Archive | February


8:32 pm
March 23, 2012
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Viewpoint: A Bit Of Advice

0212viewpointThis month’s “Viewpoint” first ran as the December 1989 installment of founding and long-time MT Editor (1988–2005) Bob Baldwin’s “Uptime” column. While it refers to an event that occurred 23 years ago and includes a quote from an industrialist who died in 1910 (another highly successful “founder”), the “advice” in it is timeless.

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8:31 pm
March 23, 2012
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Capacity Assurance Marketplace

0212mplacefieldawareField-Service Software For Smartphones

 FieldAware’s cloud-based field-service management solution uses native apps on Apple and Android smartphones and tablets to eliminate the need for servers, proprietary software and special hand-held devices. By digitizing service workflow, it also eliminates the need for paper work orders and streamlines scheduling. Customer, product, task and work order data is shared over the Internet via Web-browsers or smartphones on a 24/7 basis. For a monthly per-user fee, FieldAware handles the entire service delivery process.

Frisco, TX

For more info, enter 31 at


0212mplacegeneralRugged Video Inspection System

 The SEEKER 280 Ruggedized Video Inspection System (DCS280) from General Tools is designed for heavy industrial use. The unit comes standard with a 9mm-diameter, 1m-long, flexible-obedient probe that is water-, oil- and dust-proof to IP67 standards. The console with 2.4” color monitor meets IP54 standards for dust- and water-resistance. Applications include detecting leaks and cracks in ducts and piping and inspecting for corrosion and deposit buildup.

General Tools & Instruments
New York, NY

For more info, enter 32 at

0212mplacetestoHigh-Res Thermal Imaging

 Testo’s 890 Thermal Imager achieves high levels of image quality by combining 640 x 480 pixel detection, high-quality optics and the company’s SuperResolution technology. The unit records high-resolution thermal images in 1280 x 960 pixel quality, allowing small or distant objects to be inspected with precision. Other features include touch-screen navigation, a thermal sensitivity of <40 mK and temperature recognition up to 2192 F.

Testo USA, Inc.
Sparta, NJ

For more info, enter 33 at

0212mplaceturckFlow & Temperature Sensor

 Turck’s Digital Read Out (DRO) flow sensor is a self-contained, fully programmable sensor that allows for both flow and temperature monitoring, and features a three-digit display that can alternate between the two. The unit can be used in different media, such as water, glycol and Galden HT110, allows for application-specific set points and can track changes in flow from 0.2 to 12 gpm.

Turck, Inc.
Minneapolis, MN

For more info, enter 34 at

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8:31 pm
March 23, 2012
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Technology Showcase: MARTS Exhibitors

This year’s Maintenance and Reliability Technology Summit (MARTS) exhibitors will be showcasing a wide range of products and services vital to capacity assurance professionals across industry. They’ll be on hand in the MARTS exhibition area at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare, Rosemont, IL, on Tuesday, March 13, and Wednesday, March 14. Be sure you’re there to see what these leading suppliers have for you by registering at

  • AVO Training ( helps operations create safe, reliable electrical environments through training, safety solutions and power studies.
  • Des-Case ( specializes in contamination-control products for industrial lubricants, including desiccant breathers, fluid-handling products, lubricant sampling systems and related services.
  • Dreisilker Electric Motors ( provides electric-motor solutions to commercial, industrial and municipal customers.
  • Graybar ( specializes in supply-chain management services and distribution of electrical and telecommunications components for customers in industry, facility maintenance and data centers.
  • Infraspection Institute (, the world’s oldest independent IR training and certification firm, has trained and certified nearly 10,000 thermographers worldwide.
  • Inpro/Seal ( is the leading designer and manufacturer of bearing-protection products for rotating equipment across many industries.
  • IRISS ( helps maintenance professionals conduct safer, more efficient inspections with their industrial-grade infrared inspection windows.
  • LAI Reliability Systems ( provides asset-management and reliability solutions for customers in diversified industries worldwide.
  • Ludeca ( offers laser precision alignment systems and factory-authorized service and training for PRÜFTECHNIK alignment and condition-monitoring products.
  • Mainnovation ( is a maintenance consultancy that uses its Value-Driven Maintenance methodology to assist industrial, port-management and public-transportation customers worldwide.
  • MAPCON ( provides state-of-the-art CMMS software and products for use on personal computers, including a new SaaS (Software as a Service) version.
  • Meggitt Sensing Systems ( specializes in sensing and monitoring systems that measure physical parameters in extreme environments.
  • Mtelligence ( offers predictive analytics and integration software to improve efficiency and reduce operating costs by helping users maintain the right equipment at the right time.
  • PdMA Corporation ( is a leader in electric-motor testing through the manufacture of online and offline portable motor testers, analytical software and training.
  • Reporting House ( is a full-service consulting firm that provides enterprise-reporting, business intelligence and analytic solutions.
  • Royal Purple ( produces a wide range of high-performance lubricants for most consumer and industrial applications, with an emphasis on state-of-the-art synthetics and mineral-based products.
  • Scalewatcher ( offers computerized electronic water conditioners that remove lime scale from pipework, water systems and water-fed equipment, and prevent new scales from forming. MT

This month’s Technology Showcase brought to you by the following advertisers:

0212showcasegraybar meltric_thumb
02techexair miller-stephenson

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8:27 pm
March 23, 2012
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Electrical-Safety Sense: Confusing Fusing Issue

Fusing a panel-mount voltage indicator ensures an electrically secure installation as per NEC, but it simultaneously decreases electrical safety as per NFPA 70E. The reason for this is the propensity of false negative readings from the voltage detector as a result of the over-current protection.

What’s an electrical-safety-conscious company using a voltage indicator to do when it’s confronted with the “to-fuse-or-not-to-fuse” question? Even Shakespeare’s Hamlet would rightly conclude that the only safe course of action would be “not to fuse.”

A permanent electrical-safety device like a voltage indicator has one full-time job: to indicate voltage. A blown fuse on its input creates a false negative indication of voltage which, if trusted, is a hazard.

A fuse also adds four connection points of failure for each phase. In electrical safety, once you touch a live conduction, there’s always an electric incident—because electrical energy is, after all, instantaneous. Thus, it’s crucial to avoid any chance of potentially precarious false negative readings. 

NFPA 70E—as well as the logic of safety—recognized that there are varying degrees between “a risk” and a “greater risk,” so it astutely included a “Hazard Risk Procedure” in Annex F. The same principle, as stated below, allows for energized work, which is a risk if de-energizing the system is a greater risk.

“Greater Hazard. Energized work shall be permitted where the employer can demonstrate that de-energizing introduces additional or increased hazards.” …NFPA 70E 130.1(A)(1)

Similar statements exist in the NEC, which allows for un-fused conductors if a blown fuse creates a greater hazard:

“…for example, the control circuit of a fire-pump motor and the like.” …NEC 430.72

Including over-current protection for a voltage indicator installation increases the opportunity for a false negative reading, thereby creating a greater hazard than the risk posed by an un-fused conductor. MT

To learn more about specific recommendations and practices, visit:; or email the author:

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8:26 pm
March 23, 2012
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Compressed Air Challenge: 'Tanks' For The Savings

04cacThe first thing you’ll notice about your compressed air “tank” (or air receiver) is that unlike your compressor, it doesn’t have large power cables running to it. While an air receiver doesn’t consume power, odds are, if properly sized and applied, it can be like money in the bank with regard to compressed air system efficiency.

Compressed air receivers are sometimes referred to as “air storage.”  They act like a bank account, storing compressed air for later use—similar to saving money for a rainy day or a large future purchase. Storing away money, little by little, takes a smaller bite out of your normal cash flow and allows you to live more or less normally. And, the bigger the bank account you build, the less it hurts when you have unanticipated or unusual expenditures.

Having significant compressed air storage in place means the compressor is able to put away some compressed air when it can, and that production pressure is less affected should the demands require more compressed air than the production system can produce. The alternative is to run more air compressors to feed peak demands, or to run the existing compressors at higher pressure—something that costs at least 1% of the compressor power for each 2 psi increase in compressed air pressure. Here are some types/uses of compressed air storage:

Located close to air compressors, Control Storage helps units run efficiently by slowing down pressure changes like load/unload cycles. This allows time to start and stop the compressors in a coordinated manner and permits lower operating pressures. Control Storage can be used in conjunction with a pressure/flow controller that isolates supply from demand, allowing lower plant pressure. It should be sized significantly larger than the typical rule-of-thumb of 1 gal. per cfm compressor output that was used in days of old.

Secondary Storage is used to provide gen-eral stored air at localized downstream locations with marginally sized supply lines. It supports air pressure for general end uses that may consume short-duration high flows that can’t be serviced appropriately with existing pipe capacity.

Secondary Dedicated Storage (such as check-valve protected storage) can be used to support low-flow pressure-critical applications against transient high-flow events that may reduce local pressure.

Significant amounts of compressed air can slowly charge a properly sized storage tank over a long period of time to supply a high-flow, short-duration demand. Secondary Dedicated Storage with Metered Recovery has a restricted inlet that limits fill rate and reduces peak compressed air demand. A lower peak may result in less-used compressors.

To learn more about compressed air storage, check out the book Best Practices for Compressed Air Systems, available on the Compressed Air Challenge (CAC) Website ( While you’re there, consider registering for CAC training, including a February 20 Web-based Fundamentals seminar and/or one of the many in-person programs we offer around the country. MT

The Compressed Air Challenge® is a partner of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Industrial Technology programs. To learn more about its many offerings, log on to,  or email:

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8:25 pm
March 23, 2012
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For On The Floor: Sustainability On The Rise

rick_carterWhen we last asked Reader Panelists about their sustainable (or “green”) efforts in 2009, responses were tepid and uncertain. While their reported actions at the time were actually more significant than some of them realized, their overall sustainable activity seemed to be limited. As seen in the following Q&A (edited for space), respondents now report that their operations are on board with the value and meaning of sustainability, and that the concept has become an important part of their organzations’ cultures.

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