Archive | July, 2012


6:40 pm
July 16, 2012
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My Take: Let Me Say It Again — They Deserve Better

newjaneresize2 thumb thumbSee the picture below? It’s an example of a PSA (public service announcement) ad you may have noticed in the pages of Maintenance Technology from time to time. We carry it on behalf of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (, the nation’s first and largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization representing veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This ad and others are part of an ongoing “You Are Not Alone” campaign by the Ad Council that has run since November 2008. Continue Reading →


6:32 pm
July 16, 2012
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Uptime: Maintenance Work Instructions, Part 1 — A Style Guide

bob williamson thumb thumb“OK, you got my attention with last month’s Uptime column, ‘The World’s Best Maintenance Tool’ (i.e., detailed work instructions). I see now that our PM work instructions are sorely lacking in details, leaving a lot to the mechanic’s discretion. And, our production departments have used standardized work as part of their lean manufacturing process for years. So, here’s my question: How should we begin straightening out our PM program without getting mired down in a major documentation project?” Continue Reading →


6:30 pm
July 16, 2012
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Boosting Your Bottom Line: Plug Into Energy Savings

motor-decisions-matterIn this economy, cutting back is common. But have you thought about cutting back on your operation’s energy bill? Cutting back on electricity consumption by boosting efficiency can lead to dramatic savings, reduced exposure to rising energy prices and improved process efficiency and control. Even better, there’s a large (and growing) number of energy-efficiency programs around the United States and Canada with financial and technical resources to help you identify and implement opportunities throughout your facility. In fact, the efficiency program industry [1] directed over $9 billion in 2011, according to the Annual Industry Report, published by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE). In the U.S., 39% of the total was dedicated to the commercial and industrial sectors—billions of dollars, some of which are ready to support qualifying energy-efficiency improvements in facilities like yours.

Where to start 
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE), motor-driven equipment consumes 64% of the total electricity used in the U.S. industrial sector.[2] As the largest single source running up an industrial plant’s electricity bill, zeroing in on your motors and motor-driven system such as pumps, fans and air compressors is a great first step toward cutting costs and increasing efficiency in your facility.  

Where get help
In addition to publishing the Annual Industry Report, CEE maintains a searchable spreadsheet of 94 efficiency programs that provide incentives for qualifying projects that improve motor system efficiency. This resource, Motors & Motor Systems Program Summary, includes the following types of program offerings:

MotorsPrograms that provide incentives, typically rebates, to vendors, distributors, or directly to customers for motors that meet energy-efficiency specifications. 

Motor Management… Programs that work with customers and vendors to identify motors for replacement with energy-efficient models either upon failure or through early retirement programs. Other programs support best motor repair practices that maintain motor nameplate efficiency.

Motor Systems… Programs that provide incentives for efficiency improvements in specific motor-driven systems such as pumps, fans and air compressors, and for installing adjustable speed drives. 

To learn more about how you can cut costs and save energy with your motor-driven systems, visit the Motor Decisions MatterSM (MDM) Campaign,, which provides free tools and resources that can help get your operations plugged into savings. These resources can also lead to partnerships with your local sales and service center, vendor, electric utility or other energy-efficiency representatives that are well positioned to offer added support. Plug into these programs and start saving today. MT

1. The efficiency program industry is comprised of electric and gas utilities, state energy agencies and other non-utility program administrators, municipal power providers and co-ops. 

2. USDOE, 2008. (

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6:11 pm
July 16, 2012
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Electrical-Safety Sense: Understanding Your Options

Electrical safety boils down to a single objective: Reduce electrical risks. Consider, for example, the fact that a 120VAC outlet is riskier than 13.8KV power distribution equipment. The reason is because many more people are exposed to 120VAC. The Risk Control Hierarchy instructs us on the most effective ways to reduce the probability and severity of such risks.

  • Elimination—Remove all voltage exposure
  • Substitution—Replace high-risk tasks with lower-risk tasks
  • Engineering Controls—Find ways to control electrical energy
  • Awareness—Reveal all sources of electrical energy
  • Administrative Controls—Ensure safe work practice procedures (NFPA 70E, CSA Z462)
  • Personal Protection—Reduce risks of working on live voltage

Keeping people away from live voltage eliminates risk altogether and is the preferred option. Communication ports, mounted on the outside of control panels, allow workers thru-door access to necessary aspects of the panel without taking the sometimes-risky action of opening the panel door. Having the ability to customize communication ports is important because it means every panel can be dressed with this time-saving safety device and no one is left exposed.

Another way to keep people away from live voltages includes permanent electrical safety devices (PESDs). Keeping panel doors closed is vital to electrical safety. With PESDs, workers are able to perform lock-out/tag-out procedures from the safe side of electrical panels, and they do it in just seconds. This means not only are workers safer, but they are more productive with PESDs.   

Personal protective equipment (PPE) has its place and value, but, ironically, according to the Risk Control Hierarchy, it is the least effective at actually protecting workers. In fact, PPE’s sole purpose is keeping workers alive from the effects of an arc flash by minimizing, not eliminating, injuries. Furthermore, PPE does nothing to protect equipment or companies from the damaging aftermath of an arc flash. 

In the grand scheme of things, which option would you rather count on? MT

To learn more about specific recommendations and practices, email the author:


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6:09 pm
July 16, 2012
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Green Gadget: Save Time & Money Troubleshooting Your Fluorescent Lighting Systems

0712gadgetAccording to Milwaukee Tool, its recently introduced Milwaukee® Fluorescent Lighting Tester lets electricians and facility maintenance technicians troubleshoot an entire building full of lights in half the time they’ve typically devoted to the task. Until now, the usual approach has been to “replace and hope” (i.e., change out a lamp or ballast and hope that fixes the problem). The innovative Fluorescent Lighting Tester, part of Milwaukee’s expanding Test and Measurement line, appears to be a real game-changer. With its 2-1/2 ft., fully retractable antenna, users can easily reach all lighting fixtures and, thus, change only those components that actual testing indicates are in need of replacement. Other features include a removable antenna adaptor to increase “flicker” response, audible and visual indicators for easy readings, a built-in LED work light to illuminate dark work spaces and a rugged, over-mold grip for increased durability. 

Milwaukee Tool Corp.
Brookfield, WI

For more info, enter 03 at


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