The road to better manufacturing performance is littered with well-meaning improvement efforts that fall short. In some cases, initial progress fizzles out due to a lack of structure and incentives. In others, the workforce never embraces the desired change, viewing it as a top-down directive rather than an initiative they can truly own. Although executives often recognize emerging issues that impede improvement, developing and executing strategies that effectively address those issues have proved to be a recurring challenge.
How long will a bearing last? Standardized life equations help to answer.
Experience shows seemingly identical rolling bearings operated under identical conditions may not last the same amount of time. In most cases, it is impractical to test a statistically significant number of bearings, so engineers rely on standardized bearing-life calculations to select and size bearings for a particular application. These calculations continue to evolve and become more accurate over time, reflecting the collective experience of the bearing industry, including recent advances in manufacturing, tribology, materials, end-user condition monitoring, and computation. Continue reading
When it comes to asset management, most companies focus on maintenance, repair and operations (MRO). In theory, this makes sense. You would think that focusing on MRO would be the most effective way to improve equipment performance and reduce downtime. But in fact, it can compromise the effort. Too much focus on MRO prevents people from taking a step back and seeing the big picture. Continue reading
Excessive heat in a manufacturing or warehouse environment has negative effects on workers, production levels and even the quality of produced or stored goods. This is a growing concern because today’s North American industries are being pressed hard to match offshore production options. Fortunately there are plant cooling solutions that can solve this problem.
Research currently being carried out by the Center for Risk and Reliability, University of Maryland 1, and funded by the U.S. Navy is aimed at quantifying reliability in scientific terms. The present study “relies on a science-based explanation of damage as the source of material failure and develops an alternative approach to reliability assessment based on the second law of thermodynamics.” Current reliability calculations are predisposed to a single failure mode or mechanism and assume a constant failure rate, while this research implies that reliability is a function of the level of damage a system can sustain, with the operational environment, operating conditions and operational envelope determining the rate of damage growth.
Monitoring the condition of large industrial machinery provides long term benefits in terms of lower production cost, reduced equipment down time, improved reliability, and increased safety. Industrial manufacturers face a constant battle in keeping production equipment operational. Ensuring that all of the key elements of the process are in good working order allows them to standardize costs, ensure consistent output of the end product, and reduce the risk of delivery delay to their customers.
Machine and equipment manufacturers today are feeling more pressure than ever to reduce costs without sacrificing machine performance — a balancing act difficult to achieve. OEMs often overlook a simple solution that can have a positive, long-term impact on profitability for themselves and their customers, i.e. — the elimination of bearing lubricant. By eliminating lubrication systems where possible, OEMs can reduce production costs while at the same time make their equipment more marketable and less expensive to operate for end users. What are the issues with bearing lubricant? According to a major ball bearing company, 54 percent of bearing failures are lubrication-related (Fig. 1).
In a great step forward from management, an experienced reliability engineer was hired to help improve plant reliability. The first task for this engineer was to determine the equipment that causing the biggest losses for the business. Having had a CMMS in use for a number of years, this was the obvious place to start. The first place to look was the breakdown data, and this was easy to locate, as all breakdown work requests had been tagged in the CMMS. The breakdown crew had been trained well in the use of the CMMS, and each breakdown had been coded appropriately, which made it easy work to identify chronic losses. Continue reading