Applying reliability principles at the plant and at home

Aug. 16, 2018
A year after buying a house, Thomas Wilk wonders exactly how reliable is it?

This month marks the first anniversary of my wife and I becoming homeowners for the first time.

It took a little longer than expected to hit this milestone – for example, my little sister bought her first home nearly 25 years ago – but at least the delay gave me a lot of time listen and learn from everyone who had already taken the plunge.

Once we figured out our price range, the list of conditions to help refine our search was fairly short:

  • Close to public transportation
  • Strong public schools
  • Fenced-in backyard
  • Mechanically sound infrastructure (i.e., no major repairs needed upon move-in to the roof, walls, appliances, etc.)

It was a relief to discover that, at least in the Chicago area, those first three items focused our search considerably. This meant that we were able to concentrate on the last item during all the open-house visits, and within three months we were living in a 90-year-old bungalow that is two blocks from the train, has a big backyard, and was mechanically sound upon move-in.

The good news is that there’s no major tales of woe to report, but you might already see where this story is heading, especially if you’re a homeowner. Within six weeks, the little things started adding up, like the legacy washer and dryer giving up the fight after close to two decades in service, and learning which parts of the electrical system had been detached from the main panel at some point and simply not reattached. Our neighborhood also received six inches of rain in a 24-hour period, which was a great stress test to see if our house was prone to flooding from a rain event like that (thankfully, it isn’t).

All of the various house challenges of the past year were in my mind while editing this issue of Plant Services, an issue that features strong strategic guidance and tactical advice from a wide variety of industry professionals. Our cover story leads this month’s coverage in the form of a four-point strategic plan by Victor Foster, CMRP and reliability engineer at Lucite International, that will help you improve reliability efforts at your facility.

Rounding out the issue are several other like-minded features:

  • The story of how Magid Glove and Safety pulled the trigger on installing a 10,500-panel rooftop solar array that will help offset energy costs at its new facility
  • An interview with Ron Reimer, the 2017 CMRP of the Year in the veteran professional category, who discusses his passion for reliability and how mentors have supported this passion
  • A primer on how installing a “green patch” in a brownfield environment can be the first step toward leveraging the IIoT to monitor legacy assets at your facility.

Taken together, it’s shared wisdom that will help keep you in a position to handle the steady stream of challenges in your home away from home.

About the Author

Thomas Wilk | editor in chief

Thomas Wilk joined Plant Services as editor in chief in 2014. Previously, Wilk was content strategist / mobile media manager at Panduit. Prior to Panduit, Tom was lead editor for Battelle Memorial Institute's Environmental Restoration team, and taught business and technical writing at Ohio State University for eight years. Tom holds a BA from the University of Illinois and an MA from Ohio State University

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