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Nearly 1,000 industry experts, leaders and decision-makers from around the world recently journeyed to Cleveland, Ohio, for Noria Corporation’s 16th annual Reliable Plant Conference and Exhibition. The premier event for lubrication, oil analysis and reliability professionals saw delegates from 41 U.S. states and 28 countries.
Attendees were able to choose from more than 75 learning sessions on a variety of topics, such as how to successfully build a reliability-centered culture, using key performance indicators to optimize your lubrication program, predicting equipment failures with condition-based maintenance and driving reliability with 1-minute daily inspections.
“The learning sessions have been really good,” noted Kevin King of Royal Manufacturing. “There have been a lot of great presenters and speakers. I have learned a lot. It has been a very valuable show.”
Case studies were presented by a number of industry leaders, including Duke Energy’s Russell Flagg, Owens Corning’s Roger Watson, DuPont’s David Kesterson, Cargill’s Ted Melencheck, Ashland Specialty Ingredients’ Kenny Myers and Seminole Electric’s Brian Thorp.
“What I like about Reliable Plant are the professionals and experts that we get exposed to,” said William Hada of Simmons Feed Ingredients. “We get to talk with people who are in the same situation that we are in. There are a lot of very knowledgeable people sharing different ideas and things to help us improve our organization’s reliability and uptime.”
The new certificate track program gave attendees a chance to follow a guided track of learning sessions and earn a certificate of completion for attending at least one session in each of the track categories. Participants also were provided with VIP lounge access and a round-table breakfast where industry experts discussed seven key factors that impact performance improvements.
In the exhibition hall, nearly 100 industry-leading companies and organizations showcased a broad range of products and services. Among the exhibitors displaying new products and solutions included Y2K Fluid Power, Dry Hydraulics, Koehler Instrument Co., Azima and MRG Labs.
“I’ve just been trying to sift through all the vendors and see what’s out there,” remarked Jeremy Moen of Babcock and Wilcox. “There’s lots of information, and it seemed like everybody was willing to share. It was pretty much all new to me. It’s encouraging to see that there’s not just one vendor for any particular thing. You’ve got probably four, five or six choices on any one topic that you want to discuss.”
Before the event, half-day pre-conference workshops were offered on how to detect and control lubrication failure modes, best practices for oil sampling, and designing and implementing an effective electric motor lubrication program. Post-conference workshops were also presented on best practices for receiving new lubricant deliveries and how to design, implement and maintain a powerful oil analysis program.
“Jeremy Wright’s workshop was great,” said Joe Anderson of the J.M. Smucker Co. “He is a very technical guy, and we love that, being technical guys ourselves. And to see the bigger picture with Jim Fitch’s workshop was great as well. He painted the overall picture of the industry, and it was phenomenal. We really appreciated it.”
In the opening general session, the keynote address was delivered by CBS television commentator and former NBA star Clark Kellogg, who explained how to be a difference maker by embracing change, employing teamwork, enjoying the process and staying humble.
“We are all in a journey, both personally and professionally,” Kellogg told attendees. “No matter what you are doing, you have to enjoy the process of trying to get better. Being at a conference is part of it, investing time, resources, energy and attention so that you have a chance to add to your quiver of skills and network. It’s not always glamorous or fun, but when you can embrace that process, you have a chance to get better and be at your best.”
The opening general session also featured the International Council for Machinery Lubrication (ICML) presenting the Augustus H. Gill Award for excellence in oil analysis to Exelon Wind (click here to see the related article). ICML and the Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals offered onsite testing during the three-day event for those looking to obtain certification.
An exclusive tour of the state-of-the-art TestOil laboratory gave attendees the opportunity to watch as lab analysts performed actual oil analysis testing. The 90-minute tour consisted of an up-close-and-personal view of an advanced industrial oil analysis laboratory along with food and beverages.
A number of conference delegates also ventured to the nearby Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum to learn about the history and significance of rock and roll music.
The two evening receptions allowed attendees to network and mingle with other industry leaders in a relaxed atmosphere while enjoying some good music, drinks and hors d’oeuvres.
“This was a great way to interact with many people from around the country with similar job interests, as well as an opportunity to listen to many pros in similar fields in a short period of time,” noted Charlie Harbin of Michelin.
Several organizations sent multiple representatives to hear the learning sessions and see the products in the exhibit hall, including Bunge North America, Holcim, CITGO, DuPont, MillerCoors, Honda North America and Nissan.
The event came to a close with a drawing for the show-prize giveaway, which this year was a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle. All registered attendees who visited each of the sponsoring exhibitors’ booths were eligible to win, but it was Michelin powerhouse operator Jon Fox who was the winner.
“That wasn’t my name was it?” Fox asked when his name was drawn. “It feels amazing (to be the winner). Honestly, it is still not processing yet. I am extremely surprised and extremely happy. I’ve been contemplating buying a motorcycle for years, and I guess now I don’t have to contemplate it anymore. I’m going to be a rider.”
Excitement is already building for next year’s Reliable Plant Conference and Exhibition, scheduled for April 5-7, 2016, in Louisville, Kentucky. For registration, speaker or exhibitor information, visit conference.reliableplant.com.