Machinery Lubrication 2018 Wraps up a Successful Week in Houston

Natalie Blythe, Noria Corporation
Tags: lubrication programs

More than 300 industrial professionals congregated in Houston, Texas, for the inaugural Machinery Lubrication Conference & Exhibition. Held Nov. 6-8 at the Houston Marriott Westchase, the event drew attendees from 31 states and 16 countries looking for the latest and greatest solutions and services in machinery lubrication and oil analysis.

Continuing in the long-standing tradition of Noria’s other flagship event, the Reliable Plant Conference & Exhibition, Machinery Lubrication 2018 provided an unprecedented learning and networking experience for those in the lubrication and oil analysis industry.

“We at Metra just brought our own oil lab in-house, and this was a perfect reason to attend,” said Alvin Toro, reliability program specialist at Metra Commuter Rail.

Prior to the official start of the event, attendees were onsite for four pre-conference workshops. These workshops were “Lubrication Excellence Essentials for Leaders” by Jim Fitch, CEO and founder of Noria; “Compressors and Centrifugal Pumps: Achieving Superior Reliability Through Modern Lubrication Practices” by Heinz Bloch, renowned mechanical engineering authority; “Early Fault Detection in Rotating Equipment with Oil Analysis” by Alejandro Meza, senior technical consultant at Noria; and “Turn Your Lube Room into a Cost-Savings Machine” by Bennett Fitch, director of product development and Lubrication Program Development (LPD) services at Noria.

With great turnouts at all four workshops, attendees walked away with new tips and techniques to elevate their skills.

“Bennett did an excellent job covering the material,” said Steve Morgan, lubrication technician at Kimberly Clark. “His presentation was on topic, and he didn’t allow us to stray too far off topic during discussions. It was excellent, on point and the information was what I wanted.”

“Heinz is old-school cool,” Toro said of Bloch’s workshop. “All his experience shines in his presentation.”

The evening ended on a high note as attendees got their first glimpse of the exhibit hall during the meet and greet reception from 4:30-6:30 p.m. The intimate setting gave exhibitors the opportunity to introduce attendees to not only their companies but also their latest technologies and services.

“Overall, I am very pleased with the event,” said Darin Stoddard, vice president of business development at Generation Systems. “The smaller, focused nature of the event drove more traffic. “I am very excited about next year’s show, given the customer base we have in the Houston area.”

Machinery Lubrication 2018 officially began on Wednesday, Nov. 17 with the opening keynote emceed by Austin O’Kelley, international business manager at Noria. After welcoming everyone, O’Kelley gave some background on how the Machinery Lubrication Conference & Exhibition was born out of the need to create an event solely dedicated to lubrication and oil analysis.

“Machinery Lubrication is a gathering of people driving change in the lubrication and oil analysis industry, and each of you have an integral part to play in your facility and within our industry,” O’Kelley said.

Next on the agenda was recognition of the event's sponsors: Hy-Pro Filtration (networking reception), Luneta (Wi-Fi), Sun Coast Resources (meals), Todd Technologies Inc. (registration), Whitmore (refreshments) and World Focus (app).

The event then shifted into the keynote address by Jim Fitch, CEO and founder of Noria. In his presentation titled “10 Gamechangers Shaping the Future of Lubrication and the Lubricants Industry,” Fitch shared how lubrication is currently undergoing a monumental change, and that the driving forces behind the change is related to the advent of Industry 4.0 and the industrial internet of things (IIoT), as well as the continued influence of condition-based monitoring, standardization of asset management systems and globalization.

The conclusion of the keynote signaled the beginning of learning sessions. Over the course of two days, attendees chose from more than 40 different sessions on topics ranging from lubrication best practices and food-processing lubrication to oil analysis reports, synthetic lubricants and using drones for remote oil sampling.

One highly attended session was “Ultrasound-assisted Lubrication: 3 Approaches to Improving Bearing Lubrication Practices” by Adrian Messer, manager of U.S. operations at UE Systems.

“Ultrasound lubrication is the future, and the presentation really reinforced this concept,” said Morgan.

The learning sessions also featured several case studies, including “How a Proper Lubrication Program Can Cut Downtime by 50 Percent” by Tim Newman, maintenance manager at Simmons Feed Ingredients.

“There was good interaction with attendees, as well as good content and recommendations,” said Kristen Wondra, marketing manager at U.S. Lubricants.

Throughout Machinery Lubrication 2018, attendees visited exhibitor booths to get their game cards stamped in hopes of winning the show prize: a 2019 Harley-Davidson Iron Sportster 883. On Thursday, Nov. 8, a crowd gathered around the show prize booth as O’Kelley announced the big winner: John Brewer, lubrication technician at International Paper.

“The experience at the conference was great not just because of winning the Harley but overall,” Brewer said. “I have only been in lubrication about a year, so it was a great learning experience for me. I would recommend it to anyone new in the lubrication field. As far as the Harley, I have won a few things over the years but nothing this big, so as of today it really has not set in. Thank you, Noria.”

The Machinery Lubrication Conference & Exhibition will return to the Houston Marriott Westchase on Nov. 5-7, 2019. Early-bird registration is now open.