Boles Looks for New Ways to Improve Lubrication at Cargill

Tags: lubrication programs

Name: Chars Boles

Age: 39

Job Title: Maintenance Support

Company Name: Cargill Deicing Technology

Location: Cleveland, Ohio

Length of Service: 13 years

In 2009, when Cargill Deicing Technology offered Chars Boles a maintenance support position which included machinery lubrication, he quickly accepted because it sounded like something he would be interested in doing. Over the past six years, Boles has enjoyed the many different facets of his job. One day, he may be lubricating mobile equipment, beltlines and primary crushers. The next, he could be moving material to the storeroom or prepping supplies to ensure they are ready for a maintenance job like a beltline pulley replacement. As part of the site lubrication team, Boles is always looking for new ways to improve.

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

A: I really wasn’t hired for what I knew but basically learned by doing along the way. Since taking the position, I have had several opportunities to expand my lubrication knowledge by attending Noria’s Machinery Lubrication class, ExxonMobil’s lubrication training, the ExxonMobil lubrication symposium and the Reliable Plant conference. Even though my responsibilities encompass several other areas, I like to take every opportunity to enhance my lubrication knowledge.

Q: What professional certifications have you attained?

A: I currently have an automotive technician certificate.

Q: Are you planning to obtain additional training or achieve higher certifications?

A: I am always looking for opportunities to attend classes for continued learning. I would like to learn more about contamination control, how it occurs, methods to prevent it and how to correct the condition when it does occur. Going to conferences reinforces best practices, and networking opportunities show the issues we all face are basically universal. Only the approach for solutions differs by industry. In the future, I would like to obtain my Machine Lubrication Technician (MLT) and infrared (IR) certifications to improve my knowledge and become better at my job.

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

A: We currently maintain four mining units that cover belt drives, bearings and gear cases. This includes all lubrication maintenance for greasing, filling gear cases, replacement of desiccant filters and taking oil samples. Additional responsibilities consist of refilling the lubricants at the preventive maintenance (PM) facility, transporting the fuel by trailer and moving lubricants from the shaft bottom to the fuel stations and lubrication storage area.

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

A: Currently, we are using an IR camera to check bearings for heat signatures to identify issues and determine corrective action. A bearing will be greased and then checked with IR to see the standard heat rise. When excessive heat is observed, we know that the bearing is not getting grease and have to decide how to address the issue. We are also working on the configuration for lube storage tanks, dispensing reels and hoses to optimize space and maintain ease of use, as well as systematically replacing grease lines that have been in service for many years and have become brittle, cracked or started to leak.

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

A: The single biggest project was the development and installation of our underground PM facility. This started with discussions of what we felt would be the most helpful and then continued through layout, site preparation and installation. We had a large team working together to make our PM bay a great work area. On a more personal level, while attending a conference I found a grease gun that accurately measures the amount of grease dispensed. I brought the idea back to management and the site lubrication team. Both thought it was a good idea to try, so we purchased one and have been using it to make sure the correct amount of grease is put into the bearing. It is working very well.

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

A: It is viewed as being very important. We all have the different programs like vibration analysis, IR, oil analysis and failure analysis. We take oil samples, see the analysis results and have been involved with determining what caused the issues.

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

A: As we learn more, we pay attention to things we used to ignore. We are taking more oil samples now, knowing new things to test for and using oil analysis as a tool. There appears to be a closer eye kept on contamination and the adverse effects it can have on equipment.

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

A: From what I have seen, I would say the unexpected failure of bearings and the desire to keep equipment running. We keep a closer watch on a wider range of areas, have added personnel to give me more time to grease and use new methods like the IR scans in conjunction with lubrication to identify problems.

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