Author Archive | Jane Alexander


9:45 pm
April 27, 2016
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Honeywell Process Solutions Establishes Digital Transformation Biz

Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 4.21.16 PMHouston-based Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) has announced the establishment of a new Digital Transformation business unit to help end users harness the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and rapidly deploy technologies to better manage and analyze data. The goal is to assist organization in making their operations safer, more reliable, and more efficient than ever.

Andrew Hird has been named vice president and general manager of the new  unit and will report directly to HPS president Vimal K Kapur. Hird most recently served as HPS’s global vice president of sales, where he gained exposure to customers in industries ranging from oil and gas and mining to power generation, and pulp and paper. He has more than 20 years of experience in industries ranging from oil and gas and mining, to power generation and pulp and paper, including 12 years with Honeywell.

Honeywell technologies that help operators prioritize and manage a growing amount of operational data include, among other things, DynAMo alarm and operations management; Industrial Cyber Security Risk Manager; Assurance 360, a multi-year cooperative service arrangement to maintain, support and optimize performance of the corporation’s control systems; and Honeywell Pulse, a mobility app that allows plant managers to easily monitor real-time operations from a smartphone.

HPS’s IIoT solutions utilize Honeywell’s patented software infrastructure that provides a simple method for capturing big industrial data in a secure portal that can be scaled to meet the varied needs of single-site or enterprise-wide operations.

For the refining and petrochemical industries, HPS will leverage the expertise of Honeywell UOP, a leader in inventing and licensing technologies used globally to turn oil and natural gas into transportation fuels and petrochemicals.

For more information on Honeywell Process Solutions, CLICK HERE.


9:05 pm
April 27, 2016
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Condition Monitoring Services Inc. Partners with SMEC to Deliver Complete Asset Management Package

Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 3.45.59 PMCondition Monitoring Services Inc. (Nipomo, CA) has partnered with the Australia’s SMEC consulting group to provide predictive maintenance support for existing and future customers.

Headquartered in Melbourne, SMEC serves a global clientele from more than 75 offices across North and South America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Australia. Its customer base reflects a broad range of industry sectors, including: Transport; Hydropower and Energy; Water and Environment; Urban and Social Development; Resources; and Industrial and Manufacturing.

Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 3.46.24 PMServices offered by CMS include vibration data collection and analysis, infrared inspections, ultrasound surveys, oil sampling and analysis, in-place machine balancing and alignment, motor current analysis, continuous online monitoring systems (including installation), and several PdM training courses to support in-house monitoring programs.

Combining SMEC’s capabilities, which include a dedicated Asset Management function, with CMS’s service offerings, the two companies can deliver a complete package for improving operations performance and asset dependability at end user sites anywhere in the world




8:09 pm
April 27, 2016
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GE’s Rugged GuardEon Global Circuit Breaker Platform with PdM Capabilities Enters Industrial Digital Arena in a Big Way

Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 3.01.43 PMGE’s Industrial Solutions business (Plainville, CT) launched its new GuardEon molded-case circuit breaker (MCCB) this week. According to the company, the smart, reliable, secure GuardEon global breaker platform is designed specifically to meet the tough, real-world challenges of the digital industrial era.

Notable Features and Capabilities

  • Flexible, global platform. GuardEon offers a single, global platform to serve customers across industries and geographies — no matter the application. To meet changing electrical needs, this breaker family consists of four frame sizes with common components, interchangeable accessories, and flexible options for field customization. GuardEon, along with GE’s EntelliGuard air circuit breakers, ArcWatch technology, and trip-unit toolkit software, reflects a key building block of a modern, integrated low-voltage distribution system.
  • Robust, user-friendly design. During the product’s two-year development, GE worked with more than 100 customers across 17 countries as part of an ongoing iterative design process. Many of GuardEon’s simple, yet smart enhancements are a direct result of that end-user feedback, including the product’s rotating faceplate, ergonomic rotary handle, and its streamlined design with fewer internal parts than GE’s previous MCCBs. Through the GE Store, the GuardEon development team was able to draw from the company’s experience in the oil and gas, mining, marine, data-center, and other industrial segments to make informed design decisions and improve user functionality.
  • Predictive maintenance (PdM) tools: GuardEon’s brain, the PremEon trip unit, is offered in a standard version, PremEon S, or advanced PremEon G version. Customers that specify PremEon G will be able to monitor the breaker’s mechanical and electrical health. GuardEon collects and analyzes performance data to help users diagnose problems before they occur and make better-informed decisions about maintenance. The product also allows for remote monitoring and testing from outside the arc flash zone.
  • Advanced safety protection: GuardEon is ArcWatch-enabled to help protect people and equipment. ArcWatch provides a system solution for simultaneous uptime and protection across connected equipment. This is particularly important for mission-critical industries where customers need a “no-compromises” approach to reliability and safety.

For more information, CLICK HERE.


7:01 pm
April 22, 2016
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LUDECA Expands Offerings and Reach through Partnerships with EASY-LASER and SDT Ultrasound Solutions

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 1.29.55 PMLUDECA has announced two new partnerships to improve and diversify its product offerings. The first is an exclusive arrangement with Sweden’s EASY-LASER, to promote and sell next-gen precise, user-friendly laser-alignment systems throughout industry.  The second partnership is with SDT Ultrasound Solutions, to bring proven solutions for for leak and fault detection and optimized bearing lubrication.

According to LUDECA, the two recently announced partnerships mean that the company’s customers can rely on a best-in-class approach to alignment, vibration, ultrasound, and condition monitoring systems built upon decades of industry-leading knowledge, experience and technology.

As the company moves forward with its new offerings, so will its Doral, FL-based Service Center. The facility now calibrates and services EASY-LASER and SDT Products, while continuing to perform NIST traceable calibrations and service for Pruftechnik alignment and vibration products.

In addition to the new EASY-LASER and SDT product lines, LUDECA still sells alignment and condition-monitoring systems by Pruftechnik. It also provides technical support and training for any systems that users purchase from the company, as well as for loaners, equipment rentals, and field-service operations.

As an SMRP- and MSAT-approved provider, all of LUDECA’s 3- and 4-day shaft-alignment and balancing training courses are mapped to the Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals’ Equipment Reliability Body of Knowledge and UPTIME ELEMENTS for continuing education credits.

To view a short video on LUDECA’s expanded product lineup and capabilities, CLICK HERE.



12:39 am
April 12, 2016
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Eaton Launches PredictPulse Power Monitoring Service in U.S.

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 6.05.05 PMEaton (Dublin, Ireland and Raleigh, NC) has announced the U.S. launch of its PredictPulse service. This next-generation remote monitoring and management system collects and analyzes data from connected power infrastructure devices to help reduce the risk of downtime.

Based on extensive customer research and the company’s eNotify monitoring service expertise, the 24/7 PredictPulse remote monitoring service allows information technology (IT) and data center managers to view real-time power diagnostics from a secure online dashboard and mobile application. At the same time, Eaton remotely diagnoses and expedites on-site emergency repairs using a smart dispatch process.

According to the company, it’s keeping things simple by deploying PredictPulse as a cloud-based or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution. The offering is easy to self-install using standard Eaton connectivity cards and can be customized to meet specific end user needs, including changing or deleting devices, adjusting coworker access, and setting escalation preferences. Operators receive monthly email reports that summarize the past 30 days of status, performance, alarms, upcoming maintenance, and personalized energy-savings summaries.

CLICK HERE To See How PredictPulse Works.

Users can view real-time device details, alarms, key performance metrics, service history, and contact information from their online dashboard to remain up-to-speed on the status of their power infrastructure and any trends that develop. The service’s mobile app also shows alarm status, saving valuable time during a critical event where they may be away from their dashboard.

No software is required at the customer site. To avoid security risks, the power devices transmit alarms and data to the cloud using email SMTP.

For more information, CLICK HERE.


8:23 pm
April 11, 2016
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On The Floor: Maintenance-Scheduling Triggers — Part 1

What drives your maintenance scheduling?

What drives your maintenance scheduling?

By Jane Alexander, Managing Editor

When it rains, it pours. At least that’s what happened with April’s Reader Panel questions. They triggered an outpouring of responses—including several extremely detailed ones. In fact, we received so many thoughtful replies that, to fit them in, we’ll need to run them over two months. The questions we asked were:

What triggers our panelists’ maintenance scheduling, or if they are consultants or industry suppliers, that of their client(s) or customer(s)? Sensors? OEM recommendations? Daily walks/PdM tool data? Word of mouth? A combination?

Which approaches work best for them, and why, and vice versa?

Would panelists (or their clients or customers) want to change their current maintenance-scheduling process(es), and could they? If so, what would they do?

As always, we’ve edited this first wave of responses for brevity and clarity.

Maintenance Supervisor, Process Industries, Canada…

We use a combination of approaches. We have maintenance [personnel] and operators that use handheld devices with routes for regular inspections. Data is uploaded and emails are automatically sent out. Benchmark work orders in our CMMS are set to generate area-shut/routine work. We also have completed most of the areas on RCM. There’s still work to do to get PM work orders in the system, but that’s a continuous work in progress.

The handhelds are great if the operators/maintenance guys give us the correct information. The downside is the handhelds typically add to the huge list of emails that not everyone can read and some things fall through the cracks, i.e., minimum manning/new planners, and supervisors’ inexperience. [Other things that work well include] identifying critical assets, looking at types of failures most likely to happen, determining inspection frequency, and then “training the guys out in the field on what to look for.” Training on the sense and meaning of what can go wrong and what that looks like is critical for getting good data to act on.

Currently, work orders that are being generated are “go look at stuff”—they don’t identify or convey what should be getting done. A review of basic PMs needs to be done, as should a site/area audit to look at what is actually being inspected.

[I would recommend] providing some instruction for the operators and maintenance staff on the sense and meaning behind the PM program and ensuring there is feedback with follow-up discussions when reports coming in.

Maintenance Leader, Discrete Manufacturing, Midwest…

Our main scheduling is actually handled by our PM coordinators—who do an outstanding job handling several hundred machines per plant. Each one of our plants has a PM coordinator. If I had to choose a main trigger, it would be sensors. Our Maximo system also sets off triggers if we find an abnormality on a machine. Scheduling is generally [based on] an annual, semi-annual, or quarterly check on the machines. In our departments, we have multiple sets of machines, so we’re really doing one PM after another from cell to cell.

I really can’t say that our system has one approach that works better than the other. The biggest obstacles we run into are machines not being released from production to do the work.

The only thing that will correct that problem in our plants would be to have maintenance departments treated as a separate business and be given priorities when PMs are scheduled. Until then, we will still struggle to hit 100% compliance consistently.

Industry Consultant, Northeast…

To me, a combination of [maintenance-scheduling] triggers is best, but that requires a very dedicated planner who really understands how the world works. The most intelligent approach probably combines some fixed-time replacements, i.e., re-lamping an area or cleaning air handlers in late fall, with data supplied by predictive tools like vibration and infrared scanning.

Vendor recommendations can be a gamble. I know of a large OEM that suggests replacing bearings before they reach their design life, and the company designs around the L10! While reliability pros recognize that type of replacement practice actually reduces the reliability of the product, many of the OEM’s customers think the vendor is always right. (Along those lines, [reliability icon] Charles Latino used to say, “Never have a vendor do your failure analysis unless you have an experienced professional looking over the vendor’s shoulders.”)

There are many very competent vendors, but unless they know exactly how you are using their equipment, how can they do a good job suggesting maintenance procedures.

Sr. Maintenance Mechanic, Process Industries, South…

We use most of these [sensors, OEM recommendations, daily walks/PdM tool data, word of mouth] to some extent. We rely most heavily on PdM tool data for planned repairs with daily walks becoming a distant second. We use OEM recommendations for our newer equipment, but still verify the intervals with PdM tools. I don’t believe you can ever entirely eliminate walk-arounds. The senses that most of us possess, coupled with the desire for zero unplanned shutdowns, are still some of the best diagnostic tools available.

I think any of these methods can be very good, depending on the individual that uses them. PdM tools, in my opinion, are the best trigger available, provided they are in the hands of a trained person with the desire to learn and continue to improve their skills.  Daily walks are also great if done by the right personnel. OEM “recommendations” are just that—and should be used with the backdrop of experience your company has with similar machines.  As I alluded to earlier, I find OEM recommendations are very helpful with our new equipment, with which our experience is very limited.

I think ours [approach to maintenance scheduling] is heading in the right direction: away from time-based and more to condition based with the proper tools and training. I hope we continue to proceed this way.

The only downside I can see is the maintenance of the actual PdM tools. Training for employees, calibration, and repairs of the tools can be expensive and a great temptation to forgo during a tight budget cycle. Once this is done with no immediate consequences, it is very easy to repeat, sending your maintenance program a giant leap backwards. Sometimes “bean counters” don’t understand the value of trending data.

Industry Consultant, West…

Most of my clients use time-based maintenance plans, generated from experience combined with known best practices from other facilities within their companies. One of these clients has attempted to use counters within SAP, but at this point, that has not worked well for them.

All [of my] clients are using predictive techniques, with some success, and most count on the tribal knowledge of the facilities. Most of the technicians with that knowledge are close to retirement, and the knowledge is not being shared well. MT

Editor’s Note: Part 2 in the May issue.

About the MT Reader Panel

The Maintenance Technology Reader Panel includes approximately 100 working industrial-maintenance practitioners and consultants who have volunteered to answer monthly questions prepared by our editorial staff. Panelist identities are not revealed and their responses are not necessarily projectable. Note that our panel welcomes new members. To be considered, email your name and contact information to with “Reader Panel” in the subject line. All panelists are automatically included in an annual cash-prize drawing after one year of active participation.


8:17 pm
April 11, 2016
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My Take: Get Pumped

1014janemytakeBy Jane Alexander, Managing Editor

As mentioned in this column before, editing magazines is my second career. It started almost 17 years ago when I began covering all things related to the industrial-fluid-handling pump market.

Oh, what a big “room” that was! Thrown into it by accident, I soon learned that pumps, after electric motors, were the most purchased industrial items in the world. Pumping systems, i.e., pumps, seals, bearings, motors, controls, instrumentation, and the technologies that kept everything aligned and running as desired, became a major focus for me. As did pump-user workforce issues—something that was also capturing the serious attention of pump-using industries.

For me, the ongoing skilled workforce crisis that Maintenance Technology has been highlighting for the past decade first reared its ugly head in the pump world. Circa 1999, operations were already anguishing over the loss of seasoned pump pros from their ranks. The amount of “tribal knowledge” disappearing with the “old hands” was alarming, given the fact pump operation and maintenance courses typically weren’t a big part of engineering- or vocational-school curricula.

Granted, Dr. Dara Childs and the Texas A&M Univ. (TAMU) Turbomachinery Laboratory, College Station, were trying to keep practical pump education and knowledge transfer alive. The Advisory Board of the TAMU Pump Symposium (now in its 32nd year) was a veritable “Who’s Who” of the greatest living pump experts on the planet. Still, the timing and location of the annual Houston-based Symposium weren’t necessarily the best for all aspiring pump users across North America, and programs sometimes skewed toward the theoretical.

While pump-industry suppliers had always offered various training courses to meet growing demand, other opportunities—often hands-on in nature—began appearing around the country. One example that immediately comes to mind is the long-running Mid-Atlantic Pump Symposium, presented by the Baltimore/Philadelphia-based industrial-equipment distributor Geiger-Smith Koch.

There were other efforts as well, including a number of value-added, non-Houston-based, open training sessions and workshops. That’s how I met one of my favorite pump-training gurus, Sam Buckles, of Eli Lilly and Co., Indianapolis. He and his enormous working-pump rig appeared on my radar screen in one of the first such workshops I attended—and I continued to see him using the equipment to train new generations of pump users throughout industry (much like he did at Eli Lilly) several times thereafter.

Although Sam has retired, I understand his well-traveled pump-training equipment is still in service. I was delighted to learn of this at the 2016 Univ. of Tennessee Maintenance & Reliability Conference (MARCON) in Knoxville. That’s where I met an amazing woman named Rendela Wenzel.

As an Indianapolis-based consultant engineer in Eli Lilly’s Global Plant Engineering, Maintenance, and Reliability organization, Rendela has done—and continues to do—many interesting things. Among them, she implemented pump training courses for the masses at Eli Lilly, and now drives the company’s global pump, vacuum-pump, mechanical-seal, and basic and advanced lubrication-fundamentals training programs. Accordingly, she has become the keeper of Sam Buckles’ training rig. Having gotten to know her, I’m confident this equipment and the associated training programs, like everything else that she manages for Eli Lilly, are in good hands. To learn why, turn to page 17. 

Rendela Wenzel is the subject of this month’s “Voice from the Field” profile by contributing editor, Michelle Segrest (another veteran of the pump arena, BTW). My take is that you’ll be just as impressed with this industry “Voice” as we are.

On a related note, speaking of pumping systems and amazing women, check out April’s special “Reliable Pumping Section” that Michelle Segrest also produced. Beginning here and focusing on oil and gas matters, it’s the first in a series of sections on various pumping applications that we’ll run this year. Stay tuned. MT


3:39 am
April 11, 2016
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Loadability Studies Aid PRC-025-1 Compliance

Regulatory requirements governing Bulk Electric System (BES) power-generation owners and operators are expected to significantly increase the volume of work related to analyzing, implementing, and testing protective relays at sites.

Regulatory requirements governing Bulk Electric System (BES) power-generation owners and operators are expected to significantly increase the volume of work related to analyzing, implementing, and testing protective relays at sites.

While Bulk Electric System power-generation facilities have until 2019 to conform to the PRC-025-1 standard, early adopters can begin capturing a range of benefits now.

By Jane Alexander, Managing Editor

In August 2003, an electric power blackout across the northeast United States and Ontario, Canada, affected an estimated 50 million people. Analysis of this and other major disturbances over the past 25 years has revealed generators tripped for conditions that did not pose a direct risk to those units and associated equipment.

As a result, the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC), Atlanta, created the PRC-025-1 Generator Relay Loadability Standard. According to Steve Nollette, supervising engineer for Emerson Network Power’s Electrical Reliability Services, Columbus, OH, the intent of the standard is to increase grid stability during system disturbances by reducing unnecessary tripping of generators or the number of “misoperations” caused by incorrect settings, logic, or design errors.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Washington, has launched a campaign designed to reduce misoperations by 25%, including implementation of standardized setting methodologies such as PRC-025-1, which is currently enforceable.

Bulk Electric System (BES) generation facilities, according to the NERC definition, are required to conform to PRC-025-1 by October 2019. Nollette explained that, while this seems like ample time, facilities should begin planning a loadability study now to reap the following benefits associated with early adoption and, thus, avoid the costly consequences of delay or noncompliance.

Better access to engineering resources. As regulatory requirements governing operations continue to change, single generation sites that operate with limited engineering resources may need assistance from external or outsourced resources such as contractors, who can perform the highly technical tasks needed to meet the new regulatory requirements. While multi-site generation entities often already utilize an engineering team specializing in matters pertaining to NERC compliance, they may also need assistance due to the volume of work related to analyzing, implementing, and testing all of their protective relays.

“The economic laws of supply and demand dictate that, as a deadline approaches and more generation plants rush to seek out contract assistance, the available supply of contractors and engineering firms will dwindle,” Nollette said. “This translates into higher costs and potentially lower quality. Early adopters will have access to greater engineering resources at lower costs.”

Less business interruption. For generation sites that have completed a system assessment and require changes to the load-sensitive protective relay settings, implementation and testing will need to be scheduled, requiring a maintenance outage. When a loadability study is performed earlier, there is a greater ability to schedule the implementation and testing during a planned outage rather than having to schedule a separate maintenance outage. Nollette explained that planned outages are typically part of a forecast and budget while unplanned maintenance outages typically incur additional unexpected costs and are disruptive to normal operations.

More time for special cases. In some instances, an existing relay system may not be capable of using the settings required by NERC PRC-025-1. In these special cases, the deadline for compliance is extended by two years to allow retrofit of the existing protective-relay system. As Nollette pointed out, this is a significant engineering effort that is best performed carefully, with sufficient time and resources. Early adopters will have the benefit of adequate time to plan, budget, engineer, remove, install, and test the new protective relays.

Planning, executing loadability studies

The complexity and amount of effort required to perform a generator loadability study, according to PRC-025-1, can vary widely depending upon system design, configuration, age, and documentation. Generation facilities should already be developing plans of action to meet the compliance deadline.

Start by determining if outside engineering help is needed. It’s likely that most generator owners (GOs) and generator operators (GOPs) already understand the make-up of their technical resources. Determining if external resources are needed to supplement compliance efforts could be as simple as not having enough staff for the number of facilities requiring assessment.

Determine the scope of your study. “Most engineers, facing PRC-025-1 compliance considerations for the first time, will need to exert significant time and effort to learn the new standard and how it applies to their site,” Nollette said. “To determine the scope of their efforts, GOs and GOPs need to evaluate which of their protective relays require analysis and how close they are to compliance.”

The first step in determining the scope is to gather generation-unit data, which will be used throughout the assessment process. Collecting this basic generation-unit information will provide a preview for the amount of work that will be needed. 

Nollette stated that required information can be found in the following documents: one-line drawings, three-line drawings, protective relay settings, relay test reports, and component nameplates.


Fig. 1. Typical synchronous generator protective-relay system. To help with determining how the standard applies to a given plant, the PRC-025-1 application guidelines illustrate a comprehensive protective relay scheme for a generation unit.

To help with determining how the standard applies to a given plant, the PRC-025-1 application guidelines illustrate a comprehensive protective-relay scheme for a generation unit. However, not all relays illustrated will necessarily exist in every system (see Fig. 1).

Once the generation system protective relays have been sorted into the appropriate options, as seen in Fig. 1, the remaining necessary information is gathered to assess each protective relay’s compliance. This information is also found within the documentation initially gathered for the generation unit data.

Table I. Comparison of Option A to Software Simulation

Table I. Comparison of Option A to Software Simulation

Understand the options available for compliance. NERC PRC-025-1 provides multiple options for setting load-responsive protective relays, as outlined in Attachment 1, Table I of the application guidelines. Each relay may have as many as three options available. Option A is the simplest to apply, but generally results in a less-accurate assessment. Software simulation, referred to as either Option B or Option C in the application guidelines, is more accurate because it models the machine’s reactive-power capability using field forcing simulations.

Compare nameplate data and relay settings with the PRC-025-1 standard to determine compliance. GOs must determine whether or not protective relays within the generation unit meet compliance requirements. The process of comparing as-found settings with the standard will require relay-specific information such as instrument transformer ratios and protective-relay pickup and/or tap values.

Start assessment process early and allot enough time for corrective actions. Whether determining the reactive power rating through conservative calculation (Option A) or through software simulation, corrective actions will likely need to be taken. Actions will include scheduling an outage for the implementation, testing, and documentation of the relay setting changes—all of which can take significant time to complete.

“No matter which compliance option is chosen, any changes to the existing settings should be carefully reviewed by the original-equipment manufacturer (OEM) and the protection engineers who are responsible for upstream coordination, prior to implementation,” Nollette said.

Compile all information to complete the demonstration report. A thorough report for generator loadability will contain all information that was gathered during the assessment phase, supportive calculations from PRC-025-1 application guidelines, results from the software simulations (if performed), and documentation of any corrective actions and testing.

According to Nollette, assimilating reporting characteristics that make the auditing process efficient will contribute to a successful audit with the Electrical Reliability Organization (ERO). Reporting methods that support a searchable document, a linked table of contents, bookmarking, and embedded links to supporting documentation should be an integral part of the demonstration report, Nollette explained.

Achieving NERC PRC-025-1 compliance requires a concerted effort. GOs or GOPs will need to rely heavily on either internal or external engineering
resources, especially when moving beyond the conservative calculations used in Option A to more-accurate software simulations. While these simulations take more time to execute, they ultimately require fewer setting changes for better protection. Nollette concluded that a well-executed compliance plan rewards generating entities with a protected and more stable system and grid.

Steve Nollette is a supervising engineer for Emerson Network Power, Electrical Reliability Services, Columbus, OH. He has more than 20 years of experience performing and managing electrical testing, maintenance, and engineering services.

EDITOR’S NOTE: To help facilities streamline the loadability study process, Emerson’s Electrical Reliability Services team has created a tool that automates the process of comparing settings with standard requirements. Download it at For additional assistance, email or visit