One of the more popular requests I get at Uptime Consultant is from clients wanting to explore Predictive techniques for their processes and equipment. Many companies still live in a world of reactive pain where one failed machine follows another with technical staff fire fighting an ongoing battle.
It doesn't have to be this way, you do have a choice.
Starting to break the cycle requires a step change and shift in thinking from reactive to proactive and predictive. It's a journey that from my experience is not an overnight fix, it will take months and years to get in control and eradicate those unplanned downtime events. It will be worth it though.
I had a call the other week from EMS Cognito who had a client who had come a long way with the EMS Lean RCM program, they had asked to find out more about the dark arts of Condition Monitoring. They needed a pragmatic practitioner who could not only talk about the technology but demonstrate some entry level tools aimed at front line staff.
The scope was fine for me although the time frame was a little tight, trying to cover five technologies from zero to hands on tools in the plant room, but we did it and highlighted some issues along the way; those low hanging fruit they always talk about!
The top five I cover are: Vibration, Thermography, Ultrasound, Acoustic Emission and Tribology. There are many others but these will cover most industrial plant. My experience is mainly the Food Industry which has a large variety of equipment and conditions that are applicable in other industries.
If they decide they want to invest in training and tooling I can advise on that. When they take delivery of their instruments, I can deliver a one or two day course to get them started quickly with their preventative inspections. If they decide to contract it out I can step in and assist with that, monitoring and reporting back on their critical assets and recommend improvements if required. I can also help them out with RCAs and TPM training.
This industry was new for me, it was a major re-cycling operation in the south east that re-cycles thousands of tonnes a week as part of the Viridor group. It certainly was eye opening when I visited the plant and witnessed the shear scale of our rubbish!
I will always be careful with what I re-cycle from now on and certainly will not throw umbrellas in; this I found out can cause major blockages if they spring open in the conveyor systems.
The good news is that EMS and the Viridor engineers were impressed that they learnt so much in just four hours and they could now consider starting a Predictive program. The Viridor engineers were also happy that I confirmed some suspect drives, discounted others and add to a RCA investigation on another piece of equipment.
The SEW drive shown below was captured with a FLIR Imager and then edited in FLIR Tools App whilst at the machine; I added the Line to highlight the centreline readings and the area box on the gearbox for comparison. The image was then added to a pdf report and sent to the client with a description of findings.
This unit had a blinded fan cowling that if cleaned out would increase the cooling and extend the life of the SEW drive, simple but effective fix.
If you would like to talk about Predictive techniques, RCAs or other related reliability methods then please get in touch; talking costs nothing.