Equipment uptime, longevity requires holistic fluid management

The best managers prepare their organizations for long-term sustainability and profitability. In the world of manufacturing, that means having a plant maintenance strategy that maximizes equipment uptime and service life. One key to maximizing uptime and service life is developing a holistic approach to fluid management.


The best managers prepare their organizations for long-term sustainability and profitability. In the world of manufacturing, that means having a plant maintenance strategy that maximizes equipment uptime and service life. One key to maximizing uptime and service life is developing a holistic approach to fluid management. You must move from a “time-based fluid replacement program” to an “event-based fluid management strategy.” And while the term “strategy” may imply complicated or costly, it does not have to be. Today, state-of-the-art fluid management represents a strategy that is simple, interactive, technology-enabled and cost effective.

So, as a plant manager, how can you support your maintenance team and show real savings for the long haul? Or as a reliability engineer, how can you advance your fluid management program to realize top-tier reliability? The answers lie with full-service providers, a holistic approach to fluid management and modern management systems.

Pulling the parts together

Most plant managers have various pieces of an effective fluid management strategy already in place. However, it’s important to take a more comprehensive perspective when trying to understand the full impact your plant’s fluids have on manufacturing productivity. A complete fluid management program should include:

  • Detailed laboratory analysis for all fluids

  • Advanced fluid management systems

  • A unified source for fluids, filters and equipment along with analysis services

  • Analytical resources to help develop actionable remediation tactics.

    • Working with these tools can help you move from inconsistent, multi-vendor fluid testing that can be difficult to track and manage to a unified program that consolidates your plant-wide fluid management data for strategic planning. A unified program enables you to track fluid analysis results, diagnostic recommendations, preventive action taken and the resulting benefits. It also allows you to compare brands and formulations and develop reports demonstrating operating improvement and cost savings.

      Core of a holistic approach

      Fluid analysis is at the core of a unified fluid management strategy. It provides the facts that enable you to manage gear oil, hydraulic oil, coolant changes and filtration practices based on events, rather than an arbitrary time schedule.

      An extreme example of event-based fluid management is provided by Art Berland, a maintenance consultant with 40 years of experience as a manufacturing engineer with Olin and DuPont. Berland has used fluid analysis, along with other techniques, to extend the useful life of a lubricant charge in excess of 20 years with periodic topping off of the charge. According to Berland, “Critical equipment such as turbines and compressors have sophisticated lubrication and filtration systems designed to American Petroleum Industry standards. Fluid analysis shows the circulating oil in these systems is frequently cleaner after operating than when the oil was new.” Here, a time-based strategy would have resulted in the premature replacement of the oil.

      Berland said that among other benefits, “the information provided by fluid analysis prevents catastrophic equipment failure and decreases preventive maintenance activities to shorten planned shutdowns and reduce PM material costs.”

      Technology helps quantify savings

      Advances in how fluid analysis results are communicated, interpreted and used have entered a new era. New interactive software takes the “facts about fluid” and turns them into effective strategies and documented cost savings.

      Advanced fluid analysis providers are able to support users through technology-enabled software and Web applications that:

      • Deliver comprehensive and easy-to-read fluid analysis results for all fluids

      • Include a knowledge database for providing diagnostic recommendations

      • Enable users to enter preventive action taken and track results

      • Prepare reports that quantify savings based on action taken.

        • Today’s fluid analysis systems help simplify the implementation and ongoing management of a fluid management program. These tools allow you to make quick and appropriate decisions based on complete information, and enable you to substantiate the dollars saved based on your maintenance decisions.

          Getting to the Point

          The point of any fluid management program is to take action based on the findings of your analysis. Too often manufacturers fail to take advantage of manufacturing intelligence provided through their own fluid analysis efforts.

          Don’t make the mistake of limiting your solutions to simply replacing your components or your fluids. Careful consideration of your lab results and performance trends may help point you toward new processes or equipment that will further enhance performance and reliability.

          Adopting an event-based, fluid management strategy allows you to realize cost savings through increased equipment uptime, extended equipment service life, decreased maintenance activities (routine and planned shutdown) and lower material costs. A full-service fluid management partner can help you implement a more holistic approach to fluid management with knowledge, technology-enabled services and application-matched products. Once you make the transition to a unified fluid management program, you will have laid part of the path for long-term sustainability and profitability.

          <table ID = 'id3201390-0-table' CELLSPACING = '0' CELLPADDING = '2' WIDTH = '100%' BORDER = '0'><tbody ID = 'id3201401-0-tbody'><tr ID = 'id3201403-0-tr'><td ID = 'id3201405-0-td' CLASS = 'table' STYLE = 'background-color: #EEEEEE'> Author Information </td></tr><tr ID = 'id3201902-3-tr'><td ID = 'id3201904-3-td' CLASS = 'table'> Doug Cameron is marketing manager of fluid power at Kaman Industrial Technologies. </td></tr></tbody></table>

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.