Author Archive | Maintenance Technology


8:05 pm
October 19, 2016
Print Friendly

Day Two At SMRP 2016 With Maintenance Technology’s Editors


Contributing editor Michelle Segrest and editorial director Gary L. Parr return for a second day of extensive SMRP conference coverage. This record-setting conference has been filled with excellent presentations, enthusiastic attendees, and a large number of exhibitors ready to help reliability and maintenance professionals solve problems and move their operations to the world of reliability. Listen to Michelle and Gary discuss the second day of SMRP 2016 here:


Our coverage today also includes several interviews with exhibitors; an interview with Marc Cote, SMRP presenter and our November Voice from the Field; numerous attendees sharing what they have learned at the conference; a brief chat with Rebekah Wojac, president of Maintenance Excellence Roundtable; and an exchange with Maintenance Technology columnist Klaus Blache about his Univ. of Tennessee Reliability and Maintainability Center. If you weren’t able to attend this year’s SMRP Conference, we hope that the our coverage of the show, today and yesterday, will help you experience at least a small amount of what this annual event for reliability and maintenance professionals has to offer.

Marc Cote is Director of Maintenance and Engineering at C.B. Fleet Laboratories. He was the presenter of a training session on “Performance Metrics That Matter” at the 24th Annual SMRP Convention in Jacksonville, FL. During his presentation, Cote demonstrated best practices for managing and training people, materials management, workload management, and asset reliability. He showed how identifying key performance indicators and measuring them effectively can enhance any reliability program. This exclusive video interview highlights some of the main takeaways from his presentation. You can read more about Cote and his maintenance and reliability success in Maintenance Technology’s “Voice from the Field” feature in the November issue.

Editorial director Gary L. Parr interviews Klaus Blache, director of the Reliability & Maintainability Center at the Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville. Klaus talks about the center’s various programs, what it offers to students at three levels, and the various events they offer in conjunction with the program. For more information, contact him at

Editorial director Gary L. Parr interviews Rebekah Wojak, president of the Maintenance Excellence Roundtable, to learn about that organization, its activities, and its efforts to increase membership.


9:20 pm
October 18, 2016
Print Friendly

Day One At SMRP 2016 With Maintenance Technology’s Editors


Editorial director Gary L. Parr and contributing editor Michelle Segrest are attending the 2016 version of the SMRP conference. This year is the largest conference in SMRP’s history.


Listen to the above podcast Gary and Michelle recorded about the sessions they’ve attended, view some short video interviews with attendees in which they describe the hurdles they confront, and stream video interviews with a variety of exhibitors. We hope you enjoy the coverage and encourage you to visit tomorrow to learn more about what’s going on at the conference.


6:43 pm
October 15, 2016
Print Friendly

Hands-On Training Takes Center Stage at Geiger Mid-Atlantic Pump & Process Equipment Symposium XI


geiger-symposium-logoCan you say “beehive of activity?” That’s what 830 Tryens Rd., in Aston, PA was like on Thurs., Oct. 6. 2016. It’s where 300+ industry professionals, representing more than 100 end-user organizations and leading suppliers, gathered for the Geiger Mid-Atlantic Pump & Process Equipment Symposium XI.

Maintenance Technology’s managing editor Jane Alexander and contributing editor Michelle Segrest were on the ground with the large crowd that included personnel from operations such as Dow, DuPont, D.C. Water, GAF, DELCORA, Air Liquide, Exelon, the U.S. Coast Guard, Kinder Morgan, American Sugar Refining, The Hershey Co., Perdue, Buckeye Partners LP, Chemours, Westway Group, Johns Manville, and Veolia Water; and vendors such as ITT Goulds Pumps, Viking Pump, Weir Specialty Pumps, Blacoh Surge Control, John Crane, Westech, and Verder.

logoPresented every two years by well-known industrial distributor Geiger Pump & Equipment (, which has facilities in Aston and Baltimore, these popular day-long events feature a full slate of pump and process-equipment training (much of it hands-on); product displays; and plenty of food, drink, and networking. The 2016 installment didn’t disappoint.


This special issue of Maintenance Technology was distributed to all attendees at the symposium. You can download a pdf version here.

From the start of this symposium series through this year, these free Geiger events have always attracted a wide range of attendees from end-user sites across the region. One of the biggest draws is the practical, expert-led, hands-on training that they incorporate. It’s an effective workforce-development and refresher model that’s very much needed, but not available everywhere. As an example, Geiger president Henry Peck and his team point to having trained more than 2,000 (unique individual) pump and process-equipment pros in this manner—just since 2004. Some individuals and teams, though, have returned more than once.

Classes at Symposium XI included hands-on exploration of pumping-system optimization, centrifugal pump maintenance, and installation and maintenance of mechanical seals. The breakdown on attendees included the fact that:

  • nearly 75% were first-timers
  • roughly 2/3 were from Industry, and 1/3 from municipalities or related consulting-engineer groups
  • more than 50% had 10+ years experience in their field
  • 67% were in plant operations and maintenance
  • almost 25% were in either plant process or consulting engineering.

To learn more about the day’s activities and also pick up some helpful equipment-maintenance tips, check out the videos and photos on this page.

Hands-on was the key learning tool at the Geiger Mid-Atlantic Pump & Process Equipment Symposium XI, held Oct. 6, 2016 in Aston, PA. Above are several images of attendees in action during the day. Images provided by Craig Fuller.


2:28 pm
October 12, 2016
Print Friendly

Steady Pumping Equals Creamy Ice Cream

Ice cream mixes raise the requirements for volumetrically consistent pumping technology.

Faced with new recipes that were taxing the efficiency of the centrifugal pumps used in its manufacturing process, Ysco, a producer of private-label ice cream, knew that it needed a better pumping solution. With the help of engineering assistant Krist Levrouw (pictured), the company found a solution with the SLS Series eccentric-disc pump from Mouvex.

Faced with new recipes that were taxing the efficiency of the centrifugal pumps used in its manufacturing process, Ysco, a producer of private-label ice cream, knew that it needed a better pumping solution. With the help of engineering assistant Krist Levrouw (pictured), the company found a solution with the SLS Series eccentric-disc pump from Mouvex.

By Sueli Roel Backes, Mouvex and PSG

Most people are familiar with the 1920s novelty song titled “Ice Cream,” with its instantly recognizable refrain: “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.” All these years later, consumers still scream for their favorite dessert choice.

There is, however, screaming that is not desirable when it comes to discussing ice cream. These are the howls of frustration that can be heard coming from ice cream manufacturers who are confronted with an underperforming production process that is adversely affecting expected high product quality. Specifically, an inconsistency of flow rate, pressure, and speed when transferring mixes during production could result in the formation of ice crystals that are too large, which compromises the end product’s taste, visual appeal, and creamy sensation.

Ice cream production is actually a relatively straightforward process. An ingredient mix is pumped through a pipeline to a double-wall tube or tunnel freezer that is chilled by liquid ammonia to –22 F (–30 C). Inside the freezer, a slow-turning agitator, or scraper, forces the mix outward, where it briefly touches the frozen outer wall before it is turned back inward. This is when the ice crystals, which eventually become ice cream, are formed.

To achieve the required taste and expected creamy “mouth feel,” the ice cream mix can only spend a highly regulated amount of time in contact with the freezer’s outer wall. This is why the transfer flow and pressure have to be so accurate.

“If, during the transfer to the ice cream freezer, the flow is pulsating, then the time the mix spends on the wall isn’t under control,” explained Peter Van de Sompel, manager, Bellux for Spin Pompen, an Assen, The Netherlands-based specialized distributor of pumps and related equipment for use in the food, beverage, and pharmaceutical industries.

“When the flow is constant and optimized to the freezer requirement, then the ice cream coming out of there will have ice crystals that are impossible to detect by the eye and impossible to taste. It should be like a cream and solid at the same time, that’s what makes good ice cream.”

Achieving proper production within the freezer was once relatively easy. That has changed over the years, however, as ice cream has evolved from traditional compositions, such as vanilla, chocolate, and Neapolitan, to much more complicated recipes that can include flavors, nuts, and chunks of fruit or candy.

Not only does the SLS Series pump offer the standard features for which Mouvex eccentric-disc pumps have long been recognized, but the design has helped it earn approval from EC 1935/2004, along with 3A, FDA, and EHEDG, for use in food-processing applications.

Not only does the SLS Series pump offer the standard features for which Mouvex eccentric-disc pumps have long been recognized, but the design has helped it earn approval from EC 1935/2004, along with 3A, FDA, and EHEDG, for use in food-processing applications.

Mix makeup and viscosity

The combination of a strict manufacturing process and a change in the makeup and viscosity of the ice cream mixes has brought into question the effectiveness of the pumping technology that has been traditionally used in ice cream manufacture, namely centrifugal pumps.

“The ice cream freezer is very sensitive. It has to be fed with continuous pressure, which has to be maintained in a very narrow range,” said Van de Sompel. “That’s why the centrifugal pump was a good solution. But with higher viscosity you need a volumetric pump with a very stable flow that can be regulated in a very linear way. If you look at that, you need a pump with an equal flow and a 1:1 ratio of flow to speed.”

One company that has mastered the production of ice cream over the years is Ysco, Langemark, Belgium, which, since 1949, has been a major player in the production of private-label ice cream products for retail chains. From its production facilities in Langemark and Argentan, France, Ysco annually produces 41.2 million gallons (174 million liters) of ice cream in the form of 0.26 to 1.3-gallon (1- to 5-liter) tubs, cones, molded and extruded sticks, cakes, and small cups. That volume resulted in sales of more than $244 million (245 million euros) in 2015.

Ysco is part of Milcobel cvba, Kallo, Belgium, a farming cooperative that was formed in 2004 with the merger of BZU Melkaanvoer and Belgomilk. Today the cooperative collects, processes, and commercializes milk from 2,800 dairy farms, and is becoming Belgium’s largest dairy group. Ysco’s ice cream production accounts for 22% of Milcobel’s annual production volume.

The changes in ice cream recipes, however, were beginning to hamper Ysco’s ability to reliably produce finished products that met its demands and those of its customers. Namely, the higher-mix viscosities were incompatible with the operational capabilities of the centrifugal pumps being used to transfer the mix from the preparation vessels, through the pipelines, and into the ice-cream freezers.

That prompted Krist Levrouw, an engineering assistant who has been employed at the Langemark facility for 26 years, to initiate a search for a better pumping solution. “The classic centrifugal pump solution does not work properly with mixes in excess of 500 cP, often as high as 2,500 cP,” said Levrouw. “Under these circumstances, centrifugal pumps are unable to generate the pressure required to transfer the mix and feed the freezer properly. As a result, you can’t empty the vessels completely and you have too much waste.”

Flavor of the day

Some years ago, Ysco’s Argentan facility had begun using C Series eccentric-disc pumps from Mouvex, Auxerre, France, a product brand of PSG, a Dover company, Oakbrook Terrace, IL, USA, for its liquid-transfer operations. In talking to his colleagues at the Argentan plant, Levrouw learned of the success they had been experiencing with the Mouvex pumps, and reached out to Spin Pompen to see if they could suggest a solution for his needs.

“Of course, we knew that the Mouvex technology would solve his problem, which was covering the distance between the tanks and the ice cream generator in a controlled way, with constant flow and no pressure peaks, so that the product characteristics were respected,” added Van de Sompel.

The challenge was considerable because of the layout of the Langemark facility. The supply tanks are located unusually far from the ice cream freezers—720 ft. (220 m)— and that distance was putting additional strain on the centrifugal pumps. “If you’re pumping ice cream over 220 meters you don’t want pulsation, which will cause pressure peaks, which is not very beneficial for the generation of ice cream,” said Van de Sompel.

Addressing these operational challenges, Van de Sompel recommended to Levrouw the seal-less Mouvex SLS Series eccentric-disc pump. SLS Series pumps have been designed specifically for operation in food-and-beverage manufacturing applications. The seal-less design is ideal for hygienic applications because it reduces the risk of product contamination and leaks while avoiding messy spills, waste, and product spoilage.

The stainless-steel pumps feature a design that incorporates a double-wall bellows and pressure-switch monitoring. By mounting the pressure switch on the bellows flange, the bellows become an independent sub-assembly within the pump, resulting in easier and safer operation. The design has helped the SLS pumps get the required certifications from EC 1935/2004, 3A, FDA, and EHEDG, for use in food-processing applications. Because the pump has only two wear parts, maintenance is easy and can be performed while the pump is online.

Along with these advancements, the SLS Series pumps offer benefits for which Mouvex eccentric-disc pumps have long been recognized, including low shear rate, very low pulsation, very low slip, self-priming and dry-run capabilities, exceptional volumetric consistency, repeatability, and clean-in-place (CIP) capability.

“The reality for ice cream manufacturers is that one day they have ice cream mix as milk, then the next day they might have ice cream as thick as 500 cP, up to 2,500 cP,” said Van de Sompel. “The Mouvex pump shows very limited variation in flow rate under varying conditions of pressure and viscosity.”

“The pump is idiot proof, which is very important since we are running 24 hours and everyone has to handle it,” said Levrouw. “If the pump is too difficult to clean and maintain, then it’s a problem. It will be destroyed in a short time. Every step is complicated, but the Mouvex pump makes life easier. No stress.” RP

Sueli Roel Backes is with the Food & Beverage division of Moulvex, PSG. U.S. headquarters are in Oakbrook Terrace, IL. Backes can be reached at


2:20 pm
October 12, 2016
Print Friendly

Food-and-Beverage Pump Quick Facts

All pumps in food-and-beverage processing applications should meet the minimum Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Washington, requirements for materials of construction ( Depending on the application, process use, and local plant sanitary guidelines, pumps may also have to meet 3-A Sanitary Standards (McLean, VA, approval. On this page is a collection of facts and source information related to food-and-beverage pumping.

Food & Beverage Pumps Toolbox

This list contains the basic tools needed to maintain food-and-beverage processing pumps:

  • backstops
  • motor thermostats
  • run-dry and dead-head protection
  • detailed equipment specifications (one size does not fit all)
  • temperature gauges
  • electronic thermometer
  • variable-frequency drives
  • variable-speed drives
  • sprag (to ensure proper rotation)
  • tachometer
  • inductive tachometer
  • tape for shafts with reflective strip to read temperatures
  • cleaning chemicals.

Hygiene & Safety Standards

The hygiene and safety standards in the food-and-beverage industry have risen sharply in recent years. Pumps are used in almost all product processes and need to meet increased requirements for:

  • gentle handling, cleaning, and sterilization
  • absolute hygiene in all processes
  • operational safety, ease of maintenance.


3-A Sanitary Standards

3-A SSI, McLean, VA, is an independent, not-for-profit corporation dedicated to advancing hygienic equipment design for the food, beverage, and pharmaceutical industries. It represents the interests of regulatory sanitarians, equipment fabricators, and processors, three stakeholder groups with a common commitment to promoting food safety and the public health.

Today, 3-A SSI is an independent corporation dedicated to education and promoting food safety through hygienic equipment design in the rapidly changing food, beverage, and pharmaceutical industries.



The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the most sweeping reform of food-safety laws in more than 70 years, was signed into law by President Barack Obama on January 4, 2011. It aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it.

The public-health imperative:

  • Foodborne illness affects 48 million (1 in 6) Americans each year, hospitalizing 128,000 and killing 3,000.
  • Immune-compromised individuals (infants and children, pregnant women, elderly, those on chemotherapy) are most susceptible.
  • Foodborne illness is not just a stomach ache. It can cause life-long chronic disease, such as arthritis and kidney failure.

Why the law was needed:

  • Globalization has resulted in importing 15% of the U.S. food supply.
  • The food supply is more high-tech and complex with more foods in the marketplace and the introduction of previously unseen hazards.
  • About 30% of the population is especially at risk for foodborne illness.

Impact of the law

  • Creates a new food-safety system
  • Broadens the prevention mandate and accountability
  • Installs a new system of import oversight
  • Emphasizes partnerships
  • Emphasizes farm-to-table responsibility.


Food-and-Beverage Pumps Market

In a recent report, Transparency Market Research (TMR), Albany, NY, estimates that the size of the global positive-displacement (PD) sanitary pumps market was $4.55 billion in 2015. TMR expects the market to expand at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 10.1% from 2016 to 2024 and rise to a valuation of $10.65 billion by 2024. In terms of the varieties of rotary PD sanitary pumps available in the market, gear pumps accounted for more than 32% of 2015 market revenues in 2015.

(Source here.)


The European Hygienic Engineering & Design Group (, Frankfurt, Germany, is a consortium of equipment manufacturers, food industries, research institutes, and public health authorities, headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany. It was founded in 1989 to promote hygiene during the processing and packing of food products by improving hygienic engineering and design in all aspects of food manufacture.


6:46 pm
October 11, 2016
Print Friendly

Keeping Maintenance Scheduling on Track

Create a revision code in SAP to mark the jobs that need to be completed each week.

Create a revision code in SAP to mark the jobs that need to be completed each week.

By Kristina Gordon, DuPont

The maintenance scheduler plays a critical role in any maintenance organization. This individual coordinates the production requirements with maintenance and engineering activities. The scheduler makes sure equipment is available to meet production demands, in a way that optimizes total business cost (production downtime, maintenance cost, MRO inventory cost).

It is very difficult to keep a schedule on track when you have shutdowns, material availability issues, and line breaks happening on a daily basis. The following Q&A may help make possible what many say is impossible.

Q: How far out should I be scheduling work?

A : Industry standard says you should have a maintenance work schedule completed four weeks out. Those schedules should have your jobs loaded at 100% for week one, 80% for week two, 60% for week three, and 30% for week four. This leaves room for critical jobs that must be moved around on your schedule or emergency situations, allowing you to stay on target.

randmQ: When I pull my backlog of work up in SAP, how can I mark the jobs I want to work on each week?

A: Creating a revision code in SAP is a very simple way to mark the jobs that need to be completed each week. Transaction OIOB will allow you to create the revision. Before you begin, you should create a naming convention for your revisions.

In this example, the revision that would be applied to the work order would be WWU-WK01. The second part is the description of the revision. The start and end date will be used by the system as the dates during which the work is allowed to be performed. That time is confirmed in the system.

Q: How do I make sure that I am scheduling my PSM (process-safety management) critical work first?

A: In SAP, PSM Critical Equipment can be marked with a permit. Permits are configured and can denote several different types of equipment such as PSM critical and ISO9000. Work can be found by searching for a PSM permit. You can also use characteristics to mark this type of work.  It is important to note however, that every PSM-critical piece of equipment may not always be placed on work orders or maintenance plans that are PSM critical. It is possible to complete non-PSM jobs on PSM equipment.

Q: How do I know when the planners have completed the planning process and the job can be put on the weekly schedule?

A: One way to accomplish this is to use user status’s. These are configured to meet your business needs, but can indicate that such tasks are completed, such as the job walk down completed, identifying other work streams that need to include planning hours, such as scaffold or insulators, and when all materials have been received and/or kitted. Once the user status indicates that the tasks are completed and ready to schedule, the scheduler can then place the job on the weekly schedule.


In the September 2016 installment of this column, the answer to the last question was cut off. Below is the question and the entire answer.

Q: If I have created a task list and need to move it to my work order, how can I do it without copying and pasting every line?

A: In the tool bar at the top of the page in IW32, click on Extra>Task List Selection>Direct Entry.  In the pop-up box you will be asked to click the radio button next to functional location task list, equipment task list, or general task list. Enter the group and group counter of the task list you would like to import. Click the check mark and the task list imports into the operation tab of the work order. MT

Kristina Gordon is SAP Program Consultant at the DuPont, Sabine River Works plant in West Orange, TX. If you have SAP questions, send them to and we’ll forward them to Kristina.


6:34 pm
October 11, 2016
Print Friendly

Keep MDRs Rolling

1610rmcpowertransMotorized-drive roller (MDR) conveyors have come a long way since being introduced to material-handling industries. The days of loud, clunky systems that were complicated to set up and run are gone. Modern MDRs are quiet, energy efficient, and simple to operate. According to Ray Kozlowski, director of service and support for Milwaukee-based Hilmot (, these systems are also easy to maintain.

Today’s MDRs are designed to keep pace with manufacturing and distribution centers that operate around the clock—sites that can’t afford critical conveyors to go down, for any length of time. Such situations are less of a worry where proper inspections and preventive maintenance (PM) procedures are regularly performed.

As with other systems, the key to keeping MDRs up and running is preventing problems from occurring or catching them before they become major issues. The right way to do this, Kozlowski stated, is to establish an inspection and maintenance schedule that coincides with PM checks of other machinery in your facility. He offers the following tips.

randmInspect these items weekly (at a minimum).
The rubber O-bands that loop between MDR rollers are common wear items. (They’re what move the rollers and propel packages and other items along the conveyor.) Much like tires on a car, O-bands deteriorate and occasionally need to be replaced. Visually inspect them for signs of wear, cracks, frays, or loss of elasticity.

Inspect other mechanical components to make sure everything is tight, in place, and serviceable. These inspections should include:

  • checking MDR roller speeds, and readjusting as needed
  • checking strip and full-width belts on belted-zone conveyors for proper tension and tracking, and adjusting as needed
  • checking divert pins, timing belts, and hardware, and replacing as needed
  • checking support legs and guard rail for stability
  • checking end plates, divert mechanisms, and carrier rollers.

Inspect the MDR electrical system to make sure components are clean and free of dust. These inspections should include:

  • checking drive cards for proper function
  • checking photo eyes, and adjusting beam path as needed
  • checking that system LED lights are green, not red
  • removing covers on power-supply enclosures and blowing clean air through them to remove dust and debris.

Manage parts and tools to minimize downtime.
It’s a good idea to keep a bench stock of common replacement parts. In addition to O-bands, consider stocking electrical components, since it can be difficult to predict when they might fail. Typical items include:

  • drive cards
  • power supplies
  • motorized rollers
  • photo eyes.

A basic set of tools will suffice when performing preventive maintenance on MDRs. Your tool set should include:

  • 3/8-in. drive ratchet and sockets
  • matching wrench set
  • standard flat-tip and Phillips screwdrivers
  • terminal screwdrivers
  • wire stripper
  • channel-lock pliers.

Stay abreast of best practices.
To aid in the inspection and maintenance process, some MDR manufacturers offer instructional how-to videos on YouTube and elsewhere. They can be an important resource for your plant. After all, adhering to best-practice inspection standards and catching (and dealing with) issues before they become bigger problems is an effective approach to keeping your MDR conveyor—and facility—rolling along. MT

—Jane Alexander, Managing Editor

For more information on motorized and conventional conveyor systems, including questions about their maintenance, visit or email