Lubrication Training Goes High Tech

Noria Corporation
Tags: industrial lubricants

The world has been revolutionized in the past decade by technology. From satellite TV to DVDs, many luxuries we take for granted today have in fact been commercially available only for a short time. Perhaps the biggest contributing factor to this technical revolution is the Internet.

As a frequent traveler, working with colleagues who literally live and work around the world, the ability to search and book travel online, while sharing files and data with people who are many thousands of miles away, either from my office or a hotel room, has enabled me to work more efficiently and effectively.

In fact, even as recently as five years ago, I may not have been able to do my job as effectively as I can now, without the Internet and other related tools.

Over the past decade, I have been personally exposed to the Internet revolution. As a researcher back in 1990, I distinctly remember a new service called a computer-assisted citation search the university library was offering.

What once took many hours of tedious work, poring over many large scientific tomes could now be achieved in a matter of days, by submitting a written request to the library’s information technology (IT) department and receiving a list of relevant references to the particular topic I was researching. This service used an early precursor to the World Wide Web (WWW) which provided a list of scientific research papers and articles online.

Of course now all I need do is type a few key words into GoogleTM or whichever search engine I choose, and in a fraction of a second, I receive a list of relevant articles to read - and perhaps a few I don’t care to read!

Distance Education

Today, e-commerce is the buzz word. Employees in every industry are able to search online product catalogs, order new supplies, pay for purchases and find technical details without ever leaving their desktop computer. It is no surprise, therefore, that education is starting to pick up on the advantages the Internet has to offer. From single courses to complete MBA programs, educational institutions are offering distance education courses to students.

Online distance education takes two forms - live or recorded. In the live model, a presenter is linked to his students via a live video or audio feed. Depending on the media chosen, students can listen and/or watch the presentation in real time, ask questions - either verbally or by e-mail/Internet chat - and receive and complete assignments. While this offers great advantages in allowing students from multiple locations, perhaps in different countries and time zones, to all “attend” the presentation, there is also a downside to this model.

First, it requires that the whole class and the instructor be available at the same time. Having taught more than 25 classes in the last year, I can attest to the logistical nightmare of trying to get everyone in the same place at the same time. Now multiply that headache by 25 locations and see how easy planning becomes!

Secondly, while online training is certainly a valuable tool, in some instances the lack of personal interaction between student and instructor can make the presentation of complex concepts difficult. Nevertheless, online training - both live and recorded - is here to stay.

Education vs. Training

When discussing instruction, it’s important to differentiate between education and training. Education is the presentation of factual information to increase the knowledge of individuals, without thought as to how that knowledge might be used. Noria has been providing education on lubrication and oil analysis best practices for years. Training on the other hand, is geared more toward providing skill-based instruction on how to apply factual information in a real situation.

Take for example the act of regreasing a bearing. An educational course provides the factual material on what factors influence regreasing a bearing. A training course, however, might provide the specific procedural steps required to effectively perform this task. To take advantage of all the Internet has to offer, Noria has focused its efforts on providing value-added online training and education, with some margin of success. Here’s how it worked for one Canadian forest products company.

NorskeCanada - An Online Training Success Story

NorskeCanada is a western Canadian forestry company that operates four paper and pulp mills in British Columbia on the west coast of Canada. Like most paper and pulp manufacturers, NorskeCanada is faced with remaining profitable in the increasingly competitive global paper and pulp market. NorskeCanada’s approach to this problem was to form a senior management task force called the Maintenance, Materials Management and Engineering Group (MMME).

“MMME’s mandate was to look at all aspects of our business and determine where the opportunities for reliability improvements lie” said Miles Stacey, NorskeCanada’s Crofton Division maintenance reliability supervisor. “At our mill, lubrication was found to be one of the single biggest opportunities to improve our bottom line.”

At NorskeCanada’s Powell River Division, a similar conclusion was reached. “Our people, both operations and maintenance, started to realize that oil is the lifeblood of our equipment and that we must do a better job of ensuring the overall quality of lubricants in the plant,” said Derek Cole, Power River Division predictive reliability supervisor. As a result of this mandate, the company developed a reliability improvement group, spearheaded by a team leader at each division.

“Drawing on the knowledge gained both from our collective years of experience, together with a number of training courses we’d all attended, the team as a whole was able to recognize the opportunities precision lubrication offers in obtaining and maintaining world-class equipment reliability,” said Matt Neild, the Port Alberni Division team leader.

However, having management support was only the first step in the process. The divisions quickly realized they could not succeed in developing a world-class lubrication program without the support of a well-trained, motivated crew of lubrication technicians.

“For years, our mill took the approach that lubrication is simply about adding or changing oil, or greasing bearings,” said Mike Johnson at the Campbell River Division. “So we set about developing an action plan to provide some fundamental knowledge-based education to the lubrication teams at each division, to provide them with the skills necessary to pick-up and run with the new initiatives we plan to introduce.”

The divisions decided to use the advantages offered by online training to develop a training curriculum for providing fundamental lubrication-based knowledge for those involved in lubrication. However, the plan did not simply stop with lubrication technicians. The divisions decided to also include supervisors and reliability engineers in the same training. “The message we’re trying to convey is that precision lubrication is important to the mills, and that responsibility rests on everyone’s shoulders, not just the guys in the lube shack,” said Dave Anderson, the Elk Falls Division lubrication supervisor.

The biggest concern NorskeCanada had at the outset of this planning process was the logistics of training close to 80 people across all four divisions, without taking people away from their daily jobs for too long or spending significant amounts of money sending people off-site, or bringing a training course to each mill site.

“We wanted to pace the learning experience so that guys had time to learn a few facts or concepts at a time, and could then put those facts into use to solidify their newfound knowledge,” said Mike Johnson. At the same time, the divisions wanted a way of ensuring that those individuals who completed the training had learned and comprehended the information. After discussions with ICML, NorskeCanada agreed that the ICML Machinery Lubrication Technician (MLT) Level I body of knowledge covered all the essential areas of importance to a modern paper and pulp operation.

To prepare the lubrication techs for the MLT Level I certification exam, NorskeCanada decided to use Noria’s Best Practices for Machinery Lubrication course. Ordinarily set for three full days or 24 hours of instructional time, Norske broke the course into 12, two-hour modules (see sidebar on page 30 for outline of course content). “Each module covers one specific area, so the guys can learn one topic without being overwhelmed with too much information all at once,” said Mike Johnson.

At the same time, each participant was given a series of supporting textbooks, subscriptions to Machinery Lubrication and Practicing Oil Analysis magazines, and an e-mail subscription to LubeTips, so they could learn what others in their industry are doing. The team felt this was important because they wanted to emphasize that the solutions being recommended were based not on textbook theory alone, but on real practical solutions that have worked in other plants.

The program details include:

One item important to the divisions was the flexibility that allowed personnel to review each monthly live module at a later date. This offered those individuals who had already sat through the live presentation the option of reviewing the material in preparation for the MLT exam.

This is important because often not all the people involved can attend the live presentation at the same time due to vacations, sick time or specific situations at their facility, which require lube techs to be on the shop floor instead of in the classroom. However, with a recording of the live online presentation - similar to setting the VCR to record your favorite TV show - those who cannot attend a specific session are able to go back and cover the material in a specific module.

In addition to lubrication training, the divisions have also enlisted assistance from other suppliers to help the lubrication techs learn. With support from their lubricant supplier, filter supplier and oil analysis lab, the team plans to provide fundamental knowledge-based education on these important aspects of lubrication.

Likewise, the divisions plan, where appropriate, to provide task-specific training, either online or in person, for specific lubrication tasks, such as regreasing bearings using ultrasonics or onsite oil analysis instrumentation, in which some of the divisions have invested.

“Our ultimate goal is to effect a cultural change in our respective divisions,” said Derek Cole. “Instead of performing lubrication tasks the way we always have, we want to transition over the next few years into a world-class organization whose practices are considered to be truly focused on precision lubrication,” he added.

With a dedicated team of reliability leaders at each division, strong and conspicuous management support and an experienced team of lubrication techs, the online training is the last piece in the puzzle. The chances of success at NorskeCanada are high, and it is all thanks to the Internet!

NorskeCanada’s Online Training Course Outline


The Role of Lubrication in Machine Reliability

  • How Improper Lubrication Relates to Lost Usefulness of Equipment
  • Examples of the Financial Benefits from Achieving “Lubrication Excellence”
  • Objectives for Reliability-Centered Maintenance (RCM)
  • Five Equipment Maintenance Strategies, and When Each Applies
  • The Role of Oil Analysis in Condition-Based Maintenance (CBM)
  • Troubleshooting More Than 11 Different Lubrication Failures with the Lube FMECA
  • Lubricant Formulation and Base Oils
    • Basics about the formulation of lubricating oils and greases
    • Seven important physical properties of oil
    • Lubricant base oils - from solvent refined to food grade
    • The importance of API’s five base oil categories
    • The advantages of hydrocracked oils: fact or fiction?
    • When to select one of the six most commonly used synthetic base oils
    • Why synthetic base oils can offer significantly extended drain intervals
    • Review of compatibility of common synthetics with mineral oil and common seal materials
    • Using temperature to determine the right base oil for your machine
    • Advantages and disadvantages of environmentally friendly vegetable base oils
    • USDA requirements for food-grade lubricants
  • Additives and Their Functions
    • Overview of the 14 key additives that enhance the performance of lubricants
    • How to take advantage of antioxidants and how they extend lubricant life
    • How new EPA requirements will challenge additives and turn your crankcase oil into the trash can of the combustion process
    • How additives work to minimize foaming
    • Comparing antiwear (AW) and extreme pressure (EP) additives
    • How to select an additive package that works for you
  • Lubricant Properties and Tests
    • Getting to know viscosity, the lubricant’s most important physical property
    • The 15 most important lubricant performance properties, and what they mean to your machine
    • The “big eight” grease performance properties
  • Lubricating Greases
    • When to choose grease and when to choose oil lubrication
    • How to protect against mixing incompatible greases
    • Grease thickeners and their properties
  • Solid Lubricants
    • Types of solid lubricants and their applications
    • Advantages and disadvantages of the four most common solid lubricants
  • Friction, Wear and Lubrication Fundamentals
    • Four primary sources of friction in lubricated machinery
    • Review of the 10 primary wear mechanisms that rob your machines of life and reliability
    • Typical critical clearances for common machines
  • Lubricant Application Methods
    • Overview of the 12 most common lube application methods
    • Advantages and disadvantages of centralized lubrication systems
    • Overview of single-point direct lubrication systems
    • Best practices for the maintenance of grease guns and fittings
    • Limiting speeds for the use of ring and collar-feed lubrication systems
    • Tank management best practices for circulating systems
    • Nine qualities to look for in a flushing fluid
    • Procedures for draining, flushing, tank cleaning, top-ups and filling
    • Oil change best practices
  • Contamination Control
    • Building reliability through contamination control
    • Controlling the seven deadly contaminants that impair lubricant performance and shorten machine life
    • Filtration and separation technologies
    • Contaminant exclusion
  • Lubricant Handling and Management
    • Advantages and disadvantages of drums, totes and bulk delivery
    • Manpower requirements comparison of drums vs. bulk
    • Contamination control starts with new oil management
    • Best practices for storing drums - indoors and outdoors
    • Safe handling best practices for drums
    • Tips for designing a world-class lubricant storage room
    • Best practice for storing grease
    • Labeling and “FIFO” inventory best practices
    • Tips on polishing oil before putting it into service
    • Dos and don’ts of intermediate storage and use of top-up containers
    • The case for disposable transfer containers
    • Hints on managing funnels, hoses and other accessories that contaminate oil
    • Evaluation of machine tagging options
    • Noria’s three-step approach to lubricant consolidation - beyond brand reduction
    • Managing lube schedules electronically
    • Proper storage and disposal of used lubricants
    • How improperly disposed oil threatens the environment
    • Managing lubricants safely
  • Leakage Stability
    • How to classify leaks
    • How to identify the cause of leaks
    • How to locate leaks
    • How to control leaks
    • How hydraulic leaks affect reliability, quality, safety and environmental compliance
    • Noria’s procedure for finding and fixing hydraulic leaks
  • Lubrication of Bearings
    • Lubrication fundamentals for common rolling-element, plain and thrust bearings
    • How to select the right viscosity for rolling-element and plain bearing lubricated machinery
    • Tips for selecting additives - by machine type
    • Grease lubrication for plain bearings - when it makes sense, and doing the job right
    • Calculating relubrication intervals for rolling-element bearing equipment
    • Tips for getting just the right amount of grease in a rolling element bearing
    • Using sonic analysis to grease bearings just-in-time
    • Four easy-to-follow procedures for correct lubrication of electric motor bearings
    • Risks of overlubricating and underlubricating bearings
    • Proper storage of bearings
    • Tips on troubleshooting bearing lubrication problems
    • Best practices for lubricating pumps, motors, blowers and fans
  • Lubrication of Gears
    • Gear types and their applications
    • Fundamentals of gear lubrication
    • Eleven key factors that affect gear lubrication
    • The influence of gear speed and geometry in lubrication
    • Five important characteristics to look for in a gear oil
    • A simplified method for determining the right viscosity for gear lubrication
    • Selecting the right additive for protecting boundary contacts in gearing
    • Introduction to automotive gearing (drive train) lubrication
    • Modern choices for lubricating open gears with grease or synthetic oil
    • Guidelines for storing spare gearboxes
    • When splash lubrication of gearboxes is acceptable
    • Achieving successful run-in of new gears
    • Guide for troubleshooting lubrication failures in gearing
    • Best practices for lubricating enclosed and open gear systems
  • Hydraulic Fluids
    • Fundamental aspects of hydraulic systems
    • Lubrication requirements for gear, vane and piston hydraulic pumps
    • Hydraulic valves and their functions
    • Mobile vs. stationary industrial applications of hydraulic systems
    • Common industrial hydraulic fluid specifications
    • Understanding the ISO hydraulic fluid classifications
    • Hydraulic fluid requirements and typical formulations
    • When to select one of the most common synthetic hydraulic fluid base oils
    • Selecting hydraulic fluid viscosity - by pump type, temperature and pressure
    • Thirteen favorable properties to look for in a hydraulic fluid
    • Tips for selecting a fire-resistant or biodegradable base oil
    • Understanding why hydraulic systems are prone to varnish, and tips for getting it under control
    • Best practices for managing hydraulic fluids
  • Lubrication of Engines
    • Comparison of diesel, gasoline and natural gas reciprocating engines
    • Demystifying the common automotive lubricant industry specifications
    • How to read the API Donut and ILSAC Starburst symbols
    • Beyond the CH-4 classification for diesel engine oils
    • Sixteen characteristics of the proposed PC-9 classification
    • How EGR is challenging engine lubrication
    • Lubricant selection tips for diesel, gasoline and natural gas engines
    • Best practices for engine lubrication
  • Lubrication of Compressors
    • Basic compressor design and operation
    • Lubricating challenges associated with the compression of common nonreactive, reactive and highly reactive (O2) gases
    • Review of six options for lubricating reciprocating compressors
    • Recommended lubricants for rotary compressors
    • Important aspects of lubricating reciprocating and rotary compressors
    • Lubricating refrigerant compressors
    • Effective use of synthetic oils in compressors
    • Best practices for compressor lubrication
  • Lubrication of Turbines
    • Fundamental operation of steam, gas, aero and water (hydraulic) turbines
    • Eight important oil properties required for effective steam turbine lubrication
    • Important aspects of lubricating gas turbines
    • Unique challenges of lubricating aero turbines
    • Water turbine lubrication challenges and requirements
    • Industry standard classifications for turbine oils
    • Best practices for turbine lubrication
  • Used Oil Analysis Basics
    • Three important categories of used lubricant analysis
    • Application of 11 common used lubricant analysis tests
    • Representative sampling best practices
    • Lubricant health monitoring - switching to condition-based oil changes
    • Lubricant analysis closes the loop for contamination control
    • Detecting and analyzing machine wear debris
  • Lubricant Procurement and Performance Standards
    • Optimizing lubricant selection/procurement
    • Lubricant consolidation and procedure for implementing
    • Developing performance-driven generic lubricant specifications
    • Procedure for writing lubricant standards
  • Achieving World-Class Lubrication Excellence
    • Noria’s three steps to lubrication excellence process
    • Defining a world-class lubrication program
    • Optimizing lubricant selection/procurement
    • Developing performance-driven generic lubricant specifications
    • Educating your team to success
    • Changing perceptions about the important role played by your lubricant technicians
    • Steps to institutionalizing lubrication excellence with best practice-driven lubrication procedures in an intranet-capable electronic manual