The Oscar of Oil Analysis Programs - The Augustus H. Gill Award

Suzy Jamieson, International Council for Machinery Lubrication

Industry professionals aware of the importance of oil analysis in the greater picture of machine reliability gathered in the brightly lit ballroom at Lubrication Excellence 2004 to learn the name of the 2003 recipient of the Oscar of Oil Analysis Programs - The Augustus H. Gill Award.

As the slides flickered, the audience learned more about the father of oil analysis - Professor Gill - his work, his advanced commitment to education in oil analysis practices, and why his name was chosen for such a prestigious award (see “Who Was Augustus H. Gill?” on page 40).

The Augustus H. Gill Award has become synonymous with excellence in oil analysis. The award is a great honor to oil analysis practitioners worldwide who are striving to improve processes and set benchmarks in best practices in oil analysis programs. It gives them the chance to be recognized, along with their teammates, for their incredible efforts, often times an uphill battle, in improving the quality of this important aspect of world-class lubrication programs.

Past recipients include industry “top guns” Bryan Johnson of Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station (Arizona Public Service) and Sharon Dory of Smoky Canyon Mine (J.R. Simplot). To many practitioners present at previous Gill Award presentations it was no surprise when these winners were announced, for these are people and programs recognized as examples to be followed.

This year, Danny White of Georgia Power (Southern Company) was added to the list of people whose programs are mentioned in conversations and conference breaks for outstanding achievements. As Wayne Gatliff of Georgia Power, receiving the award for Danny White, pointed out, “Georgia Power has come a long way to earn this recognition.”

Danny White proudly sits in the
oil analysis lab at Plant Branch.

Winning Qualities

After implementing a predictive maintenance program in conjunction with a time-based preventive maintenance program in the early 1990s, Georgia Power moved to a plant reliability optimization (PRO) program. It then went on to implement streamlined reliability-centered maintenance (SRCM) in 1998. A condition-based maintenance (CBM) team was derived from the PRO project.

Management was supportive of the proposal presented by the CBM team, and the team was empowered to move forward with all needed changes before implementing the new process. This included selecting the critical equipment to be sampled, selecting the proper sample locations and frequency, and establishing cleanliness targets and alarm limits, among other things.

“This new program was designed to meet our reliability objective by extending our mean time between failures and predicting failures before they occurred,” said Danny White, CBM specialist for Georgia Power.

Georgia Power has now moved to an integrated program, ranging from oil analysis to vibration analysis, thermography and acoustics. The program has a dedicated oil analysis staff utilizing on-site and off-site laboratory services and data integration. The company has made use of live zone sampling, customized targets and limits, and increased cleanliness levels in critical equipment.

Oil is now changed on condition. Georgia Power also invested in employee training to ensure the initiative’s success. The company was able to document savings and financial analysis that support evidence of a well-rounded and comprehensive program.

Georgia Power’s Plant Branch located in Milledgeville, Ga.

Judging Criteria

The International Council for Machinery Lubrication (ICML) has developed the Gill Award to motivate companies to improve machine reliability and maintenance quality through the application of oil analysis. The council relies on practitioners to nominate their companies for the award. Bryan Johnson, Sharon Dory and Danny White not only knew the importance of advocating quality oil analysis programs within their organizations, they also recognized the importance of educating industry in general and encouraging others to follow in their footsteps. They understood that if they didn’t nominate their companies for the award, industry might lose the opportunity to learn from their experiences.

Wayne Gatliff, CBM team leader at Georgia Power, pictured here with ICML’s Suzy Jamieson, accepts the 2004 Augustus H. Gill award for Danny White and Georgia Power at Lubrication Excellence 2004.

The Gill Award nominees are judged by the distinguished ICML Advisory Board members. The applications and essays submitted are scored according to guidelines that include analyzing whether improvements are one of the following: not addressed; only mentioned; referenced, but not demonstrated; or, referenced and backed-up with examples and explanations of activities.

These activities are rated based on whether they are minor or major, single or multiple, or multidisciplinary with results and continued improvements. The ideal candidate should be able to demonstrate, among other things, a solid program backed-up by a multidisciplinary effort and by approaches with sustainable results and continued improvements.

“The importance of a quality lubrication program cannot be overstated. The Gill Award raises the awareness of the contribution that oil analysis plays by recognizing the efforts of companies taking the lead in this effort,” said ICML advisory board member Jerry Putt. “Often, well-run lubrication programs are taken for granted. If just one company decides to focus on improving its lubrication effort and the Gill Award plays some small part in that decision, then our involvement will have been worth it.”

The criteria on which the ICML Advisory Board bases its decisions are:

  • commitment to education
  • maintenance culture and management support
  • performance measurements
  • proactive/predictive maintenance
  • standardized procedures
  • integration of condition monitoring
  • contamination control
  • lubricant management
  • lube analysis strategies
  • use of information technology
  • plan for continuous improvement

Nominate Your Company

Anyone can apply for the Gill Award. Because the nominees are actually plants, an individual can nominate another’s location. For example, an original equipment manufacturer can nominate a customer’s site. If this occurs, the ICML contacts the customers to determine if it would like to accept the nomination and submit the application and essay.

“I feel privileged to be able to review the applications for the Gill Award each year. I personally benefit from broadening my own understanding of the numerous approaches utilized to obtain a successful oil analysis program. I take this evaluation responsibility seriously as I know how much effort is expended in preparing an application and I want to make sure that I give each applicant the attention deserved,” Putt said.

Although the application process is somewhat tedious and time consuming, it is well worth the effort. Bryan Johnson, the first recipient of the Gill Award, believes that even though Palo Verde’s program had management’s support before it received the award, the award added even more credibility. Since the award, the site has made more great strides in its lubrication program.

“The Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station appreciates the honor of receiving the 2001 Gill Award for Lubrication Excellence,” Johnson said. “The lubrication program has made important improvements in the areas of information technology and testing capabilities since it received this award. New custom Web-based software was written for sample laboratory testing and the analysis of test data. The new code has fully integrated other facility IT software to include machine work history on a sample point basis.”

“Lubrication and oil analysis are the most basic, most critical, and possibly the least understood aspects of maintaining plant assets,” said Bill Hillman, another ICML advisory board member. “The Gill Award and ICML bring focus to the importance of proper lubrication and help professionals understand the mysteries of lubrication and oil analysis.” Isn’t it about time your efforts got recognized? Show the world what your oil analysis program has to offer industry. Nominate your company for the 2004 Augustus H. Gill Award.


Who Was Augustus H. Gill?

Augustus Herman Gill, Ph.D., was one of the founding fathers of oil analysis and was perhaps the first to formalize it as a field of study. Gill was born in Canton, Mass., August 1, 1864, and graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a degree in chemistry in 1884 at the age of 20. He continued at MIT for three more years as an assistant and instructor in the chemistry department.

In 1890, Gill received his Ph.D. in chemistry from Leipzig University in Germany and returned to MIT where he was made a full professor in 1909 and emeritus professor in 1934, two years before his death.

During his tenure at MIT, Gill taught courses in oil and gas analysis and the practical testing of alkaloids, asphalt, boiler waters, casein, celluloid, essential oils, glue, inks, paper, rubber, soap and wood preservatives. In 1923, Rhode Island State College conferred upon him the honorary doctor of science degree.

Professor Gill was one of the founding members of the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) D-2 Committee on Petroleum Products and Lubricants, having first joined ASTM in 1906. The first standards from this historic committee did not begin to emerge until about 1911. Gill was an active participant and held offices in many other professional organizations including the American Chemical Society and the Oil Chemists’ Society.

Besides his book, “A Short Handbook on Oil Analysis,” published in 11 editions, he was the author of “Gas and Fuel Analysis for Engineers” (10 editions) and “Engine Room Chemistry” (three editions). His daughter Helen Gill, also a graduate of MIT, shared his interest in oil analysis and coauthored several works with him, including “A Possible Test for the Oiliness of Oils” and “Industrial and Engineering Chemistry,” May, 1926. Gill’s grandchildren, Mary Elizabeth Jones and Paul Gill, currently live in New England.

This article, originally written by Jim Fitch, Noria Corp., is reprinted from the November-December 2000 issue of Practicing Oil Analysis.

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