Home PAPTAC 2018 PWC/BIOFOR Coverage Reliability: The Next Big Trend

Reliability: The Next Big Trend

If you invest 3 to 5% of your capital in reliability, you could save 50% of the cost over the entire life cycle, while generating 90% fewer failures. According to Ian McKinnon, Principal Partner and Chief Development Officer for Reliability Solutions, reliability is the next big thing. Is your business ready?

Have you ever wondered why most bearings with 22 years of expected lifetime only last about a year in your mill? If that sounds familiar to you, improved reliability could greatly increase your assets' lifetime, and save you thousands of dollars in maintenance costs.

Ian McKinnon, Principal Partner and Chief Development Officer for Reliability Solutions.
© Paper Advance

The power of reliability has been underestimated for too long and it is going to be the next trend, McKinnon asserts. "It is like safety 10 years ago," he said. "People started to talk about it and they now embrace it." McKinnon expects reliability to embark on a similar trajectory.

If you think reliability sounds boring, McKinnon,'s passion for the topic is likely to win you over. His ability to weave real life stories and practical analogies with the reality on the pulp or paper mill floor, connected with participants.

Using the example of how most people approach the task of changing bearings, was particularly resonant. "We have all the right tools, but we whack the toasted bearing out of there and whack a new one back in," he illustrated. By doing so, parts are moving and microns-sized materials can get stuck in the hydraulic system, reducing the protection system efficiency.

"We have the basics, but we are not doing the essentials," he cautioned. "Mills need to go further than simple fundamentals to become great. Good won't be good enough when all your competitors become great. "

McKinnon sees the loss of knowledge brought about by baby boomers entering retirement as a challenge that needs addressing, taking into account the need for companies to produce more output, while spending less. "It's like if I asked you to dive in water, swim and come out dry," illustrated McKinnon. If this sounds impossible, new technology can help share knowledge and minimizing the time you spend looking for solutions. How, you ask? Google it, dude! The new generation knows how to use powerful tools," he noted. Technology is an intrinsic part of the solution to reducing maintenance costs.

To be efficient, operators need to know the Best Efficiency Point, also known as BEP. "Talk to the operator on the floor and ask him what is the BEP of this pump. If you don't understand the BEP, you are just pushing buttons and you don't understand how the pump works or why it fails. Your operators need to understand this," suggested McKinnon.

"Mills also need a better handle on how to undertake precision maintenance. Routine maintenance is often concentrated in the wrong places. Nearly half of our routine maintenance is worthless or redundant. If something has never failed in 20 years, get it off the PM routines and focus elsewhere."

If you use instrumentation only to find failure, McKinnon, thinks you have a problem on your hands. "You need to find out why that bearing did not achieve its expected lifetime. This will tell you how much money leaving on the mill floor."

Work timing can also influence the quality of the work itself. "Do you think your operator will do a better job when he is fresh in the morning or late in the afternoon when he is overloaded with other jobs?" McKinnon challenged.

Improving Reliable Manufacturing With Precision Maintenance

"You are in business to do one thing: make money," noted McKinnon with great enthusiasm. Reliability is one solution that brings great returns, but it needs commitment. "It cannot only be the flavor of the month. It needs to become a core value."

Otherwise, improvement becomes an illusion, as managers run programs instead of processes. Real improvement comes with improving skill sets and this starts with the basic corporate mission, McKinnon suggests.

The road to reliable manufacturing goes through a simple evolutionary process: run-to-failure, preventive, predictive and then precision. But savings can be made even if you are using the run-to-failure approach. "Some pumps never have a problem. Find out why and use this best-in-class example to build best practices across the mill," he proposed. After that, do the same with motors, gearboxes and so on to extend your assets lifecycle.

Preventive and predictive approach will reduce 85% of failures, but these approaches are all failure-based. Over time, failure avoidance, life cycle extension and asset improvement can transform your approach to emphasize precision maintenance.

"Reliability is not easy and it's not cheap. It has a price and it's called investment. It takes time, since it is a 3 to 5 year journey, and you will need to review 30% of your assets!" McKinnon warned. "But the performance gains are well worth the journey."

© Paper Advance

Three questions to Ian McKinnon

Why do 80% of machines fail?
It's due to infant mortality. The largest parts of failures are due to machinery assembly and installation. To go forward we must understand the source of those failures and then educate ourselves on how to become more sustainable.

Do you think that reliability is the next great thing in the pulp and paper world?
There is more emphasis today on that topic than there has been in the last five years. But as with the approach we took to safety, we have to create a culture that facilitates a change in behaviors. If we don't, we'll pay the price. It's not about product quality, because we are really focused in on that. What we are not focused in, is lifecycle costs.

Where do businesses need to start?
They have to embrace reliability. It's has to go from the top, to the shop. I think we are starting to hear more about it. There is a real competitive advantage and some people are making huge profits because they understand reliability applications.

Guillaume Roy,


Precision Roll Grinders

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