eSource 100 Iron Fortified Bread

eSource 100 Iron Fortified Bread

Posted 28 July 2017
Oil analysis is a valuable tool used to understand oil condition, contamination and potential part failure due to wear. It is estimated that wear accounts for up to 75% of failures of components. Many companies use oil analysis for diagnostic purposes as well as helping identify the reasons why parts fail prematurely. The following is an example of a company that began to use oil analysis and maintenance records to reduce failures.
Oil analysis is a valuable tool used to understand oil condition, contamination and potential part failure due to wear.  It is estimated that wear accounts for up to 75% of failures of components.  Many companies use oil analysis for diagnostic purposes as well as helping identify the reasons why parts fail prematurely.  The following is an example of a company that began to use oil analysis and maintenance records to reduce failures.  

A bread manufacturing plant located in the Midwest of the United States experienced periodic failures with the motors on the conveyors for the proofing ovens.  The motors would burn out and require replacement.  The life expectancy for these motors should have been several years but they were barely lasting 2 years.  Upon inspection it was discovered that the insulation coating on the windings contributed to shorting the circuit.  While the motors were sized correctly and they were not directly affected by the heat of the ovens, nevertheless they were overheating and becoming compromised.  Changing motor manufacturers did not remedy the situation. Normally in a factory, oil analysis is routinely done on air compressors, hydraulic systems, and even large gearboxes but gearboxes such as the ones on the conveyor lines hold less than a liter of oil and are often not considered viable candidates for oil analysis.  These gearboxes may not even have the oil changed during their lifetime.  

During a plant reliability assessment, it was suggested that oil samples from several of the gearboxes be obtained and analyzed.  High levels of iron (>500ppm) were discovered.  While the gearboxes had not failed, the motors had.  The gearboxes were disassembled.  The gear-teeth were measured and it was discovered that they were no longer within acceptable tolerance.  The mating surfaces were no longer meeting flush.  While this contributed to gear teeth wear, it was not severe enough to grind the gears down to the point where they wouldn’t turn but they did contributed to an uneven load on the shaft.  The bearings had not failed but the motor energy demand increased due to the additional resistance which made the motors run at a much higher temperature.  The increased temperature compromised the motor coil coatings producing the motor failures.  Examining the installation and maintenance records indicated that the gearboxes were over ten year old and the oil had never been analyzed or changed.  
 
It was determined that while the motors cost the company approximately $500 each, the direct costs of downtime to replace the motor was approximately $3000, and the labor costs associated to the task was $130.   The company averaged 8 motor failures annually resulting in over $30,000.  It was decided that a reliability centered maintenance approach be implemented.  The combination of oil analysis and power consumption analysis provided the data required for a reliability centered maintenance approach. Laser alignment and thermal imaging instruments were already being used on other machines and soon implemented on the gearboxes.  The resulting practice reduced motor failures to 1 every 2 years for a savings of over $55,000.  

ALS is the global leader in oil analysis and can help in establishing a reliability centered maintenance practice at your facility.  Contact your local ALS lab for more details.  
 

Written By:

Michael D. Holloway MLT1, OMA1, MLA1, CLS
Manager – Strategic Accounts and External Training, Tribology

 

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