Seminar information

How to implement the information you learn from self study and attendance at seminars 3-12

There’s nothing more frustrating than to have a wealth of good information and nobody interested in listening to it. How often have you tried to explain to your boss the solution to the “big problem” and he just does not seem to care?

It’s easy to classify him as being in a stupid category, but maybe he has his reasons. Perhaps:

  • You’re not as credible as you think you are. Remember you earn credibility, no one can give it to you.
  • Maybe you look like his brother in law, and he hates his brother in law.
  • Maybe you haven’t tried lately. He might be a lot more receptive if you try again.

Most people refuse to react to a suggestion unless there’s something in it for them. Try one or more of the following ideas. They might just work.

  • Former President Reagan once said that you could accomplish anything if you didn’t have to take the credit. Why don’t you try making the boss think it was his idea?
  • Many plants have a suggestion committee. A suggestion follows a different routing than just telling the boss about your idea. In some plants salaried people are eligible for suggestion awards if the suggestion is not job related. If not, you can always give the suggestion to an hourly worker. I’m sure they’d appreciate it.
  • Form a team with your opposite number in the engineering or maintenance department. There’s nothing more powerful than the good engineer, good maintenance man combination. The engineer can stick his neck out and take a chance on a new idea if he’s confident that the maintenance man will back him up and make it work.
  • Call a meeting to express your ideas. It’s hard for your boss to act irrationally in the presence of logical and/or educated people. The ideal time to call a meeting is right after you’ve returned from a technical seminar and the learned material is fresh in your mind.
  • Prepare a return on investment (ROI) presentation to show the savings possible if your ideas were to be implemented. The easiest people to make the presentation to are accounting people or engineers. Their training and education forces them to respond logically to a sensible presentation. Your presentation should show at least a 25% return on investment during the first year. An ideal presentation would show your people how to “boot strap” the savings by showing a 100% return the first year.

If your presentation were to show the savings involved in converting packing to a mechanical seal it might include:

  • The difference in the cost of electricity to run packing or a mechanical seal in a pump. Packing consumes six times the amount of electricity compared to a good balanced mechanical seal. You can usually show a 100% pay back in less than eighteen months and often the pay back is in less than twelve. Use a split seal to perform the test. Then you will know that the results are accurate because only the sealing method was altered, nothing else.
  • It’s easy to calculate the cost of product leakage. Your production department can give you this cost.
  • The cost of shafts and sleeves that were destroyed by the packing can represent big savings. If you use split seals you can leave the damaged sleeve or shaft in the pump and take advantage of the savings immediately.
  • Waste treatment is not only a large expense, but is rapidly becoming a serious environmental problem.
  • Flushing water is not only expensive but becoming scarce as well.
  • Product dilution is seldom desirable.
  • Some savings are hard to quantify, but they are obvious:
    • The corrosion and mess made by the product leaking on the floor.
    • The amount of electric motors and bearings that were lost because a water hose was run all over the place … to clean up the mess from the product leakage.
    • The cost of repainting and repairing that was incurred as a result of the mess.
  • Standardization of seal materials can reduce inventory costs and prevent the common problem of stocking the same seal under six different part numbers, just because the elastomer, or carbon grade varies.
  • Slotted glands can prevent the inventorying of multiple glands for the same shaft size.

Split seals represent some of the most visible savings. These seals are available from all of the major seal manufacturers and offer additional advantages over conventional solid seals.

  • No need to realign the pump after the seal change.
  • No need to remove the insulation from many pumps.
  • In many cases the seal can be changed with out having to re-sterilize the system.
  • You can change the seal without incurring the cost of overhauling the pump. Seal replacement takes place while the pump is still on the base plate.

Sometimes your management people will react to fear. There are several real fears they should react to:

  • Pollution and fugitive emission problems. Seals are the only solution.
  • The United States Occupational, Safety and Health Act (OSHA). Any time something leaks it presents a potential health hazard. Maybe the product is toxic or maybe somebody will slip on it and break his neck. Regardless of the reason, fluid on the floor or ground is always a problem. All civilized countries have a law similar to this one.
  • Down time. In some plants it can represent many dollars per hour. Split seals are a natural.
  • Your competitor may have already started. If he has a new process or is running more efficiently, your company could lose business.
  • Contract maintenance may want your job. There is a trend towards multicraft which means less knowledgeable workers. More efficiency on your part may keep contract maintenance away from your department a little longer, or keep you employed to work with the contract maintenance people.
  • In the United States, Canada and Japan, the new European community means an increase in import pressure. Plant efficiency will keep domestic products more competitive when you export to the “New Europe”.

Get your boss to the same seminar that influenced your thinking. He’ll learn the terminology and maybe be a lot more receptive to your ideas. And finally, talk logically. A logical thought process is the best substitute for years of experience. Truth is always independent of the speaker.



  • On February 17, 2018