Simmons Feed Ingredients Wins Battle Award

Leslie Fish, ICML

Members of the Simmons team, including (from left to right)
William Hada, Tim Newman and Kyle Rubeck, were presented
with the John R. Battle Award at the recent Reliable Plant
Conference & Exhibition in Columbus, Ohio.

The Simmons Feed Ingredients (SFI) plant in Southwest City, Missouri, has been chosen as the recipient of this year’s International Council for Machinery Lubrication (ICML) John R. Battle Award for excellence in the application of machinery lubrication.

Tim Newman, the plant’s maintenance manager, and his team accepted the award during the recent Reliable Plant Conference & Exhibition in Columbus, Ohio.

“I’d like to thank ICML for this award,” Newman said. “It’s a big honor. I’d also like to thank Simmons’ management for all the support they gave us, and my crew for achieving such great results.”

SFI has operated the Southwest City facility since 1984, and as recently as 2012 began concentrating on lubrication and training. The following year, the plant implemented improvements to its lubrication program, applying the latest technology and techniques.

Over the last several years, the Simmons team has attended many industry conferences and researched different methods, processes, materials and training resources used to increase the reliability of machines in the rendering industry.

“When the program first started, we had one type of gear oil, one type of hydraulic oil and one type of grease,” Newman said. “Today, SFI has seen more than a 50-percent reduction in unscheduled production downtime, and this improvement is continuing throughout the facility.”

Oil cleanliness was a major area of concentration. The Simmons team produced a lubrication standards manual including key performance indicators (KPIs). By using an overall performance tracking and metric program to measure its progress, SFI has been able to close reliability gaps and extend the operational life of machines.

“We established new standards and put a training plan in place, applying best practices in machine lubricant purchase, storage and transport,” Newman noted.

The Simmons team also introduced lubricant standards and procedures into the employment and onboarding process as well as established an expectation for certification requirements. The Southwest City plant now has a team of oil analysts, vibration analysts, thermographers and other condition monitoring specialists who work together to collect and monitor data from a central database. Condition-based maintenance technologies are employed along with a computerized maintenance management system for tracking routes and scheduling tools to ensure compliance.

Other improvements included regular maintenance planning meetings, laser alignment, basic equipment care workshops, inspections completed on regular intervals and condition-based preventive maintenance.

“Simmons’ leadership has been and continues to be a vital part of the improvements we have achieved in machine lubricants,” Newman added.

Battle Award Criteria

The John R. Battle Award was designed to motivate companies to improve machine reliability and maintenance quality through development, implementation and management of a best-in-class machinery lubrication program.

To become an award recipient, an organization must demonstrate a solid lubrication program, supported by multi-disciplinary efforts and approaches, with sustainable results and continued improvements. Among other factors, the John R. Battle Award criteria will include the following:

  • Commitment to education and skills competencies
  • Maintenance culture and management support
  • Lubricant selection, lubricant performance standards and lubricant consolidation
  • Preventive, predictive and proactive program design and effectiveness
  • Lubrication program metrics and overall performance tracking
  • Lubricant storage, handling, safety and conservation
  • Lubrication PM optimization, work plan management, scheduling and documentation
  • Oil analysis program design, test slates, lab selection and setting of alarms
  • Oil analysis sampling frequency, sampling hardware and procedures
  • Contamination exclusion and removal
  • Oil and grease application methods and hardware deployed
  • Continuous improvement

ICML awards are open to organizations worldwide. A company does not need to be involved with ICML to receive the award. To submit a nomination for one of ICML’s recognition of excellence awards, email your plant information to For additional information, visit

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