Misanchuk, Koch Embracing Change in Lubrication Practices

Name: Todd Misanchuk

Age: 51

Job Title: Machinery Lubrication Technician and Analyst

Company: Koch Fertilizer

Location: Manitoba,Canada

Length of Service: 25 years

After 18 years of shift work at the Koch Fertilizer facility in Manitoba, Canada, Todd Misanchuk decided that a change was needed when the lubrication technician position became available at the plant. Once he started performing lubrication tasks, he soon discovered that he truly enjoyed what he was doing and that the different machines around the plant required specific lubricants and attention. This was a completely new field for Misanchuk, but he embraced the change and the challenge. Misanchuk was given the opportunity to receive the education he needed and was encouraged to continue to forge a path to success.

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

A: I studied Noria’s online machinery lubrication courses before I transferred into my new job. I then took a four-day training course offered by my oil analysis lab that included a one-day course on how to use the oil analysis database as well as three days on oil analysis and machinery lubrication principles and best practices. I have also attended the Reliable Plant conference the past two years and a three-day lubrication refresher course as part of my recertification requirement.

Q: What professional certifications have you attained?

A: I hold Level I Machine Lubrication Technician (MLT) and Level II Machine Lubricant Analyst (MLA) certifications from the International Council for Machinery Lubrication (ICML). I also hold a Power Engineering Fourth Class certificate and a certificate in management skills.

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

A: I am interested in attaining the MLT II and MLA III certifications. I will also become certified and develop a program for ultrasonic technology later this year. This will be the newest technology to be introduced at our facility and will enhance our reliability department along with our vibration analysis.

Q: What is a normal work day like for you?

A: A normal work day always starts with safety first by attending a toolbox safety meeting with our mechanical department. Then our rotating equipment reliability group will meet to discuss any safety or mechanical issues that need to be addressed. The rest of the day is used to perform predictive maintenance (PdM) scheduled tasks, which include lubrication inspections, mechanical integrity routes, and maintenance tasks such as scheduled oil changes and oil filter and desiccant breather changes. Other tasks involve collecting oil samples, analyzing results and acting upon any deficiencies that have been detected. I also find time to manage the lubrication survey for our rotating equipment, control inventory levels and set up lubrication-related PMs.

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

A: We average 50 oil samples a month at our facility. I help service air compressors, carbon-dioxide compressors, high-pressure ammonia pumps, turbo machinery, process pumps, gearboxes, conveyor belts, shaker screens, rotating drums, blowers and electric motors.

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

A: I am working on a large project to improve the cleanliness of our incoming oil. It started with a complete housecleaning of the lube room. I have had the walls painted and the floor coated to reduce the dust. The next step is to start using high-efficiency oil filtration pumps with particle counters to clean up our incoming oil to a specific ISO code before introducing it into our machinery. I have started working with our oil filter distributor to audit our machinery to establish ISO cleanliness specifications and improve our filtering, air and water ingression, and best sampling practices. The next phase is to upgrade all of our machinery oil filters to high-efficient filters in order to help maintain the oil cleanliness. I also have plans to implement a bulk oil storage and delivery system for our carbon-dioxide compressors.

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

A: I have introduced better oil and flammable product storage cabinets along with the use of color-coded transfer containers for our different oils. This includes matching tags on the oil-filling totes and related equipment. I have also introduced clear-tube, color-coded grease guns and changed grease suppliers to consolidate the main greases used at the plant from six down to three. In addition, I have shifted our oil change strategy with our larger equipment from time-based oil changes to condition-based oil changes that are dependent upon oil analysis.

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

A: My company understands that there is a great need for a detailed lubrication program and has given me the latitude to develop and implement many of the lubrication strategies I have learned. It has been proven numerous times that machinery failures can be predicted or mitigated with early detection of wear particles and contamination through oil analysis. Our lubrication program is a vital part of our overall reliability vision to maintain viable and sustainable success for our facility.

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

A: I feel that tribology has been the runt of the litter for many years. Most companies do not have a dedicated or even certified lubrication specialist at their facility. Education, training and recognition are the keys to the future. Contamination control is also critical to maintain reliability, and many manufacturers are stepping up to provide the best defense against this.

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

A: After a few machinery failures at our facility, my company has realized that machinery lubrication is needed to ensure reliability. Lubricants rarely fail. The damage usually occurs because of contamination, water or heat. I have developed or improved our program in nearly every aspect thanks to the support and confidence of my supervisors. By proving how a well-maintained and executed lubrication program can increase reliability at our facility, my company is now expanding its machinery lubrication strategies to our other facilities.

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