Archive | February, 2008


6:00 am
February 1, 2008
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Utilities Manager: Improving Energy Efficiency Through Optimized Lubricants

Cradle-to-grave life-cycle costing is not just for equipment. You may be quite surprised by the value-added information these analyses can provide when it comes to lubricant selection.

Lubricants can be optimized for specific types of equipment to help achieve reduced fuel and energy consumption. Unfortunately, facilities often do not use energy-efficient lubricants even though they may lead to measurable savings. This is because the initial purchase cost of energy-efficient lubricants can be higher than for conventional products. A life-cycle cost analysis that takes into account operating costs as well as the initial purchase cost of the lubricant may bring out the true benefits of these products.

0208_um_lubricant1Opportunities abound
Energy-efficient lubricants can be beneficial in many types of mobile and industrial equipment. For instance, in hydraulic systems, changes in ISO viscosity grades can lead to energy savings. Companies also can benefit from optimizing their selection of gear lubricants. Moving from gear oils formulated with mineral base stocks to those formulated with synthetic base stocks often has been found to lead to both lower friction losses and lower lubricant temperatures.

When conducting a life-cycle cost analysis, not only must the purchase price of the lubricant be considered, the impact on the operating costs also must be reflected. Frequently, fuel or electricity cost savings outweigh the increased purchase cost.

Energy-efficient hydraulic fluids
Hydraulic systems are widely used throughout the world. Earthmoving equipment, diggers, etc., are examples of mobile hydraulic systems that are exposed to changes in temperature while operating in an outdoor environment. Conversely, hydraulic systems such as plastic injection molding machines operate under a consistent ambient temperature in a factory environment—but they are energyintensive processes operating 24 hours per day. In both applications, the energy used by these systems depends on the hydraulic fluid used.

In hydraulic systems, the friction is usually dominated by pipe losses, which vary linearly with viscosity. In contrast, studies have shown that in internal combustion engines, the largest contribution to engine friction arises from the piston assembly, where the friction power loss varies as the square root of the fluid viscosity. Therefore, the potential for cold-start energy savings in hydraulic systems due to optimizing fluid viscosity is greater than that for engines.


In addition to energy losses, pump performance also is critical in hydraulic systems. If the hydraulic fluid is too viscous, then pump mechanical efficiency is too low. On the other hand, if the lubricant viscosity is too low, leakage within the pump can occur. As a result, the pump’s volumetric efficiency may become too low. One way to overcome these problems is to use a hydraulic fluid with a higher viscosity index (VI). Such a fluid has a flatter viscosity-temperature response. The idea behind the use of such a fluid is illustrated in Fig. 1.

The use of a higher VI hydraulic fluid, possibly combined with a change of ISO grade, can give energy benefits under cold-start conditions, and also can give volumetric efficiency benefits under high-temperature conditions when compared to a low VI fluid. These effects influence performance.

In a hydraulically operated digger, it may take a few hours for the system to reach operating temperature. The hydraulic fluid will need time to warm before it can provide proper lubrication. Until the fluid is warm enough to flow adequately, fuel may be wasted as the hydraulic system experiences friction. At low temperatures, when the viscosity of the oil is high, more work is done to maintain the pumps’ mechanical efficiency. Thus, the engine must use more fuel for a given amount of hydraulic output.

On the other hand, as the digger operates during the day the system can heat up, reducing the lubricant viscosity, which can result in increased leakage losses and reduced volumetric efficiency of the pump. The use of a high VI hydraulic fluid could help to overcome both these issues. There are benefits from matching the correct lubricant to the demands of the application. Operators should consider lubricants specially designed to meet these challenges. That includes opting for products that are formulated to reduce variations in viscosity during change in temperature.

For a typical stationary hydraulic machine operating at a temperature of around 50 C, in-house Shell data indicates that changing from an ISO 68 hydraulic fluid to an ISO 46 hydraulic fluid would lead to electricity savings of up to 20%. In tests using oil mist lubrication, Shell data has demonstrated that moving from an ISO 68 mineral oil to an ISO 32 synthetic oil may result in energy savings of 13%. For adequate lubrication and to avoid damage to the pump, these fluid changes should only be made if the new fluid meets the minimum viscosity requirements of the pump.


Energy-efficient gear oils
If there is insufficient lubricant film to separate and support loaded parts like gears, rolling element bearings or valve trains, even modest loads can produce high pressures. In some applications, the pressures can be high enough to elastically deform the metal surface. This deformation can benefit lubrication and increase the load-carrying capability by spreading the load over a larger surface area. This is called elasto-hydrodynamic lubrication (EHD).

With elasto-hydrodynamic lubrication, a fluid film is generated due to increases in viscosity of the fluid as the pressure increases. The pressure-viscosity coefficient or alpha value of the fluid defines the increase in fluid viscosity with increasing pressure. For lubricated contacts that are in the EHD lubrication regime, the pressure-viscosity coefficient α of the oil will be important in determining frictional loss.

In contrast to engine oils and hydraulic oils, gear and transmission oils operate for the majority of their time in the EHD lubrication regime. It is well known that friction losses within gears are correlated with temperature rises of the gearbox lubricant. It also is known that moving from a mineral oil base stock to a synthetic base stock results in lower gearbox oil temperature rises and lower friction losses. The reason for this phenomenon is due to the lower pressure-viscosity coefficients α for these synthetic base stocks. Table I shows typical values of α for different base stocks.

Three separate lubricant properties must be considered for understanding and optimizing oil film thickness and friction—atmospheric pressure viscosity, pressure-viscosity coefficient α and limiting shear stress. The first two properties determine the oil film thickness profile in the contact area, while the third property determines friction in the contact area. It was found, broadly speaking, that there was a correlation between EHD friction coefficient and α. Clearly, there needs to be a check to ensure that moving to a lubricant with a lower value of α does not adversely affect the durability of the gears. Lubricants that are formulated with a special synthetic base fluid (polyalkylene glycol) to provide an optimized pressure-viscosity coefficient in worm gear applications are readily available.

Life-cycle cost analysis
Energy-efficient lubricants should help reduce operating costs since they can result in lower energy consumption. Accordingly, operators should consider the entire life-cycle cost of using the product. A life-cycle cost analysis would take into account:

1. The initial purchase price of the product;

2. The effect on operating costs, over the lifetime of the product;

3. Any changes in costs due to different service intervals (e.g. the oil drain interval may be extended); and

4. Disposal costs.

Lubricants have a role to play in helping improve the energy efficiency in industrial machinery. The technology to do this is well understood, although care is needed, both on the part of the machine designer and the lubricant formulator, so that any reduction in lubricant viscosity does not result in decreased durability.

One of the main reasons why such lubricants are not used more widely is that often lubricants are selected on the basis of their price alone, without much regard for the potential impact of the lubricant on operating costs. When a more sophisticated life-cycle cost analysis is performed, the results may reveal that energy-efficient lubricants are more cost-effective than conventional lubricants.

Felix Guerzoni is a product application specialist at the Shell Global Solutions Westhollow Technology Center in Houston, TX. Telephone: (800) 231-6950; Internet:

The graphic image on the cover of this Utilities Manager supplement and within this article, as well as the other graphics here, are used courtesy of Shell Lubricants.

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6:00 am
February 1, 2008
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Utilities Manager: Great ideas take a bite out of energy consumption… Schneider Electric Leverages Its Own Solutions

What’s not to love? What’s not to emulate? This global manufacturer realized $3.7 million in energy savings in just the first three years of a corporate energy optimization initiative.

0208_um_schneider1As a global leader in electrical distribution, monitoring and control equipment, Schneider Electric (Schneider) has helped thousands of customers around the world save money and protect the environment through reduced energy consumption. In 2004, however, the company began an energy optimization project for what was to be its most important customer yet—its own operations.

Focused primarily on its North American Operating Division, Schneider used its own solutions within 21 of its facilities across the United States, Mexico and Canada. The program set out with an ambitious goal of reducing energy consumption per employee by 10% from 2004 to 2008.

By applying many of its own Square D® brand solutions, as well as those of its affiliate companies such as Juno Lighting Group and TAC, LLC, Schneider successfully has created one of the more energy-efficient manufacturing operations anywhere. Energy savings from 2005 through 2007 totaled more than $3.7 million. The reduced electrical demand resulted in 30,000 less tons of CO2 being produced by electric utilities, amounting to a 9% reduction in greenhouse gases. Perhaps most noteworthy, the company’s goal of reducing energy consumption per employee by 10% by 2008 was met a full two years ahead of schedule.

Front-end analysis
As the first step in the energy optimization project, Schneider turned to its energy analysis and management services known as Square D Total Energy Control. These energy experts examined the energy usage patterns and demands of the company’s major North American facilities. After identifying all possible opportunities to improve energy efficiency, they prioritized them based on the initial cost and expected payback period. Projects with the greatest potential savings and quickest payback were among the first to be undertaken. Those projects could be categorized into five areas: heating, compressed air systems, lighting, air conditioning and specific manufacturing processes.

Once projects were initiated at each of the sites, facility managers began reporting new energy usage patterns and the resulting savings on a monthly basis. During quarterly conference calls, energy teams at each of the facilities now share information on new and existing projects. Additionally, they meet in person once a year to discuss best practices that have been established and how they can be replicated companywide.

Modifying behaviors
The first energy-saving steps recommended by Schneider’s in-house experts were also some of the simplest. Often requiring little or no investment, a focus was placed on possible behavioral changes that could reduce consumption at each facility.

0208_um_schneider2For example, project leaders took steps to optimize the heating or cooling temperature within the manufacturing plants. Facility managers regulated temperatures so that they were no warmer than 68 F in the winter and no cooler than 75 F in the summer. Given the size and number of all work areas, keeping room temperatures within the appropriate range was an important part of optimizing the overall efficiency. In fact, fuel consumption increases by 1.5%–2% for every degree of over-heating.

Other simple behavioral changes that were undertaken included actively shutting down production equipment when not in use, activating computer and monitor energysaving software and reminding staff to shut outside doors or turn off lights when rooms are not in use.

Controlling peak demands was another step that came as a result of the energy usage analysis provided by the Total Energy Control program. By examining each facility’s overall consumption and adjusting processes to shed loads and avoid usage peaks, the facilities were able to procure better rates by the utility and, in the end, complete the same amount of work at a lower cost.

The Total Energy Control experts also were helpful in reviewing utility contracts and ensuring that each facility’s current demand profile matched its existing contract. Where contracts did not accurately reflect usage patterns, contract renegotiations were initiated, resulting in more favorable rates.

0208_um_schneider3Process improvements
While Schneider’s energy-efficiency initiative focused mainly on buildings and their environmental controls, the company’s energy teams also looked at major energy users within the manufacturing processes. Insulation levels within paint curing bake ovens were increased. Air compressors used on the manufacturing line were adjusted when possible to use a lower PSI and, as a result, less electricity. All major energy consumption points within the manufacturing process were examined for energy-saving opportunities.

“I think some of the most effective things we’ve done were related to modifying the manufacturing process,” notes Dennis Edwards, manager of facility maintenance for the Schneider North American Operating Division. “In one plant, for example, we were able to eliminate the second shift paint operation. In another plant, we installed a more advanced boiler and changed the painting schedule, which allowed us to shut the boiler down five days a week. Those process changes amounted to major savings.”

Better monitoring and managing
Numerous equipment upgrades were undertaken that contributed to the overall energy savings. Among the first were the installation of several Square D PowerLogic® circuit monitors, allowing for up-to-the-minute energy usage and quality readings as well as long-term trending. These monitoring systems let managers set energy usage benchmarks within each facility, make system or process adjustments and track possible savings against the original levels.

Today, more than 180 separate devices in Schneider facilities are using the circuit monitors. This metering is proving critical in identifying demand savings opportunities. In addition, it gives managers the data necessary to verify utility bills and ensure that all energy expenses are accurate.

Lighting the way to savings
High-efficiency lighting fixtures and lighting control also represent significant savings in the project. By leveraging Juno Lighting Group products and its mix of high-efficiency fixtures, Schneider facilities reduced its electricity consumption by more than eight million kilowatt hours over a year’s time, resulting in more than $580,000 in annual savings—and $196,000 in associated tax benefits.

Rich Widdowson, Schneider’s vice president of Safety, Real Estate and Environment, confirms that the lighting portion of the company’s energy-efficiency program has been of great importance to the company. “We found that by replacing our high-pressure sodium lights with T8 fluorescent Juno® fixtures, we can cut our consumption in half. We can change a 400-watt light to a 200-watt light without losing anything and improve the quality.”

Besides lowering its electric bill, Schneider’s lighting replacement project resulted in another—somewhat unexpected—benefit. Swapping out the higher-wattage yellow lights with lower-wattage, more illuminating white lights was especially well-received by those working in the facilities. As Dennis Edwards put it, this was one of the few programs that he’s been involved with as a facility manager where people actually were standing in line asking, “Can you do my area next?” The difference in light color really was significant.

According to Widdowson, approximately 7000 Juno lighting fixtures were installed. This part of the project alone cut Schneider’s North American overall electric bill by more than 4%.

Multiple lighting controls also were installed within the participating facilities, including Square D occupancy and light-level sensors, Clipsal® lighting controls, and PowerLink® branch circuit lighting controls. By integrating this mix of control tools through the PowerLink software, lights are automatically turned on and off using either a predetermined schedule or manual overrides. In either case, the PowerLink system ensures that lights are turned on only when needed and off when they are not.

Improving HVAC
Schneider also set out to reduce the power consumption of the motors used in its HVAC system and manufacturing process by installing its Altivar® brand variable frequency drives (VFDs). Since January 2004, over 50 VFDs were installed at 10 of the company sites. The new drives provide improved control over motor operations and the ability to run at only a percentage of the motor speed, resulting in less power being used in the application.

In addition to improving the HVAC system through VFDs, Schneider sought to fully automate several of its buildings through its TAC brand solution offering. Using TAC building automation software, i/net, the Schneider facilities were able to reduce energy consumption through better building controls. These new systems now allow the facility managers to integrate, control and monitor their HVAC, security, lighting, fire and other building systems through a single comprehensive application. With better control has come greater overall efficiency.

Establishing An Energy-Efficiency Mindset

Building awareness…gaining commitment

Dennis Edwards maintains that helping facility managers to adopt an energy-efficient mindset has been among the most important steps in the success of Schneider Electric’s energy optimization initiative.

“Training is key,” Edwards says. “In many cases, you need to teach your building operators the importance of energy effi- ciency. That alone really has paid off for us. It’s a difficult thing to measure, but as our facility people have gotten smarter on the topic, we’ve seen better results from them. Just taking the time to educate our staff and keep the idea of energy savings in front of them has made a big difference for us.”

Being creative—and encouraging creativity—certainly can be part of the educational process that Edwards talks about. For example, at Schneider’s Peru, IN plant, managers have instituted the “Bright Idea Program” in which the submitter of the best energy-efficiency idea each month wins a prize. It’s just one technique to consider as you work to establish a strong energy-efficiency mindset within your own operations.

The payback
The resulting savings from Schneider Electric’s energy initiative have been nothing short of amazing for the company’s facility managers and their energy teams. Electricity consumption within the target facilities dropped 9% from 2004 to 2007, despite significant production increases during that same period and sales increasing more than 40% during that three-year window. Since 2004, electrical savings have amounted to more than 35 million kilowatt hours—a savings of more than $2.55 million.

Schneider’s natural gas consumption also decreased 9% from 2004 through 2007. This considerable savings was realized despite the increase in sales, abnormally cold winters and a new painting process requiring a high amount of natural gas that was introduced at several facilities in 2007. The three-year savings totaled more than 106,000 dekatherms—a savings of more than $1.2 million.

Going forward
In the case of Schneider Electric’s corporate energy-efficiency efforts, success really does appear to breed success. Plans now are underway to expand this energy optimization project to include 21 additional Schneider Electric-owned facilities in the next few years—while also continuing at the original project sites.

“It’s really a continuous process,” Edwards explains. “It’s not like you’re going to look at an energy action plan, implement a list of projects and then you’re done. Technology changes, and there is always something that you can improve. You have to continuously be working in this process, because new things are always coming.”

Cassie Quaintance is energy market segment manager with Schneider Electric. Telephone: (303) 393-5861

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February 1, 2008
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Utilities Manager: Using Thermal Imagers In Your Energy-Efficiency Program

Versatile, feature-rich and affordable new products can help you quickly identify potential problem areas and begin analysis in the field.

If you’re looking for ways to save energy within your facility, consider conducting a thermal inspection. Thermal inspections can quickly identify energy inefficiencies in the building envelope (heating and cooling losses) and electro-mechanical operations. Furthermore, now that thermal imagers cost less than most capital expense limits, facilities can conduct energy-effi- ciency inspections themselves with the same tool they would use for electro-mechanical troubleshooting. Fluke Corporation’s new thermal imaging products offer just that type of versatility.

0208_um_thermal_11The affordable new Fluke Ti10 Thermal Imager is a case in point. It incorporates a high-resolution, fully radiometric screen (every pixel in the picture has an associated temperature) that displays IR-Fusion® blended thermal-plus-digital pictures. This patent-pending technology integrates infrared and visual (visible light) images in full screen or picture-in-picture views for enhanced problem detection and analysis. The ability to scroll through the different viewing modes helps users recognize image details and identify problem areas better.

According to Fluke, IR-Fusion is especially useful in energy inspection work. With the blended digital-thermal image it provides, users can pinpoint the location of a leak on a wall exactly. With a thermal-only image, everything looks the same.

The other advancement with Fluke’s new imagers is that they’re much easier to use than in the past. The on-screen menus make sense, the options are simple and a user can just point, focus and shoot. That means facilities staff don’t have to specialize in thermography or go through extensive training. They also don’t have to worry about breaking these products—the rugged new models can drop six feet and still keep working.

Building envelope inspections
The HVAC system is often one of the biggest energy consumers within a facility. And the irony is that much of the conditioned air often is leaked right out the building, through the roof, walls, ducts, pipes, etc.

Thermal imagers detect anomalies and variances in surface temperatures that may indicate heat loss or gain. The key with building envelope inspection is that the degree of variance may be very small—perhaps just one or two degrees, depending on the scope of the problem. To spot such small changes, it’s important to select a thermal imager with high thermal sensitivity. (HVAC professionals in particular may want to consider Fluke’s new TiR and TiR1 models with IR-Fusion capability incorporated in both the camera and software. Designed with building diagnostics in mind, they offer just the type of high thermal sensitivity required for this crucial application.)

Building envelope inspection points include all insulation areas (walls, pipes, ducts, boiler, furnace, process equipment, water heater), roofs, windows, doors and construction joints.


  • Scan during a heating or cooling season, when the outside temperature is at least four degrees different from inside.
  • Focus on walls that separate conditioned from unconditioned spaces, and on the top and bottom of conditioned spaces.
  • Large gaps often exist around pipes, lighting fixtures, and utility entrances.
  • Addressing major losses such as roof leaks offers fastest payback.

Electro-mechanical inspections
High-resistance, overloaded and imbalanced electrical connections and overheating equipment all have something in common: They’re using too much energy. You’ll want to scan your electrical system and your largest power-consuming mechanical devices (motors, pumps, compressors, etc.) and look for changes in temperature and unusual hotspots.

Electrical inspection points include panels, controls and the disconnects, contactors and relays within them.

Mechanical inspection points include gearbox, bearings, sheaves/belts and overall casing operating temperature compared to nameplate data.


  • Inspect both electrical and mechanical equipment under normal load/operating conditions.
  • If you detect a hotspot, investigate with other tools (multimeter, power quality, lubrication, etc.) to evaluate operational health.
  • In most cases with old equipment (lighting and HVAC systems, motors, drives), the quickest route to the biggest energy savings is upgrading to new, highefficiency models.

Other inspections: steam systems
Plants that use steam can use a thermal imager to periodically check their trap and line temperatures for inefficiencies. If temperature is low in the steam pipe, trap and condensate return, the trap may be stuck closed. If temperature is high, the trap may be stuck open. If temperature is high in the pipe and trap, and slightly lower in the condensate return, the trap is probably operating properly.

Fluke Corporation
Everett, WA

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February 1, 2008
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Utilities Manager: What's Hot: Onboard Pump Intelligence Gives A Timely Heads Up

Kiss unexpected ANSI pump failures good-bye. This industry first is the type of intuitive and efficient early warning system you’ve been wishing for.

0208_um_whatshot1We all know it. With so few people and so little time to manage and maintain your equipment and processes, your plant’s ANSI pumps simply may not get as much love and attention as your turbines, compressors and higher-ticket pumping equipment. That’s all about to change!

The new i-FRAME from ITT Goulds provides operations personnel, maintenance managers, reliability engineers and technicians—anyone responsible for monitoring and repairing rotating equipment on a 24/7 basis—with early warning of impending trouble so that changes to the process or machine can be made before failure occurs. The unit’s stainless-steel condition monitor (see inset) is nested securely atop the power end to measure critical vibration and temperature readings. Variations that exceed preset parameters will activate the early warning system by displaying flashing red lights—things that are easily recognized during routine walk-arounds.

Great has gotten better
According to Patrick Prayne, product manager of ITT Goulds ANSI Process Pumps, the company’s Model 3196 is acknowledged to be the most popular process pump in the world. “Now,” he says, “we’ve made it even better. This increased reliability and condition monitoring intelligence gets to the heart of our most important customer requirement—reduced downtime and equipment life cycle cost.”

In addition to the condition monitor built into the pump, the patent-pending i-FRAME incorporates a number of other standard features designed to increase reliability and the life of the pump, including:

  • Premium severe duty thrust bearings that increase fatigue life by 2 to 5 times that of standard bearings.
  • Dual stainless-steel, bronze bearing isolators for improved corrosion resistance and contaminant exclusion.
  • An optimized sump design to improve heat transfer and collect and concentrate contaminants away from the bearings, resulting in longer bearing life.

Model 3196 units with i-Frame power ends also carry a whopping 5-Year Warranty as standard.

Recognized as a true workhorse in chemical, oil & gas, petrochemical, pulp & paper, and other industrial operations around the globe, the Goulds 3196 comes in 29 different sizes offering a wide range of features for handling challenging applications. According to the manufacturer, its new i-Frame units will be available this April.

ITT Goulds
Seneca Falls, NY


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February 1, 2008
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The Fundamentals: How To Investigate A Process Interruption

All maintenance professionals know the hollow feeling in the pit of the stomach that accompanies sudden and unexpected silence out in the plant. Sooner or later, the process will roll to a stop. When it does, how will you view the subsequent diagnosis and repair? Will the breakdown be a problem, or will it provide an opportunity?

If you see the cessation of production simply as another in a seemingly unending series of maintenance crises, you probably will repair or replace the failed component as quickly as possible and your follow-up will be minimal. In this mindset, you are the fireman and the quicker you put out the fire, the happier everyone will be. This type of rapid response historically has been the yardstick by which maintenance organizations are measured. But, if you don’t take the time to correctly determine the causes of the downtime so that a failure analysis can be performed, you are by default setting up your next breakdown. When a machine or component fails, it is pointing out a weakness in your process. If you take the time to investigate the clues, you have the opportunity to improve your maintenance reality.

Notes on the concept of blame
Unfortunately, some organizations consider an interruption of the process to be the signal to begin the search for the guilty. If you find yourself in such a culture, you likely will have limited success in gathering the factual input required to positively impact your maintenance reality.

A majority of process failures involve human error at some level. Consequently, if employees—hourly or salaried—do not feel the level of trust that is required for total honesty, the process interruption investigation will not get to the root cause of the failure. Even worse, you may follow bad data up the wrong road and end up changing some other part of your process that was sufficient as it was. This could lead to subsequent process interruptions—from issues at the original failure site that have not been resolved, as well as from the new weakness in the process you have inadvertently created. In technical maintenance terms, this is called “chasing the rabbit.”

Step #1: Acquiring and interpreting facts
A successful process interruption investigation is, in its simplest form, the unbiased acquisition and interpretation of a set of facts. Since the interruption of a manufacturing process is a complex affair, however, the gathering of the data surrounding it is by no means a simple matter.

An incident must be looked at from several angles so that no important clue is neglected. And, while a good deal of information must be gathered, the plant cannot be down indefinitely. When production ceases, the business is not making money. That’s a condition that does not need to continue any longer than absolutely necessary. As your process interruption protocols develop and evolve, hourly and salaried employees who have been trained in the acquisition of pertinent data will gain speed at their tasks, and downtimes due to data collection can be held to a minimum. 

The following activities should be part of your investigative approach to process interruptions. It is important to note that the production or maintenance supervisor on the scene is a poor choice to gather all of the necessary facts. Such individuals should be supervising during the upset condition. Other qualified employees must be assigned to gather the bulk of the information.

Think safety first.
A breakdown is an upset condition, so the potential for an injury is much greater than usual. The work area must be assessed for safety concerns by a competent person (or persons) prior to the gathering of data or the start of repairs. This is a very important step. Although the plant is down and everyone is in a hurry to get it back up, if a deliberate decision is not made to carefully evaluate the situation for potential and actual hazards, an injury could easily occur. Members of the Safety Committee are excellent candidates for this role.

Take photographs.
Every maintenance department needs to have access to a goodquality digital camera. As a tool, it is as valuable as a set of wrenches or a welder, and it costs less than either. A complete photographic record should be made of the point of failure. Be certain to take shots from all angles, and get as many close-ups as possible. If your particular product or one of your raw materials were involved in the breakdown due to a misfeed or some other reason, capture images of the widget or substance in question before it is removed from the machine.

Retrieve computer printouts.
If your process is under computer control, any printouts that are available to you should be retrieved. Some examples of the types of information that might be obtainable include piece number, piece size, piece composition, date, time, production speed, ambient temperature, previous interruptions, upstream and downstream upsets and operator number. If you have a condition monitoring system, you may be able to access and record bearing temperatures, lubrication flow rates, lubricant temperatures, electrical spikes and other anomalies. The point is to gather all the data available. It is better to have facts you don’t need than to be missing a key piece of information that you could have obtained—but didn’t.

Make video records.
Many organizations have invested in video monitoring as one way of controlling their processes. If you have access to video data, it should be someone’s assigned task during a cessation of production to recover the video data. During downtime, operators often find themselves with idle time. One of these hourly professionals could be assigned the task of burning the DVD or recording the videotape.

Recover the failed part.
This reminder seems obvious, but you would be surprised at how often the failed component is misplaced or thrown away. More than one replaced part has been found in the dumpster, on the catwalk or on the back of the maintenance truck. Failed components more often than not contain their own record of why they failed. It is imperative that the failed part be recovered, preserved and tagged so that it can be analyzed, either by your personnel or by factory reps or consultants.

Interview production.
The machine operator should be interviewed while the incident is fresh in everyone’s mind. Has the machine been running smoothly? Was it in automatic or manual? Have there been feed problems? Is the operator the primary or a back-up? Has the operator been newly trained, or is he/she a veteran?

Interview maintenance.
The run-time maintenance personnel will need to be interviewed concerning any mechanical calls made to the area prior to the failure. Did offsets or adjustments have to be made? Were any unusual sounds or odors detected? Was there a new vibration? The personnel dispatched to perform the repair should be interviewed after the work is completed. They can provide information about machine condition and unexpected repair issues, and they can provide a summary of the necessary follow-up.

Assess recent corrective work orders.
The corrective work and emergency work maintenance files for the failed machine or component should be assessed. If corrective work has been performed in the near past on or around the affected area, this is an important piece of information. Was the correct part installed? Was the part installed correctly? Was there an SMP? Why was the corrective work being performed in the first place? The answers to these questions may provide clues.

Review PM and PdM work orders.
The preventive maintenance (PM) and predictive maintenance (PdM) files for the failed machine or component should be reviewed. Are the PMs current? Has a different maintenance professional been assigned to the machine? Has a changing condition been detected or monitored?

If there are similar machines in other parts of your plant or company, their history should be checked to ensure that the breakdown you have experienced is not part of a much larger issue. If you are a single-site operation, vendors, colleagues or factory reps are possible options for consultation. Online message boards are another possibility, as are individual vendor Websites.

Record the data.
This cannot be overstated: If your facts do not exist in some tangible form, your facts simply do not exist. Memories fade very quickly, and nothing can corrupt data faster than word-ofmouth transfers of information. But even while urging you to write “it” down, I must warn you against the very real danger of having the medium become the message. If the breakdown report or whatever you choose to call it becomes the point of the exercise, you have wasted your time and your company’s money. The only purpose for the gathering of these facts is so a competent team of professionals can analyze them.

Think outside the box.
A quick and informal brainstorming session at the conclusion of the information collection period may provide further clues. Is it colder or hotter than usual? Has a new parts vendor been added? Could the failure in question be the result of another recent failure?

Step #2: Evaluating the data
Once you have gathered the facts concerning the process interruption, the next step is to evaluate the data. This portion of the process may be several days or weeks removed from the actual breakdown, depending on how long it has taken to examine the failed parts. If you have one, your reliability engineer should lead the team, as he/she has been trained in the proper issue resolution methodology. The team also should include a machine operator, at least one of the maintenance technicians who performed the repairs and the planner. While you may choose to have additional members, keep in mind that groups with more than six participants sometimes lose effectiveness.

The team will conduct a RCFA (Root Cause Failure Analysis). As was the case with an FMEA (Failure Modes and Effects Analysis), performing an RCFA can be a daunting task—but don’t let it scare you. The idea is to try to determine the ultimate circumstance or set of circumstances that led to the interruption of the process, so that the disruption can be avoided in the future. (By the way, a good source on the subject of RCFA development is html)

The time and trouble required to properly quantify and analyze a process interruption is well worth the effort. Just remember that your perceived maintenance reality (i.e., what you think is happening) has a way of becoming your actual reality, especially when it has been committed to paper. Thus, it is vital for everyone on the team to set aside agendas and preconceived ideas and try to get to the real root of the matter. Your process and your business depend on it.

Ray Atkins, CPMM, CMRP, is a veteran maintenance professional with 14 years experience in the lumber industry. He is based in Rome, GA, where he spent the last five years as maintenance superintendent at Temple- Inland’s Rome Lumber facility. He can be reached at




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February 1, 2008
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The Fundamentals: Increasing Safety And Reliability Using Current Limitation

Increasing Safety And Reliability Using Current Limitation

0108_safety_1Any maintenance worker will tell you that he/she would rather deal with circuit breakers than fuses. In their view, finding and resetting a breaker is faster than replacing a blown fuse, increasing the time they can devote to more pressing maintenance work.

In reality, current-limiting fuses can actually reduce downtime and increase reliability. For example, a short-circuit that stops one machine can be selectively coordinated so it has no effect on the rest of the plant, and maintenance personnel can concentrate on finding the single fault rather than checking every circuit.

Current-limiting fuses and breakers also improve reliability by limiting the potential energy of an Arc-Flash and increasing short-circuit current ratings (SCCR) of industrial control panels. Electricity can be amazingly destructive, leading to explosion, fire, melted wires and shattered components. If equipment is damaged from a destructive fault or Arc-Flash, significant downtime may follow until the equipment is repaired or replaced. Moreover, if there is a serious electrical accident, a manufacturing plant can remain closed for days, or even months, before normal operations can resume.

Current-limiting devices are easily retrofitted into existing electrical systems. The job can be handled as part of normal maintenance or when a fault must be cleared, and it may be as easy as upgrading the fuse. Although current-limiting circuit breakers exist, they are more expensive and not as readily available as the current-limiting fuses on which this article focuses.

Current limitation defined
According to Article 240.2 of the National Electrical Code (NEC), a current-limiting overcurrent protective device reduces the current flowing in a faulted circuit to a level significantly less than the current that could flow if the device were not present. This essentially means that the current-limiting device opens and clears the fault (shortcircuit) within the first half cycle of a fault. UL Listed current-limiting fuses must open and clear a fault within 8.3 msec after fault initiation.


The effect of a current-limiting fuse in a circuit is illustrated in Fig. 1. With no current-limiting device in the circuit, the instantaneous peak current during the first half cycle after a fault can be as high as 2.3 times the available rms bolted fault current available at the equipment. For example, if the available rms fault current at an industrial control panel is 100,000 A, the maximum possible instantaneous peak current could be as high as 233,000A. However, with a current-limiting fuse in the circuit, the instantaneous peak current reaches only a small fraction of the maximum possible current at the equipment. A current-limiting fuse not only reduces peak current, it also clears the circuit in 8.3 msec or less.

The area under the curve, or I2t, is the energy released during a fault. The lower the I2t, the lower the destructive forces. Therefore, by minimizing both fault duration and energy released, current-limiting fuses greatly minimize Arc-Flash and Arc-Blast hazards. In addition, currentlimiting fuses significantly reduce Let-Thru energy in the circuit. (Let-Thru energy produces heating and magnetic effects associated with short circuits.)


UL Listed current-limiting fuses must pass a series of short-circuit tests and limit the I2t energy to the maximum values shown in Fig. 2. UL class RK1 fuses have much lower I2t values than UL class RK5. UL class J fuses have even lower maximum values and are sized differently so that they cannot be interchanged with something less current limiting. It is important to note that although these are maximum limits imposed by UL, actual I2t values and Peak Let-Thru currents are generally much lower and vary from one manufacturer to another.


Selective coordination
Another advantage of current-limiting fuses is that they can provide selective coordination of the electrical system. In a selectively coordinated system, like the simple one illustrated in Fig. 3, only the fuse immediately on the line side of an overcurrent opens, keeping all upstream fuses closed. This makes it relatively easy to find the faulted circuit so it can be brought back on line quickly. It also helps eliminate blackouts, unplanned work stoppages and safety hazards. With selective coordination, the least amount of I2t flows to the faulted circuit, reducing Arc-Flash incident energy and PPE required for higher Hazard Risk Categories.

The 2005 NEC requires selectivity coordinated electrical systems for emergency systems (700.27), standby systems (701.18), elevator circuits (620.62) and healthcare facilities (517.26), but selective coordination is best practice for any critical circuit. It is easy to selectively coordinate fuses by maintaining a minimum ratio between the upstream (Line) fuse and downstream (Load) fuse. Circuit breakers can be used in selectively coordinated electrical systems, but coordination is more difficult to achieve, because at high fault current, the breaker trip curves overlap.

Increasing short-circuit current rating
Article 409 of the NEC provides safe installation and construction requirements for industrial control panels for applications such as machine, lighting, conveyor and air-conditioning controls, as well as other panels that control utilization equipment. Article 409.110 requires industrial control panels to be clearly marked with several ratings, including the Short-Circuit Current Rating (SCCR). This is the maximum symmetrical rms current that the device or panel can withstand for a minimum of 3 AC cycles (50 msec) or until a fuse or circuit breaker clears the circuit.

According to UL508A Supplement SB, if a panel contains no current-limiting devices, its SCCR depends on the “weakest” or lowest rated component or combination within the panel. However, Supplement SB also states that if current-limiting fuses are used in the feeder circuit, and if the highest instantaneous current reached during the first half cycle of a fault is less than or equal to the lowest rated SCCR in any branch circuit, the SCCR of the currentlimiting fuse can be applied to the combination.

Supplement SB states that the SCCR of a panel cannot be greater than the interrupting rating of any overcurrent protective device in branch circuits or in the primary of the control circuit. Some manufacturers use fuses or supplementary protectors with low interrupting ratings to protect control circuits. Therefore, simply replacing these devices with current-limiting fuses having higher interrupt ratings can greatly increase the SCCR of many panels. Also, some states or authorities having jurisdiction may allow manufacturers to establish SCCR based on the apparent rms current of the current-limiting fuse.

NEC 110.9 requires overcurrent protective devices and the equipment and wiring they protect to withstand the maximum available fault current to protect workers and equipment from excessive damage if a short circuit occurs. OSHA 1910.132(d) also requires employers to identify electrical hazards in the workplace, inform and train workers on how to avoid the hazards, and provide employees with personal protective equipment.

Therefore, fault current studies must be performed regularly, and the SCCR should be verified to make sure that industrial control panels can survive catastrophic short circuits. This is particularly important when panels are installed, moved or modified, or when Arc-Flash and Electrical Hazard Assessments are performed to meet OSHA and NFPA regulations and standards.

Why SCCR is important
When the SCCR is clearly labeled, installers and inspectors can compare fault current studies at the facility where the panel is to be installed to the SCCR of the control panel to minimize potential hazards. The whole point of overcurrent protection is to prevent electrical components from damage. If the SCCR of an industrial panel is too low, then the reliability of its components is in jeopardy. What’s more, it means worse injuries if there is an electrical accident.

Reducing Arc-Flash incident energy
Reliability extends beyond machinery and equipment to include a reliable electrical supply. The electrical system needs protection against overcurrents, of course, but also against Arc-Flash hazards—a particularly destructive event that is a leading cause of workplace fatalities among qualified electrical workers. According to IEEE and NFPA, a critical factor in controlling the level of possible Arc-Flash energy is the clearing time of an overcurrent protective device. Most standard non-current-limiting circuit breakers can take up to 6 AC cycles (0.1 sec) to open under short circuit conditions. Although this is relatively fast, it is at least 12 times longer than a typical current-limiting fuse, and can expose a worker to a potential Arc-Flash hazard for a longer period of time.

Fuses generally open much quicker than circuit breakers. By opening faster, fuses reduce the fault current and in turn limit the Arc-Flash hazard. In addition, according to IEEE1584, the clearing time for Class RK1 current-limiting fuses actually decreases at higher available fault currents, thus producing lower incident energy at higher fault currents. This is in contrast to electromechanical circuit breakers that reach a fixed minimum opening time as the available fault current increases.

Another important consideration is the fact that low available fault currents (below the current limiting range of the fuse) may produce the greatest hazard. A fuse or circuit breaker takes longer to open at lower fault currents, and a difference of 0.5 sec in clearing time can make a big difference in the amount of Arc-Flash energy produced during an accident. Therefore, when estimating Arc-Flash hazards, consider both maximum and minimum available fault currents.

Current-limiting fuses can be an important addition to plant electrical circuits to reduce downtime, improve reliability and increase safety. Current-limiting fuses require no maintenance, are fail-safe, and generally limit the destructive energy if an Arc-Flash or short-circuit occurs. What’s more, these devices can be installed during regular maintenance to improve circuit protection.

Ken Cybart is a senior technical engineer with Littelfuse, Inc., headquartered in Chicago, IL. His 20 years in industry includes teaching and training engineers, managers and electrical workers on safe electrical design, electrical safety, NFPA and OSHA regulations, and working closely with Federal and State OSHA investigators and compliance officers, Underwriters Laboratories and the OSHA National Training Institute. Cybart holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois and is a member of NFPA, NEMA and IEEE. E-mail:

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6:00 am
February 1, 2008
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Boosting Your Bottom Line: Motor Breakdown And The Costs Of Repair

At first glance, the decision appears simple: rewind or otherwise repair the motor when it is cheaper than buying a new motor. It is, however, important to your overall bottom line to consider the total cost of ownership, including purchase, repair and operating costs. Efficiency is a key cost factor–the electricity used to power a motor typically represents 95% of its lifetime operating costs.

“Best practice” repair services can maintain the efficiency of your motors. A 2003 study conducted by the Electrical Apparatus Service Association (EASA) and the Association of Electrical and Mechanical Trades (AEMT) found that best rewind/repair procedures maintain motor effi- ciency within ± 0.2%. It also is possible to improve motor efficiency during repair. (See “The Effect of Repair/Rewinding on Motor Efficiency: An EASA/ AEMT Rewind Study and Good Practice Guide to Maintain Motor Efficiency,” 2003).

The “Helpful Resources” page of the Motor Decisions Matter (MDM) Website (www.motorsmatter. org) contains links and background information to several best practice repair resources published by EASA and the Department of Energy (DOE) Industrial Technologies Program. Detailed definitions and studies also are available on the industry resources page of EASA’s Website,, including “EASA Tech Note 16 Guidelines for Maintaining Motor Efficiency During Rebuilding,” and “ANSI/EASA AR 100-2006, Recommended Practice for the Repair of Rotating Electrical Apparatus.” Examples of best practices include:

  • Conducting a stator core test before and after winding removal
  • Repairing defective stator laminations
  • Calibrating all test equipment and measuring devices at least annually
  • Measuring and recording winding resistance and room temperature
  • Having the appropriate power supply running the motor at rated voltage
  • Balancing the rotor
  • Repairing or replacing all broken or worn parts and fittings
  • Having a documented quality assurance program
  • Having and using appropriate test equipment
  • Documenting measurements and test results

Maintaining efficiency during repair is important to your bottom line as well. Review the best practices referenced above and talk with your motor service provider about opportunities to improve reliability and avoid efficiency loss during repair. Having a sound motor management plan in place before the failure occurs can help eliminate rushed decision-making. The “1-2-3 Approach to Motor Management” spreadsheet from MDM is a good resource to help evaluate motor repairreplacement decisions.

While developing your motor plan, you may find that it makes sense for your company to establish and implement a motor repair policy. It certainly did for Ash Grove Cement & Riverside Inc. By adopting a motor repair purchasing specification, this cement and lime manufacturer was able to save $6000 per hour of lost production time by quickly determining core damage before making repair decisions. A case study describing Ash Grove Cement’s commitment to motor repair excellence is available on the MDM website. It’s a real “boosting-your-bottom-line” success story. MT

The Motor Decisions Matter campaign is managed by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency, a North American nonprofit organization that promotes energy-saving products, equipment and technologies. For further information about MDM, contact Ted Jones at or (617) 589-3949, ext. 230.

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6:00 am
February 1, 2008
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Technology Update: Oil Analysis Showcase


What’s in your oil? Contaminants unseen by the human eye can significantly affect a plant’s overall output. Thus, oil analysis is a crucial component to oil and machinery health. Regular oil analysis can reduce downtime and extend equipment life—helping save both money and resources. Sampling products for in-house analysis, as well as outside laboratory services and training, are among the offerings of the companies showcased on the following pages.

Emerson Process Management

Emerson Process Management offers a number of CSI oil analysis options to help customers achieve an up to 500% return on their investment in this technology. Emerson offers an on site minilab for industrial oil analysis. Accurate measurement of wear, contamination and chemistry can be accomplished in less than seven minutes using the CSI 5200 Machinery Health® Analyzer. Oilview® software modules are fully integrated with each other and with other technologies through AMS® Suite: Machinery Health Manager software. These modules are also effective as standalone programs. The CSI Oil Lab delivers easy-to-interpret oil analysis reports in both PDF format and as an electronic file, which is easily imported into AMS Machinery Manager.

Emerson Process Management
Knoxville, TN

Analysts, Inc.

Established in 1960, Analysts, Inc. has five full-service laboratories, located in the continental United States, all of which are certified under ISO 9002. All data evaluators are Certified Lubrication Specialists (CLS) or Oil Monitoring Analysts (OMA). Data on the condition of equipment, contamination and physical properties of lubricants are generated through analysis procedures. Viscosity, acid number (AN) and water content are customarily measured. Tests for fuel dilution, Base Number (BN), LEM® soot measurement, oxidation and nitration may also be recommended and performed on a regular basis. Depending on the customer’s program requirements and system applications, Analysts also can perform testing for particle count analysis, Ferrography, dissolved gas analysis, RPVOT testing and other analytical procedures.

Analysts, Inc.
Torrance, California

Trico Corporation

Trico offers the latest sampling supplies and accessories— including sample ports and collection devices—which are designed to extract system and component specific samples that are both representative and repeatable from the best diagnostic locations in the most effective ways possible. Access to systems is done through the use of a mating sample port adapter. The sample port adapter screws onto the sample port. Oil samples can then be drawn from the system and placed into a clean sampling bottle for analysis. To guard against contaminating the sample and for superior leak protection, Trico sampling ports all feature a check valve and viton o-ring seal cap. Trico sample ports are available in several types and sizes to match the varying requirements of manufacturers.

Trico Corporation
Pewaukee, WI


For more than 20 years, Predict has been a provider of wear particle analysis, training and hardware to the maintenance industry. Predict offers a full line of lubricant, grease, fuel, coolant and transformer fluid analysis tests. Used oil analysis is a package of specific lubricant tests, which provide analytical results regarding the quality of a lubricant for an application. Combined with wear particle analysis, an analysis program can determine the usability and provide a wear assessment of equipment. Predict’s laboratory is ISO 9001:2000 certified and employs Certified Lubricant Specialists, Machine Lubricant Analysts and Chemists.

Cleveland, OH

Bently Tribology

Services Bently Tribology Services (BTS) is an independent laboratory that tests lubricants, fuels (petroleum and bio-based), synthetic machine fluids and coolants. The company’s laboratories are certified to ISO 9001 and compliant with ISO/IEC Guide 25 and 10 CFR 50 App. B (Nuclear Power Quality Assurance) standards. Testing packages are designed with several factors in mind. Every sample receives a set of required tests that may vary dependent on the equipment application. In addition to the required tests, a set of advisable tests are available to perform on any sample deemed to be abnormal. This second set of tests provides two functions: It serves as corroborators to the initial screen tests and it serves as root cause analysis indicators. BTS also can also test for machinery wear and/or contamination problems via its DoublecheckSM technique.

Bently Tribology Services
Peabody, MA

Predictive Service

Predictive Service offers a fully integrated approach to all predictive maintenance technologies including oil analysis services. Condition monitoring data—including oil sampling—is collected at regular intervals, providing analysis and detailed recommended actions. PSC’s trained technicians can retrieve the samples or train customer’s staff on collection techniques. The samples are subjected to analysis procedures, which include viscosity, water, elemental concentration, oxidation, nitrates, sulfites, fuel, glycol, additive degradation, acid and base level trends and particle counting, among others. All information is accessed through its Web-based software, ViewPoint®. The Viewpoint software places vibration, infrared, ultrasound, motor circuit and oil analysis information into one integrated system. Customer’s can manage the entire process from problem identification, repair actions and the automated calculation of cost benefit.

Predictive Service
Cleveland, OH

A2 Technologies

A2 Technologies was founded on a simple premise: to bring FTIR Spectroscopy out of the lab and put it into the field, closer to the sample where it belongs. For forty years FTIR has been recognized as a powerful analytical tool. It has been, however, a tool of traditional laboratories due to its size, cost and complexity of the instruments. A2 is broadening the scope and use of FTIR and bringing it to applications and markets not previously served. A2’s PAL™ FTIR Spectrometer is capable of measuring water in oil at levels that are critical to the reliable operation of turbine equipment.

A2 Technologies
Danbury, CT

Louis C. Eitzen Company, Inc.

Aiding in used-oil analysis programs, Louis C. Eitzen Company’s VISGAGE is a pocketsize viscosity comparator, which quickly and conveniently measures mineral oil viscosity on location. The VISGAGE will test any lubricating oil from light spindle to heavy gear oils and is a benefit for companies using large quantities of oils. This instrument determines oil change intervals, checks for fuel or coolant dilution and may prevent serious and expensive equipment problems if used periodically. No stopwatches or thermometers are required. The VISGAGE can be used to develop a predictive and preventive maintenance plan by periodic testing of oils.

Louis C. Eitzen Company, Inc.
Glenwood Springs, CO

PdMA Corporation

PdMA’s full service, independent lubricant analysis laboratory offers a wide range of tests on oil, grease, coolant, fuel and transformer oil. The company’s laboratory is ISO 9001 Certified, and operates under the 10 CFR50 Appendix B QA Program. They are also licensed to receive radioactive oil samples. All reports have accurate data interpretations and recommended actions coupled with a quick turnaround time. Reports can be generated in various electronic formats.

PdMA Corporation
Tampa, FL

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