Archive | June, 2009


6:00 am
June 1, 2009
Print Friendly

Viewpoint: The Importance Of Human Capital In PdM


Jim Seffrin, Director, Infraspection Institute

Savvy business professionals recognize the importance of capital when undertaking any new project. Failure to properly capitalize a project can have disastrous consequences—particularly when a business does not have the key resources it needs.

Unfortunately, in the aggressive marketing of predictive maintenance (PdM) technologies, it is relatively easy to spawn and perpetuate fallacies regarding the need for certain resources. One prime example is infrared thermography—often associated with the term ‘Simply point and shoot.’ Coupled with the promise of quick and substantial paybacks, facility managers will readily invest thousands of dollars in hardware and software, only to sometimes be disappointed.

To be successful with your PdM initiatives, it must be understood that such efforts (and technologies) are reflective of both art and science. As such, they require humans equipped with proper tools, appropriate training and sufficient field experience. Ample time to conduct testing and analysis also is needed.

Undercapitalizing manpower is often the greatest threat to PdM—and what can ultimately lead to program failure. In setting up a PdM program, the most common mistakes include inadequate staff and training and not enough time for data collection and follow-up testing.

When considering implementation of any PdM program, one must first begin by honestly assessing the amount of manpower required. For maintenance teams already working at capacity, it is unrealistic to expect that existing personnel will have several hours to dedicate to data collection and analysis each month. If necessary, consider adding personnel or redistributing responsibilities to ensure that technicians will have sufficient time available. In addition to technicians, companies must be certain to allocate or hire suitable support staff as well.

Because a PdM program is only as good as its technicians, training is crucial—something to be viewed as a long-term investment rather than a one-time minimal expense. When training is under consideration, make certain that course curricula are adequate for the intended inspections and taught by experienced instructors. Independent training firms may offer a better value than technology vendors since their focus is on training rather than future equipment sales.

While it is easy to focus on the promise of reduced downtime and labor, these are downstream benefits. The early stages of a PdM program demand significant time for data collection and analysis. Although some technologies can provide instant results, others rely on trending. In such cases, it may take several inspections to obtain meaningful data. In addition to data collection in the field, time must also be allocated for analysis and report generation. Depending upon the technology, report time might call for the same amount of time as data collection.

Once corrections or repairs have been made as a result of a PdM inspection, follow-up testing should be performed to ensure those actions were effective. Facilities that fail to re-inspect run the risk of an unplanned outage. Follow-up inspections are the final step in verifying that a problem has been solved.

To ensure their PdM programs are successful, companies should always seriously consider the necessary human capital—not just the hardware and software requirements. The proper investment in PdM technicians and support personnel can pay enormous dividends and help drive program longevity. MT

Jim Seffrin is a Level III Certified Infrared Thermographer® and director of Infraspection Institute located in Burlington, NJ. Web: IRINFO.ORG

The opinions expressed in this Viewpoint section are those of the author, and don’t necessarily reflect those of the staff and management of Maintenance Technology magazine.

Continue Reading →


6:00 am
June 1, 2009
Print Friendly

Boosting Your Bottom Line: Your Motor Inventory: A Cost-Effective Resource

motor-decisions-matterNow more than ever, many facility managers are feeling the pressure to reduce costs. Motor management is perhaps one of the easiest ways to start—and it can even save you money and help improve productivity.

Motor management is a set of ongoing policies and practices based on life cycle costing and proactive planning. Many facilities underestimate the size of their motor fleet and fail to keep track of maintenance and repair histories. In fact, a recent survey conducted by the FiveTwelve Group research firm revealed that 42% of the industrial and commercial facility managers surveyed did not know how many motors were in their facility, and 77% did not know how much their facility spent on energy.* Without this information, it’s difficult to make cost-effective repair/replace decisions quickly and consistently, especially when motors fail unexpectedly. Knowing what you have can also prevent you from purchasing equipment that you don’t need.

Getting Started
Building a motor management plan begins with clearly identifying what needs to be managed. This process is as simple as conducting a survey to create an inventory of motors, both those that are in service and spares. It may be easier to start with a subset of motors, such as the largest, most critical or those that fail most frequently. Your local service center can assist you with developing an approach to survey and track your motors. Your local utility may offer technical or financial assistance or equipment rebates to help defray the costs of new purchases or upgrade older, less efficient equipment. The following resources provide an overview of the basics:

The Motor Planning Kit, developed by the Motor Decisions MatterSM (MDM) Campaign, is a resource of strategies, tools and resources for developing a comprehensive Motor Management Plan. MDM is sponsored by utility efficiency programs, motor manufacturers, and motor sales and service centers. These organizations have a demonstrated expertise in the products and services involved in motor management: electricity use, high efficiency motors (NEMA Premium®) and best practice motor repair. They share a common goal to improve the way industrial motor repair/replace decisions are made.

The Motor Survey How-To Guide includes step-by-step instructions for conducting a motor survey and developing a motor management plan. The guide was developed by Advanced Energy, a nonprofit technology consultant (and MDM Sponsor) that specializes in industrial process technologies, motors and drives testing and applied building.

MotorMaster, made available by the U.S. Department of Energy Industrial Technologies Program, is an interactive software used to create a detailed motor inventory, analyze energy savings and estimate motor life cycle costs. It can accommodate the motor needs of both small and large companies, and contains information for more than 20,000 motors.

An up-to-date motor inventory gives facility managers basic, but important, data about their motor fleet: what, where and how many. Knowing what motors you have lets you make cost-effective decisions that keep your facility running—and help you remain calm in a crisis. 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 Kellem Emanuele at or (617) 589-3949, x225.

For more info, enter 1 at

Continue Reading →


6:00 am
June 1, 2009
Print Friendly

Uptime: Maintenance Is Not A Supplier

bob_williamsonMaintain – To sustain or preserve a desired level of facility, equipment and process performance
Maintenance Department
A group of people assigned to sustain or preserve a desired level of facility, equipment and process performance
Maintenance Mechanic
A person with sufficient skills and knowledge to sustain or preserve a desired level of facility, equipment and process mechanical performance
Maintenance Budget
A periodic financial plan to sustain or preserve a desired level of facility, equipment and process performance
Maintenance Plan
A structured approach to sustain or preserve a desired level of facility, equipment and process performance
Continue Reading →