This practical series examines proven strategies and tactics from an equipment standpoint, one system at a time.
Many of my articles (including those in the recent “Certification Matters” series that ran in LMT throughout 2011) have concentrated on the selection of the correct lubricant and maintaining oil cleanliness as major factors in enhancing equipment reliability. This year, we introduce a series on improving your lubrication approach with regard to the specific equipment systems in your plant. The focus will be on equipment categories—not on the lubricants that you use.
The schedule for various equipment types we’ll discuss in 2012 is as follows:
Each of these equipment systems will be discussed in detail with regard to their respective lubrication concerns. Particular emphasis will be put on correct application of lubricants and troubleshooting techniques to identify problems with the lubricated system—earlier than later.
The importance of application
Regardless of your industry sector, correct application of lubricants is vital to the reliability of your equipment systems: Too much or too little lubricant in a system can cause serious problems. The following are application categories:
The importance of troubleshooting
Do you listen when your equipment is “speaking” to you, and do you understand the language being spoken? These articles will update you on the knowledge and tools you need to effectively communicate with your equipment.
Scores of early problems can usually be detected by observing your equipment. Condition-monitoring techniques, such as vibration analysis, ultrasonics, infrared and oil analysis (and how they relate to one another as diagnostic tools) will also be covered.
Again, this series will be highlighting useful information and solutions to problems from the real world—not just from academia. While many of these methods may seem simple, they’ve proven to be very effective in plant environments. For example, people observing equipment need access to infrared thermographic technology (and must be trained on its benefits and how to use it).
Furthermore, these articles are being written with the following in mind: The key to enhancing system reliability is the people who inspect the equipment, including your lubrication technicians, oilers and operators—they make up the first line of defense in a site’s ability to be predictive and proactive about equipment problems.
Given that fact, consider these additional questions:
Articles in this series will propose a checklist to follow and the appropriate tools and techniques to use when inspecting equipment.
Drawn from a real-world knowledge base
Much of the knowledge to be presented in these articles will come courtesy of real-world, end-user experts. One such expert is Mark Kavanaugh, who has more than 42 years of experience in large manufacturing operations and is currently responsible for coordinating the lubrication of thousands of pieces of rotating equipment. He’s also responsible for collecting and performing all of the on-site oil analysis for his plant. More important, he has extensive equipment knowledge—as both a millwright and a machinist. Mark holds a number of lubrication certifications, including: Certified Lubrication Specialist from The Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers (STLE), and Machinery Lubrication Technician Level I and Machinery Lubrication Analyst Level II from the International Council of Machinery Lubrication (ICML). His type of equipment and lubrication knowledge/expertise and practical plant-floor perspective should help make this series especially valuable.
The March/April installment will focus on oil- and grease-lubricated electric motors and application techniques. LMT
Highlighting straightforward advice for enhancing your equipment’s reliability
As noted, this series will focus on equipment issues, correct lubricant application and troubleshooting (i.e., diagnostic tools and techniques) for early problem identification. Topics will include (but won’t be limited to):