Maintenance Technology October 2016 - 16


VOICE FROM THE FIELD

Rebekah's Best Advice
For R&M Professionals
■ Pass on your knowledge. Don't discourage "dumb" questions.
■ Spend time with equipment as much as possible. Go see the problem
whenever possible.
■ Value and respect your team.
■ Challenge yourself to connect theoretical models to real-world
applications. "Road feel" from experience and math shouldn't be at
odds with each other.
■ Communicate technical concepts in a straightforward manner.

(then Smith-Koch), responding to market demands for the
increased quality and simplified logistics of factory-assembled
fluid-handling systems, started building packaged fuel-oil systems.
In more recent years, its packaged systems business has expanded
into custom-engineered products, building increasingly complex
systems specifically to meet customer needs. This requires careful
attention to individual engineering requirements. Macko's main
responsibility is to ensure the company meets customer requirements and delivers a complete packaged working system.
She uses her instinctive and genetic methodical system to
coordinate these efforts for her seven-member team. Her process
begins by compiling as much information as possible.
"For example, a customer may be replacing a particular bad
actor or looking to optimize a piece of pumping equipment,"
Macko explained. "Sometimes people will send a grainy chart or
a blurry picture, and this can actually be helpful, but you need a
firm footing. Information is the key. Then, I look at the details of
what has been done before and try to decide if this is the way we
want to continue. I'm of the younger generation of engineers, so
this gives me the freedom to make new suggestions, or to try a
new technology. For example, personnel may be controlling the
pump with pressure, but perhaps they should be using a different
variable, like level or viscosity, in their control scheme."
The next step is selecting the right equipment for the job.
"People love to oversize their pumps," Macko said. "They feel
more comfortable with a fudge factor. There is always uncertainty
in the real world, but with enough information you can pick the
right fudge factor, and that can make all the difference. Sometimes
it takes courage to try something new, but I'm a firm believer in
designing your system with an investment in some flexibility.
You just need a solid Plan B. Every plant is unique, and every
installation is unique. If the information you begin with is correct,
then newer technology like variable-speed drives and proper
implementation can help a lot."
Macko has put this theory to action in real-world scenarios.
"I remember once a customer really oversized a pump," she said.
"Because they oversized on flow, their pump had less hydraulic
coverage than expected. It was dead-heading all the time,
wrecking seals, and the obvious, but expensive, solution was to
replace the pump. Fortunately, the pump had a VSD designed
for use with centrifugal pumps. We looked at the features already
in the drive and came up with a different control scheme using

16 |

MAINTENANCE TECHNOLOGY

Rebekah's
Credentials

Geiger's Rebekah Macko
and Craig Fuller discuss the
details of an API 610 pump.

■ B.S. Mechanical
Engineering (Virginia
Tech), E.I.T.
■ Pump applications and
troubleshooting
■ Process and mechanical
design for packaged
fluid-handling systems,
electrical and controls
system integration
■ Pump control optimization
■ Creation and implementation of a quality management (ISO9001) system.

the existing equipment to
correct what was going on.
The existing equipment
could be used because we
had built some flexibility
into the system. We
corrected the problem
without having to replace
the pump."
Every two years, Geiger
hosts the Mid-Atlantic
Pump & Process Equipment Symposium. On Oct.
6, 2016, Macko will be one
of the instructors for the
11th biennial event. The day-long symposium allows attendees
to participate in seminars and hands-on classes led by a team of
experts. It is the largest and most comprehensive training event in
the industry.

Combine field work with paperwork
Before working with Geiger, Macko worked in the public-works
department for the City of Charlottesville, VA. She inspected
catch basins and mapped stormwater systems, literally working in
the middle of the highway. This experience helped her understand
the connection between the theory and the field.
"It's so important to have a feeling for how things work, and
this is developed through experience-taking the pump apart,
putting it back together, getting to know the machines, feeling
how they work," she explained. "But there is engineering and
math behind every piece of it. And the two agree. The two go
together. If they don't, you need to adjust one or the other."
Like solving a puzzle each day, finding creative solutions is a
driving force for Macko. "It's a matter of looking at resources available beyond just the pump," she said. "It's important to look at the
whole system, use some pump math and graphing, and then put
together the theory. I also find a lot of value in going to the site,
meeting with the customer, putting my hands on the equipment.
This takes extra time, but it's worth it. And it goes back to getting
OCTOBER 2016



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Maintenance Technology October 2016

Maintenance Technology October 2016 - 1
Maintenance Technology October 2016 - Cover1
Maintenance Technology October 2016 - Cover2
Maintenance Technology October 2016 - 1
Maintenance Technology October 2016 - 2
Maintenance Technology October 2016 - 3
Maintenance Technology October 2016 - 4
Maintenance Technology October 2016 - 5
Maintenance Technology October 2016 - 6
Maintenance Technology October 2016 - 7
Maintenance Technology October 2016 - 8
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Maintenance Technology October 2016 - Cover3
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