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.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Press Release: Spin-off of iBL from Allied Reliability Group to Eruditio, LLC

We are excited to announce this great news: Spin-off of iBL from Allied Reliability Group to Eruditio, LLC

Charleston, South Carolina – March 27, 2014 – Allied Reliability Group (ARG) is pleased to introduce Eruditio, LLC as their newest partner company and provider of the inspired Blended Learning (iBL) offering.  Allied Reliability Group’s iBL offering has redefined active learning in the maintenance and reliability space and proven that project based experiences can have greater than a 10 to 1 return on investment.  Unfortunately, ARG’s ability to focus resources on this dynamic product has been limited.

“The iBL applied learning process and the real world examples from over one hundred students will continue to build an unrivaled educational experience fostered by a fully dedicated focus from the Eruditio Team.”  Explains Shon Isenhour, Partner at Eruditio, of the iBL development process.

As a result, ARG has resolved to spin off iBL as an independent business – outside of the Allied Reliability Group structure.   ARG leadership have worked hand-in-hand with Shon Isenhour and Darrin Wikoff (formerly of ARG) to license the iBL brand and continue to deliver iBL as part of their own company, Eruditio, LLC.

“We are extremely excited about the spin off.” Comments John Schultz, Partner at Allied Reliability Group.  “ARG was founded on an entrepreneurial spirit- now we can continue that history by allowing those most passionate and invested in iBL to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.”

The framework of this transition creates distinct advantages for ARG, Eruditio and our clients. “The partnership with Eruditio allows us to continue to offer iBL to our customers with continuing confidence that they will deliver ever increasing value which is aligned to our Mission Statement.”  Adds Schultz.

“Eruditio is looking forwad to continuing the focus on application based learning and generating  documented return on investment for our clients. Having the depth of ARG to support our clients when needed delivers a one stop solution.” said Darrin Wikoff of the partnership’s future.

About Eruditio, LLC
Eruditio, LLC is made up of a team 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 company’s issues through project-based learning.

About Allied Reliability Group
Allied Reliability Group offers best-in-industry maintenance, reliability, and operational consulting and services, training, staffing, and integrated software solutions servicing the industrial and manufacturing sector.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Education Without Application Is Just Entertainment: 3 things that can help create a return on education.

Having spent the better part of the last 15 years educating people from all over the world in topics like reliability, problem solving, software, and leadership, there is one thing that I have noticed. Many companies are buying a lot of expensive entertainment. Why? Ask yourself this simple question: Of the last three training sessions you attended, did you actually use what you learned to make a difference in the way your business performs? If you did not use what you learned then I can not see how that class was anything more than two... three.... or five days of entertainment.
How many Planner Schedulers have attended a class only to go back and function as a parts chaser and relief supervisor?
How many root cause analysis classes have been sold where the attendee never once performs and documents a root cause solution?
So here are three ways to help your organization create a return on your educational expenses.
Retention: To increase the amount of new knowledge your learner bring back to your facility make sure that the instructor is familiar with your process. Work to ensure the material is tailored for your processes, business situation and most importantly your audience. That off the shelf class may be part of your entertainment problem. If a person is attending software training don't send them through 5 days of training when they only need a day. This lead to a tuned out non-learner who will more than likely miss the parts that they need to know just out of sheer boredom. Take the time to map out the skills you need the person to have and the learning objectives associated with those skills. Then the training can be customized to only provide the points and topics they need to be successful. This will limit boredom and increase retention.
Application: Once a student has seen a new way to do something in the training environment they must apply the skills nearly immediately. This helps with the previous topic of retention but it also creates success and real world examples that can be used to continue the change process. We use project based learning where each student has a charter with goals and metrics that they drive by applying what they have learned and generating success and a return on our training effort. They also have a coach that works with them virtually to help with that tough transition from learner to practitioner.
Culture manipulation: As the student create success this will breed a desire to have more success. This is one way to help with cultural change.  The second is to ensure the leadership both understand the goal of the training and what process and behaviors that the training should change. This allows them to ask the right questions of the student to propel the implementation forward. "What is important to my boss is important to me." We again use the learning project charter to facilitate the discussion with the manager and the student and their project coach who is helping them along the way. With a pull from leadership and the success of quick application you can begin to manipulate the culture into the the target state.

Here are my three ideas. What other things are you doing to make your education something more than entertainment. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

How Maintenance is Like a NASCAR Spotter at Daytona

So I was up late last night watching the Daytona 500 NASCAR race and I began to notice a few things as I watched the many issues that occurred during the 500 mile event. Here are three comparisons of how the Spotter and the Driver relate to the maintenance and operations partnership. 
Spotters look out into the future. They see oil, water, debris, weather changes, and crashes on the track well in advance. This extra time allows the spotter and the driver to plan out a path of lowest risk or maximum gain. Maintenance does this with CMMS or EAM data, life cycle costing calculations, and various simulations like reliability modeling. When maintenance uses good data to build good models and communicates effectively you can make strategic changes to reach the goal whether that is winning a race or winning a championship.
Spotters give you visibility into your blind spots
This blind spot could be beside your car where your Hans safety devices will not allow you to see or on the opposite side of the track where another car is making a strategic move. Spotters see issues and they provide you with instruction to help you get around them or benefit from them. Maintenance does the same thing using the predictive tools. They identify problems early on the P-F curve and this allows for the team to plan out the repair or replacement instead of being surprised in the heat of battle. In the picture you would always prefer to be the 5 car and not the 17. When maintenance uses the correct tools with the correct training, communicates effectively AND operations listens and provides on track feed back then together they can many times drive around the crash and not always end up in it.
Spotters only work when you have a relationship with them built on total trust.
The spotter is going to come on the radio and scream "brake and go left now." There is no time to discuss why or why not this is a good idea. You can't ask him to prove to you that that is the best course of action. You have to trust him and move immediately. That takes a strong relationship. The same holds true between Operations and Maintenance. Maintenance will come to Operations and say that a failure is imminent and action is required. If the trust is not there then it will be hard to react in a timely and effective manner.  You have to build that trust by continuously working together delivering good advise and learning from the mistakes. Making calls together and providing feedback to both sides regularly.
If Maintenance works as the Operations Spotter and they become a cohesive team then you will see the benefits in higher throughput, more on-time deliveries, and most of all higher profitability.Now lets go win the race.