Benny Ortega with Failure Prevention Associates

Industrial Talk is onsite at SMRP 31 and talking to Benny Ortega, Sr. Solutions Provider at Failure Prevention Associations about “Tools and solutions for keeping your industrial assets in peak performance”.  Here are some of the key takeaways from our conversation:

  • Reliability and maintenance in the industrial sector. 0:03
    • Industry professionals gather at SMRP's 31st annual conference, sharing insights and networking.
    • Benny Ortega shared his experience in the world of rotating equipment maintenance, highlighting the passion and dedication of professionals in the field.
    • Ortega discussed the importance of addressing the skills gap in precision maintenance, citing the lack of emphasis on millwrights, electricians, and plumbers in academic and career development.
  • Reliability in maintenance, using medical and mining industries as examples. 3:53
    • Benny highlights the importance of starting reliability efforts with the tools already being used in a facility.
    • Benny notes that some facilities may have precision maintenance problems rather than vibration issues, and offers solutions accordingly.
    • Benny discusses challenges in aligning machines, citing lack of knowledge transfer from retiring workers.
    • Benny provides hands-on training and uses vernier calipers to help workers understand shim corrections.
  • Importance of basics in laser alignment. 8:11
    • Benny emphasizes importance of basics in work, like cleanliness and job details.
    • Benny emphasizes the importance of proper setup and pre-alignment checks before using laser alignment tools.
    • Benny highlights the need for proper fundamentals and data quality to ensure successful laser alignment.
  • Asset management, maintenance, and reliability. 12:38
    • Benny discussed root cause analysis and cause mapping, highlighting the importance of identifying the underlying causes of a problem rather than just treating its symptoms.
    • Benny shared an example of how a simple problem was solved by identifying a basic fundamental issue that was overlooked, demonstrating the power of cause mapping in finding solutions.
    • Benny Ortega is a valuable asset management expert on LinkedIn.
    • Industrial professionals can connect with Benny for real insights and solutions.

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shim, alignment, reliability, people, fundamentals, maintenance, industrial, ortega, good, work, shaft, industry, vibration, great, laser, emphasis, machines, technology, benny, year


Welcome to the Industrial Talk Podcast with Scott Mackenzie. Scott is a passionate industry professional dedicated to transferring cutting edge industry focused innovations and trends while highlighting the men and women who keep the world moving. So put on your hard hat, grab your work boots, and let's go.


Alright, once again, thank you very much for joining Industrial Talk. And thank you for your continued support of a platform, this Industrial Talk platform is dedicated to you industrial professionals all around the world. You are bold, you are brave, you dare greatly you innovate, you collaborate, you solve problems, and you are making the world a much better place. Thank you very much for what you do each and every day to make that happen. We are broadcasting on site SMRP 31st annual conference, it is the biggest one since last year, how about that one. And it is bigger than ever. And it is a organization that you need to be engaged with. If you're into Asset Management. If you're into reliability, if you're into maintenance, or you have a passion to get into those professions. is your first stop. So make sure that you go out to And you get to meet great people like Benny, how're you doing, buddy?


I'm doing great. Doing great. Scott, thank you for asking.


Yeah, man. Good conference.






good engagement. Good feedback. It's been amazing. First year had a chance come on.


Like, what's the feedback was, again, engagement was it was what's going on? Man, you know, it's


my first year presenting, right? So I got a chance to present on root cause analysis, cause mapping, and it was just amazing to be able to get interaction with the people that attended the workshop, you know, the session, but But then, after the conference is over, running into people out in the public, and it's like, Hey, I attended that workshop. I got a lot of information out of it. It's been awesome. It's been great. I'm like, Man, that's the feedback that you want. Yeah, you know, it's good to engage with people at the conference. But then afterwards, people come back and tell you, I really liked what you talked about, you know, I have questions about this. And the conversation continued. Right. So it's like, there's a lot of passionate people about reliability.


Boy, is that true. That's, that's a great statement where, where I find that individuals that are in the world of asset management, reliability, maintenance, anything, they're, they're really passionate about figuring out and solving challenges that they're dealing with. And it never stops in a very collegial, very collegial before we get into the conversation of simply reliable. Give us a little background on who Benny is.


So my name is Benny Ortega. I've been in the world of rotating equipment for about 17 years, I cut my teeth in the mining industry in Southeast New Mexico, potash industry, potash underground, continuous mining and surface milling operations, actually went to college originally for nursing, and then decided pretty quick that I didn't feel like I was contributing to the root cause of these health care conditions. Right. So it really wasn't my calling. So naturally, I got into well, I should say, naturally, I'm a third generation minor. So my grandfather and father were both out in New Mexico. Very good. Yep. So I said, Hey, listen, it's something I didn't think I'd ever want to do. You know, during the time I was going to school, it was really, it was really, you know, there was a lot of energy and emphasis focused on helping us to focus on academic you know, collegiate careers, engineering, you know, PhDs etc, you know, architecture and not a big emphasis on on millwrights, journeyman electricians, plumbers, you know, that we're kind of fading away from that, you know, and I think we're seeing the effects of that, right now, you know, with the absence of skills of no rights and practitioners of precision maintenance, you know, so I got into it. And then, uh, you know, I worked in the operations business for a little bit, got into maintenance, took a mill, right apprenticeship program, you know, it's pretty young, I liked having my weekends off. So I thought, hey, straight new job. Sounds good to me. And then that position opened up for condition monitoring and vibration. And then when I hit that stride, I thought to myself, wow, there's a lot of commonalities here with this in the medical industry. You know, the old analysis along with bloodwork, yeah, you know, vibration is like an EKG, you know, there's a lot of things going on and said, Hey, I really dig this. The only difference was is that my patients, right that couldn't speak. But I could diagnose it, we can get to the root of the issue, make a change, and all of a sudden, the numbers look better. I'm like, Hey, we're really getting to the root of this. We're making a difference. Yeah,


I love the the medical industry analogy when it comes to reliability, because you guys are your doctors, you're trying to diagnose the challenge, and then deploy some sort of solution some sort of correction to help that asset perform at its peak. So and in the mining world. Oh, my goodness. That's some serious, large


and heavy Yeah. slow speeds.


So you spoke on those two topics, right? That's cool. But what piqued my interest was the this one it was simply reliable. What Is that me?


I mean, for me, it's, it's, you know, a lot of times, you know, coming to this this idea of reliability, you know, sometimes it's viewed as, as daunting, you know, insurmountable task we got, we got it, we got to really make things super complicated, we got to get all these philosophies in place, and the IoT of things, and we need sensors, and we need data, and we need all these things going on. And it's great, right? It helps to paint a better picture of areas that we could optimize and improve, and a lot of strategies that we can deploy, and there's a, there's a purpose and a place for everything, you know, but at some point, I'm like, you know, we're in a situation today where, let's start reliability with the toolbox, what tools are using, you know, a lot of times I get called out, you know, for various facilities, and they have an interest in doing condition monitoring technologies, wireless sensors, and I'll do a walk around the facility. You know, I've been to several facilities where I go, when I'm lifting the aprons on of the machines, and I'm looking at anything machines, and I was like, you know, I'd love to help you with with vibration sensors, but But what you have is not a vibration problem. You know, this, this is, this is a precision maintenance problem. You know, so when I thought How do you know that, you know, you see things visually that you don't need sensors to see, right? So you can see misaligning conditions, you can see shim packs coming out, you can see machines moving because of looseness problems, you know, and then you go to the toolbox, and it all starts to make sense. Right? And and I love working with people I love, you know, coming up with the simplest solution to get the biggest feedback immediately, you know, I want I want to help people get traction immediately, right? I, I like the long term strategy, the long term game plans, but when you come in with these short wins, it really helps to turn the tide culture and people get buy in, you know, because you can connect with them on a fundamental level and in an MLM. Don't you


think? The the, the frontline individuals know, you


know, a lot of them. Do? You know, a lot of them. Why should? Right now, a lot of the frontline people that normally did know are no longer there? Yeah, right. They're retiring. You know, they're aging out. They're leaving, they're taking some knowledge with them. And we're backfilling with people that we're trying to absorb as much knowledge as they could in six months. Yeah. You know, and so a lot of times, they don't know, they only know what they know. Yeah, you know, so So I think maybe, maybe 810 years ago. I could say, yeah, yeah, they know. But now it's like, they don't know now they don't know. Right? You know, so I was I was doing a an alignment workshop last week. And, you know, I always get my guys, Mike, listen, you know, what, what are the things that are really kicking your tails right now? Like, you know, we spent six, seven hours on a lineman job, you know, we have a fantastic alignment machine, laser line machine, we we've done some hands on training, you know, and we're just getting our tails kicked. And I was like, well, give me some insight. What was what specifically, you know, one of the jumps that, you know, we make, we make an adjustment, we roll the shaft, we know what we got to do, we do the shim corrections, then we come back, we bolt everything down, we roll the shaft again. And it tells us to undo what we did. And I What do you mean, undo he's like, Well, we add shims, and then it tells us to remove some of the shims again, I was like interesting. I said, you guys got vernier calipers, like yes, they pull them out. Go to your shim box, I want you to grab a 50,000 shim and I want you to make it tell me what you find. So he goes and he makes a shim. It's stamped 50 1000s is 40 5000s. Yeah. And he says You're kidding me. And as like, it's unfortunate, but the reality is, things aren't always what they say they are, you got to verify you got to do is fundamental basic things. You know, I come into a job, if I'm doing alignment, I never start with the last guy left off, I like to start with a clean slate. You know, at least you know, the steps you took, you know what you're working with you understand you're building from the foundation up, you know, and that's where I come up with the concept of just simply reliable. It's like how do we get there. It's like taking a emphasis on the fundamentals, the basic stuff, when you're coming in to do work, start with a solid foundation, don't rebuild off of what you don't know, there's no integrity there. You don't know that it could be a good job may not be. But a lot of this could be remediated, he did some basic checks. So the shim correction issue they said, Man, this is probably what's been getting us get some time no kidding


shoe manufacturers out there you going home curse you should not


like this simulation world we're living in.


So what you're saying is, is there's there's a lot of just general blocking and tackling just simply he can just, I mean probably house, you know, cleanliness is a big deal. Get get everything sort of at a baseline and then and then begin to sort of deploy with some of the technologies and what you're saying.


Absolutely. I mean, yeah, do some housekeeping clean up a bit. And it's more than just the physical housekeeping. It's it's the job details. It's the details. It's the specification, the torque values, the torque ratings on equipment, the tolerances, all these things come into play. And you know, a lot of times, like I said, we make it more complicated than it needs to be. You know, just start with the basics, right? I'm gonna make my shims before I go to work, I'm going to make sure they're good quality shims. I'm gonna make sure my bases clean. Before I do an alignment, this was another thing people will just run on the job they'll slap the lasers on. And I'm like, you know, if you can visibly see a misalignment? Why do you need to put a precision too long to correct it? Right? You got things like coupling strain and shaft deflection that can be really affecting your ability to execute the job easily. And so I always ask them, you know, before we put the lasers on, let's correct what's there? Is it even Alignable? So what do you mean? I said, it has a shop and check to see if it's not bent? No, we don't we don't do that. So really, why not? Instead, we just assumed that the shaft was straight, otherwise, they would have changed it. But what's the indicator that tells you you got to change it. So we got to get the dial indicators out right back to the fundamentals? Well, how do we do this? It was set the dials up, we'll do a run out check. And we're gonna see if this thing has been. If it's been, there's no alignment, we changed the equipment,


how difficult is it to set up a laser alignment? Oh,


it's not difficult at all simple laser alignment, you know, majority of the work truthfully is in the setup. I mean, it's on the pre alignment checks, it's in the radial run outs, it's in the checks to make sure shafts not bent, make sure shaft isn't loose, make sure you know the coupling doesn't have strain, you know, making sure that we correct soft foot, you know, before we put the lasers on, we want to get rid of all of these, these obstacles, right, we're objection handling up front, you know, I don't want to do it after the fact, if I'm in a bolt bounce situation, I want to correct well before I got the laser on, on, not all of you and then and then


deployed and then you're, you're all lined up and everything is, you know, plumb


and we're good to go. Square in through.


So once we we do the fundamentals, then you're saying, Hey, we can then proceed forward. Because around here at SMRP, there's plenty of technology, absolutely not void of any technology. Because you're, you know, stubbing your toe on technology everywhere. It's right here. And it's cool, don't get me wrong, I'm all into the tech man. He's like, you can do that. That's fantastic. Oh, my God,


it's amazing. It really is, you know, and the thing behind that is like, a lot of technology is great, but it's good at processing data. So if we give it bad data upstream, bad data downstream. I mean, we got to set ourselves up for success, right? The technology is great, it helps us simplify the processes. But if the fundamentals aren't there, then we got no knowledge of how to ensure the data we're getting as good data. You know, so I see people do it all the time. I mean, just a comparison. You know, I did training with these individuals one week, last month, they got the training, we went through a process, we spent a lot of time on on a procedure and said, you know, we got to have a procedure in place, because you're not ever working alone. You got a partner, right? Yes. So if you got one way of doing it, he's got a different way of doing it. You guys are not set yourself up for success, right? No. So we implemented put a lot of emphasis on his strategy, this is going to be our procedure of how we do things. And so what's the average time to do an alignment? Isn't it between four to six hours instead? Okay. He's had a long, it's a long time. Yeah, that's a very long time. It's a lot of lost time. So we come back in a month later, and I said, Hey, I just like to know how to things go. He said, You know, we implement it right away. He goes, we've done six alignments, since it's taken us about 30 to 45 minutes tops, with our fastest alignment being in 15 minutes. There you go. said anything changed about the machines? No? Well, what's different? Yeah, so we had a plan.


Now, you were you, you spoke here? What were the topics you spoke on?


I talked on root cause analysis and cause mapping? What's caused mapping cause mapping is a methodology of of a cause and effect relationship. So we're looking for a linear relationship between a symptom and the cause, you mean example, like, you know, I burned my hand, why I put it on fire? Why did I do that? Stupidity. Yeah, you know. And so. And ironically, it was a very complex problem that we were we were solving. But fundamentally, it routed down to basic fundamentals, does it it just was as simple as you know, we don't know, we didn't know how to monitor and maintain our assets because we failed to develop a function statement for the asset. So we never set clear defined expectations other than we want it to turn on when we push the button, and we want it to move this much product through and said, Well, if that's all the goals are that's all you're going to instrument yourself to monitor. That's the only maintenance strategies around making sure that it turns on and then it hits the flow rate. Yeah, but what about vibration levels? What about laminar versus turbulent flow? What about the heat loading, you know, all these things in place and it painted the picture so that you know we got exactly what we planned ourselves, and what we plan right which was not very good.


How do people get ahold of you? Oh,


you bet online.


You have a hotline? Yeah. Are you out on LinkedIn?


I am on LinkedIn. Yeah. So you can look me up at Benny Ortega CRL at a San Antonio, Texas.


We're gonna have all your contact, you were absolutely wonderful and added skills, big time, we're going to have all the contact information for Benny out on Industrial So if you're not reach out to him, that is your call to action as well as you need to attend the SMRP 32 annual conference. I don't know where it's at. But it's next year. Let's put it this way. This is 31. That's 32 I can do the math. It's one year. But anyway, if you're in the world of asset management, maintenance, or reliability and everything in between, your first stop needs to be Go out to an Find out more. And you get to connect with people like Benny and you. Your life will be great. That's it. That's That's my guarantee your life will be better and greater, because of All right, we're gonna wrap it up on the other side. Stay tuned, we will be right back.


You're listening to the Industrial Talk Podcast Network.


Benny Ortega. You need to connect with him. I'm looking at a stat card is LinkedIn stack card right now. And it's chock full of expertise. You're in the world of asset management, reliability, maintenance. This is a must connect. If you are an opera. If you own a company that is looking for real insights and solutions to your reliability challenges. Benny Ortega. That's right. The company is of course Failure Prevention Associates. They've been on the program a couple of times. So they they are passionate about asset management. All right. Industrial Talk is here for you industrial professionals. I say it all the time. We're about education, collaborating, you got to collaborate. This world is moving so fast and you got to innovate. You got to figure out and the only way you're going to do it is educate, collaborate, and innovate and and in that order, so do that. Go out to industrial chocolates connect to have a conversation. Be bold, be brave, daring, greatly hanging out with Ben, he changed the world. We're gonna have another great conversation shortly. So stay tuned.

Industrial Talk is onsite at SMRP 31 and talking to Benny Ortega, Sr. Solutions Provider at Failure Prevention Associations about "Tools and solutions for keeping your industrial assets in peak performance".
Scott MacKenzie

About the author, Scott

I am Scott MacKenzie, husband, father, and passionate industry educator. From humble beginnings as a lathing contractor and certified journeyman/lineman to an Undergraduate and Master’s Degree in Business Administration, I have applied every aspect of my education and training to lead and influence. I believe in serving and adding value wherever I am called.

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