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Name: Gary Bennett
Job Title: Washer Maintenance PM Mechanic
Company: The Mosaic Co.
Location: Bradley, Florida
Length of Service: 43 years
Gary Bennett has worked for Mosaic and its preceding companies in the phosphate mining industry for more than 43 years. After starting as a laborer when he was 18 years old, he spent the next six years in various operations positions, including as a sizer operator, locomotive operator and flotation plant operator. Bennett began working in machinery lubrication when he entered the maintenance apprenticeship trainee program. Following a few years as a general mechanic, he started performing preventive maintenance (PM) tasks and became more involved in lubrication. Over the past two years, he has helped the Four Corners Mine make tremendous improvements in its PM process by establishing a lube room, filtering oil, using best practices for contamination control, greasing motors using ultrasound technology and performing oil sampling.
Q: What types of training have you taken to get to your current position?
A: I completed a four-year maintenance apprenticeship program to become a mechanic. Since then, I have completed Mosaic’s Precision Maintenance training course, Machine Lubrication Technician Level I training, and Machine Lubricant Analyst Level II training.
Q: What professional certifications have you attained?
A: I have obtained the Machine Lubrication Technician Level I (MLTI) and the Machine Lubricant Analyst Level II (MLAII) certifications.
Q: What’s a normal work day like for you?
A: I clock in at 7 a.m. and attend the morning maintenance meeting with my fellow mechanics to get the day’s assignments. If I am not assigned anything specific to repair, I start my PM route by checking the oil level and condition of my pumps. I set up my filter cart and generator on a pump bearing assembly to be filtered for that day. During my PM route, I make small repairs to equipment as needed. I record temperature and vibration readings, report my findings on a PM sheet and enter follow-up work orders. Once a week I do PMs on a hydraulic system in the washer, which involves checking the reservoir’s oil condition, the kidney-loop filter for proper operation, the breather condition and for leaks in the system. I also perform monthly oil sampling, grease motors using ultrasound every three months and complete the daily 5-S check of the lube room.
Q: What is the amount and range of equipment that you help service through lubrication/oil analysis tasks?
A: I maintain more than 30 pumps, one hydraulic system that powers more than 20 valves, and use two oil-filtering units. The 30 pumps are a mixture of horizontal slurry pumps (direct and belt driven) and vertical water pumps, with motors that have oil-lubricated bearings and an automatic grease system for the pump bushings.
Q: On what lubrication-related projects are you currently working?
A: I am currently assembling a trailer that will house a generator and second filter cart for pump bearings. I am also actively installing oil sample ports and quick connects on the pump bearing assemblies. In addition, I am continuing to help develop our motor greasing program using ultrasound technology. Soon I will be gathering special sets of samples and, based on the results, establishing oil change intervals for specific pumps.
Q: What have been some of the biggest project successes in which you’ve played a part?
A: An overall success we’ve had is transitioning from a reactive maintenance organization to a proactive organization by utilizing oil analysis and oil filtering, establishing a lube room and implementing best practices in contamination control from the MLT training. The hydraulic system PM played a part in helping reduce our plant-wide hydraulic oil contaminant particle count by 95 percent in six months.
Q: How does your company view machinery lubrication in terms of importance and overall business strategy?
A: After safety, lubrication is the most critical aspect of our maintenance program so that equipment doesn’t fail unexpectedly and cause downtime. All of our improvement efforts will help save money and enable Mosaic to be a low-cost producer by reducing equipment failures, downtime and costs/spending, as well as increase planned/scheduled work.
Q: What do you see as some of the more important trends taking place in the lubrication and oil analysis field?
A: An important trend I’ve witnessed over the last couple of years at my plant is bringing lubrication education to the hourly level of an organization so mechanics can look at and understand oil sample reports and then implement corrective actions as needed without having to wait on someone else to interpret the report. Training everyone is the opposite of the “way we’ve always done it” mentality and will provide benefit to any company.