Siege of Engineers as VANZ hits Rotorua

VANZ Conference Report ’17 by Angie Hurricks

VANZ Conference Report ’17 by Angie Hurricks

On the 16th – 18th May, Rotorua was overcome with a siege of engineers and the like as we all converged on the city like a great swarm to get together for our annual conference. The venue that graciously hosted us while there was the Novotel Lakeside hotel, with its wonderful facilities and helpful staff we were looked after over the course of the conference and the food was pretty good too.

The Vibrations Association of New Zealand (VANZ) is a non-profit organisation focused in the area of condition-based maintenance, both predictive and preventative, and covers all aspects of reliability engineering. The VANZ conference is a premium networking opportunity in New Zealand and Australia to get staff motivated and up-to-date with the latest trends, technology and methods in Predictive and Reliability Engineering. The very first VANZ conference was held in 1989 with about 20 members; this event now attracts a number of delegates from all over New Zealand, Australia and the world. The conference features a wide range of case studies direct from a variety of industries such as infrastructure, power generation, pulp and paper, petrochemical, dairy, food and beverage, oil and gas and refining among others. The annual conference is like a family reunion, we had attendees from all over New Zealand and Australia, as well as people who came from Europe and the USA. We’re glad they could all travel the miles to the bottom of the world to join us and we welcome their contribution. It’s a friendly environment to participate in presentations, round-table discussions, and social events. We also have unique “awareness” sessions to give people a quick introduction, and sessions for managers to understand the risks and opportunities.  

Our principal sponsor this year was SKF, we greatly appreciate their support and that of the other trade-stands that took a booth. Many thanks go to all. Our keynote speaker for this year is Egon Doyer, global business development manager for Asset Management and Asset Reliability Services and Solutions has 38 years industry experience and worked with customers in a variety of industries e.g. food and beverage, energy, mining and cement, oil and gas, pulp and paper and chemicals. Prior to his career in SKF he worked for 8 years with MRO Software, the company that developed and implemented the MAXIMO maintenance management system. Before that he held various roles functions with expertise in logistics, supply chain management, as well as IT systems implementation. Since 2007 he has been working at SKF and held several positions all related to Asset Management and Reliability Services and Solutions. It was a pleasure to have him share his wisdom and experience with us all.

At the AGM the happenings of the last year were discussed and new Executive Officers were appointed, Jason Tranter stepped down as president and former VP Glen Pepper was promoted to the position. A new secretary was appointed, thank you Rhiannon Swift, and Tim Murdoch stepped into the vice president position, they all continue to be a part of the VANZ committee while the others take on their new roles, many thanks go to Jason for his leadership within the organisation and the hard work you put into VANZ as President.

We had several awards given out over the week, the Peter Burgess Memorial Award for Best Paper was given to Rhiannon Swift from Vector Energy Ltd for her presentation G-101-2 Carbonate Pump Oil Whirl, then Glen Pepper was presented with the VANZ Life Membership as well as the plaque given to Graeme Finch for his Life Membership from last year.

On the Wednesday night after a jam-packed day of engaging papers we all filed onto a couple of buses after the networking event and headed off to the ‘Adrenalin filled – Off Road NZ’ venue, where we had the option to take a 4X4 truck ride over extreme terrain or the ultimate thrill, strapping ourselves in for a Jet Sprint ride on their fully flood lit lake, jet sprint course. There was also options to buy additional rides or just take it easy and sit around the camp fire and enjoy catching up with everyone. We all met up at the adjacent, warm and fully covered Native Bush Camp hut for a sumptuous, catered meal and drinks before piling back into the coaches and heading back to the Novotel.

Everyone involved with vibration analysis, condition monitoring and reliability improvement has a very important role – but it is a challenging role.  So much is at stake with the high cost of downtime, equipment replacement costs, and the potential safety risks.  The future of the business can hinge on the reliability achieved by this special group of people. Yet detecting, diagnosing, and preventing these faults takes knowledge, skill and experience. This is where the conference steps in and sheds some light on the new technologies and case studies of experiences in the field, we had a session for the managers on Awareness Day with some hands-on practical sessions for those wanting to get up to date with the latest techniques and equipment from the variety of trade stands that you can see on ours Sponsors page. The main conference on the Tuesday and Wednesday had 2 streams which consisted of papers that covered topics such as bearing defects, gear tooth failure and motor testing, as well as infrared thermography, alignment and precision, Lubrication and RCA.

If you have a thirst for knowledge, enjoy the latest movie from a previous conference which you can find here on our website and learn first-hand why you should attend the next conference, stay tuned for more info and hope to see you there!