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

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

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

As Published by Uptime Magazine December/ January 2017 issue
Do No Harm: The Hippocratic Oath Applied to Reliability

The Greek physician Hippocrates (c.460 BC – c.370 BC) is credited with an oath that was meant to provide certain ethical standards a physician was to uphold. While maintenance is not of the magnitude as being a doctor, organizations would do well to apply portions of the Hippocratic oath to their maintenance practices. Two such examples are: “…to teach them this Art, if they shall wish to learn it, without fee or stipulation; and that by precept, lecture, and every other mode of instruction, I will impart a knowledge of the Art to my own sons, and those of my teachers, and to disciples…” and “I will follow that system of regimen which, according to my ability and judgment … and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous.” This article focuses on the latter, “and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous,” or in 21st century vernacular: Do no harm.”

Maintenance reliability professionals have a responsibility to their superiors to deliver results that improve the bottom line via increased uptime and productivity. But they also have a responsibility to those technicians who are expected to assist them in the process of increasing asset uptime and improving reliability. Regardless of your certification or the acronym attached to your signature block, without the technician’s solid understanding and performance of the basics, you will not achieve either goal. Two key ingredients of any reliability effort are precision installation and maintenance practices. Without them, you will find yourself replacing the same motors, pumps, etc., repeatedly.
From the reliability-centered maintenance (RCM) teachings of Stanley Nowlan and Howard F. Heap, both engineers at United Airlines, and John Moubray, the originator of RCM2, it is learned that there are six distinct failure curves. Furthermore, as many as 68 percent of failures can be attributed to infant mortality or failure induced at start-up/installation.

Figure 1: Failure patterns
Figure 1: Failure patterns


the full article to learn how precision installation and maintenance practices are two key ingredients of any reliability effort.

by Ana Maria Delgado, CRL

The practice of reliability has many tools, processes and methodologies that can and should be implemented within a facility. Try as we may, it is usually not possible to implement and sustain all of them. So the challenge quickly becomes deciding which aspects of reliability to implement and in what order!
Implementation and enforcement of standardized work procedures is a very critical aspect of reliability and should be at the very top of your list of required reliability tools! Standard procedures focusing on fundamentals such as proper torquing, alignment, balancing, bearing installation, and equipment installation, should be in place. In addition, standard procedures for work request, work approval, planning, scheduling and work execution should be implemented as well.
Make sure that standard procedures are in place to execute the reliability methodologies at your facility. Otherwise, your site may always find it difficult to achieve sustainable and best practice maintenance and reliability.
Why? Unfortunately, people are usually the biggest obstacle we face in our jobs. People do not like to change, forget or misunderstand what needs to be done. Standard procedures will help ensure that reliability processes are routinely followed and things do not fall backwards to the unreliable way they have always been done. Additionally, it will provide the ability to track how well your facility or company is doing at implementing, executing and maintaining the reliability practices desired.

by Trent Phillips CRL CMRP - Novelis

Hopefully, your company has global, regional and facility resources dedicated full time to reliability initiatives. These resources are necessary to help ensure improvements in maintenance, equipment run-time, capacity, profits and much more.
The question you and your organization should be asking is “who is the reliability leader in your organization”? The answer may seem simple, but could be quite surprising when given serious consideration. The answer should be “everyone”. The truth is that most implementation efforts in a facility or company fail. Unfortunately, this is very true for maintenance and reliability improvements. The reason is that not “everyone” is committed to the effort. Sustainable reliability requires understanding and dedication from many different groups within an organization. Supply Side, MRO Stores, Engineering, Procurement, Maintenance, Management, Operations, and Training must all understand the strategic value in reliability efforts and cooperate with each other. Otherwise, failure and unsustainability may be guaranteed.
If the answer to the question is that the “Reliability Engineer” and/or “Global Reliability Leader” are the individuals responsible, then your journey may not be complete. Your organization should have training in place to demonstrate the value and create understanding in all of these groups about reliability. Procedures should be in place to ensure that proper reliability best practices are considered from design, procurement, installation, operation and maintenance. Failure to do so will result in increased life cycle costs of the equipment , reduced capacity and reduced profits.
Remember that your maintenance department cannot overcome poor equipment design, installation or operation.

by Trent Phillips CRL CMRP - Novelis

As Published by Uptime Magazine August / September 2016 issue
The foundation of any great reliability effort is the reliability culture within the organization that sustains it. Everybody within the organization must be aligned with its ultimate goals and mission for the reliability effort to succeed. Therefore, the mission and values must be clearly communicated, with reasonable expectations for compliance.
A holistic approach to reliability-centered maintenance (Rcm) relies on good asset condition management (ACM). This, in turn, relies on accurate condition-based maintenance (CBM), which can only happen with good data. Planning and scheduling (Ps) personnel cannot do their job properly if the maintenance technicians do not feed good data into the system in a timely manner. So, one of the first steps must be to invest in a good enterprise asset management system (EAM) or computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), train all plant personnel in how to use it effectively and impress upon them how they as individuals are important to the overall reliability effort. Remember, the reliability effort relies as much on good data as the culture of cooperation that stands behind it and supports it. Everybody in the organization must understand the importance of their individual role in the wider mission of the organization and, in particular, their interaction with this data system.
Plant management must understand and respect the fact that the boots on the ground (i.e., their technicians and operators) are their best source of information. They are the ones that wrestle with the day-to-day problems and fix them. They know how the machines should sound, smell and feel. Respect their expertise and their opinions. Train your technicians. Invest in quality competency-based learning (Cbl). The knowledge and experience gained will pay off multifold in advancing the entire reliability effort. Give them the tools to do their job right. This means buying a good laser shaft alignment system, vibration analysis tools, and ultrasound leak and corona detection systems. This CBM approach will allow your organization to optimize the preventive maintenance effort (Uptime Element Pmo) required to deal with the problem.
Read the full article to learn how you too can take your reliability efforts to the next level within your organization.

by Alan Luedeking CRL CMRP

The maintenance and reliability world is filled with key performance indicators (KPIs).  Properly tracking KPIs can be challenging due to difficulties in obtaining accurate data and the time required to obtain them.  The key is to pick KPIs that will help you identify and drive the behavior that you need to change right now. As advances are made, additional KPIs can be added which help identify and drive additional behavior changes and improvements.
It is very important to understand that KPIs can lead to false positive indications and never actually result in value added or sustainable improvements within your organization. You must understand and address the true root causes behind a deficient KPI and eliminate them.
For example, mean time to repair (MTTR) can be a very good indicator leading to great improvements.  Unfortunately, this indicator can also be harmful if misunderstood or given the wrong improvement focus. What if individuals decide to take deleterious short cuts to quickly get a machine operational again?  MTTR may seem to improve on that machine, but did overall asset health and reliability really improve, in a meaningful way that provides real value back to your organization? These short cuts may actually lead to additional machinery failures and greater downtime.
MTTR could be an indication that maintenance staff requires training on how to properly repair the machine. Too short and perhaps unwanted short cuts are being taken. Too long may indicate that excessive time is being wasted hunting for tools or spare parts due to a lack of proper planning and/or kitting. Is a detailed and efficient work plan available, to guide your maintenance staff in correctly repairing the equipment?  MTTR, if properly used and tracked can point you toward areas of substantial improvement.
Never forget to determine and address the root causes of equipment failure. Doing so may eliminate the need to work on the equipment in the first place. Prevention is always the best way to drive sustainable improvements in uptime and capacity.
Beware of driving improvements in KPIs for the wrong reasons. This can lead to a false sense of progress that never brings about real changes and advancements in reliability to your organization. Ensure that you understand the real variables driving the KPIs you have selected. Don’t let your chosen KPIs give you a false sense of improvement!

by Trent Phillips CRL CMRP - Novelis

Companies spend lots of money, time and effort on systems to document what needs to be done, should have been done, failures that occurred, etc.  Unfortunately, these systems usually show and document the point of failure (F) and not the point of conception (P) for a problem.  These are examples of downtime systems and are important for success.
Does your company invest in uptime systems and processes?  What is an uptime system or process? These systems help your facility identify the point of conception (P) of a problem. This is very important, because it means your facility has more time to mitigate a problem before it results in unwanted consequences (injury, downtime, increased costs, poor quality, less maintprofit, etc.)
Condition monitoring (CM), reliability efforts, proper planning and scheduling, kitting, effective PM’s, reliability based engineering, etc., will reduce the amount of information that must be entered and tracked through the downtime systems that have been heavily invested in.  The results can be extremely rewarding.
What uptime systems and processes does your facility utilize?

by Trent Phillips CRL CMRP - Novelis

May 2016 · Plant Services Magazine
Like a lot of reliability engineers, Joe Anderson, former reliability manager at the J.M. Smucker Co., appreciated – in theory – that precise pulley alignment is critical to preventing vibration problems and ensuring successful operations.

My understanding was, ‘Yeah, we need to do it,’ ” Anderson says. “But you always have these excuses.”

When the Smucker’s plant at which Anderson worked launched a dedicated vibration monitoring and control program a year-and-a-half ago, though, Anderson quickly became a convert to making precision alignment a priority.
The plant purchased a vibration analyzer (VIBXPERT) and laser alignment tool (the SheaveMaster Greenline) from Ludeca to help aid in identifying machine defects that appeared to be linked to vibration caused by misalignment. Laser alignment allowed for correcting vertical angularity, horizontal angularity, and axial offset – the three types of misalignment – simultaneously. Whoever was using the laser alignment tool, then, could be sure that adjustments made to correct one alignment problem didn’t create an issue on another plane.
Read entire article to learn how J.M. Smucker Co. made precision alignment a priority: Get your alignment in line: Don’t jiggle while you work

by Ana Maria Delgado, CRL

Everyone within your organization should be passionate about improving and maintaining equipment reliability. However,  some groups have more or less to gain from that.
Unfortunately, skipping or moving planned work outages, rushing equipment repairs, not allowing proper maintenance activities to occur, and other disruptions are commonplace within many organizations. These are often influenced or controlled by the Operations Department.
The Operations Department within your organization should be extremely passionate and focused on ensuring that proper maintenance and reliability efforts are implemented and maintained. Why? This group has a tremendous amount to lose or gain from asset performance. This group should be an active part of all reliability efforts. The Operations Department should insist on activities like:

  • Preventive Maintenance (PM) Optimization
  • PM Compliance
  • Precision Maintenance
  • Root Cause Failure Analysis (RCA)
  • Proper Planning and Scheduling (PS)
  • Critical Spares Analysis
  • Operator Care Activities

You must be a reliability evangelist and constantly provide education and awareness to help the Operations Department and others understand what they have to gain by promoting and insisting on reliability practices. This will help you lead your organization to improved and sustainable equipment reliability.

by Trent Phillips CRL CMRP - Novelis