Machinery Lubrication

Machinery Lubrication Jan Feb 2016

Machinery Lubrication magazine published by Noria Corporation

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20 January - February 2016 | doing things, your natural inclination is one of curiosity. Industrial maintenance is the same way. You must identify (understand) every- thing in your department or plant or have someone on staff who does. When a problem occurs, you need to identify where and when it happened as well as where and when it did not. More importantly, you need to identify why you do things a certain way while always on the hunt for a better approach. In school, you are taught the canned approach to solving problems. While this is important, it only covers problems that are recognized. What about the real-world situations? Industrial maintenance often presents situations that are so confusing that problems are camouflaged. Sorting out the mess means finding the basic problem that spawns all the other effects. This is not easy, as you may solve the wrong problem or try to alleviate symp- toms caused by the basic problem. For example, you may put coolers on hot hydraulic systems instead of locating the valve or cylinder that is allowing fluid to flow back to the tank. Identification problems become relevant not only when trying to understand a situa- tion but also when confusion reigns and the problem is hidden by a mass of effects. The former should be attacked by curiosity and the latter by analysis. These types of prob- lems can also appear when a manager finally asks the question, "What are we spending most of our time on and how could we minimize it?" Cause and Effect To properly solve cause-and-effect problems, you must first learn how to distinguish between cause and effect. Effects are things you perceive with your senses or detect through condition moni- toring techniques. They accompany or precede a machine failure. Typical effects are excessive heat, vibra- tion and noise. A failed bearing or gear is also an effect. Simply changing the compo- nent is concentrating on the effect. While this often must be done to restore opera- tion, forgetting about the reason for the failure is neglecting the cause. For instance, excessive heat in a hydraulic system is an effect and a predictor of problems. Concentrating on cooling the system rather than discovering the cause of the excessive heat is an invitation to problems but an all too common solution. Attack the symptom, but don't forget to unearth the root cause. Remember, symptom is a synonym for effect. Means Means problems are generally character- ized by questions beginning with "how" such as "How can I accomplish that?" or "How can I improve that?" They leave the choice of means open-ended. With a means problem, you are trying to decide how to achieve a goal. The problem of selecting a goal or end has already been solved, so you are now focusing on how to achieve it. Typical questions that characterize means problems include how to reduce excessive lubricant failures, how to decrease lubricant costs while maintaining good quality, how to lessen machine downtime, how to improve safety and how to change the department mindset to prevention mode. Solving a means problem often involves finding an expert, but you should never assume the current method is the final answer. Improvement is always possible. Ends Problems of ends or goals can be char- acterized by the question, "What goal should I pursue?" As mentioned previously, your goals may be very general at first but must be translated into detailed subgoals to truly matter. Common questions to ask might include which metrics should be used to gauge progress, which 20 percent of the problems are generating 80 percent of the efforts, what are the critical parts of systems that must be constantly monitored, and how are problems categorized (critical, important and projects for correction). Levels of Problem-solving In addition to recognizing the four problem types, you must also be aware that problem-solving can be divided into four levels of sophistication: Kepner-Tregoe Method of Problem-solving 1. Compare "what should be" with "what actually is." 2. The deviation is the problem. 3. Identify the problem in terms of what, where (the "is"), when and extent. 4. Identify what lies outside the problem in terms of what, where (the "is not"), when and extent. 5. Compare the "is" with the "is not" to identify changes and distinctions. 6. Find the most likely cause. The most likely cause of a deviation is one that exactly explains all the facts in the problem. If one fact can't be explained, omit that cause. 7. Look for something that has changed from normal operation. MAINTENANCE AND RELIABILITY

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