Developing Your Most Important Asset

David Anderson, Anderson's Machinery Reliability

Have you ever heard of the term “joiler”? This term – a combination of janitor plus oiler – is a nickname given to the extra employee on a general cleanup crew. It’s his or her job to help out whenever and wherever necessary and, in his or her spare time, to perform some lubricating tasks. A joiler may be helpful to your crew. If you want to lower lubrication costs and save time repairing equipment, however, you will need a lubrication mechanic.

Best Practices
Equipment reliability and the need for increased machinery availability require a move to best practices in lubrication. How is your lubrication department staffed? Do you have an existing crew that needs to upgrade from old, past-practice methods to world-class best practices? Is lubrication in your plant a secondary responsibility of an operator or tradesman? Are you gaining a fresh start by choosing personnel to become lubrication mechanics? Regardless of your starting point, you are likely introducing that dreaded and fearful word “change” to the way work is presently performed.

There are hurdles to overcome when upgrading your existing personnel to world-class best practices. Be prepared for the inevitable questions: “Why must I change, when our current way of doing things has been sufficient for years?” “Why do I have to start filtering oil? Is it not clean enough when we receive it?” Your answers to these and other questions will lead to the success of your program, although the solutions are not always easy to achieve.

Initiate Training
A commitment must be made to take the necessary steps to move toward world-class best practices in lubrication. One of the standards should include a training program that leads to certification in the field of machinery lubrication. This training will present the expectations, and ensure that they are understood and accepted in the future.

Present the move to world-class best practices as an interesting and exciting addition to the daily routine that incorporates oil analysis not only for cleanliness trending, but for diagnosing and solving problems. Regular communication on the positive impact of world-class best practices to the bottom line should be considered as part of the training program.

There will be some initial costs with training; however, return on investment will be noticeable in a short period of time. Key performance indicators include fewer lubricant-related breakdowns and lower lubricant costs. Most importantly, the transition from joiler to lubrication mechanic will provide you with a talented and effective workforce.

About the Author:
David Anderson is the founder of Anderson’s Machinery Reliability. He has 20 years of experience as a maintenance supervisor and spent 40 years in the pulp and paper industry. He worked for seven years as the preventive maintenance supervisor at Catalyst Paper’s mill in British Columbia. There, he was responsible for all of the lubrication requirements of the mill, excluding rolling stock. Anderson also has worked closely with the International Council for Machinery Lubrication, serving on a committee developing the Machinery Lubrication Technician Level II certification examination. He holds the Machinery Lubrication Analyst Level I certification and is a qualified Certified Lubrication Specialist through the Society of Tribologists & Lubrication Engineers.

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