MRO Magazine

Hot and Wet… but There’s Nothing Sexy About It

Welcome to our dirtiest, grimiest, wettest, hottest, harshest, most hellish issue of the year. Whether you work in a facility that's clean and comfortable or one like the facilities described in the case studies and feature articles throughout thi...


September 1, 2004
By Bill Roebuck, Editor & Associate Publisher

Welcome to our dirtiest, grimiest, wettest, hottest, harshest, most hellish issue of the year. Whether you work in a facility that’s clean and comfortable or one like the facilities described in the case studies and feature articles throughout this issue, which focuses on the maintenance of machinery and equipment in harsh, hostile and severe-service environments — especially washdown conditions — you’re bound to pick up some practical tips and advice you can use.

Can you imagine your machinery working in an environment that’s like the inside of a dishwasher? That’s what maintenance supervisor Malcolm Keith sees every day in his Nova Scotia poultry processing plant, where continual equipment washdown creates tropical conditions. Despite this, his team’s focus on preventive maintenance means downtime is “essentially zero.” He reveals how in our ‘Chicken Run’ case study on page 19.

On the other side of the country, a pulp pump corroded by harsh production chemicals would have taken a year and $180,000 to replace. However, a local industrial distributor recommended a repair solution that permanently restored the pump — and other equipment — for Prince George Pulp and Paper in British Columbia. The details of the solution are described in the case study on page 22.

A severe-service environment for power transmission equipment is found in cement production, and the story of how new drive technology can stand up to hell-like temperatures of 1,450C and still deliver a quick payback and other benefits is featured on page 25.

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In yet another article about harsh environments, we examine how to extend seal life in a vertical-up cooling tower application, where tests simulated the challenges of limited lubrication, gravity, seawater contamination and lengthy shutdowns. The practical solution of installing a bearing isolator to stop the leaks is described on page 30.

As you may know, washdown environments are among the toughest on machinery and equipment, but also on workers, some of whom have died while cleaning up. So this issue’s Safety File column on page 36 takes a careful look at what is needed to ensure worker safety in such conditions. It’s an important read, considering the dangers of the task.

To wrap up the this theme, our Product News section features a focus on more than 30 components designed specifically for washdown-duty and other harsh environment applications.

More information on maintaining uptime in these and more normal conditions can be gleaned from our CMMS Software Solutions and Lean Maintenance columns. And this outline doesn’t even cover all the features and reports inside, so we invite you to peruse, read, learn and apply some ideas that should make life easier no matter where you work.