Archive | November


2:21 pm
November 15, 2013
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My Take: In Your Own Words

newjaneresize thumb thumbBy Jane Alexander, Deputy Editor

In the June 2013 installment of this column entitled “Let’s Sell It,” I issued a call to action of sorts. Given the depressing statistics associated with what should be a large pool of skilled workers—but isn’t—coupled with the countless critical positions going unfilled across industry, I wanted to know what might have drawn our readers to their maintenance/reliability-related jobs and what kept them honing their relevant skill-sets. I also asked potential respondents to craft “sales pitches” based on their personal backgrounds and circumstances to use in attract-ing young people toward industrial careers.

I heard from several readers. Although space doesn’t allow me to include everything they wrote, let me share a couple of points that stood out to me in the remarks from two of them. Lon Goble, a sales engineer, wrote that he’s been working in industry for 43 years. His “pitch” alluded to the kick he gets from helping sites increase their productivity, lower their costs, improve their product and cut their machine downtime. James Zuidema has been consulting and training in the area of motor management and testing for seven years. In his “sales pitch,” he noted that there’s no better feeling than seeing a production department run smoothly and ship product on time.

Thanks, gentlemen, for taking me up on my invitation. I bet there are many others who feel the same way about their jobs. To those who do, I hope you’re sharing your sentiments and inspir-ing all the kids you know to think “industrial.” 

Interestingly, I don’t remember ever asking readers what they didn’t like about their jobs. Some of you may be able to bring that up in your responses to another invitation—one that’s directed at a specific demographic.

If you’re a “Millennial” (born after 1980) and working in industry, ARC Advisory Group ( has a survey for you! Its purpose is to let Millennials who have recently entered the workforce share what works for them—as well as what doesn’t—and point to types of improvements that could help make manufacturing and automation-related careers more attractive and fulfilling. The results will then be shared during a workshop entitled “The Future Workforce Leaders: In Their Own Words!” to be held at the 18th Annual ARC Industry Forum, in Orlando, FL, on Feb. 10, 2014.

Not to worry: ARC promises that respondents’ privacy is assured and their identities won’t be released to others. No individual or company will be identified in the report. Responses will be accumulated with others to chart the results. Only aggregated information will be published. Upon completion of the research, participants will receive a free summary report—something that could help them gain a valuable external perspective from their peers.

If you fit the specified Millennial profile, click here and make your voice count via ARC’s brief survey. I, for one, will be very interested in what you have to say. MT

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2:18 pm
November 15, 2013
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Uptime: Are Adult Skills Lacking In America?

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By Bob Williamson, Contributing Editor

Recent headlines attached to what must have been a widely distributed Associated Press article screamed out at me. Referring to a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), they alluded to the fact that U.S. adults had scored below average in global comparisons of competencies that are relevant in today’s society and economy. A statement in the OECD report’s Executive Summary also screamed at me: “The technological revolution that began in the last decades of the 20th century has affected nearly every aspect of life in the 21st: from how we ‘talk’ with our friends and loved ones, to how we shop, and how and where we work.” I knew I needed to dig deeper into the overall issue and the role, if any, that technology might have played in the troubling statistics. 

Pouring through about 700 pages of the referenced report, “Skills Outlook 2013: First Result from the Survey of Adult Skills,” I was shocked to learn just how far behind their counterparts in other countries that working adults in the United States have slipped. That was real bad news. On a positive note, however, the report summarized the skills today’s adults must have to escape the fringes of employment and unemployment (skills that also boost a nation’s economic stability and growth).

OECD’s report also suggested that the highest levels of educational attainment (college and university) do NOT necessarily equate to higher information processing and problem-solving skills. Our nation’s educational systems in general seem to be missing the mark when it comes not only to job and career skills, but also to the basic competencies required by our modern and information-rich society: Reading, math and problem-solving with information and communications technologies (ICT). And these are all learned skills. Without them, errors occur. (More on the OECD survey findings a little later.) 

Connecting adult-skills dots to safety and reliability
Competent job performance is essential—especially when we take into account the downside of human errors in the workplace. Consider the following areas:

ISO-55000: The global implications of a lack of skills in the workplace are obvious, especially given a new global focus on ISO-5500, the new Asset Management Standard (see “Uptime,” MT, September 2013.) Risk-based physical asset management as specified in ISO-55000 depends on people in the workplace reading and following work instructions, com-municating effectively across organizational boundaries, performing routine calculations and solving problems within a data-rich environment. How such skills are developed and deployed will have a major impact on physical-asset management throughout the entire life cycle.

Workplace safety: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 4383 fatal work-related injuries in 2012. Fires, explosions or exposure to harmful substances or environments accounted for 10%. Fifteen percent (15%) were associated with falls, slips or trips. Sixteen percent (16%) were related to contact with objects and equipment. Transportation or roadway incidents accounted for 41%. Violence by persons or animals accounted for another 17% of workplace fatalities in 2012. Fatal injuries, in most of these cases, were caused by NOT following workplace procedures.

Product recalls:  In 2011, more than 40 million pounds of food were recalled because of possible contamination, packaging and labeling errors. Poorly maintained food-processing equipment also led to major recalls. In the same year, well over 120,000 bicycles were recalled in light of defects that could injure the riders. Over 6.8 million faulty vehicles were recalled by automakers in 2011. Mistakes were made somewhere in product design, manufacturing, parts-sourcing, assembly or packaging.

Physical asset reliability: Equipment in our plants and facilities, as well as mobile equipment, can also fall victim to human errors and mistakes. These problems are mostly due to the lack of accurately following defined procedures (or the absence of procedures altogether). Unreliable equipment is dangerous, expensive to operate and has a serious (negative) impact on business’ profit and loss.

Technology is not the problem. The fact is, technology in today’s workplace has not replaced human decision-making—at least not as much as designers had hoped it would. Accurately following detailed work instructions, using math to make decisions and engaging in real-time, information-based problem solving will continue to accelerate in today’s society and workplaces, regardless of technology.

Skills for gainful employment
Evidence suggests that, on average, our workforce, supervision and management may lack the informa-tion-processing skills—the competencies—to perform their jobs as needed. But, just what level of ability IS required to be gainfully employed and a productive member of society? There are three basic, complementary skill groupings: Occupational, generic employability and information processing.

Occupational skills: When we think of job skills, we often think of the basics of a trade, a career, a vocation. These are called “occupational skills.” They can be learned in school, through in-depth study and practice, and/or through on-the-job experience and training. Today’s industrial maintenance job skills still require the traditional mechanical, electrical and electronic skills. And those basic “craft” or “trade” skills have become increasingly more precise over the past two decades. But occupational skills alone are not enough in today’s world.

Generic employability skills: Skills that round out a person’s ability to get along and manage the uncertainties of today’s rapidly changing world of work are called “generic skills.” These include interpersonal communications, self-management and the ability to learn, among others.

Information-processing skills: Rapid technological growth in business and industry, as well as in our daily lives, has mandated a mastery of a number of “information processing skills.” Key information-processing skills relevant to many adults in today’s society and employment marketplace include:

  • Literacy (the ability of understand and respond appropriately to written texts)
  • Numeracy (the ability to use numerical and mathematical concepts)
  • Problem-solving in information-rich environments (the capacity to access, interpret and analyze infor-mation found, transformed and communicated in digital environments)

When we, as maintenance and reliability improvement professionals, reflect on the technology growth in our workplaces—and in our daily lives—it’s not surprising that “information-processing skills” are an ever-growing, ever-changing job-performance requirement. Programmable controllers, networked machines, high-level automation systems, interactive data sources, electronic/digital communications and information sharing have revolutionized many of our work places.

I believe we can all appreciate that there are skills gaps in today’s workplace. Solving problems in today’s technology-rich industrial plants, facilities, machines, equipment and processes definitely requires extensive information-processing skills—well beyond the basic “craft” or “trade” skills. This recently published OECD survey might have hit the nail squarely on the head given the skills shortages we are experiencing. 

Back to the OECD survey findings
The OECD’s report entitled “Skills Outlook 2013: First Result from the Survey of Adult Skills” was based on responses from nearly 170,000 adults, aged 16 to 65, in 24 countries (see Sidebar on U.S. respondents, page 14). To learn more about the demographics of the 5010 U.S. respondents, go to

How respondents from various countries ranked… 

Literacy: On a scale of 1 (lowest) through 5 (highest) the average score among U.S. adults (270 points, which corresponds to proficiency Level 2) is similar to that in Germany and England/Northern Ireland (UK). This score is higher than the average in France, Italy, Poland and Spain, but lower than that in Australia, Canada and Japan. Overall, U.S. adults ranked 10th in literacy skills.

Numeracy (math): On a scale of 1 (lowest) through 5 (highest) the average score in the U.S. (253 points, corresponding to Level 2) is higher than that in only two comparison countries (Italy and Spain) and similar to France. Overall, U.S. adults ranked 12th in numeracy skills.

Problem-solving in technology-rich environments: On a scale of 1 (lowest) through 3 (highest) nearly one in three U.S. adults (31%) score at least at Level 2, slightly below the average across all participating countries (34%) and close to Korea’s average (30%). The Netherlands and Finland are among the top performers in this domain, with about 42% of adults performing at Level 2 and above. One in three adults in the U.S. scored at Level 1 proficiency. The remaining one third is evenly divided between those who score lower than Level 1 in problem solving and those who were unable to display any skills in this domain. Overall, U.S. adults ranked ninth in Problem Solving with Information & Communications Technologies (ICT).

Reskilling the U.S. labor force
It’s true. Adult skills ARE lacking in America’s workplaces. Unfortunately, many adults have not kept pace with the information-age technologies found in most workplaces. This is due in part to lack of effective employer-delivered training, fragmented business applications and limited community-based adult continuing-education programs. To overcome those deficiencies, we must take action now.

First, we must assure the timely transfer of occupational skills and knowledge from the aging Baby Boom generation BEFORE these Boomers leave the workplace. Secondly, we must ensure that all workers have the skills necessary for meaningful and rewarding employment and the economic success of businesses: That includes generic employability skills and problem-solving/information processing skills. Businesses cannot do this by themselves.

To borrow a phrase, we need to “think globally, act locally” for the future well-being of our communities, our families and generations to come. Ask what your local agencies are doing to ensure the continuing improvement of adult literacy, numeracy and ICT problem-solving skills to meet local and regional requirements of living-wage jobs. Then, take action to align and promote community- and region-based developmental opportunities with the needs of our adults and businesses. MT

Resources used in this column

OECD Survey of Adult Skills documents: []

OECD Skills Outlook 2013: First Results from the Survey of Adult Skills 

OECD Skills Outlook 2013 Tables of Results: Annex A 

The Survey of Adult Skills Reader’s Companion OECD (2013) 

Quick Facts About the Survey of Adult Skills

UNITED STATES – Country Note –Survey of Adult Skills – First results 

Robert Williamson, CMRP, CPMM and member of the Institute of Asset Management, is in his fourth decade of focusing on the “people side” of world-class maintenance and reliability in plants and facilities across North America. Email:

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2:16 pm
November 15, 2013
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Don’t Procrastinate…Innovate!: Giving Room For Thought

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By Ken Bannister, Contributing Editor

“Innovation comes from people meeting up in the hallways or calling each other at 10:30 at night with a new idea, or because they realized something that shoots holes in how we’ve been thinking about a problem.” So said the late Steve Jobs of Apple. He was right.

I started my first “real” job in the 1970s. As a newly minted design engineer for a bottling-machinery-manufacturing company, I worked amid a sea of drafting tables in a Dickensian-style space lorded over by a Chief Engineer sitting behind a large window in an elevated room. From that lofty vantage point, he saw everything and nothing at the same time.

Should a young engineer’s mind wander in the direction of an inventive or innovative thought, you would hear a sharp rapping noise on the window’s plate glass, and see a curling finger beckoning you to visit “the boss” in his lair. Standing in the office of shame, you could expect your mandatory rebuke to always end with this ridiculous admonition: “You are paid to work, not to think!”

This, of course, took place back in the days of manual drafting procedures that depended on slide rules, logarithmic tables, etc. Calculators and computers had not yet made their way into the engineering office.

In the company’s anti-collaborative, no-talking-allowed environment, if you weren’t writing, sketching, calculating, referencing a book or drawing, you were found guilty of not working. Thinking had to be done on your own time—or as you moved a pencil over paper. Communication and the collaborative sharing of ideas had to be done during breaks or after work. It was a very different time.

Fast-forward three decades
Although I may have included details of the following story in previous columns, they are essential to this month’s discussion:

Thirty years ago, I was invited into a plant to help implement a new, efficient maintenance approach. Alas, numerous complaints had been made about the site’s maintenance personnel not being team players. They were apparently rude and arrogant, and flagrantly broke a corporate “no coffee” rule. Many had been written up regarding their use of department computers for personal reasons and—gasp—for drinking coffee in the shop. Delving into the matter, I spoke to those who had received warnings and the manager who had issued them. 

As it turned out, the complaining party was none other than the plant manager—who regularly used the maintenance area as a shortcut between his office and the plant floor. On several occasions, he had noticed maintenance personnel “hanging” around a computer, drinking coffee and talking when they should have been working. 

Speaking with the maintenance team, I learned that every day at the shift change, members of the outgoing crew would stay around for five to 10 minutes to meet with the incoming shift and discuss outstanding work issues. During those times, they would refer to the computerized work-order system for reports and work-order copies.

The incoming shift would bring in coffee and donuts as an incentive for the outgoing shift to stay behind. Nobody thought they were breaking a “no-coffee” rule: After all, they were in their own workspace (where they typically took their breaks). Besides, the plant manager always seemed to be drinking coffee as he walked briskly through the area (and typically threw his paper cup into the maintenance shop trash bin.) Not surprisingly, morale had sunk to an all-time low among the team members as a result of what
they considered a punitive response to their positive initiative. 

Apprised of the maintenance team’s perspective, the plant manager admitted he had never sought to clarify what the crews were actually doing in their impromptu meetings—or why they insisted on drinking coffee in front of him. Nor had he realized how contradictory his own coffee consumption habits looked to his employees.

Turning a wrong into a right
The maintenance department used its shop for coffee breaks because the plant cafeteria—located at the other end of the facility—stopped serving hot food when formal plant break-time was over.

On the other hand, the teams staggered their breaks, out of sequence with the rest of the plant. This scheduling provided regular planned outages, during which time the crews would perform 15-minute pit-stop-style maintenance checks and tasks on available assets (an innovative approach in itself). Thus, it made little sense for team members to make the long, inconvenient trek to and from the site’s cafeteria.

Upon learning what his maintenance teams had actually been doing—on their own time, for the good of the business—the plant manager convened an interactive brainstorming workshop. There, he apologized for his lack of awareness and withdrew all complaints. Management and maintenance then worked together to establish a maintenance “think room” that would allow them a space to collaborate on their own terms for future initiatives.

This “think room” was constructed within the maintenance shop on a 20 x 20 footprint. It features low-energy fluorescent lighting (in a daylight spectrum that’s known to reduce fatigue and increase productivity) that shines onto low-sheen, all-white walls. The wall facing into the shop is windowed. Over the entrance door hangs a sign that reads “Innovation Starts Here.”

Inside the room are a coffeemaker, snack vending machine and microwave. A conference-style table can accommodate eight people. The library corner displays maintenance magazines and reference books. Two computer stations with Web access are available for research purposes.

Two of the room’s walls are covered floor to ceiling in whiteboards. One of them, dubbed the “information wall,“ is dedicated to shift-transfer and planning and scheduling information. The other whiteboard wall, known as the “think wall,” is dedicated to a specific type of brainstorming: A maintainer can identify a problem, and others (i.e., maintenance-team members or outsiders) can suggest possible solutions. Each problem can stay posted and elicit comments for one week. The owner of the problem then reviews it and any suggested solutions with the maintenance team group for follow-up.

Within a couple of months of setting up this room, the plant manager had stopped using the maintenance shop as a short cut. Instead, he started (and began attending) monthly meetings in the think room for maintenance updates. Coffee is no longer an issue—and outgoing shifts are paid an additional 15 minutes when they stay around for a changeover meeting. 

As a result, problems seem to be identified more quickly. Operators, in fact, are invited to post comments on the solution wall, and be present during the follow-up discussion meetings. Maintenance is now recognized as an in-plant innovator group, and for its “think before action” approach to problem solving. 

These days, I continue to recommend this type of “think room” idea to my industrial clients. Although dry-erasable paint and markers have taken the place of white boards—at a much lower cost, to boot—little has changed in the set-up and positive results: Thinking is working! 

Does your organization allow room for thought? I hope so. Good Luck! MT

Ken Bannister is author of Lubrication for Industry and the Lubrication section of the 28th edition Machinery’s Handbook. He’s also a Contributing Editor for Lubrication Management & Technology. Email:

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2:03 pm
November 15, 2013
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Boosting Your Bottom Line: Got Efficiency?

motor-decisions-matterWhat do leading businesses and energy providers have in common? Both see energy efficiency as a low-cost resource that can boost their bottom line. Successful businesses routinely invest in high-efficiency equipment and processes. As a result, they achieve multiple benefits, including greater reliability, lower maintenance costs, less waste and greater productivity—in addition to the ability to lower their energy bills. That’s good news for shareholders and for the environment.

Believe it or not, most utilities have good reason to help their customers use less energy. Energy-efficiency programs help states and utilities reduce the need for additional generation, enhance their ability to comply with regulations and add value for consumers. Here’s some more good news: state and utility support for energy efficiency has never been stronger, particularly when it comes to commercial and industrial facilities.

In 2012, the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) Annual Industry Report* stated that 309 program administrators in 47 states and seven provinces invested approximately $7.6 billion in demand-side management programs. A whopping 39% of expenditures in the United States were for commercial and industrial programs. These programs offer a broad range of support, including financial incentives for high-efficiency equipment, custom-project support, energy assessments, engineering studies and training. The accompanying table indicates some of the most common efficiency-program offerings. In fact, CEE recently released a report documenting more than 100 motor-system efficiency program offerings in the U.S. and Canada.

For more information about the availability of commercial and industrial efficiency programs in your area, download the CEE 2013 Program Summary: Energy Efficiency Incentive Programs for Premium Efficiency Motors and Adjustable Speed Drives in the US and Canada, available through the Motors Decisions Matter (MDM) Campaign (


The bottom line is that your utility is likely to have programs designed to help lower your bills and increase your competitiveness. So don’t get started on a retrofit project until you’re sure your organization isn’t passing up financial and technical support. Additional motor management resources are available through the Motor Decisions Matter campaign, including case studies, decision support tools, guidebooks and fact sheets. The campaign also encourages partnerships with local motor sales and service centers, electric utilities and efficiency programs that are well-positioned to offer added support. Don’t leave these valuable resources on the table. MT 

* MotorMaster+ 4.0 is available at

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1:58 pm
November 15, 2013
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Technology Showcase: Safety First

Are You Overlooking Some Common Safety Problems?

At least two seemingly benign hazards lurking around today’s operations could be just a damaging as arc flash. Do your maintenance teams have the knowledge and skills they need to deal with these concerns?

1113techshow1We are all familiar with potential hazards relating to arc flash and other electrical incidents. But what about other safety issues that plants and facilities face?  Some common, yet often overlooked, safety issues include those relating to pressure and pressurized systems. These include boilers and their associated distribution systems and high-pressure refrigerants. While this is not a complete list, it’s worth noting that incidents involving these types of systems and products are just as important and potentially hazardous as any arc flash incident.

Boiler system concerns
Boiler accidents can result from faulty pressure-relief valves, low water levels or corrosion to metal components caused by improper water treatment.

  • If a pressure valve malfunctions because of corrosion or lack of testing and recertification, it can fail to open or relieve its designed capacity of steam or hot water. The pressures and temperatures in the boiler will then build above design specifications and a pressure-vessel failure will occur.
  • If the water level in the boiler drops and exposes the boiler tubes, overheating can occur and lead to further damage to the boiler—possibly causing it to explode.
  • Over time, without proper water treatment, water may become corrosive and scale may form on the heating surfaces, which in turn can cause damage to the structural integrity of the boiler itself.
  • Finally, improper maintenance may also cause pressure problems and is a common cause of boiler accidents.

High-pressure refrigerant concerns
Similar to boilers are issues concerning high-pressure refrigerants. One such refrigerant—R-410A—is of  particular concern: Although it does not have the ozone-depleting effects of traditional refrigerants, R-410A operates at 40% to 70% higher pressures. That means operators must be exceedingly careful when working with systems that use this type of refrigerant. 

  • A key consideration with R-410A is to verify that equipment for which you are using it is designed for this refrigerant. This will ensure that the equipment can handle the higher pressures that are encountered when working with R-410A.
  • Since most older systems weren’t designed to handle the types of higher pressures associated with R-410A, retrofitting them is not recommended.

Using proper equipment and proper and scheduled maintenance, facilities can avoid many of these accidents before they happen.
For more information on these and other workplace-safety issues, as well as related real-world plant, building and facility maintenance training programs, visit:

1113techshow2Full-Time, Advanced Arc-Flash Technology

According to GE, its ArcWatch technology offers full-time, automatic, always-on protection and reliability for people, property and equipment. It works through a combination of communication algorithms across the GE portfolio of circuit breakers by using instantaneous zone-selective interlocking (I-ZSI) and waveform recognition (WFR) to ensure that only circuit breakers nearest to the fault will trip, which happens in as little as four milliseconds. Systems embedded with this technology reduce the impact of an arc-flash event to <8 cal/cm2, translating into lower requirements for using personal protective equipment. ArcWatch-enabled circuit breaker families from GE include the EntelliGuard*, Record Plus* and Spectra RMS* series. Shown here, the recently launched PremEon* S trip unit used in conjunction with the Record Plus platform is an advanced electronic trip unit that provides higher levels of accuracy for selective ratings without compromising safety, especially during maintenance operations. It also eliminates rating plugs for jobsite simplicity and adjustability. Recently introduced EntelliGuard enhancements simplify in-the-field energy management and user interface with improved breaker-maintenance diagnostic information.  

GE Industrial Solutions
Plainville, CT


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1:34 pm
November 15, 2013
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Capacity Assurance Marketplace

1113mplacesundyneVertical Sealless Pump Meets API 685 Requirements

According to Sundyne, its recently introduced vertically mounted General Service Pump Vertical (GSPV) inline centrifugal design combines the company’s API 685 expertise with all of the benefits of a magnetic drive sealless pump in a compact package. The pump handles flows to 1000 gpm (230 m³/hr) and heads to 400 ft (120 m). Requiring minimum floor space due to its small footprint, the GSPV vertical pump meets all of the requirements of API 685, making it well-suited to chemical and petrochemical applications, as well as oil and gas services, especially those where space is at a premium, such as on offshore oil and gas installations.

Arvada, CO

1113mplacephotronCompact, HD High-Speed Camera 

The FASTCAM Mini UX100 high-speed camera from Photron provides 1,280 x 1,024 pixel resolution to 4000 frames per second, 720 high-definition resolution (1,280 x 720 pixels) to 6400 fps, and reduced resolution operation up to 800,000 frames per second. The global electronic shutter operates down to one microsecond to provide blur-free, black and white imagery with 12-bit pixel depth (36-bit for the color version). The camera comes in a compact 120 mm x 120 mm x 90 mm package, weighing only 1.5 kg. 

Photron, Inc.
San Diego, CA

1113mplacemagidEffective Hand Protection For Hazardous Environments 

According to Magid®, its T-REX™ Machine Knit Impact Gloves offer a notable combination of comfort, dexterity and impact protection. Heavy-duty TPR pads provide solid protection to the back of the hand and fingers while a flexible, scored design allows the gloves to bend with the hand. A proprietary NitriX™ sandy nitrile coating represents the cutting edge in grip and allows the wearer to maintain a firm hold, even in wet and oily conditions. T-REX gloves extend their protection to the palm with impact- and puncture-resistant padding, and also include a PVC-reinforced thumb crotch that strengthens this critical wear point. The standard style, TRX500 is well suited for most environments with impact hazards, including those in oil- and gas-extraction applications. The cut-resistant TRX550 style is constructed with a 10-gauge, HPPE- and steel-blended shell that delivers powerful ANSI Level 5 cut protection. Both styles feature high-visibility colors for improved compliance, and hook-and-loop wrist closures for a secure fit. 

Magid Glove & Safety Mfg. Co.
Chicago, IL 

1113mplacebrunsonCamera System For Alignment Telescopes

Brunson Instrument Company has released the AlignCam system for their current line of alignment telescopes, levels and transits. AlignCam is designed to improve operator ergonomics, especially with awkward setups in the field or the lab. The live image from the system provides continuous feedback on sight lines, enabling precision alignment adjustments. A mobile option that adds a laptop and wireless router allows users to view the image on a mobile device. To set up, the field technician connects the camera assembly to the optical instrument, then connects the camera to the computer via USB. Remote monitoring allows service professionals to view targets, share readings and collaborate with teams in multiple sites, locally or around the world.  

Brunson Instrument Co.
Kansas City, MO

1113mplaceautodirectLarger IEC Motor Controls 

AutomationDirect’s GH15 series of electric contactors now includes larger frame sizes, ranging from 79 mm to 145 mm (3.1 to 5.7 in.). In addition, models are now available up to 315 Amps. GH15 series IEC motor controls feature self-lifting pressure plate terminals for quick wiring terminations. Actuator coils in 110/220 V and 220/240 V, 60Hz models accommodate most applications. Now available in IEC sizes ranging from B to TT, GH15 series contactors accommodate up to 250 Hp (186 kW) motors at 460 VAC. Contactors are 35 mm DIN-rail mountable and panel mountable to provide fast and easy installation. The GH15 series has a one-year warranty and are CE marked, cULus listed, RoHS- and REACH-compliant.   

Cumming, GA 

Cloud-Based Backups Of CNC Machine Data

Mitsubishi Electric Automation will now offer its customers remote access to a backup of their CNC machine-tool information. The new service includes the creation and maintenance of a comprehensive set of backups of a manufacturer’s CNC machine tool data stored in a secure, remote location. Mitsubishi provides a link to the backup information stored on its servers. Backing up machines in advance of catastrophic, unplanned and planned downtime gives manufacturers the opportunity to readily and more efficiently support the repair of controls and the installation of new control parts and functionality. According to the company, this Cloud-based service was developed to offer peace of mind to plant managers, maintenance managers, machine operators and other manufacturing personnel responsible for a site’s CNC equipment efficiency. Depending on the data’s complexity, Mitsubishi’s service engineers estimate that these remote back-ups can save users a few hours to a day or more per occurrence of routine maintenance or machine downtime. 

Mitsubishi Electric Automation, Inc.
Vernon Hills, IL

1113mplaceforcecontrolPrecise Oil Shear Tension Control Brakes  

A full line of Positorq oil shear tension control brakes from Force Control Industries provides simple, precise torque control over the entire speed range, down to 0 rpm.  Operational speeds are precisely controlled without chatter, stick slip or torque variation, making them suited for unwind stands on plastic film production lines.  Torque is controlled by pneumatic or hydraulic actuation pressure and is independent of speed. Sizes range from 53 lb. ft. up to 300,000 lb. ft., with continuous heat absorption capability up to 3000 thermal horsepower. The line is also suited for other tension control applications such as unwind stands in steel mills, tension stands in paper mills, unwind stands in paper converting mills and other industrial applications. 

Force Control Industries, Inc.
Fairfield, OH

Range-Free Multi-Controller Programming Tool 

Yokogawa has added Live Logic Analyzer to its FA-M3V multi-controller programming tool. In near real-time, Live Logic Analyzer shows the status of a PLC program as it runs on Yokogawa’s F3SP71-4S and F3SP76-7S sequence CPU modules. This enables programmers and engineers to monitor program execution status as they collect program execution data. Until now, equipment developers have had to check PLC programs using a sampling trace function or, if they required real-time logic analysis, by creating and running their own debugging programs. The new tool displays control data in a single window for up to 96 points at any given time, enabling even personnel who are not familiar with PLC ladder programs to pinpoint problems.  

Yokogawa Corp. of America
Newnan, Ga.

1113mplacecribmasterLive Tracking For Asset Location, Status

CribMaster has integrated its AeroScout’s Mobile View application and active RFID tags with CribMaster software to form the Live Tracking™ package. The package tracks and manages the location, condition and status of mobile assets and people. Tailored for industries such as manufacturing, energy, maintenance and aerospace, Live Tracking includes visualization, event triggers and mapping for real-time visibility. It uses rugged, Wi-Fi-enabled active RFID tags affixed to assets to provide real-time location information to track and manage work orders, parts, inventory repositories and assets.  

Marietta, GA 

1113mplaceadvantechWeb-Connected Operator Panels 

The WebOP-3000 range of web-connectible operator panels from Advantech’s Industrial Automation Group are human-machine interface (HMI) touch panels that run on Intel® Cortex-A8 processors. Designed to work from -4 to 140 F (-20 to 60 C), they support CANopen, Modbus and Ethernet network protocols. The panels feature dual-level 4 electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection and meet IEC-61000 electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) standards. In addition, the WebOP-3000T series has power and terminal I/O port isolation protection against power surges. 

Advantech Industrial Automation Group
Cincinnati, OH

1113mplaceinvensysIndustrial Cloud-Based Historian  

Invensys has released a cloud-hosted historian, the Wonderware Historian Online Edition, which offers reduced implementation time and broad access. It is a Software as a Service (SAS) offering that uses a multi-tier historian database architecture. It stores data from one or more local plant-level Wonderware Historians to a cloud-hosted, enterprise-wide repository. Reporting and analytics are delivered to the historian online edition through standard tools, along with Invensys’s Wonderware SmartGlance mobile reporting software. System users can view the data via multiple devices, including desktop PCs, laptops, tablets and smart phones. The Wonderware Historian Online Edition is the first commercial offering from the Invensys-Windows Azure relationship announced last year. Windows Azure is a flexible cloud-based platform from Microsoft.

Houston, TX

1113firstline3-Phase UPS 

The FirstLine PL is a parallelable three-phase uninterruptible power supply (UPS) for 10-40kVA applications. The 94%-efficient unit lowers energy costs and reduces carbon footprint while delivering maximum availability and flexibility. Internal batteries allow a small footprint, while cooler operation extends internal component life. True on-line, double-conversion technology is achieved through IGBT and Digital Signal Processor (DSP) control, enabling delivery of a high input power factor of 0.99. Each unit is covered by a two-year warranty. 

Staco Energy Products Co.
Dayton, OH

1113mplacemilwaukeeLED Flood Light  

The M18 LED Flood Light features eight LEDs that provide 30% brighter light output than comparable halogen lights, according to the company. It also features a lightweight roll cage for durability, and a replaceable, impact-resistant lens designed for tough work conditions. The lens’ octagonal shape allows the light to be used at multiple angles. Powered by any Milwaukee LITHIUM-ION battery, the light can operate up to eight hours, and is compatible with the company’s entire M18 System.

Milwaukee Tool Corp.
Brookfield, WI 

1113mplacepalmerTest Tool For Pressure Applications 

The Palmer PV10K Hydraulic Calibration Pressure Pump is a dual-stage pump including a selector valve, increasing the priming speed and reducing the effort required to generate high pressures. The unit’s pressure range is 0 to 10,000 PSI or 0 to 700 bar. Its large-volume Pyrex reservoir can be filled with distilled water or mineral oil, with an optional brake-fluid model available. A pressure relief valve can be supplied to provide protection to connected instruments, while a swivel reference gauge port allows easy viewing. 

Palmer Wahl Instrumentation Group
Asheville, NC

1113mplaceoptoHigh-Frequency Signal Monitoring 

Opto 22 introduces two high-frequency analog signal-monitoring hardware modules for its SNAP PAC system. The 9 VDC self-powered SNAP-AIRATE-HFi rate-input module connects to TTL, CMOS and open-collector outputs, and can scan pulses from 2-500 kHz. The SNAP-AOD-29-HFi module features pulse-width modulation (PWM) and time-proportional output (TPO), and can switch 100 mA of external current from 2.5 VDC to 24 VDC, at rates between 64.25 seconds to 10 microseconds (0-100 kHz).  

Opto 22
Temecula, CA 

Low-Voltage Products For Remote Usage

Moore Industries-International has added low-voltage power supply options to many of its products. This addition makes these products suitable for use in remote applications such as oil and natural gas wellheads, where power supplies are limited and harsh environmental conditions often exist. Products that have recently added a 12Vdc power supply option include the CPA 4-Wire PC-Programmable Alarm; CPT 4-Wire PC-Programmable Signal Isolator and Converter; ECA 4-Wire Current and Voltage Alarm; ECT 4-Wire Signal Isolator, Converter, Repeater and Splitter; and TMZ 4-Wire PC-Programmable MODBUS Temperature Transmitter & Signal Converter. 

Moore Industries-International, Inc.
North Hills, CA

Versatile, Intuitive Line Of Thermal Cameras

FLIR’s E-Series thermal cameras include models E4, E5, E6 and E8. Designed for professionals who need to track down electrical and mechanical overheating, moisture ingress, missing insulation, air leaks, and other issues, E-Series cameras feature a 3” color LCD display, wide-angle focus-free lens, intuitive on-camera button controls, on-board digital camera and MSX technology (Multi-Spectral Dynamic Imaging). MSX integrates visible details from digital camera photos onto IR images and creates an all-in-one thermal image to illustrate an emerging or existing issue. 

FLIR Systems, Inc.
Wilsonville, OR

1113mplacesensordataRadio-Coupled Rotary Flange Torque Sensor

SensorData Technologies has introduced its BT400 Series Bluetooth non-contact, radio-coupled rotary flange torque sensor, capable of measuring torque up to 8000 lb-ft, (10,847 Nm) at speeds up to 15,000 rpm. The series is available in six base models with rated capacities from 50 ft-lb (68 Nm) to 8000 ft-lb and sensor diameters from 2.5 to 9 in. (6.4 to 22.9 cm). This BT400 series provides radio transmission of measured data and requires relatively little space for installation.  

SensorData Technologies
Shelby Township, MI 

1113mplacetwotechIndustrial-Strength Communications Device 

Two Technologies’ N4 is a ruggedized Android smart communications device designed for mobile applications in harsh environments. The device is IP67-rated and meets or exceeds MIL-STD 810G using methods 516.6 and 514.6 for both shock and vibration. The N4 features a 5.5 in. (13.9 cm) diagonal high-resolution 720 X 1280 Super AMOLED display and Android version 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean) operating system. It can also be fitted with an available 70-key, backlit keypad. 

Two Technologies, Inc.
Horsham, PA

Improved Electric Actuator Range

Spirax Sarco has introduced an improved AEL 5 series electric actuator range for 1/2” to 4” control valves. The actuators are reversible, having linear output. Internal components such as the PCB, positioner card and limited switches are affixed to a more durable and sturdy aluminum support for holding and/or fitting accessories. The range also features an easy commission limit switch adjuster, allowing the user to simply loosen the cam with one screw and adjust its position with a second screw.  

Spirax Sarco, Inc.
Blythewood, SC

1113mplacetsubaki2Easy Locking Of Sprockets, Gears, Pulleys, Timing Cams And Rollers

According to U.S. Tsubaki, its extensive POWER-LOCK portfolio offers a simple and cost-effective solution to problems associated with keyed or machined drive shafts. Incorporating POWER-LOCK technology into existing and new designs provides increased shaft strength while reducing machining and maintenance costs. The company notes that POWER-LOCK eliminates backlash damage to keyways and specialty machined bores in applications that experience reversing loads or high torque. In addition, machining expenses associated with keyways, spline bores, steps and snap ring grooves can be removed from the equation. The easy-to-install device is suitable for locking large or small sprockets, gears, pulleys, timing cams and rollers.

U.S. Tsubaki
Wheeling, IL


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1:31 pm
November 15, 2013
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Viewpoint: Navigating A Path To Excellence

1113viewpointBy Chuck Edwards, President, Lenze Americas Corporation

Performance is a concept that is often discussed, but not fully understood. In the world of automated production systems, it starts with properly defining expectations. These include technical expectations—such as axis cycle times and throughput—as well as expectations relative to individual and team contributions.

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