Because our memories are imperfect and we dont want to
risk making mistakes, we learned to jot down brief reminder
notes on paper. Some people call it a cheat sheet, or a
checklist. An airline pilot will find a set of checklists in
the cockpit. Even after hundreds of successful takeoffs and
landings, the pilot would use the checklist. Chances are that
consistently using such a checklist is a condition of
employment for airline cockpit crews.
Errors are costly and dangerous.
Due to the consequences from errors, a few best-of-class petrochemical companies issue
pertinent checklists to every plant operator, as shown in Fig.
1. One best-of-class petrochemical company is Esso
Chemicalspredecessor of the ExxonMobil (EM) Corp.
Whenever the Esso operators are patrolling their process units,
they have the checklists in their shirt pockets. Today, Esso
and its successor affiliates still believe that an informed
workforce is a happy, responsible and productive partner. In
2012, EMs lube marketing branch is fulfilling a teaching
and information-sharing role by organizing a
lubrication-oriented maintenance symposiums that will be
held in several cities in the US, Canada and
Mexico.* As in previous years, the attendees will
hear reliability-focused messages that
are not presented elsewhere. Just as on a dozen or so occasions
last year, it will be this writers privilege to make two
different presentations at each venue.
1. Shirt-pocket checklists used at a
best-of-class plant in 1989.
But even if you cannot attend, remember our checklist
message. At best-of-class companies, unit supervisors lead by
example. They, too, have these checklists with them and they
will look at them every time a machine is being started or
stopped orin the case of valveswhen an adjustment
has to be made. Also, at best-of-class companies, books are
still within reach of operators and technical staff. The
Internet is not an adequate substitute for good books. Table 1
is a partial reading list for reliability engineers.
* Note: The Mobil Lubricants Maintenance Symposium will be held
in various cities throughout North America. More information on
the dates and locations for these symposiums can be found
Heinz P. Bloch is Hydrocarbon
Processings Reliability/Equipment Editor.
A practicing consulting engineer with 50 years of
applicable experience, he advises process plants
worldwide on failure analysis, reliability improvement
and maintenance cost-avoidance