Once upon a time, a maintenance and reliability manager was reviewing reports that showed his plant’s recent progress on the production floor. Machinery downtime was down, and uptime was up. He was fully aware these numbers correlated with practical changes his team had implemented in lubrication methods over the last year or so.
Not coincidentally, his maintenance expenses were down, too. He thought about his shift crews and how they were looking more relaxed and, frankly, a little more excited about their routines. He leaned back and picked up his coffee, satisfied that it was going to be another good day.
At that same moment, his eyes glanced across an industry news feed where a headline about a competing company caught his eye. “What is that?” he wondered aloud, as he leaned in closer. “What is a Battle Award?” As he read more, he realized that he and his competitor were both making gains with their lubrication programs, but there was one notable difference: his competitor had been recognized with an industry award while his own plant had not. “That’s not right,” he thought. “What did we miss?”
Since 2001, the International Council for Machinery Lubrication (ICML) has recognized many plants and programs with two prestigious awards: the Augustus H. Gill Award for oil analysis excellence and the John R. Battle Award for lubrication excellence.
These awards have supported ICML’s mission to facilitate growth and development of machine lubrication as a technical field of endeavor. They also create a means to share best practices among user organizations on a global scale while recognizing role models for benchmarking of performance standards.
However, a company must nominate its own successful plant-level program - or have a consultant or service provider nominate a client - by completing the application form on the ICML website. Because ICML is a vendor-neutral body, it can only encourage plants to participate but cannot nominate them.
Of course, some companies might be hesitant to nominate themselves or their customers unless they understand the positive impacts of competition and success. Therefore, in 2018 Machinery Lubrication published an article that described the benefits of pursuing and/or winning either award. For instance, at the industry level, competition in the pursuit of excellence in turn can increase overall excellence across the board.
At the plant level, winning an industry award can impress customers and prospects, thus improving revenue potential while also communicating to internal teams that management is serious about achieving machine reliability through quality lubrication and oil analysis programs. As for the practitioner-level benefit, never underestimate the motivational power of a quality-driven culture combined with a purpose (e.g., earning an industry award) that is bigger than oneself.
“This recognition has served as a great motivation and encouraged us to continue with our day-to-day best practices,” said Juan José Gamboa Alvarez after the Newmont Mining facility won the 2010 Battle Award.
It may surprise some readers that the Gill and Battle awards are open to all facilities with lubricated assets, regardless of their level of involvement with ICML. This means the applicant does not need to employ ICML-certified professionals, nor must it be a sponsor of ICML certification exams. There are no such prerequisites. Any lubrication or oil analysis program can be nominated from any industry, so no two annual competitions are alike.
Nonetheless, the awards are intended to recognize world-class excellence, which means that fledgling lubrication or oil analysis programs generally would not make ideal candidates. Rather, an organization should seek to submit applications based on programs with demonstrable track records of success in best practices, sustainable results and continued improvements.
To assist in this effort, ICML application surveys are quite thorough in their requests for detailed, provable information. A committee of subject-matter experts convenes each year to review completed applications, seek additional data from applicants and debate the finer points of the criteria involving topics such as commitment to education, maintenance culture and management support, performance measurements, proactive/predictive maintenance, standardized procedures, technology integration, contamination control, lubricant selection and application methods, lubricant storage and handling, oil analysis sampling and strategies, and continuous improvement.
With so many criteria to be addressed, completing the application process alone can help a plant identify the strengths and weaknesses in its ongoing program, as well as quantify and communicate its progress in ways not previously considered or documented.
For several years, ICML has announced its Gill and Battle award winners at the Reliable Plant Conference & Exhibition in April. This year, however, the organization has rescheduled the announcement for the Machinery Lubrication Conference & Exhibition in November. This change has resulted in the submission period being extended by several months. Completed applications for the 2018 Augustus H. Gill and John R. Battle awards will now be accepted through Aug. 31, 2019.
If you know of a deserving facility, ICML wants to hear about it. If you have not completed or even begun your application to nominate a facility with a successful program, there is still time. Start preparing yours today through the ICML website at www.lubecouncil.org. Applications completed after Aug. 31 will be considered for the 2019 awards, which will be announced in 2020.
For a complete list of previous Gill and Battle award winners or to read their stories, visit the ICML website and click on “awards.”
1. Any company can apply for an ICML award regardless of its involvement with ICML.
2. Nominations must come from the field.
3. The extended submission deadline for the 2018 awards is Aug. 31, 2019.
4. Winners will be announced at the Machinery Lubrication Conference & Exhibition in November.