McGuire, Miller Team up to Lead IKEC Lubrication Program

Noria Corporation

Name: William H. Miller

Age: 50

Job Title: Senior Engineering Technician

Company Name: Indiana-Kentucky Electric Corp. (IKEC)

Location: Madison, Ind.

Length of Service: 24 years

Name: Francis McGuire Jr.

Age: 51

Job Title: Senior Engineering Technician

Company Name: IKEC

Location: Madison, Ind.

Length of Service: 16 years

A little more than a year ago, William Miller and Francis McGuire Jr. became the new senior engineering technicians at Indiana-Kentucky Electric Corp. (IKEC). Both came from agricultural and farming backgrounds and were already aware of the importance of machinery lubrication. Having many years of experience at IKEC also allowed the pair to know the significance of lubrication for their company’s equipment. Their positions as senior engineering technicians were a new innovation at IKEC as part of the company’s strategy to follow a proactive maintenance approach instead of a reactive approach. This strategy, which began with efforts to keep oil and grease clean, cool and dry as well as ensuring the correct lubricant is available to place in equipment, has already saved the company thousands of dollars.

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

A: We have taken Noria’s Machinery Lubrication course and have spent many hours consulting on lubrication and analysis.

Q: What professional certifications have you attained?

A: Since obtaining the position of senior engineering technician, we have achieved the Machine Lubrication Technician (MLT) Level I certification through the International Council for Machinery Lubrication (ICML). McGuire has also attained the ICML Machine Lubricant Analyst (MLA) Level I certification.

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

A: We both plan on obtaining higher certifications such as the MLT Level II and MLA Level I and II certifications to gain further knowledge in machinery lubrication.

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

A: We devote time to evaluate, restock, label and organize the lubrication warehouse and additional stocking areas. We have lubrication and assessment routes planned to take care of the equipment with oil sampling and analysis. Answering questions concerning lubrication from IKEC employees is another task that we cover on a regular basis. Questions include how much, how often and what kind of oil different machinery requires.

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

A: We do condition assessments, oil analysis and lubrication on approximately 250 assets for the company.

Q: On what lubrication-related projects are you currently working?

A: Our current tasks at IKEC include setting up various motors, pumps, gearboxes and hydraulic systems with sight glasses, bottom sediment bowls, sample ports, desiccant air breathers and quick connects for filtering. Additionally, we are in the process of sealing the oil systems in our boiler feed pumps and increasing our filter capabilities.

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

A: Our most prominent project success came from the completion of IKEC’s state-of-the-art lubrication warehouse. When we first obtained our positions, we were challenged by our supervisor to research and create a central lubrication warehouse to benefit the company. We put a lot of effort into researching, finding a location, budgeting and planning the creation of a lubrication warehouse. After the idea was proposed to upper management, it was determined that it had the highest return on investment of any of the 2014 budget requests. The company felt so strongly about the importance of this project that they wanted it completed by the end of 2013.

The old lubrication warehouse was chosen as the location, and several modifications were needed. A heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system was added to maintain a climate-controlled temperature of a constant 72 degrees with low humidity. We chose a filtration system with 16 filtering compartments, tanks and dispensers. We are controlling the amount of oil being ordered, which was excessive. The inventory went from 177 drums of oil down to 50. This was accomplished by working with our oil supplier and implementing a “just in time” procurement system. We adopted the motto for our lubrication warehouse from Noria: “clean, cool and dry.”

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

A: Lubrication has become very important. With the current industry trend of reducing costs to remain competitive, every avenue is analyzed. We determined that we were losing a great deal of money each year by not having a formal lubrication program. The oil was often contaminated before it even reached the equipment, the wrong lubricant was used frequently, different lubricants were used in the same piece of equipment, and equipment was allowed to run dry or was overlubricated. We believe that we are making progress in all of these areas and are helping the company improve its bottom line.

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

A: An initial study on motor and pump repairs at the plant revealed that we were losing approximately $2 million per year due to improper lubricants. To become more competitive in the power generating sector by expanding the life of the equipment and reducing labor and generation loss, we needed to take a proactive approach. This is what initiated our program.

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