Anderson is a partner and the chief operating officer for ReliabilityX. He helps companies reach their full potential through improvement gains and lowering costs, giving them competitive advantage.
Anderson is also an active columnist in Plant Services magazine with Captain Unreliability. As a CMRP, CRL, CARO, MLT2, MLA1, LSSGB, IAM-55k, CRL Black Belt, Joe is a reliability and maintenance expert, and we were happy to talk with him.
Q: What are some of the challenging issues that operators face when maintaining rotating equipment?
JA: What I have found in my career to be the most challenging issues that face operators come down to two things.
First is leadership support. The employees should feel empowered and supported. This includes being provided the proper tools and training to use those tools at their disposal.
Second is training. Not only training on tools provided. They also need training on the technical skills, maintenance philosophies, and maintenance systems and processes.
Q: Do you have any tips for preventing/minimizing equipment failures?
JA: Cleaning, tightening, and lubrication on average make up 70% of the causes of failure. So with that knowledge, I would say for one, have strict cleaning standards because dirt, oil and debris can lead to things like contamination in oil sumps and bearings, leading to premature failure.
Wipe down surfaces and try to avoid using compressed air to blow down equipment. Blowing down equipment leads to the contamination of surrounding equipment and [negatively affects] the functionality of things like photo eyes and other switches because of dirt and debris that may cause other issues within the process.
Second, use torque specifications on all fasteners as much as possible. Loose bolts and guarding are another main cause of failures. These issues can cause problems, such as misalignment, that definitely lead to premature failure.
Another issue is loose machine guarding rubbing against shafts, bearings, and other components. This causes premature failures.
Lastly, proper machine lubrication practices can extend equipment life. Avoiding contamination and using the right lubricants, at the right frequency and at the right amount are huge factors in keep rotating assets running.
Q: Is there a story or example that you can share where a problem was solved that you (or the team) thought was impossible?
JA: Plants in need for conversion from a reactive organization to a proactive organization seem to be a large and common problem. Every plant turnaround that I’ve seen is never, at least at first, thought to be possible. Great leaders find a way to:
– Make others see the vision
– Convince the team how amazing they are
– Communicate clearly what is expected
As you move along within the process, the goal is to attain some quick wins. Success begins to snowball, and you gain more and more support.
Eliminating downtime, reducing the cost to produce, and increasing throughput while watching your team get more confidence is a great thing.
SC: What do you find most rewarding about the work you do?
JA: The reason I wake up every day motivated is to see others succeed. There is no greater joy to me than seeing other people’s success. Being able to be part of that is icing on the cake. Being able to see an organization raise their employees’ quality of life, watch the stress leave upper management, and see their success is the greatest reward.