Archive | July/August


7:24 pm
August 8, 2013
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From Our Perspective: Taking Back The Normal

ken bannister thumb thumb thumbBy Ken Bannister, Contributing Editor

At this year’s MARTS conference, Jeff Dudley, former Corporate Director of Reliability and Maintenance for The Dow Chemical Company, delivered the keynote address entitled “Are You Reliable Enough?” In it, he explored the problem of maintenance departments not simply normalizing abnormality, but going above and beyond to actually embrace this new state.

While working with a mechanical maintenance group setting up a reliability-based approach to their work, I was asked to review a major machining center at the site. The machine’s hydraulic material-handling system was particularly problematic—as the group characterized it, “leaking like a sieve” after only eight months of operation. Upon further questioning, it became evident that all of the plant’s fixed hydraulic systems suffered from major leaks. Interestingly, none of the site’s forklift hydraulic systems leaked: As it turned out, those systems are maintained by a dedicated mechanic. This situation is a classic case of something that was abnormal having become an acceptable norm.

Looking into the site’s preventive maintenance (PM) job tasks revealed that the entire approach revolved around ensuring that hydraulic-oil-tank fluid levels were checked and “topped up,” and that newly designed and installed “oil catch pans” were vacuumed out with a fluid vac—on a daily basis, due to the rate of leakage! When questioned about the frequency of these activities, the maintainers believed, in light of the system’s design, that their approach was acceptable. Some of them actually thought the machine was designed to leak as a way to ensure a constant flow of fresh lubricant through the system!

Further investigation revealed that none of the high-tech electronically monitored hydraulic filters were connected to the machine interface—and since both were operating in a bypass mode, they offered no machine protection. The PM to change the oil and filter on a quarterly basis had never been acted on, as it was felt the daily PM had rendered it redundant. Once again, the abnormal had become normal.

Clearly, this maintenance group had become rather short-sighted: They had found it easy to deal with a simplistic, symptom-based maintenance approach. As long as no one questioned the excessive lubricant costs or fees for disposal of used oils—and as long as the machine availability didn’t affect production output—the new normal prevailed.

Breaking this mold and moving toward a reliability-based approach isn’t as difficult as you might think: It just requires an open mind and the ability to ask “why?”

In this group’s case, highlighting the abnormality of their symptom-based approach (that NEVER addressed why rod and valve seals were leaking) and comparing it to the forklift mechanic’s approach was quite an eye-opener. It led the team to question their motives and develop a PM approach focused on preventing leaks rather than just managing them. After a series of “asking why” sessions, the group realized that the leaks were NOT part of the machine design after all, but were caused by poor housekeeping, missing breather caps on reservoirs and dirty fluid-transfer equipment, leading to dirt ingression that was ineffectively filtered. Success meant embracing reliability and “taking back the normal.” Good luck in your own efforts! LMT

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6:00 pm
August 8, 2013
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Problem Solvers

0708mplacekopflexHigh-Performance, Hybrid Coupling

The Kop-Flex MAX-C WB hybrid coupling is a solution for managing torsional vibration in high-performance drivetrains powered by synchronous motors, VFDs and diesel engines, or those driving reciprocating machinery or handling shock loads. The design combines a maintenance-free, non-lubricated MAX-C resilient coupling half with a lightweight diaphragm, disc or high-performance gear coupling half, depending on the application.

A unit of Emerson’s Power Transmission Solutions business
Florence, KY

0713techshow3Lube Products For Trade And Industrial Pros

To serve the needs of today’s busy professionals throughout the trades and industry, WD-40® has announced the addition of three new products to its Specialist® lineup:

Dirt & Dust Resistant Dry Lube is a specially created, fast-drying formula that reduces friction and wear.  An NSF Category H2 product, it resists dirt, dust and oil, helps release molded parts and is suitable for lubricating slides, rollers and hinges.

Machine & Engine Degreaser, which can spray up to five feet, has a deep foaming penetrating action that quickly removes grease, oil, dirt and grime.  Authorized for use under NSF Category C1, it’s appropriate for use on engines, gears, chains, industrial machinery, power equipment and metal tools.

Electrical Contact Cleaner Spray, an NSF K2-registered product, is safe to use on plastic, rubber and metal surfaces.  Incorporating Smart Straw® technology, it can easily clean oil, dirt, flux residue and condensation from circuit boards, controls, switches, precision instruments and electrical panels.

These new products are available at select retailers and industrial distributors nationwide.

WD-40 Company
San Diego, CA

0713marketplacebaldorLong-Life ER-Style Ball Bearings

Baldor’s line of Baldor·Dodge® ER-Style ball bearings is available in two shaft-attachment methods: The set-screw version has a 65-degree set-screw angle for maximum shaft grip, while the D-Lok™ product offers a clamp collar grip for maximum concentricity to minimize vibration. Both employ snap-ring retention to securely fit the cylindrical outer diameter into equipment. They both incorporate the Dodge ProGuard™ seal and flinger package to prevent contamination and maximize component life. Modifications to the seal package are available.

Baldor Electric Co.
Fort Smith, AR

0713techshow2Clean And Protect Hot Line Tools 

CRC’s new dual-action, lint-free Hot Line Tool Cleaner & Protectant Wipes keep fiberglass hot line tools clean. These pre-moistened, easily disposable wipes are saturated with a special cleaner and protectant designed to effectively remove dirt, tar, sap and grease without harming the tool. According to the manufacturer, this unique formula won’t remove or adversely affect gloss finishes or build up on tools over time, nor will it harm lineman gloves, climbing gear or insulating blanket covers. OSHA regulation 29 CFR 1910.1200 requires the daily cleaning of hot line tools prior to use. CRC’s convenient 8” X 10.5” wipes allow for easy one-time use and eliminate the need for rags and storing of bulk chemicals.

CRC Industries, Inc.
Warminster, PA

0708mplacetricoEasy-To-Use Oil Containers

Trico’s Spectrum Oil Containers provide a solution to identify, store, transport and dispense lubricants in a variety of applications. They are built with High Density Polyethylene to perform in hostile environments, and feature a wide opening for rapid no-spill filling. The containers are semi-transparent with molded volume markings, in gallons and liters, to provide visual monitoring of fluid levels. Available in two-, three- and four-gallon sizes, they contain three handles with contoured finger grips to provide a comfortable and secure hold.

Trico Corp.
Pewaukee, WI

0708mplaceawFood Grade EP Grease 

Chesterton’s 630 SXCF Synthetic Food Grade Grease combines extreme-pressure and anti-wear properties with resistance to water washout and corrosion. It’s well suited for use in processing and packaging applications across the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries. According to the company, this NSF H1-registered product can extend the life of food-industry bearings subject to water, sanitizing chemicals and high temperature.

A.W. Chesterton Co.
Woburn, MA

0708mplacedaytonGrease For Steel Surfaces

DayLube high-performance grease uses nanoceramic particles that act as sub-microscopic ball bearings to provide continuous lubrication to steel surfaces. It operates in temperature ranges from -40 to 800 F, and the nanoceramic particles remain intact to 2500 F.  Characterized by high load-bearing properties and a low dielectric constant, DayLube contains no metal or silicone and is resistant to steam, acids and most chemical products.

Dayton Progress
Dayton, OH



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6:05 pm
July 19, 2013
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Boosting Your Bottom Line: Three Cautions Regarding Drives

motor-decisions-matterOne common cause of wasted energy—and wasted money—around industrial facilities is the running of motor-driven equipment at full speed, regardless of the load. Installing an adjustable speed drive (ASD) can help by matching motor speed to application requirements. There are, however, some important exceptions. This article explores several situations where installing an ASD may warrant a second look.

Where Can Drives Save Energy?
ASDs can save energy if they are used in appropriate applications, are installed properly and if potential harmonics issues are identified and addressed. Generally, ASDs are recommended for centrifugal loads such as fans, pumps and blowers that operate at least 2000 hours per year; in systems where flow varies over time; and where valves, throttles or dampers are used to regulate the flow and pressure.

Where Are Drives Unlikely To Save Energy?
While ASD energy efficiency is typically high (approximately 97% at full load), they are less likely to save energy in applications where motor speed remains relatively constant over time. Below are a few more examples where ASDs are unlikely to save energy.

1.High-static-pressure installations: A system that is static head-dominated (open loop) is one where the pump is working to overcome gravity or elevation. Examples of these applications include boiler-feed water pumps, submersible pumps, above-ground pumps that operate with a high static-dominated pressure level and pumps that lift water to fill a reservoir. In these applications, ASDs may not achieve overall energy savings as a control option; however, they may make sense where the ASD is used to address water-supply demand that modulates continuously.

2.Poor sequencing: Some motor-driven equipment is designed and installed with sequenc-ing in mind. For example, cooling towers or evaporator fans are often set up in lead-lag fashion, a good practice where each fan immediately turns on and off based upon demand. Adding an ASD to the existing lead-lag configuration may consume more energy because the drive programming algorithm could activate multiple fans to start earlier and operate longer at a higher energy-consumption level. 

3.ASD functioning as soft starter: An ASD used solely to eliminate equipment failure at startup, or to reduce demand charges by soft-starting motors does not necessarily save energy. Soft starters can provide this functionality.

So What’s The Bottom Line?
In the right applications, drives can offer solid benefits. Be sure to ask your utility representative or a motor and drive expert about other application-specific considerations.

More information on motors and drives is available through the MDM campaign at LMT

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 or (617) 589-3949.

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