Archive | July, 2009


6:00 am
July 1, 2009
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Utilities Manager: Energy Showcase

Energy-Saving Motors

baldor_0709Baldor’s Super-E Motors are designed to conserve energy over extended time periods. Payback can occur in less than a year depending on motor size. The right combination of these motors and adjustable-speed drives can yield energy-cost savings up to 50%, according to the company. Baldor Save+ software can compare operating costs, summarize annual savings and calculate payback time based on individual operation. Premium Super-E motors are available in Totally Enclosed Fan-Cooled and Open Drip-Proof construction. All three-phase motors are Inverter Ready per NEMA Standard MG1, Part, meaning the motors in 230 and 460 volts meet NEMA’s corona inception voltage requirements and can withstand peak voltages of up to 1600 volts. Premium efficiency motors also are available in single-phase designs.

Baldor Electric Co.
Ft. Smith, AR

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vacon_0709AC Drives

Motors controlled by AC drives enable users to control motor speed, which can afford various energy-saving benefits. Fans and pumps are the most common energy-saving applications for AC drives, with savings typically 20-50%. When a fan is driven by a fixed-speed motor, for example, airflow can be higher than needed. Airflow can be regulated by using a damper to restrict flow, but it is more efficient to regulate the airflow by regulating the speed of the motor. AC drives also reduce start-up current, which allows for use of smaller fuses and supply connections, and reduces peak loads on the electrical network. In addition to energy-savings, AC drives allow for smoother overall operation, acceleration control, use of different operating speed for each process and the ability to compensate for process variables.

Vacon, Inc.
Chambersburg, PA

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Cylinder/Valve Units for Pneumatics

bosch_0709Of the many ways in which compressed air systems can lose energy, one is the use of centralized systems, which are cumbersome and wasteful due to the need for long lines. Small, decentralized units at the site of the application are more efficient. The concentration of pneumatic functions prevents pressure losses through long lines from the control cabinet to the pneumatic drive. By using cylinder/valve units, hose connections can almost completely be spared, providing an average energy-saving potential of 35%, according to the company. Additional advantages include simple installation and maintenance, faster response times and higher cycle frequencies.

Bosch Rexroth Corp.
Lexington, KY

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Gas-Fired Water Heaters

armstrong_intl_0709Armstrong Flo-Direct® Complete Thermal Exchange Gas-Fired Water Heaters can deliver fuel savings as high as 60% when compared with steam/water heating systems, according to the company. These units produce potable hot water instantaneously, meaning no fuel consumed for warm-up or idle time. No energy is lost through steam conversion or within a heat exchanger. Virtually all fuel energy is transferred to the water. Use of Armstrong Flo-Direct Complete Thermal Exchange Gas-Fired Water Heaters can help companies achieve Energy Conservation Measure (ECM) and Reduced Carbon Footprint objectives. The company’s line of heaters includes a range of high efficiency, compact, all-stainless steel models suitable for many industrial applications.

Armstrong International
Three Rivers, MI

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Clamp-On Flow Meters

dynasomics_0709TFX Ultra ultrasonic flow meters clamp onto the outside of pipes and do not contact internal liquid. Two versions are available: a stand-alone flow meter and an energy flow meter that’s used in conjunction with dual clamp-on RTDs. The energy flow meter measures energy usage in BTU or tons and is ideal for retrofit, chilled-water and other HVAC applications. The TFX Ultra units’ clamp-on design reduces installation time and material costs because there is no need to shut down a process for installation or maintenance. A TFX Ultra can be installed and fully operational in minutes. With no moving parts, there is no mechanical wear; no repair kits or replacement parts are ever needed. The units feature bi-directional flow measurement, a totalizer featuring forward, reverse and net total, and Modbus communications.

Racine, WI

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Software Identifies Savings Opportunities

Eaton’s Power Xpert® Reporting software helps facility, information technology and energy managers benchmark existing energy usage and power consumption in their power distribution systems, allowing energy and cost-saving opportunities to be identified and implemented. The software can aggregate data from multiple databases to provide a complete enterprise-level view of power consumption and energy usage. When combined with the company’s Power Xpert Software or Foreseer, Power Xpert Reporting is designed to enable energy-cost allocation, compare power consumption, monitor branch circuits and summarize overall power quality. It can also play a key role in helping users adopt green strategies and qualify for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) credits through the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

Eaton Electrical Group
Raleigh, NC

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Integrated Automation System

ABB’s IndustrialIT Extended Automation System 800xA integrates process and power systems on one unified platform, offering advantages such as improved energy efficiency, process reliability and overall productivity. By integrating power and process systems on the common 800xA platform, users can optimize the design and performance of their electrical and automation systems, and see additional benefits in reduced maintenance, engineering and overall lifecycle costs. Typical savings can result in a 20% reduction in capital and operating expenses. According to ABB, the 800xA system has been sold to more than 5000 new and existing ABB customers in virtually every industry, from process industries and mining to electric and water utilities.

The ABB Group
Norwalk, CT

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6:00 am
July 1, 2009
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Utilities Manager: Big Money Talks: Power Plant Efficiency


William C. Livoti

I am sure almost everybody has received some notification from their local utility regarding energy conservation. Many of the larger utilities offer incentive programs for premium efficient motors, energy efficient windows, etc. I believe we all understand the purpose and the necessity of the power generator promoting energy efficiency on the demand side. On the other hand, have you ever wondered how efficient a power plant truly is? Let’s examine a typical fossil fuel power plant.

The average fossil plant is roughly 33% efficient (at design point). What does this mean? Simply stated only about a third of the fuel (oil, gas, coal) entering the plant actually generates electricity. Even less-around 30%-is actually transmitted to the consumer. So, where does the remaining 70% go?

Thirty-three percent of that remaining 70% goes out the stack; 33% is used to cool the process and ultimately winds up back in the cooling source (lake, river or ocean) and the other 4% is lost in transmission/distribution. This is the same level of efficiency that has existed for the last 60+ years. To get a better understanding of how the power industry determines efficiency, we can break it down by the numbers.

Power plants live and die by the Heat Rate number expressed in Btu (British Thermal Units). Heat Rate is defined as a ratio between fuel energy and generated electricity. The smaller the Heat Rate number, the less fuel is needed to generate one unit of electricity. Although there are several factors that figure into Heat Rate, in the interest of keeping this article brief, let’s break it down to the basics:

  • Thermal Efficiency:
    This is the inverse value of the Heat Rate of the power plant.
  • Load Factor:
    For a power plant, Load Factor is the ratio between Average Load and Peak Load.
  • Economic Efficiency:
    This is the ratio between production costs, including fuel, labor, materials and services, and energy output from the power plant for a period of time.
  • Operational Efficiency:
    This is the ratio of the total electricity produced by the plant during a period of time compared to the total potential electricity that could have been produced if the plant operated at 100% in the period.
  • Capacity Factor:
    For a power plant, this is the ratio between Average Load and Rated Load for a period of time.

The utility calculates your rate in the following manner:


The power company assumes the Heat Rate as a fixed cost. This is not the case, as the plant efficiency can be improved dramatically by simply improving process control. Why would one believe power generation technology hasn’t changed over the last 60 years? Europe has improved the efficiency of its fossil plants to roughly 40 to 45%. What are we waiting for?

The bottom line is the resistance to change and the paralyzing fear associated with change. That being said, how long can we—as a country—operate in such an inefficient manner? At the end of the day, we all pay the price. UM

The Engineering Toolbox, Peter Garforth of Garforth International, LLC

Bill Livoti is a fluid power and power industry engineer with Baldor Electric Company. He also is vice chair of the Pump Systems Matter (PSM) initiative. Telephone: (864) 281-2118

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6:00 am
July 1, 2009
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My Take: Looking At The Bright Side Of New Energy Regulations

jane_alexanderAs July is heating up, so is the national debate on energy and how we’re going to be using and paying for it in the future. I’ve asked myself why I feel compelled to wander into this minefield and risk being accused of politicizing our magazine. That’s not my intent; I’m just making observations—and continuing to gently pester you about one of the most critical issues of our times.
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6:00 am
July 1, 2009
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Motor Doc's Hot Topics: The Use And Misuse Of Standards In Sales And Marketing

In my work, I often ask companies about the standard(s) they follow. Most will cite IEEE, ASTM, EASA, IEC, UL, CSA, etc. Generally, the language and standard(s) are correct and the companies appear to be complying. Sometimes, however, they aren’t—either accidentally or, in enough cases to be annoying, deliberately.

What is the impact when a standard isn’t followed? For the buyer, the price of products/services can be lower than those from companies that perform to actual standards. Conversely, not following standards can result in a very costly product or service—something that may put people in danger, damage equipment, lead to lost production, expose the buyer’s organization to litigation and/or the denial of insurance coverage.

How do you avoid these problems? Remember this: any company that truly follows standards or certification processes will be proud of the fact. Compliance with standards is not just something to protect you, the buyer; it’s also a sales and marketing tool for the vendor. If you run into a supplier who objects to showing you its applicable standard(s) or certification(s)—or acts insulted because you’re asking—your next step should be to dig deeper. A legitimate company would be able to show either a referenced standard or certificate on the spot (or at least obtain it for you in short order). Company representatives also should be familiar with the parts of the standard or certification that involve their product or service.

Industry standards and certifications reflect agreed-to Best Practices. The most effective way to protect yourself and your organization is to become familiar with any standards and certifications that specifically affect you. Many standard-writing and certifying bodies maintain libraries and definitions that are available to you; some will also have standards collections that can be used. Understanding an appropriate standard and its intent will help you quickly identify questionable sales and marketing approaches. MT

Howard Penrose is VP of Repair Services (Operations) for Dreisilker Electric Motors, Inc. ( and editor-in-chief of the IEEE DEIS Web. He is author of the Axiom Business Book Award-Winning Physical Asset Management for the Executive and the ForeWord Book of the Year Finalist, Electrical Motor Diagnostics: 2nd Edition.

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6:00 am
July 1, 2009
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Communications: The CMMS Setup In A Maintenance Partnership

ken_bannister_thumbMaintaining an interactive collaborative partnership with inter- and intra-departmental groups and outside groups is essential if a maintenance department is to be successful in delivering asset reliability and availability at a level suitable to achieve production throughput and quality targets. To achieve this, a maintenance department must understand the difference between “what it manages” and “what it controls.”
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