Archive | June, 2016


9:30 am
June 30, 2016
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Vibration Monitoring Keeps Aviation Fuel Flowing

Wireless solution increases reliability, safety, and efficiency within a critical transportation operation.

Busy airports require a dependable fuel supply. In this situation, wireless vibration monitoring makes it possible for a fuel-supply company to achieve reliability goals and keep planes in the air.

Busy airports require a dependable fuel supply. In this situation, wireless vibration monitoring makes it possible for a fuel-supply company to achieve reliability goals and keep planes in the air.

At busy airports around the world, the ability to provide a constant, reliable supply of aviation fuel is key. For one major international airport, this responsibility falls to a single fuel-services provider. It stores all aviation fuel transferred to the airport and is the facility’s only fuel-receiving terminal.

Because fuel services are so crucial, the organization’s primary goal is to ensure that the operation stays up and running 24/7/365. At the same time, the plant needs to operate as an efficient business, meaning it is essential to run with minimum manpower.

A case in point

In 2015, the fuel-services company decided to expand and improve its automation system. This move would increase safety, reduce downtime, and free-up time for operators and engineers to focus on other mission-critical tasks. The organization found a solution in Emerson’s AMS asset-management software, coupled with the manufacturer’s CSI 9420 wireless vibration transmitter, both produced by Emerson Process Management, Austin, TX (

The facility manages four fuel-transfer pumps—two of which are running at any given time. Their location and function makes these units notoriously difficult to monitor. Also, due to the heavy workload and ambient temperatures that can exceed 100 F, the pump bearings frequently fail.

Ensuring a steady fuel supply is a primary objective for the world’s busy airports. Automation is helping one aviation-fuel services provider do just that while creating a safe, efficient maintenance environment within its operations.

Ensuring a steady fuel supply is a primary objective for the world’s busy airports. Automation is helping one aviation-fuel services provider do just that while creating a safe, efficient maintenance environment within its operations.

Operators needed a solution that collected more information without increasing the cost or man hours. The solution was wireless vibration monitors, which, in turn, have helped create a safe, efficient maintenance environment.


Although the fuel-service pumps had been monitored for many years, the costs and complexity of running cabling made continuous monitoring out of the question. Before implementing wireless vibration monitors, the plant had to monitor the pumping system through motor and bearing temperature profiles and the intermittent use of handheld vibration monitors. This process presented several problems.

Operators were only able to record intermittent vibration values for the pumps, making it difficult to see true trending. The effort required significant time and did not provide constant monitoring. In the case of an intermittent impact or similar event, it was possible for operators to miss important data.

Wireless monitors offer plants the reliability of continuous monitoring without the added expense of miles of cabling.

Wireless monitors offer plants the reliability of continuous monitoring without the added expense of miles of cabling.

Collected vibration data were entered into a complicated spreadsheet. The problem with such an approach is that even the most robust spreadsheet has significant limitations in its ability to track trends and processes—and provides no predictive-maintenance data whatsoever. Furthermore, while detecting mechanical problems was relatively easy, it was much harder to detect problems that came from process mistakes. That’s because the spreadsheet couldn’t provide an accurate timeline for comparison.

Although personnel could react to events they saw happening, there was little data to show what exactly was going on—which, ultimately, led to the need for more operator and engineer hours to evaluate detected problems and determine a solution. The commitment to operating with a limited staff made it essential that the company reclaim these man hours as quickly as possible.

Problems solved

Implementing wireless vibration monitors, along with a predictive-maintenance software application, dramatically changed this fuel-service provider’s processes. Having pump vibration constantly monitored means that the organization can feel confident personnel will quickly be made aware of any change in function.

In short, operators know that a bearing is heading for failure long before the problem results in process upset. This type of predictive-maintenance capability is vital, as servicing a pump means taking it offline for approximately two months to have it repaired by the manufacturer.

Because the fuel-service facility can’t afford any downtime, the ability to predict pump problems provides peace of mind by allowing personnel to schedule maintenance, not act out of desperation.

Wireless pump monitoring has also increased operator safety. With remote capture of vibration readings, plant personnel have less contact with running machinery than they did when manually recording vibration values. Less contact with the running machines translates to fewer opportunities for accidents that might result in injury.

Moving from recording machine-health data on a spreadsheet to the automatic recording of those data in an asset-management application has been one of the most significant improvements in the operation’s processes.

The asset-management software allows the organization to observe trends in equipment health that simply could not be tracked through a spreadsheet. Alarms are now raised with any abnormal situation and operators are equipped with the tools they need to make decisions quickly. MT

Payoff From Understanding What Could Happen

Managing equipment through an asset-management application allows an organization to better understand what is happening and what could happen on the plant floor. In the case of the aviation-fuel-services company, having vibration and temperature data continuously tracked, stored, and analyzed in the asset-management software lets the plant’s operations and maintenance teams build a timeline around events. This ability is particularly important when a change in process is the catalyst for hardware failures.

Because the software can show exactly when a problem arises, the plant can compare the data with maintenance logs to see if a process change occurred at the same time. In turn, management can rest easy regarding deployed process changes, i.e., know that, regardless of how seemingly insignificant, such changes will always pose a low risk to operations.

On the plant floor, engineers see the most benefit from the plant-wide automation-system enhancement, as they can now spend their time on operational matters instead of pouring over spreadsheets, tracking temperature and vibration data for maintenance. The front-end operators are also relieved that they have reduced their equipment checking time.

Wireless vibration monitors provide the fuel-services people with the flexibility to move toward a holistic machinery-health-management plan. Plant management can feel confident that detailed pump health information is always available and no unexpected shutdowns are lurking around the corner. Management also gains peace of mind that safety is improved, as maintenance teams have fewer reasons to be working around dangerous equipment.

For more information, visit Emerson Process Management at


9:00 am
June 29, 2016
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Connector/Polyurethane Belting System

Eagle SureConnect connector/polyurethane belting system is said to allow lines to be repaired and returned to service in approximately five minutes. The system uses a flexible connector and matching polyurethane belting. Two belt ends are joined together by a threaded connector to provide a strong, consistent connection. Welding is not needed. According to the company, the system has received rigorous flex fatigue, tensile strength, and elasticity testing to ensure performance in any standard welded-belt application.

Fenner Drives
Manheim, PA


12:57 am
June 29, 2016
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Schneider Electric StruxureOn Service Monitors Data Centers 24/7/365

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 6.43.57 PMSchneider Electric, Andover, MA has introduced StruxureOn, a digital service that connects data center physical infrastructure assets to the Schneider Electric cloud, thus enabling the delivery of simplified and faster services.

According to the company, by leveraging real-time visibility into system performance, maintenance, and service requirements by way of a mobile app, StruxureOn’s data-driven analytics can advise of potential failures of critical equipment long before they occur and, in turn, improve the ability to service that equipment. Capabilities include:

As part of the new digital service, Schneider Electric’s Service Bureau experts are available 24/7/365 to remotely troubleshoot issues or, for situations that can’t be addressed remotely, dispatch field-service personnel to help quickly solve problems and minimize downtime. Additional capabilities, among others, include:

  • Mobile access to live data.The StruxureOn app provides an instant overview of sensor data and alarms.
  • Faster break-fix resolution time. Apersonalized regular report provides managers with an overview of batteries and UPS units within recommended lifespan and those nearing recommended age for replacing. They can also get an overview of alarms, incidents, connected assets, and an overall score of how your data center is running based on statistics and critical asset KPIs connected to benchmark other data centers.
  • Improved cyber security. A cyber-secure connection provides improved security for infrastructure devices, and machine data forms the basis of operational insights and analytics, aimed at reducing equipment maintenance costs.
  • Team chat collaboration. Managers can collaborate through chat with internal teams and Schneider Electric experts for quick resolution of a problem. Incidents are automatically created and tracked, providing easy access to real-time incident status, chat and history.

Currently available in North America, StruxureOn is expected to roll out globally on a phased basis toward the end of 2016 and into 2017. For more information, CLICK HERE.


Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 7.13.24 PMEDITOR’S NOTE: Schneider Electric’s introduction of the new StruxureOn Digital Service for Data Centers follows closely on the heels of the company’s recent release of its Galaxy VX, a compact, highly efficient, feature-rich, three-phase uninterruptible power supply (UPS).

The latest addition to the manufacturer’s Galaxy V power-protection lineup, the easily deployed Galaxy VX seamlessly integrates into the electrical, physical and monitoring environments of large-to-hyperscale data centers, industrial operations, and other facilities. Its three efficiency-optimizing operating modes include:

  • Double Conversion Mode, which reduces switching losses using a four-level conversion technology. The reduced switching stress offers greater reliability and reduction in failure rate.
  • Eco Mode, a traditional economy mode that delivers up to 99% efficiency.
  • ECOnversion Mode, a hybrid between Eco Mode and Double Conversion Mode. ECOnversion delivers double conversion performance with up to 99% efficiency. 

The Galaxy VX UPS is available in North America through Schneider Electric and its partners. For more information on the Galaxy V portfolio of power-protection solutions, CLICK HERE.


11:29 pm
June 28, 2016
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Analytics Drive Energy Costs Down

“Listen to your Machines and Find Real Savings with Energy Analytics” was one of the first presentations offered at the Siemens 2016 Automation Summit, held June 27 to 30 in Las Vegas. The core of Stephan Ihmels’ presentation was a case history involving a discrete-manufacturing facility in the Chicago area.

Ihmels is business-development manager, Plant Data Services, Siemens Industry Inc. Digital Factory division, Alpharetta, GA.

Management at the Chicago manufacturer was looking to reduce costs. Their goal was a 10% reduction in energy costs, while improving efficiency and productivity. They also wanted to realize a payback of less than 2 yr. and to be able to allocate energy use to different departments.

They decided to reach their goals by using the Siemens Energy Analytics Platinum package, a subscription software and analysis service that carried, for this application, a $3,000/month fee. The service offers custom online dashboards, analytics, and diagnostic support. The payoff is delivery of specific energy-reduction actions and implementation consulting and coaching from Siemens experts.

The system too some planning and setup, but it started making a difference the first month. An analysis of the manufacturer’s compressed-air system showed that 36% of the air consumption was caused by leaks (an ideal level is less than 10%). Tackling that problem resulted in a $16,900 savings the first year.

Electricity monitoring indicated that 14.4% of electricity was consumed during non-productive hours. Now that that is straightened out, they are realizing $45,000 in annual savings.

Overall, they had no problem reaching their 10% utility-reduction goal and have realized an annual energy savings of $70,000. Their ROI for the project was less than a year, way ahead of their 2-yr. goal.

When implementing a system such as this, Ihmel recommended that you focus your initial efforts on applications/processes where savings will be achieved quickly. Also, make full use of the extensive data and reporting generated by the system by making sure the web dashboard is viewed, shared, and analyzed by everyone involved, including management.–Gary L. Parr, editorial director

Learn more about the Siemens Energy Analytics service at


6:17 pm
June 28, 2016
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Harley-Davidson’s IIoT Retrofit for Predictive Maintenance

160728harleydavidHarley-Davidson has enjoyed a resurgence over the last 20+ years and one of the reasons has been high-quality, motor bike production. A recent Wall Stree Journal article provided an interesting overview on how companies are moving to predictive maintenance — Industrial Internet of Things — but have relatively new equipment in the factory.  In the article, Mike Fisher, gm at Harley-Davidson’s York, PA manufacturing plant said replacing new machinery with smart technology, such as sensors and better connectivity, wasn’t an option due to equipment being only ten years old.

The challenge for Harley-Davidson, once they decided to add predictive monitoring, was choosing the right sensor technology:

“Making sure you have the right ones can be difficult,” says Fisher, because sensors aren’t made with the particulars of each machine in mind. Often plant managers can’t tell which sensor will most accurately collect the date they want from a machine without a series of test runs–a time-consuming process.”

Fisher also mentioned installation wasn’t easy, either, and instructed that integration work be done by experienced engineers — 3rd party services — for proper calibration. Fisher added that the sensors need to “be placed on or integrated into the equipment so they collect the intended data—not vibrations from an adjacent machine or heat from another motor.”

The article goes on to discuss sensor costs and wired versus wireless, a great read by a mainstream media outlet.

Read the full story here >>


1601Iot_logo>> Click here to find more applications, white papers and developments surrounding the Industrial Internet of Things. 



12:10 pm
June 28, 2016
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Should You Fear Cloud Storage?

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 11.53.51 AMPutting company data on a server in an unknown location tends to simply scare people. But cloud data storage is here, it’s not going away and, for most, will be the primary way they store and exchange company information at just about all levels. Should you fear cloud data storage? To answer that question, we turned to Hannelore Fineman, executive vice president and partner, at cloud-based CMMS provider eMaint, Bonita Springs, FL, (, to provide some insight into the benefits of cloud data storage and help all of us calm our nervous systems.

While the following items speak positively about cloud-service capabilities, using a cloud service does not necessarily absolve you of responsibility for your data. Hackers sit up all night trying to crack servers. You need to take every step possible to stop them, particularly if they can shut down your manufacturing system.

For a more technical view of cloud-based security, read the two articles from Infoworld, linked at the bottom of this page. For general cyber security information, be sure to read “Do Employees Make Your Network Vulnerable” on p. 27 of this issue.

Also, consider viewing these items as questions to ask of your provider. In other words, treat this information as a checklist. If the provider you’re considering keeps coming up short, caveat emptor. —Gary L. Parr, editorial director

Security in the cloud and physical-data environment
Cloud data environments are constructed inside secure data centers that are protected using keycard and biometric scanning protocols, as well as round-the-clock interior and exterior surveillance monitoring. Duplicates of all production hardware are reserved and stored onsite to ensure availability of replacement parts in the event of a hardware failure. By storing data in these protected data centers, organizations are able to implement security controls that are economically unachievable with typical in-house, on-premise deployments.

Application and operational security protocols
To ensure application security, cloud-based software providers offer considerable advanced functionality, including role-based access, strong encryption, robust password policies, application-only access, and IP-address restrictions. Stringent round-the-clock monitoring tools, controls, and policies are also employed.

Disaster-recovery and network and infrastructure security solutions
Businesses enjoy reduced risk with enterprise-class data-management processes and policies. Disaster-recovery policies and high-performance infrastructure offer the peace of mind of knowing that data are completely replicated, backed-up daily, and available whenever needed.

Reduced IT department burden
Because software and hardware don’t have to be purchased, installed, or maintained, cloud-based data storage reduces the burden on IT departments or negates the need to hire IT personnel. Updates and upgrades are installed automatically, enabling users to enjoy access to the latest version of the solution with no installation required.

Improved collaboration and mobility
Because cloud-based systems are “hosted” and readily accessible anywhere from any Internet-connected device, they allow improved real-time collaboration and mobility. For example, a technician can update a work order in a cloud-based CMMS using a mobile device, and that information is then reflected across the account and made available to other users. Often, clients who migrate to a cloud-based solution experience enhanced communications between members of maintenance teams, production, operations, and senior management. The technology also allows organizations with multiple locations to share best practices, benchmark performance, and better manage standard operating procedures across the enterprise. MT

Learn More

“The Dirty Dozen: 12 Cloud Security Threats,” Infoworld

“7 Ways to Supercharge Your Personal Cloud Storage,” Infoworld

For more information about cloud-based CMMS software, visit


11:55 am
June 28, 2016
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My Motor Failed. Now What?

 By Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 11.53.51 AMMike Howell, Electrical Apparatus Service Association (EASA)

PROCESS DOWNTIME is expensive—even more so when it’s unexpected. So, when an electric motor fails, we tend to pull, repair, or replace it, and move on as quickly as possible. In doing so, however, we may miss an opportunity to capture basic information that could help improve the reliability of the application. With a little planning, these data can be gathered with no delay in startup.

Collect initial data. Develop a simple, standard procedure that a “trained” operator can use to jot down or check off some basic information about the process at the time of failure. In special applications or cases of chronic failure, photos could be extremely helpful.

Don’t destroy two motors. Startup procedures vary widely, depending on factors such as application and equipment size. Have appropriate measures in place so that, following a failure, you can rule out problems with the power supply or starting equipment before attempting to start a replacement motor.

This sleeve bearing motor, with a drive-end bearing failure and bent shaft, arrived at a service center without its sheave, and with very little information. Bearing wear was presumed to be the cause of failure. After the motor was returned to service with a new shaft and new sleeve bearings, it failed in less than an hour. A simple photo of the motor following the initial failure would have correctly identified the cause—excessive overhung load for the sleeve bearing—and a motor with rolling-element bearings could have been installed to prevent a second failure.

This sleeve bearing motor, with a drive-end bearing failure and bent shaft, arrived at a service center without its sheave, and with very little information. Bearing wear was presumed to be the cause of failure. After the motor was returned to service with a new shaft and new sleeve bearings, it failed in less than an hour. A simple photo of the motor following the initial failure would have correctly identified the cause—excessive overhung load for the sleeve bearing—and a motor with rolling-element bearings could have been installed to prevent a second failure.

Help your service center. Sometimes, the cause of failure seems so obvious that, with too little information, we jump to the wrong conclusion. Furthermore, we may only discover our error when the repaired motor or its replacement quickly fails. The more application and failure details that you can share with service-center personnel, the easier it will be for them to help identify and eliminate the actual problem and provide a reliable repair for the application. With most applications, much of the documentation can be done long before a failure occurs. Such details can make all the difference when the service center performs causal analysis. Examples of data that can be recorded in advance include:

  • Complete motor nameplate information
  • Power supply information: sinewave/non-sinewave power (ASD/VFD), known transients, voltage variation, voltage unbalance, starting method
  • Environment: indoors/outdoors, ambient temperature, humidity, contamination
  • Mounting and coupling: direct coupled, belt drive, integral mounted, overhung load, mounted vertically
  • Application information: pump, blower, conveyor, crusher, inertia/starting torque requirements, acceleration time, duty cycle, typical loading.

Once a failure occurs, combine this general information about the application with specifics about the failure event, including any available photos. This approach will get your service center off to a good start in accurately determining the cause of your motor’s failure and preventing another one. MT

Mike Howell is a technical support specialist at the Electrical Apparatus Service Association (EASA), St. Louis. For more information, visit