condition monitoring program is being conducted at a world class level then each machine is being tested monthly, however at most manufacturing facilities manpower constraints restrict monitoring to quarterly or in some cases once or twice a year. Machines which have been historically confined to a walk around type programs can now be monitored successfully using an online system. These systems can monitor and trend vibration levels as well as monitor and trend ultrasound and temperature. The online systems can be configured to deliver a machines alarm status directly to the plant process control system. This allows the machine operator to take the necessary corrective actions. The alarm status can also be delivered to a maintenance supervisor via cell phone message or by email. Using online systems to monitoring the health status of your process equipment will allow the identification of problems early with minimal manpower so that catastrophic failures can be prevented which ultimately leads to less machine downtime for repairs and increased cost savings.

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