Archive | May, 2014


5:43 pm
May 28, 2014
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Rejuvenation Process Gives New Life to Aging Industrial Power Cables


According to Novinium, its environmentally friendly Sustained Pressure Rejuvenation (SPR) technology can restore aging power cables to like-new performance for significantly less than it would cost to replace them. Cable rejuvenation involves the injection of a healing and upgrading fluid into the strands of medium-voltage power cable to repair and extend its life. In the SPR process, as the non-flammable rejuvenation fluid migrates into the conductor shield and insulation, it modifies the insulation’s chemistry.

For a 300 ft.-long, 3-phase cable segment, one crew using hand-carried equipment can typically complete the SPR procedure in approximately four hours, including sealing the six cable ends, injecting the fluid and installing new termination kits. Sites can expect the dielectric strength of their treated power cables to increase immediately and exceed 400 volts/mil within seven days.

Novinium notes that circuit owners have rejuvenated 140 million feet of medium-voltage cables over the past 25 years, and that less than 1% of the this equipment subsequently failed in service. The company offers a 40-year money-back warranty against failures on cables treated with its SPR process.


3:23 pm
May 28, 2014
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Vibration-Monitoring Solutions In the Field

Two examples of how vibration monitoring saved time and money in heavy industrial settings.

New portable and online-monitoring systems help extend the value of vibration monitoring into the heaviest of industrial operations. Here’s a look at how users avoided serious motor failure in mining and detected a critical bearing failure in paper-pulp production by using the right vibration products at the right moment.

Case study #1:

A Phosphate mine is garnering big returns by monitoring numerous pieces of processing equipment with online solutions from Ludeca, Inc. The mills use several low-cost VIBNODE online systems. The VIBNODE is a comprehensive entry-level online monitoring system that allows the end-user to access customized spectrums and time waveforms from a remote location. The system will notify the end-user via email or text message when the vibration level exceeds an alarm band.

The new monitoring system has helped the mine’s vibration group catch several problems with a newly rebuilt drive motor. The waveform showed a fuzzy amplitude modulation that increased and decreased with every RPM. A look at the acceleration spectrum indicated a large amount of high-frequency noise well over 1g. Upon inspection, several internal retaining bolts were found to be backing out and contacting the frame of the motor rotor. The bolts were tightened to torque specifications, which was believed to have solved the problem. A week later, however, the problem reemerged as the bolts had once again backed out and began to rub. The bolts were again torqued to specification, but this time with an application of threadlocker, which held the bolts in place.

Had this problem not been identified by the fuzzy waveform and a high-frequency acceleration band alarm from the VIBNODE system, the errant bolts would have quickly eaten into the motor rotor and caused a catastrophic motor failure. The motor rebuild or replacement is valued at well over $100,000. And losses to production would have been many more times this amount.

Case study #2:

Low-speed equipment turning below 40 RPM is often difficult to analyze because of the low energy it produces. If there is not much energy, there is often not much to see. For this reason, the dynamic range of a vibration analyzer/data collector and its signal-processing quality become critical for low-speed machine analysis. Recently, a pulp mill using a VIBXPERT analyzer from Ludeca took a spectrum and time waveform on a slow-speed 35 RPM roll. The VIBXPERT is a portable, lightweight, 2-channel, FFT data collector/vibration analyzer for monitoring and diagnosis of machine conditions. As a data collector, VIBXPERT records all forms of machine vibrations, bearing conditions, process data and visual-inspection information.

Because of the dynamic range of the VIBXPERT, the mill’s maintenance technicians were able to see a repeating pattern in the time waveform. The recurring pattern was present for every RPM, and would increase slightly, then disappear for about three-quarters of the roll’s revolution. A delta cursor was placed on the repeating pattern and the source frequency was 420 CPM. This worked out to be the frequency of the inner race. A 25,000-line spectrum was also collected with a bandwidth of 7.5 CPM per line of resolution. The amplitude was very low below 0.0008 inches per second, yet a definite harmonic pattern appeared. The main harmonic pattern was at 420 CPM, with each peak having another underlying pattern of 35 CPM sidebands. The frequencies represented the inner race and roll RPM. Had this data been taken using a conventional spectrum with a resolution of 6400 lines or even 12,800 lines, this low-frequency/low-energy event would have looked like a spectrum ski slope and been ignored.

Upon removal of the bearing, a crack in the inner race was plainly visible. There was evidence the inner race had begun to walk around the shaft. If the bearing had been left in service it would have damaged the shaft and required that both the shaft and bearing be replaced. Instead, only a minimal two-hour shutdown was required to replace the bearing. Thanks to early detection, the cost of replacing a roll was averted, as well as saving the eight or more hours of lost production that a roll replacement would have required.

For more information about the techniques and products mentioned above, visit


3:21 pm
May 28, 2014
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Vibration Monitoring: More Affordable Options, But Analysis Makes it Work

Vibration monitoring is finding wider use through the growing range of smart, affordable mobile devices, but accurate analysis remains a key factor for success.

rick_carter_thumbBy  Rick Carter, Executive Editor

See or hear a piece of rotating equipment vibrate abnormally, and the solution is obvious: shut it down, find the cause and fix it. In the pre-electronic era, this is all there was to vibration detection—just what human eyes and ears could detect.

When electronic sensors arrived, plant personnel could routinely monitor equipment vibrations and get a valuable perspective of potential failure trends before oddities became evident on the equipment. Now, wireless is expanding in-plant and remote-site opportunities for vibration monitoring, but brings a level of complexity its condition-monitoring cousins like infrared and ultrasound do not.

“The acquisition of vibration data is pretty much done the same as we’ve always done it,” says Trent Phillips, Condition Monitoring Manager at Ludeca, Inc., in Doral, FL, “but the data transmission aspect is more tricky. Transmission of process-related data over a distance usually requires short bursts of simple numbers and can be done very fast. With vibration monitoring, if you limit your data transmission to just overall values, it’s similar to temperature data: simple numbers. To do real vibration monitoring and analysis, you have to transmit the spectrum and the waveform. In that respect, we’re talking thousands of numbers that must be transmitted for every sample taken. Those numbers have to be transmitted error-free, so from that perspective, it gets more complicated.”

And as more equipment—both more types and in more locations—is monitored remotely for vibration, more benchmark data is needed. So is the specific background of each piece of equipment, according to Phillips. “In Europe, more than in the U.S., they rely on ISO values to determine what’s an alarm and what’s not,” he says. And while standards can be helpful, Phillips says he has “found that you have to let the machine tell you based on its own rate of change. That’s where you’ll really learn about the severity of a situation.” Machines are like people, he adds, noting that “one may be able to vibrate at a high level, which is normal for that machine. The machine next to it, however, may fail if the vibration reaches only 20% of that level. So you have to look at all machines differently, and you have to look for the rate of increase and how it is trending. That’s how a good analyst will determine severity of a problem.”

More ‘feet on the street’

Phillips and others note that while wireless opens the doors to more vibration monitoring, mobile units, in turn, expand the ranks of personnel available to obtain the data. “Everyone wants to become more mobile,” says Scott Brady, the Applications, Training and Documentation Manager for SKF USA’s Condition Monitoring Center in San Diego, CA. “This is the same trend we had moving from desktops to laptops to make the office worker more mobile. Now we’re looking at how to make the plant worker mobile, so we have people who didn’t necessarily take vibration readings [before]. We have more ‘feet on the street,’ you might say. It’s no longer just up to the vibration guy.” Operators and others in close proximity to the machines can now gather that data with wireless mobile devices. “We’re making it easier to get that data,” he says, “and as the age-wave hits, as well as for companies who are trying to save money and not hire when some retire, they can still be gathering this information.”

The lower price points of most mobile units remove yet one more barrier to bringing this technology into the plant. “A lot of these techniques have not been adopted in the past because of the high cost of the equipment and the training,” says John Bernet, Mechanical Application Specialist at Fluke Corp., in Everett, WA. “The trend today, which has been coming a long time, is to find a way to make proactive maintenance like vibration testing, thermography and others more attractive to the smaller and mid-sized companies.” The mobile tools Fluke and others offer are not only “less expensive than some that have been on the market for the last 30 years,” says Bernet, “they’re easier to use,” an important factor when placing the tools in less-experienced hands. And because many handheld vibration testers come pre-programmed to analyze vibration spectra, “training can also be short,” says Bernet. “Within a few hours they can be using it, and that information can be linked wirelessly over the Internet. It’s much easier to sign off on.”

Phillips adds that with non-maintenance personnel doing more monitoring, “the analyst will have more time to do machine assessments, which is where the real savings  come in. This is when you find out what’s causing things to fail, you drive out the failure modes and you truly become more reliable.”

Keep your analyst happy

Getting there, of  course, still hinges on an analyst’s ability to understand and interpret accumulated data. Phillips says there’s no substitute for experience, education and getting certified in the field. “It also takes a certain personality trait,” he says. “They have to be very proficient and detail-focused, and be passionate about what they do because—and this is true if you’re using any of the condition-monitoring technologies—most analysts will tell you they get rejected a lot. Management is looking to understand why, and they’ll usually come back to the vibration analyst and say, ‘Why didn’t you tell us?’ So you have to have your documentation to be able to show that you did tell them.”

But even this process is undergoing simplification. “Our customers are looking more for red/yellow/greens and go/no-go indications,” says Phillips. “They want the equipment to give them that sort of traffic light. I would argue the technology for this is still not quite there, but it’s much closer.”

SKF’s Brady points to the growing use of systems that “will send you an e-mail alert to your phone if you have a moderate outer-race bearing defect or if you have a severe misalignment problem” as examples of the trend toward simplification. “Today, this information comes from the office computer,” he adds, “but I see this moving closer and closer to the person out near the machine. This could be wireless or it could be intelligence embedded in the machines themselves.”

In five or 10 years, predicts Bernet, “We’ll have even more smaller and faster tools, and eventually each machine will have its own sensor. We’ll still need walkaround tools,” he says, “but its going to be more localized. So you’ll have wireless sensors all over a plant, and you’re going to have that information going to smartphones and the cloud, and 80% is going to be done at the machine instead of in an office. Think of your car,” he adds. “It has vibration sensors all over it, so why can’t we put those vibration and temperature sensors on other types of rotating machinery? Because it has been so hard to get to a lot of machinery, we’ve been limiting ourselves to the top 5% or 10% of the machines that are the most production-critical. As we start using smart tools,” he says, “we can encompass 80% of the plant, maybe even 90% or more.”


9:54 pm
May 27, 2014
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Industry Veteran Vimal Kapur Named President of Honeywell Process Solutions

Vimal Kapur has been named President of Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS), a Honeywell business that supplies automation control, instrumentation and services to process manufacturers in industries such as oil and gas, refining, pulp and paper, petrochemicals, 052714HoneywellVimalK_Blue BG metals, minerals and mining.

A near-30-year veteran of the process automation industry, Kapur has been with Honeywell for more than 25 years. During that time, he’s served in a number of key strategic business positions within the company, including as Vice President of Global Marketing and Strategy for HPS and as Managing Director for Honeywell Automation India Limited (HAIL). Prior to this new appointment, Kapur was Vice President/General manager of the Advanced Solutions line of business for HPS.

Kapur graduated from Thapar Institute of Engineering in Patiala, India, as an electronics engineer with a specialization in instrumentation. Six Sigma certified for DMAIC and Growth, he will be based in Houston, TX.


8:44 pm
May 27, 2014
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Several KLOZURE Bearing Isolators Receive Upgraded IP Ratings

Garlock052714Klozure has announced that several products in its KLOZURE line of bearing isolators have received upgraded ingress protection (IP) ratings from the National Electrical Manufacturers Association’s NEMA MG-1 2009 Part 5 specification. The GUARDIAN, MICRO-TEC II, SGI and EnDuro have been upgraded from IP55 and IP56 sealing ratings to IP65 and IP66 sealing ratings, confirming their suitability for use in applications where no liquid or dust ingress is permitted.

IP ratings signify contaminant protection levels. While IP5x products can effectively protect equipment against dust, sealing products with an IP6x rating ensure zero dust intrusion. IP65-rated seals protect against dust and forced water intrusion, whereas IP66-rated seals protect against dust, increasingly powerful water jets and heavy seas.

Testing services for the IP65 and IP66 ratings were performed by a third-party evaluation group.


7:54 pm
May 27, 2014
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Safer, Faster, Easier Flange Maintenance

052714EqualizerAccording to Equalizer USA,  its patented flange-spreading tools can be used with all flange-joint types, even those with no access gaps between them. The company says its new Equalizer SWi product range can make activities associated with flange maintenance in a plant safer, more efficient and more cost-effective than in the past.

Products in the SWI line are shorter and lighter than previous models and offer a 60% more spreading force and almost 30% more spreading-distance. Molded revolving handles, revolving safety lanyards and the absence of finger-pinch points enhance usability. Simpliefied disassembly and reassembly of these spreaders translates into easier maintenance of the tools themselves. The SWI range includes three different models:

  • Mechanically operated, the  SWi12/14TM (shown) is capable of exerting 14Tons of Spreading Force.
  • The SWi20/25TE is hydraulically operated by a separate hand pump and capable of exerting 24Tons of Spreading Force.
  • Featuring an integral hydraulic pump,  the SWi20/25TI is capable of exerting 24Tons of Spreading Force.





7:34 pm
May 26, 2014
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Wireless Machine Condition Sensor for Hazardous Duty

New Machine-Condition-Sensor

SKF ( has launched a new Wireless Machine Condition Sensor that leverages WirelessHART protocol to deliver dynamic vibration and temperature data for condition monitoring and diagnostics. The product has ATEX Zone 0 certification, which means it is appropriate for use in hazardous environments like those found in petrochemical and oil and gas operations, among others. The product combines both sensor and router node into one compact and battery-operated unit the size of a typical industrial accelerometer.

According to SKF, these sensors communicate with each other and with a wireless gateway, thus creating a mesh network that’s well suited for monitoring rotating machinery across large sites, in hard-to-reach locations or where traditional WiFi communications won’t work. Capabilities include relaying data from one node to another and back to the gateway, and receiving automated commands from SKF-supplied Wireless Sensor Device Manager software.

If a node is unable to receive signals directly from the WirelessHART gateway, it sends and receives them through a nearby node that can pass the data to and from the gateway. The WirelessHART gateway communicates with the Device Manager software and automatically exports collected data into SKF @ptitude Analyst, a diagnostic and analytic software tool that helps plant personnel determine a course of action.

Because SKF’s Wireless Machine Condition Sensors run in a low-power-consumption mode, the manufacturer says their batteries can last for years in the field.



3:42 pm
May 22, 2014
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Sonic Resonance Cleans Pipes and Process Equipment

AIMM 0522_homeAccording to AIMM Technologies (AIMM), its Hydrokinetics cleaning technology can clean what’s typically been considered “un-cleanable” interiors of piping, tubes, lines and process equipment in plastics, chemical, refining, offshore and other facilities. Based on the induction of “sonic resonance” into a cleaning water stream, Hydrokinetics has been shown to be capable of doing with a hydroblasting, lancing, drilling and baking acidizing can’t.

The sonic resonance travels through the water stream and safely transfers to both the tube and the fouling material. Because of the different compositions of the tube and the fouling material, they resonate at different frequencies, breaking the bond between them and allowing the fouling to be expelled easily and safely. Hydrokinetics uses less water than traditional clearing methods. For pyrophoric and chemical instability applications, it’s possible to use fluid media other than water. Because the equipment is compact, AIMM can quickly dispatch a unit and technician to sites anywhere in the world.