Ken: New day, fresh cappuccino… is it time to look deeper and identify the problems?

Haris: Sure

Ken: Where do we need to look at?

Haris: Everywhere! Consider it as a fresh start and look at it in a different way, because what we are looking for was there for a long time, unnoticed. Now we need to notice it and shout about it, loudly. Let us start with something simple. We all talk about 40-80 % of lubrication related failures, that number has been everywhere, for years. There are also talks about downtime, little bit about manhours in repair, little bit more about spare parts, just a little bit about urgent work, urgent shipping. but if you ask a simple question: What was the total cost of this bearing failing? Total cost! Usually, there is no direct and precise answer. Practically, value is unknown. If it is unknown because it has not been defined and calculated. It is a problem.

But it all boils down to one simple fact: NO value – NO problem. And when there is no problem, why should you do something about it?

Ken: So out first diagnosis – No $ or assigned to the problem

Haris: Exactly!

Ken: How do we deal with that?

Haris: Simple! Stop talking about bearings, friction, particle size, preload. Talk about money. No one among shareholders cares or necessarily understands anything about Viscosity Index or variable load, and they have all rights not to understand and not to care. But they decide about budget or changes to be implemented. So, if you want people to understand you, speak their language. And when you calculate the value of the problem, include everything because cost of the bearing is usually negligible. 100 bearing can cause 100 000 cost. When you mention 100 000 , you certainly get everyone’s attention.

Ken: Ok, so now we have our diagnosis and prescript medicine, is it implementation time?

Haris: Oh, no. We need to look further. Ask everyone how important lubrication is … and they will all tell you: extremely important, strategic, critical!

So, I would assume that only the best of the best of the highly trained engineers would be allowed to touch the grease gun. But nobody wants his son to become a grease guy, because it is a dirty, low paid, low respected job. Yes, lubrication is important, but only declaratively. That means … nothing has been done. 

Ken: We have diagnosis number two – Hypocrisy? Can we call it that way?

Haris: It is a correct diagnosis, but better do not present your improvement using that word 😊, I would use declarative importance

Ken: Fair enough … how do we deal with that?

Haris: Simple! again. Grease guy is the person who is in more intimate contact with an asset than anyone else. Grease guy can destroy 10 electrical motors in 10 minutes. That is a great power. But whoever can destroy your Reliability, has also the power … to make it better.

So, if lubrication is only declaratively important, then your assets will be healthy … declaratively. Bring your grease guy with you when you deliver a failure cost report and ask if you could get funding for training. Lifetime training will be only a fraction of the single failure cost. Who would resist such a cute scene? 😊

Ken: 😊, shocking and risky, but I agree, shows reality very clearly.

Haris: But we need to look further. Lubrication is not a guy with a grease gun, it is not some isolated activity. It is a chain with three main links:

  • Management (decision, funding and support),
  • Lubrication engineer (building a program) and
  • Lubrication technician (execution).

There are also fine fibres all around: awareness, responsibility, ownership, communication, discipline, control and .. recognition. Now … if the chain is not properly created … it will self-crate … normally in a wrong way. And that is a disaster. When that happens, when those fine fibres fail – grease gun becomes a machine gun and bearings get executed. Grease guy does not speak, Engineer does not see, and Management does not hear. Total collapse.

Ken: That is our diagnosis number three. How do we call it? Broken chain?

Haris: Very good name!

Ken: How do we deal with this one?

Haris: Usually, it is not so simple. The problem with this disease is that it kills slowly. It causes very slow and almost painless decay, until one day we are surrounded with ruins. People normally ignore slow progressing and painless problems … and on top of that, this problem has several elements. Knowing that, we enforced some of these elements through LUBExpert strategy – communication, discipline, control and responsibility.

In simple words … they are part of the LUBExpert process, and you have no way to override them. The rest of them we can discuss when we start building a strategy. But in its essence … it consists of lots of education, goals translation and understanding, personal responsibility and personal recognition. This is something that leader radiates … or may I say … infect people with.

Ken: Are we done with problems now?

Haris: No, no, not at all. But we are done with cappuccino 😊

Ken: You are right!

Haris: Shall we try espresso?

Ken: Two espresso coming!

Bearing Lubrication Monitoring