MRO Magazine

Feature

Flagging the ‘near misses’

If you only have time to read just one article in this issue today, I highly recommend Climbing the Safety Ladder on page 10. This case study of Domtar’s maintenance safety practices is an eye-opener, explaining why the company’s...


If you only have time to read just one article in this issue today, I highly recommend Climbing the Safety Ladder on page 10. This case study of Domtar’s maintenance safety practices is an eye-opener, explaining why the company’s Windsor, QC, mill has such a great safety record. Of particular importance – and uncommon – is the mill’s tracking of ‘near misses’ – close calls or near accidents. 

Recognizing such potential hazards like near misses goes a long way to preventing future incidents and injuries. The article also contains many more tips and ideas – some quite simple to implement – for improving your own maintenance safety.

Of course, I’d really hate to believe you’re only going to read just one story of the two-dozen or so within. Almost everybody is interested in optimizing uptime for the lowest maintenance cost possible – and that often leads to using a run-to-failure strategy – you know, based on the thinking that, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Yet there is strong evidence that run-to-failure is a foolish attempt at saving money. Check out the math for this in the example that’s part of our Maintenance 101 column on page 20, or read about the cost-saving benefits of condition monitoring that are discussed on page 15 in What’s Shakin’ With Your Mechanical Systems?

Avoiding unexpected failures is important with all kinds of industrial systems, but especially with belt and chain drives, which we focus on specifically in this edition. Our articles on this section include content from experts at companies such as Tsubaki of Canada, Gates Canada, Diamond Chain, Fenner Drives and Jason Industrial. Four of the features in this issue offer guidelines for troubleshooting belt and chain drive systems. And, so you won’t miss it, I should mention there’s a free offer on page 16 for a handy roller chain wear gauge.

You also might find it interesting that some companies do a lot of testing on their systems and products even before you get a chance to use them. One example, discussed on page 18, references a lack of hard data on the subject of V-belt drive efficiency. That’s why Fenner Drives built a dynamometer test cell to measure the true impact of belt tension on HVAC fan systems. The test cell incorporates two identical but fully independent fan and measurement systems for accurate comparisons.

System testing also was done by Benchmark Maintenance Services, as described in The Importance of Machine Base Flatness. Here, to evaluate the accuracy of laser shaft alignment, the base for a pump and motor setup was purposefully misaligned to determine the effectiveness of the alignment procedures. Details are on page 19.

All of these tips, suggestions and ideas can be thought of as ways to boost the overall level of asset management in any kind of industrial operation. Recognizing the importance of this field, the Plant Engineering & Maintenance Association is to be lauded for working to establish new courses and a new professional designation in this field. You’ll find details in our Industry Newswatch pages.

Bill Roebuck, Editor & Associate Publisher