MRO Magazine

Improving efficiency throughout your plant

Problem: What's the best place to start to improve efficiency in a manufacturing operation?Solution: There are many resources, and one we like that's full of energy-saving and efficiency boosting tips...

April 1, 2000 | By MRO Magazine


Problem: What’s the best place to start to improve efficiency in a manufacturing operation?

Solution: There are many resources, and one we like that’s full of energy-saving and efficiency boosting tips is Ken Bannister’s Energy Reduction Through Improved Maintenance Practices. Here’s some quick tips excerpted from this handy book.

Use synthetic compressor lubricant when appropriate. It will reduce energy consumption and extend lubrication changeout interval time by up to five times.

Wherever practical, use electric motors rather than air motors, electrical control rather than pneumatic control, electrical tools rather than air tools. Compressed air devices use four times the electricity of electrical devices.


Limit the use of blow-off devices. If they must be used, use an engineered nozzle which will realize 40%-90% savings when compared to a makeshift blow-off device.

Using infra-red technology significantly reduces maintenance and inspection time and can be performed while the equipment is producing a product.

Check for looseness or mechanical wear on electrical contactors. Tighten and replace only components that require this maintenance.

Ensure belts and chains are tensioned properly at all times. Investigate the use of automatic tensioning adjusters (spring-loaded idler wheels).

Manufacture “go, no-go” gauges for quick checks of tensioned devices. A go, no-go gauge is a manufactured device which, when placed against a reference point, will indicate if the tension is within the predetermined high-low limit range.

Whenever possible, place air filtration media on the outside of equipment so that the condition can be easily seen and the filter changed as required.

Check gearbox lubricant to ensure it is the correct viscosity. Misalignment will show up as wear; it also can be determined through oil analysis.

When equipment is properly aligned, paint marker indications of coupling arrangements and hold-down bolts. If looseness or misalignment starts to occur, the markers will show up out of alignment, giving an early indication of alignment problems.

When correcting soft foot condition, use only precision shim stock, and measure the shims before use.

Thanks go to Ken Bannister, principal consultant of Engtech Industries Inc., Cambridge, Ont. He is the author of Energy Reduction Through Improved Maintenance Practices, published by Industrial Press. It can be ordered from your local bookstore. You can contact Engtech at (519) 622-4211 or by e-mail at

Do you have a solution for a maintenance problem? Send it in and if it’s published, we’ll send you a free Mr. O Problem Solver T-shirt and $35.00. Include your address and telephone number, print complete details, and add an illustration to help explain your tip. Send your ideas to Mr. O, Machinery & Equipment MRO, 1450 Don Mills Rd., Don Mills, Ont. M3B 2X7.


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