Archive | June, 2013


7:05 pm
June 19, 2013
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Lubrication Checkup: Lubricant Swaps

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By Ken Bannister, Contributing Editor


“Having implemented an in-house consolidation program, we hope to significantly reduce the number of lubricants that our site stocks and uses. We have a number of greases and gear lubricants of similar viscosity and want to know how to determine their compatibility when switching from one to another.”

The mixing of lubricants—greases or oils—is a major cause of equipment problems. For example, a lubricant containing acidic additives mixed with one containing base or alkaline additives can quickly neutralize the mixed product’s effectiveness and protective ability, and lead to catastrophic lubricant and bearing failure. Similarly, when changing to a new lubricant, depending on compatibility issues, you may or may not be required to flush the old product from the reservoir and bearings with neutral flushing oil prior to filling and using the new one.

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Before proceeding with a lubricant “swap,” ALWAYS consult with the manufacturer of the replacement product to determine if it has already been tested for compatibility with the old product, and if not, would the manufacturer be willing to do so on your behalf. If no information is available or forthcoming, and you’re unable to establish compatibility, you can conduct your own tests, as follows:

  • Taking samples of both oils, blend three mix samples in a 50:50, 90:10 and 10:90 ratio.
  • Send samples to an oil-analysis laboratory and have them tested for filterability, sediment and color/clarity. In addition, have the lab perform a RPVOT (rotating pressure-vessel oxidization test) to determine an oil’s resistance to oxidation, and a storage-stability comparison.
  • For accurate results, the tests should be performed three times and the results normalized.
  • Ask the lab to assist you in determining any cross-contamination risk.

Note: RPVOT testing can be expensive. You could forego this procedure by having the manufacturer of the new lubricant recommend a neutral flushing oil (if you don’t have too many lube changeovers to complete).

When dealing with greases, a similar process is followed: Samples are mixed in  75:25 and 25:75 ratios then sent to the lab to test for consistency, dropping point and shear stability.

Understanding lubricant compatibility before a swap will protect against catastrophic failure due to incompatibility shortly after the changeover. MT

Lube questions? Ask Dr. Lube, aka Ken Bannister, author of the book Lubrication for Industry and the Lubrication section of the 28th edition Machinery’s Handbook. He’s also a Contributing Editor for Maintenance Technology and Lubrication Management & Technology. E-mail:

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7:00 pm
June 19, 2013
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Technology Showcase: MRO Equipment And Supplies

0613techshow1Protective Eyeware For Outdoor Environments

3M’s line of Safety Sunwear combines heavy-duty protection with a sleek look and solid design. Suited for harsh outdoor working environments, these shades feature lenses that absorb 99.9% of UVA and UVB, and meet the requirements for ANSI Z87.1-2010.  Options include foam gaskets, anti-scratch and anti-fog coatings, mirrored lenses, polarized lenses and various frame colors.  With all features considered, the collection contains 10 variations of comfortable protective gear that can double as everyday sunwear.

3M Personal Safety Division
St. Paul, MN

0613techshowgearwrenchScrewdriver Illuminates With LED Lighting

The GearWrench® 2-Position Ratcheting Screwdriver has two LED lights to help illuminate a work area, making it easier to operate in poorly lit spaces. Its 45-tooth ratcheting mechanism with forward, reverse and locked positions quickly tightens and loosens fasteners. A stainless steel collar magnetizes the bit tip to hold fasteners on the tool, which means fewer dropped and lost fasteners. The tool also incorporates 6-bit storage (Phillips #1, #2 and T15, T20, T25 and T127 included) in the handle and a 4.5”-long shaft for easy task access.

Apex Tool Group
Sparks, MD

0613techshowknipexRetaining Ring Pliers For Heavy-Duty Operations

Retaining Ring Pliers from KNIPEX are available in several variations for use on a wide range of retaining ring sizes and styles. Designed for continuous, heavy-duty work, they fit internal and external circlips for a variety of applications. High-density spring-steel tips inserted into the forged body provide strength and longevity, while a large contact surface around the tips helps hold rings in place, virtually eliminating twisting and flyoffs. According to the company, the line lasts up to 10 times longer than turned-tip or stamped-tip designs. They’re available in internal and external styles, with straight or 90-degree angles and in all popular sizes.

Arlington Heights, IL

0613techshowmilwaukeeUtility Knife With Magnetic Blade Storage

Milwaukee Tool’s Fastback II offers the features of the company’s Original Fastback™ Utility Knife, with the addition of magnetic blade storage that folds into the handle. One-handed blade opening makes for easy activation, while a tool-free blade change allows fast and efficient adjustments. The magnetic blade storage feature holds one spare, which keeps the tool’s profile thin and easy to tuck away in the user’s pocket.

Milwaukee Tool Corp.
Brookfield, WI




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6:28 pm
June 19, 2013
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Capacity Assurance Marketplace

0613mplaceaetiProtective Arc-Resistant Switchgear

American Electric Technologies now offers arc-resistant switchgear designed for offshore and onshore applications. Arc flashes can be channeled through venting ducts out of the top of the system away from the operator, or into a safe location with an application-specific exhaust. In addition, AETI offers an arc-mitigation system which can be paired with arc-resistant products to isolate the arc-fault and reduce the incident energy contributed by the source.

American Electric Technologies, Inc.
Houston, TX

Arc Resistant Motor Control Center (MCC) 

According to Schneider Electric, the Model 6 Arc Resistant Motor Control Center with its industry-leading arc-resistant rating of 100 msec, in accordance with IEEE/ANSI C37.20.7, offers a new level of personnel protection. The structure provides arc-resistant Type 2A-rating protection of the front, rear and sides, and comes standard with a full-depth vertical wireway. Engineered to meet UL 845, its design redirects and channels arc energy out of the top of the structure. Features of these new MCCs include self-aligning bucket power stabs and insulated/isolated vertical bus, among others.

Schneider Electric
Palatine, IL

0613mplacewegCast Coil Transformers For Harsh Conditions

WEG Electric’s line of cast coil transformers for commercial and industrial (C&I) markets is designed to work under harsh operating conditions while reducing installation and maintenance costs. A cast resin design allows for higher short-circuit strength and overload capacity, and is safe and environmentally friendly. The transformers are available in ratings through 3,000 kVA with thermal insulation ratings up to class C (428 F). Because the transformers are cast dry type, oil containment is not required.

WEG Electric
Duluth, GA

0613mplacewilliamsonEnsuring Smokeless Flares

The Model FM Flare Monitor for Smokeless Flares from Williamson Corporation, as part of a petrochemical plant’s closed-loop control system, helps prevent smoke before it is produced. The monitor senses the conditions precursory to soot formation, not soot particulates. The output signal typically goes to a proportional-integral-derivative (PID) control system that activates a control valve to modulate the amount of added air or steam as needed, ensuring that there is ample oxygen for the combustion without the need for operator intervention.

Williamson Corp.
Concord, MA

0613mplacecrcWeld-Defects Detection System

CRC’s Weld Check™ System is a three-step system that can help detect weld defects quickly and inexpensively. The process takes minutes to detect cracks; lack of fusion and open cavities in welded parts; cracks and cavities caused by metal fatigue and cutting operations; and more. Weld Check™ Weld Cleaner & Penetrant Remover, Weld Check™ Penetrant and Weld Check™ Developer all come with an S.D.[L.]™, a current Safety Data Label printed on the reverse side of the product label that provides access to safety information.

CRC Industries
Warminster, PA

0613mplacebinmasterFail-Safe Capacitance Probe

BinMaster Level Controls offers a bendable capacitance probe designed to fit in tight spaces or in vessels that prevent the installation of a straight probe. The probe can be used in a wide range of solid materials and slurries. Mounted on the side of the bin, it offers interference-free, fail-safe operation and quick calibration. Other features include a triple-thread, screw-off cover for easy access to internal components and an FDA-recognized powder coat finish.

A division of Garner Industries
Lincoln, NE

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6:21 pm
June 19, 2013
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Viewpoint: Innovation Through Standards Collaboration — Myth Or Reality?

0613viewpointBy Thomas J. Burke, President & Executive Director, OPC Foundation

The landscape is continually changing in automation. The myriad of consumer electronics that are regularly used by the engineers of today and tomorrow have changed how people think with respect to interoperability: Automation is now expected to work right out of the box. This is providing a unique opportunity to challenge suppliers’ motivation and desire with respect to their avoidance tactics in observing industry standards.

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