March 30, 2020

Bridge the Gap Between Results and Maintenance Actions

By Marc Pinkerton

Do you have a specially configured maintenance or reliability condition monitoring platform? Do you work with a laboratory that is able to send you properly formatted fluid analysis data in a timely manner? If not, then chances are there’s a disconnect between your maintenance management system and your oil analysis program. 

While Fluid Life can send customers formatted data for import into different systems, we also understand that not all of our customers have this capability.  Our oil analysis program management portal – myLab™  – is designed to help oil analysis users bridge the gap between results and anything done in response to those results.   

Let’s review three primary communications features in myLab: comments, maintenance events and reliability alerts.  

Comments and Discussions

The simplest and least time consuming way to document follow ups and corrective actions is to use myLab comments and discussion sections.  Each individual active component or sampling location will have its own comment section on its results page.  All comments are date and time stamped along with the specific username (person who wrote it).  Replies are documented the same way.  myLab user profiles can be set up so a user receives email notifications any time a comment or a reply is documented.

Comments can be extremely detailed or as basic as “Oil was changed.  We will sample again mid interval to monitor more closely”.  Some of our customers enter a work order number to make cross-referencing between platforms easier.  Regardless of the content, the goal of the comments and replies is to communicate to everyone involved that something has been done in response to an alarmed component.  This type of information is also invaluable to reference down the road if similar issues occur as all comments and replies are added to your overall oil analysis history.  

Adding Maintenance Events to Your Oil Analysis Timeline 

As quick and easy as comments are to document, one of the drawbacks is that they do not show up in hard-copy or PDF reports of your oil analysis timeline and histories.  Comments and replies are only found online in myLab or through digital exports. 

myLab also allows users to document Maintenance Events that correspond with sampling history.  These events will appear in chronological order among your sample results.  Maintenance Events can be customized to represent anything you want on your reports and are extremely beneficial when trying to understand the evolution and trends in your results.  For example, a line indicating “Component overhauled” in between two sample results makes it easier to understand that a recent increase in wear was due to component break-in without needing to go back and reference work completed in your CMMS.  Similar to sample information, Maintenance Events in myLab also allow users to document the date, meter readings, notes, and other vital information.

Reliability Alerts      

Finally, the most extensive and useful option is myLab’s reliability alerting functionality.  This option allows users to document all information related to a corrective action and track every stage of its progress until the “maintenance / corrective action loop” is closed.  Information such as alert criticality, proposed corrective action details, work order date and due date, work order number, alert responses, and related cost savings can be documented in myLab reliability alerts. Progress can be tracked as “open needing response”, “open, ready to complete”, and completed and closed. 

While compared to the previous two options reliability alerts require the most time and effort, they do offer the most return. Reliability alert information is compiled and used to create important program KPIs and ROI.  Plus, based on this data, you’ll be able to answer these types of questions:

  • How many corrective actions did we complete last year in response to problematic analysis reports?  What about the last 6 months? 
  • What have our maintenance cost savings been as a result of our analysis program?

Bridge the Communication Gap

Many Fluid Life customers use one or multiple options to their advantage.  For program users with limited time and resources, Fluid Life can even manage the responsibility of creating reliability alerts for our customers (see our CARE offer).

Regardless of your preferred method, we can help you develop a process to bridge the gap between your results and work completed. This is especially important when you have multiple employees reviewing and following up on your fluid analysis results.  We all know that reliability engineers, planners, maintenance managers have limited time on their hands even on their best days. By effectively using communication and documentation tools in myLab, they can spend less time on piecing together history and more on resolving the issue.

Get more myLab tips in our Tutorials.