Ingredion’s Hodge Develops World-Class Lubrication Mindset

Name: Josh Hodge

Age: 43

Job Title: Reliability Engineer

Company: Ingredion Canada

Location: Cardinal, Ontario

Length of Service: 18 years

Josh Hodge’s first exposure to machinery lubrication came when he was working as a sheet-metal worker and maintaining hydraulic shears and presses. Without functioning equipment, the shop could not fabricate its ductwork or other custom designs. Later, while serving as a millwright, Hodge focused on equipment top-ups and first fills during machine rebuilds. However, it wasn’t until the commissioning of an ethanol plant that he truly obtained a world-class lubrication mindset. This also was his first time building an entire lubrication program from the bottom up. Now, he regularly assists in the development of new plant lube rooms and programs for Ingredion Canada.

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

A: I have had training in reliability engineering, risk-based asset management, predictive maintenance strategy, root cause analysis, reliability program assessment, condition-based maintenance route creation, planning and scheduling, lubrication fundamentals, acoustic lubrication and vibration analysis.

Q: What professional certifications have you attained?

A: My certifications include Certified Reliability Engineer, Level I and II Machinery Lubrication Technician, Category II and III Vibration Analyst, Level I Ultrasound, and Red Seal Millwright.

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

A: I’m always looking to continue my training to keep driving our program forward and to keep myself current with how the lubrication field is evolving. The new Machinery Lubrication Engineer certification has caught my interest because it brings all the fundamentals of the lubrication world under one umbrella.

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

A: I recently transitioned into a new corporate role as part of Ingredion’s Reliability Center of Excellence. In my old role, I would meet with the lubrication technicians to review any challenges they were facing from the previous day, look at any failures that had occurred, interact with the engineering group on upcoming projects, facilitate root cause analysis (RCA) meetings, and continually make improvements to our lubrication program.

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

A: We have a wide range of equipment, from centrifugal pumps to centrifugal compressors. We sample 80 pieces of equipment routinely and have approximately 3,000 lubrication points.

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

A: My new role will focus on the development of key performance indicators, governance of multiple lubrication programs, continually improving our lubrication databases, and assisting in the commissioning of new plant lubrication rooms and programs.

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

A: Two projects come to mind. The first was when our vibration technicians had become very proficient in predicting bearing failures on a spindle unit. The failures were happening at an interval of every six months, and analysis pointed to lubrication as the root cause of the failures. I tried working with the original equipment manufacturer (OEM), but the age of the unit did not lead to great support. We modified the oil-mist system by adding another mist fitting to the bearing in question and increased the oil viscosity by one ISO viscosity grade. The bearing failure rate soon dropped, resulting in a mean time between repairs (MTBR) of more than two years.

The second project was when our engineering team was replacing a dryer and asked me to review the OEM-recommended lubrication practices, since I had done a considerable amount of lubrication work on our other dryers to increase bearing life.

I considered the ISO viscosity recommendation to be low, while the frequency and relubrication quantity were quite high. I contacted the manufacturer and met with a lot of resistance but eventually convinced them to enter into a partnership with Ingredion and a lubrication vendor.

After a year of operation, we inspected the bearings and found them to be in an as-new condition. After the inspection, the grease recommendations for viscosity and relubrication frequency and quantity were adopted by the OEM. Our dryer also has been in operation for four years without any issues.

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

A: Ingredion views machinery lubrication as a foundational building block in our reliability excellence program. This program is one of the pillars in our overall performance system.

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

A: The most important trend I see happening in the lubrication world is the high-level focus companies are putting on improving their lubrication practices. From the top down, people are beginning to realize the importance and benefits of doing lubrication right.

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

A: The link between equipment uptime, which contributes to overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) improvements, and proper lubrication was the driving force behind putting an emphasis on machinery lubrication.

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