Arrive with an idea, leave with a 3-year plan. Achieve reliability.

TRC gives you access to cutting-edge knowledge & technology

Sign Up

Please use your business email address if applicable

Q&A with the 2011 Uptime Award Winners

Hibbing Taconite Company Managed by Cliffs
Best Maintenance Reliability Program

"Cliffs and Hibbing Taconite management have always supported proper maintenance and asset management because they complement our continued efforts to provide an injury-free work environment for employees. The key was to figure out how to move from a reactive maintenance program to a proactive maintenance program. Communicating maintenance metrics and showing continuous improvement to both PM and schedule compliance, as well as showing increased equipment availability and greater mean time between shutdowns, were key to our achievements. Individual accountability, continuous improvement and constant communication built the program we have today."

Uptime Award Board (PDF)

Teck Coal Ltd.
Best Emerging Maintenance Reliability Program

"Teck is a diversified resource company committed to responsible development with major business units focused on copper, steelmaking coal, zinc and energy operating in North and South America. Very early on, our senior management recognized maintenance as an opportunity for improvement. We engaged maintenance leaders throughout Teck to better understand our culture and business conditions and to create a model for improvement. Shortages of skilled people, rising costs and the desire for growth were catalysts for change. The next step was to demonstrate the value of maintenance through an earlier implementation of a reliability program at our Trail Operations and a pilot at Elkview Operations, one of our steelmaking coal mines. Then we engaged all vice presidents and general managers in a workshop that reviewed internal and external case studies and debated barriers for change. The end result was an agreed upon model that is now being rolled out to all our sites. Our next step is to continuously and effectively engage all levels of management and employees. It's a 'game of inches.'"

Uptime Award Board (PDF)

Domtar Espanola
Best Asset Health Management Program

"Communication, education and an abundance of determination are critical requirements in driving a reliability improvement initiative. How did we gain approval and support from management? First, we performed an audit to identify strengths and opportunities. Then, we created a business plan complete with measurable goals and estimated value of improvement. From there, we communicated the importance of a reliability improvement initiative in the language of operations (dollars and production). We reported on positive results and posted graphs, KPIs and success stories to let people know how much their support was appreciated. Communication efforts also included sending out newsletters and sharing articles on best practices. These efforts also supported our education initiatives. Our culture became a knowledge is power mindset. All employees were committed to never giving up and being relentless in implementing best practice!"

Uptime Award Board (PDF)

DMAX, Ltd.
Best Infrared Thermography Program

"Our PdM program started in 2005 as a mandate from GM as part of its maintenance process. DMAX is a team concept plant, so the program is driven from the ground up with the ownership in the hands of the predictive team. Buy-in from management came relatively easy at DMAX; all it took was a catastrophic failure on a spindle that we predicted would fail and management ignored. The failure sold management on these hocus pocus technologies, and with the continued cost savings and improvements in uptime, management has become PdM's biggest fan. This affords us many training opportunities to improve our skills so we can be the best at what we do and, in turn, help make DMAX the world's #1 diesel engine manufacturer."

Uptime Award Board (PDF)

Luminant Mining
Best Nondestructive Testing Program

"Our company has always been a leader in continuous improvement and utilizing new technology. In 2006, we implemented aggressive reliability centered maintenance (RCM) and condition-based maintenance (CBM) strategies to help reduce equipment and component costs. We looked at what was working and where we could improve our inspection procedures and processes to reduce premature failures. Through new scan chats and technology in non-destructive testing (NDT), we were able to prevent major component failures, therefore preventing the resulting collateral damages. Along with well-documented cost savings, we were able to show that more reliability and condition-based asset management was the path forward for Luminant Mining."

Uptime Award Board (PDF)

WellSpan Health Facility Management Department
Best Design for Reliability Award

"Being in healthcare, we decided to make the pitch to leadership relevant to the environment in which we work by setting up an analogy between the assessment of a patient and reliability centered maintenance using the following corollaries. A doctor uses pulse (vibration analysis), temperature (infrared thermography), blood tests (oil analysis) and a stethoscope (ultrasound) to assess the patient. The analysis and expert interpretation of these results lead to a specific course of treatment. We just wanted to do the same for our equipment. With intense financial pressure in healthcare, this also was the most economical approach to staffing."

Uptime Award Board (PDF)

Merck & Co.
Best Green Reliability (Sustainability) Program

"The establishment of a formal reliability engineering department at Merck's facility in Rahway, New Jersey, was very easy as it was developed in conjunction with the implementation of SAP as its ERP system across the globe. A great deal of time and resources were put into this implementation, so our management developed our department to help ensure the benefits of the new CMMS would be quickly realized and sustained. While the main focus of our department was on proactive maintenance, we soon found that there was a direct correlation between things like equipment reliability and energy consumption. Understanding the pressing need for cost reduction, our team made a concerted effort to document the savings we achieved with every project we completed. Because of our success stories, our management supported us on all improvement initiatives with very little hesitation."

Uptime Award Board (PDF)

TransAlta Corporation Alberta Thermal Power Plants
Best Vibration Analysis Program

"In the late 1990s, the plant was having numerous large motor failures. The average life of our critical motors was about seven years, with some failing as often as three to four years. There were many issues at play; however one of them was the fact that many of the failures were caused by mechanical issues. It was relatively easy to justify the cost of doing some vibration analysis when compared to the losses we were incurring on this equipment. At the time, the program started with the use of a contractor, but within one year we were able to justify the costs of hiring our own analyst and doing the testing in house. The program now consists of four vibration analysts. Annual estimated prevented losses that can be directly contributed to the vibration program are nearly $3 million per year. The vibration analysts work very closely with the maintenance departments. We also document very well the saves that we make. This has led to the continued growth of the vibration department and the support of our managers over the past 10 years."

Uptime Award Board (PDF)

New Braunfels Utilities
Best Lubrication Program

"This is a great question and I can literally write pages on this topic, but for the purpose of this article, I am going to keep it brief with a three-part formula. First, commitment. Managers must be willing to pour their heart and soul into everything they do every day. This level of commitment and pride is infectious. It will easily spread throughout their staff if it is genuine. The second part of the formula is gain credibility. Every company and every process will have easy to spot issues or bottlenecks. It is important for a manager to find the low hanging fruit, fix the issues and capture the positive gains created by this effort. The final part of the formula is provide management with useful information. A manager's time is valuable, so when you have the person's attention, make the best of it. Provide your leaders with facts, benchmarks, cost analysis, gap analysis and a well thought-out plan. So, how did I get management's approval to move forward with this program? I committed myself to building a solid reliability program for NBU. I gained credibility by following through with everything I promised and I provided my executive management team with the information they needed to make a confident decision to move forward."

Uptime Award Board (PDF)

Sasol Mining (Pty) Ltd.
Best Condition Monitoring/Predictive Maintenance Program

"In 1991, personnel from the engineering team at Brandspruit Colliery invited a supplier to demonstrate their vibration analyzer on an electrical motor that had a broken rotor bar. Needless to say, the supplier (unaware of the broken rotor bar) identified the broken rotor bar with the analyzer he proposed Brandspruit Colliery to purchase. This demonstration was the basis of the motivation from Brand spruit's personnel to purchase the equipment. Over the next two years, the condition monitoring department was established and successfully implemented the vibration and oil analysis technologies. They resulted in the proactive prevention of rotating equipment failures and subsequently winning warranty claims based on scientific facts. Due to the successes achieved by Brandspruit Colliery, the rest of Sasol Mining's six mines and two plants bought into the condition-based maintenance strategy. This resulted in Sasol Mining's reduced maintenance costs, improved reliability and self-imposed safe working practices. Successes achieved led to senior management's buy-in and support for establishing a central based condition monitoring team and integrating predictive and proactive maintenance into the total Sasol Mining maintenance strategy. Management's support was further enhanced through the persistence and passion of the central condition monitoring team which established a proven track record for meeting their business plan commitments that then resulted in the effective implementation of new condition based techniques. The effective predictive maintenance recommendations experienced by the artisans also brought about upward pressure on management to continue supporting the condition monitoring techniques throughout the journey. Management acknowledged that the condition monitoring department evolved over time in support of Sasol Mining's vision and strategy."

Uptime Award Board (PDF)

ChatGPT with
Find Your Answers Fast