Cut the FLAB with Proactive Maintenance

FLAB is an acronym for Fasteners, Lubrication, Alignment and Balance – the foundation of any proactive maintenance program intent on increasing the reliability of plant equipment assets. The bottom is simple, assuming proper specification and design, machines will deliver long and reliable service life if we focus on managing the mechanical and electrical elements of FLAB. This intensive four-day interactive workshop is intended to prepare plant technicians, engineers and managers to take dead aim at FLAB and significantly improve the operational reliability of plant equipment and the plant processes they serve. In addition to the course and a complete course book, you’ll leave the event with a copy of Sigma Reliability’s proprietary FLAB management SWOT analysis tool and an extensive library of documents, applicable standard and other resources so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel in your journey to excellence and managing FLAB in your plant and organization.

What You’ll Learn

  • How FLAB management drives bottom line performance
  • FLAB management at work and the physics mechanical and electrical machine failure
  • Practical machine condition monitoring applications – with a special focus on proactive condition-based maintenance
  • How to leverage reliability engineering practices to improve FLAB management
  • How to practically apply Fastener, Lubrication, Alignment and Balance practices in the plant to drive reliability
  • How to manage the planning, scheduling and work management to assure effective FLAB management
  • How to cost justify your FLAB management initiative – and sell it to management
  • Best practices for assessing your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in FLAB management so you can take a targeted approach at addressing your weaknesses
  • Recap – summary of FLAB management best practices

Who Should Attend?

  • Mechanical maintenance technicians and craftspeople
  • Electrical maintenance technicians and craftspeople
  • Reliability technicians
  • Condition monitoring technicians
  • Maintenance planning specialists and managers
  • Mechanical and electrical supervisors
  • Reliability and maintenance engineers
  • Reliability and maintenance managers
  • Others with an interest in improving plant and process reliability

Detailed Course Outline

The business case for FLAB management

  • Macro and microeconomic benefits for your organization
  • Your journey to world-class, proactive maintenance

Taking a microscope look at FLAB fundamentals – an introduction

  • Fastening to reduce mechanical vibration
  • Lubrication to cushion the effects of mechanical vibration
  • Alignment to reduce mechanical vibration
  • Balance to reduce mechanical vibration
  • How managing FLAB to reduce vibration and improve lubrication extends machine life
  • Electrical applications of FLAB management

The physics of machine failure

  • Failure mechanisms connect failure modes to failure causes
  • Right design and operation to manage stress-strength interference
  • Understanding mechanical failure modes and mechanisms
  • Understanding electrical failure modes and mechanisms

Modern, Machine Condition Monitoring – a MUST for FLAB management

  • Proactive versus predictive condition monitoring and condition-based maintenance
  • Vibration analysis fundamentals
    • Proactive applications of vibration analysis
      • Detecting looseness (Fasteners)
      • Detecting misalignment (Alignment)
      • Detecting imbalance (Balance)
    • How proactive vibration analysis extends machine life
    • Predictive applications of vibration analysis
      • Bearing defects
      • Gear defects
  • Lubricant analysis fundamentals
    • Proactive applications of lubricant analysis
      • Physical and chemical properties analysis – is the lubricant fit for service?
      • Lubricant contamination analysis – is the Lubricant clean and dry?
    • Predictive applications of lubricant analysis
      • Wear particle concentration
      • Wear particle analysis – metallurgy, size, shape, etc.
    • Sampling – the most important part of quality oil analysis
    • Electrical transformer oil analysis basics
  • Thermographic analysis fundamentals
    • Quantitative versus qualitative thermography
    • Electrical applications of thermography
    • Mechanical applications of thermography
  • Ultrasonic acoustic emissions analysis fundamentals
    • How it works:
      • Airborne emissions
      • Ultrasonic emissions
    • Mechanical applications of ultrasonic acoustic emissions analysis
      • Air, steam and other fluid leaks
      • Bearing condition
      • Precision grease lubrication
      • Electrical discharge erosion
    • Electrical applications of ultrasonic acoustic emissions analysis
      • Electrical corona
      • Electrical arcing
      • Tracking
      • Partial discharge erosion
      • Electrical discharge erosion
  • Motor evaluation fundamentals
    • The “six zones” of motor current/circuit evaluation
      • Power quality
      • Power circuit
      • Insulation
      • Stator
      • Rotor
      • Air gap
  • Non-destructive testing techniques
  • The “eyeometer” – visual and sensory inspections should create your foundation
  • Designing a machine condition monitoring program
  • The P-F interval for determining how and how often to monitor machine health
  • How condition monitoring drives down maintenance costs
  • How condition monitoring drives down maintenance inventories

Reliability engineering methods for FLAB management

  • The basics of reliability engineering
  • How to manage risk over the life cycle of equipment assets
    • Failure Modes & Effects Analysis (FMEA) in the design, manufacture, installation and commission phases
    • Failure Reporting, Analysis and Corrective Action System (FRACAS) during the operation and maintenance phases
    • FMEA and FRACAS – a closed loop system


  • Bolting theory – how fasteners really work to hold machines to together
  • The difference between tension and torque
  • How much tension? – Hooke’s Law
  • How friction and lubrication influence torque and tension
  • Proper bolting sequence
  • Bolt basics – grades, standards and strength
  • Wrong and right choices for washers
  • Torque wrenches – 101
  • Determining the correct torque for the application
  • Ultrasonic fastener tension meters
  • Proper tension of belts on pulleys
  • How to detecting and fix compressed air and other gas leaks
  • How to detect and fix liquid leaks
  • Finding and addressing valve and steam trap problems
  • Uncovering and correcting loose electrical connection problems
  • Inspecting weld quality – visual and NDT methods
  • How to employ versatile stroboscopic and boroscopic inspections


  • Lubrication basics – the many roles of a lubricant
  • Lubrication basics – the anatomy of a lubricant – it’s a bundle of performance properties
  • How a lubricant protects the machine under full film, mixed film and boundary contact conditions
  • Extending machine life with contamination control
    • Particle contamination control
    • Water contamination control
    • How to control contaminants
  • Machine set-up for lubrication maintainability
  • Grease – not too much, not too little, but just right and just at the right time!
  • Precision greasing with ultrasonic tools
  • Advantages and disadvantages of automatic grease systems
  • Assure proper lubrication and contamination control with oil analysis
  • The “dirty dozen” poor lubrication practices
  • Creating a “new business as usual” for lubrication


  • The consequences of angular and offset misalignment
  • How misalignment influences bearing life
  • How misalignment influences coupling life
  • How to detect misalignment with vibration analysis
  • Laser alignment
    • For shafts
    • For sheaves
  • Electrical misalignment – Total Harmonic Distortion (THD)
  • When electrical current goes stray – electrical discharge erosion, or fluting


  • The basics of balancing
  • Causes of imbalance
  • How imbalance induced relative centrifugal force (RCF) robs your machines of life
  • Balancing standards – ISO and API
  • Single plane field balancing
  • Two plane field balancing
  • Introduction to electrical imbalance
    • Voltage imbalance
    • Current imbalance
    • Resistive imbalance
    • Inductive imbalance
  • Voltage imbalance – effects on motor temperature and insulation life
  • How voltage imbalance affects motor performance and de-rate
  • Common causes of electrical imbalance in motors

FLAB Maintenance Work Management

  • Work management process overview
  • Doc Palmer’s planning principles
  • Doc Palmer’s scheduling principles
  • Precision maintenance – “Doing the Right Work Right”

FLAB Management Process

  • Key elements – Engineering and executing FLAB management
  • What goes wrong in the plant?
  • Procedure-based FLAB management – the devil’s in the details
  • Leading metrics that drive proactive FLAB management behaviors
    • Overall vibration effectiveness (OVE)
    • Overall lubrication effectiveness (OLE)
    • Overall planning effectiveness (OPE)
    • Overall stores effectiveness (OSE)

Building the economic case for FLAB management

  • Quantifying the benefits of reliability investments
  • Risk-based failure cost estimation
  • Project evaluation methods, considering the time value of money
  • π = 5 – estimating is okay
  • Tapping into institutional knowledge – the Delphi method

Performing the FLAB analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT)