We begin 2013 with a number of challenges and opportunities. On one hand, some of the strongest headwinds we face are associated with government indecision (the debt ceiling, sequestration and wrangling over too many regulations vs. too few, for example). On the other hand, most of us are looking forward to what onshoring/reshoring trends and improving economic conditions could hold for our businesses and communities.
By Jane Alexander, Deputy Editor
The last Friday of 2012 found me listening to the Afternoon Shift, a program produced by Chicago’s WBEZ Public Radio station. In his wonderful voice, the host Rick Kogan was discussing New Year’s resolutions and how people tend to make them. Needing all the help I could get along those lines, I turned up the volume.
By Bob Williamson, Contributing Editor
Improving maintenance efficiency and effectiveness must proceed at a much faster pace than in the past to head off the opposites of growing technologies and skills shortages. In my October 2012 “Uptime” column, I responded to the question “How to Improve Maintenance” by describing the benefits of focusing on maintenance-related RESULTS versus maintenance activities. I also pointed out a few “failure modes” of selected activities and programs.
Today’s marketplace is full of voices promoting adjustable speed drives (ASDs) with competing claims of savings and benefits. What’s all this discussion about?
An ASD controls the speed of an induction motor by adjusting the voltage and frequency that supply the motor. Affinity laws—which show that change in power consumption is proportional to the cube of the change in speed—illustrate energy-savings potential through the use of adjustable speed technology. What you may not have heard, however, is that in addition to saving energy, ASDs can improve operational processes and reduce motor maintenance costs.
Is ASD Technology Right for You?
Adjustable speed drives can be very useful in applications with variable torque loads like centrifugal pumps, fans and blowers, as well as in HVAC and compressed air systems. However, ASDs are not a plug-in solution. In some cases, such as constant-power or constant-speed applications and high-static-pressure pumps, ASDs will NOT save energy.
How can you find out if ASDs will be a boon to your facility budget? Motor Decisions MatterSM (MDM) has you covered. On the MDM Website (www.motorsmatter.org), you’ll find an entire section focused on this topic. Two resources, in particular, can help you assess whether ASDs are appropriate for your operations and also help you develop a preliminary estimate of your energy savings and payback to identify and screen potential projects.
Get Answers to Your Questions
The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) Application Guide for AC Adjustable Speed Drive Systems is the first resource you should review. Key selection and application factors include the motor, drive type, electrical supply, mechanical insulation and controls. The Guide also includes important safety and operational considerations that help you make a smart decision.
Second, to help assess the economics of this investment, you’ll need to estimate how much energy can be saved—and what the payback period will be. The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) developed an ASD Calculator to help you estimate the installed cost of an adjustable speed drive, including materials and labor, energy savings and simple payback for installations on fans and pumps. Users have the option of selecting from specific fan and pump types or providing measured power (kW) entries for application types not included in the calculator. Developed for the Department of Energy (DOE), the BPA ASD Calculator is an excellent tool.
With these resources, you’ll be in a better, more informed position to talk with an expert such as a utility account rep, motor distributor or your local service center about installing a drive. MT
The Motor Decisions Matter (MDM) campaign is managed by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE), a North American nonprofit organization that promotes energy-saving products, equipment and technologies. For further information, contact MDM staff at firstname.lastname@example.org or (617) 589-3949.
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By Ken Bannister, Contributing Editor
Whether your maintenance management software program is categorized as a CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management System) or as an EAM (Enterprise Asset Management System), the operative word is always “management.”
Everything points to the plant manager as the key to maintenance success.
Milwaukee Tool is introducing yet another productivity-enhancing solution for the professional tool user this month. Its Energy-Star-rated M18™ Six Pack Sequential Charger will sequentially charge up to six battery packs of any Milwaukee M18™ LITHIUM-ION battery, allowing users to walk away and remain confident they will have enough power to complete their jobs. The Six Pack Sequential Charger features a compact design, integrated hang holes for vertical mounting, and a pass-through plug to conserve outlet space. The unit can charge M18™ compact batteries in 30 minutes and extended-capacity (XC) batteries in 60 minutes. According to the company, with the expansion of the M18™ system and widespread adoption of the platform, today’s skilled craftspersons depend on toolboxes full of items that require multiple M18™ LITHIUM-ION batteries. Because the new charger will reduce the amount of time spent changing out batteries, users can be more productive at the jobsite than in the past.
Milwaukee Electric Tool Corp.
Omega’s FTB-630 Series turbine meters are dry-register mechanical totalizers that offer accurate, economical reading of high flows with low pressure loss. The horizontal-axis turbine drives a vertical shaft that is magnetically coupled to a sealed register. In addition to mechanical totalizing, registers can be equipped with magnetic pulse reed sensors well suited for remote totalizing, pacing of electronic metering pumps and water treatment applications. The FTB-630 Series features 2”, 3”, 4”, 6” and 8” pipe sizes and bodies manufactured of tough cast iron epoxy-coated for protection. Tungsten steel shafts and jewel bearings further enhance the durability of these products. Simple removal of the top flange reveals all parts for inspection, repair or replacement. The meters’ tamper-evident seals clearly call attention to unauthorized access.
Omega Engineering, Inc.
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