SKF: Improving Lube Reliability


SKF USA – a leading supplier in the rolling bearing, seals and lubrication systems areas, among others – has acquired Preventive Maintenance Co. Inc. of Elk Grove Village, Ill. for an undisclosed amount. PMCI, whose annual sales are about $10 million, offers predictive maintenanceservices including lubrication sampling and analysis.

PMCIserves industrial customers in the pulp and paper, metals, food, automotive and other industries. PMCI has 70 employees. SKF USA, headquartered in Norristown, Pa., employs more than 5,000 people at 25 different facilities. Its services include engineering consulting, maintenance services, condition monitoring and training.

Jim Miller, who was president of PMCI, is now vice president of business development for the reliability services division of SKF. Miller told Lube Report that PMCI arranges lubrication analysis services along with services such as vibration analysis, thermography and ultrasonics. We dont necessarily do the lubrication analysis as much as we set up programs where we can draw samples for the customer, he said. We then send them out to a third party. Now, being owned by SKF, thats going to open up all kinds of avenues for us to improve and build on those lubrication programs.

Miller explained the acquisition by SKF was appealing because customers are asking for more and more services under one umbrella. Strategically, it just makes good sense for us to go out and look for a good strategic partner, and SKF turned out to be number one, hands down, he said. Theyre looking for reliability packages – we bring the service, know-how and our knowledge to SKF. Its just a great fit.

Miller described one study PMCI did for the paper industry to analyze problems with water getting into bearings. Weve used ultrasound to listen to the bearing while the lubrication person is filling the bearing with grease, he said. We can tell when the bearing is full.

He added that the knowledge helped the paper industry. For one, you dont over-lubricate, Miller said. If you do, the lubricant has to come out and go some place. So weve done a couple of those studies to help them find out how much lubricant to put in.

Everybody wants to outsource more and more, he said. A reliability program is huge to the bottom line if done right, and yet its not their core competency. Were big in paper, big in auto, big in steel, and were going to grow those programs.

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