Paul Higgins Interview with Lubrication & Fluid Power Magazine

This interview originally appeared in the November - December 2004 issue of Lubrication & Fluid Power Magazine
Dingo Software has been helping customers with oil analysis and lubrication for well over a decade with operations in Australia and the United States. We recently caught up with Paul Higgins, company president, to learn more about Dingo's new MaintenanceGuy system.
LFP: How did you come up with the idea for MaintenanceGuy?
Higgins: We have been developing software for the "big guys" in oil analysis since 1991-mining companies and others that do thousands of samples per year, and that have the staff and programs to maximize the benefit from this powerful money-saving technology. The problem has been that for many, the whole process has been too resource intensive. The MaintenanceGuy brand is a range of products aimed specifically at making the benefits that these larger companies receive available to a broader range of customers, at an affordable price.

LFP: What is the MaintenanceGuy system all about?
Higgins: The MaintenanceGuy system has two components. The first is our Web-based condition-based asset management software, MaintenanceGuy. This software enables users to easily manage all aspects of an effective oil analysis program, from printing sample labels to receiving results by e-mail and then performing analysis. Because it is Web based, the software lets users easily share data with experts such as oil company lube engineers, OEMS,and consultants if they need help with specific problems. The second component is a series of standard tests that we believe takes the guess work out of oil analysis. We have basic and premium tests for engines and industrial applications-pretty simple. Then, we have agreements with a large network of quality lab partners to provide these testing services. The result is that a customer can buy a MaintenanceGuy sample kit and then choose a lab in the network to work with. Access to the MaintenanceGuy software is included in the sample price, so there are no up-front software charges. We convert their data and they are up and running quickly. We also do some interesting things with packaging, such as including an oil quality visual comparison gauge on the sample container.  

LFP: What makes your system different from a CMMS and how does your system work with a CMMS?
Higgins: Most of our customers use a CMMS to manage work orders and spare parts. Our system can generate work orders to change oil or perform required maintenance based on the condition of the equipment rather than a set time interval. For some customers, we create a work request in their CMMS directly using XML.

LFP: How were things done prior to MaintenanceGuy?
Higgins: Generally, customers would receive oil analysis paper reports by mail. Now most lab companies provide online access to these reports. Customers who wanted more sophistication would use pc-based software or an Excel spreadsheet to do analysis and interpretation of data. The problem is that many never got that far, and the paperwork and administration required often drove them away from oil analysis altogether. MaintenanceGuy cuts this time. As soon as the testing is complete, a MaintenanceGuy user gets an e-mail that indicates what needs action. There is zero wasted time and no paperwork.

LFP: What kind of impact does MaintenanceGuy have on overall plant and machinery reliability?
Higgins: The tools enable maintenance people to quickly get to the heart of any emerging problems. Warning samples are clearly flagged so users can focus on them, not the 90 percent of samples that are fine. The trends are easy to see in a graphical format so emerging problems are evident.  

LFP: Do you find that potential customers have to be educated on the benefits of MaintenanceGuy?
Higgins: Customers are becoming more sophisticated all the time. However, there is still a large percentage who are interested in the benefits but do not have the time to become experts or attend courses. We are trying to address this gap by making it easier to get straight to the benefits.

LFP: What is the best success story you have heard from the use of MaintenanceGuy?
Higgins: One of our first MaintenanceGuy customers detected spalling on a rolling element in a 12 ft diam bearing on a sag mill. The problem was obvious because of the high particle counts. A visual particle evaluation showed a lot of large particles. Vibration analysis had failed to detect any notable problem until a week after oil analysis set off the alarm bells. They were able to change out this $90,000 bearing during a planned shutdown prior to its failing. They estimated this single incident saved them $232,000. The customer was so happy they sent me the rolling element as a souvenir.

LFP: What are your future plans and goals for MaintenanceGuy?
Higgins: MaintenanceGuy will continue to be our brand for bringing the benefits of condition-based asset management to a broader audience. We will expand the items available through our Web store, as well as through our partners around the world. We are excited because we have just launched the first release of our new product, Dingo Trakka. This product is aimed at power users and has features such as fleet comparison, powerful trending, and maintenance recommendations. It is designed around workflow for serious users and for condition-based asset management, meaning the management of any machine condition not just oil analysis. We also have a version for handhelds which allows users to sync their data and take it with them in the field.