Kennecott Wins Oil Analysis Excellence Award

Suzy Jamieson, International Council for Machinery Lubrication

During the recent Lubrication Excellence 2005 conference, ICML presented its fourth Augustus H. Gill Award for Excellence in Oil Analysis. The 2004 award went to Art Durnan and his Kennecott Energy Company’s Maintenance and Reliability group. Art submitted an application on behalf of Colowyo Coal mine, a Rio Tinto Company, which was chosen as the 2004 recipient of the Gill Award.

The maintenance and reliability group of Kennecott Energy Company was formed in 2002 in response to a Kennecott Energy management directive to improve maintenance and reliability practices at the five mines in the Kennecott system. Art was given the position of manager of maintenance and reliability of the group and had the privilege to lead the implementation of the work.

Figure 1. Kennecott team at the Alamo. Left to right:
Danny Sparling, Perry Simunek, Craig Softley,
Art Durnan, Dennis Somerder, Scott Anderson, Ken Sheets

“The elements of these programs are embarrassingly simple, but as expected, are more difficult to execute. Our energy was directed at the basics of contamination control, filtration, a competent used oil analysis program backed by a great lab, and robust software. We trained our people,” Art said.

“Technology was seen as an enabler in accomplishing the work. Adopting leading practice such as on-line sensors helped define the program. Shifting from conservative time-directed programs to on-condition is the end result. This reduces the cost of mining and increases stockholder value.”

The Gill award was developed in 2001 to encourage companies to improve machine reliability and maintenance quality through oil analysis. It has since then recognized role models for benchmarking and setting of performance standards by the oil analysis community.


Art and his team join past recipients of the Gill Award: Bryan Johnson and his team at Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station (Arizona Public Power), Sharon Dory and her team at Smoky Canyon Mine (J.R. Simplot) and Danny White and his team at Plant Branch (Georgia Power).

These outstanding programs and their professionals were recognized for extraordinary efforts and dedication to improving their companies’ maintenance and reliability programs through excellence in the application of used oil analysis. In fact, Art had once before been up on the podium holding a Gill Award, when Sharon Dory received the 2002 award. Art had been part of the oil analysis program team at Smokey Canyon before joining Kennecott Energy and was recognized by Sharon for his contributions to their program during the presentation ceremony that year.

Figure 2. Oil Sample Center

Art was recognized once again for his success in improving processes and setting benchmarks in best practices for oil analysis programs. Upon receiving the award, Art commented, “It would be impossible to thank everyone who was instrumental in winning this award, but I would be remiss if I did not recognize a few of the original people, the reliability engineers and specialists: Daniel Adams, Bob Jewell, Perry Simunek, Danny Sparling, Dennis Somerder and to Craig Softley, for urging us to apply.”

“The application process for the Gill award allows an organization to articulate their journey. The journey at Kennecott Energy is not yet over. Much work has been accomplished and much remains to be done. In the years ahead, no doubt, Kennecott Energy will sustain this beginning work and improve on it,” Art said.

“One of the key benefits of winning the Gill Award is that it sets an organizational standard for lubrication excellence and lubrication excellence is a competitive advantage in the mining industry.” The Gill Award is a good report to management that the right work is being performed. Rio Tinto is now embarking on a major improvement project globally and one key component is lubrication management.”

The ICML Awards Committee evaluates nominated organizations for their commitment to education, maintenance culture and management support, performance measurements used, proactive/predictive maintenance, use of standardized procedures, technology integration, contamination control, lubrication management, oil analysis methods and strategies, use of information technology and continuous improvement. To be considered for the award, a company must be nominated by one of its employees or a member of industry. ICML does not nominate companies for the award. If you would like your company or a company you admire to be recognized for a job well done, encourage them to apply for the Gill award. Applications can be downloaded from

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