Technology Committees

Maintenance & Reliability Technology Committee Activities

Greg Geist (left) presents a plaque of appreciation to Brian Schart (right) for hosting the tour of Nucor Steel–Berkeley.
The Reliability Achievement Award – Bronze was presented (left to right): John Accurso, Abhishek Bhansali, Glenn Aker, Mike Horne and Jeff Blankenship.

The CCTC and MRTC met jointly 27–28 February 2024, Charleston, S.C., USA
The two committees met separately and discussed recent safety issues, nominated officers for the next year, and discussed upcoming fall Technology Training Conferences. That afternoon both committees went on a tour of Nucor Steel–Berkeley.
The MRTC presented the Reliability Achievement Award – Bronze to the maintenance team at Nucor Steel–Berkeley for their water reduction project at the degasser. After that award presentation, the CCTC members toured both the sheet caster as well as the beam caster.
The next day, the CCTC and MRTC met together for a series of presentations focused on caster-
related maintenance issues and upgrades including air-oil lubrication, bearing configuration, caster upgrades, and turret bearing change-outs.

The MRTC toured Nucor Steel–Berkeley.

The MRTC met 25 September 2023, Greenville, S.C., USA.
The Reliability Achievement Award Audit teams met to discuss the projects that were submitted for nominations and the winners were chosen — see page 78 for the winners!
In the afternoon, the entire committee met and discussed the AISTech 2024 technical sessions, a location for the maintenance specialty conference for 2024, and the location of the next committee meeting. A roundtable discussion was also held.

John Accurso (left) presented the MRTC service plaque to Jeff Kusnier (right).

The MRTC met 8 May 2023, Detroit, MI, USA.
The following officers were elected:

  • Chair: John Accurso - Quaker Houghton

  • Vice Chair: Rachel Schmidt - Hydro Inc.

  • Papers Chair: Mike Allega - TimkenSteel Corp.

  • Education Chair: Terry Adams - Cleveland-Cliffs Rockport Works

  • Young Professional Chair: Landon Woody - Nucor-Yamato Steel Co.

  • Digitalization Liaison: Eric Almquist - Star Tool & Die Works Inc.

The ETC and MRTC toured Mercedes-Benz during their joint meeting (left to right): Shannon Owen, Tom Maher, Peter Petrov, Sequoia Murray, Deke Perkins, Kevin Deliman, Nick Hladek, Jeff McKain, Carl Garringer and Landon Woody.

The MRTC and ETC met 28 February–1 March 2023, Birmingham, Ala., USA.
Both committees participated in discussions about their sessions for AISTech, safety and fatality data, committee awards, and Technology Training Conferences. 
Mike Allega, TimkenSteel Corp., and Vern Martin, Flowcare Engineering, both gave presentations regarding bearings and fans. The next day the two committees went on a tour of the Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa, Ala., USA, where they were given an in-depth tour of the all-electric SUV production line.

The MRTC met 16 May 2022, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
The following officers were elected:

  • Chair: Jeff Kusnier  /  Titan Bearings – MRSI

  • Vice Chair: John Accurso  /  Quaker Houghton

  • Papers Chair: Terry Adams  /  Cleveland-Cliffs Rockport Works

  • Education Chair: Rachel Schmidt  /  Hydro

  • Young Professional Chair: Landon Woody  /  Nucor-Yamato Steel Co.

Ken Flowers (left) presented the MRTC service plaque to Carl Garringer (right) at AISTech 2021.

The MRTC met 29 June 2021, Nashville, TN USA.
The following officers were elected:

  • Chair: Carl Garringer, Steel Dynamics Inc. – Structural and Rail Division

  • Vice Chair: Jeff Kusnier, Titan Bearings – MRSI

  • Papers Chair: Steven Heavyside, EVRAZ Inc. North America

  • Education Chair: Bijay Prakash, Cleveland-Cliffs Steel LLC

  • Young Professional Chair: Rachel Schmidt, Elwood Corp.

The MRTC and LHTC held a Joint virtual meeting 23 February 2021.
Carl Garringer,
MRTC chair, opened and led the joint meeting. The group reviewed the Steel Industry Fatalities statistics for the year and had a roundtable discussion about safety and travel restrictions within the attendees’ companies.
The AISTech 2021 sessions for both committees were reviewed. The committee officers have all decided to stay on for the 2021–2022 term.
Garringer discussed the AIST Reliability Achievement Award and encouraged attendees to reach out to iron- and steel-producing or processing companies to apply. Award applications are due 30 May 2021.
The committees reviewed plans for their next joint Technology Training Conference, Maintenance Solutions: Fundamentals and New Frontiers, which has been scheduled for 21–23 September 2021 in San Antonio, Texas, USA.
Brad Jensen, LHTC chair, gave a progress update on revisions to the Lubrication Engineers Manual 5th Edition.

  • “Extending Bearing Service Life in Severe Service Operating Conditions,” by Jeff Bernthisel, McNeil Industries.

  • “Basics of Roller Bearing Lubrication,” by Mike Allega, The Timken Co.

  • “Compressed Air Systems Maintenance and Reliability, “ by Wendy Domino, Universal Compressed Air.

The MRTC held a virtual meeting 7 October 2020.
The MRTC discussed their AISTech 2021 session planning along with digital transformation strategies. 
The Reliability Achievement Award was discussed and the committee would like to actively encourage nominations this year.
Education chair Jeff Kusnier gave an update on the upcoming Maintenance Solutions: Fundamentals and New Frontiers, which will be held in person and in a virtual format in February.
Presentations were given by Mike Clark, Sumitomo Machinery Corp., and Bob Jennings, Hydroaire.

The MRTC held a virtual meeting 6 May 2020.
The MRTC hosted a virtual meeting with 35 participants. First, the committee mission statement and AISTech 2021 Call for Papers were reviewed and approved. The group also discussed the committee’s objectives for the upcoming year.
Jeffrey Kusnier gave an update on the upcoming Maintenance Solutions Specialty Training Conference, which has been postponed until February 2021. A roundtable discussion followed in which attendees discussed how they are handling the COVID-19 pandemic, how their plants are adapting and how they are navigating company travel bans.
The following officers were elected for the 2020–2021 term:

  • Chair: Carl E. Garringer, Steel Dynamics Inc. – Structural and Rail Division.

  • Vice chair: Jeffrey Kusnier, Titan Bearings – MRSI.

  • Papers chair: Steven Heavyside, EVRAZ Portland.

  • Education chair: Bijay Prakash, ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor.

The MRTC and LHTC met 24–26 February 2020, Columbus, Miss., USA.
The LHTC met Monday afternoon to discuss the final chapter of the Lubrication Engineers Manual revision. Tuesday morning, MRTC and LHTC members met for a productive joint meeting. The meeting began with a review and discussion of the AIST Steel Industry Fatalities Report. The committees then held a deeper conversation regarding corporate culture as it relates to safety. Each committee finalized their slate of officers for the 2020–2021 term and added a Young Professional chair. The final vote will take place at AISTech 2020.
Updates were given on the upcoming Maintenance Solutions Technology Training Conference and there was discussion focused on if a specialty conference based on the Lubrication Engineers Manual would be held as a stand-alone conference. Wednesday morning, the entire group went to Steel Dynamics Inc. – Flat Roll Group Columbus Division to present the mill with the Gold Reliability Achievement Award. They were greeted by many members of upper management, given a full presentation, toured the project and ended with a fabulous lunch.

MRTC vice chair Carl Garringer presented the team at Steel Dynamics Inc. – Flat Roll Group Columbus Division with the 2020 AIST Gold Reliability Achievement Award (left to right): Madhu Ranade, Garringer, Richard Thomas, Don Bryant and Wade Allen.
Mrinal Mahapatro (left), LHTC chair, and Ken Flowers (right), MRTC chair, displayed a plaque of appreciation for the MRTC and LHTC’s tour of AM/NS Calvert LLC.

The MRTC and LHTC met 4–6 November 2019, Mobile, Ala., USA.
A working session for the latest revision of the Lubrication Engineers Manual was held on Monday, 4 November. Key members updated the group on revisions. Eleven chapters have been completed, with seven requiring additional work. The revisions are expected to be complete by February 2020. 
The MRTC and LHTC held a joint business meeting on Tuesday, 5 November.
The group reviewed AIST’s 2019 Steel Industry Fatalities report, which led into a lively safety discussion.
Bijay Prakash, MRTC papers chair, and John Accurso, LHTC papers chair, discussed AISTech 2020 technical session development for the two committees.
Ken Flowers then discussed plans for the MRTC’s 2020 awards, including the Carol Yates Award and the Reliability Achievement Award (RAA).
Jeff Kusnier led a discussion on the 2020 Maintenance Conference. It was decided to hold the conference on 15–17 September 2020 in San Antonio, Texas, USA. An agenda was started and populated with a preliminary list of guest speakers to be invited to the conference. There will be more emphasis on hydraulics for the LHTC side. MRTC will focus on RAA participants, talent issues, digital transformation, condition monitoring and maintenance best practices. A request will be sent to CMC Steel Texas to serve as plant host.      
Mrinal Mahapatro provided an update from the previous day’s Lubrication Engineers Manual working session.
Tom Wojtkowski gave an update on the Digital Transformation Steering Committee’s progress and direction to date.

  • “New Developments in Hydraulic Systems,” by Brad Jensen, Alloy Technology Solutions.

  • “Powerful New Augmented Reality (AR) Tools for Maintenance, Training, Inspection, etc.,” by Eric Almquist, Star Tool and Die Works.

The group toured AM/NS Calvert LLC on 6 November. The committees wish to thank AM/NS Calvert for a very informative tour of their hot mill. 

The MRTC met 6 May 2019, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
The following officers were elected:

Chair: Ken Flowers, Butech Bliss

Vice chair: Carl Garringer, Steel Dynamics Inc. – Flat Roll Group Butler Division

Papers chair: Bijay Prakash, ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor

Technology Training Conference chair: Jeff Kusnier, Maintenance - Reliability Solutions Inc.

The MRTC and LHTC met jointly 26–27 February 2019, Columbus, Ohio, USA.
The MRTC and LHTC reviewed the latest AIST Steel Industry Fatalities report.
The winning project for the 2019 AIST Reliability Achievement Award – Gold was presented, titled “From Firefighting to First-Class Maintenance.” Presenting the project were Worthington Industries – Columbus Division maintenance team members Don McDaniel and George Miconi.
Because both committees received many abstracts for AISTech 2019, they took the time to carefully finalize their respective sessions.
The election of committee officers for the 2019–2020 term was discussed. 
The recipient of the Carol Yates Award was selected, conducted via secret voting of all registered members of the MRTC in attendance.
Jim Smith, Tom Wojtkowski and Rachel Schmidt volunteered for the AIST Digital Transformation Task Force, which will meet during AISTech.
A significant amount of work is now being coordinated for the Lubrication Engineers Manual Fifth Edition, and Mrinal Mahapatro led the committees through an extensive update. 
For the tour of Worthington Industries – Columbus Division and the presentation of the RAA – Gold, the mill chose to stop production for about 2 hours to celebrate. The company’s president and chief executive officer, John McConnell, and general manager Geoff Klinger were in attendance.

The team at Worthington Industries – Columbus Division was presented with the 2019 AIST Reliability Achievement Award – Gold at their facility on 27 February. In the top photo, Don McDaniel (left) and George Miconi (right) accepted the award.
Randy Heisler (left) presented Bill Bennett (right) with the MRTC service plaque at AISTech 2018.

The MRTC met 7 May 2018, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
The following officers were elected:

  • Chair: Randy Heisler, Life Cycle Engineering

  • Vice chair: Ken Flowers, Butech Bliss

  • Papers chair: Jeff Kusnier, Maintenance - Reliability Solutions Inc.

  • Education chair: Carl Garringer, Steel Dynamics Inc. – Flat Roll Group Butler Division

The MRTC and LHTC met jointly 20–21 February 2018, Gary, Ind., USA. Both committees reviewed officer nominations for the 2018–2019 term.
There was a discussion of merging the two committees. Both groups see value in specializing, and would prefer meeting jointly regularly, but also maintaining independent status within in AIST Technology Division structure.
The LHTC seeks to publish advances in the lubrication and hydraulics field through training seminars, and most importantly publishing newer editions of The Lubrication Engineers Manual.
Sal Rea and John Accurso, LHTC papers co-chairs, will be working to develop a separate lubrication track for the Maintenance Solutions course.
Rea gave an update on The Lubrication Engineers Manual. He presented a worksheet for identifying modules with progress points to indicate status of completion in each chapter of the newly rewritten book.
David Lunceford asked at this meeting for status on every line item, with attendees commenting on the specific modules with which they are familiar. Walt Kusnier volunteered to work with Rea until completion of the Fourth Edition. A separate spreadsheet from John Haspert will identify images that are in need of computerizing and revitalization.
Shannon Kiley, AIST’s manager — events, indicated a separate training seminar could be dedicated to the new content added to the Fourth Edition and that the attendees would each receive a copy of the manual as part of the seminar.
There were three Young Professional attendees at the meeting and there was discussion about recruitment for a subcommittee.
Ken Flowers gave an update on the Maintenance Solutions course.
The 2018 Gold and Silver Reliability Achievement Awards were presented. The Gold award went to
ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor for “Minimization of Hot Mill Losses Originating From Downcoiler.” A successful project working with a large set of historical data, on a 80-inch hot strip mill, the ArcelorMittal team determined which loss-of-production incidents could be attributed to the downcoiler equipment, and established their root causes. Once average lifespans for the equipment could be satisfactorily established, upgrade projects brought the coil defect rate down to one-third of the original rate, in eight years, significantly adding a positive contribution to the annual operating budget in the multi-million-dollar range.
The Silver award went to Nucor-Yamato Steel Co. for “Improvements of Self-Maintaining Air Cleaners.”

The following presentations were given:

  • “Safety Glass and New Rolling Glare Shield,” by Jane MacPherson, MacPherson Engineering Inc.

  • “Common Causes of Hydraulic Cylinder Failure in Steel Mills: Case Study Analysis,” by Gene Brown, Perfection Hydraulics.

  • “Endless Rolling Technology,” by Tom Wojtkowski, Primetals Technologies USA LLC.

Members of the ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor 80-inch hot strip mill management team were presented with the 2018 Gold Reliability Achievement Award (right to left): Brian Warnock, division manager; Mehul Patel, equipment technology manager; Max Brunt, operations technology manager; Rebecca Evans, equipment technology engineer mechanical — coiler; Curtis Mattull, equipment technology engineer electrical — coiler; John Tessling, equipment technology engineer mechanical — finishing mill and coiler; Matt Dazzell, production shift manager; Blake Sleicher, maintenance supervisor — coiler; Chris Zeller, reliability engineer — furnace.
William Bennett (right) presented Robert Sensel (left) with the MRTC service plaque.

The MRTC met 8 May 2017, Nashville, Tenn., USA.

The following officers were elected:

  • Chair: William Bennett, Melter S.A. de C.V.

  • Vice chair: Randy Heisler, Life Cycle Engineering

  • Papers chair: Ken Flowers, Butech Bliss

  • Technology Training Conference chair: Kyle Tew, Steel Dynamics Inc. – Structural and Rail Division

Rob Sensel (left) presented Joe Crawford (right), Steel Dynamics Inc. – Roanoke Bar Division, with the 2017 AIST Gold Reliability Achievement Award.

The MRTC met 7–8 February 2017, Roanoke, Va., USA. The MRTC held its winter meeting at Steel Dynamics Inc. (SDI) – Roanoke Bar Division. This plant was the winner of the 2017 Gold AIST Reliability Achievement Award for its project titled “EAF Process Improvement from EMS (Electromagnetic Stirring) Implementation.” The plant hosted the two-day event for the MRTC meeting and tour.
The group finalized recruitment letters for future MRTC members.
The MRTC’s technical sessions for AISTech 2017 were finalized.
Nominations for the 2018 AIST Reliability Achievement Award were discussed, along with the pros and cons of adding safety to the overall rating of the nominations. A task force was formed to evaluate this proposal.
The group reviewed the current status of the 2017 Maintenance Solutions Specialty Conference planned for 6–8 November 2017 in Charleston, S.C., USA.
A technical presentation was given by Banner Engineering Corp. on wireless technology for condition monitoring of motors. SDI presented its Reliability Achievement Award-winning project.
This year’s Dr. Carol Yates Award was discussed, and the recipient will be announced at AISTech 2017.
The MRTC’s fall meeting will be held on 26–27 September 2017 in Myrtle Beach, S.C., USA. A tour location is yet to be determined.

Scott Story (right), MSCTC chair, presented Bob Heil (left), steelmaking metallurgist at Charter Steel – Saukville, with a plaque of appreciation for hosting the MSCTC’s tour during its 28–29 September 2016 meeting.

The MRTC met 28–29 September 2016, Milwaukee, Wis., USA.  The MSCTC reviewed the 2016 Steel Industry Fatalities report, followed by a safety roundtable discussion.
Roger Maddalena led a discussion on AISTech 2017 technical session development. For the MSCTC’s six sessions, 29 abstracts were selected. The MSCTC reviewed instructions for session chairs, who were also selected during the meeting, and papers chairs.
Bill Jones, chair of the Internal Quality Rating System Subcommittee, provided an update on the status on the inclusion engineering and clean steel practice publication. Papers from Peter Glaws, Ron O’Malley, Lifeng Zhang, E. Buddy Damm and Scott Story will be included in the publication.
The MSCTC unanimously voted to establish the Kent Peaslee Best Paper Award, which will be presented to the best MSCTC paper presented at future AISTech conferences. This proposal will be submitted to the AIST Board of Directors.
The MSCTC will hold a 2017 Japan Caster Study Tour. Details of this program were discussed.
Presentations are needed for the MSCTC’s joint meeting with the Ladle Secondary Refining Technology Committee, which will be held in February 2017. Those interested in presenting should contact Scott Story and Sunday Abraham.
The following presentations were given:

  • “Macrosegregation Evaluation Using Micro-XRF Large Area Scanning,” by Thinium Natarajan, U. S. Steel Research and Technology Center.

  • “PDA-OES,” by Jean-Marc Bohlen and Brad Cooley, Thermo Fisher Scientific.

  • “Quantitative Assessment of Slab Internal Quality,” by Sunday Abraham, SSAB Iowa.

  • “The Effect of Sulfur Wire Additions to Calcium Treated Aluminum-Killed Fine-Grain Steel,” by Troy Kaczorowski, Charter Steel – Cleveland.

  • “Use of Thermodynamic Models in Steelmaking,” by Stephano Piva and Mauro Elias Ferreira, Carnegie Mellon University.

The MRTC met 27–28 September 2016, Grand Rapids, Mich., USA. The MRTC reviewed the status of the committee recruitment and appreciation letters sent to participant supervisors for sending colleagues to Maintenance Solutions — A Practical Training Seminar.
The MRTC discussed its technical session development for AISTech 2107. Abstracts were reviewed, session titles and session chairs were identified, and additional papers were solicited from the committee. The instructions for both papers chair and session chairs were reviewed with the group.
There was a discussion regarding the Reliability Achievement Award (RAA) judging criteria, which was to be reviewed at the Maintenance Conference.
Preliminary details for next year’s Maintenance Conference were established. The conference will tentatively be held on 6–8 November 2017 in Charleston, S.C., USA.
Technical presentations were given by HECO and Andronaco in the afternoon. 
On the second day of the meeting, the MRTC toured Andronaco Industries, which specializes in the manufacture of fluid handling and sealing products specifically designed for chemical, pharmaceutical, and ultrapure-related industries.

Rob Sensel (right), MRTC chair, presented Colleen Reeves (left) with a plaque of appreciation for hosting the MRTC’s tour of Andronaco Industries.
Rob Sensel (left) presented the MRTC service plaque to
Jeff Blankenship (right).

The MRTC met 18 May 2016, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

The following officers were elected:

  • Chair: Rob Sensel, Dover Hydraulics

  • Vice chair: Nizar Armarsi, ArcelorMittal Dofasco Inc.

  • Specialty Conference chair: Bill Bennett, Steel Dynamics Inc.

  • Papers chair: Randy Heisler, Life Cycle Engineering and Consultants

The MRTC met 1–2 March 2016, Fort Wayne, Ind., USA. The MRTC’s technical sessions for AISTech 2016 were reviewed. Papers chair and session chair responsibilities were also discussed.
MRTC officers were nominated for the 2016–2017 term.
This year’s winner of the Dr. Carol Ann Yates Award was decided and will be announced at the Maintenance Conference in November.
Auditor teams were established to review incoming Reliability Achievement Award nominations.
The Maintenance Solutions — A Practical Training Seminar program outline was reviewed and updated. Maintenance Solutions — A Practical Training Seminar will be held on 6–9 November 2016 in Scottsdale, Ariz., USA, in conjunction with the AIST Leadership Conference.
Two technical presentations were given:

  •  “Use of Hydraulic Torquing Equipment,” by Hytorc.

  • “Newest Technology on Hoses and Sealing,” by Rubber & Gasket Co. of America.

A presentation was also given on Steel Dynamics Inc. (SDI) – Bar & Structural Div. in Columbia City, Ind., USA. On Wednesday, the group visited the SDI facility for a tour and the 2015 AIST Reliability Achievement Award Gold was awarded to its plant general manager, Rob Simon.

1. Rob Simon (left), Steel Dynamics Inc. – Structural & Rail Div. plant general manager, accepted the 2015 AIST Reliability Achievement Gold Award from Jeff Blankenship (right), MRTC chair. 2. The MRTC met in Fort Wayne on 1–2 March 2016.