Lean Manufacturing Center of Latest Trico Upgrade

Trico exists to assist maintainers and operations professionals, lean process allows Trico to improve on a constant basis.

Lubrication Management / Oil analysisTrico is committed to providing the best service and delivery to its customers. This time around it’s updating and upgrading its machine shop to provide better cycle times, faster set-ups, and more reliable parts manufacturing. Trico has upgraded its machine shop by adding two additional 4 axis machining centers. The two new centers are designed to provide faster cycles on the parts that Trico machines from stock. These faster cycles will provide more capacity in terms of the number of parts per hour that are possible. The additional machining centers are built to include things like live tooling and additional quick change tooling to provide much faster set-up times compared to its other machining centers.

The set-up time on the new machines could be up to 50% faster, which means substantial productivity gains over time. Keeping movements of the tooling and operator touches to a minimum will provide a leaner process throughout the process from raw materials to finished parts.

Trico machinists and supply chain personnel studied the configuration of the shop floor as well, they were able to re-position the machines to provide an optimized layout, and this contributes to lean manufacturing by decreasing the movement of machinists on the shop floor itself. The expanded capabilities means that over time the options and opportunities for Trico will continue to grow.

Have you taken a look at the full spectrum of products that Trico can offer? When your customers repair or replace machining centers it is the perfect time to integrate new lubrication products like Trico dispensers or our line of coolants/lubricants.


Maintenance Regimes Simplified | Basics Every Maintainer Needs to Know

Maintenance has improved via the use of technology, however, a basic understanding of regimes is important to find which route protects your most critical equipment.

IMG_0297In researching relevant topics for maintainers in an effort to provide value with this content, I realized that there are many posts dedicated to the explanation of various different regimes. Most of which are excellent informational posts designed to truly get to the core of each concept and provide much detail into the inner-workings of each. This brought me to the question: Is that valuable? Is that what people really use to put maintenance regimes in place? Does this help in making a determination in which regimes are right for an organization? I believe that the answers are yes…and no.
I believe that in no uncertain terms when you are ready to develop and implement a maintenance strategy the due diligence process takes over and thus no blog post or article should be the crux of said strategy. In fact Trico has built a business on training and providing the TLM (total lubrication management) regime. If maintainers and operators could simply get this information from a post or an article how could this be possible and have so much value? The reality is that maintainers and operators really desire a broad overview of regimes, which then get boiled down into more detailed plans based on the criticality of the machinery in the plant. There are industry specific regimes that could be generally applied not one, however, is 100% transferrable.
Here is the rundown of basic maintenance regimes, hopefully with just the right amount of detail. If you feel this post is too detailed or vague or would like to add or comment please do so via our twitter or facebook using the tag #tricocorporation.
Run to Fail
This particular style is very simple and pretty self-explanatory. Run the equipment until it fails or goes hard down, requiring repair or replacement. This regime is typically used on non-critical assets which require low amounts of resources and don’t have much effect on the bottom line when compared to downtime. Critical equipment is typically never run to fail unless repair or replacement is extremely fast and cost efficient. Interestingly a good lubrication program could potentially create value for this strategy in rotating equipment by extending its life past the normal or manufacturer recommended oil change frequency, increasing the bottom line by decreasing the overall cost of replacement.

Preventative Maintenance
This maintenance regime relies heavily on the care and servicing by personnel designed around maintaining equipment and facilities in such a way as to prevent equipment downtime. Maintenance, including tests, measurements, adjustments, and parts replacement, performed specifically to prevent faults from occurring. We’ve all heard the saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, and this statement could easily be the crux for any PM programs.
Preventive Maintenance activities include partial or complete overhauls at specified periods (typically when down time is least burdensome on production), oil changes, lubrication, minor adjustments, and so on. In addition, data logging equipment deterioration can paint a picture of underlying issues that can cause system failure. The ideal preventive maintenance program would prevent all unplanned downtime due to equipment failure before the failures occur.
Preventative Maintenance is a broad spectrum of styles encompassing:
• Prognostics
• Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM)
• Corrective Maintenance
• Operational Maintenance
• Predictive Maintenance (PdM)
• Value Driven Maintenance
A few to note here as being popular in modern manufacturing, Reliability Centered Maintenance or better known as RCM, and Predictive Maintenance or PdM. These two are widely accepted and used to be sure that systems continue to operate at a maximum efficiency. This does not mean that equipment stays running 100% of the time, more that any down time can be planned for and that typically saves companies money in terms of lost production.

Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) – An engineering framework that defines the operational parameters of an entire maintenance regime. First used by United Airlines to describe their optimum maintenance requirements for their fleet of aircraft, this regime can be used to create strategies around the most critical of assets in a plant. This framework specifically addresses maintenance preventable failures and can result in a program that exceeds uptime requirements with less resources. RCM uses techniques from standard preventative measures as well as predictive maintenance techniques.

Predictive Maintenance (PdM) – is the process of continuous monitoring of equipment condition to ascertain a reasonable failure window in time. This process saves time because maintenance tasks can be performed only when needed vs. on a standard schedule. PdM inspections are typically performed when the machinery is operating normally, reducing costly downtime. Successful PdM programs rely heavily on representative data which is consistently tracked and documented over time. PdM techniques include infrared, acoustic, vibration analysis, oil analysis, and others. In the future this type of monitoring will see extensive advancements in technology based on the current rate of sensor development and the development of wireless networks.

Operational Maintenance
This regime is typically the care and minor maintenance and cleaning of equipment by operators in the field. This typically does not require any advanced training or skill to accomplish. The operator is aware of the state of readiness of the equipment and can quickly maintain the equipment reducing the delays in waiting for additional, more qualified, maintenance staff or engineers. Operational Maintenance may require the operator to perform things like changing out filters, blades, cutting tools, belts and the like but rarely requires any internal maintenance or any tasks that require specific knowledge of the system’s function or design.

Corrective Maintenance
This is simply a task that gets performed once a piece of equipment or system has failed. This regime is to identify, isolate, and rectify a specific fault or series of faults so that a machine or system can be returned to normal operating condition within specified limits. Corrective Maintenance is generally reserved for those pieces of equipment which have been defined as non-critical. Many articles have been written about Corrective Maintenance as a regime because prior to the technology and systems development within PdM and RCM regimes, this was all maintainers had to work with in order to keep plants operating.

These regimes have a place in just about every type of plant, factory, and facility in existence today. Trico exists to provide the lubrication management tools of maintenance regimes as well as oil analysis and analytical ferrography, which is one of the most cost effective tools that makes RCM and PdM so useful.

The Oil Analysis Big Picture: Why it is Critical to Maintainers and Operations

If you are tasked with maintaining a plant’s most critical of equipment this post may have some information that you might find useful. If you are a plant manager who is concerned with saving money on repairs, extending the life of your lubricants, read on.

Trico’s New Oil Analysis Laboratory Opened in Early 2013

Trico’s New Oil Analysis Laboratory Opened in Early 2013

At some point, someone convinced you that sending an oil sample to a lab for analysis is a smart thing to do. After some discussion, you dispatched your best technician to collect the sample. The technician used the best possible sampling techniques and properly labeled the bottle. A few days later you receive the results and can clearly read the numbers and charts on the report.
Now, I ask you, what are you going to do with that sheet of numbers? What does it all mean? How are you going to convert this presumably important information into some action that justifies both the lab cost and in-house cost charged against your department? Essentially what I want to understand is WHY?

The big picture
If you remember elementary chemistry, you know that lubricants are nothing but a mixture of long-chain hydrocarbons that somebody dug out of the ground mixed together with some specialty chemicals designed to improve its properties. What is great for maintainers is that you can’t simply destroy hydrocarbon molecules by grinding them between gears and mashing them between steel plates. Hydrocarbon molecules are immune to physical attack making them perfect for lubricating industrial machinery. These molecules do break down over time and through oxidation.
Oil analysis should address the fluid contaminants.
The sump and system from which your technician drew that sample constitutes a container. There are other fluids besides oil that can reside in that same container. These fluids are the enemy of your critical equipment and are considered contamination.
Oil analysis should address the bits and pieces of solid contaminants.
The only reason a machine requires a lubricant is that somewhere in its internal workings are some pieces of metal and other materials rubbing or banging against each other. This mechanical action induces stress that exceeds the metal’s elastic limit and metal pieces break off and incorporate into the mix of lubricant and moving metal. The oil carries these pieces away so more stress can break off more pieces.
Oil analysis reports present a lot of information covering the properties of the oil, the fluid contaminants mixed in the oil and the solids suspended in the oil.
Let’s get specific on some of the terms and metrics that can have an impact on your lubricants.

Specific gravity
The specific gravity is nothing more than the mass per unit volume referenced to a standard temperature. Oil contaminated by solvents, for example, has a specific gravity different from that of clean oil. It’s a nice number to know, however it’s typically not a tell-all and may simply indicate that additional investigation is needed to see a bigger picture.

Absolute viscosity
The most important characteristic of your lubricant. Viscosity is a measure of the oil’s relative resistance to flow. Its value depends on the temperature at which viscosity is measured, the viscometer used for the measurement and the technique of the lab technician. For best results, always measure the viscosity at the same temperature on the same viscometer operated by the same technician. Since this may be impossible to do on-site, many companies outsource this measurement to insure total consistency.
Measuring viscosity at a constant room temperature yields the greatest resolution. At elevated temperatures, the difference between the viscosity of degraded oil and good oil is too close to differentiate. The correct viscosity is application dependent, temperature dependent, and has both a lower and upper limit. The specs on the lubricated machine should indicate the proper viscosity to be used. Using a lubricant that fits squarely in this range is critical to the longevity of the equipment.
Because lubricants are mixed on a per batch basis, you simply cannot count on your viscometer to give you readings shown on the label on the oil drum or on the oil spec sheet. To be sure your lubricant is in spec, measure the viscosity to get a baseline value for the current lot of clean oil. Get another baseline reading each time you start drawing from a different load of oil.
Total acid number (TAN) and Total base number(TBN)
This measurement, in milligrams of potassium hydroxide per gram of oil, is related to the level of oxidation present in the oil – more oxidation, higher acid number. Get a baseline reading on a sample of clean oil.
As the additives deplete over time, the reported acid number drops, goes through a minimum, then rises. It drops because the additives are being depleted. The curve bottoms out when they are gone. It rises again because there’s now genuine acidic material in your oil.
Acid buildup in oil is a bad thing. Chemistry being what it is, bases react with acids to neutralize them. The total base number is an aggregate measure of the concentration of components in the oil that counteract acid buildup. It’s measured in equivalent milligrams of potassium hydroxide per gram of oil.
This test is generally performed only for oils taken from internal combustion engine crankcases.
There seems to be some controversy about changing oil on the basis of total base number. Some proponents advocate changing oil when the total base number depletes to 50% of the total base number of the virgin stock. Others advocate waiting until the total base number drops to somewhere around 2 mg. KOH/g. My advice – be conservative. Oil is cheap, machinery isn’t.

Spectrographic analysis
Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) is a versatile way to determine contamination levels and additive depletion in oil. Infrared radiation interacts with materials on a molecular level, not the atomic level.
The spectrometer measures the infrared light passing through the sample. The spectrograph is nothing more than a curve of the intensity of the transmitted IR as a function of wavelength.
This analytical method monitors the depleting concentration of antioxidants and anti-wear components. It also measures increasing levels of contamination from moisture, oxidation products and dissolved metals. If the sample is from an internal combustion engine, it also measures ethylene glycol and soot levels.
Particle counting
Particle count is a critical test in proper oil analysis that reveals the type of wear debris in the oil and its particle size distribution. Keep an eye on how the distribution curve shifts over time. If you want to gain the most value from this test, this data should be tracked regularly and trended.
Wear particle monitoring depends on the magnetic properties of the particles. Solids in oil is bad. Particle count is a direct measure of the degraded pieces of gear, bearing, and/or other metals which have disconnected from the machine and are loose in your lubricant. Since particle count isn’t the only critical factor in lubrication degradation use this as part of a comprehensive series of tests vs. a tell-all.

Analytical ferrography
Analytical ferrography is another form of wear particle analysis. This approach identifies the composition of the solid chunks in your oil sample. The objective is to identify the solid pieces seen in the microscope eyepiece. Getting meaningful results as the identity of wear particles, their sizes, counts, size distribution and shape is a matter of experience and training.
Because this test is a visual inspection, experienced technicians can identify nonmetallic and other nonmagnetic wear particles. Because analytical ferrography is a direct look at the particle, it provides more objective information about the machine from which the oil was taken. The test is neither inexpensive nor quick because there’s a great deal of handling and expertise in testing this way. Ferrography can tell you what pieces of your equipment are wearing and at what rate which makes this test best for verification testing.

So, what now?
There are more test available – for instance, the entire series of ASTM standards for measuring oil. Practical oil analysis depends on the lubricant and the application. The key to making sense of oil analysis is understanding that no single test can give an absolute clear picture.
To make your results the best they can be, you must be consistent, get a representative sample, and provide trending for each of the tests that relate to your application and equipment.

Alarming test results
From time to time your results may be so out of limit that it doesn’t make sense. Good labs will re-test when this happens to make sure it was not an error in the test equipment or process. What is highly alarming is getting this result even after the sample is re-tested. The recommendation would be first get another sample to the lab as soon as possible to have that second sample re-tested as well. If the results are identical or nearly identical you should consult with the lab to discuss what may be going on in the equipment. That expertise isn’t something that people just know, it comes from thousands of samples from similar equipment in other machines and environments. Your ferrography results don’t lie, having someone be able to explain the result in a way that makes sense is the true value of the program in the first place.

Oil analysis is critical to reducing the costs of maintaining equipment and can assist your maintainers and operations teams in knowing the “how long” before maintenance or critical equipment failure is imminent. This understanding in the practical environment is the difference between maximum uptime, and lost revenue due to downtime. Trico is an industry leader in oil analysis, existing to assist industry in extending the life of critical equipment and lubricants. Contact our team today with any questions regarding lubrication practices, analysis, or training.