Grease tips for getting into tight spots
I had two problems with the “Solutions” about getting grease into tight places in the April issue of Plant Engineering as presented. First was that the illustration was essentially backward in that it showed the Zerk fitting on the grease gun hose end. I believe that it should show the coupling on the hose end that will then mate to the Zerk on the bearing. Otherwise you would be pressurizing the wrong way against a check valve — not a pretty sight.
Second was that it is against our company policy to be putting hands and/or tools into tight places when you can engineer a better solution. In this case, it is a serious safety issue. Let me share our better solutions.
Grease guns with flexible hoses are available from a variety of sources. For example, Grainger lists grease guns with rigid or flexible hoses. They also have a variety of grease gun accessories including hoses of different lengths, swivel connectors, etc. You can also buy a host of alternative Zerks, like 45 and 90 degrees to get better access.
With copper tubing and a variety of plumbing fittings, we relocate Zerks to a safe, readily accessible location. Many times, we will gang several Zerks so all can be serviced from a single location. This way, it is cleaner and less likely to miss any routine lubrication. Safer too.
Our company has a great deal of rotating equipment to make and process webs of plastic film, often for food packaging. As such, safety and cleanliness around our equipment is important. We feel that these installations and procedures are an important part of our business.
Sealed Air Corporation
Two sides to every discipline story
Let me start by saying that PLANT ENGINEERING is one of my favorite trade journals; each issue contains several interesting and informative articles that are helpful to my business.
That said, I have to register a complaint with your Human Side column in the April 2005 issue. I feel that the scenario presented in “No compromise with safety violation” took an overly simplistic view of the presented situation. I appreciate that space is limited and all details therefore can’t be included or addressed, but to advocate in this situation that a group leader be demoted over the safety violation of an electrician is not, in my opinion, defendable.
This electrician had every reason to diminish his act and attempt to justify it. When, however, did we see that the leader’s manager got the leader’s side of the story — and aren’t there two sides to every story? Why would a responsible manager blindly take the word of a two-time-in-one-shift safety violator before speaking with the group leader? Where’s the discipline for the person who actually violated safety procedures? That’s not even addressed.
I agree that we must cut no corners when it comes to safety, but from what I’ve read in previous Human Side columns plus my personal experience, a reasonable and responsible approach should consider all aspects of a situation before taking drastic action, like demoting a group leader.
Presque Isle Power Plant
Raymond Dreyfack responds: I will agree that the supervisor made a tough call in the case referred to. Some managers will think too tough; others will feel that with the order to put on the safety helmet disregarded the first time, then disregarded again, the employee’s safety awareness and concern were lacking. Might there have been additional extenuating circumstances in this case? Probably. But space is limited, and the employee’s violation, once called to attention, was ignored. Tough or not, sometimes an example must be made, especially where safety is involved. I agree with the PE’s call that there’s no compromise on this subject. It’s always a matter of judgment with the particular circumstances considered. A suspension may have been just as effective. Needless to say, your interest is appreciated.
Some people do it, and the payoffs are there
On the subject of Bob Vavra’s comment in the April issue, “Why isn’t everyone doing it”?, I’ve done a Six Sigma Green Belt project on water conservation and purchasing of pipe, valve and fittings at our site.
We saved $200,000 on the purchasing of pipe, valve and fittings by eliminating purchase orders and using credit cards to purchase PV&F, by limiting the purchasing to qualified mechanics, finding the best cost and quality supplier and a number of other simple changes.
We saved $200,000 on the water conservation project and have another potential of $600,000 savings by installing a recycle water filter. We reduced on initial water usage and cost from our local sewer company.
I’m working on a project to reduce nitrogen costs. It has the same type of potential.
Why isn’t everyone doing it? We have 30% of the engineers in our plant we had 10 years ago. It’s not high profile to walk down line or verify from whom you purchase PV&F.
Mostly, plants don’t take time to investigate common issues or management doesn’t see the need to review.
John M. Horton