I recently spoke to a reliability engineer who was rolling out our alignment equipment and vibration equipment to 15 plants across the U.S. This customer got us involved early on in the process. They didn’t just set aside budget money for the equipment purchase, but also enough to properly train their field service personnel on the proper use of the new technologies. We didn’t just address the use of the alignment tools, but also issues like proper equipment installation, lubrication, etc.

One of the topics of discussion was alignment tolerances. Since this customer has high-speed ammonia compressors, they wanted to ensure their equipment was properly aligned and therefore adopted our alignment tolerances as their corporate standard. Since these tolerances are built into the alignment tool, it was not only easy for the user to determine if the equipment met their established corporate alignment standards, but also for management to review the work to ensure it was correctly completed. This oversight is easily accomplished via software we provide that allows complete storage of all alignment results on your network and allows easy report generation of the field results for review.

I was told that their vibration analysis program still identified equipment that was out of its alignment tolerances. How could this happen? It turned out that contractors were performing work without being held to the standards as plant personnel, including alignment tolerances or requiring the use of specific equipment to perform the work. In addition, the contractor was not required to provide a copy of the results for review and digital storage.

How could this happen? Unfortunately, it is not so uncommon. Many facilities or corporations do not require that maintenance activities be performed to standards or use equipment they can trust for the results. Additionally, they do not clearly write job plans that are issued to internal maintenance employees or contractors specifying how the acceptable results are to be achieved (what steps are required, what tools are required, what documentation of results is required, etc.) In addition, the Maintenance Scheduler does not review the results of the completed work to confirm that it was satisfactorily completed within acceptable specifications. Oversight failures as well as failure to include these items in your job plans and work orders can easily result in continued maintenance issues and repeated or wasted efforts to keep your equipment running.

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, , by Frank Seidenthal CRL