ICML Presents Inaugural Award for Machinery Lubrication Excellence

Suzy Jamieson, International Council for Machinery Lubrication

At the Lubrication Excellence 2005 Conference and Exhibition in San Antonio, Texas, the International Council for Machinery Lubrication (ICML) presented the first John R. Battle Award for Excellence in Machinery Lubrication.

Scotty Lippert and his team at Clopay Plastic Products Company, of Augusta, Kentucky were recognized for their outstanding efforts in developing and implementing a world-class lubrication program.

Need for Change

“Approximately three years ago, Clopay’s operations management made the decision to develop world-class maintenance systems. Plant engineers at the Augusta and Nashville North America facilities identified the key areas within the maintenance functions that are critical for development of world-class maintenance.

Each plant had a specific maintenance area to master, and set the standard for the other plants to incorporate into their maintenance systems. Our Augusta plant was selected to set the standard for the machinery lubrication and oil analysis program,” Lippert said.

Clopay is now world-class in its lubrication program. Scotty’s efforts have been recognized by suppliers, management and industry peers who visit his facility to seek his advice, as well as magazines such as Machinery Lubrication and Practicing Oil Analysis which have published articles on his successful program.

Once again, an ICML award recipient was an industry-recognized pioneer, someone industry speaks highly of and sees as an example to follow, now gaining proper international recognition through ICML’s John R. Battle Award for Excellence in Machinery Lubrication.

Figure 1. Lubrication team at Clopay in Augusta,
Kentucky. Left to right: Rick Combs, Wayne
Blevins, Junior Blevins, Fred Hargett, Brian
Blackford, Randal Smith, John Henwood, Scotty
Lippert, Robert Scott, Ronnie Youngman.

Plant-wide Improvements

“We performed an optimization analysis of equipment, based upon reliability-centered maintenance (RCM) rationale, which encompassed the entire plant,” Lippert said.

“An evaluation was conducted to ensure alignment with the computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) and ISO systems. In our experience, three things must occur before world-class lubrication can be achieved: training, a lube survey, and a cost analysis to present to management.

Once training and buy-in from management is achieved, the preplanning of installing world-class systems can begin. In our case, constructing a world-class lube room and making it compatible to the machinery in our facilities, such as labeling and quick-disconnects, was the initial step.”

“We projected it would take three years to convert our facilities and start seeing payback, but we’ve actually seen payback immediately. The new program met our objective by extending mean time between failures.

Our lubrication program is tied in with vibration analysis, thermography and other programs. Oil is now changed on-condition rather than time intervals, and grease is installed in the right amounts at the right time.

Lubricant cleanliness levels were unheard of at our plant three years ago, but now targets are set. It is a long and hard road to achieve world-class lubrication when your facility has been off-base for years. At our plant, we know where we’re at compared to where we used to be. Our program is world-class, but we know that we can and will keep improving.”

Figure 2. Each oil transfer cart has filtration.
Oil is filtered when pumped into the cart and
also filtered when pumped out.

Role of Team Leader

Lippert and his team embody the spirit of ICML, an organization created to advocate the needs and dignify the profession of lubrication practitioners. Lippert is a respected lubrication technician doing an extraordinary job.

His commitment and efforts prove that such improvements cannot be accomplished by senior management alone, without the committed and innovative participation of the folks performing the daily lubrication tasks, those “with the grease under their fingernails – and proud of it!” These are the people whom ICML serves.

Lippert and all other lubrication technicians in the industry are the “human factor of reliability” and deserve industry’s support, respect and recognition. The author is happy ICML is doing its part in ensuring that this becomes a reality, and hopes industry as a whole will follow suit. Well done Scotty!

The opportunity to apply for the Battle Award is available to you and your organization. ICML cannot nominate the company on your behalf. Nominations must come from the industry, so it is up to you to start the process. For more information or to apply visit www.icmlonline.com.

Related Reading
Jamieson, S. “Recognizing Excellence in Machinery Lubrication - ICML Announces the John R. Battle Award.” Machinery Lubrication magazine. November-December 2004.

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