MRO Magazine

MainTrain 2009 makes a stop in Edmonton


October 28, 2009
By PEM Magazine

EDMONTON — At the MainTrain 2009 conference held recently here, maintenance professionals rolled up their sleeves and didn’t pull any punches during a special "bear-pit" session. It was all about peer-to-peer interactivity, while striving to establish and debate effective reliability strategies.
During the bear-pit session, attendees exchanged honest, insightful and shop floor-based dialogue. What emerged from the sharing of ideas was a list of recommendations, which could be used by maintenance teams to improve equipment uptime and the corporate bottom line.
The Plant Engineering and Maintenance Association of Canada (PEMAC) developed, organized and produced MainTrain 2009 in Edmonton. The bear-pit session was facilitated by PEMAC Alberta Chapter president Al Johnson and moderated by PEMAC president Brian Malloch.
Moving around the room, attendees talked first hand about key industry issues and trends. The session concluded with attendees being asked to provide one "silver bullet" that could be used to solve their greatest challenge. Discussion also focused on maintenance opportunities.
Here are a few of the comments made by attendees during the tactical PEMAC bear-pit session:
• Put in place the right maintenance programs to combat global competition;
• Skilled trades shortage and the re-training of capable and dedicated maintenance professionals;
•  Change the concept of maintenance from a cost centre to a contributor (value-added to revenue);
• Lack of skilled supervision and management in maintenance organizations;
• Change front-line maintenance from reactive to proactive;
• Do a better job of tracking the cost of maintaining assets;
• Make the trades more attractive to a new, younger workforce (union/non-union skills and performance);
• PEMAC has an opportunity to influence training programs to include new technology;
• Appropriate use of new technologies may attract younger people to the trades; and
• Define the business process so everyone (maintenance) is doing the same thing the same way.
"The focus of the bear-pit session was to identify challenges and opportunities associated with maintenance and physical asset management practices in Canadian industry," said PEMAC’s Malloch. "Delegates around the room engaged in lively discussions. They also spoke passionately about how they viewed current challenges and potential opportunities to overcome those challenges."
Maintenance Masters
The Maintenance Masters panel session focused on the new economy and how maintenance professionals can turn challenges into opportunities. Panellists provided solid strategies to reduce operating costs, improve asset management performance and generate bottom line success.
The panellists included:
• Amin Elsherif, P.Eng., MMP, reliability engineering director, Suncor Energy Inc. and president of PEMAC’s Fort McMurray Chapter;
• Terrance Traill, management consultant with Wrench Time Technologies Ltd.; and
• Keith Berriman, P.Eng., CMRP, services manager, Agrium Inc.
"Companies are facing maintenance challenges and they’re taking new approaches to improve asset operating and sustainability, financial and environmental performance. Maintenance strategies are what drive your maintenance workforce," said Suncor’s Elsherif. "If you design your maintenance strategies well, you’re half way to operational excellence."
According to Elsherif, it’s important to remove parts for obsolete equipment from inventory. At the same time, however, don’t completely clean out your warehouse. He said this is a big mistake that companies can fall into. Elsherif also encouraged maintenance professionals to strive for computerized maintenance management software (CMMS) system improvements.
"Kitting and staging, as well as the use of bar coding and accurate planning, help to eliminate waste time. Your CMMS system must be filled with accurate and correct data," said Elsherif. "You require a business process and work flow that will enable the mechanism of the feedback and analysis. Always remember, if you can’t measure it-you can’t improve it. Catalogue profile is an essential piece for analysis and improvement. Unfortunately, this is missed most of the time with CMMS implementations."
According to Wrench Time Technologies’ Traill, maintenance has to continue to play a key role in helping companies achieve bottom line success. He said this process starts right in the boardroom, as maintenance must prove its value within the organization. Job one is for maintenance departments to track costs and determine asset measurement, said Traill.
"Maintenance, as a part of production costs, shouldn’t wear blinders when it comes to how the company is doing at the corporate level," said Traill. "Large capital expenditures that are required to initiate quality reliability and maintenance improvement will make it to the boardroom. So, nothing sums it up better than ‘show me the money’.
"We have large data bases in place that have enormous horsepower in their ability to collect data, crunch the numbers and produce some pretty fancy reports. The challenge is to know what you’re measuring and then obtain value from these measurements-not just doing it because the database owner suggested you should or others in the industry are doing it. In the same breath, don’t confuse failure codes and other critical reliability data with cost data.
Agrium’s Berriman said it’s important to place a greater emphasis on preventive maintenance (PM) and predictive maintenance (PdM) processes. For example, he urged attendees to ask these questions: Are the PMs worthwhile and effective? What priority is placed on PM/PdM work? Would you put in overtime to complete PM work orders?
"Your goal is to attain improved schedule compliance and communication between maintenance and operations and equipment reliability, as well as more effective use of resources," said Berriman. "A key learning point for maintenance professionals is to follow the process and don’t cheat. It’s also easy to focus on the short term, but short-term savings equal long-term costs."
CMMS Success
The panel session on leveraging your CMMS investment was moderated by Brian Ellis, senior business analyst, Nexen Inc. Panellists provided solid advice, which can help maintainers get the most out of their CMMS systems. According to Brad Maheu, president of Clearpass Inc., having a clear understanding of your CMMS system is step number one.
"You must have a vision with your CMMS system and know what it can deliver. You’re also never really done with it," said Maheu. "You must know what a CMMS system is reporting on. This is critical, as the CMMS system is either saving or costing your company money."
Norm Poynter, management consultant with Nexen Inc., also had some tips for users of CMMS systems. "If you want to reach world-class status, you have to stay the course with your master data and CMMS systems," said Poynter. "Sustaining the CMMS system is based on your efforts over a period of time. To achieve success with your CMMS systems, you have to determine all of your assets to best manage the process."
Training Day
A full day of technical training was another highlight at MainTrain 2009 in Edmonton. Led by moderator John Lambert, president of Benchmark Maintenance Services, the topics presented included: predictive maintenance tools and thermography; oil analysis program overview; ultrasonic testing and tools; and machinery installation and commissioning.
Darrren German, hydraulics business unit service manager, Bosch Rexroth Canada, outlined the requirements of a successful oil analysis program. "Like any PdM technology, the goal is to identify and correct a problem prior to becoming a functional failure," said German. "Specific to a hydraulic system, the aspect of contaminants is the root cause of more than 70 percent of all hydraulic system failures. Contaminants aren’t limited to dirt, but also include water.
"Water promotes oxidation of the oil’s base stock, increasing the risk of sludge and varnish formation. Water also causes rust and corrosion of machine surfaces. The goals and benefits of oil sampling include extend equipment life, optimize machine uptime and minimize breakdowns, manage an effective maintenance schedule, as well as reduce waste and protect the environment by maximizing component and fluid life."
For more information about next year’s MainTrain conference in Alberta, contact PEMAC at: tel: (905) 823-7255; email: or visit:

Get ready for MainTrain 2009 in Toronto!

The MainTrain will once again pull into Toronto on November 23-26, 2009 at the Toronto Novotel Toronto Centre. With maintenance managers and their teams under greater pressure than ever before to deliver increased value to their businesses with shrinking budgets and limited resources, MainTrain 2009 is the industry’s can’t miss training, knowledge transfer and networking event.

By attending MainTrain 2009 in Toronto, you will learn about the latest technologies and strategies from industry leaders. MainTrain is designed to help you use proven strategies to deliver a measurable and positive impact to your company’s bottom line and competitive position. Here are just some of the conference highlights:


• Technical Training Day

Speakers include: moderator John Lambert, Benchmark Maintenance Services (machinery installation and commissioning); Colin Plastow, Fluke Electronics Canada (predictive maintenance tools and thermography); Darren German, Bosch Rexroth Canada (oil analysis program overview); and Sean Miller, UE Systems, Inc. (ultrasonic testing and tools).

• Finance Panel: From OEE to ROI (Return on Investment)

Speakers include: Len Middleton, moderator; Doug Wilson, Vincor Canada, Niagara Falls Cellars; and Ben Stevens, OMDEC Inc – (Optimal Maintenance Decisions Inc).

Increasingly maintainers and engineers are adopting OEE as the best single means of measuring operational and maintenance excellence. This misses two points: increased OEE doesn’t automatically mean increased ROI and increased ROI is what concerns senior executives. In this presentation, ROI is explained with specific reference to the impact that maintenance has on ROI and its link to OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness).

• Bear-pit Session

New for MainTrain 2009 in Toronto will be a special bear-pit session. Led by PEMAC president Brian Malloch, this, "roll up your sleeves" interactive peer-to-peer session will break up into smaller groups. Delegates will share and develop maintenance best practices.

• CMMS Panel: Improve CMMS System Performance

Speakers include moderator David Berger, P.Eng. (Alta.), Western Management Consultants; Roger Davies, The Da-trol Group Inc.; Shelley Moffat, Regional Municipality of Halton; Ryan Jones, Regional Municipality of Halton; and Kim Hunt Domtar Espanola.

For more information about MainTrain 2009 in Toronto, visit