Dennis Butler, a Cold Mill 3 maintenance scheduler and predictive maintenance technician at Logan Aluminum’s plant in Russellville, Ky., is the subject of this issue’s “Get to Know ...” feature. He has worked nearly 19 years for Logan after serving as a machinist, millwright and electric motor mechanic with other companies. Let’s learn more about Dennis.
Dennis Butler oversees lubrication at a Logan Aluminum mill.
What types of training have you taken to get you to your current position?: It’s a long list. I have taken vibration analysis courses from CSI in Knoxville, Tenn.; attended the Noria Machinery Lubrication Level I course; attended two Noria conferences; was in an on-site oil analysis class presented by Bill Herguth of Herguth Laboratories; attended a Lubrication Fundamentals class by Ken Humphries of Petro Canada; and received a host of on-site training from internal resources. Besides all of that, I’ve read many books on machinery lubrication and oil analysis.
Do you hold a professional certification?: I have the Machinery Lubrication Technician Level I certification from ICML and will be preparing to take the MLT Level II exam in the very near future.
When did you get your start in machinery lubrication, and how did it happen?: I had some exposure to lubrication in the electric motor business as far as properly greasing rebuilt motors. I got more involved in oil analysis and machinery lubrication after I came to Logan. I started in a brand new area being added to the plant, a three-stand cold mill. I worked with the mill builder, checking piping and tank cleanliness through particle counting using our on-site counter. I then worked with the project engineer to set up lubrication points, oil sample points, vibration points and sample frequencies.
What’s a normal work day like for you?: It is busy. In my current position, I schedule work for our outages and day-to-day jobs for our maintenance techs and others. I still collect all of the vibration route data and analyze the readings. I’m also responsible for collecting the oil samples and sending them to the lab for analysis. Then when the reports come in, I review them and write work orders for corrective actions. I usually take care of the oil changes and greasing of the more critical equipment. I review PMs regularly, work on the lube storage and properly identify lubricants used in our area. As time allows, I research lubrication failures and how to avoid them.
What is the amount and range of equipment that you help service through lubrication/oil analysis tasks?: In my area, we look at close to 225 pieces of equipment. We have a variety of pumps, motors, gearboxes and rolls. Our motors range from 5 to 4,000 horsepower.
What lubrication-related projects are you currently working on?: These include: 1) better storage and identification of lubricants used in our area; 2) updating lubrication PMs, including proper instructions for greasing electric motors; 3) trial a different oil in our main stand motors; 4) cleaning and purifying the circulating oil system for our main stand equipment; and 5) supplying lubrication training to operators.
What have been some of the biggest project successes for which you’ve played a part?: I’d say improving our bulk grease system for our motor and gearbox couplings. Also, I would include changing our roll force and bending hydraulic system over to a better-refined oil with less additives and at a cost savings.
How does your company view machinery lubrication in terms of importance and overall business strategy?: Logan Aluminum views this as one of the most important parts of reliability and maintenance. Without proper lubrication, there will be costly equipment damage and expensive mill downtime.
What do you see as some of the more important trends taking place in the lubrication and oil analysis field?: Better equipment for analyzing lubricants, better storage options offered, better identification methods, and better tools for applying and sampling lubricants.