Peabody’s Lazarus Translates Training into Oil Analysis Success

Tags: oil analysis

With more than 60,000 gallons of bulk lubricants and 1 million gallons of bulk diesel fuel to monitor, the oil analysts at Peabody Energy’s North Antelope Rochelle Mine (NARM) must be experts in their field. Training and certification have become the backbone of the company’s vision for establishing a world-class oil analysis program. Ted Lazarus has been with Peabody Energy subsidiaries for 19 years, with the past eight years as an oil analyst in the reliability department. In addition to analyzing nearly 500 oil samples and reviewing more than 50 filter analysis reports on a weekly basis, Lazarus and his team of analysts provide training to the entire mine on the storage and handling of lubricants and fuels, as well as education on the fundamentals of lubrication.

Name: Ted Lazarus

Age: 45

Job Title: Oil Analyst

Company: Peabody Energy’s North Antelope Rochelle Mine (NARM)

Location: Gillette, Wyo.

Length of Service: 19 years

Q: What types of training have you taken to get to your current position?

A: I have attended training courses for oil analysis through Noria Corporation as well as several seminars related to the field of oil analysis.

Q: What professional certifications have you attained?

A: I am currently certified as a Level III Machine Lubricant Analyst through the International Council for Machinery Lubrication.

Q: What’s a normal work day like for you?

A: Our oil analysts are involved in every aspect of the maintenance function at NARM, from heavy mining equipment to the processing plant. We work closely with planning and scheduling along with the technicians on the floor. We monitor all assets daily through oil and filter debris analysis and offer assistance as needed in root cause failure analysis.

Q: What is the amount and range of equipment that you help service through lubrication/oil analysis tasks?

A: We currently monitor more than 300 individual assets and nearly 3,000 separate components. Our assets include a fleet of 60 ultra-class 360- and 400-ton haul trucks, 27 bulldozers, 13 motor graders, 11 electric shovels, four ultra-class loaders, two walking draglines and numerous pieces of support equipment and plant gearboxes. Our components range from 20-cylinder industrial engines and diesel engines to hundreds of individual hydraulic, transmission and final drive systems.

Q: On what lubrication-related projects are you currently working?

A: We are currently working on our diesel fuel cleanliness standards by improving our bulk tank filtration to meet tougher original equipment manufacturer (OEM) requirements. We are also upgrading our bulk lubricants to comply with upcoming Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emissions standards for Tier-4 engines. We are always looking for advanced methods to improve our filter debris analysis program on our industrial engines, and we are currently developing a centrifuge cake analysis program on our engines as well. Our coal prep plant is installing state-of-the-art filtration and breather systems on all production gearboxes to improve reliability and extend the life of the lubricants we are using.

Q: What have been some of the biggest project successes in which you’ve played a part?

A: Just in the past year, I participated in the design and construction planning of our new multi-million-dollar bulk lube storage facility. I helped develop and implement the use of filter debris analysis on all of our industrial diesel engines. Since 2008, when we implemented the program, we have nearly doubled our budgeted engine life in several fleets.

Q: How does your company view machinery lubrication in terms of importance and overall business strategy?

A: Our company views machinery lubrication as a critical part of our overall maintenance program. Through a comprehensive oil analysis program and a well-developed hydrocarbon management program, we are able to show significant savings in maintenance costs every year that in return contribute to the company being one of the lowest cost coal producers in the world.

Q: What do you see as some of the more important trends taking place in the lubrication and oil analysis field?

A: Given the fact the majority of my time and expertise are spent in the monitoring of our industrial diesel engines, I would say some of the most important trends I am seeing are in the up-and-coming lower emissions standards that are challenging the industry. The ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuels and exhaust gas after-treatment processes that will be required in the Tier-4 engine designs have also led to significant changes in oil and fuel formulations. In addition, the use of full-flow spin-on oil filters is giving way to more efficient centrifugal filtration units, which in turn has changed the way we view standard oil analysis and filter debris analysis.

Q: What has made your company decide to put more emphasis on machinery lubrication?

A: Several things have brought machinery lubrication into the spotlight in our company. I would say the largest contributor is communication. We have leadership that is second to none. Our reliability department is relatively young, being assembled in the past five years. The strong leadership and management of our department has been the vehicle that has enabled our successes to be communicated to both the site management and corporate management levels. Having that level of leadership and team members who are truly experts in their fields has given us the credibility with senior management to trust in what we do.

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