The Augustus H. Gill Award was formed to recognize organizations that have exhibited excellence in the application of used oil analysis in machine and lubricant condition monitoring. This distinguished award, honoring Professor Augustus H. Gill, was designed to motivate companies to improve machine reliability and maintenance quality through the application of oil analysis. As such, the focus of the award is not just to identify award recipients, but to encourage performance of excellence and create a means to share best practice among user organizations on a global scale. In short, the award should go a long way to raise the bar by recognizing role models for benchmarking and setting performance standards by the oil analysis community.
Jeff Tucker, right, of International Paper, Courtland, Ala., receives the Augustus H. Gill Award from Suzy Jamieson of the International Council for Machinery Lubrication at the Reliable Plant 2011 Conference.
At this year’s Reliable Plant 2011 conference, Jeff Tucker of International Paper, Courtland, Ala., was honored as the Gill Award recipient. We asked Tucker to explain how IP made advances in its lubrication program and how the plant was chosen for the 2011 award:
“International Paper Company purchased the Mill in Courtland, Ala., when IP bought the remaining few mills from Champion International around 2000. At that time, our Predictive Maintenance Crew consisted of 10 vibration analysts and an electrical thermography analyst. We were growing in the use of predictive technology and were already very good and proficient at what we were doing. The PdM department, which had been in existence since 1990, was already documenting large savings annually.
“In late 2002, the maintenance manager, Mike Carroll, and the area maintenance managers that reported to him were educated enough in Predictive, Proactive, and Reliability technologies and decided that we should expand into oil analyzing. They felt that it was another tool that we could take advantage of.
“We were already using the CSI vibration analyzer, so we didn’t even shop around for an oil analyzer. We went with the CSI 5200 Trivector Analyzer and have had very good service and success with it.
“After the initial training on the analyzer, the software, and fundamentals in lubricant analyzing, we prioritized the equipment and began with 38 samples monthly.
“After attending some valuable training classes, we set alarms, tailored parameter sets to our equipment and set targets on cleanliness levels. The targets were first set a little higher than ISO and OEM recommendations so they would be easily reached. After they are reached and maintained for a period of time, they are lowered again. That gives us something to work toward constantly.
“As time went by, and we grew comfortable with the results we were getting, we began to trust what we were seeing. That trust didn’t come overnight. We now are still adding to the sample program and analyze about 125 samples monthly and another 60 quarterly.
“As the demand grew for analyzing samples that are randomly brought to the lab by our Lubrication Technicians, the need for training grew. Now all of the lubrication mechanics are trained on taking and handling samples. Even though the oil analyst still collects the samples on the monthly and quarterly routes, the samples that these guys take can be trusted to have been taken correctly.
“Just a couple of years into the oil analyzing program, IP conducted a Pacesetter Audit on all of the facilities. This audit looks at all aspects of running the business, and Courtland scored fairly well in maintenance but within maintenance, the lubrication program, including the oil analyzing program, scored low. If a minimum score was not maintained, you had six months to make proper adjustments before a follow-up audit.
“This opened our eyes to some things that we were overlooking. We focused on the improvements needed and the follow-up audit was very good. Educating the work force is the key to any success; if people know how to do any task correctly and why, they will do it.
“Our lubrication education program is an ongoing thing - continuous improvement is one of our goals.
“Along with education, certification is now a part of our lubrication, oil analyzing and PDM program. We first used ICML in 2004 for oil analyst certification. Now we have four Level 3 vibration analysts, two Level 2 vibration analysts, one MLA 1 oil analyst, one MLA 3 oil analyst, seven MLT 1 and one MLT 2. Management is very enthusiastic to approve the level of training that is required to achieve these certifications.
“Employees also take pride in the certification programs. There is almost an air of friendly competition and it instills pride in a work force. Certification testing also lets management know that their training dollars are well spent.
“A combination of a lot of effort and support makes our oil analyzing program what it is today. Sample results are now expected by production as well as maintenance each month. We report each month area sample results, cleanliness trends and moisture level trends on all equipment on the program. Oil cleanliness and moisture levels have targets that are set to maintain. When either is above target, appropriate action is taken. Work orders are written based on sample results. We use a formula which includes down time cost, labor and other factors to document cost savings and cost avoidance. These numbers are typically high: 2010 cost savings from PDM alone was right at $5 million. Of that, $900,000 was from oil analysis.
“Over the years, we have several documented case histories where oil sample results avoided and prevented a failure. We also have many cases where vibration or ultra sonics were used in conjunction with oil analysis.
“A few months ago, Ray Garvey of Emerson Process Management talked to Mike Bacidor, editor of Plant Services Magazine, about writing an article on some case studies and success stories of in-house oil analyzing. Ray Suggested that he get in touch with us. After talking to Mike and answering a few questions, he wrote an article that came out in the April edition of his publication. He also suggested that we be nominated for the Augustus H. Gill Award. We filled out the nomination forms and were eventually notified that we were the 2010 winner.
“We are proud and honored to be considered and awarded the award. On behalf of every employee at Courtland, we would like to thank ICML and the awards committee for this prestigious award. We also need to thank Noria Corporation and Emerson Process Management for the past and future training that they provide us. I would like to personally thank the Mill Management, Maintenance Management, Reliability Manager, and the Reliability Engineer for their support and guidance and direction. Most of all I want to thank the guys in the PDM crew and the Lubrication Technicians for their hard work that makes my job as the oil analyst a pleasure and much easier.”