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M-News Edition 41
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M-News - the Maintenance Newsletter

Edition 41, December 2003

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In this edition...
Feature Article - Reliability and Accountability
Feature Article - 5S: Workplace Organization and Standardization
Feature Article - Ground Vibration Measurement - Case Study
Feature Article - Tea Staining on Stainless Steel Surfaces
Condition Monitoring and Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) Survey
Seasonal Gift-Giving Suggestions
Book Review - Managing Maintenance Error
Recommended Books
On the Lighter Side - Engineering Humor

If you wish to receive notification of future copies of this newsletter by email, please register at If you have any feedback on the newsletter, or have something to contribute, please send me an e-mail.

This edition of the newsletter is supported by Assetivity

Operations, Maintenance and Reliability Consulting from highly experienced consultants. Specialising in Maintenance and Reliability Audits/Reviews, Operations and Maintenance Improvement Planning, PM Optimisation, Stores and Procurement Improvement, Outsourcing and Contractor Management.

Visit for more details.

Feature Article - Reliability and Accountability

The recent electricity outage in North America brought "Reliability" issues to the surface, this time not only for engineers but also for politicians. The solution to the problem, according to North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) is reliability enforcement through legislation. According to NERC, "reliability rules must be made mandatory and enforceable" and "legislative action is needed to maintain Electric System Reliability". How do we achieve this aim? This article, contributed by Manou Hosseini offers some thoughts. You will find the article at Note that you will require the free Adobe Acrobat reader to be able to view this file.

Feature Article - 5S: Workplace Organization and Standardization

5S is a process of workplace organization and housekeeping that is carried out gradually and systematically. A well organized workplace motivates people, both on the shopfloor as well as others. It improves safety, work efficiency, improves productivity and encourages ownership. Read more about 5S in this article from Noeradji Prabowo at Once again, you will require the free Adobe Acrobat reader to be able to view this file.

Feature Article - Ground Vibration Measurement - Case Study

The origin of this case study was a series of complaints that all the executives sitting in and around the Senior Vice President's office were feeling vibrations on the table as well as on the floor. Read the case study (contributed by Madhusudan.N) at to find out how this issue was resolved. Yet another pdf file requiring Adobe Acrobat reader.

Feature Article - Tea Staining on Stainless Steel Surfaces

Tea staining of stainless steels is a relatively common occurrence in coastal areas, and wherever water which high in chlorides is used for washing down. Visually, it is a discolouration of the metal surface, which tends to follow the 'grain' of any surface finish. Although unpleasant to look at, it is not a serious form of corrosion, and in general does not affect the structural integrity, or longevity of the equipment. Aesthetically however tea staining is not ideal. This paper, from Barry Walker, Don Thornton & Simon Griffiths, is designed to help identify its causes and suggest remedies that have proven to be satisfactory in practice. It can be read at Yet again, please note that you will require the free Adobe Acrobat reader to be able to view this file.

Condition Monitoring and Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) Survey

We are happy to announce that, in association with Philip Higgs, a Research Student at Loughborough University, UK, we are supporting a survey into the Condition Monitoring and Non-Destructive Testing practices, techniques and implementation processes that are in place in industry. Please visit to participate. It will only take 3 to 5 minutes of your time, and online live results will be displayed following submission of the form. Responses from employees within organisations who have adopted Condition Based Monitoring Systems are preferred.

Seasonal Gift-Giving Suggestions

With the holiday season fast approaching, why not try giving that special maintenance person in your life (or yourself, if you are feeling selfish!), one of the following:

Or, if you are feeling desperate, why not try giving something completely unrelated to maintenance, by finding the Perfect Gift in the Gifts Store!

Book Review - Managing Maintenance Error

This is a 5 star book - absolutely essential reading for anyone wishing to make significant improvements in equipment (and human) reliability and performance. Written by psychologists, for engineers, it is intensely practical, enlightening and highly valuable. It has the potential to revolutionise the way that we think about Failure Elimination, in the same way that John Moubray's book, Reliability Centered Maintenance, has revolutionised the way we think about Failure Prediction and Prevention. If you are at all interested in Failure Prevention within your organisation, then this is one book that you simply MUST read.To read our full review, visit

Recommended Books

Here are ten Maintenance-related books that we have reviewed recently, and strongly recommend:

Get more information on these and other books at

On the Lighter Side - Engineering Humor

Real Engineers...

Real Engineers consider themselves well dressed if their socks match

Real Engineers buy their spouses a set of matched screw- drivers for their birthday.

Real Engineers wear moustaches or beards for "efficiency". Not because they're lazy.

Real engineers have a non-technial vocbulary of 800 words.

Real Engineers think a "biting wit" is their fox terrier.

Real Engineers know the second law of thermodynamics - but not their own shirt size.

Real Engineers repair their own cameras, telephones, televisions, watches, and automatic transmissions.

Real Engineers say "It's 70 degrees Farenheit, 25 degrees Celius, and 298 degrees Kelvin" and all you say is "Isn't it a nice day"

Real Engineers give you the feeling you're having a conversation with a dial tone or busy signal.

Real Engineers wear badges so they don't forget who they are. Sometimes a note is attached saying "Don't offer me a ride today. I drove my own car".

Real Engineers' politics run towards acquiring a parking space with their name on it and an office with a window.

Real Engineers know the "ABC's of Infrared" from A to B.

Real Engineers rotate their tires for laughs.

Real Engineers will make four sets of drawings (with seven revisions) before making a bird bath.

Real Engineers' briefcases contain a Philips screwdriver, a copy of "Quantum Physics", and a half of a peanut butter sandwich.

Real Engineers don't find the above at all funny.

I hope you have enjoyed this newsletter. All feedback, comments and contributions to future editions are very welcome (as are enquiries about contributions to, and sponsorship of, this newsletter).

Alexander (Sandy) Dunn
Plant Maintenance Resource Center

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