TransAlta from Alberta, Canada won Uptime Magazine’s Best Vibration Analysis Program. Their Vibration Journey started when due to distance and the high costs of using a contractor, they moved away from outsourcing their vibration analysis services to a full-time in-house vibration analyst.
During the implementation and mentoring period, and in spite of the business justification, they faced challenges like skepticism from the maintenance department and having to continually justify their existence. Buying and implementing new technology was easy but changing the culture was difficult. Some of it was overcome with their ability to be 100% correct on the calls they made for failures although at the beginning they did not catch all the failures. 10 years after their vibration program started, there are no more skeptics.
An important element of their success was the implementation of a training and certification program with a budget that allowed for 2 weeks of training per year per analyst. They also required that personnel take CMVA Level 1 (Canadian Machinery Vibration Association) or equivalent followed by Level 2 after 18 months and Level 3 within four years on the job.
Aside from bringing Vibration Analysis in-house, they also implemented other in-house programs such as Laser Alignment, Balancing, Ultrasound, Lubrication, and Thermography.
What did they accomplish? Savings of US$ 4,000,000 per year for their company over 1,600 pieces of equipment at 3 separate plants.
When first asked about their program, Mark Kumar told Terry O’Hanlon, publisher of Uptime Magazine, that their Best Asset was their vibration database (history) which allowed them to diagnose failures but now in retrospect, he stated that their Best Asset was the Backing of Company Management which supported their initiative for an in-house vibration program.
Congratulations to Harvey Henkel, Mark Kumar, and their team for this award and a job well done.