AME Celebrates Its 30 Year Anniversary
Founded by Rich Merhige in 1992, AME has pioneered the use of technologies and equipment to perform diagnostics, maintenance, and repair in industrial and marine fields. As AME celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, Rich discusses the decision to start the company and how it has evolved. Read more below!
Where did the concept for AME originate?
Rich: While working as an engineer on ships for American Transport Lines, Westinghouse, David Taylor Naval Research Center, and Booz Allen & Hamilton, I saw a lot of unnecessary or improper maintenance being performed. I saw an opportunity to avoid those situations using advanced technology, primarily through the use of condition monitoring. Condition monitoring saves machinery operators time, energy and resources, by focusing on what actually needs to be fixed.
What are AME’s objectives? How do your services help achieve these objectives?
Rich: Our customers come to us with some of the most complex vibration and machinery problems, and we can solve them. Our main objective is to provide our customers with more predictive maintenance solutions through our push for condition monitoring. That way, we assist them with their machinery before it needs to be fixed, saving them a lot of time and money.
Describe AME’s Culture.
Rich: We believe in growing from within - we provide our employees with consistent training and opportunities, which means they have a stake in their future, so they care about the services they perform and our customers. AME maintains memberships in numerous societies and professional associations, ensuring we are constantly surrounded by professionals who keep us on our toes. We are also involved in philanthropic initiatives that aid in strengthening the South Florida Marine Industry. We also educate our customers on the value of our services and their application to their mechanical issues through online blog posts, case studies, and webinars.
How has your company approach evolved over the last few years?
Rich: While the motivation behind our approach has stayed the same, our technology and service portfolio has drastically changed. When I started, the equipment was rudimentary and in the early stages of digitization. We now have very sophisticated systems that take more and higher quality data faster. Our new equipment can diagnose chronic issues that have been around for ages.
The business has also adapted to perform corrective actions such as machinery alignment, balancing, installation, and resilient mounting, to name a few. This allows our customers to work with AME as a one-stop shop for all of their maintenance needs.
It was important for us to add these services because balancing and alignment are critical components of ensuring a machine is going to run correctly. If a machine is installed properly, it is more likely to reach its lifespan. These services go hand and hand with our purpose, so it was only natural to add them to our portfolio of offerings.
How has the industry evolved, and what are some barriers you experience?
Rich: We’re happy to see increased awareness about the benefits of this type of technology. But there are still barriers. It’s hard for machinery operators to sell condition monitoring to upper management because the ROI is difficult to prove. How do you put a value on downtime? That’s been one of the issues. It’s hard to put a number on downtime.
But more sophisticated companies and machinery operators are seeing the benefits of condition monitoring and understand how downtime harms their operations and their bottom line. This has helped increase the adoption of CM.
What is your biggest maintenance tip for your customers?
Think ahead. Avoid being reactive. In times like these, whether it’s shipping delays or the lack of manpower, it’s not a smart decision to wait.