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M-News Edition 51
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M-News - the Maintenance Newsletter

Edition 51, December 2004

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In this edition...
Feature Article - Maintenance Control - from Zero to Hero
Feature Article - Partial Discharge Analysis
Feature Article - Stock Theories & Practices
Feature Article - Resonance Analysis - a Vertical Pump Case Study
Maintenance Survey Survey Results
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.


It's that time of year again - when we look back and wonder where the year went, reflect on our successes, and look forward to the New Year. I hope that you have achieved all that you set out to achieve at the start of 2004, that 2005 brings you satisfaction and success, and that you are able to take some time out over the next couple of weeks to relax with family and friends.

Thank you for your support in 2004, and I look forward to the opportunity to bring you even more information to assist you improve your workplaces in 2005.

Alexander (Sandy) Dunn
Webmaster, Plant Maintenance Resource Center

Feature Article - Maintenance Control - from Zero to Hero

Even when a company has both the will and the money to spend, it is difficult to know where to start when considering the implementation of maintenance management systems. This article, from Bryan Weir of Perspective CMMS gives a few tips for those starting out on their Maintenance Improvement journey Note that you will require the free Adobe Acrobat reader to be able to view this file.

Feature Article - Partial Discharge Analysis

Partial discharges are small electrical sparks that occur within the electric insulation of switchgear, cables, transformers, and windings in large motors and generators. Partial Discharge Analysis is a proactive diagnostic approach that uses Partial Discharge (PD) measurements to evaluate the integrity of this equipment. This article, contributed by John Wilson of SKF Reliability Systems describes how instruments that detect airborne ultrasound can be used to detect and evaluate partial discharge in electrical equipment.

It can be read at

Feature Article - Stock Theories & Practices

We keep spare parts to ensure that there is no delay to performing overhauls or resolving equipment breakdowns, due to there being no spare part(s). This article provides some ideas on how to ensure that the correct spare parts are held in stock. Contributed by Eric Rossiter of SNOINO, it can be viewed at You will require the free Adobe Acrobat reader to be able to view this file.

Feature Article - Resonance Analysis - a Vertical Pump Case Study

This article written by Ali Al-Shurafa of Jubail Industrial College in Saudi Arabia describes a vibration analysis case study, examining resonance in a vertical pump used to deliver sea water to a power station's cooling towers.. The article can be read at You will require the free Adobe Acrobat reader to be able to view this file.

This edition of the newsletter is supported by Assetivity

Assetivity is Australia's 37th fastest growing company. Find out why by visiting giving us a call.

Maintenance Survey Survey Results

In the this survey we asked you what topic would you like covered in our next survey. The results are in the table below. We are currently looking into the topics suggested in the "Other" category, but in the meantime will set up a survey on PM Task Development. If you have any specific questions you would like asked in this survey, email me at before January 15, 2005, and I will do my best to include them..

CMMS Implementation108%
PM Task Development2318%
Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) Implementation1310%
Condition Monitoring118%
Maintenance Outsourcing/Contractor Management1310%
Design for Maintainability/Reliability118%
Maintenance Salaries86%
Other 2923%

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

This is an oldy, previously included in Edition 4 of this newsletter, way back in 1999, but it is worth repeating, given the current season.

As a result of an overwhelming lack of requests, and with research help from that renowned scientific journal SPY magazine (January, 1990), I am pleased to present the annual scientific inquiry into Santa Claus.

  1. NO KNOWN SPECIES OF REINDEER CAN FLY. BUT there are 300,000 species of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are insects and germs, this does not COMPLETELY rule out flying reindeer which only Santa has ever seen.
  2. THERE ARE 2 BILLION CHILDREN (persons under 18) IN THE WORLD. BUT since Santa doesn't (appear to) handle the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish & Buddhist children, that reduces the workload to 15% of the total - 378 million according to Population Reference Bureau. At an average (census)rate of 3.5 children per household, that's 91.8 million homes. One presumes there's at least one good child in each.
  3. SANTA HAS 31 HOURS OF CHRISTMAS TO WORK WITH. This is due to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical). This works out to 822.6 visits/second. This is to say that for each Christian household with good children, Santa has .001 second to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left, get back up the chimney, get back into the sleigh and move on to the next house. Assuming that each of these 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false but for the purposes of our calculations we will accept), we are now talking about .78 miles/household, a total trip of 75.5 million miles; not counting stops to do what most of us must do at least once every 31 hours, plus feeding & etc. So Santa's sleigh must be moving at 650 miles/second, 3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison the fastest man-made vehicle on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles/second. A conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles/hour.
  4. THE PAYLOAD ON THE SLEIGH ADDS ANOTHER INTERESTING ELEMENT. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized lego set (2 lb.), the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is invariably described as overweight. On land, conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 lb. Even granting that "flying reindeer" (see #1) could pull 10 TIMES the normal amount, we cannot do the job with 8, or even 9 reindeer. We need 214,200. This increases the payload - not counting the weight of the sleigh - to 353,430 tons. This is four times the weight of the ocean-liner Queen Elizabeth.
  5. 353,000 TONS TRAVELING AT 650 MILES/SECOND CREATES ENORMOUS AIR RESISTANCE. This will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as a spacecraft reentering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer will absorb 14.3 QUINTILLION joules of energy. Per second. Each. In short, they will burst into flame almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them, and creating deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team will be vaporized within .00426 of a second. Meanwhile, Santa, will be subjected to centrifugal forces 17,500.06 times greater than gravity. A 250-lb. Santa (seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,315,015 lb. of force.

If Santa ever DID deliver presents on Christmas Eve, he's dead now.

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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