The above is a simple but comprehensive schematic to understand and resolve vibration problems of industries.
- Resolving vibration problems
- Design Review
- Machine Testing
Leveraging Equipment Reliability to meet Business Goals
The above is a simple but comprehensive schematic to understand and resolve vibration problems of industries.
While tackling vibration problems (most machinery problems are oscillatory in nature) it is important to grasp the idea — “What causes vibration?”
The answer in its simplest form consists of two parts, which are: –
We can say, that when we put these two phenomena into a relationship or when we discover a pattern involving the two phenomena, we have effectively understood the essence of a vibration problem in order to solve it or improve the situation. Without the “induced force” a piece of machinery would not continue to vibrate. And without “freedom for movement” machines would not vibrate either. Both must be present for a machine to continue to vibrate.
However, I find that students of vibration analysis often face difficulty in understanding these two related phenomenon and have a hard time linking them into a coherent pattern exhibited by a vibration problem.
So, I would first try to explain the phenomenon of “induced force.”
There are many ways of classifying vibrations. Vibrations patterns are also described depending on how they are induced. This is an important way of classifying vibration since the cause of vibration can be easily understood from such classification.
For instance, a shop floor may vibrate when a machine is switched on. Or an adjacent machine or structure may vibrate when another machine on the same floor is running. This would be called machinery induced vibration.
Similarly, a bridge or a tower may be subjected to strong winds causing those to vibrate. In that case, it would be called wind induced vibration.
Or for example, a pipe carrying fluid in a power plant or a pump may be subjected to flow induced vibration. Common problems of pumps like cavitation, re-circulation, erosion and water hammer are all examples of flow induced vibration.
Likewise, unusual vibration of an anti-friction bearing may be induced by electromagnetic forces emanating from electrical cables. We would say that the bearing is subjected to electromagnetic induced vibration.
Similarly, vibration of machines, buildings, towers, bridges can be blast induced owing to sudden application of explosive forces, like the way it happens in mining industry.
In the case of earthquakes, bridges and towers are subjected to ground induced vibrations.
We may think of “induced force” as the necessary stimulus imposed on a structure that forces it to vibrate. Structure, from the vibration point of view, may be a piece of machine, building, tower, pipe, bearings, foundation — or simply anything that has stiffness and mass.
However, a structure would only vibrate or continue to vibrate if it has freedom to move. A machine can move in many directions provided it is allowed to do so. More the number of directions a machine is allowed to move more difficult it becomes to understand a problem. However, the question is “How do we know a machine’s Freedom to move?”
One easy way to find it out is by finding the number of natural frequencies exhibited by the machine. This may be effectively found out by conducting a “bump test” on the machine where the number of natural frequencies show up on the frequency spectrum. The number of natural frequencies is just equal to the number of directions a machine is free to move. For example, if a machine has five natural frequencies within the operating range that consists of the operating speed and its harmonics then the machine is free to move in five different directions.
So, when we know the nature of the induced force and the number of directions a machine is likely to move, we may then try to find the proper relationship between the two phenomena to complete our understanding of the essence of a vibration problem. Once such relationship is understood the solution(s) to a problem is self evident.
Note: This is a talk to be given by me at CII-SNCEL – 3rd National Seminar on Manufacturing Excellence 26th Sept 2012 at Kolkata.
How the Heck we Cascade Strategies of a Balanced Score Card?
By Dibyendu De,
Director Reliability Management Consultant Pvt Ltd
And Chief Mentor of International Institute of Nemetics Foundation
We would discuss the groans and joys of cascading strategies developed in a Balanced Score Card down to the shop floor level in a manufacturing unit and examine the importance of the interface between Human and Technology to bring about changes, order and balance in an otherwise uncertain world. In other words how do we implement the strategies that would help an organization to survive and do better?
Why is this question so important?
It is important because we aren’t always quite sure about how to implement good strategies in reality. As of now a top-down approach is usually taken with employee ‘buy-in’ in mind. Hence we have a 3 tier approach to the traditional roll out usually accompanied by loud and clear drum rolls. The first of these tiers, i.e. Tier 1 is about framing the Balanced Score Card (BSC) by the top management. This is followed by Tier 2 roll out where departmental and unit heads are involved, which then is finally handed down to the shop floor – Tier 3 usually not on a platter though always accompanied by a lot of anxiety and trepidation.
What is a Balanced Score Card (BSC)?
But before we delve any further let us have a working metaphor for BSC. It is a dashboard. It is something like we have in an aircraft’s cockpit which is laid out with wonderful and often beautiful looking array of impressive instruments measuring all sorts of parameters and variables, while an aircraft is in flight. Such a dashboard informs a pilot whether everything is going on track and whether he/she would be able to achieve a given objective of safely flying hapless passengers to their desired destination. That is the good part. The bad part is that these same instruments also inform when something starts to go wrong so that the pilot can take corrective actions to maintain the safety of the aircraft and its passengers, which, fortunately, in most cases they are able to do.
With this metaphor in mind it might be easy to understand as to why a firm’s strategy as outlined by a BSC has four fundamental components or building blocks, which are as follows:
a) Financial Performance
b) Internal Processes
c) Learning and Growth
Clearly all of them are interdependent on one another. The success of such interdependence as a whole would then determine the overall performance, productivity, profitability and future sustainability of the firm.
However, it might be fair to say that creating a strategy through BSC is relatively easier than cascading the strategy down to the shop floor for any measurable improvements to take place. Why is it so? This is because there are no clear cut defined strategies in place. But that is not an error or mistake. It is nearly impossible to think of any pre-defined strategies to take care of implementation. This is simply because of the complexity involved within the whole organization. Therefore, emerging strategies have to evolve. And these would be uniquely different in style, content and application from one strategic unit to the other. Even the implementation strategy for sister units might not be the same. That is precisely the challenge and the beauty of cascading or implementing the broad overall strategy formulated at the top management level.
It is easier to picture it like the famous Russian doll, Matryoshka, having strategies within strategies each with their own implementation plans. It goes without saying that it would not only involve a very liberal dose of applied creativity but also a non-linear process of sense making within the overall complexity of an organization and its various interfaces. Moreover, such measureable improvements must be done quickly enough so as to be reflected in the balance sheet and customer happiness.
Let us now see through some examples of how cascading takes place in real life in some manufacturing units. For want of time and space, I would take only one objective from each component of the overall top strategy of a BSC along with its specific measure and then illustrate the point through a live example, to demonstrate how that objective is effectively met to provide on-going benefit to a manufacturing organization. Perhaps it is not out of place to mention that in each of these cases I have been intimately engaged. That might have possibly left me wiser with a receding hairline that helps me to share such intimate moments with you all.
Financial Performance (the 1st Component)
Objective -> Cost Leadership (this appears to be a very common objective for most manufacturing organizations)
Specific Measure -> Unit cost
This is a case of a polyester yarn producing unit located in the eastern part of India. During the years following economic liberalization they were facing tough competition from the Chinese. While they were selling their yarn at Rs 112 a kg the Chinese competitors were happy selling the same quality of yarn at Rs 97 a kg.
To bring down the cost to a competitive level was a difficult proposition due to various factors the first of which was their complete dependency on import of raw material. Second was their inability to scale up operations owing to chronic fund crunch. Third was the cost of energy that went into the process. So this was a complex problem waiting to be resolved.
Clearly there weren’t any self evident solutions in sight. They would be forced to rely on their imports, pay the energy bills in time without being able to scale up owing to the prohibitive cost of technology that has to be obtained from Japan.
So what was done? They focussed on improving the plant reliability and upgrade their production capability within the given constraints.
With 24 failures in a month plant reliability was extremely poor. Such frequent stoppages also caused a lot of work in progress material loss with the consequent rise in energy cost apart from the poor productivity of the plant.
With this in mind they concentrated on improving plant reliability through the following means –
Customer Perspective (the 2nd Component)
Objective -> Responsive Supply
Specific Measure -> On- time delivery (this also appears to be a persistent problem for many manufacturing firms).
With the opening up of markets in India a manufacturing company suddenly found themselves flush with orders, which was much more than what they really expected. As a result they began to fail in their deliver y commitment to their customers and in no time the delay in delivery grew exponentially to touch 725 days. This meant that the unit could only deliver the goods to the customer in 2 years. It was obvious that it wasn’t acceptable to the customer and if this continues the sudden opportunity for accelerated growth the company found themselves in would quickly evaporate.
Considering the cash flow and the company’s resources it was also not possible for the company and the unit to immediately build up on their existing infrastructure to match the demand.
Hence what was done instead was to look at the entire production process and initiate quick changes in the design of the production system, which fundamentally meant the following:
Internal Process Perspective (the 3rd Component)
Objective -> Manufacturing Excellence
Specific Measure -> Cycle Time, Yield, Quality etc..
This is a case from a FMCG (Fast Moving Company Goods) company. The company had a strategy to increase their sales of shampoo. In order to do so they thought of penetrating the market of rural India and make its product available to the masses instead of concentrating in the cities for their turnover and survival. In order to do so they strategized to sell their shampoo in small sachets and sell those at Re 1/- per sachet. The idea was grand and it was rolled out from one of their strategic units in India.
For this they bought some expensive machines from Germany and Italy to run a pilot. Soon the pilot became quite successful and the demand for their product was growing by the day. In order to meet the rising demand they would have to quickly do something to boost their productivity and quality else the new found market would soon be taken over by their competitors who by that time have deployed similar strategies to tap into the large Indian rural market to ensure sustainability of their business. But they had a few problems in hand, which were the following:
So, the problem as a whole seemed insurmountable. Moreover it appeared to be a problem that involved many disciplines like Quality, Maintenance, Production, Finance, Personnel etc. It was clear from some initial efforts that this complex problem cannot be addressed by the usual reductionist approach to solve problems.
Since the company was not making any headway they decided on the following strategy:
Soon a completely new design was drawn up and local vendors were engaged to build the machine. Initially one machine was built to test out how it works.
Learning and Growth Perspective (the 4th Component)
Objective -> Manufacturing Learning (a vital but often overlooked fact in manufacturing units)
Specific Measure -> Time to design a new product and quickly bring it to market
I think Product Design and Development would soon become a very important aspect for Indian companies in as our focus on manufacturing keeps growing if we are to keep up with other competing nations in the manufacturing sector.
The usual reason of not being able to keep up with the desired pace of creating and bringing in new products in the market that is cited and felt is the lack of adequate manpower – those who might be exclusively dedicated to this purpose since all manufacturing units try their best to operate on minimum possible manpower taking cost into consideration.
However, we would see in the following case how this problem can be cleverly addressed without much strain on manpower or budgets. This is indeed a true leading indicator of strategy that would help any manufacturing organization to be in good stead as learning within the organization grows.
An Indian MNC felt the need of quickly developing a few new products and also improve upon their existing products to suit changing requirement of the market and also to face competition. However, for reasons as cited above, the company was in a fix as to how this issue might be properly addressed to increase their haul of patents to help them penetrate new markets and grab a part of the market share from their competitors.
What was done?
Lessons Learned and Conclusions:
Let us create the difference that creates the difference in our lives. So much depends on us to build a sustainable future for the next seven generations. And the best thing is we don’t need a big theory to create that essential difference since we live in a non-linear world that calls for creative non-linear approach. We call this a Nemetic approach to life. And it works. We as Nemeticians assert this claim with evidence based confidence.
Note: It does not really matter whether we improve through BSC or Business Case or Business Plan since the principles of long lasting changes and improvement remain exactly the same. The principles of Nemetics employed to improve any situation goes beyond all changing terminologies, which are often called fads. Surprisingly, the same principles can be employed in Design, Health, Education and a host of things.
a) Research notes of the Institute
b) Discussion notes with Gautum Dhar, Mgr, TMKPL on pitfalls of cascading BSC.
The author wishes to thank Mr Fabian Szulanski for encapsulating the Nemetic idea through his slogan ‘Don’t Model Systems; Model Failures instead’
The author, Dibyendu De, might be contacted over email – firstname.lastname@example.org