Machinery Lubrication

Machinery Lubrication January - February 2019

Machinery Lubrication magazine published by Noria Corporation

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www . | January - February 2019 | 9 who think they know what they're doing but don't. To get individuals who are at the end of their careers to buy into the premise that what they've done for 25-35 years is wrong can be an uphill struggle. Bringing inexperi- enced people into the department and asking them to do everything in a new way may offer a better chance of success, but if these indi- viduals self-select out of the position shortly thereafter, it will take a long time to develop a good, sustainable program. Qualities of a Good Lubrication Technician A good lubrication technician should have knowledge about the equipment. You can't just know half of the equation. Under- standing lubricants is great, but you also need to know what they mean to the machine's operation for a holistic view of the situation. It helps if the person is not afraid of getting dirty. is seems to be why many engineers don't go into the field as often as they get involved in vibration and infrared. It also means that someone from the maintenance crew is a perfect candidate to be moved into this position. However, you need to pull the right type of maintenance person. I always look for someone who is eager to learn and excited by the application of new knowledge. ere is a lot of bench time and computer time when you are learning the details about lubrication. e properties of additive packages, oil sample data and sampling techniques are just a few examples of the information that must be digested and understood. Someone who doesn't find any enjoyment in this, particularly those who earn their living by working with their hands, will endure some very tedious days trying to assim- ilate this information. It could be torturous for the wrong person, which would be detrimental to the program. Maintenance professionals are intelligent, but many of them would rather learn by doing than by studying. Whether you are upgrading your lubri- cation program or starting one from scratch, you will need to change a lot of habits. Your lubrication technician will be key in this effort. For this reason, lube techs must be respected by the rest of the department. As they learn their craft, they will be imple- menting improvements as well as forcing changes in the activities and behaviors of team members. Change, even when it is an improve- ment, never comes for free. It takes effort, and the effort required is reduced considerably when there is respect for the source. It also helps if the lubrication technicians are confident in their abilities. To me, this is one of the great benefits of getting your lube techs professionally certified. It makes them confident in their craft and credible in the eyes of plant management. Finally, as in almost any key position, you want a self-starter. Setting up and maintaining a good lubrication program will be a long-term process that takes continuous management. It is most cost-ef- fective if your lubrication technicians take the lead in this effort. After their initial introduction to the principles of good lubri- cation, they will soon learn which direction they need to go and what they need to get there. is also instills that pride of owner- ship, which is a powerful motivator. You want a person in the position to whom you can give free rein. It's much easier to slow someone down who is trying to go too far and too fast than to always be pushing someone down the correct path. ere are other qualities that can be beneficial, but those mentioned previously are the most important. Don't default to the common misunderstanding of this being a low-paying job or even that anyone who's good at "fixing things" can become your lubrication champion. A good lube program will save you much more than it costs in terms of longer equipment life, earlier recognition of problems and a better understanding of what is being done to your machines. Reward the job commensurately with the value it provides. Put a quality individual in the position and remember that preventing problems is much better than fixing them. ML ML

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