Contributing Re.engineer Partner: Noria Corporation (www.noria.com)
Challenge: The Gerber production plant in Fort Smith, Arkansas, manufactures a wide range of high-quality baby food products. Along with aseptic cups, glass jarred products and meat sticks, the facility produces enough infant cereal to supply North America. In 2006, the plant began a journey to positively impact their predictive maintenance program. One of their initial findings was that nearly every oil sample contained silica, so they started with performing informal root cause failure analysis to examine how the facility’s lubricants were being managed.
Solution: The first step in improving Gerber’s lubrication management was to reduce the amount of silica showing up in the oil samples. Nearly everything lubrication related had to be corrected, from how and where lubricants were stored, to how much and how often they were applied. Rather than “re-inventing the wheel,” they researched lubrication management and found universal truths across all industries. Oil must be kept clean, dry and controlled from the time of purchase through gearbox top-offs. Subsequently, and by staying true to these truths, Gerber implemented lubrication management with another universal principle as the guide: apply the right lubricant in the proper amount at the correct time.
Noria’s Lubrication Program Development (LPD):
Results: With a new approach to lubrication management, the facility's average consumption of its two primary food-grade lubricants dropped from 650 gallons to just 110 gallons annually – a reduction of more than 80%, which resulted in more than $15,000 a year in savings. This made a sustainable reduction to the plant’s operations budget.
Impact: Annual savings of $15,000