Author Archive | Maintenance Technology


7:46 pm
February 10, 2017
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SAP Tips and Tricks: Assign HR Mini Masters to Work Centers

randmBy Kristina Gordon, DuPont

Tracking the hours that each maintenance employee spends on a job is essential to understanding the total cost and reliability of your equipment. An SAP HR Mini Master is primarily used for work-order time confirmation. Mini Masters are set up for everyone in your maintenance organization, then assigned to a work center. The resulting data will show you the work-center capacity down to the employee level. MT

Q: How do I create an HR Mini Master?

A :  Set up transaction PA30:

1. Click on the create icon. 1702rmcsap07p
2. Enter start date.
3. Select time recording (HR Mini Master).
4. Enter position type.
5. Enter plant code.
6. Click the save button.
7. Create Personal Data Screen appears. Enter employee name.
8. Click save.

You have now created an HR Mini Master.

Q: When do you assign an HR Mini Master to a work center?

A: HR Mini Masters are assigned to a work center when you want to schedule work at the individual level charge time to work orders using time confirmations for internal employees and contractors.

Q: How do I assign an HR Mini Master to a work center?

A: Use the following transaction IR02 steps:

Step 1

Step 1

Step 2

Step 2

Step 3

Step 3

Step 4

Step 4

Step 5

Step 5

Step 6

Step 6

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.


6:39 pm
February 10, 2017
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Infrared Inspections Of Installed Motors

By Jim Seffrin, Infraspection Institute

randmDespite the important role they play in facilities, electric motors often tend to be out of sight and out of mind—until they fail. Infrared thermography can be a cost-effective diagnostic tool for detecting problems within these systems.

Many infrared (IR) inspection programs focus on motor control circuits, but overlook the actual motors. Infrared inspections of a motor’s bearings and stator should be performed monthly by an experienced, certified IR thermographer that thoroughly understands the theory and operation of electric motors.

Here are the basic steps for performing this type of inspection:

1. Inspect motor casing for localized hotspots that may be indicative of short circuits within motor windings.

2. Qualitatively compare individual motors to similar motors under similar load.

3. When possible, qualitatively compare inboard and outboard bearings for each motor. If a large Delta T is present, it may be indicative of misalignment or a rotor balance problem. If both bearings are hot, the bearings may be worn or improperly lubricated.

4. Additionally, a thermographic inspection of the electrical connections within the motor junction box should be performed annually. This may be done in conjunction with a regularly scheduled IR inspection of the facility’s electrical system.

Because no complicated analysis is required, infrared inspections typically can be performed rapidly and at a fraction of the cost of other types of motor testing. Infrared can also detect evidence of misalignment at lower thresholds than those detectable by vibration analysis and motor-current signature analysis. MT

Words to the Wise: Stick to Facts

0217rmcinfraWhen used as a preventive/predictive maintenance tool, infrared (IR) thermography can detect and document evidence of thermal patterns and temperatures across the surface of an object. The presence of inexplicable thermal anomalies or exceptions is often indicative of incipient failures within inspected systems and structures. Because thermography alone can’t determine the cause of an exception, other diagnostic tools must be employed.

Some thermographers, however, provide opinions as to the cause of exceptions without the benefit of confirming test information. Such opinions are frequently accompanied by elaborate recommendations for repair. When those observations/recommendations are incorrect, they can cause repair efforts to be misdirected.

Unless a thermographer has performed, or has access to, confirming tests, it’s unwise to provide opinions regarding the cause of exceptions and offer suggestions for repair. Lacking confirming test data, a prudent thermographer should make only one recommendation: “Investigate and take appropriate action.”

This simple recommendation can be applied to any thermographic inspection and serves to avoid unnecessary liability by eliminating guesses and sticking to facts.

— J.S.

Jim Seffrin, a practicing thermographer with 30+ years of experience in the field, was appointed to the position of Director of Infraspection Institute, Burlington, NJ, in 2000. This article is based on one of his “Tip of the Week” posts on For more information on infrared applications, as well details on upcoming training and certification opportunities, email or visit


9:45 pm
January 13, 2017
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Use Catalog Profiles, Failure Codes to Analyze Assets

By Kristina Gordon, DuPont

randmDetermining why an asset failed during production is a critical function, not only for general reporting, but to measure asset costs and make informed decisions about future use. The SAP system provides an effective means of documenting the key aspects of damages, causes, tasks, and activities. Catalog profiles are used to group attributes together and allow maintenance personnel to document asset failure in the maintenance notification.

Q: What defect codes exist in the SAP catalog profile and how do you turn them on?

A :  Catalog profiles are created based on a company’s general business practices. Each company will have its own standards and naming convention and they should be followed in this setup to maintain consistency and avoid confusion.

The SAP catalog structure goes from catalog to code group to code. Each of these must be set up in the IMG (implementation guide), which is a SAP configuration. A catalog profile should be created such that it describes the equipment at a level that helps identify the possible failures associated with its particular equipment group.

Once the catalog and failure codes are configured, they are assigned to equipment masters. This will connect a catalog profile and corresponding damage or failure code to a specific equipment type, and then allow the proper failure code to be selected and added to the notification for that asset, as seen in the example below.


As shown in the equipment-master screen (next column), the equipment description is R/V, with some identifying characteristics (identification number 531503, in this case). The catalog profile (bottom of the screen) states the profile number with the description “Valve, Safety Relief.”


In the work-order notification generated for the equipment above, the object part goes into a more granular description of the catalog profile, “Disk”.


Finally, the failure code for the damage can be selected. In this example, the inspection produced a “Worn” result.

SAP includes the following key transactions for viewing failure-analysis results:

• MCI5: Damages, based on damage, cause, and activity

• IW67: List of tasks completed for the damages

• IW69: List of items with damage, cause, and other catalog details

• IW65: List of activities with damage, cause, and other catalog details.

Knowing the failure rate can optimize PM intervals and improve failure response and work practices. 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.


9:35 pm
January 13, 2017
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Ramp Up Your Network Security

Industrial-control-system networks may seem secure, but there are opportunities for unwanted access at just about any level and component.

Industrial-control-system networks may seem secure, but there are opportunities for unwanted access at just about any level and component.

It’s inevitable that the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) will continue to grow, with more and more devices connected to networks by the minute. Achieving operational efficiency of those networks, however, is not without problems—including cyber-security threats. Such threats are raising serious concerns throughout industrial operations. What are the best ways to deal with them? Yiwei Chen of Moxa Inc. (, Brea, CA) points to the IEC62443 Standard as a good place to start.

IEC62443 is constantly evolving to provide up-to-date security guidelines and a list of best practices for different parts of a network. It also includes information for those with different network responsibilities. The ultimate goal of the standard is to help improve network safety and enhance industrial-automation and control-settings security. According to Chen, to protect their networks from internal and external threats, it’s paramount for operators to understand IEC62443. This understanding will help them deploy devices with adequate security features to protect networks from internal and external threats.

Just what types of cyber threats can arise, and what options do your operations have for combating them? Chen provided several tips.

— Jane Alexander, Managing Editor

Prevent intrusions and attacks.
The first step in preventing unauthorized access to devices on a network is to implement a password policy. Remember, however, that while password policies are effective to some degree, as the number of users and devices on a network increases, so does the possibility of the network being breached.

Protect sensitive data.
All devices on a network must support and enforce data encryption when data are transmitted. This will virtually eliminate the risk of data being stolen during transmission. The reason data integrity is so important is because it guarantees data accuracy and that information can be processed and retrieved reliably and securely when needed.

randmAudit security events.
Networks must constantly be monitored, and every event that takes place on them should be recorded for possible analysis later. Although several security precautions can be taken to prevent cyber attacks, in the event one were successful, detecting it in real time would be difficult.

Visualize network security status.
Software that visualizes network security status allows operators to monitor any abnormal or potentially damaging activity. This type of software can also help network operators prevent problems before they arise, by allowing personnel, with a quick glance, to verify the correct settings are applied to each device. The security features that are typically covered can include password policies, encryption, log-in credentials, and data integrity.

Ensure correct configuration.
Human error can cause a wide range of problems, including improperly functioning networks, lost data, and creation of significant network vulnerabilities for attackers to exploit. Networks with incorrect configurations can be manipulated by internal staff or outside forces that have gained unauthorized access. Note: Cyber attacks resulting from human error are the most common way that networks are compromised. MT

To learn more about network security and Moxa’s wide range of solutions for ensuring it, visit


8:12 pm
January 13, 2017
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Cooling Upgrade Increases Efficiency

QTS Realty Trust Inc. owns, operates, or manages data centers and supports more than 1,000 customers. Upgrading fans and controls at one facility through Vertiv (Emerson Network Power) improved efficiency and reduced operating costs.

QTS Realty Trust Inc. owns, operates, or manages data centers and supports more than 1,000 customers. Upgrading fans and controls at one facility through Vertiv (Emerson Network Power) improved efficiency and reduced operating costs.

Variable-speed technology and intelligent controls combine to reduce data-center operating expense.

There are several reasons to consider upgrading your data center’s thermal-management system, including improving capacity management, deferring capital costs, and promoting environmental responsibility. You may simply want to improve energy efficiency and reduce operating costs. In a typical data center, cooling accounts for approximately 38% of total energy consumption.

Regardless of your specific goal, if thermal-system upgrades are on your mind, you are not alone. A recent survey of information technology (IT), facilities, and data center managers in the United States and Canada found that 40% of data centers have been upgraded in the past five years. Twenty percent are in the process of upgrading, and more than 30% would be upgraded in the next 12 months.

Why the surge in thermal-upgrade projects? There is continuous pursuit for higher equipment reliability, greater energy efficiency, additional capacity, and greater insight into performance. What can’t be overlooked is the fast return on investment (ROI) achieved by those who have recently upgraded. One such company is QTS Realty Trust Inc., headquartered in Overland Park, KS. The company owns, operates, or manages 24 data centers and supports more than 1,000 customers with its data-center solutions.

QTS has experienced significant growth over the past 10 years, going from owning a single data center in 2005 to a coast-to-coast portfolio of 12 centers encompassing more than 4.7 million sq. ft. To ensure continued provision of leading-edge services and optimal performance from its newly acquired Sacramento, CA, facility, the company required improved cooling-system efficiency and greater visibility into system performance. An upgrade of fans and controls, using the latest in cooling technology, was warranted to maintain cooling stability, improve efficiency, and reduce costs.

The aim was to generate enough cost savings to yield a full ROI in 2 1/2 yr. At the same time, the company also wanted advanced monitoring capabilities to continue best-practice data-center management.


The need for improved system visibility that would allow QTS to provide its customers with more uniform cooling, coupled with the desire for cost savings generated from improved energy efficiency, led the company to upgrade the Sacramento facility. Experiencing a very common energy-efficiency challenge in its data center, employees found that the legacy cooling systems were providing more airflow than was required in one area, while another had a deficit. Installing electrically commutated (EC) fan technology from Emerson Network Power, which is now known as Vertiv (Columbus, OH, into 64 cooling units would allow cooling adjustments based on load requirements.

Management sought to partner with a company that could complete the project within a fixed five-week timeline with limited use of QTS resources and manpower. Another key challenge was that only a certain number of units could be off at any one time to maintain the level of redundancy required. This stipulation called for careful planning and coordination to ensure the project could be completed within the parameters specified. QTS also wanted to ensure their upgrade was performed by a service provider that had experience configuring the latest technology for business-critical data centers. As the original equipment manufacturer (OEM), Emerson Network Power’s Liebert Services, now part of Vertiv, was chosen to ensure high-quality parts and installation from factory-trained technicians.

Originally electing to only install EC plug fans, QTS management quickly realized it was missing the opportunity to optimize the cooling system for maximum efficiency benefits. Company leaders determined it could better achieve its stability and visibility goals through the addition of the Liebert iCOM control system, which enabled under-floor pressure control through building-management-system (BMS) integration. Wireless sensors were also installed to monitor cooling improvements.

This more holistic approach gave the company added flexibility through multiple configurations inherent to the controls that balance loading in the space. These configurations include control by wireless and remote temperature sensors, advanced supervisory control, or BMS control. QTS now has the option to coordinate fans, perform auto-tuning, and customize staging or sequencing whenever it is needed to further improve energy efficiency, availability, and flexibility.

System configurations include control by wireless and remote temperature sensors, advanced supervisory control, or BMS control. The project was performed within an operating data center and completed on time.

System configurations include control by wireless and remote temperature sensors, advanced supervisory control, or BMS control. The project was performed within an operating data center and completed on time.


The entire thermal-system upgrade project, performed within an operating data center, was completed on time without any negative impact on the company or its customers. As a result of the upgrade, QTS earned a $150,000 rebate from the Sacramento Municipal Utility District and initially saved $12,000 a month in energy costs. Additional savings are expected from continued optimization.

In addition to the obvious financial benefits, QTS accomplished the following with its thermal-system upgrade:

• Reduced its carbon footprint with more than 75% immediate reduction in the energy consumption using Liebert thermal-management units

• Improved Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) by 0.16

• Provided better intelligence to BMS for improved visibility

• Improved uniformity of under-floor static pressure, allowing adjustment of air flow to match equipment loads by changing floor tiles

• Eliminated air leakage through cooling units that were previously off or in standby using the control’s proprietary virtual damper

• Exceeded minimum ROI estimates by 40% and achieved targeted savings sooner than budgeted

• Maximized free cooling through improved unit airflow and cooling control.

According to QTS western region vice president Ken Elkington, the results of the upgrade far exceeded his expectations. “We took amp draw measurements on the existing fans. As soon as we placed the first new EC plug fan into a unit, even at 100 percent speed, the power consumption dropped 30 percent,” he said. “We were very excited to see that result, but then it got even better. By varying the fan speed to match the load in the zone, the power consumption dropped another 33 percent, and we are now experiencing higher-than-expected energy savings.” MT

For more information, visit