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11:29 pm
June 28, 2016
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Analytics Drive Energy Costs Down

“Listen to your Machines and Find Real Savings with Energy Analytics” was one of the first presentations offered at the Siemens 2016 Automation Summit, held June 27 to 30 in Las Vegas. The core of Stephan Ihmels’ presentation was a case history involving a discrete-manufacturing facility in the Chicago area.

Ihmels is business-development manager, Plant Data Services, Siemens Industry Inc. Digital Factory division, Alpharetta, GA.

Management at the Chicago manufacturer was looking to reduce costs. Their goal was a 10% reduction in energy costs, while improving efficiency and productivity. They also wanted to realize a payback of less than 2 yr. and to be able to allocate energy use to different departments.

They decided to reach their goals by using the Siemens Energy Analytics Platinum package, a subscription software and analysis service that carried, for this application, a $3,000/month fee. The service offers custom online dashboards, analytics, and diagnostic support. The payoff is delivery of specific energy-reduction actions and implementation consulting and coaching from Siemens experts.

The system too some planning and setup, but it started making a difference the first month. An analysis of the manufacturer’s compressed-air system showed that 36% of the air consumption was caused by leaks (an ideal level is less than 10%). Tackling that problem resulted in a $16,900 savings the first year.

Electricity monitoring indicated that 14.4% of electricity was consumed during non-productive hours. Now that that is straightened out, they are realizing $45,000 in annual savings.

Overall, they had no problem reaching their 10% utility-reduction goal and have realized an annual energy savings of $70,000. Their ROI for the project was less than a year, way ahead of their 2-yr. goal.

When implementing a system such as this, Ihmel recommended that you focus your initial efforts on applications/processes where savings will be achieved quickly. Also, make full use of the extensive data and reporting generated by the system by making sure the web dashboard is viewed, shared, and analyzed by everyone involved, including management.–Gary L. Parr, editorial director

Learn more about the Siemens Energy Analytics service at


12:10 pm
June 28, 2016
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Should You Fear Cloud Storage?

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 11.53.51 AMPutting company data on a server in an unknown location tends to simply scare people. But cloud data storage is here, it’s not going away and, for most, will be the primary way they store and exchange company information at just about all levels. Should you fear cloud data storage? To answer that question, we turned to Hannelore Fineman, executive vice president and partner, at cloud-based CMMS provider eMaint, Bonita Springs, FL, (, to provide some insight into the benefits of cloud data storage and help all of us calm our nervous systems.

While the following items speak positively about cloud-service capabilities, using a cloud service does not necessarily absolve you of responsibility for your data. Hackers sit up all night trying to crack servers. You need to take every step possible to stop them, particularly if they can shut down your manufacturing system.

For a more technical view of cloud-based security, read the two articles from Infoworld, linked at the bottom of this page. For general cyber security information, be sure to read “Do Employees Make Your Network Vulnerable” on p. 27 of this issue.

Also, consider viewing these items as questions to ask of your provider. In other words, treat this information as a checklist. If the provider you’re considering keeps coming up short, caveat emptor. —Gary L. Parr, editorial director

Security in the cloud and physical-data environment
Cloud data environments are constructed inside secure data centers that are protected using keycard and biometric scanning protocols, as well as round-the-clock interior and exterior surveillance monitoring. Duplicates of all production hardware are reserved and stored onsite to ensure availability of replacement parts in the event of a hardware failure. By storing data in these protected data centers, organizations are able to implement security controls that are economically unachievable with typical in-house, on-premise deployments.

Application and operational security protocols
To ensure application security, cloud-based software providers offer considerable advanced functionality, including role-based access, strong encryption, robust password policies, application-only access, and IP-address restrictions. Stringent round-the-clock monitoring tools, controls, and policies are also employed.

Disaster-recovery and network and infrastructure security solutions
Businesses enjoy reduced risk with enterprise-class data-management processes and policies. Disaster-recovery policies and high-performance infrastructure offer the peace of mind of knowing that data are completely replicated, backed-up daily, and available whenever needed.

Reduced IT department burden
Because software and hardware don’t have to be purchased, installed, or maintained, cloud-based data storage reduces the burden on IT departments or negates the need to hire IT personnel. Updates and upgrades are installed automatically, enabling users to enjoy access to the latest version of the solution with no installation required.

Improved collaboration and mobility
Because cloud-based systems are “hosted” and readily accessible anywhere from any Internet-connected device, they allow improved real-time collaboration and mobility. For example, a technician can update a work order in a cloud-based CMMS using a mobile device, and that information is then reflected across the account and made available to other users. Often, clients who migrate to a cloud-based solution experience enhanced communications between members of maintenance teams, production, operations, and senior management. The technology also allows organizations with multiple locations to share best practices, benchmark performance, and better manage standard operating procedures across the enterprise. MT

Learn More

“The Dirty Dozen: 12 Cloud Security Threats,” Infoworld:

“7 Ways to Supercharge Your Personal Cloud Storage,” Infoworld:

For more information about cloud-based CMMS software, visit


11:55 am
June 28, 2016
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My Motor Failed. Now What?

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 11.53.51 AMMike Howell, Electrical Apparatus Service Association (EASA)

PROCESS DOWNTIME is expensive—even more so when it’s unexpected. So, when an electric motor fails, we tend to pull, repair, or replace it, and move on as quickly as possible. In doing so, however, we may miss an opportunity to capture basic information that could help improve the reliability of the application. With a little planning, these data can be gathered with no delay in startup.

Collect initial data. Develop a simple, standard procedure that a “trained” operator can use to jot down or check off some basic information about the process at the time of failure. In special applications or cases of chronic failure, photos could be extremely helpful.

Don’t destroy two motors. Startup procedures vary widely, depending on factors such as application and equipment size. Have appropriate measures in place so that, following a failure, you can rule out problems with the power supply or starting equipment before attempting to start a replacement motor.

This sleeve bearing motor, with a drive-end bearing failure and bent shaft, arrived at a service center without its sheave, and with very little information. Bearing wear was presumed to be the cause of failure. After the motor was returned to service with a new shaft and new sleeve bearings, it failed in less than an hour. A simple photo of the motor following the initial failure would have correctly identified the cause—excessive overhung load for the sleeve bearing—and a motor with rolling-element bearings could have been installed to prevent a second failure.

This sleeve bearing motor, with a drive-end bearing failure and bent shaft, arrived at a service center without its sheave, and with very little information. Bearing wear was presumed to be the cause of failure. After the motor was returned to service with a new shaft and new sleeve bearings, it failed in less than an hour. A simple photo of the motor following the initial failure would have correctly identified the cause—excessive overhung load for the sleeve bearing—and a motor with rolling-element bearings could have been installed to prevent a second failure.

Help your service center. Sometimes, the cause of failure seems so obvious that, with too little information, we jump to the wrong conclusion. Furthermore, we may only discover our error when the repaired motor or its replacement quickly fails. The more application and failure details that you can share with service-center personnel, the easier it will be for them to help identify and eliminate the actual problem and provide a reliable repair for the application. With most applications, much of the documentation can be done long before a failure occurs. Such details can make all the difference when the service center performs causal analysis. Examples of data that can be recorded in advance include:

  • Complete motor nameplate information
  • Power supply information: sinewave/non-sinewave power (ASD/VFD), known transients, voltage variation, voltage unbalance, starting method
  • Environment: indoors/outdoors, ambient temperature, humidity, contamination
  • Mounting and coupling: direct coupled, belt drive, integral mounted, overhung load, mounted vertically
  • Application information: pump, blower, conveyor, crusher, inertia/starting torque requirements, acceleration time, duty cycle, typical loading.

Once a failure occurs, combine this general information about the application with specifics about the failure event, including any available photos. This approach will get your service center off to a good start in accurately determining the cause of your motor’s failure and preventing another one. MT

Mike Howell is a technical support specialist at the Electrical Apparatus Service Association (EASA), St. Louis. For more information, visit


10:37 pm
June 26, 2016
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Upgraded SKF Explorer Spherical Roller Bearings Offer Longer Service Life in High-Vibration Applications

Screen Shot 2016-06-26 at 5.30.48 PMUpgraded Explorer spherical roller bearings for vibratory applications from SKF, Lansdale, PA, have been newly engineered to provide increased performance and longer service life.

Typical applications include vibrating screens, compactors, road rollers, and similar end-uses that operate with high vibration and exposure to contamination, and/or poor-lubrication conditions. Because these bearings are designed to accommodate very heavy radial and axial loads, they’re also well suited for applications where misalignment or shaft deflections may occur.

Features and Capabilities
According to SKF, products in this Explorer spherical-roller bearing family are made from high quality, super-clean, and tough steel; benefit from an upgraded heat treatment; and integrate a special cage design. These combined features, the company says, offer a number of advantages beyond an extended  service life (several times longer than other spherical roller bearings under typical heavy-duty conditions). They include:

  • Lower operating temperatures for cooler and longer running;
  • Improved resistance to wear and contamination;
  • Excellent performance in high-speed applications;
  • Reduced risks of fretting corrosion and induced axial preload;
  • Extended re-lubrication intervals that reduce maintenance costs and boost safety.

The bearings are available in a wide range of bore sizes with increased dimensional precision, two hardened steel cages with an outer ring centered guide ring, and C4 internal radial clearance standard. Optional PTFE-coated cylindrical bores can be supplied to reduce fretting corrosion on the shaft. Custom products can be developed to meet the most demanding requirements.

For more information on SKF’s complete lineup, including, bearings, lubrication technologies, mechatronics, and condition-monitoring solutions and services, among others, CLICK HERE.


9:43 pm
June 26, 2016
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CBS ArcSafe RSA-22 Reduces PPE Requirements for Operating Medium-Voltage, GE Load Break Switches (IC1074 Series)

Screen Shot 2016-06-26 at 3.55.38 PMAccording to Denton, TX-based CBS ArcSafe, its RSA-22 remote switch actuator (RSA) with a magnetic latching system allows sites to operate the General Electric medium-voltage load break switch (IC1074 series) without having to make any modifications to existing electrical equipment.

The lightweight, portable RSA-22 lets technicians remotely close or trip the load break switch from a safe distance of up to 300 ft., while remaining stationed outside the arc-flash boundary.

Typical applications include squirrel-cage, wound-rotor, and synchronous motors, as well as feeding transformers and other power-utilization circuits.

CBS ArcSafe designs, manufactures, and assembles all of its RSA units in the U.S. The company notes that all of these devices are portable and fast and easy to set up. All offer mechanical and/or electrical safety protection; adjust to fit unique electrical equipment configurations; reduce requirements for personal protection equipment (PPE); and help sites with NFPA 70E arc-flash safety compliance.

Optional features include radio remote capabilities with a range up to 300 ft., 24 V DC LED light, wireless video-camera system with LCD monitor, and rugged protective case assembly.

For more information on the RSA-22 and other CBS ArcSafe remote switching solutions, CLICK HERE.



7:43 pm
June 24, 2016
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Finding IIoT Waves this Summer


ABB’s new motor monitoring solution, which will be released to the North American market later this year.

Are smaller IIoT applications the “next wave” for end users? This month’s IIoT column discusses this issue and a nifty product introduction from ABB that adds a sensing device to provide condition monitoring data to the cloud. In that same column, I reference my podcast interview with Ralph Rio, at ARC Advisory Group on all things Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

The June column also includes how advanced machine design can provide vital monitoring data on the floor for operation and maintenance teams.

Here’s an excerpt with Erl Campbell from Aventics, a pneumatics-based solution supplier:

“Most end users in the U.S. are focusing on reliability and the need for data acquisition, so that they can more predictably maintain their equipment,” says Erl Campbell, product manager, at Aventics. “That’s one area of focus with our valves.”

“By actually monitoring the spool position, the machine can track exactly how each valve performed during a motion cycle: where that valve started, whether it fully shifted or only partially shifted, and its final position. This data helps machine builders and end-user operators isolate and correct issues that may affect overall packaging quality and integrity,” the white paper says.

To read the entire IIoT column visit here or listen to Ralph Rio’ s podcast on “Which Industries are Ripe IIoT Applications.

>> Also visit our IIoT page on at and read about data analytics, maintenance applications and industry trends.


8:32 pm
June 21, 2016
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CMMS Drives Culture


“Using Your CMMS to Influence Culture,” a webinar presented June 21, 2016, by Roy Rothwell, senior consultant, professional services at eMaint Enterprises, Marlton, NJ, focused on understanding your operation’s culture and how it can make or break CMMS success. Rothwell presented an engaging discussion about both sides of the CMMS/culture marriage and the impact success can have on overall reliability.

While the presentation was educational, the real highlight was the resources that Rothwell offered. Each of them, by themselves, is valuable, but the combination is a powerful toolkit for anyone trying to implement a CMMS, understand/change company culture, and make significant progress toward reliability. A survey of attendees revealed that most can benefit from those resources:

  • 13% of attendees have no CMMS in place
  • 34% are just getting started with a CMMS
  • 45% have a CMMS in place and are tracking data
  • 9% are actively track and measure data for continuous improvement.

The backbone of Rothwell’s presentation was the information found in Stephen Thomas’ book, The Workbook for Improving Maintenance and Reliability Through Cultural Change, April 2005, Industrial Press Inc., New York. The book is $30 and the link is to

One of the standout items in the book was Thomas’ discussion about the cultural infrastructure in companies. He describes it as the hidden hierarchy of people and communication processes that binds an organization together and the unofficial manner in which information (valid or invalid) flows throughout that organization.

A second source was a column written by our own Bob Williamson in the June 2013 issue of Maintenance Technology. That column, titled “Reliability is more about People than Machines,” talks about the success factors for reliability improvement:

  • Data
  • Focus
  • Process
  • Constraints
  • Causes
  • Mindset.

A third resource comes from the eMaint people. It’s titled “Ten Keys to CMMS Success.” The document is just a graphic, but they offer a webinar on the subject. See it here.

My favorite bullet point from the entire webinar came from the Champion Effect segment: “A born-again skeptic is your best ally.”

Click here to hear the recorded webinar.

Click here to download a pdf file of the presentation.

If you’re looking to implement a CMMS or have one an aren’t sure what to do with it, start with this webinar and the resources it offers. At minimum, you’ll build a good foundation.–Gary L. Parr, editorial director



9:19 pm
June 20, 2016
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White Paper | How To Design an Industrial Internet Architecture

Source: Industrial Internet Consortium

Source: Industrial Internet Consortium


Interoperability has been the “mantra” in manufacturing for some time, but management needs more resources for fully-realized IIoT. The industrial internet depends on interoperability and that’s why this reference paper on industrial architecture can be a valued asset in developing plant or process manufacturing strategies. The Industrial Internet Consortium recently released this Industrial Internet Reference Architecture white paper and it provides multiple points-of-view for the enterprise: connectivity, functional, implementation, safety, communication security, data distribution, secure storage and integrations best practices.

Chapter 13 discusses edge networking principles and recommends a blueprint for data reduction techniques, along with other best practices with storage. Contributors include a who’s who of technology and manufacturer suppliers, such as ABB, GE, SAP, IBM, RTI, Fujitsu, Intel, Micron, and AT&T, to name a few.

Download the White Paper >>