Archive | January, 2007


6:00 am
January 1, 2007
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The Fundamentals: The Basics Of Torque Measurement

Brushing up on the available methods and tools for measuring torque will help you improve your accuracy, as well as protect your wallet.

Torques can be divided into two major categories: static or dynamic. The methods used to measure torque can be further divided into two more categories: reaction or in-line. Understanding the type of torque to be measured, as well as the different types of torque sensors that are available, will have a profound impact on the accuracy of the resulting data, as well as the cost of the measurement.

Static vs. dynamic
In a discussion of static vs. dynamic torque, it is often easiest to start with an understanding of the difference between a static and a dynamic force. To put it simply, a dynamic force involves acceleration, while a static force does not.

0107_fund_torque_1The relationship between dynamic force and acceleration is described by Newton’s second law; F=ma (force equals mass times acceleration). The force required to stop your car with its substantial mass would be a dynamic force, as the car must be decelerated. The force exerted by the brake caliper in order to stop that car would be a static force, because there is no acceleration of the brake pads involved.

Torque is just a rotational force–or a force through a distance. From the previous discussion, torque is considered static if it has no angular acceleration. The torque exerted by a clock spring would be a static torque, since there is no rotation and, hence, no angular acceleration.

The torque transmitted through a car’s drive axle as it cruises down the highway (at a constant speed) would be an example of a rotating static torque. In such a case, even though there is rotation, at a constant speed there is no acceleration. The torque produced by the car’s engine will be both static and dynamic, depending on where it is measured. If the torque is measured in the crankshaft, there will be large dynamic torque fluctuations as each cylinder fires and its piston rotates the crankshaft. If the torque is measured in the drive shaft, it will be nearly static since the rotational inertia of the flywheel and transmission will dampen the dynamic torque produced by the engine.

The torque required to crank up the windows in a car (remember those?) would be an example of a static torque, even though there is a rotational acceleration involved, because both the acceleration and rotational inertia of the crank are very small and the resulting dynamic torque (Torque = rotational inertia x rotational acceleration) will be negligible when compared to the frictional forces involved in the window movement. This last example illustrates the fact that for most measurement applications, both static and dynamic torques will be involved to some degree. If dynamic torque is a major component of the overall torque or is the torque of interest, special considerations must be made when determining how best to measure it.

Reaction vs. inline
Inline torque measurements are made by inserting a torque sensor between torque carrying components, much like inserting an extension between a socket and a socket wrench. The torque required to turn the socket will be carried directly by the socket extension. This method allows the torque sensor to be placed as close as possible to the torque of interest, preventing possible errors in the measurement such as parasitic torques (bearings, etc.), extraneous loads and components that have large rotational inertias that would dampen any dynamic torques.

According to the above example, the dynamic torque produced by an engine would be measured by placing an inline torque sensor between the crankshaft and the flywheel, thus avoiding the rotational inertia of the flywheel and any losses from the transmission. To measure the nearly static, steadystate torque that drives the wheels, an inline torque sensor could be placed between the rim and the hub of the vehicle, or in the drive shaft. Because of the rotational inertia of a typical torque drive line and other related components, inline measurements are often the only way to properly measure dynamic torque.

A reaction torque sensor takes advantage of Newton’s third law that “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” To measure the torque produced by a motor, we could measure it inline, as described above, or we could measure how much torque is required to prevent the motor from turning,which is commonly called the reaction torque.Measuring the reaction torque helps us avoid the obvious problem of making the electrical connection to the sensor in a rotating application (discussed later). This method, however, comes with its own set of drawbacks. 0107_fund_torque_2

A reaction torque sensor often is required to carry significant extraneous loads, such as the weight of a motor or, at least, some of the drive line. These loads can lead to crosstalk errors (a sensor’s response to loads other than those that are intended to be measured), and sometimes to reduced sensitivity, as the sensor has to be oversized to carry the extraneous loads. Both of these methods–inline and reaction–will yield identical results for static torque measurements.

Making inline measurements in a rotating application will nearly always present the user with the challenge of connecting the sensor from the rotating world to the stationary world. There are a number of options available to accomplish this, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. They are:

Slip ring…
The most commonly used method to make the connection between rotating sensors and stationary electronics is the slip ring. It consists of a set of conductive rings that rotate with
the sensor and a series of brushes that contact the rings and transmit the sensors’ signals.

Slip rings are straightforward and economical solutions that perform well (with only a few minor drawbacks) in a wide variety of applications. The brushes, and to a lesser extent the rings, are wear items with limited lives that don’t lend themselves to long-term tests or to applications that are not easy to service on a regular basis. At low- to moderatespeeds, the electrical connection between the rings and brushes are relatively noise-free. At higher speeds, though, noise will severely degrade their performance.

The maximum rotational speed (rpm) for a slip ring is determined by the surface speed at the brush/ring interface. As a result, the maximum operating speed will be lower for larger, typically higher torque-capacity sensors by virtue of the fact that the slip rings will have to be larger in diameter, and therefore have a higher surface speed at a given rpm. Typical max speeds will be in the 5,000 rpm range for a medium-capacity torque sensor.

Finally, be aware that the brush ring’s interface can be a source of drag torque. This can be a problem, especially for very low-capacity measurements or applications where the driving torque will have trouble overcoming the brush drag.

Rotary transformer…
Rotary transformer systems were devised in an effort to overcome some shortcomings of the slip ring. They use a rotary transformer coupling to transmit power to a rotating sensor. 0107_fund_torque_3An external instrument provides an AC excitation voltage to the strain gage bridge via the excitation transformer. The sensor’s strain gage bridge then drives a second rotary transformer coil to get the torque signal off the rotating sensor. By eliminating the slip ring’s brushes and rings,wear is gone, making the rotary transformer system suitable for long-term testing applications. Parasitic drag torque from brushes in a slip ring assembly also is eliminated. But, the need for bearings and the fragility of transformer cores still limit maximum rpm to levels only slightly better than the slip ring.

This system also is susceptible to noise and errors induced by the alignment of the transformer primary-to-secondary coils. Because of the special requirements imposed by rotary transformers, specialized signal conditioning also is required in order to produce a signal acceptable for most data acquisition systems, further adding to the system’s cost–which is already higher than a typical slip ring assembly.

Infrared (IR.)…
Like the rotary transformer, the infrared (IR) torque sensor utilizes a contact-less method of getting the torque signal from a rotating sensor back to the stationary world. Similarly using a rotary transformer coupling, power is transmitted to the rotating sensor.0107_fund_torque_4 Instead of being used to directly excite the strain gage bridge, this is used to power a circuit on the rotating sensor. The circuit provides excitation voltage to the sensor’s strain gage bridge and digitizes the sensor’s output signal. This digital output signal is then transmitted, via infrared light, to stationary receiver diodes, where another circuit checks the digital signal for errors and converts it back to an analog voltage. Since the sensor’s output signal is digital, it is much less susceptible to noise from such sources as electric motors and magnetic fields.Unlike the rotary transformer system, an infrared transducer can be configured either with or without bearings, for a true maintenance-free, no-wear, no-drag sensor.

While it is more expensive than a simple slip ring, the infrared torque sensor offers several benefits.When configured without bearings, as a true non-contact measurement system, the wear items are eliminated, making this sensor ideally suited for long-term testing rigs.More importantly, with the elimination of the bearings, operating speed (rpm) goes up dramatically–to 25,000 rpm and higher, even for highcapacity units. For high-speed applications, this often is the best solution for a rotating torque transmission method.

FM transmitter…
Another approach to making the connection between a rotating sensor and the stationary world utilizes an FM transmitter. These devices are used to connect any sensor, whether force or torque, to a remote data-acquisition system, by converting the sensor’s signal to a digital form and transmitting it to an FM receiver–where it is converted back to an analog voltage. For torque applications these receivers are typically used for specialty, one-of-a-kind sensors–such as when strain gages are applied directly to a component in a drive line. This application, for example, could be a drive shaft or half shaft from a vehicle.

The FM transmitter can be easily installed on the component, as it is typically just clamped to the gaged shaft. It also is re-usable for multiple custom sensors. Drawbacks include needing a source of power on the rotating sensor, typically a 9V battery, which makes it impractical for longterm testing.

Understanding the nature of the torque to be measured, as well as the factors that can alter this torque in the effort to measure it, will have a signficant impact on the reliability of the data collected.

In applications that require the measurement of dynamic torque, special care must be taken to measure in the correct location–and to not affect the torque by dampening it with the measurement system.

Knowing the options available to make the connection to the rotating torque sensor can greatly affect the price of the sensor package. Slip rings are an economical solution, but have their limitations.More technically advanced solutions are available for more demanding applications, but they usually will be more expensive.


By thinking through the requirements and conditions of a particular application, you can choose the right torque measurement system for the application the first time- and every time. TF

David Schrand is engineering manager with Sensor Developments, Inc. (SDI), of Orion, MI. SDI was established in 1976 as an engineering consulting firm specializing in the science of force measurement and sensor design. Today, the company produces solutions for many industries and applications, including automotive, aerospace, OEM, medical, nuclear and textile operations. For more information on the technologies referenced in this article, log on to

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6:00 am
January 1, 2007
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The Fundamentals: Tapping A Unique Welding Technology To Keep Business Brewin

Even the toughest of projects appear to be no match for this equipment.

Think beer, bratwurst and cheese and Milwaukee, Wisconsin might come to mind. In 1977, Ed Michalski had a hunger to start his own business, so he set his sights on the industries that made Milwaukee famous and founded Pro Engineering and Manufacturing, Inc. (“Pro”). Today, Michalski’s company is considered a leader in custom fabrication, manufacturing and engineering for the food and beverage industries.

0107_fundbrewing1In fact, to support its growth, Pro recently moved to a new 33,000-sq. ft. manufacturing facility complete with 30′ high ceilings, 16’x 20′ dock doors, 5- and 10- ton overhead cranes and state-of-the-art welding equipment. According to the company, whether they are here or at an off-site project, its fabricators rely on the flexibility of the XMT‚ 350 CC/CV multi-process inverter with Auto-Line™ from Miller Electric Mfg. Co. to deliver quality, custom fabrication solutions to customers. A situation at the 150-year-old Milwaukee-based Miller Brewing Company is a good example.

Brew kettle maintenance and repair
When Miller Brewing needed assistance with its extensive brew kettle repair project, it tapped Pro Engineering experts for advice. This difficult welding project involved repairing damaged copper and stainless steel joints within six massive brew kettles. Over time, mechanical, chemical and electrolytic erosion had degraded the copper and stainless steel interface where the brew kettles’ sidewalls and domes meet. In certain areas, the original copper weld used to bond the stainless steel dome to the copper kettle had begun to show serious signs of wear (Fig. 1).

To repair the damaged interface, Pro engineers designed and fabricated a 6″wide copper band to bridge the original stainless steel/copper weld seam. Taking advantage of the Miller Electric XMT 350’s multi-process capabilities, the Pro fabricators used a combination of MIG and TIG welding to bond the copper band to each of the base metals.

0107_fundbrewing2Using the XMT 350 and Miller Electric’s S22A wire feeder operating at 325 amps and 25V, the fabricators MIG-welded the bottom portion of the copper ring to the 3/8″ thick brew kettle copper sidewall using .035″-diameter copper solid wire. They also used Smith Equipment gas regulators to deliver 100% helium shielding gas.

To weld the upper portion of the copper band to the 1/4″ stainless steel dome, fabricators first TIG-welded a root pass using a Weldcraft torch with 3/32″-diameter tungsten and .035-inch diameter silica bronze (AWS-A5.7/ER Cu Si) filler rod. Because TIG welding produces lower deposition rates, fabricators MIG-welded the remaining fillet welds using silica bronze solid wire operating at 275 amps and 25V. Due to copper’s excellent heat transfer, the fabricators used a secondary heat source to achieve and maintain the weld pool (Fig. 2). “We manually used Mapp torches to heat the area either directly below or on the opposite side of the work piece,” explains Michalski.

Although Pro Engineering fabricators rely greatly on the XMT 350s multi-process capabilities, they also value the machine’s primary power flexibility, especially when they are working at off-site projects. The XMT 350’s Auto-Line Power Management Technology, exclusive to Miller Electric, gives operators the ultimate power flexibility.Auto-Line allows the XMT 350 to produce a rock-steady arc-even through primary power fluctuations-within a 190 to 630V range, and it accepts any type of primary power supply (190 to 630V, single- or three-phase, 50 or 60 Hz).

The XMT 350’s Auto-Line circuit internally boosts primary power to a high voltage. Once it’s regulated, the power becomes the source for the actual inverter section of the XMT.Auto-Line ensures that the inverter has sufficient power as long as the primary power remains within +37/-59% of the nominal 460V power.

0107_fundbrewing3This technology proved particularly useful during the brew kettle maintenance repair project where the brew house was running 230V service. “In the past, we’ve lost machines because of voltage problems,” says Michalski. “I like my XMT 350’s flexibility because I can move it from place to place without having to worry about the primary power supply.”

Ease of use leads to better quality control
According to Michalski, the XMT 350 also is very easy to use. “It allows us to control the quality of its products,” he notes–which should be important to any company. In the case of an industry leader like Pro Engineering, though, it’s key. That’s because crafting meticulous custom products is how it earns the business and confidence of industry-leading clients such as Miller Brewing Company.

For more information on Miller Electric and the products and services referenced in this article, visit

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6:00 am
January 1, 2007
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The Fundamentals: Five Practical Considerations When Choosing Arc-Resistant MCC'S


Arc-resistant motor control centers (MCCs) help protect employees from dangerous arc flashes while reducing the risks of the high costs related to these incidents. Before you invest, make sure you take the following equipment and installation aspects into consideration. They definitely can impact your safety, your maintenance and your costs.

  1. Arc-resistant MCCs should be tested to relevant standards such as:
    • IEEE C37.20.7.
    • IEC 62271-200 (Annex AA).
    • EEMAC G14-1.
  2. Ask to see the Certified Test Report to corroborate the results that are claimed by the manufacturer. Passing IEEE C37.20.7 testing means that if an arc flash occurs:
    • Doors and covers do not open.
    • No parts are ejected from the equipment.
    • The arc does not burn any holes in the exterior of the tested structure.
    • Cotton indicators (150 g/m2), which represent typical industrial work suits,must not ignite.
    • The grounding connections remain effective.
  3. To ensure equivalent evaluation of arc-resistant motor control equipment, be aware of the test condtions used by each vendor, including the voltage, arc current and arc duration, whether a plenum was used and the number of structures tested simultaneously (tests performed on a single structure are more onerous, compared to testing of multiple structures).
  4. Know the accessibility level of the equipment.Under IEEE standards, Type 1 Accessibility offers enhanced protection at the front of the MCC; Type 2 steps up the coverage to the front, rear and sides.
  5. Also consider installation requirements when purchasing arc-resistant equipment.
    • Where will it be installed?
    • Is there overhead clearance and accessibility for external exhaust?
    • Does the area have existing cable, conduit or HVAC ducting?

Arc-resistant equipment can be a vital part of your safety program.Making the right choice requires knowing what to look for.

Redirecting Dangerous Arc Flash Energy

0107_fundamentals_arc_img1Rockwell Automation offers Allen-Bradley® CENTERLINE® ArcShieldTM medium and low-voltage arc-resistant motor controllers for rugged process control that are compliant to the IEEE C37.20.7 standard, Type 2 protection. The medium-voltage equipment maintains this level of protection, even when the low-voltage door is open during simple maintenance procedures. During an arc flash, the ArcShield controller redirects arc flash energy out the top of the unit and away from personnel.ArcShield is part of Rockwell Automation’s Intelligent Motor Control solutions that provide solutions like remote monitoring and real-time troubleshooting without the need to open unit doors, using IntelliCENTER software.

Rockwell Automation
Milwaukee, WI

Pre-Verify Electrical Isolation With “No-Touch”Voltage Portal

Installed on an electrical panel, the Chek- Volt™ interface, from Grace Engineered Products, allows maintenance personnel to use a non-contact voltage detector “pen” to check line voltage before and after they open the main disconnect. The ability to pre-verify electrical isolation before opening a panel puts an additional safety measure between electricians and hazardous voltage. 0107_fundamentals_arc_img2The ChekVolt simply extends the line voltage from the main disconnect (or other voltage source) through a wire into an encapsulated non-metallic assembly fastened to the enclosure exterior. The single point ChekVolt R-1A has 6’ leads, mounts into a 0.50” (13mm) drilled hole, and can be ordered with a full line of bright yellow nameplates. Non-contact voltage detectors typically operate from 50/90-1000VAC, which allow users to apply ChekVolt to single or 3-phase AC power systems. Optional bright yellow nameplates remind personnel to pre-verify every voltage point before accessing the panel interior. Nameplates offered include various power system graphics or generic single-phase/3-phase nameplates. ChekVolt is a UL listed 600V device and rated for use in NEMA 4/4X/12 environment.

Grace Engineered Products, Inc.
Davenport, IA

New Enclosed Disconnect Switches

0107_fundamentals_arc_img3Ferraz Shawmut’s new line of Enclosed Disconnect Switches is designed to meet plant maintenance operators’ requirements for compact and durable individual disconnecting means.Available in fusible and nonfusible versions, they provide safety, high performance for many environments, operational convenience and easy installation. According to their manufacturer, the Enclosed Non-Fused Disconnect Switches are often employed as motor disconnect switches to comply with NEC Article 430 for ‘line of sight’ applications. Other applications include using the Fusible Enclosed Disconnects for panels with no incoming disconnection provision, and employing them to help mitigate the risk of arc flash hazards.


Ferraz Shawmut
Newburyport, MA

Electrical Safety And Compliance Training Material

A complete collection of advanced electrical training publications and e-training modules are now available from authorized Cooper Bussmann distributors, or online, to help reduce downtime, improve workplace safety and address code compliance issues. Developed for contractors, industrials, OEMs, inspectors and educators, the materials provide a training resource to help electrical industry workers comply with the latest NEC® and industry standards; select and apply overcurrent protective devices; determine fault current levels; and analyze and improve electrical system performance and stability.

Cooper Bussmann also offers an Express Member Service that provides a range of additional services: unlimited access to all technical training downloads; a free copy of the company’s innovative Selecting Protective Devices; a free Specification Grade Protection DVD; and exclusive memberonly offers and discounts.

Cooper Bussmann
St. Louis, MO

Arc Flash Calculation Software Upgrade

Advantica has added a valuable arc flash calculation tool to its SynerGEE® Electric software to help engineers develop strategies to minimize burn injuries resulting from arc flash incidents. Housed in SynerGEE’s robust Protection Coordination module, the new arc flashover analysis is based upon the IEEE 1584-2002 standard and fully integrated into the core electric software like other SynerGEE analyses.Advantica’s arc flash analysis determines the amount of potential current flow through a point in a distribution or transmission system and the time required for the nearest upstream protective device to function in the event of a fault.

Mechanicsburg, PA

Power Distribution Analysis System Helps Calculate Arc Flash Potential

ZMeters’ ZM100 Distribution Analysis System utilizes time-synchronized, multipoint measurement and correlation techniques to characterize the0107_fundamentals_arc_img5 impedance of distribution systems in industrial, commercial or medical facilities. According to the manufacturer, since its introduction last year, the product’s unique, two-meter impedance measuring system also has been found to be well suited to making empirical measurements of the impedances required to perform arc flash potential calculations. The ZM100 system consists of two or more ZM100 Distribution Analyzers, each connected to a salient point in the facility’s electrical distribution system. Each of these devices is equipped to make time-synchronized and highly accurate measurements of voltages and currents for all phases and neutral.Measurements are made and data are gathered over a time period that characterizes the range of operating conditions that typically exist in the facility. The data is then communicated to a PC using Bluetooth wireless communications. The ZM100 Windows-based software performs a range of calculations and cor r e l a t i o n s resulting in a characterization of the distribution system’s i m p e d a n c e (both at line frequency and harmonics). Using the resultant characterization, distribution impedance abnormalities can be readily identified and necessary corrective measures can be prescribed.

Z Meters, Inc.
Baltimore, MD

Playing It Safe With Wireless

0107_fundamentals_arc_img6ProSoft Technology’s inRAx Wireless Ethernet/IP Communication Module (MVI56-WA-EIP) acts as a wireless bridge, enabling remote connectivity between a ControlLogix processor and 802.11 wireless devices including: PCs, Laptops, radio modems such as the RadioLinx Industria HotspotTM and other MVI56-WA-EIP modules. Keeping users safe from arc flash incidents is just one of this product’s many benefits.With approximately 10 arc flash explosions in the U.S. each day and nearly five severe burn victims associated with each explosion, the costs saved by avoiding these incidents can be substantial. The MVI56-WA-EIP allows access to needed data without staff having to enter into mandated flash boundary zones and without them having to touch processors.

ProSoft Technology
Bakersfield, CA

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6:00 am
January 1, 2007
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The Five Rights of Lubrication

Many companies fail to realize the importance of lubrication and the application of its five basic “rights” in achieving world-class machinery reliability. This article examines each of these concepts in detail, along with a summary of best practices including procedures in the selection of the optimal lubricant supplier.

1. Right type
As a first step in the lubrication of equipment, refer to the OEM manual, and contact the OEM if you have any questions. With old equipment, the manual may be outdated and better lubricants may be available. When in doubt, utilize your lubricant supplier along with the OEM.

The two major classes of lubricants are oil and grease. The selection of the type is based on the application. Greases are used extensively in the lubrication of small bearings. As rule of thumb, use oil where possible, because it can be cooled and filtered-this is not possible for many applications where grease is the better choice. The following are applications for grease:

  • To decrease drips and splatters, as grease is an added seal to reduce leakage
  • To access hard-to-reach lubrication points, where lubrication frequency is important and oil circulation is impractical
  • To seal in a lubricant and help seal out contaminants, such as water, dirt and corrosives
  • To protect metal surfaces from rust and corrosion
  • To lubricate machines with intermittent operation
  • To suspend solid additives, such as moly or graphite
  • To lubricate sealed-for-life applications
  • When extreme or special operating conditions exist
  • When machine parts are badly worn
  • When noise reduction is important

Greases are composed mainly of oil dispersed in a thickener with additives. Typical grease is ~ 85% oil. It is the oil in the grease that does the lubricating. The NLGI classifies greases according to consistency with the following grades increasing in hardness: 000, 00, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

The most common NLGI grade is #2. At high speeds, #3 may be used and at low temperatures and in centralized systems, #0 or #1 is used.

Most large equipment is oil-lubricated and selection of the right type is critical to reliability. Two major factors in selection of an oil-based lubricant are the correct viscosity and additives in the formulation. For a more complete discussion of viscosity, refer to the article “Basic Principles Of Viscosity And Proper Selection Techniques,” published in this magazine last year. For a more complete discussion of the additive types, refer to one of the installments appearing in another recent series in this magazine, “All Lubricants Are Not Created Equally (Basic Concepts In Formulation Of Finished Lubricants).”


OEMs will recommend the correct ISO viscosity grade for their equipment, based on the operating temperature. Table I classifies kinematic oil viscosity in centistokes for industrial lubricants, based on the ISO grade that is the midpoint of a viscosity range +/-10%.

Since grease is made up primarily of oil-which does the lubricating- the correct viscosity must be selected in the grease formulation. Table II provides guidelines on the selection of the correct viscosity in grease. Once the correct viscosity has been determined, the correct lubricant type based on additive composition needs to be selected. Lubricant formulations consist of a base stock and additives. Most base stocks are mineral oils from refining of crude oil. Table III summarizes lubricant composition in various lubricant types.


2. Right quality
Once the right type of lubricant has been selected, it is important to select a high-quality lubricant. Quality is both the ability of the lubricant to meet OEM specifications, based on performance on ASTM tests, and the cleanliness of the fl uid in which is delivered. You can have the highest quality lubricant, but if it is not handled properly during delivery or storage, it will not perform the way you expect it to.

Product data sheets provide useful information on lubricants and their behavior on ASTM tests, which, in turn, provides insight on their performance on equipment. The best test for a lubricant is how it has performed in YOUR plant, but there are some situations where a lubricant is selected only on specification tests. In 2005, a series of articles was published in this magazine on turbine, hydraulic and gear oil specification tests. Refer to these articles for an in-depth coverage of lubricant specification tests and how they can help in the selection of the right quality lubricant.

The following list is a summary of the best practices for maximizing lubricant quality:

  • Utilize specification tests on product data sheets to compare lubricants.
  • Contact OEMs for minimum specification requirements.
  • Set minimum lubricant specifications with suppliers.
  • Set standards on new lubricant deliveries, but be reasonable. During the delivery process, it is difficult to maintain high levels of cleanliness. Most hydraulic oils need to be filtered before use.
  • Utilize certificates of analysis for water content and viscosity on any delivered lubricants.
  • Routinely run more extensive tests with an oil analysis laboratory, to determine if a supplier is meeting minimum requirements.
  • Routinely run more extensive tests with an oil analysis laboratory, to determine if a supplier is meeting minimum requirements.
  • Don’t use price as the main criterion in supplier selection.
  • Establish return criteria in lubricant contracts.

3. Right amount Grease lubrication… 

More is not better. Too much lubricant in a system can be as destructive as not evidenced by the over-greasing of electric motors, which is a major failure mode. Use the formula in Fig. 1 to help grease rolling element bearings with the correct amount.

0207_fiverights_img4The calculation in Fig. 1 will give you the number of ounces to add to a bearing during greasing. This is especially important with electric motors, as there seems to be a tendency to over-grease. In order to add the correct amount, grease guns need to be calibrated on their delivery of number of shots/ounce. This can be done by using a postage scale to weigh out one ounce of grease. An easier method is to count the number of shots required to fill a 35mm film canister; thatfs approximately one ounce of grease. Once your grease guns have been calibrated, try to use the same grease gun type for a given application. Some newer guns will indicate the amount that is being added.

Oil lubrication… 
Centralized oil systems add the right amount at the right time. This section focuses on having the correct level in oil baths and splash-lubricated gearboxes. Many small pumps are lubricated by oiler baths, as illustrated in Fig. 2. The correct level for a bottle oiler bath should be at the middle of the lowest ball.

0207_fiverights_img6Large pumps and process steam turbines that have journal bearings are often
lubricated with the use of slinger rings, as illustrated in Fig. 3.

The oil level with slinger rings should be set at 1/8″to 3/8″ from the bottom inside edge of the ring. The faster the speed the lower the level should be.

Splash-lubricated gearboxes are very common where both gears and bearings are lubricated. Enough oil needs to be splashed up for cooling and lubrication. Too high an oil level will cause churning that over heats the oil; too low a level will not provide proper oil cooling and lubrication for bearings and gear teeth. Spur helical, bevel and spiral bevel gears are lubricated with the gears dipping into the oil at twice the tooth depth. The OEM will provide information on the correct oil level

Worm gears consist of a steel worm and a bronze wheel with the worm being either above or below the wheel. Fig. 4 0207_fiverights_img5shows a worm below the wheel, where the oil level is normally set just below the worm center line. With the worm above the wheel, as illustrated in Fig. 5, the oil depth ranges from just above the wheel tooth depth to the center line of the wheel. The oil level is dictated by the speed. The higher the speed the lower the oil level to minimize churning.

4. Right place
Once we have selected the right type lubricant and the quantity to add, we need to apply it at the proper location. Adding the wrong oil to a lubrication point is not uncommon. This situation will usually go undetected until a problem occurs. With an oil analysis program, early-stage detection is more likely, thus helping to avoid possible equipment damage.



All lubrication points should be properly labeled as to the lubricant to be added. Lubricant manufacturers provide lube tags for proper identifi cation of the proper lubricant to be used at the lube point. A typical tag is illustrated in Fig. 6.

It is a good practice to use separate containers for different lubricant types. Mixing lubricants with different additive packages is not recommended. Normally, each lubricant supplier color-codes its tags by lubricant types. In Fig. 6, all of the supplier’s hydraulic oils would have red tags, but they would display different ISO numbers, such as ISO 46 and 68. Containers also should be properly tagged, as should the drums or totes from which the oil is transferred to the container. This will minimize the addition of the wrong oil.

The following summarizes best practices for the addition of lubricant at the right place:

  • Become acquainted with lubrication points on new equipment through the OEM manual.
  • Train personnel on correctly adding lubricants to equipment.
  • Label all equipment lube points with color-coded lube tags obtainable from lubricant suppliers. These tags should note:
    • ISO viscosity
    • Type of lubricant based on color
  • Lube containers should be used for only one type of lubricant and display color-coded tags indicating lubricant type. Ideally, use only one container per lube type and ISO viscosity. Apply tags to all lube containers, including totes and drums.

5. Right time
Once we have established our program with the right type, quality, amount and place, we need to establish proper lubrication intervals. Grease frequencies can be determined by using charts, but the following easy calculation also can be used:

The frequency of changing lubricants depends upon the type of system and size of the reservoir. Initial guidance can be obtained from the OEM and should be adjusted based on the environmental conditions

0207_fiverights_img9Small reservoirs (under 50 gallons) in non-circulated systems are often changed on a certain frequency based on OEM recommendations and experience. As an example, small ANSI centrifugal pumps in plants typically hold less than two quarts of oil. Interestingly, one plant may change the oil in such pumps every quarter, while another, using the same type of pumps, will change it every two years.

Environmental conditions dictate oil change frequency. The plant changing its pump oils on a quarterly basis probably has diffi cult conditions leading to water ingression and contamination problems, while the plant changing biannually has much more favorable conditions. Such factors also apply to splashlubricated gearboxes and bath-lubricated systems. To determine the correct change frequency for similar equipment under similar conditions, statistically evaluate the condition of the oil through oil analysis tests. This can provide useful information on establishing change frequency.


Change frequency for large systems (over 50 gallons) should be established with oil analysis condition monitoring tests. Two major failure mechanisms for lubricants are contamination (particles/water) and oxidation. Routine visual monitoring of the oil is crucial. Oils that are becoming darker indicate possible oxidation and should be further evaluated. Oils that appear to be hazy or have suspended solids in them indicate excessive contamination and also should be further evaluated.

Oxidation, one of the primary reasons lubricants fail, is temperature-dependent. For every increase in temperature of 18 F degrees, the oxidation rate doubles, which in turn, cuts oil life in half. This is noticeable at temperatures over 140 F. When oils oxidize, they produce sludge, varnish and acids, all of which can cause equipment damage. One very useful test is to monitor the increase in the acid number of a lubricant through oil analysis and to set condemning limits for the oil. Refer to “Proactive Maintenance Practices Through Condition Monitoring Of Used Oils,” an article published in this magazine in 2005. Excessive water contamination can be determined with a Karl Fisher test and particle counts that measure the cleanliness of the oil. Both of these procedures are an integral part of an oil analysis program.

The following summarizes best practices in determining oil change frequencies:0207_fiverights_img11

  • Follow OEM recommendations for change frequency.
  • Set frequencies for small systems, based on environmental conditions and operating temperature. Adjust as conditions change.
  • Periodically evaluate used oil in small systems statistically with oil analysis tests to confi rm correct frequencies.
  • Continuously monitor lubricant visually for any color changes and contamination.
  • Utilize oil analysis condition monitoring tests for large systems to establish lubricant changes.
  • Use higher-priced synthetics, where appropriate, to extend drain intervals, especially under high-operating-temperature conditions.
  • Remember that the cost of changing a lubricant is minimal compared to potential equipment damage and downtime. It’s better to err on the side of changing too frequently.

Establishing a world-class lubrication program through application of the fi ve rights of lubrication will pay dividends. In the long run, enhanced equipment reliability will result in major bottom-line savings. Establishing the right program requires real planning and work-and the lubricant supplier and OEM should be utilized when needed. The fi rst step is to recognize and promote the importance of a well-designed lubrication program to management. The next step-and the most diffi cult one-is to effectively implement that program.


  1. Bannister, Kenneth E., Lubrication for Industry (2nd edition), Industrial Press, 2007
  2. Lansdown, A.R., Lubrication and Lubrication Selection, Mechanical Engineering Publications, 1996
  3. Neale, M.J., Lubrication and Reliability Handbook, Butterworth and Heinemann, 2001

Contributing editor Ray Thibault is based in Cypress (Houston), TX. An STLECertifi ed Lubrication Specialist and Oil Monitoring Analyst, he conducts extensive training in a number of industries. E-mail:; or telephone: (281) 257-1526.

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January 1, 2007
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Justify Your Equipment Reliability Enhancements

According to statistical reliability data, as much as 65% of the life cycle costs are determined during the design, procurement and installation phases of new machinery applications [Ref. 1]. While design and procurement are important aspects for any application, the installation of the equipment plays a very signifi cant role. A superb design, poorly installed, will give poor results. But, a moderate design, properly installed, will give good results.

Baseplate considerations
Baseplate designs have become less rigid over time. Attention has been focused on the pump end of the baseplate to provide enough structural support to contend with nozzle load requirements. The motor end of the baseplate is generally not as rigid as the pump end. Consequently, the process of shipping, lifting, storing and setting the baseplate can have a negative impact on the motor mounting surfaces. While these surfaces may have initially been fl at, experience shows that there is work to be done by the time the baseplate reaches the field.

The other issue of mounting surface distortion comes from the grout itself. All epoxy grout systems have a slight shrinkage factor. While this shrinkage is very small, typically 0.0002″/in (0.2 mm/m), the tolerances for fl atness and level of the mounting surfaces are also very small. A chemical reaction occurs when the epoxy resin is fi rst mixed with hardener (to which the aggregate is added a little later, so as to form what is commonly termed the epoxy grout). This reaction results in a volume change that is referred to as shrinkage. Chemical cross-linking and volume change occur as the material cools after the exothermic reaction. Epoxy grout systems cure from the inside out, as shown in Fig. 1. The areas closest to the baseplate-to-grout interface experience the highest volume change.

To achieve a proper installation, the reliability team will have paid attention to many requirements: good foundation design, no pipe strain and proper alignment are important, just to name a few. All of these issues revolve around the need to reduce dynamic vibration and prevent component deflection in the machinery system.

Great design effort and cost is expended in the construction of a machinery foundation. Reduced vibration severity and the long-term success of a proper installation are determined by how well the machinery system is joined to the foundation system. The baseplate, or skid, that supports the machine must become a monolithic, virtually integral, member of the foundation system. Twisting of a machine frame or casing must be prevented and machinery vibration should ideally be transmitted through the baseplate to the foundation and down through the subsoil. Failure to achieve such transmission will result in the machinery resonating on the baseplate, as shown in Fig. 2, very often causing consequential damage. Proper machinery installation will give long-lasting benefi ts by signifi cantly increasing mean time between failures (MTBF), extending the life of mechanical seals and bearings and reducing overall life-cycle costs.

Field installation problems of conventional units…
Grouting a baseplate or skid to a foundation requires careful attention to many details. A successful grout job will provide a mounting surface for the equipment that is fl at, level, very rigid and completely bonded to the foundation system. Many times, these attributes are not obtained during the fi rst attempt at grouting, and expensive fi eld correction techniques have to be employed. The most prominent installation problems involve voids and distortion of the mounting surfaces.

Void and bonding issues of conventional units…
The presence of voids at the interface between the grout material and the bottom of the baseplate negates the very purpose of grouting. Whether the void is one inch or onethousandth of an inch in depth, the desired monolithic support system has not been achieved. Voids prevent the foundation system from suppressing resonant and shaftgenerated vibration (see Fig. 2).

Mounting surface distortion of traditional units…
Another field installation problem with costly implications is distortion of the baseplate’s machined surfaces. Distortion can be induced prior to grouting as a result of poor field leveling techniques, or it can be generated by the grout itself.

Hidden budget impact of conventional units…
Correcting the problems of voids and mounting-surface distortion in the field is a very costly venture. Repairing voids takes a lot of time, patience and skill to avoid further damage to the baseplate system. Field-machining the mounting surfaces also involves two resources that are in short supply: time and money.


The real concern with correcting baseplate installation problems on site is that repair-related issues are not refl ected in the construction budget. Every field correction is a step backwards, both in time and money. On fixed-cost projects, the contractor must absorb the cost, whereas on costplus projects, the user/client must pay the bill. Either way, there will be extra cost, accompanied, all too often, by controversy and blame-placing.

Pre-grouted baseplates: a better method.
A pre-grouted (or pre-fi lled) baseplate is shown in Fig. 3. In the late 1990s, a Houston, TX-based service company developed a highly effective method that assists in minimizing fi eld installation costs and improving the reliability of pump baseplates [Ref. 2]. Using a pre-grouted baseplate in conjunction with the service provider’s proprietary pre-grouted baseplate procedure accomplishes these worthwhile goals and is able to provide a superior fi nished product. When OEM pump sets are delivered to plant site on pre-grouted baseplates, the pump train arrives 60% mechanically complete.

The procedure referred to includes a comprehensive pre-grout plan that calls for a detailed inspection of the primer system used on the underside of the baseplate, proper preparation of this primer for grouting, inverting and then fi lling the baseplate with a suitable epoxy grout, post-curing of the grout material and a detailed post-grout inspection of the baseplate mounting surfaces. If the mounting surface tolerances fall outside of the API 686 specifi cations for fl atness, co-planar and co-linear dimensions, precision grinding or machining is performed to restore or achieve the necessary tolerances. The use of shims is thus avoided and much future grief thereby eliminated. The service provider mounts and aligns pump and driver.


Calculating the value of pre-grouted baseplates…
It has been demonstrated that utilizing the combined hardware and procedural approach spearheaded by a leading provider of pre-grouted baseplate technology will save 30% of the cost associated with traditional machinery grouting methods, and provide a superior fi nished product. It can be inferred that superimposing the somewhat more elusive value of the resulting reliability improvement will substantially lower the life-cycle cost of pump installations that make use of this methodology. (For more details, see Table I that follows this case history.)

New fi eld-grouting method for pre-grouted baseplates…
Conventional grouting methods for non-fi lled baseplates are, by their very nature, labor- and time-intensive. Utilizing a pre-grouted baseplate in conjunction with conventional grouting methods (Fig. 4) helps to minimize some of the cost, but the last pour still requires a full grout crew, skilled carpentry work and good logistics. To further minimize the costs associated with baseplate installations, a new field-grouting method has been developed for pre-grouted baseplate. This new method utilizes a low-viscosity high-strength epoxy grout system that greatly reduces foundation preparation, grout form construction, crew size and the amount of epoxy grout used for the final pour.

New grout-forming technique for pre-grouted baseplates…

With the smooth concrete shoulder of the foundation still intact, a very simple “2 x 4” grout form can be used, (See Fig. 4). One side of the simple grout form is waxed, and the entire grout form is sealed and held in place with caulk. While the caulk is setting up, a simple head box can be constructed out of dux seal. Because of the flow characteristics of the low-viscosity epoxy grout, this head box does not need to be very large or very tall. The low-viscosity epoxy grout is mixed with a hand drill, and all the grout is poured through the head box to prevent trapping air under the baseplate.


This new installation method has been used for both ANSI and API-style baseplates with excellent results. With this technique, fi eld experience has shown that a pre-grouted baseplate can be routinely leveled, formed, and poured with a two-man crew in three to four hours. The proof of benefi ts can be readily seen in rigorous fi eld installation cost comparisons. This comparison applies realistic labor costs; it does not take credit for the elimination of repair costs associated with fi eld installation problems, such as void repair and field machining. It is shown on page 19.


Cost comparisons
It should be noted that industry experience shows eight men typically involved
in the average size conventional grouting job. Using 2003 data, an actual labor cost of $45 per man-hour was assumed in U.S. installations. Here, employee benefits and overhead charges were included.

Using this information, a cost comparison can then be developed, based on the installation of a typical API baseplate, using epoxy grout, for the conventional two-pour procedure, and a pre-grouted baseplate, using the new installation method. The following conditions apply:


In 2003, a baseplate with the listed dimensions could be pre-grouted for $2,969. This expenditure included surface preparation, epoxy grout, surface grinding and a guaranteed inspection. The essential results of following this experienced service provider’s well-defi ned baseplate installation procedure were found to include:

  • Void-free grout installation
  • Proper surface preparation of baseplate underside
  • All machine surfaces fl at, co-planar and co-linear, in accordance with API-686
  • Elimination of the need for costly and less effective field machining
  • 30% cost-savings over the traditional field installation procedure

In conclusion, then, Table I shows a realistic accounting of time and labor for the installation of a typical API baseplate. The total installed cost for a conventional two-pour installation is $6,259. The total installed cost for a pre-grouted baseplate, installed with the new installation method, is $4,194. Aside from the obvious cost-savings, the long-term reliability impact of this void-free and fully co-planar installation is of great importance to reliability-focused pump users.

This is one of the rare occasions where a longer-life, less-failure-risk-inducing product actually costs less than its more maintenance-intensive predecessor alternative. The payback is, thus, instantaneous and the benefi t-to-cost ratio could be called “infinite.” What more could we ask?


  1. Stay-Tru® Corporation, Houston, TX
  2. arringer, Paul, and Todd Monroe, 1999, “How to Justify Machinery Improvements Using Reliability Engineering Principles,” Proceedings of the 16th International Pump Users Symposium, Turbomachinery Laboratory, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX.

Contributing editor Heinz Bloch is the author of 17 comprehensive textbooks and over 340 other publications on machinery reliability and lubrication. He can be contacted directly at:

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January 1, 2007
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Keep It Clean And Keep It Running With Smarter Contamination Measurement

Schroeder Industries introduces its SMART™ Kit (SMK) for the measurement of contamination levels in hydraulic and lubricating oils.0207_problemsolvers_img1 The unit comes complete with the Schroeder TestMate Contamination Monitor® (TCM), making it easy for users to continuously monitor ISO levels in real time. This product can be added as a retrofi t to any of Schroeder’s standard fi lter carts, kidney loops and skids, with no additional modifi cations required. Schroeder carts and kidney loops now can be ordered with the SMK included. According to the manufacturer, these user-friendly SMART Kits help save time by completely eliminating the need for bottle sampling when determining fl uid contamination levels. In addition, the SMK package provides the option of downloading data to a PC for trending.

Schroeder Industries, LLC
Leetsdale, PA


Steel-Disk Seals For Protection Of Bearings In Mining Equipment

0207_problemsolvers_img2SKF offers NILOS® steel-disk seals for grease-lubricated roller bearings to provide superior protection against contaminants in mining equipment exposed to extreme levels of dirt, dust and debris. They can further prevent leakage of lubricant and contribute to optimized bearing service life in a wide range of applications, including idlers, crushers and conveyor rollers, among others. Their non-contact, grease-fi lled labyrinth sealing elements consist of laminated steel-seal disks and steel cores. These seals resist axial pressure and will not slip when clamped in the axial direction of both the inner and outer periphery of a roller-bearing ring. In use, they offer additional advantages by minimizing bearing friction losses and heat buildup. They are available in a wide range of shaft and casing diameters and are supplied ready-to-install for quick and easy mounting. They also can be customized to meet application-specifi c requirements.

SKF Linear Motion & Precision Technologies 
A division of SKF USA Inc. 
Bethlehem, PA


Digital Control For Electrostatic Oil Cleaning

UAS/Kleentek has introduced a new, easy-to-read digital control panel to its line of electrostatic oil cleaning systems.0207_problemsolvers_img3 The UAS/Kleentek system works electrostatically to draw contaminants of all particle sizes out of hydraulic oil. The new control panel features a text display that shows key operating conditions, including motor amperage and oil dwell time. An optional oil temperature monitor helps protect the system’s components from damage caused by sustained high oil temperatures. The new panel also notifi es operators of errors by displaying the cause of an error in text, rather than numeric code, and activating a fl ashing alarm on top of the control panel’s enclosure. For remote or hard-to-access installations, the unit can be connected to a PLC controller to relay the alarm signal. It has a NEMA 4 rating that allows use in dirty and harsh environments and outdoor conditions. An optional enclosure heater also helps ensure uninterrupted operation of the control panel in cold environments.

United Air Specialists (UAS)/Kleentek 
Cincinnati, OH


Coolant Cleaners Help With Machine Accuracy And Cost Reduction

Maintaining clean coolant is important in any operation to ensure machine accuracy and reduce costs. 0207_problemsolvers_img4Eriez ceramic and rare-earth magnetic coolant cleaners extract ferrous particles to help meet tolerances and improve surface fi nish in grinding and metal-cutting operations. These products are effective wherever clean coolant is required, including in oil reclaiming machines. Permanent ceramic magnetic indexing units, available with either a smooth-faced or extended-pole roll, can be used when both ferrous and non-ferrous contaminants are present. According to the manufacturer, its non-indexing models are ideal for applications where little or no non-magnetic contaminants are present in the coolant. The ce- ramic magnetic coolant cleaners remove particles as small as 15 microns. They are available in several sizes and can handle up to 600 gpm of water-soluble cool- ant. The company’s Xtractor rare-earth coolant cleaners remove particles as small as 3 microns. Available in four sizes, the Xtractor units can handle up to 120 gpm of water soluble coolant.

Erie, PA


Cost-Effective, High-Capacity Varnish Removal Systems

Seaworthy Industrial Systems’ varnish removal fi ltration solution is a
compact, 0207_problemsolvers_img5self-contained engineered unit incorporating a skid-mounted
circulating pump and fi lter assembly with a built-in drip pan. Designed
to operate continuously in a side-stream mode, it leaves the primary lubricating
oil system untouched. According to its manufacturer, this “set
and forget” capability, coupled with some of the industry’s highest varnish-
holding-capacity fi lters means no service calls and very little regular
maintenance. The company also notes that the system offers one of the
highest fi ltration fl ow rates in the industry, which, in light of the product’s
simplicity, comes in at one of the lowest prices in the market.

Seaworthy Industrial Systems, Inc.
Essex, CT


Viscosity Analysis Equipment

0207_problemsolvers_img6Brookfield Engineering Laboratories has released a new, full-color catalog,
featuring the company’s complete line of Viscometers/Rheometers and
Texture Analyzers. New offerings for 2007 include:

  • A more durable ball bearing suspension system as an option for new digital
    viscometers and rheometers or as a retrofi t. This system is ideal for instruments
    that experience exceptionally heavy use, multiple operators or dusty
    and dirty work environments.
  • Single and Multi-Station Controllers for AST-100 Viscometer Systems that
    make in-line measurement and control of viscosity easier than ever.
  • A newly designed, spring-loaded, Quick Action Lab Stand, wherein with the
    push of a button, the viscometer glides up and down, allowing for quick
    positioning and faster measurements.

Brookfield Engineering Laboratories
Middleboro, MA

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6:00 am
January 1, 2007
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Companies Work Together To Help Power Gen Facilities

Oil skimming capabilities enhance oil/water separating…

0207_solutionspotlight_img1Power generation facilities depend on oil/water separators to separate oil from wastewater. Such equipment, however, usually is not going to be particularly effi cient when it comes to removing oil once it has been separated from the waste stream. Traditionally, the separator industry has either used overfl ow skimmer pipes or weirs, or has depended upon an outside removal fi rm to pump off the oil. While they are inexpensive to use, skim pipes/weirs have inherent problems in that oil is always left on the surface of the separator. Oil removal services are effective in removing the layer of oil, but they can be expensive. In addition, because they are needed on a continuous basis, oil removal services are an ongoing expense.

Difficult problems 
When oil is not continuously removed from the surface of an oil/water separator, several problems occur:

  • Heavy rain or water fl ow can exceed the design of the separator and wash out the oil buildup.
  • Failure to remove the oil causes excessive oil buildup, which increases the chance for the oil to escape and reduces the area of the separation chamber.
  • The oil layer prevents oxygen from reaching the water, allowing anaerobic bacteria to grow, thus plugging the separator plates and leading to foul odors.
  • As the level is lowered for certain maintenance procedures, or as components are lifted out, the tank walls and interior components become completely oil-coated. Also, if the unit is completely drained, residual oil will escape into the outlet piping and be released downstream upon refi lling the separator when bringing the system back on-line.
  • The oil layer makes visual inspection of the coalescer and components very diffi cult, if not impossible.


Innovative solutions
Dave Goding, president of Mercer International, an oil/water separator manufacturer based in Mendham, NJ, chose to take a proactive approach in solving these problems for his customers, many of which are in the power gen market. Mercer already had solved a number of their problems with the gravitydisplacement Compliance Master™ separator, which features fi eld-adjustable coalescer plates.

0207_solutionspotlight_img2Goding wanted to go even further, though. He researched a number of methods to remove oil from the separators and discovered that the installation of a “fl oating tube” oil skimmer with the separating device would eliminate the excess oil. After researching equipment, he turned to Oil Skimmers Inc., a manufacturer that uses fl oating tube technology.

Now, Mercer offers Compliance Master separators to its customers with Oil Skimmers’ Model 6V and Model 5H, which incorporate specially designed fl oating tube collectors that fl oat on the surface of the water. Oil adheres to the outside of the closed looped tube that is continuously driven across the separator’s surface and through a set of scrapers that remove oil. The oil then gravity drains into a collection tank. This movement of the tube draws the oil to itself and assures total surface oil removal.

Both skimmer models are designed to operate unattended on a continuous basis. Their looped tubes are long enough to cover large skimming areas and require little maintenance. In addition to being used on new oil/water separators, these skimmer units are available with mounting systems that allow them to be retrofi tted onto existing oil/water separators.

Welcome results
Goding’s customers are pleased with the results of the attachment of the Model 6V and the Model 5H to their oil/water separators. Using Oil Skimmers’ units in conjunction with his organization’s separators, power gen companies have reported saving both time and money by not having to rely on traditional oil removal methods. These new systems also have eased the environmental concern of oil discharge. When discharges exceed the limit set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), large fi nes must be paid. With the help of oil skimming equipment, oil discharges have been eliminated.

“By offering this product feature with our entire separator line, I become a more reliable, forward-thinking source for my customers,” says Goding. “Our product offering is the only one of its kind in the oil/water separator industry. These oil skimmers solve the problem, and that’s invaluable to me and my customer base.”

Oil Skimmers Inc. offers customized oil skimming equipment and solutions for diverse manufacturing and industrial applications that require dependable, continuous removal of oil from process liquids and wastewater. The company has thousands of systems in operation, some of which have been in service for over 35 years.

Mercer International offers a full line of above- and below-ground separators, as well as existing system retrofi ts, that incorporate Oil Skimmers equipment. Mercer can furnish replacement of a client’s existing brand of coalescer and internals with their proprietary components.

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January 1, 2007
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Lubrication Management & Technology News

In a move expected to strengthen SKF’s position in
reliability services, condition monitoring products, maintenance strategies and consulting services, the company’s subsidiary SKF USA Inc. has acquired Preventive Maintenance Company Inc. (PMCI), of Elk Grove Village, IL. PMCI has 70 employees and annual sales of approximately $10 million. It specializes in predictive maintenance (PdM) services for industrial customers throughout the Pulp & Paper, Metals, Food, Automotive and other industry sectors.

The growing trend in contract reliability services continues to drive double-digit growth in this area, and the strength of PMCI will help position SKF to meet these market demands. SKF intends to use PMCI’s expertise in vibration data collections and analysis, balancing, alignment, ultrasonics, lubrication sampling and thermography to create a primary service delivery organization.

According to Bart Bartholomew, vice president of SKF Service Sales in North America, the addition of PMCI to SKF’s Reliability Service business significantly expands his organization’s geographic coverage for the delivery of SKF knowledge to key customers at the foundational service level of predictive maintenance.

The Hydraulic Institute (HI) is now offering the opportunity for engineering consultants and pump users to participate as “HI Standards Partners.” As a Standards Partner, North American corporations, partnerships, sole proprietorships and government agencies that are engineering firms, provide engineering services or are end-users of pumps are eligible to receive a valuable package of HI products and services.

Mechanical Solutions, Inc., a Whippany-NJ-based engineering research and consulting firm active in the pump, compressor and turbine industries, is the first organization to become an HI Standards Partner. Headed by William D. “Bill” Marscher, a past president of STLE, Mechanical Solutions offers analysis, testing and troubleshooting services in a number of areas, including tribological component analysis.

To qualify as a Standards Partner, organizations or individuals will need to establish that they provide pump and pumping system engineering, process or facility design, procurement, project management, construction services, hydraulic or mechanical modeling, analytical methods or laboratory or field-testing to a facility owner, government or vendor, or that they are an end-user of pumps themselves.

For more information, visit

Reinforcing its 25-year commitment to the education of its future workforce, the Ford Motor Company has awarded two grants, totaling $150,000, to the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) Education Foundation. Since 1981, Ford has donated $1,608,000 to the SME Education Foundation for scholarships and other engineering education programs.

“Once again, Ford has demonstrated its leadership in supporting and advancing industry by investing in the future of the manufacturing skilled workforce,” the Foundation’s president Glen H. Pearson noted. “Ford’s ongoing support of the SME Education Foundation’s programs gives young people positive, hands-on manufacturing experiences and exposes them to exciting careers in math, science and technology.”

One grant awards $100,000 to support the SME Education Foundation’s Science Technology & Engineering Preview Summer (STEPS) Program at the University of Detroit Mercy. STEPS is a one-week summer camp that gives middle-school students a look into the exciting world of science and technology through hands-on activities. This early exposure helps young people plan ahead and take the necessary courses in high school to prepare them for engineering degree programs.

With Ford’s past contributions, the University of Detroit Mercy’s STEPS camps have introduced 427 young students to the possibility of pursuing an engineering career at an affordable cost to the students.

An additional $50,000 grant will fund the SME Education Foundation’s Ford Partnership for Advanced Studies (PAS) Scholarship, a grant that has funded the education of eight students to date. The SME Ford PAS Scholarship is awarded to graduating students of the Ford PAS program-a high school curriculum created by Ford that links classroom learning with the challenges students will face in post-secondary education and the workplace. Former PAS students who are applying to college and want to pursue a degree in technology or engineering can apply for the annual $10,000 PAS Scholarship, which can be used at any accredited college or university in the United States.

For more information about these and other programs, go to

In some program materials for the 2007 Maintenance & Reliability Technology Summit (MARTS), the terms “Maintenance Technician Effectiveness,” “Overall Maintenance Effectiveness” and their acronyms, MTE and OME, should have been identified with the registered service mark symbol (SM). All of these terms are service marks of LAI Reliability Systems, Inc.

According to research by Industrial Info Resources (Sugar Land, TX), the number of planned unit maintenance shutdowns for the North American Petroleum Refining Industry will decrease in 2007, marking the second year in a row for declining planned maintenance. This trend is forecast to change in 2008 as refiners schedule maintenance shutdowns to coincide with the first wave of unit additions associated with an industry-wide plan to increase refining capacity.

A number of key issues have combined to reduce the number of planned refinery unit turnarounds over the past two years including, labor shortages, prolonged longlead equipment delivery times, hurricanes, and strong profit margins. After hurricane Katrina shut down a good portion of U.S. Gulf Coast refining capacity in September 2005, the White House asked U.S. refiners to postpone scheduled maintenance in order to keep production at a high level. That trend has continued today. The number of units scheduled for planned maintenance repairs during the second half of 2006 at refineries located in North America is down by 8% as compared to the same period in 2005. This decrease in activity is arguably being attributed to several different events that occurred over the last year following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Labor shortages play a role
Some maintenance projects are being delayed and rescheduled because of a shortage of labor coming from skilled craftsmen such as iron workers, millwrights, pipefitters and electricians. Companies that provide personnel for construction, as well as equipment service providers, are having difficulties meeting demand. Historically, slow petrochemical construction markets over the past decade led to a downsizing of the service industry.

Now, with industrial project activity picking up significantly, not only in the petrochemical sector, but across most sectors such as Power and Metals & Minerals Industries, equipment and service providers are having difficulty keeping up with increased demand. Long-lead delivery times are out as far as two years for some equipment such as pressurized reactors and vessels, and the labor pool is running thin. Deer Park Refining LP (Deer Park, Texas) rescheduled a $35-million fall 2006 turnaround to January 2007.

Other factors
Another factor that may have contributed to the decrease is that there were a significant amount of shutdowns scheduled earlier last year in order for refineries to upgrade process units to produce ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) by the mandated June 2006 deadline. A majority of the refiners scheduled ULSD project tie-ins during this timeframe, resulting in some turnarounds that were originally scheduled for 2007 to occur in 2006.

For 2007, there are currently 257 units planned to be taken offl ine for maintenance repair and overhaul. That’s a decrease of 21% when compared to the 328 units that went down for repair in 2006.

Opportunities in unscheduled repair services
In addition to planned maintenance, there are also opportunities to provide services for unscheduled repairs. Since 2003, there has been an average of 65 process units per month that have been shut down for unplanned reasons. A majority of the units were shut down due to a glitch in the process, but other reasons include fires, hurricane preparation and economic slowdowns.

Looking beyond 2008, refinery maintenance activity is forecast to increase significantly. In a continent-wide trend to increase refining capacity and improve unit efficiencies, the nation’s refineries are planning a large number of unit additions, expansions and upgrades. Over the past year, Industrial Info has reported 430 projects at U.S. petroleum refineries, with a total investment value of $19.8 billion. Scheduled construction starts for these projects range between November 2005 and April 2012.

About Industrial Info Resources
Industrial Info Resources (IIR) is a Marketing Information Service company that has been doing business for over 23 years. IIR is respected as the leader in providing comprehensive market intelligence pertaining to the industrial processing, heavy manufacturing and energyrelated industries throughout the world. For additional information, send inquiries to refininggroup@, or visit the organization online at

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