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Ask an Expert: Heinz Bloch
We sit down with Heinz Bloch, author of Petrochemical Machinery Insights, to discuss his work, research and his book that presents solutions to problems on a range of themes in machinery maintenance and reliability engineering.
Name: Heinz P. Bloch
Title: Consulting Engineer (P.E.–Professional Engineer)
Affiliation: Process Machinery Consulting, Westminster/CO and Houston/TX
- What is your particular area of expertise?
Reliability improvement (life extension) of petrochemical process and refinery machinery
- How would you explain your current work to a stranger on a bus?
I design and specify the ways and means used by Best-of-Class (BoC) user companies to reach and maintain their enviable reliability and profitability status
- Where do you carry out most of your work?
I have to communicate with plants that could improve their safety, equipment reliability, and profitability. Some of this can be done from either of my home offices (in Colorado and in Texas); some of my work requires in-plant visits and on-site audits
- What first inspired you to study equipment reliability improvement?
I went through a rigorous apprenticeship as an experimental machinist, was intrigued by understanding how things worked, and followed up by obtaining BSME and MSME Degrees (cum laude) in Mechanical Engineering
- What’s the most exciting part of your job?
To add tangible and quantifiable value to an enterprise
- What keeps you awake at night?
The thought that a company is too concerned with day-to-day-maintenance, when in fact their focus should be on failure avoidance
- What false preconceptions do people have about your job?
People erroneously assume that failure avoidance is a maintenance activity. It’s actually a composite of activities that include specification, procurement, installation and operation. It follows that all functional layers of the company are involved in achieving the common goal
- What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned this week?
That a client is taking steps to implement major elements of the consulting input they have recently received from an outstandingly relevant text
- What do you think will be the next big discovery or development in your field?
A strengthening of the failure analysis and incident avoidance routines to which modern process plants now have access
- How have you used books for your own professional research and how did it influence your work, research or thinking, or help you solve a problem in your field? What outcome did it lead to?
Yes; and I have again been re-enforced in my belief that learning is an ongoing activity to be supported equally by employer and employee. Books written with strict “audience awareness” have been of tremendous help to me.
About the Author
Heinz P Bloch is the owner and principal of Process Machinery Consulting Co, and has been the reliability editor of Hydrocarbon Processing Magazine since 1990. He is the author or co-author of over 650 technical papers or articles, and 19 full text books. He was a founding member of Texas A&M University’s International Pump Users Symposium.
About the Book
Petrochemical Machinery Insights is a priceless collection of solutions and advice from Heinz Bloch on a broad range of equipment management themes, from wear to warranty issues, organizational problems and oil mist lubrication, and professional growth and pre-purchase of machinery.
The author draws on his industry experience to hone in on important problems that do not get addressed in other books, providing actionable details that engineers can use. Mechanical, reliability, and process engineers will find this book the next best thing to having Heinz Bloch on speed dial.
The book is available now on the Elsevier store. Enter STC215 at the checkout for 30% discount!
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