Condition Monitoring/Predictive Maintenance


Premier Foods is the UK’s largest food producer, with over 60 UK and Ireland sites, around 15 thousand employees, and a £2.7 billion turnover.

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ETher NDE, a UK-based manufacturer of Eddy Current products, is pleased to introduce the VANTAGE Eddy Current Flaw Detector.

Making A Shop Air Compressor Green(er)

Aerzen USA insights and guidance for blower, compressor and vacuum pump applications >> 

Plant air is a known energy sink and you may not think of a shop air compressor as an area that can be made more sustainable.  At Aerzen’s LEED certified facility in Coatesville we initially were not able to improve upon old concepts at first either.  During the course of the last three years we were able to make significant changes to reduce its environmental impact. Adding an electronic controller, variable speed drive, remote monitoring and recycling waste heat did a fantastic job reducing the carbon foot print of the compressed air system.  They are simple ideas that you can implement in one way shape or form.  Your bottom line may be affected by this more than you think. 


This is a view into the sound enclosure of the Aerzen compressor package.

One improvement that anyone can make right from the time to look for a new compressor system is to choose a continuous duty rotary screw compressor over a conventional piston compressor.  The reason is that you have to quite oversize a piston compressor since they typically are not intended to be run continuously.  Also, the piston compressor usually requires a higher discharge pressure to make the best use of the two-point pressure control and / or a bigger air tank.  Both of the measures contribute to less run time per hour for the piston compressor and yet this uses more energy than a rotary screw compressor that can continuously operate at a lower pressure. 

The 15 year old oil flooded single stage Aerzen rotary screw compressor VMXa0937R had initially been designed for a simple 2 point load-unload compressed air system with a single speed belt drive and a 25 horsepower motor.  It was set up with a long minimum run

Operating Time Versus Condition Based Oil Changes

Aerzen USA insights and guidance for blower, compressor and vacuum pump applications >> 

The majority of all operating manuals provide the equipment user with a time based plan when to change the machine’s oil.  This interval is typically designed to protect the oil and subsequently the machine from breaking down prematurely in most if not all operating conditions.  So far so good.  This comes with a price tag as the machine needs to be properly shut down and locked / tagged out.  Besides of the obvious cost for the lubricant you also incur labor and potential production down time cost.  For most of the smaller machines requiring less than a gallon of oil for each change it may not make sense to go with a condition based lubricant change.  Experts fix what needs fixing and this applies here also.  For larger quantities it may make much more sense to go with an oil condition based oil change schedule. 

First ponder what constitutes a “larger machine” for you.  Prioritize by amount of oil and how crucial the machine is to your plant.  Then pick an oil analysis company or diagnostic tool that will provide you with a fast oil analysis result.  Best are systems that provide an online access with e-mail notification when there are samples that need attention.  If the lubricant is still ok, why would you change it?  This helps saving time, labor and oil and thus you can do your part to help conserve resources. 

Here are test requirements that the analysis should bring to the table: 

  • Viscosity at 40C
  • Viscosity at 100C
  • Oxidation
  • Water content
  • ISO cleanliness grade
  • Particle count

One company that offers such a service is ALS Stavely at .  Important to any analysis is that there be at least twice a year samples taken.  Quarterly and for really crucial pieces of equipment perhaps even monthly trending may be warranted.  Assuming viscosity, cleanliness, water and

Trucking – Pay now, or pay later

Aerzen USA insights and guidance for blower, compressor and vacuum pump applications >> 

Shipping damage is the top number one issue followed by scheduling and only then cost.  It is amazing how much freight gets damaged per year.  This is particularly true for new blower packages that are shipped via LTL (Less than truckload) and so called common carrier.  Although deemed the most cost effective – expediting and broker companies managed to push the cost down - it is the most difficult way to get machinery to a job site undamaged. Because freight must be consolidated in the carrier’s main hubs the equipment must be moved often.  The mostly heavy and odd shaped freight with uneven weight distribution is moved with fork trucks that are significantly undersized.  Making things worse is the fact that logistics is a business model where people make Cents on a Dollar and thus the time freight spends in non value adding moving around within terminals is kept to an absolute minimum causing fork lift drivers to drive fast and furious.  Freight gets shoved around, stacked (when it should not be) and dropped rapidly (giving drop-shipment a different meaning).  The result is that sound enclosures, castings, instrumentation etc gets damaged significantly before it even makes it to the final destination. 


Here is a brand new unit that was literally “drop shipped” – it fell off the lift truck during the off loading process at the job site. 

FTL (Full truck load) shipments do not fare much better.  Here the truckers often get completely carried away by putting the tie down straps way too tight on the sound enclosure roofs resulting in dented and crushed panels.  Some leave with promising that they will tarp the freight when they get the next best change.  You guessed right, this more often than not

Maintenance Benefits from Production Data

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A much underused source of data for Maintenance management in facilities with live production monitoring capabilities is the wealth of information, both live and historic; such systems are capable of delivering. This may be because the decision to install such monitoring is by definition a Production commitment. One of the most efficient ways of running planned maintenance is on an hours run or cyclic basis where production data is the obvious monitoring source. Many production monitoring systems have advance notification capabilities that programmed appropriately can provide maintenance planning the necessary notice of impending scheduled work. This requires (limited) Maintenance access to production monitoring ‘live’ data initially to pick up notifications, but additionally to enable them to re-forecast completed works. From the maintenance planning viewpoint a printout or viewing access to hours consumed on a weekly or monthly basis assists in JIT provision of any maintenance spares required for scheduled works. From a Condition Monitoring and energy efficiency angle production monitoring systems are invaluable and again seldom used to their full potential. Certainly on ‘critical’ equipment current consumption can be recorded and trended (over time and with production loading and rpm). In the simplified example above one would expect to see current drawn having a direct relationship to increased loading or RPM. However, in section ‘X’ the relationship alters and there is a gradual increase in current drawn against a steady state of production conditions; such a pattern serves as an indication that the motors condition is deteriorating. The key to any Condition Based Maintenance strategy is the trending of information and production monitoring systems have that capability and whilst the example may not be particularly sophisticated measure it nonetheless provides a potentially valuable tool in establishing and monitoring deterioration in performance. Parameters that can potentially indicate machine

Do religious differences matter? An analysis in India : Table of Contents

Team Performance Management >> 
Purpose – This paper aims to analyze the relationship between religious differences (i.e. religious diversity and tolerance diversity), on the one hand, and dysfunctional intergroup conflicts, on the other. Design/methodology/approach – A quantitative research design is used, through which the paper examines 47 public schools in India. Findings – Religious diversity, that is, the distribution of heterogeneous religious affiliations in an organization, is unrelated to dysfunctional intergroup conflicts. By contrast, tolerance diversity, that is, the heterogeneity of organizational members' beliefs regarding the question of how strictly religious commandments should be followed, is positively related to dysfunctional conflicts. Research limitations/implications – The results of this study are limited to public organizations in the Indian context. Practical implications – Since religious diversity is not connected to intergroup conflicts, fostering religious diversity in organizations could render the societal norm “unity in diversity” more authentic and attractive. This in turn would enhance the ability of different religions to cooperate in Indian organizations. In contrast with religious diversity, the heterogeneity of religious tolerance is significantly related to intergroup conflicts; a possible remedy could be the use of a transformational leadership style. Originality/value – This study is the first to investigate both religious diversity and tolerance diversity in their effects on the emergence of intergroup conflicts, that is, apparent emotional tensions between organizational subgroups.

Competitive approaches to new product development: A comparison of successful organizations in an unstable economic environment : Table of Contents

Team Performance Management >> 
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide practitioners of management with a sense of how collaborative team integration processes and new product development (NPD) processes were required in order to be reasonably successful in the current economic recession. Design/methodology/approach – The four relatively large Pittsburgh-based general service and/or manufacturing-oriented companies, most with global operations and reach capabilities, were selected and reviewed for the principles of the strategic, financial, informational, and operational viewpoints. Findings – Even conservative companies found that more radical approaches to NPD, such as product newness and uncertainty in new product innovation/production, may remove, not increase, barriers to incremental and/or radical manufacturability. This is especially true in firms that make proper use of the managerial connectivity provided by proper use of limited resources, which are enhanced by the timeliness of good strategies. Practical implications – The roles of uncertainty, supplier influences, team integration processes, as well as technology, may act as change agents, especially under the current economic recession. These factors may result in leveling the playing field for incremental and radical innovators as they integrate processes associated with NPD. Originality/value – The executive teams involved recognized the need for more radical product offerings by turning their focus to meeting customer needs instead of making risky investments. Through successful product implementation, the companies studied found stability in a very turbulent financial and service-oriented marketplace.

Managing and training for virtual teams in India : Table of Contents

Team Performance Management >> 
Purpose – The purpose of this study is to investigate the current and potential use of virtual teams in the Indian context. Design/methodology/approach – The use of virtual styles and strategies was assessed through a series of questionnaires, focusing on managerial aspects. The sample consisted of companies and individuals from Europe, who work on virtual assignments. The results were analysed, paying particular attention to the actual usage and potential future usage of virtual assignments. Findings – It was found that a disparity between the actual and the potential use of virtual delegates exists. Furthermore, the increasing use of virtual delegates requires tailored intercultural training, which meets the specific demands of these delegates and the requirements of virtual teamwork. The paper goes on to discuss how traditional training can be adapted for the training of virtual assignees. Originality/value – The findings have implications for both academics and practitioners, as they indicate that there is significant potential for further growth in the use of virtual assignments. In particular, the paper highlights the need for specific, dedicated training in virtual assignments, as this has a substantial impact on their success.

Coaching and family: the beneficial effects of multiple role membership : Table of Contents

Team Performance Management >> 
Purpose – Athletic coaches are responsible for team relationships and a team's performance, yet many may leave the coaching profession or withdraw from team management because of work-family issues. The purpose of this study is to use ecological theory as a guide to theorize on the relationships between work-factors and work-family outcomes for team leaders. Design/methodology/approach – Participants were 601 college coaches. Using an online questionnaire, participants evaluated their supervisory support, autonomy in their job, and various work-family factors. Specifically, the effects of the work-factors of autonomy and supervisory support were examined on work-family variables. Data were analyzed using structural equation modeling (SEM). Findings – Confirmatory factor analysis results suggested that the fit for coaches and their work-family interface is best explained by four work-family dimensions – two directional conflict dimensions and two directional enrichment dimensions. Results suggest that supervisory support correlates with lower conflict and greater enrichment. Additionally, coaches reported that an autonomous workplace correlated with lower conflict and greater work enrichment with family. Practical implications – Results suggest that it is beneficial to help the coach/team leader to improve fit, even though conflict is inevitable. Previously mentioned, and found throughout the results, was the effectiveness of the supervisor at alleviating conflict and amplifying enrichment. Social implications – A reason for the disparate number of women in team leadership positions has been family pressure. This research is expected to lay a foundation for future research on the beneficial aspects of multiple role participation. Originality/value – This research builds on past work on the work-family fit, which originally focused heavily on conflict, but has just recently started looking at the beneficial aspects of multiple role participation.

Soft factors affecting the performance of software development teams : Table of Contents

Team Performance Management >> 
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to classify the factors affecting the performance of software development teams and stress the soft (non-technical) factors affecting the performance of software development teams. Design/methodology/approach – This paper is based on the thorough secondary research and literature review of the past empirical studies published in reputed journals. The methodology followed is the secondary research based on extensive literature review of empirical studies done and analysis of the findings of those studies and categorization of the factors affecting the software development team performance. Literature review and analysis were carried out between March 2010 and March 2011. Findings – It was found that the soft factors such as team climate, team diversity, team innovation, team member competencies and characteristics, top management support and team leader behavior, have an effect on software development team performance. Mutual trust and communication effectiveness are found to be the prioritized factors affecting the software development team performance. Research limitations/implications – The conclusions made are based on the past empirical studies found in the literature. A primary research can be done by taking these soft factors into consideration and implications or observations can be found on the software development team's performance. Originality/value – The original contribution of this paper is the classification of factors affecting the performance of software development teams. This contribution also highlights the soft factors such as team climate, which was not discussed much in the literature. It also highlights trust and communication, for example, as leading factors affecting the software development team performance.

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