Chris Greene is currently a technical trainer with Ludeca and has spent years before that as a lead mechanic as well as other related industry roles. Chris has been involved with reliability and installation since 2008. Chris attributes his mechanical proclivity to growing up in and around in his parent’s foreign car repair shop and tearing apart and making a mess of things around the place.
“Machines are built by someone with intent. When you stray from that intent, that’s when the machines start telling you it doesn’t want to work right.” Chris has found technicians with a solid knowledge of a machine are much more effective than simply having a worker applying a specific tool or ‘turning a bolt.’
A major aspect of adhering to the correct operation of a machine is installing it correctly. The installation dictates how it will run. Finding a defect or identifying problems at the outset can mitigate a host of issues down the road.
Even so, Chris talks about how the industry as a whole has used the installation as a place to cut costs. The newer the machine, often the bigger the issues they are regularly facing. The overall lifespan of equipment is dropping, and Chris believes these oversights and cost cuts have a lot to do with this.
“Industries as a whole have tried to save costs and a large percentage cut on installation costs”
A good solid machine check or geometric measurement to ensure base plants are on the same exact same plane can significantly enhance the lifespan of the equipment. But it is more than just proper alignment. It comes down to aspects as diverse as the long term suitability of the foundation. Many don’t take the time to look at basic issues like these. Are the anchors appropriately spaced? Do we have the correct base plates? These minor vibrations and movements due to little imperfections will take their toll over time.
Chris suggests that keeping proper documentation can be a boon to equipment installation and care. Documentation helps take employees to take ownership of a job and helps to ensure you can track the efforts and match them to the suggested practices. It also helps with the root cause analysis of problems that arise. From a business management perspective, it also helps you to explain and layout how a business is to someone in an office.
Commissioning Groups and Specifications:
Generally, companies will have something called a commissioning group, and they verify these checks and sign off on them. People show up and often go through the installation checklist with you, and if you miss something on this checklist, you may not get a warranty until you check it. This process validates everything is done properly from the site to the torque of bolts. Download our 5 Elements Machine Installation Infographic which outlines 5 important elements of machine installation including Foundation, Anchoring, Isolation, Baseplate Level, and Flat plus Alignment.
Chris explains how over the years, tolerances have opened up since so many companies struggled to meet the older specifications. You can see the difference between the two levels of care when you examine the machines after a few years of operation. These little changes in optimal specs can show significant differences in short amounts of time.
Using tools like the ANSI/ASA alignment standard, and specifically, the standards dictated by the manufacturers, help you to see what the bare minimum standards for a piece of equipment are. You should ask yourself if you can do better than these. Better standards can only prolong equipment life.
The one thing to help with success?
Chris answers that you should understand the specifications and make sure you are installing equipment right and exceeding those tolerances. Management needs to understand that letting technicians have the tools and knowledge to do the job right can benefit machines and their lifespan greatly.
“A couple of loose nuts behind the wheel can wreck an entire facility.”
Spend the time to set a machine up correctly, take that extra effort to look ahead, and see what that next problem is before you build it into the installation.
Hear more from Chris Greene in this podcast by James Kovacevic and learn to understand how the correct installation of equipment will set the stage for optimal operational quality and longevity.
Alignment by Chris Greene CRL