Maintenance planning, scheduling, and work execution are all critical for the success of best practice returns in maintenance and reliability. Unfortunately, it is easy to confuse and merge these processes together, thereby lowering the efficiency of maintenance activities and the overall health of manufacturing assets. The reality is that each of these efforts is dependent on each other, but separate and critical functions in a well-organized maintenance process.

Job Planning and Scheduling
Photo courtesy of Shon Isenhour – Eruditio, LLC

“We should always plan first, schedule those planned activities and finally ensure the work is properly executed on-time with precision”

The following are stages in creating a well-organized successful maintenance program:

  1. The first stage in the process is creating a “Work Order Request”. The requestor should always clearly specify “where”, “what”, “why” and “severity” of the work required and enter the work request as early as possible. Work order requests should always be reviewed, prioritized, and approved by management from both operations and maintenance. Doing this requires a valid criticality ranking of the equipment, consisting of specific maintenance, operational, and EHS considerations. This creates buy-in from everyone affected and ensures only necessary work approval and progression through the process.
  2. Once the work request is approved and prioritized, it becomes a “work order” entering the planning backlog and becomes the responsibility of the Maintenance Planner. The Maintenance Planner is a strategic role and should not be involved in daily maintenance work activities. The maintenance planning stage ensures accurate job/work instructions are created, labor skills and hours required are understood, parts availability is ensured or ordered (some parts may have a long lead-time), required support is identified (contract labor support, cranes, etc.) and safety permits identified. The planner should review existing work plans to see if one is already available for this task or create a new job plan if needed. The Maintenance Planner works with the MRO department and is notified when all required repair parts are available. These parts should be kitted, in a controlled area, so everyone knows they are available to complete the work when the time comes. Once the planner has assured these things are complete the work order and process moves to the next stage.
  3. Now the work can progress to the “schedule ready” phase and the Maintenance Scheduler takes over. At this stage, everything is in place to get the work done. Functional repair steps are correctly written, safety concerns are identified, and permits issued as needed, parts staged, and available to do the work and common and special tools available. The Maintenance Scheduler works with the maintenance and operations management, and coordinates within workforce restraints (vacations, etc.) and places the work on a schedule to be completed. This schedule is reviewed and approved by all stakeholders and posted so everyone is aware of what they will be working on in the days ahead. At this point, every effort is taken not to break the work schedule and ensure it is completed as planned.
  4. The Maintenance Supervisor now takes over and assigns individuals to complete the work on the scheduled day/week. The Maintenance Supervisor is responsible for ensuring the daily workflow is followed, problems addressed, the work is correctly completed on-time as scheduled. This individual is working daily in the plant with the maintenance and operational groups.
  5. The maintenance workers should follow the work instructions and provide feedback with missing steps, parts, tools, safety concerns, and issues and actual time to complete the work assigned to them. This feedback is critical because it allows future work to be better planned, scheduled, and executed, thereby increasing efficiency, reducing unscheduled downtime, and saving cost.
  6. The Reliability Engineer should use all of this information to analyze and determine routine equipment failure patterns and potential ways to eliminate this work from being required in the future through “Reliability Improvement Projects” (RIE), etc.

Within your facility, you may encounter different job titles as described in this article. However, it is extremely important that the overall roles and processes be in place and routinely followed. Not doing so will lead to dysfunctional work processes and prevent your company from achieving best practice maintenance and reliability goals.

For further reading, we refer your attention to Alan Luedeking’s excellent blog: Reliability – A Holistic Effort.

Need a platform that is going to take your planners/schedulers to the next level? Contact our colleagues at Eruditio.

by Diana Pereda

In our previous post DOWNTIME: 8 FORMS OF WASTE, we have seen the eight forms of waste that downtime can produce. So what then are the benefits of greater uptime? This useful acronym spells it out:

Utilization – Better utilization of skills, resources and technology to improve asset reliability

Profit – From decreased productivity costs, MRO spares costs and energy required for production

Targeting – Measuring progress toward a goal to achieve zero waste, accidents and downtime

Integrity – Integrity of equipment through inspection, testing and preventative maintenance

Mean Time Between Failures – increased MTBF with commensurate increase in availability, reliability and performance efficiency

Elimination of Defects – reduce risk of catastrophic failure, environmental disasters and injury

Increase Machine Uptime with Precision Alignment

Thank you Brian Franks with JetTech Mechanical LLC for sharing such a great picture!

You can increase equipment reliability and improve uptime by implementing an Asset Condition Management program that includes defect elimination by applying precision lubrication, alignment, and balancing techniques complemented by condition monitoring technologies like ultrasound and vibration analysis to early detect possible failures allowing for better planning and scheduling of your maintenance activities.

Make sure you’re getting the most out of your tools. Contact LUDECA and let our team of Certified Reliability Leaders help you jump-start, improve or refine your Asset Condition Management program.

Source of inspiration: UPTIME ELEMENTS™ passports by Reliabilityweb.

by Diana Pereda

Downtime: 8 Forms of Waste

We know that unforeseen failures can leave machines unavailable for use. Defects attributed to premature component wear and failure due to over/under lubrication, poor installation practices such as improper bearing heating can also cause inventory depletion and other forms of waste…How else can we think about the costly effects of downtime? This useful acronym spells it out:

Defects – Out-of-spec products that require additional resources to fix.

Overproduction – Producing too much of a product before it is ready to be sold.

Waiting – Time waiting for next step in process.

Non-utilized staff talent – Workers that are not effectively engaged in the process.

Transportation – Unnecessary movements of materials.

Inventory – Idle inventory.

Motion – Unnecessary movements by people caused by inefficiencies in process.

Excess processing – Poor maintenance that causes more work than is necessary to produce a good product.

Downtime Due To Over Lubrication

by Diana Pereda

At the onset of any program we should be more interested in education than in training. Training involves learning how to perform a task, while education means understanding the why or importance of the task. While both are necessary for a successful program, education will yield a stronger, more involved team. Unfortunately, many companies focus too much on the initial “button pushing” aspects when introducing a new technology.

Education encourages workers to become more invested in the tasks and success of the reliability program. It can transform the group into game changers in the area of reliability and cause them to question what is currently occurring within the program, to recognize opportunities and strive to improve.

While education is vital, it comes with great responsibility. Leaders of reliability programs should expect their employees to return from a reliability course with a better idea of how condition monitoring can effectively increase equipment reliability and be willing to provide the required support to take full advantage of the education gained.

Is there a difference between education and training? You bet!

How quickly the reliability programs succeed is highly dependent on the initial foundations that are set for it.

Take your Alignment, Condition Monitoring and Ultrasound programs to the next level!
Let LUDECA field experienced instructors and Certified Reliability Leaders (CRL) coach and train you in the fundamentals and skills you need to utilize your tools to the fullest and implement the benefits of precision maintenance in your facility.

by Ana Maria Delgado, CRL

Centrifugal pumps have a specific design point at which they operate most efficiently. This sweet spot is known as the BEP (Best Efficiency Point) which provides the design engineer with the required flow and pressure while also providing the best efficiency. If the pump has been specified incorrectly or is placed into a system which doesn’t have the proper system head, the pump will become a reliability problem child. When a centrifugal pump is placed into a system without the required system resistance, the pump will run off its curve to the right, resulting in early bearing and mechanical seal failures and impeller damage caused by cavitations. If the pump is placed into a system with excessive system resistance, or, as frequently happens, the pump discharge valve is throttled early, bearing and seal failures occur along with impeller problems caused by discharge recirculation. Best practice dictates that the pump be specified and designed to operate within +5% to –10 % of its designed BEP. This will result in lower operating and maintenance costs and a happy pump.

by Yolanda Lopez

Reposted from People and Processes, written by Jeff Shiver CMRP, CPMM, CRL

Do you find yourself wondering why your employees haven’t taken the initiative and approached you for additional training? Well, they must not want the extra training, right? Wrong! Sometimes, employees do want training, but they just don’t ask. Here’s why:

People don’t like to be told no! The majority of employees don’t understand the organization’s vision, goals, brand promise, or key initiatives.

Employees get worn out from a culture of mediocrity being tolerated, commitments not honored, and requests being ignored.

Operators, Mechanics, Planners, and even Managers may not understand how to equate the returns of training.

Many employees don’t know when there is flexibility within the budget.

If no one else is asking for training, then why should they expect to be treated differently?

There must be a commitment for development and the line of communication should be open.

They may be topped out and let with nowhere to go from a promotional perspective.

When people have never been exposed to anything else, they don’t know what else is possible.

Keep these things in mind the next time you offer training, or feel that your employees should ask you if they want it. A better approach may be discussing this with your employees individually.

Check out LUDECA training offering for alignment, geometric measurements, vibration analysis, balancing and ultrasound.

by Ana Maria Delgado, CRL

Guest Post by Ricky Smith, CRL, CMRP, CMRT

Pipe stress is caused by misalignment of the mating surfaces of two pipe flanges creating abnormal internal stress of pump bearings, seals, motor bearings, couplings, and can possibly change the displacement of a pump.

General Rules which must be followed by maintenance personnel and contractors: (if you truly want to stop a long term pump problem)

  1. Pipe flanges attached to pumps must be aligned where the gap does not exceed the thickness of two gaskets or tolerance established by your company’s engineering standards.
  2. Pipe flange bolts must drop in without assistance.
  3. Cable pullers, come-a-longs, or long bars should not be used when aligning a flange which is connected to a pump.
  4. Validate the elimination of pipe stress by following the guidelines listed below.

Failure Modes experienced from Pipe Stress on Bearings:

  • Wear caused by seals leaking
  • Wear caused by static vibration
  • Indentations caused by overloading while static
  • Corrosion caused by inadequate lubrication caused by abnormal loading (seal leaking)
  • Flaking caused by misalignment and excessive loading

WARNING: Ensure your contractors follow the same process to eliminate pipe stress. Pipe stress elimination should be validated during commissioning of new pump.

Follow this process if you want to inspect your pumps which may have pipe stress:

  1. Align the two shafts between your pump and driver (typically an electric motor) to tolerance recommended by the equipment vendor or your company’s engineering standards.
  2. Validate misalignment to insure motor and pumps shafts are aligned to specification.
  3. Disconnect the outlet flange on the pump.
  4. Revalidate laser alignment of shafts.
  5. If alignment has moved then you have pipe stress. Do the same for the inlet flange.
  6. Make corrections as stated in the following procedures to eliminate pipe stress.

Elimination of Pipe Stress – “The Ricky Smith Method for Pipe Stress” as learned from Dan Turner (his maintenance and engineering manager at Exxon during his career in the 1970s)

  1. Bolt flanges to pump and insert blind flange gasket along with two regular flanges between pump and mating flanges (cover the hole between welding area and inside the pump).
  2. Attached welding ground to flange. (do not attach ground lead to pump; welding group must always be attached to flange) WARNING: Failure to accomplish this one task properly will cause bearing failure by “electric arcing” which is a failure mode of bearings.
  3. Tack weld flange into place reverse welding each tack.
  4. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  5. Reverse stitch weld on opposite sides on the flange similarly used for cast iron welding.
  6. After initial reverse stitch weld then weld normally using electrode recommended by the American Welding Society (typically E-6010 5P or GTAW)
  7. After root pass; weld in any direction you wish.
  8. Allow to cool and then disconnect flange, replace gaskets and;
    Validate bolts will drop into holes without pry bar.
    Validate gap between flanges is no more than two gaskets thick.

Learn more about the effects of running equipment with pipe stress, watch LUDECA Shaft Alignment Know-How Pipe Stress video.

by Yolanda Lopez

Reposted from People and Processes, written by Jeff Shiver CMRP, CPMM, CRL

The CMRT exam is the leading credentialing program by the Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals (SMRP) for the knowledge, skills and abilities of maintenance and reliability technicians.

The CMRT exam tests competency and knowledge of specific tasks within 4 domains: Maintenance Practices, Preventative and Predictive Maintenance, Troubleshooting and Analysis, and Corrective Maintenance.

And that’s all well and good! But, why should you have your technicians certified? What are the benefits of having them pass the CMRT?

Here are 5 reasons why you should have your technicians certified:

  1. Validates the individual’s knowledge on maintenance and reliability best practices within the 4 domains.
  2. Confirms your commitment to advancing your team’s professional development.
  3. A globally recognized certification provides a personal level of satisfaction and pride of accomplishment.
  4. Encourages people to move beyond the status quo and achieve more for the organization.
  5. Determines strengths and opportunities by subject area to provide a development plan road-map.

Get certified today! Click here to learn more about the CMRT certification.

Learn about People and Processes’ Maintenance and Reliability Technician Core Concepts Course 


by Yolanda Lopez

As Published by Solutions Magazine March/April 2018 issue

by Ana Maria Delgado, CRL and Shon Isenhour, CMRP CAMA CCMP, Founding Partner at Eruditio LLC

During the many root cause analysis (RCA) investigations we facilitate and coach, we notice some themes that continue to manifest themselves in the findings. Often, they are grouped under the heading of precision maintenance or lack thereof. Let’s take a look at some of them and determine if they are also killing your reliability.

The six killers are grouped into three areas: Lubrication, Misalignment and Undiagnosed Wear.

Click here to read the full article.

by Ana Maria Delgado, CRL

1. A Change in the Quantity of Grease Consumed

Maintenance departments track their grease consumption to monitor and control costs. A change in consumption is a sure sign that your lubrication program is on the right track. Most organizations are guilty of over-lubricating. Expect lower grease consumption as your program matures. Bad procedures lead to bearings routinely receiving more grease than they’re designed to handle. The excess ends up being pushed into the motor casing or purged onto the floor.
Over lubrication happens when re-greasing intervals are scheduled based on time instead of condition. Control lubrication tasks with ultrasound to monitor the condition and maintain optimal friction. The time between greasing intervals increases, resulting in less grease used per bearing.

2. Fewer Lube-Related Failures

Do you track failures and perform root cause analysis?
Organizations with optimized greasing programs experience fewer lube-related failures. Less fixing and fire-fighting translates to more creative time for maintenance. Use that time to bring more machines into the greasing program.
Additionally, with ultrasound, you find many non-trendable defects. For example, broken or blocked grease pipes and incorrectly fitted grease paths prevent grease from reaching the bearing.

3. Optimized MRO Spares Management

Your new and improved lubrication program is delivering wins; better control of grease consumption, fewer failures, and more productivity for maintenance. Use this time to study trends and better manage your storeroom.
A decrease in bearing related failures improves spares optimization. Share your ultrasonic lubrication data with your MRO Stores manager to create a plan to reduce the number of emergency parts on hand.
Since you’re taking stock, why not shift some burden to your suppliers? Ask them to confirm your emergency parts against their own stock. If it can be supplied on the same day then it doesn’t need to be on the balance sheet.

4. Increased Number of Machines Monitored

One benefit of an effective lubrication program is time.
• Time allotted to monitoring machines instead of fixing them.
• Time allotted to correctly assessing the real needs for lubrication.
• Time to look at the big picture.
Take, for instance, criticality assessment. Many lubrication programs begin with small steps. All the “A” critical machines receive priority, rightly so. But what about the rest? With more time to plan, organize, and schedule, the number of machines acoustically monitored for optimal lubrication increases.

5. Save Time. Combine Acoustic Lubrication and Condition Monitoring

You worked hard for these results. It’s time to use your data for more than just lubrication.
Acoustic lubrication is the proven method to ensure precise bearing lubrication. New technology from SDT, LUBExpert, combines the power of onboard lubrication guidance with Four Condition Indicators for bearing condition assessment.
The time savings from assessing bearing condition during the lubrication process is beyond valuable and another sign your acoustic lubrication program is on the right track.

6. Inspector Confidence at an All-Time High

Reliable machines are the product of an effective lubrication program. You have:
• Managed grease consumption
• Fewer grease related to bearing failures
• Optimized MRO spares
• More machines under watch
• Increased data collection intervals

The power of adding ultrasound to your greasing program delivers win after win for reliability. Reliability breeds confidence. More confident inspectors making the right calls and infecting a positive culture throughout the organization.

by Allan Rienstra - SDT Ultrasound Solutions

Simon is a condition monitoring specialist from a local oil refinery. He contacted my office for advice about predicting flexible coupling failures. Currently, they perform basic vibration analysis on their pumps and motors using an overall meter. They have some success predicting bearing failures but the same cannot be said for couplings. Several unexpected failures shut them down this year.

Within the facility they identified 58 pump systems considered “A Critical”, meaning if they go down, the plant goes down. I suggested ultrasound as a fast, safe, and affordable solution. Specifically, the SDT270DU offered him best value. Not only could Simon use it to monitor couplings with ultrasound; it also takes vibration measurements, thus eliminating the need for Simon to carry two data collectors.

With SDT270 Simon trends bearings with vibration, replenishes lubrication with ultrasound, and finds worn and misaligned couplings.

By placing an airborne sensor near to the coupling Simon can quickly trend an evolving defect. The SDT270DU gives Simon the choice to either spot check for defects – good – or integrate all 58 couplings into his established bearing routes – best.

Find worn and misaligned couplings with SDT’s Flexible Sensor.

I explained to Simon how several clients already trend couplings using the Flexible Wand. The SDT270 collects a STATIC ultrasound measurement that gives four indicators of condition. The first two – Overall RMS and Max RMS – indicate the level of friction produced by the defect. When these indicators rise, maintenance may consider corrective alignment during a planned shutdown. The second two – Peak and Crest Factor – identify the emergence of impacting. Together, all four indicators establish a life cycle trend for each coupling.

Once impacting appears, the Peak indicator increases in step with Overall RMS. Crest Factor (CF) is a comparative ratio between Overall RMS and Peak. As CF trends higher it warns that the window for simple maintenance has narrowed. Inspectors may choose to collect a DYNAMIC measurement when CF alarms are triggered. The DYNAMIC measurement provides a visual representation of friction and impacting severity. For both STATIC and DYNAMIC measurements it’s important to define the signal acquisition time.

Without the ability to define user time, pulling the measurement trigger (M) misses key events
Instead, set the signal acquisition time to suit the asset. This slow speed example used 20sec to capture all defect data. Why use an ultrasound instrument that overlooks the importance of user defined acquisition time?

User defined signal acquisition time, available exclusively on SDT instruments, is a luxury that lends ultrasound technicians the highest level of precision. Without the ability to set the sample time, inspectors must guess when to pull the measurement trigger, and question the validity of their data. Simon explained that all 58 pumps turn at speeds above 1800 RPM. Accordingly, he should set his SDT270’s signal acquisition time to between one and three seconds. One to three seconds at 1800 RPM samples the coupling for 30-90 revolutions.

Shaft couplings are guarded for safety. Any ultrasound inspector working around rotating equipment must be required to demonstrate an understanding of company safety policies. Safety considerations are engineered into SDT sensors. The Flexible Wand’s 10mm diameter sensor is designed to access the coupling with the safety guard in place (see figure 2). The 21” long sensor sports a comfortable, ergonomic grip that allows an inspector to collect danger-free data.

Simon seemed convinced but wanted to Hear More. Since this solution was already working well at a nearby paper mill, I introduced Simon to the plant manager, Sunil, and invited them both to lunch. Sunil and Simon connected on so many common reliability issues that afternoon. He confirmed the affordability of this solution based on coupling failures alone but went on to explain how their mill was rolling out ultrasound for acoustic lubrication, steam trap monitoring, electrical inspection, and air leak management. Simon and Sunil continued their conversation well into the afternoon. They agreed that ultrasound, with its 8 primary applications for reliability, represented a fast, safe, and affordable technology with the potential to revolutionize reliability culture. I sat back, happily watching two impassioned specialists strategize about reliability culture. I love my job!

by Allan Rienstra - SDT Ultrasound Solutions

Belts are a critical part of the design and function of belt-driven equipment. The majority of belts never reach their intended design life due to improper selection, storage and installation. Unfortunately, this results in compromised equipment operation, lost capacity and increased costs. Do not condemn your equipment to death through improper belt installation practices. Below are some guidelines to help your facility ensure belt-driven equipment reliability:

  • Follow all site specific safety procedures.
  • The same basic installation steps are required for both synchronous and V-belts.
  • Loosen motor mounting bolts or adjustment screws.
  • Move the motor until the belt to be replaced is slack and can be removed easily without prying or any other means of force. Prying off a belt or chain can damage a sheave or sprocket and increase the risk of injury. Never use a screw driver to remove belts, because this may damage belt cords, sheaves and sprockets.
  • After removal, inspect old belt for unusual wear that may indicate problems with design or maintenance issues.
  • Visually inspect and replace sheaves or sprockets that have excessive wear, nicks, rust, pits or are bent.  Grooves that appear “shiny” or polished could indicate heavy wear and should not be ignored.  Never sand or scrape groves.  Doing so will insert points of wear leading to premature belt or sheave failure.
  • Sheave gauges should be used to measure for excessive wear and determine if sheave replacement is necessary.  Total wear should not exceed 1/32 in or 0.8 mm.
  • Sheaves and sprockets should be checked for proper alignment.  A laser alignment tool is the recommended means.  Most major belt manufacturers recommend a nominal tolerance of 0.5 degrees.  However, better alignment tolerances should be achieved if possible.  The table below can be used to determine proper alignment.For maximum resolution, always mount the laser alignment tool on the smaller sheave and the targets on the larger sheave.  Ensure that the alignment tool being used can indicate misalignment in all three degrees of freedom (axial offset, horizontal angularity and twist angle).

Note 1: Check and correct any run out conditions prior to belt installation.  Tighten bolts in the proper sequence to prevent axial run out.
Replace all belts on multiple belt drives with new belts from the same manufacturer. Never replace a single belt or a portion of a multiple belt drive. Mixing old and new belts will create unevenly shared loading and lead to premature belt failure and/or sheave wear.

  • When installing the new belt, ensure that enough clearance is available to slip the new belt(s) over the sheave or sprocket. Never pry or use force to install the belt(s). Never use a screw driver to roll belts into position, because this may damage belt cords, sheaves and sprockets.
  • Adjust the motor base until the belts are tight. Motor should be checked for soft foot conditions using a feeler guage or other suitable means and corrections made if required. No reading of soft foot should be greater than 0.002 inches or 0.05 mm.
  • Use a tension gauge or sonic tension meter until the correct tension is measured according to specifications.
  • Rotate the belt drive by hand a few revolutions and re-check and adjust belt tension as necessary.
  • Re-check the sheave or sprocket alignment and re-adjust if necessary.
  • Secure motor mounting bolts to the correct torque specifications.
  • Replace equipment guards and follow any other site specific safety requirements to return the equipment to operation.
  • Upon equipment startup listen and visually inspect for any unusual vibration, noise or heat. Other corrective actions may be required (lubrication, tension adjustment, etc.) to ensure equipment is ready for proper operation.

Note 2: Contact the belt manufacturer and provide the drive information to receive the most accurate tension information for the required operating loads.  Belt tension charts may specify more tension than is required by the application.  The proper tension for the belt is the minimum tension required to prevent the belt from slipping at maximum load.  A good guideline in the absence of any other information is to use a spring scale, and press down on the belt in the approximate center of its span (on the tight side), to deflect the belt 1/64″ per inch of span length and observe the force required to do so. If you are not sure of the belt span length you may also use the center-to-center distance of the pulleys, which will be similar. Tension the belts until the force required for this deflection equals the belt manufacturer’s maximum recommended force values for the specific belts you are using.
Note 3: Belts should not squeal on startup when adjusted to proper tension.  This can be an indication that the drive is not proper for the application. 
Note 4: A run-in procedure may be required for V-belt drives or other installations to ensure optimal belt life and equipment reliability.  It is recommended to check and adjust belt tension under full load after 20 minutes, 24 hours and 48 hours of operation to properly seat the belts in the sheave grooves.  Consult belt manufacturer and engineering specifications to determine if a run-in period is required and length of time.

by Trent Phillips CRL CMRP - Novelis

Unfortunately, proper storage of belts is often overlooked.  I visit a lot of plants and almost always see equipment belts improperly stored to the detriment of optimal reliability.   Ensuring that the belts used in your equipment are properly stored will result in:

  • Fewer failures upon startup
  • Longer belt service life
  • Better equipment performance
  • Improved safety
  • Preservation of belt warranty coverage

Below are some belt storage tips to help ensure that your equipment functions as healthily and long as possible:

  1. Belts should be stored in a cool and dry environment with no direct sunlight.  Storage temperature should be below 85°F/29.5°C with a relative humidity no higher than 70%. Belt performance is reduced by 50% for every 15°F / 9.5°C above 115°F / 46°C.
  2. Do not store belts in areas exposed to:
    • Airborne chemicals
    • Heat sources
    • Direct sunlight
    • Airflow from heat sources
    • Transformers, refrigerators, motors or other sources that create ozone
  3. It is not recommended to store belts on the floor. If floor storage is required, the belts should be stored in a protective container and never exposed to foot traffic.
  4. Never twist, bend or crimp belts during storage and handling. Doing so will damage them.
  5. Do not hang belts from pegs as they will distort over time. Do not store belts under any state of tension.
  6. V-belts may be stored by hanging on a wall rack only if hung on a saddle with a diameter at least as large as the minimum diameter sheave recommended for the belt cross section. If coiling a V-belt for storage, consult the supplier for limits. It is always best to store belts flat on a shelf.
  7. Store belts in the original box. Stacking of belts on top of each other should be limited. Ensure that the belts on the bottom are not damaged by the weight of the belts on top.

by Trent Phillips CRL CMRP - Novelis

As Published by Maintenance Technology Magazine September 2017 issue

If greater reliability and uptime are of any concern to you, then precision maintenance is a key component in achieving it. This means having clear and simple, yet meaningful, procedures in place for the different tasks involved. Two such tasks are precision alignment and balancing. LUDECA’s  5-Step Procedures will help guide your facility and maintenance staff to achieving precision maintenance.

Get your own copy of these 5-Step Procedures:

Download 5-Step Shaft Alignment Procedure

Download 5-Step Balancing Procedure
Why is precision maintenance so important?  The reasons are clear:

  1. Safety
    The alignment and balancing procedures lay out the basic steps required to align and balance machines safely, reducing risk of injury and increasing likelihood of a quality outcome. Checklists simplify the workflow and serve to remind employees of the processes required to consistently and safely perform the precision maintenance task.
  2. Reliability
    Well-aligned and balanced machines run more reliably, with a greatly reduced probability of failure. This allows for better maintenance planning, greatly reduced repair and maintenance expenses, increased uptime and more profits.
  3. Efficiency
    A good alignment procedure ensure that machines are aligned to the proper tolerances for the running condition of the machines, taking into account such things as thermal growth and anticipated positional changes. This ensures that the greatest efficiency is achieved in your running machinery, prolonging their health and reducing power consumption. Studies have shown that well-aligned machines result in a 3% to 10% reduction in power consumption. Noise and heat generation is reduced, producing a safer work environment.
  4. Production Quality
    Good alignment and balancing result in better product quality since vibration is minimized, resulting in a more uniform and higher product quality. Unexpected breakdowns in production machinery may lead to costly waste from scrappage and high restart costs for the production line.
  5. Training & Procedural Consistency
    Once implemented, a procedure ensures all employees involved in the activity face clear and consistent expectations and processes, leading to a better understanding between all staff in the facility. Training expense can be reduced since often only refresher training is required to update understanding of the technology utilized as updates are rolled out. Records should be kept that document employee training.

The next step in precision maintenance and reliability is the Implementation of formal specifications that detail every step in a task from safety to activity process to documentation, to ensure that anyone involved can follow the procedures and guidelines without confusion, and reach the desired outcome for all machinery types in the plant. Such specifications typically take from two to three months to develop and a further two to three months to roll out and fully implement. LUDECA has written a number of these specifications for customers worldwide. Let us help you as well.

by Alan Luedeking CRL CMRP

The word “thrashing” can mean many things.  Words like flogging, whipping, beating, head banging and many more are always included in the definition.  Do you constantly feel these effects when trying to manage or participate in a reliability project?  As a result, does the project become overwhelming, or lack support, or have steps and goals that keep changing and a desired outcome that is never reached?

One of the most overlooked ingredients for a successful project is overcoming resistance to change by key individuals.  These individuals may resist because they do not agree with the project steps, the outcome, or simply believe they will not benefit.  You must look at things through their eyes!  You cannot wait until the project is near completion to let these individuals “thrash” it and for you to “see” it from their perspective.  Schedule time and welcome thrashing at the beginning of the project.  As a result, you will be able to better convey project value, identify crucial things that should be included in the project design and then focus on the target completion date (ship date) and returning value back to your company.

The unfortunate fact is that we cannot stop our reliability projects from being flogged, beat up and whipped.  Take advantage of this reality and understand key aspects from everyone’s viewpoint early in the project.  Otherwise, you run the risk of having your project delayed and yourself beaten to death at the end.

by Trent Phillips CRL CMRP - Novelis

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.

by Trent Phillips CRL CMRP - Novelis

Bearings are a critical part of the design and function of most mechanical equipment. The majority of bearings never reach their intended design life due to improper selection, storage and installation. Unfortunately, this results in compromised equipment operation, lost capacity and increased costs. Do not condemn your equipment to death through improper bearing storage practices. Below are a few storage tips to help your facility ensure bearing reliability:

  • Store bearings in a clean, dry and low humidity environment (moisture from environment, gloves, etc can result in corrosion and/or etched sections creating fatigue on the bearing.) Avoid storage near direct sunlight, air conditioners or vents.
  • Eliminate shock/vibration.
  • Do not store bearings on the floor (will introduce contamination, moisture and vibration/shock.)
  • Store bearings on a pallet or shelf in an area not subjected to high humidity or either sudden or severe environmental changes.
  • Store bearings flat and do not stack them (lubrication and anti-corrosion material may squeeze out.)
  • Do not remove bearings from carton/crate or protective wrappings until just prior to installation in the machine (be careful of bearings in wooden crates as these could attract moisture – perhaps best to remove them from those cases.)
  • Do not clean bearings with cotton or similar materials that can leave dust and/or contamination behind (use lint free materials.)
  • Do not handle bearings with dirty, oily or moist hands.
  • Do not nick or scratch bearing surfaces.
  • Always lay bearings on clean, dry paper when handling.
  • Keep bearings away from sources of magnetism.
  • Do not remove any lubrication from a new bearing.
  • Lubricant in stored bearings will deteriorate overtime. The bearing manufacturer should specify shelf-life limits. These dates should be noted on the packaging and monitored to help ensure bearings are fit for use when needed.
  • The following visual inspections of bearing integrity should be completed periodically and just prior to use:
    • Examine packaging for indications that the bearing could have been damaged during shipment or storage. The bearing should be discarded or returned to the supplier if signs of damage are found.
    • Examine the grease or oil for evidence of hardening, caking, discoloration, separation, etc. Re-lubrication for continued storage or replacement maybe required.

Miss Part 1 of 2? Here it is: Has your Equipment Been Condemned to Death? Proper Lubrication

by Trent Phillips CRL CMRP - Novelis

Reliability professionals face a lot of challenges in their profession and deserve a lot of credit for the positive impact they have within an organization. Your efforts provide a greater return on deployed assets by reducing risk, unscheduled downtime and cost while helping to improve capacity, quality, safety and other factors.
As much credit as reliability professionals deserve, one individual stands above them all for his influence within a company and never receives just recognition. Not everyone is aware of the impact he has on our daily lives. Who is this person, you ask? Well, let me introduce him to you. His name is “Not Me”. Do you know him?
“Not Me” is the most dedicated employee in your company. He always arrives early, leaves late, works weekends and holidays, and never complains. He sure does get around! He works in your company and lives in your home. Spouses, children, coworkers and politicians eagerly give him responsibility for the things that happen.
If you don’t believe me, just walk around and ask people who were responsible for something. “Who created that safety issue by leaving the fork truck running when not in use and with the forks raised at eye level?” “Who left a tripping hazard in that walk way so someone could get injured?” “Who traversed that walk way, noticed the tripping hazard and yet did nothing about it so an injury could be prevented?” “Who noticed a coworker not wearing proper PPE and said nothing to prevent them from being injured?” “Who broke that toy, cracked that window at home and put the dent in your new expensive car?” “Not Me” is ready to take full responsibility for each of those actions and many others.
Who is responsible for the improper design and installation on that critical machine that has resulted in a lot of unnecessary downtime and cost for your company? Who is responsible for ensuring that maintenance workers repairing that machine are properly trained, have proper tools, are given adequate time, and are provided parts and a well written job plan? “Not Me” is responsible for it all.
Stop giving “Not Me” credit that he does not deserve for the things that are done. Remember, that by giving him so much credit we prevent ourselves, others and our company from learning and improving. We should start taking responsibility for our actions and ask others to do the same. Ask “Not Me” to find a different job and role in your company and life.

by Trent Phillips CRL CMRP - Novelis

Rotating equipment produces a sound (ultrasonic) signature during operation. This signature can be measured and trended over time. As the machine components begin to fail a change in the ultrasonic signature will occur. The change in sound level can be used to alarm that could be related to lubrication or bearing damage. A key factor to using an ultrasound tool successfully to determine machine health is collecting the measurements at the same location every time. The first step is to identify a measurement test point for each bearing to be monitored. One method for data collection is to use a magnet that should be attached to a metal pad epoxied to the measurement location. The use of a magnet and mounting pad will allow for repeatable and consistent data for accurate trending and alarming. If access to measurement locations is restricted, then a sensor can be permanently installed so that measurements can be taken remotely. Ultrasound is an extremely valuable tool which can be used to detect bearing problems with slow speed applications.
Ultrasound is an important part of any reliability based condition monitoring program and can provide early warning of mechanical failure. This early warning can lead to reduced downtime and increased plant reliability.

by Dave Leach CRL CMRT CMRP

The Easy-Laser E970 laser roll alignment system is a well-established product proven to be effective in many parallel roll alignment applications such as in printing presses, steel, aluminum and paper mills. We recently completed a roll alignment at a stainless steel roll slitting facility.
Setting the system up was fast and easy, from establishing a reference roll to creating new benchmarks.  Rolls were measured for both level and skew.
Corrections were done on-site with live monitoring.  The system was able to accurately measure traditionally challenging rolls with unusual surfaces, including rewinder rolls and non-magnetic rolls, such as the guide roll with a rubber surface.
The asset owner requested that the slitters and guides be checked and asked whether that was possible.  The versatility of this system allowed for such an operation.  By profiling the laser to a reference roll, the slitters were checked for alignment and the required adjustments were made.
The job was scoped for two days, yet the entire job with slitter alignment was completed in less than one day.  This provided the time to complete a roll alignment on an entirely separate finishing operation.
The proof of good parallel roll alignment lies in the results, after running the machine: the laser aligned rolls produce consistent material thicknesses to tolerance, thereby saving tens of thousands of dollars of potentially wasted money in scrap product, not to mention if a roll had to be scrapped for this process.  The E970 is an accurate performer whose versatility is straightforward by all measures™

by Daus Studenberg CRL

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