'Lubed, Reliable and Lean' was biggest Noria event to date

Paul V. Arnold, Noria Corporation

The Lubrication Excellence, Reliability World and Lean Manufacturing conferences and exhibition, held last week in Columbus, Ohio, marked another record-setting event for Noria Corporation and the manufacturing sectors it serves. Approximately 1,400 professionals turned out for the industry’s most important maintenance and reliability event of the year, up 17 percent from the 1,200 that attended in 2005 in San Antonio. It was the seventh consecutive year of attendance and exhibit growth, reflecting the high quality of the content, and the broad coverage of products and services delivered to visitors.       


The three days of sessions, panel discussions and demonstrations began on May 16 with an opening general session headlined by former ESPN broadcaster Roy Firestone. The highly entertaining program was capped with emotional and motivating stories and videos from the sports world where Firestone first made his mark as an Emmy Award-winning interviewer.


In addition, daily keynote speakers included Raytheon Company vice president Rusty Patterson, Allen-Edmonds Shoe Corporation’s leadership team (president and CEO John Stollenwerk, COO Mark Birmingham and manufacturing manager Jim Kass) and Noria president and CEO Jim Fitch. Plenary panel discussions included corporate and plant leaders from companies such as Cargill, Worthington Industries, Nordson, Energizer/Eveready, Allen-Edmonds, The Antioch Company, Kennedy Manufacturing and Minster Machine Company.


Many other conference presenters – plant leaders from firms such as General Electric, Dofasco Steel, Coors, Ford Motor Company, Owens Corning, Rockwell Automation, Kennametal, Quaker Oats, Goodyear, Eli Lilly and SMI Steel – shared their expertise and documented experiences where proven maintenance and operations practices raised the productivity, performance and profitability of their plants. Some of the topics covered were: Lubricants and Lubrication, Oil Analysis, Contamination Control, Condition Monitoring, Reliability Engineering, Reliability Management, and Lean Manufacturing. 

Attendees were also given a preview of the products, concepts and technological advances that companies are using to stay competitive. A record 163 companies put their best products forward in the roughly 30,000 net square feet of exhibit floor. Some of the well-known exhibitors included: Chevron, Emerson Process Management, Ivara, Koehler Instruments, Pall Corporation, Shell, SKF Reliability and many more.

“Every year this event gets bigger and better,” said Noria vice president Mike Ramsey. “The level of attendee, the quality of the content and the positive things people are saying validate the need for a forum like this. It is gratifying that Noria has become the leading resource for all the best practices relating to maintenance and reliability.”

For the first time, the event included a dedicated Lean Manufacturing program, moderated by Reliable Plant magazine editor Paul Arnold.


“The attendance for this track and the feedback from track attendees showed that this is a subject of continued need and importance for plant-floor decision-makers,” said Arnold. “The implementation of lean manufacturing concepts and best practices – especially in the framework of pursuing maintenance and reliability excellence – is a requisite for industrial survival and industrial growth.”


The week wasn’t only about case studies and the bottom line. Parties on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings offered relaxed discussion and fun with friends, old and new alike. Crystal Dize, a chemist with the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, won the Drive2Win game and a new 2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser.

The 2007 Lubrication Excellence, Reliability World and Lean Manufacturing conferences and exhibition will take place May 15-17 at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville, Ky.

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