CMWA's Durham Sees Benefits of Solid Lubrication Program


Name: Frank Durham 


Age: 44

Title: Lubrication and Ultrasound Technician

Years of Service: 10 years

Company: Central Motor Wheel of America

Location: Paris, Ky.

When Frank Durham joined the predictive maintenance team at Central Motor Wheel of America (CMWA) six years ago, he helped the team investigate the requirements of a solid predictive program. They soon discovered that machinery lubrication is a critical part of any good program. In the years since, Durham and his team have measured results from each phase of the program and realized cost savings from oil consolidation, storage and handling. Better lubricant usage tracking has also shown the team just how important a good lubrication program can be.

Q: What types of training have you taken to get to your current position?

A: I attended the machinery lubrication classes that are offered by Noria Corporation. I also have attended some conferences and exhibitions related to machinery lubrication.

Q: What professional certifications have you attained?

A: I have achieved the Machinery Lubrication Technician (MLT) Level I certification from the International Council for Machinery Lubrication (ICML) and the Airborne Ultrasound Inspector Level I certification from SDT.

Q: Are you planning to obtain additional training or achieve higher certifications?

A: I would like to get the Machine Lubricant Analysis (MLA) Level I certification so I can better understand what the equipment is trying to tell me from the oil analysis results and visual inspections.

Q: What’s a normal work day like for you?

A: I begin the day by performing mechanical room/air compressor checks. I then follow up with any corrective work orders found during my lube route. I also conduct daily visual checks on the vacuum pumps in our aluminum casting department and assist with various maintenance calls throughout the day.

Q: What is the amount and range of equipment that you help service through lubrication/oil analysis tasks?

A: We have 238 check items on 75 different pieces of equipment. They range from fire-resistant fluids in our casting process to CNC milling machines and aluminum painting equipment.

Q: What lubrication-related projects are you currently working on?

A: We are investigating the possibility of changing our fire-resistant vegetable-based fluids to a fire-resistant synthetic oil. The synthetic seems to be more stable over time and have lower maintenance needs.

Q: What have been some of the biggest project successes in which you’ve played a part?

A: We were able to determine the root cause of a history of breakdowns in our paint ovens. We looked at the failed bearings using analytical ferrography. We found that they were all caused by roller cage failure and that the OEM-suggested bearing insert was not stocked. The bearing housing was the same number but needed the high-temperature bearing insert. The stock numbers were changed, and the vendors were informed to ensure that we keep the correct bearing and inserts in stock.

Q: How does your company view machinery lubrication in terms of importance and overall business strategy?

A: It is viewed as an important part of any company that wants to continuously improve. The lubrication program has a lot to do with machinery uptime, component replacement and controlling your process “inputs.” Quality “inputs” should ensure quality “outputs,” which will greatly help in your cost of operation.

Q: What do you see as some of the more important trends taking place in the lubrication and oil analysis field?

A: The more companies involved with machinery lubrication programs means that more people are exposed to new thinking. This makes selling a lube program and getting “buy in” from your team so much easier. The more people involved means more ideas, more support, more improvements in technology, etc.

Q: What has made your company decide to put more emphasis on machinery lubrication?

A: Any time that you can correct leaks or broken lube paths, you have instant savings from manpower to part replacement. We went from one person on all three shifts checking the fluid levels to one person every three days making the additions.

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