Baker Streamlines Lubrication Tasks at Pfizer

Name: Trevor Baker

Age: 29

Company: Pfizer Inc.

Location: McPherson, Kansas

Trevor Baker is a driven reliability engineer working to reduce downtime at Pfizer’s McPherson plant, where they manufacture sterile injectable medicines used daily in hospitals around the world. The approximately 1,800 employees in McPherson support highly technical manufacturing capabilities, including aseptic (sterile) manufacturing, lyophilization (freeze-drying), terminal sterilization and onsite stability testing. Baker attributes his success to continuing his education and receiving certifications in machinery lubrication, ultrasound and infrared thermography.

Q: How long have you worked for your company, and which positions have you held?

A: 2.5 years as a Reliability Engineer.

Q: When did you get your start in machinery lubrication, and how did it happen?

A: I got my start in a previous role as a reliability supervisor in a food manufacturing plant. We had a wide variety of lubrication needs with a temperature range of -40°F to 500 °F, food grade and non-food grade lubricants, greases, and hydraulic and gearbox oils. This required the need for a robust lubrication and PM program to maintain the reliability of the assets.

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

A: I hold a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology, and I am currently working towards my Professional Master of Technology degree with a graduate certificate in business administration. Other trainings that have benefited me in my reliability career include Machinery Lubrication Technician, Ultrasound Level 1, IR Level 1, Motor Circuit Analysis, Precision Alignment, training from conferences, and training from mentors.

Q: What professional certifications have you attained?

A: Machinery Lubrication Technician 1, Machinery Lubrication Analysis 1, Ultrasound Level 1 and Infrared Thermography Level 1

Q: Are you planning to obtain additional training or achieve higher certifications? If so, why and which ones?

A: Yes, I will continue to achieve higher certifications to challenge myself by learning new topics and expanding my ability to be a leader in reliability. The next certifications I am working to obtain are the Certified Maintenance and Reliability Professional (CMRP), Certified Reliability Leader, and Optical Gas Imaging Level 1.

Q: What’s a normal workday like for you?

A: Normal days entail working on projects to improve asset reliability, meeting and working with colleagues to understand process and equipment issues, and working to improve overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).

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

A: Over 15,000 onsite assets, each requiring anywhere from no interaction to daily lubrication requirements.

Q: What lubrication-related projects are you currently working on?

A: I am currently working to introduce the use of single point-lubricators and high-quality grease for critical assets where service intervals vary due to operational requirements.

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

A: The biggest success I have seen is educating and understanding the five rights of lubricating. This itself can lead to PM program improvements and a reduction of equipment failures.

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

A: Currently, there is an understanding of the need for lubrication and why it is needed in maintaining equipment reliability. As the reliability mindset begins to take over, this will continue to change and improve as best practices are implemented.

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

A: As reliability becomes a focus for more and more of the industry, the need for robust lubrication programs becomes even more critical in maintaining equipment, thus requiring more lubrication experts to lead the charge.

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

A: Understanding, through education, that improper lubrication practices are a leading contributor to equipment failures.

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