The issue of equipment maintenance and aging plant is big and growing. The lack of investments over the past decade or so due to a shaky global economy and the fact that a lot of companies have been spending their investment dollars offshoring to expand operations or capitalize on lower cost countries has led to aging equipment and infrastructure that now needs our attention. For reference, the issues of aging infrastructure in the water industry, seen almost every day on the news as another water main breaks or a town finds its drinking water pipes are still lead. These issues are real, and it needs attention now.
This is where trade associations such as the Fluid Sealing Association, Hydraulic Institute, Valve Manufacturers Association, and their member companies come into play. Their activities set standards to ensure new equipment operates more efficiently, consumes less energy, emits less emissions, and ultimately has increased reliability over a longer lifespan. In addition, their activities relating to developing standards for best practices in repair and upgrade make extending equipment life a more practical and safe reality as it starts to reach its end-of-life threshold.
Here is a great quote that I wanted to share with you as it relates to the topic of equipment maintenance and its impact on long reliability and life expectance:
“…sometimes the equipment must be modified, but most often, it is a simple change over. Knowledge of the material characteristics is essential, as they do not necessarily behave in the same fashion as the original equipment. Training is key to make sure that the upgraded equipment is properly installed and operated.”
So why did I decide to write this blog post on Equipment Maintenance? This last week I was at the Fluid Sealing Association’s Fall meeting in Nashville, and next week, I’m participating in the Hydraulic Institute’s Fall meeting in New Orleans. The topic of standards and training relating to equipment maintenance and safety is a strong topic at both venues – from Standards and best practices in sealing to Pump System Optimization training – both associations see this as a critical topic and one that needs the time and attention of their member company industry expert resources. The two associations recently elected to co-locate their 2017 Fall meetings so that they could better capitalize on the wealth of knowledge provided by both sets of member companies; a further testament to their joint goal to influence and advocate for positive change.
FSA Fall Meeting
As I said, I attended the Fluid Sealing Association’s meeting this week in Nashville. It is one of my favorite meetings because it forces me out of my comfort zone and helps me grow personally and professionally. At the meeting, I was nominated as Marketing Chair for the second time and I am honored to get to continue the work that Ian Baynes and the team put into motion over the past 2 years! I am very proud of how far the Marketing Committee has come in the last 4 years and I am excited to continue to be a part of growing it forward!
In preparing for this blog, I reached out to Ian to ask for his thoughts and comments, and part of his reply is below. I wanted to share his comments which made me happy:
Ian Baynes: “Charli, I am extremely proud of the fact that the marketing committee has become a strong leading influence within the association. As you know I was present on the day the committee was first formed 8+ years ago and it’s truly amazing to see just how far the team has come. One thing is for certain, having you as the committee chair for the next few years will only take the committee to new heights as you infuse your energy and passion into their association activities. The FSA is an amazing group of industry leading professionals and one that has a strong influence, albeit frequently behind the scenes so it’s not often recognized. This is changing however as the new strategy is executed and the association raises its voice to help influence and advocate for positive change across the industry; collaborating with other associations to pool resources and drive for more robust standards and guidelines that industry can follow to make their equipment more reliable and efficient and ultimately enabling the end user/ customer to compete stronger in the global industrial markets.”
During the meeting, Mike Shorts handed over the association presidency to Phil Mahoney [AW Chesterton Company] and appointed Rob Coffee [Proco Products] as Vice President. Both of them are partners of Empowering Brands, which makes me happy. In addition to marketing chair, I also have responsibilities for FSA public relations and love advocating for membership of the organization and getting involved in industry as a whole. I do this because I believe in their mission:
“Be the leading trade association that is recognized and accepted as a Subject matter expert and technical leader that advocates and influences environmental compliance to create and raise standards in technology, safety, quality, and best practices for sealing devices. Educates in the correct adoption of technology and practices and is a key collaborator with organizations that influence and direct the development of key standards that directly impact the users of sealing devices. Driving strategies that create market access opportunities for its member companies”
This is a strong message, and one the association members rally around as they work to better the industry through their related activities – myself included!
Obviously, there was a lot of discussion this week relating to the election and how a change in administration would affect the process industries, especially the potential impact on the rules and regulations put in place by the EPA over the past 8 years or so and the effect it would have on the standards developed and currently under development by FSA, HI, and API. What was clear, however, is that the FSA members have a strong conviction on the path they are on and will continue to influence and advocate for positive change.
As for me, I am on the side of education. We must continue to educate on new technologies, how to install equipment, and how to correctly and safely maintain it. We are only as good as our knowledge, therefore, I will continue to be involved in associations where education and training is a goal so we can better help get the message out and I can continue to learn from the industry experts.
So roll on next week, and the HI Fall meeting in New Orleans.
Check out this latest article on managing aging equipment.