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Name: Linus Rausch
Title: Maintenance Manager
Years of Service: 13 years
Company: Lubrication Engineers Inc.
Location: Wichita, Kan.
Linus Rausch got an early start in machinery lubrication, beginning on his family’s farm at the age of 10. Since then, he has worked as a butcher for a meat-packing company, as a maintenance technician at a plastics company and as a facilities manager over four plants. For the past 13 years, Rausch has been employed at Lubrication Engineers (LE), where he was hired as a maintenance technician and then promoted to maintenance manager after just one year. During his time at LE, he has built a database of company assets, implemented a new lubrication program including lube routes and installed sight glasses on most gearboxes and desiccant breathers in his facility.
Q What types of training have you taken to get you to your current position?
A I have taken management classes at Wichita State University, multi-point lubrication systems training, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety training, and hazardous waste operations and emergency response (HAZWOPER) training.
Q What professional certifications have you attained?
A I have attained the Machine Lubrication Technician (MLT) Level l certification from the International Council for Machinery Lubrication (ICML).
Q Are you planning to obtain additional training or achieve higher certifications?
A I plan to attain the MLT II certification from ICML and the Certified Lubrication Specialist (CLS) certification from the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers (STLE).
Q What’s a normal work day like for you?
A The maintenance team begins the day with a discussion of the previous day’s activities, including resolutions to any problems. After the meeting, we proceed to the lubrication routes and scheduled work orders. After lunch, we have a 5-minute briefing on any unforeseen problems and how to resolve them. After the scheduled shift is over, I plan the next day’s work and verify that the parts are on hand for scheduled work orders.
Q What is the amount and range of equipment that you help service through lubrication/oil analysis tasks?
A The equipment our team services includes several grease kettles with 2,000- to 15,000-pound capacities and oil blenders with 1,200- to 20,000-gallon capacities. We also service a large array of positive-displacement pumps and labeling and capping equipment.
Q What lubrication-related projects are you currently working on?
A We are always looking for areas to improve. We continue to fine-tune our lubricant sampling schedule by using a criticality process. With our lubrication reliability software, we continually update all aspects of our lubrication processes. This ensures that we service each lubricant point with the right lubricant in the right amount at the right time.
Q What have been some of the biggest project successes in which you’ve played a part?
A I set up our lube room with color-coded containers and labels to correspond with tags on equipment. I tagged all gearboxes and hydraulic systems with color-coding, asset number, oil name and viscosity index. I also started using color-coded clear grease guns that correspond with color-coded grease zerks to eliminate any chance of cross-contamination or misapplication.
Q How does your company view machinery lubrication in terms of importance and overall business strategy?
A LE strives to be a leader in lubrication reliability, showing our customers that we practice what we preach. We care for our equipment the way we would like to see our customers care for theirs, thus increasing the longevity of the lubricant and the equipment. This makes for the best use of our maintenance dollars and ensures a positive impact on the company’s bottom line.
Q What do you see as some of the more important trends taking place in the lubrication and oil analysis field?
A With the current global economy, many companies have had to re-evaluate their strategy of how maintenance is performed. Lubrication reliability from the container to the application has become a driving factor because companies are using older equipment instead of using capital funds to buy new machinery. Companies are looking for efficiencies to counteract the “hidden plant” within their own walls.
Q What has made your company decide to put more emphasis on machinery lubrication?
A LE is proactive with lubrication practices and is dedicated to incorporating the best lubrication practices, including keeping its maintenance team up to date with training.