Archive | Maintenance

9

7:30 pm
May 25, 2016
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Feature-Rich PlantStruxure PES V4.2 Automation System Debuts at Schneider Electric Connect 2016

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 2.23.04 PMSchneider Electric Connect 2016, in New Orleans, is continuing to serve up a full plate of activities and product news today.

First up was this morning’s Plenary session focussing on  cyber-related issues, starting with a presentation on  “HMI & Alarm Management Best Practices.” by Bridget Fitzpatrick, of Wood Group Mustang.

Gary Williams, senior director of Technology, Cyber Security & Communications at Schneider Electric, then took the stage to put cyber threats into context for end users by encouraging attendees to “Be as AGGRESSIVE as a Hacker, or Lose Productivity.”

On the product front, Schneider Electric has announced the release of PlantStruxure PES V4.2 that integrates new hardware with capabilities from the company’s Modicon M580 ePAC lineup to meet demands of Industrial Internet of Things applications.

According to the company, the addition of Modicon M580 redundant controllers delivers exceptional plant and asset availability for critical continuous process operations and, thus helps to improve overall business performance.

How It Works
Fifty percent of today’s PlantStruxure PES projects require at least one pair of redundant controllers within the configuration. Schneider Electric notes that PES V4.2 meets next-gen requirements with the M580 ePAC and the ability to lock down ports within a single configuration environment. The company says the high level of cyber security offered by the  PES V4.2 “ensures nearly 100% uptime for customer systems.”

A core feature of the Modicon M580 ePAC is its Ethernet-based architecture. Integration into the PES solution improves system management and provides customers with a level of standard communication, guaranteeing a future-proof system.

The Foxboro, MA-based manufacturer says new services will be available for engineering and commissioning, which will make navigating a control program easier, as well as improve performance when making project changes. PlantStruxure PES V4.2 is also equipped with ready-to-use application and industry libraries, allowing systems to be built more quickly and with lower engineering costs. By integrating energy-management features from other Schneider Electric automation and power devices, such as asset-centric Altivar drives, the system can help users realize greater energy-cost savings.

The Schneider Electric Connect 2016 Automation Conference runs through Thursday, May 26, at the Marriott New Orleans Hotel. For more information from this event, CLICK HERE.

28

10:58 pm
May 24, 2016
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Schneider Electric Extends Universal I/O Capability for Foxboro and Triconex

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 4.25.03 PMSchneider Electric Connect 2016 has rolled into New Orleans in a big way this week. Organizers of this four-day automation conference at the Marriott New Orleans promised a busy, information-packed week for attendees, and if the event’s first full day is any indication, they’ve come through. In addition to an extensive slate of compelling keynotes, technical presentations, and workshops, the company is introducing several new products and technology enhancements.

Among the product announcements is today’s news of an update to the Foxboro Intelligent Marshalling solution. The new FBM 248 offering now includes redundancy capabilities that eliminate the costly, labor-intensive marshalling process traditionally required for control systems and further enhance the reliability and efficiency of control system design and operation. The company has also enhanced its Tricon CX compact safety system with the addition of the 3902X TMR universal I/O module.

Foxboro Evo FBM 248 and Tricon CX 3902X remove the dependency among control and safety system design and the installation of I/O systems. Universal I/O offerings for Foxboro Evo and Triconex enable process automation professionals to seamlessly adapt to last-minute I/O design changes and provides backup to eliminate the impact of any process downtime. of an update to the Foxboro Intelligent Marshalling solution.

Intelligent Marshalling with universal I/O and software-configurable modules allows users to configure I/O points from anywhere in the plant or in the world. They also enable flexible options for future expansions and upgrades, as well as significant cost savings by reducing marshalling infrastructure, increasing I/O density per cabinet, reducing field and maintenance labor costs and drastic reductions in the need for onsite replacement inventory.

For more information on the Foxboro Intelligent Marshalling solution, CLICK HERE.

Schneider Electric Connect 2016 continues through May 26. To learn more about it, CLICK HERE.

42

4:42 pm
May 19, 2016
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Schneider Electric Foxboro MagPLUS Flowmeters Solve Problems for Global Water/Wastewater and Food & Beverage Sectors

The recent introduction of Foxboro MagPLUS Magnetic Flowmeters by Schneider Electric (Foxboro, MA), represents a comprehensive lineup of flexible, easy-to-use, and reliable solutions for the water, wastewater, and food and beverage industries.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.21.01 AMIncorporating multiple flow-tube sizes and an array of transmitter configurations, the new MagPLUS family allows precise, bi-directional metering of a wide range of fluids, from beverages and processed foods to potable water, industrial water, and wastewater. Units feature robust, fully welded construction, a selection of global standard flanges and end-connections, rugged liners suited to all water and wastewater applications or hygienic sanitary design, and durable exteriors suited to underground installation and constant flooding (IP 68-rated enclosure).

According to the manufacturer, an innovative virtual grounding feature in these Foxboro MagPLUS flowmeters eliminates the need for grounding electrodes or rings, thus reducing installation complexity and cost, while increasing process reliability.

Startup and commissioning is said to an easy matter given the fact all MagPLUS transmitters share a common operating concept, feature displays in 14 operating languages (including Russian and simplified Chinese), and come with a Quick Start configuration menu.

Holding approvals for electrical and sanitary certifications and drinking water applications,MagPLUS devices are available in a wide range of sizes, with large diameters for large-scale production plants.

For more information on the MagPLUS family, CLICK HERE.

EDITOR’S NOTE: For help with selection and sizing of any Foxboro flowmeter product, CLICK HERE for the online FlowExpertPro tool

 

43

4:16 pm
May 16, 2016
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Avoid Costly Motor Connection Mistakes

By Mike Howell, Electrical Apparatus Service Association (EASA)

Manufacturers deploy various external connection schemes to produce three-phase induction motors for multiple voltages and/or starting methods. Be sure to follow the relevant connection diagram, which is usually affixed to the motor or contained in its manual. If the diagram is lost, damaged, or ignored, you could find yourself dealing with a costly rewind.

The following tips apply to connections commonly encountered on machines with one speed at power frequency. If the external connection information isn’t available, ask your local service center for assistance, especially if several lead tags are missing or there are multiple nameplate speed ratings at power frequency. The service center can also help with unconventional numbering or cross-referencing IEC and NEMA numbering. Caution: The integrity of lead markings is only as good as the electrician who removed the motor from service and quality of the labeling materials at hand.

3 Leads

While three-lead connections are the most straightforward, always check the direction of rotation before finalizing the motor installation, regardless of the lead quantity.

6 Leads

If leads are numbered 1 to 6, the winding can usually be connected wye or delta. On machines rated for two voltages, the wye connection is for the high voltage; the delta connection is for the low voltage.

For a single voltage rating, most six-lead machines are capable of wye-delta starting (and will run in delta). The exception would be some large machines that have external wye connections to facilitate differential protection.

If leads are numbered 1 to 3 and 7 to 9, the winding is capable of part-winding start. When using a different starting method, e.g., soft start, variable-frequency drive, or across-the-line, always connect the machine for run.

Some machines will have 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, indicating a delta-run motor. Also, since some part-winding start motors are numbered incorrectly as 1 to 6, remember the starting method you’re using.

9 Leads

If leads are numbered 1 to 9, the motor is typically rated for two voltages and could be designed with either a wye or delta connection. Using the machine on the higher rating, the external connection is the same either way.

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 11.10.39 AM

On the lower voltage rating, though, the external connection will be different for wye- and delta-connected units. Verify what you have! If a multimeter shows continuity between leads 7, 8, and 9, the machine is wye-connected (see Fig. 1).

12 Leads

If leads are numbered 1 to 12, the motor is typically rated for two voltages and could be used with a wye-delta starter at either voltage, or a part-winding starter for low voltage only. Units rated for single voltage may have 12 leads and be suitable for wye-delta or part-winding starts. Twelve-lead induction motors will almost always run connected delta.

Unmarked Leads

If only a couple of leads are unmarked, you may be able to restore numbering by process of elimination. Otherwise, it’s best to ask a service center for assistance, because they have reliable procedures for identifying leads.

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 11.10.51 AM

Uncoupled Run

If there’s any doubt about the external connection, it’s a good idea to run the machine unloaded to determine the direction of rotation and no-load current. A no-load current significantly above or below the ranges in Table I may indicate a connection error, or a winding error on rewound motors. (Caution: Never operate a roller-bearing machine without radial load.) MT

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

41

4:07 pm
May 16, 2016
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Don’t Ignore Compressed Air Filters

Men during precision work on production line

By Ron Marshall, Compressed Air Challenge (CAC)

Compressed air filters are often-forgotten items that can affect the quality of your air supply and—surprisingly—the efficiency of your overall system. You can’t afford to overlook them.

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 11.02.07 AMAir compressors ingest atmospheric air from the compressor room, pass it through an inlet filter, and compress it to a space about 1/7th the original size. This process generates large amounts of heat that must be removed by some type of cooler. When this is done, moisture is squeezed and condensed out of the air and mostly eliminated by a water separator. While it’s inside the compressor, though, the air also picks up small amounts of the equipment’s lubricant. Any dust in the air as it passed the inlet filter remains, but in a denser form due to the reduction in volume.

Water, lubricant, and dust particles that aren’t filtered out before they reach the air dryer will travel to points unknown throughout the system. Among other things, such contaminants could then ruin your product or clog the internal pneumatic circuits of expensive production equipment. That’s why compressed air filtration is so important.

Fortunately, there are many different types and styles of filtering solutions in the marketplace, ranging from very coarse elements that remove large particles to very fine ones that remove tiny dust particles and minute traces of lubricant and water. Unfortunately, all filters present a restriction to the flow of air that leads to the development of pressure differential.

Contaminants, among other things, that aren’t filtered from your compressed air system could clog internal pneumatic circuits of expensive production equipment.

Contaminants, among other things, that aren’t filtered from your compressed air system could clog internal pneumatic circuits of expensive production equipment.

Pressure differential consumes energy in compressed air systems. About 1% of additional power is required for every 2 psi higher compressor-discharge pressure. Thus, filters need to be chosen wisely. Note, too, that there’s usually a balance between the need for clean air and the cost of compressor operation. In general, the finer your filtering, the higher your energy costs.

That said, who chooses your filters and why? Frequently it’s the compressor supplier—who might have somewhat of a vested interest in supplying your operations with filter elements for years to come. Often, you’ll find a train of multiple filters installed in a compressor room, from coarse to fine, sometimes in multiple groups before and after the air dryer. These types of units can represent the biggest pressure differential in a plant.

For more information on compressed air topics and related training through the Compressed Air Challenge (CAC), visit compressedairchallenge.org, or contact Ron Marshall directly at ronm@marshallcac.com.

26

3:58 pm
May 16, 2016
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Select The Right Pneumatic Tubing And Hose

Remember these important dimensions when specifying pneumatic tubing and hose.

Remember these important dimensions when specifying pneumatic tubing and hose.

When it comes to today’s pneumatic applications, industry has a variety of options for connecting air-preparation systems, valves, and cylinders. Most users turn to flexible pneumatic tubing or hose rather than rigid tubing—and many different types of both are available. A recently released eBook from Cumming, GA-based AutomationDirect (automationdirect.com) offers the following advice on selecting the right tubing and hose solutions for your needs.

Tube or hose

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 10.50.05 AMFlexible tubing is the most common way to connect pneumatic valves to cylinders, actuators, and vacuum generators in modern automated equipment, with hose coming in a close second. Despite tubing type, be careful to not confuse outside diameter (OD) with inside diameter (ID), and be aware that flexible and rigid tubing reflect very different materials of construction. Remember, too, that tubing is specified by outside diameter and hose is specified by inside diameter.

Most tubing used in pneumatic systems is less than 1-in. OD with common pneumatic main supply circuits in the 1/4–in. to 1/2-in. tube OD range, and pneumatic control circuits in the 1/8-in. to 3/8-in. tube OD range. Pneumatic tubing is available in metric and English sizes, which, clearly, shouldn’t be mixed on the same machine.

In automated equipment and machine-shop applications, the outside diameter drives the selection and specification process, matching the tubing to the push lock or other fitting.

If more airflow is needed, larger diameter stock is the obvious choice. Keep in mind, however, that the inside diameter of tubing is affected by the tube-wall thickness, with thick walls reducing ID and airflow.

Hose is sometimes manufactured by adding a nylon braid between the inner and outer layers of tubing and attaching a rigid and a swivel fitting. Whether the hose is made of rubber or lighter-weight polyurethane or other materials, it is strong, flexible, and kink resistant—and, therefore, an easy way to connect shop air to blow-guns or other pneumatic tools.

Hoses are commonly available in diameters of 1/4-in., 3/8-in., and 1/2-in. with national pipe thread (NPT) or quick-disconnect fittings (QD). To ensure proper airflow for an application, check diameters carefully.

Material types

Several materials are used to produce extruded-plastic pneumatic tubing including:

Polyurethane tubing is strong and has excellent kink resistance compared to other types. With a working pressure of 150 psi or higher, it’s the most commonly used tubing material. It also has tight OD tolerance, and a wide range of available push-to-connect fittings. Note that a number of tubing colors and diameters are offered to help identify pneumatic circuits. UV stabilization is an option for outdoor use.

Polyurethane and PVC tubing are the most flexible materials available. Polyurethane tubing is very durable with outstanding memory, making it a good choice for coiled, portable, or self-storing pneumatic hose applications. PVC is not as tough as polyurethane, but can be specified for food-grade applications. It’s also a good choice when high flexibility and low cost are required.

Nylon and polyethylene tubing use harder plastics and, thus, are less flexible. This makes these material types a good choice for air distribution and straight-run piping applications. Notable nylon-tubing properties include high working-pressure capability (to 800 psi), a temperature range to 200 F, and excellent chemical resistance.

PTFE tubing has several notable properties of its own, including high heat resistance, excellent chemical resistance, and good dielectric properties. PTFE tubing can handle temperatures as high as 500 F, is chemically inert, and can be used in applications sensitive to static electricity. MT

To learn more about this topic and download a free copy of the referenced Practical Guide to Pneumatics eBook, as well as access a wealth other useful automation-related information, visit library.automationdirect.com.

13

3:49 pm
May 16, 2016
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On The Floor: Maintenance-Scheduling Triggers — Part 2 of 2

By Jane Alexander, Managing Editor

As noted in the April issue’s introduction to this, two-part “On The Floor,” when it rains, it pours. The overwhelming and detailed number of responses we received from our Reader Panelists regarding maintenance triggers simply wouldn’t fit in two pages. Alas, even with this second installment, we regret that we haven’t been able to capture all comments. To recap, we had asked these questions:

  1. What triggers our Panelists’ maintenance scheduling, or if they are consultants or industry suppliers, that of their client(s) or customer(s)? Sensors? OEM recommendations? Daily walks/PdM tool data? Word of mouth? A combination?
  2. Which approaches work best for them, and why, and vice versa?
  3. Would Panelists (or their clients or customers) want to change their current maintenance-scheduling process(es), and could they? If so, what would they do?

Edited for brevity and clarity, here are several additional responses.

College Electrical Laboratory, Manager/Instructor, West…

In our organization, we have different levels of maintenance staff. The maintenance crew ranges from technicians who have been at the job for 22 years to the college grads with two to three years on the job. Their diagnostic methods are very different. The operation uses a CMMS program to track the health of all process equipment. The seasoned technician walks around and touches all of the equipment at least once a day, checking for temperature, vibrations, loose parts, and strange smells. The newer technician uses some state-of-the-art test equipment: infrared heat sensors, vibration monitor, and sound-level indicators. All data go into the system so any potential problems can be handled.

The process that works best varies because experience comes into play. Some pieces of equipment are very old and have their own personalities. Test equipment does not always catch some of the problems, but the experienced maintenance staff seems to be able to diagnose a pending problem through their touchy-feely methods. Keeping track of this history has reduced downtime on most of the equipment. Education on all processes and updated technologies has added to our success.

We’ve been able to add preventive-maintenance hours to the schedule when we have tooling changes and other production breaks. Each experienced technician has a newer technician assigned to him for in-depth training. Every shift has a 15-min. maintenance-planning discussion before starting the daily operations.

Sr. Maintenance Engineer, Process Industries, Midwest…

[At our plant] it’s a combination. Before last year, it was mostly set frequencies based on historical failure data, daily walks, or OEM requirements. Now, we have tied our real-time data-collection system to our EAM software and are doing more and more condition-based scheduling using online temps, vibes, run-hours, levels, etc. We still do “all of the above,” but have become more well-rounded.

I’m not sure there is a best approach. Any of them work. It’s dependent on the situation. In some cases, walk arounds are the best because the equipment is new, or not in a harsh service, or has no failure history. In other cases, we have to monitor key operating metrics very closely to detect slight changes that signal the start of the failure curve. The best approach is often learned from past results.

It would be great to have everything monitored online and condition-based, but it’s not feasible, so, we continue to be flexible and adjust where necessary, using all forms of monitoring to gather the needed data.

Planned Maintenance, Supervisor, Midwest…

Our maintenance is scheduled through a combination of methods. Sometimes maintenance, such as filter replacement, lubrication, and some oil changes, is performed after the equipment has operated a predetermined number of hours. Other areas we have been able to extend oil life through PdM methods such as oil sampling and analysis data. The majority of scheduled maintenance is the result of condition-based monitoring through our scheduled PM inspections. Sadly, the dreaded, unexpected equipment/component failure too often determines scheduling for us.

Lubrication best practices, combined with using the run-time hours of the equipment to determine lubrication frequency, have made a positive impact. Predictive oil sampling and analysis activities have given us a better understanding of the condition of our gearboxes and air compressors. Performing condition-based inspection tasks is key to allowing us to schedule maintenance in a timely manner that helps us avoid extended and untimely equipment outages. Of course, for all of the obvious reasons, the reactive, “repair after failure” type of work on production equipment should be avoided at all costs.

I hope to see more of our maintenance activities scheduled as a result of PdM activities. These include expanding and improving our oil-sampling program and developing and expanding the thermal-imaging best practices we are just getting started. I am convinced we would benefit from vibration monitoring and analysis and would like to see it added as one of the predictive techniques we use. I support these types of practices and the need to get key personnel formally trained to fully realize the benefits of these activities.

Sr. Facilities Engineer, Discrete Manufacturing, Southeast…

We basically begin with OEM recommendations and add to them as we learn more about the equipment.

I believe that, over time, knowledge is gained that must be implemented into the scheduling. Each user has different issues with the equipment and the OEM specs are just a jumping off point. How critical [certain] equipment is to your operation also comes into play.

Plant Engineer, Institutional Facilities, Midwest…

Our building engineers make daily rounds of all their buildings and track how long belts and air filters have been installed. Greasing equipment and any oil changes are done per OEM instructions, as best as we can. Our utility laborers change air filters, as needed, when asked by the engineer in each building.

We try to avoid breakdown maintenance as much as possible. Our chillers are rodded out at least once a year, and as needed. A contractor does winter maintenance on all stand-alone chillers, and we clean stand-alone cooling towers as needed after cleaning for season start-up.

We have several dual-temperature water buildings and normally only change each one from winter to summer and summer to winter annually. We try to do heating repairs in summer and cooling in winter. About 80% of our buildings use steam/chilled water from our utilities plants. Our plate and shell and tube heat/cool exchangers are cleaned/rodded as needed. We monitor our systems on CMMS as much as we can. About 60% is in the CMMS, but not all systems have full controls.

This approach works very well, considering how much equipment and how many employees we have. We take care of approximately half of a university campus, i.e., 7 to 8 million sq. ft., spread over about 40 buildings. We cover these buildings 24/7 with a combined crew of about 45 building engineers, laborers, and supervisors.

We’ve only had minor changes to our approach in the [many] years I’ve been here. The fact that all employees are taught it from day one seems to be the main [reason for its success].

And now, some final food for thought

Acknowledging that he has no current clients, a retired industry consultant still wanted to weigh in on the topic of maintenance triggers. His comments seemed to be a good way to bring closure to this two-part Reader Panelist discussion. Or maybe they’ll keep the discussion going in other places.

“I don’t have any current clients, (retirement tends to slow things a tad),” he wrote, “but those I had tended to perform as-per-schedule tasks, with reactive tasks done to fix the squeaky wheel.”

According to this respondent, only two of his major clients actually performed effective scheduled maintenance regularly. “The rest always seemed two steps from panic. Even with CMM programs and sensor-indicated needs, most were always attempting to catch up, typically complaining that a lack of staff or supplies was holding things up. Major contributors included poor problem-solving skills, fixing symptoms, not looking for root causes, or an attitude of ‘why mess with it while it’s working.’”

In his opinion, these problems are ongoing, in industry and elsewhere. “It seems that this is an international issue,” he lamented. “Worldwide, no one asks ‘why?’ Even here at home, life-style poor health is blamed on others (bad genes are becoming vogue, bad advice runs a close second), ignoring the basic fact that we are what we eat and modern North Americans have better choices than most medieval kings.” MT

About the MT Reader Panel

The Maintenance Technology Reader Panel includes approximately 100 working industrial-maintenance practitioners and consultants who have volunteered to answer monthly questions prepared by our editorial staff. Panelist identities are not revealed and their responses are not necessarily projectable. Note that our panel welcomes new members. To be considered, email your name and contact information to jalexander@maintenancetechnology.com with “Reader Panel” in the subject line. All panelists are automatically included in an annual cash-prize drawing after one year of active participation.

15

2:36 pm
May 16, 2016
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RasGas Pumps Up Production

Setting the pace for the global LNG industry involves many things, including working with experts who deliver solutions that ensure process safety, reliability, and efficiency.

Drilling for natural gas is only the start in getting it to market. It must be super-chilled into liquefied form (LNG) for export. For Qatar’s RasGas Co. Ltd., that chilling takes place onshore, in a processing plant called a “train,” far away from offshore wellheads. One of the world’s leading integrated LNG enterprises, RasGas has seven of these trains, including two of the largest on the planet.

Setting the pace for the global LNG industry involves many things, including working with experts who deliver solutions that ensure process safety, reliability, and efficiency.

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