Featured ML reader: Bob Pratt

Employer: DTE Energy

Job title: Staff engineering technician/lubrication at the St. Clair Power Plant in St. Clair, Mich.

How many years have you been at this company?: 16 years

What types of training have you taken to get you to your current job?: “I have six years of experience in vibration and 10 years in predictive maintenance, with three years focused on lubrication.”

Do you hold any certifications through ICML, STLE or any other body?: “I earned the Machine Lubrication Technician (MLT) Level I certification through ICML. I also have the Vibration Analysis I certification through IRD.”

When did you get your start in machinery lubrication, and how did it happen?: “I got my start in lubrication in 1994. Working in the predictive maintenance group in vibration, it was suggested that to be able to better troubleshoot equipment, knowledge of the lubrication program would be very helpful. I started out getting routine oil samples from equipment. Learning the basics of lubrication was very intriguing. So, I decided that this was something I wanted to pursue. I am very proud to say that in September 2007 I became the lubrication technician at the St. Clair Power Plant.”

What’s a normal work day like for you?: “A normal work day for me consists of: 1) coordinating a review of the plant lubrication program for necessary revisions and updates; 2) coordinating and scheduling training for individuals involved with lubrication on-site; 3) establishing and maintaining test slates for equipment included in the lubrication surveillance program; 4) providing technical assessment of the lubricant-related state of plant equipment; 5) maintaining metrics used to assess the effectiveness of the lubrication program; and 6) conducting periodic surveillance of lubrication practices and lubrication facilities on-site to ensure compliance with the lubrication program manual.”

What is the amount and range of equipment that you service at your plant?: “I service approximately 2,500 pieces of rotating equipment, ranging from small sump pumps to turbine electro-hydraulic control systems.”

What lubrication-related projects are you currently working on?: “I’m currently working on installation of dedicated filtration skids on six large roll wheel coal mills. Also, I am working on installation of mini-mess style pitot tube sample ports, desiccant breathers, sight glasses and quick-disconnect fittings on various pieces of equipment to help reduce contamination and obtain a representative sample.”

What have been some of the biggest lubrication project successes that you have been a part of?: “One of my favorite projects is the installation of an oil storage room with tote system and oil bar. Each tote is equipped with 3-micron filtration and a 5:1 air-regulated pump. New oil drums are filtered when filling the tote and filtered when oil is dispensed at the oil bar for top-off containers.”

Noria debuts a new editorial feature in this issue of Machinery Lubrication. This feature, titled “Get to Know …”, is a brief question-and-answer session with a Machinery Lubrication reader. “Get to Know ...” articles put the spotlight on industry professionals and detail some of the lubrication-related projects they are working on. This issue includes profiles on Bob Pratt of DTE Energy and Troy Rooney of Cargill. If you know of an ML reader who deserves to be profiled, e-mail editor-in-chief Paul V. Arnold at parnold@noria.com.