Friday, July 18, 2014

Precision Maintenance: Belts, Chains, and Sprockets

Today's post by Brandon Weil will add the element of precision to your program.

Belts, chains, and sprockets, chances are you have at least one if not all of these in your facility, and chances are you’re relying heavily on experience and judgment instead of quantitative inspection criteria. All too often the importance of proper inspection techniques and defined replacement criteria for these critical parts are overlooked. Don’t believe me? Just pull up some of your PM inspection procedure, discuss the topic at a tool box meeting, or observe someone performing the inspection, you might be surprised at the range of answers and opinions. If there isn’t a specific measurement or min/max criteria then you’re leaving the inspection up to chance. Another thing to consider is if these parts aren’t being installed properly in the first place you will undoubtedly see premature failures and reduced operational life, inspection criteria applies to installation practice requirements as well.
The good news is that you can start improving the quality of these inspections; all you need are a few basic low-cost tools Click Here and you will find a document with inspection criteria for these three parts to get you started. Improving your PM inspection procedure, putting the right tools in the right hands, and setting quantitative standards for your inspection is a very low-cost high-return activity that can start paying dividends today.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Preventive Maintenance and Exercise: Three ways they are the same and one way they are different

Preventive Maintenance can be a lot like exercise but we will talk about just three of the ways they are the same and one major difference in today's post.
The three ways they are the same include the following:
Both of them can prolong the life of the asset. That asset may be a body or a machine but by doing the right activity at the right time it gives you the improved reliability that you need long term.
Both of them when done incorrectly will cause premature failure. If you go to the gym and start by lifting the wrong amount of weight or lift it in the wrong way you could pull a muscle, tear a ligament, or even worse. If you lubricate your equipment with the wrong grease or while the asset is idle you can also induce failures and unreliability. You need to understand what the machine needs in ever category from volumes, to clearances, to loads, to tolerances, to conditions. The best way to understand this is by completing a failure modes effects analysis to identify risk and then ensuring the right thing is done at the right time.
Both have to be targeted and planned. If you run off to the gym and only lift with you arms and never focus on your core and legs then you are destine to under perform if not suffer a complete breakdown. Everyone has seen the guy at the gym that does this. He stands like an ostrich with skinny legs and big arms. He looks like he could topple at any moment. The underling problem is  weakness in his core and legs which makes him prone to failure in real world situations. He needs a well balanced plan that includes all the major muscle groups. Without this plan he could possibly focus on the things he likes (the vanity muscles) and not the things he needs (the core). The same goes for the equipment in the facility. If you don't have a well defined equipment maintenance plan and the discipline to follow it you end up with equipment that is not serviced properly and unreliability makes its way into your area. Typically this will mean that only the easy task are done or only the task that are most obvious while the hard or cumbersome PM activities are either not identified or not completed at the right time.
So how are they Different?
They are different because you can skip one exercise in your routine but the one skipped PM step can send you to the bottom of the ocean. Exercises improve and preserve condition but PMs inspect and preserve condition. For example if you skip one visual inspection of a sealed connection and you miss the slight leak it could become a catastrophic blow out by the next scheduled date. So even though some days you might skip one step in your workout don't do the same to your PMs.

In the end you need to take care of your body like a well oiled machine and take care of your machines like a well trained athlete. Train hard but with a plan and follow the procedure to prevent failures. Use FMEAs to identify risk of failure and design your equipment maintenance plan to mitigate these risk. Build procedure that show what to do, how to do it, and when.  This will reduce the risk to you and the facility. Oh...and don't skip leg day in the PM world.  

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Adult Education on board an aircraft carrier: The Institute at Patriots Point has launched.

We are very excited to announce the following news.

The Institute at Patriots Point TAKES OFF from Charleston's Silicon Harbor with Adult Education on board an aircraft carrier

Mt Pleasant, South Carolina May 27, 2014:  
Patriots Point Development Authority and Eruditio, LLC a local provider of sophisticated leadership and business education and training have just established “The Institute at Patriots Point” onboard the USS Yorktown in Charleston harbor.  This newly formed relationship blends one of the most progressive adult education and training providers with one of the country’s most unique training venues. 
Operating exclusively onboard The USS Yorktown, The Institute at Patriots Point incorporates all the Patriot’s Point’s existing adult training facilities including The Leadership Institute and its high end training and conference capabilities and the Flight Academy with its five F-35 flight simulators. 
Eruditio, LLC (known internationally for its training in Leadership, Reliability Engineering, and Asset Management) will use The Institute at Patriots Point as its home base delivering Applied Learning Programs that are application focused educational curriculums that routinely generate a ten times return on investment for companies worldwide.  Managing Director of The Institute at Patriots Point, Shon Isenhour said “Using the Yorktown and its incredible history and facilities as part of the learning process creates an educational environment unlike any other in the world.  It changes the perspective of the student and opens their mind to accept new knowledge!”  Many of the programs offered by The Institute at Patriots Point (including their Leadership and Team Building offerings) incorporate not only the training rooms on the Yorktown, but the new flight simulators and other special Yorktown and Patriots Point attractions as well. The Institute at Patriot’s Point and its facilities are all open to the public and the local business community for any and all types of training and development with advance reservations.  Contact Shon Isenhour at 843-810-4446 for more information on education in the steps of heroes.
            About Eruditio, LLC
Eruditio, LLC is made up of a team of educators with over 40 years of experience in adult education and training in corporate America as well as globally. Our team is focused on helping you solve your organization’s issues through project-based learning with direct application. Please contact us at, on twitter @EruditioLLC or the web

Patriots Point, on the Charleston Harbor in Mount Pleasant, SC, is home of Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum and a fleet of National Historic Landmark ships, and the only Vietnam Support Base Camp in the U.S. Patriots Point is also headquarters to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society and the agency’s official Medal of Honor Museum. Visit for more details, or find us at @patriots_point on Twitter and Instagram, and Facebook at

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Precision Maintenance: The Torque Wrench

The automotive industry has had a bout with torque related issues recently. This has included over and under torqued items that have lead to failures and even deaths. We see torque related issues constantly in manufacturing facility root cause analysis. Bearing with reduced clearances and life due to over tightening of the housings and loose components due to improper bolt type and complete disregard for torque specifications are just a couple of recent examples.  Part of the solution is proper use of a torque wrench. A torque wrench is a precision instrument designed to apply a specific amount of force to a fastener. Whether tightening head bolts on a small block V-8 engine, lugs for tire and wheel installation or inspecting fastener tolerances on high-performance equipment, it is extremely important that proper care is used.
Guidelines are typically provided noting acceptable torque ranges, the order in which specific fasteners are tightened and the number of times a fastener must be tightened and loosened to ensure uniform torque application. You must also be mindful of the presence of thread lubricants and the age of the bolt or fastener being used as these affect the torque required. Failure to properly torque fasteners can lead to equipment damage, personal injury or worse.To help you prevent torque problems in your facility I have collected a few tips for your use. There is also a video here for you visual learners.

It is important to follow acceptable safety, maintenance, and use practices, such as:
1. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions regarding torque direction, proper force, torque
pattern/sequence, use or non-use of lubrication on fasteners and torque “tighten/release” cycles.
2. Do not exceed the recommended working range of the torque wrench. Reliable measurements are
based on a percentage of the working range. In general, most mechanical wrenches have a useable
range from 20% to 100% of full scale. Most electronic wrenches have a useable range from 10% to
100% of full scale.
3. Do not use handle extensions or torque multipliers/cheater bars as we called them unless specifically allowed by the torque wrench
4. If you have a torque wrench calibration/ verification stand test the wrench prior to each use.
5. Always inspect the tool and check for worn or cracked sockets. Properly lubricate and replace
worn parts.
6. Avoid dropping or sliding a torque wrench. Dropping a torque wrench on a hard surface can cause
the instrument to lose reliable calibration. If you suspect that a wrench has been dropped, have the
tool inspected by the manufacturer or reputable calibration service.
7. Always store a torque wrench in a protective case and/or location when not in use.
8. Avoid exposure to temperature extremes, high humidity, fluid immersion and corrosive environments. That means do not put them in the parts washer...
9. If using a click-type torque wrench, always store it at the lowest level on the scale.
10. Avoid marking, etching or placing labels on torque wrenches.
11. Use a torque wrench to apply a specific torque value during the final assembly process. Do not use a torque wrench as the primary means of tightening or loosening fasteners.
12. As most torque wrenches are length specific, always grasp the torque wrench in the center of the
handle. If two hands need to be used, place one hand on top of the other.
13. Apply torque in a slow, methodical manner and avoid sudden, “jerking” movements.
14. When the wrench signals (by clicking, beeping or lights) that a specific torque has been reached,
stop pulling immediately.
15. After 5000 cycles or up to one year of use, whichever comes first, have your torque wrench
inspected and re-calibrated by the manufacturer or reputable calibration service.

Precision maintenance is key to eliminating your infant mortality and reoccurring failures. A systematic torque application program can get you on your way.