Archive | October

131

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October 1, 2007
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Viewpoint: Notice Anything New?

jane_alexander

Jane Alexander, Editor-In_Chief

Now that you’ve read through this month’s magazine, it’s fair to ask if you’ve noticed anything new on our cover and in our pages. You should have. That’s because we’ve made changes in some wording and visual elements to support a sharpening of our focus. With this issue of Maintenance Technology, we formally have become “your source for capacity assurance solutions.” We trust that you will find value in this move.

Capacity assurance is not a new term—it’s been around for many years. Those of you in the maintenance and reliability community are no doubt quite familiar with it, since it’s all about maximizing uptime, minimizing downtime, running safely, cleanly, efficiently and profitably.

The task of keeping modern plants running at peak capacity, however, goes well beyond the area of traditional maintenance and reliability (although those elements are more important than ever as key capacity assurance components). It encompasses all activities necessary for ensuring that your equipment and systems are capable of operating at prescribed output and quality levels whenever scheduled or needed. In other words, capacity assurance is the “fat rabbit” everyone in a company is chasing 24/7/365—and we do mean everyone. Therefore, being successful in this chase requires a “holistic,” integrated approach to maintenance, operations and management.

We at Maintenance Technology have long recognized how critical it is for you in industry to be able to catch the capacity assurance rabbit quickly—continuously. In fact, we’ve been championing the types of integrated approaches and solutions that help you get the job done for more than 20 years. Today, though, and into the future, with so much riding on a company’s ability to assure capacity, we feel compelled to be more specific in our own approach.

Time has marched on. Technologies, applications, operating parameters and business environments have changed. So have your jobs, your time constraints and your information needs. What has not changed is the importance of capacity assurance across your operations—and the fact that countless organizations are pushed to get more, more, more of it with less, less, less.

Putting our editorial spotlight on “capacity assurance” as opposed to “plant equipment reliability, maintenance and asset management” will allow us to better serve you and other busy readers. You’ve been seeing us move in that direction for some time, placing increased emphasis on failure avoidance and the operating equipment and systems where preventive and predictive maintenance technologies are applied than we have in the past. Our quarterly supplements, “Utilities Manager” (focusing on successful demand-side energy solutions for plants and facilities) and “The Fundamentals” (taking a back-to-basics approach to maintenance and reliability), are two other prime examples of our sharpened focus. Now, going forward, you can expect even more great “new” things from us.

You know it and we know it… Excellence in capacity assurance is vital to industrial profit and world-class quality. In our view, it’s one of the fattest rabbits out there. Maintenance Technology is proud to be your partner in this noble and exciting chase.

 

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2

6:00 am
October 1, 2007
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Uptime: Cheaper Is Not Always Better

bob_williamson

Bob Williamson, Contributing Editor

Now that you’ve read through this month’s magazine, it’s fair to ask if you’ve noticed anything new on our cover and in our pages. You should have. That’s because we’ve made changes in some wording and visual elements to support a sharpening of our focus. With this issue of Maintenance Technology, we formally have become “your source for capacity assurance solutions.” We trust that you will find value in this move.

Capacity assurance is not a new term—it’s been around for many years. Those of you in the maintenance and reliability community are no doubt quite familiar with it, since it’s all about maximizing uptime, minimizing downtime, running safely, cleanly, efficiently and profitably.

The task of keeping modern plants running at peak capacity, however, goes well beyond the area of traditional maintenance and reliability (although those elements are more important than ever as key capacity assurance components). It encompasses all activities necessary for ensuring that your equipment and systems are capable of operating at prescribed output and quality levels whenever scheduled or needed. In other words, capacity assurance is the “fat rabbit” everyone in a company is chasing 24/7/365—and we do mean everyone. Therefore, being successful in this chase requires a “holistic,” integrated approach to maintenance, operations and management.

We at Maintenance Technology have long recognized how critical it is for you in industry to be able to catch the capacity assurance rabbit quickly—continuously. In fact, we’ve been championing the types of integrated approaches and solutions that help you get the job done for more than 20 years. Today, though, and into the future, with so much riding on a company’s ability to assure capacity, we feel compelled to be more specific in our own approach.

Time has marched on. Technologies, applications, operating parameters and business environments have changed. So have your jobs, your time constraints and your information needs. What has not changed is the importance of capacity assurance across your operations—and the fact that countless organizations are pushed to get more, more, more of it with less, less, less.

Putting our editorial spotlight on “capacity assurance” as opposed to “plant equipment reliability, maintenance and asset management” will allow us to better serve you and other busy readers. You’ve been seeing us move in that direction for some time, placing increased emphasis on failure avoidance and the operating equipment and systems where preventive and predictive maintenance technologies are applied than we have in the past. Our quarterly supplements, “Utilities Manager” (focusing on successful demand-side energy solutions for plants and facilities) and “The Fundamentals” (taking a back-to-basics approach to maintenance and reliability), are two other prime examples of our sharpened focus. Now, going forward, you can expect even more great “new” things from us.

You know it and we know it… Excellence in capacity assurance is vital to industrial profit and world-class quality. In our view, it’s one of the fattest rabbits out there. Maintenance Technology is proud to be your partner in this noble and exciting chase.

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260

6:00 am
October 1, 2007
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Ultrasonic Showcase

Keep the following information in mind as you seek out the best product for your specific needs.

Ultrasonic technology can be one of the most valuable items in a predictive maintenance “toolbox.” This equipment can locate unwanted leaks, arcing, bearing noise and other problems in your mechanical and electrical equipment. Used effectively, ultrasonic technology can help eliminate unscheduled downtime, save valuable resources and lead to increased energy efficiency. The following pages highlight some of the leading manufacturers of ultrasonic equipment and their products.

1007_exxair1EXAIR CORPORATION
Established in 1983, EXAIR Corporation is a manufacturer of compressed air products for industrial applications including cooling, drying, conveying, housekeeping and static control. The company’s Ultrasonic Leak Detector (ULD) is a handheld instrument that can locate costly leaks in a compressed air system by converting high frequency turbulent flow into an audible tone. Background plant noise is filtered out using X1, X10 and X100 sensitivity settings, along with an “on/off” thumbwheel for fine sensitivity adjustment. The Model 9061 ULD comes complete with a hard-shell plastic case, headphones, parabola, tubular adaptor, tubular extension and 9-volt battery.
EXAIR Corporation, Cincinnati, OH
www.exair.com

COLE-PARMER
Since 1955, Cole-Parmer has been a leading global source of laboratory and industrial fluid handling products, instrumentation, equipment and supplies. Cole-Parmer presents ultrasonic leak detectors that “listen” for leaks and alert you to their presence, giving a distinct advantage over conventional leak detectors. Model 86417-00 includes leak detector headphones, tubular extension with adapter and a soft carrying case. An ultrasonic transmitter to amplify leaks in insufficiently pressurized applications is also available.
Cole-Parmer, Vernon Hills, IL
www.coleparmer.com

1007_monarch1MONARCH INSTRUMENT
Founded in 1977, Monarch Instrument has grown to be one of the world’s largest suppliers of portable speed measurement products, as well as an ISO 9001- 2000 registered manufacturer of precision electronics. The company’s UltraPro AG500 is a powerful ultrasonic leak detector and electronic stethoscope. It features an Automatic Gain Control that automatically filters the signal to provide the best signal-to-noise ratio, suppressing background noise and pinpointing leaks.
Monarch Instrument, Amherst, NH
www.monarchinstrument.com

1007_sdt1SDT NORTH AMERICA SDT
North America is a world leader in airborne ultrasonic detection equipment and training. The company’s main focus is to insure that the customer understands the components of a world-class ultrasound program. The cornerstone of the SDT product line is the SDT 170 Ultrasonic Detector. The 170 enables users to hear more about the condition of their factory’s production equipment. This instrument represents a milestone for ultrasonic technology, incorporating solid-state electronics and adaptable firmware. The product also measures non-contact temperature, contact temperature, RPM, noise (dBA) and air flow (SCFM).
SDT North America, Cobourg, ON
www.sdtnorthamerica.com

1007_uesys1UE SYSTEMS, INC.
UE Systems produces portable and online ultrasonic instruments for leak detection, mechanical analysis and electrical inspection. The company’s Ultraprobe is engineered to meet the unique demands of the many applications and programs in which it is used. A wide range of devices is available, including analog and digital Ultraprobes, some with basic functions and others with powerful features such as frequency tuning, on-board data logging and on-board sound recording. UE Systems also hosts Ultrasound World, a four-day conference providing information on energy conservation, inspection techniques and condition monitoring. The Ultrasound World IV “TOP GUN” Program is scheduled for January 27-30, 2008 in Clearwater Beach, FL.
UE Systems, Inc., Elmsford, NY
www.uesystems.com

1007_amprobe1AMPROBE TEST TOOLS
Amprobe® Test Tools offers a wide range of devices for testing and measuring electrical properties in various field applications. The Amprobe ULD-300 tests bearing problems, engine seals and compressed air leaks quickly and easily. In areas where leaking gases are not sufficiently pressurized, the area can be pressurized with the ultrasonic sound waves created by Amprobe’s UT- 300 Ultrasonic Transmitter. This allows the detection of cracks, which would not normally be possible.
Amprobe Test Tools, Everett, WA
www.amprobe.com

ANSONICS, INC.
Ansonics, Inc. has built quality ultrasonic detectors since 1963. Their ultrasonic detector, the Son-Tector, is a simple industrial maintenance tool used to inspect equipment to find leaks and mechanical malfunctions. The tool requires no complicated calibrations and has no unnecessary bells or whistles. Ansonics, Inc. has incorporated feedback from the field over the years in order to keep the Son-Tector dependable and easy to use. The product comes with a lifetime warranty.
Ansonics, Inc., El Prado, NM
www.ansonics.com

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148

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October 1, 2007
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Enhancing safety and productivity…Is There Voltage?

With the help of new pre-verification devices, coming up with the right answer has gotten safer, easier and much quicker for one Arkansas paper mill.

Electrical safety demands that we know the right answer to one question: “Is there voltage?” Since a wrong answer can have life-threatening consequences— like arc flash, for example—it’s important for personnel working with electrical equipment to be capable of answering this question with unerring certainty.

1007_solspot1When the NFPA published its Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace in 2000, the document generated essential changes in the way both electrical and mechanical maintenance is performed across today’s industrial and commercial facilities. There is no doubt these changes have been positive since injuries and deaths caused by electrical accidents have been significantly reduced.

As with many new regulations, productivity in some cases may have been adversely affected. Consequently, some companies have been asking another question: “Can we retain the reduction in injuries and deaths we witnessed because of NFPA 70e while regaining the level of productivity we experienced prior to NFPA 70e?” Grace Engineered Products says “yes.” As one paper mill in Arkansas discovered, pre-verifying electrical isolation is an excellent way to safely have your cake and eat it too. In an effort to boost employee safety during its Lock-out Tag-out procedures (LOTO), the mill ordered several of Grace’s ChekVolt™ Non-Contact Voltage Portals from a local electrical distributor. When installed in the door of an electrical panel, ChekVolt provides maintenance personnel with a no-touch voltage portal on the outside of a grounded metallic electrical enclosure. The device’s interface allows for the use of any non-contact voltage detector pen to pre-verify electrical isolation before opening an electrical panel. This pre-verifying capability affords an additional safety barrier between the maintenance person and hazardous voltage. Moreover, as this Arkansas facility discovered, the Chekvolt also helped increase productivity—significantly.

Prior to installing the ChekVolt portals, maintenance personnel noted that the mill’s mechanical LOTO procedures took 45 minutes for each MCC room. However, after installing the device portals in each bucket of two MCC rooms, the time required for the LOTO procedure was reduced from 45 minutes to 12 minutes in the first room, and from 45 minutes to 15 minutes in the second. This 70% reduction was possible because using the ChekVolt allowed personnel to combine and even eliminate some procedures.

In the past, when maintenance work was performed on an electrical enclosure at the mill, an electrician would have to be called to verify from where power was coming. Next, the electrician would have to throw the disconnect switch, put on PPE, and open the panel door to verify electrical isolation with a voltmeter. By pre-verifying electrical isolation with ChekVolt, these steps now are performed in seconds rather than minutes—and the panel door is never opened.

According to Grace Engineered Products, any company that routinely performs mechanical LOTO procedures can enjoy these same types of time-saving benefits with the help of ChekVolt. Being able to correctly answer that all-important “Is there voltage?” question without sacrificing safety for productivity, or vice versa, is something everyone can live with.

Grace Engineered Products, Inc.
Davenport, IA

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222

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October 1, 2007
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Boosting Your Bottom Line: Optimizing Motor-Driven Systems Can Save Big

Your company can achieve signifi cant energy and bottom-line savings by implementing an effective motor management plan. With a welldefi ned, proactive plan in place, you are in position to optimize the benefi ts of NEMA Premium™ motors and best practice repair. But, the savings don’t stop there.

Examining and optimizing motors as part of an overall system can elevate benefi ts to the next level. Savvy facility managers realize that the savings and productivity gains that can be achieved by optimizing motor-driven systems can be greater than the combined savings of upgrading individual components.

Our July column highlighted the benefi ts of adjustable speed drives in appropriate applications. This was a fi rst step in looking at motors as part of a larger system. A logical next step might be to identify motor systems that are common to a variety of industrial processes and commercial applications, e.g. compressed air, pump and fan systems.

According to the Department of Energy (DOE), motor-driven systems account for 64% of the electricity consumed in the U.S. industrial sector. Furthermore, signifi cant reductions are possible through the use of proven equipment and technologies.

Compressed air systems, for example
Compressed air, a utility that is generated inhouse, serves a variety of applications. While a majority of industrial facilities have compressed air systems, few realize that compressed air generation accounts for a signifi cant portion of their facility’s energy consumption or that these systems can be notoriously ineffi cient—as low as 10-20%.

System optimization measures include identifying systems that are leaking or poorly confi gured for end use, and reducing system air pressure or running times. Both the Compressed Air Challenge Website and DOE’s BestPractices Website offer a wide array of resources to help facility managers understand and capture these benefi ts.

Optimization resources are available
The Department of Energy’s Website provides optimization resources for other motor-driven systems as well. These include sourcebooks, software tools, tip sheets, technical fact sheets, handbooks and even market assessments for the following areas: steam, process heating, motors, pumps and fans. The Environmental Protection Agency is yet another valuable resource. This agency’s Web site, www.energystar.gov/, provides information and tools to help facility managers who are interested in generating energy and cost savings. (Tune in next month to learn more about the EPA’s energy management strategies for achieving continuous improvement and its benchmarking tools for commercial and industrial facilities.) The Motor Decisions MatterSM Web site provides links to additional optimization resources and information about funding sources for energy effi ciency across the U.S. and Canada. Visit www.motorsmatter.org, and click on Helpful Resources. MT


The Motor Decisions Matter campaign is managed by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency, a North American nonprofi t organization that promotes energy-saving products, equipment and technologies. For further information about MDM, contact Ilene Mason at imason@cee1.org or (617) 589-3949, ext. 225.

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243

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October 1, 2007
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Real-World Learnin

1007_inputoutput1We’ve said it before: We are always interested in reader feedback, no matter how it reaches us. Letters sent directly to our contributors in response to their respective columns or features can be especially helpful in that they often allow us to draw conclusions on the state-of-the-art, the mood of the industry, etc. That, in turn, lets us better serve you, the reader. An example of this process can be seen in a round of communications between Heinz Bloch and an unnamed Plant Manager. Focusing on “learning” out in the real world (an important topic in both MAINTENANCE TECHNOLOGY and our sister publication, LUBRICATION MANAGEMENT & TECHNOLOGY), we probably could have used this thoughtful exchange as a springboard to a stand-alone article in either magazine. Instead, we’ve chosen to share parts of it here, along with some additional insight from Heinz…

Dear Heinz:
I have enjoyed and learned much from your articles over the past two years since I discovered them. I particularly enjoyed your recent articles with implied (yet justified) comments about management not acting on rotating equipment advice—it brought a smile to my face. In my first stint and first year as a Process Manager, I was guilty of trying to be too clever. However, I soon came to appreciate the value of a first-class rotating equipment engineer and his advice.

At this time, I am about to re-enter a Plant Manager role in a refinery and wish to buy a text covering rotating equipment. My earlier experience has taught me how critical machinery issues really are. I’m aware of the importance of understanding the advice I am being given; certainly, a manager needs to know enough to ask the right questions.

That said, I recall that in one of your articles you quoted several texts as essential and am wondering if you would mind advising which of two or three of your books would be best for me.

Please keep the articles coming. I am bringing them to the attention of my colleagues here to make us Chemical Engineers more knowledgeable about rotating equipment.

Name withheld by request
Via e-mail

Heinz promptly replied to the Plant Manager…
The (referenced) listing was actually published in the May-June 2006 issue of our sister publication, Lubrication Management & Technology (formerly Lubrication & Fluid Power). The first three books in our “Essential Machinery Reliability Library” should be of value and are recommended in answer to your request. However, the following three-step plan should be of general interest when training professional employees:

1. Technical book(s) should be read in stages and must be assimilated or digested in stages. A stage of development builds on the previous stage. As an example, issues of pump specification should be learned after having observed pump repairs.

2. The technical reader will have to understand when, where and how best-of-class actions or procedures described in the “Essential Reliability Library” (and representing Best Practices) differ from the way things are done at the reader’s facility.

3. Equipment Reliability Professionals have to justify to their management why one should use Best Practices and what would be the safety and reliability implications of deviating from Best Practices.

Heinz P. Bloch, P.E.

We can assume that the Plant Manager who penned the letter (and prompted the above response) realizes there is more to training than meets the eye. As so many of our contributors continue to point out in our pages, there is. Most importantly, there is no progress without training. Heinz elaborates…

Indeed, the frequent restructuring that took place and continues to go on in industry has affected the training of both professional and craft employees. In some locations, entire training departments have been dissolved and little or nothing has replaced them.

The challenge, though, is the implementation of meaningful and technically sound replacement training for those who accept the premise that people versed in stateof- the-art capacity assurance methods are a real asset. In response to this at some plants, a loosely defined and sporadically executed self-teaching routine has moved into the void. But, there is a better way.

The beginning of training should be a well-focused, written role statement that explains to both manager and managed their respective perceptions of the technical employee’s role. Is he or she a parts changer or innovator? A fixer or an improver? A person who is expected to react to problems or anticipate problems? The role statement must, at least, allude to a training plan. The technical person and his or her supervisor should discuss both role statement and training plan initially and, of course, during scheduled future performance reviews.

A detailed training plan should probably be a separate document. Such a plan will give firm guidance and yet leave lots of room for individual initiative. Its aim will be the achievement of proficiency in a technical skill or craft. As an example, here’s how technical training for a young engineer could be structured:

Let’s say your facility employs four maintenance or reliability engineers or senior reliability technicians. You could get them to engage in worthwhile self-training by obtaining subscriptions to trade journals like Maintenance Technology and Lubrication Management & Technology, among others. (As you may already know, these types of subscriptions often are provided at no cost to qualified subscribers based on job title and responsibilities.)

If you find value in having your own personal copy of a publication month after month, others around your operations probably will, too—particularly those who work in large organizations or who travel extensively. Many publishers would be happy to ensure that a reasonable number of additional copies find their way to key technical and management personnel at a company or site. (In the case of the publications referenced here, one of the easiest ways to do this is to encourage your associates to qualify for their own subscriptions by filling out the required forms on www.MT-online.com and/or www.LMTinfo.com. Keep in mind that these periodicals are sent to qualified subscribers in the U.S. and Canada free of charge.)

All technical personnel should have access to the information in the publications that are deemed to be important to your operations. The name of each technical person should be at the top of the in-plant routing sheet of two or three of these periodicals and he/she would be required to screen the content of the periodical(s) for relevant material. The employee would not have to read the various articles, but would be expected to recognize from headings or abstracts the present or possible future usefulness of the write-up. Electronic copies would have to be made of these writeups and sent to the other “Professionals-in-Training” on the “PIT” distribution form. One copy would be filed in the plant’s central computer under appropriate headings that might follow a simple, but logical identifier system to enable easy retrieval via a straightforward, well crossreferenced PC-based software program. Remember, before making copies and distributing copyrighted articles, it is a matter of professional courtesy to contact the editor to request permission to do so.

The second phase of training might be called the “dig-upthe- facts” phase. Each “PIT” would be asked to present periodically scheduled briefings or information sharing sessions to mechanical workforce personnel assigned to shop or field (e.g. millwright) tasks. Tacked on to the ubiquitous safety meetings, these 7-10 minute briefings or information sharing sessions might deal with topics such as:

  • How to Install Rolling Element Bearings in Our Large Mixers
  • Proper Lubrication Procedures for Our Pumps and Motors
  • Why Four Different Types of Couplings Are Used at Our Plant
  • When to Use Bellows Seals Instead of Pusher Seals in Our Plant’s XYZ Process Unit

There are literally hundreds of worthwhile topics to research and discuss and disseminate. The process would compel the presenter to do some homework instead of guesswork, communicating with vendors and manufacturers instead of reinventing the wheel, and perhaps even rediscovering one or more of the many good technical textbooks which are generally available at a fraction of the cost of making a single mistake. The researcher also would be educating himself/ herself and contributing to the development of team spirit and the enhancement of mutual respect and cooperation among the many job functions in the plant.

From here, the phased approach to training could move to in-plant courses by competent presenters with both analytical and practical knowledge in machinery maintenance and reliability improvement procedures, and then progress to welldefined, known-to-be-relevant outside seminars or symposia. If someone in your company or at your site suggests that training is expensive, just let them try to calculate what your costs would be without proper training.

Which takes us back to the original reader’s request for an updated list of books that we have most often consulted in the past 25 years… For the “Essential Machinery Reliability Library” list, e-mail jalexander@atpnetwork.com. Be sure to put “Requesting Essential Library” in your subject line. On the other hand, you also can compile your own list through a Google Search or by entering Amazon.com and looking for either the author’s name or the approximate title. The terms “RELIABILITY” or “UPTIME EXTENSION” usually appear in any such search.

E-mail questions or comments to: jalexander@atpnetwork.com Or post them on: www.mt-online.com We reserve the right to edit letters for clarity and brevity.

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232

6:00 am
October 1, 2007
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Going for the gold…Part II

In the first installment of this series, the author discussed overcoming some common misconceptions to help you on your way to becoming an Elegant Maintenance Manager. This month, he deals with bringing corrective maintenance under control and extending it to preventive maintenance work to achieve efficiencies consistent with the assigned budget.

If one could get the right mix of preventive maintenance (PM) and corrective maintenance (CM), things might not be so bad. If CM could be reduced to zero, that would be grand, but that is not going to happen. Amid the propositions of RCM, TPM, RCA, the Pareto rule, best laid plans, etc., one still must contend with randomness. When our programs result in high levels of performance, the limiting factor is often randomness. Using the concept of randomness in analyzing equipment failure events is helpful in establishing the realistic limiting factors in PM and CM program development and management.

Small changes, big results
Before getting enthused about understanding the technical milieu of equipment failure modes and causes, failure intervals and maintenance task development in recovering a dysfunctional maintenance program, first look for an opportunity of a large reward for a small resource expenditure. One large reward, for example, could be a 50% reduction in corrective maintenance resulting from a program developed and implemented in-house (small resource expenditure). That 50% number is not unrealistic. A high incidence of maintenance induced failures in the CM arena result from poorly designed and implemented management strategy and systems. These “activity control failures” are commonly referred to as “personnel errors, miscellaneous, or unknown cause.”

If managers are not providing the maintenance staff with sufficient training, procedures, resources, time, leadership and competent supervision, they are their own worst enemy. One of the first and biggest values in maintenance program development is ensuring that you have a competent staff and that your management systems are effective. Only then can one proceed to implement a maintenance strategy in such a way that the maintenance staff does much more good than harm. Table I summarizes the analyses of hundreds of events at a variety of industrial facilities.

In addition to the categories shown in Table I, modification work (such as replacement of obsolete equipment, increasing capacity of an existing system, or meeting new regulatory requirements) can also be a significant cause of failures. In such instances engineering work is unavoidable, but sufficient engineering resources are often unavailable to complete all the requirements of installation, operation and performance qualification. In these cases the maintenance department is left with a classic, serious maintenance management problem, because the complexity of these seemingly simple facility events is not recognized. These failures are also “activity control failures,” even though most people think they are making desired improvements.

Let’s see if there is an elegant approach to addressing these serious problem areas in a maintenance program that is in a hole. Is there an elegant way for maintenance managers to stop digging, and then develop a strategy to lift their organization out of the hole they find themselves in?

Stop digging, start climbing
First, develop a “maintenance process” for doing your maintenance business. The maintenance process describes the conduct of maintenance at your facility. It becomes one of the key components of your strategy. It tells your staff how you want them to conduct the business of your department. Administrative aspects of the process probably already exist simply because of government regulations for doing business in general. The Elegant Maintenance Manager now must add the technical aspects and describe how the average maintenance technician and his supervisor should be conducting maintenance business and ensuring the operability and reliability of systems and equipment.

For example, does the maintenance technician know where to find the source documents for working on equipment? Are there source documents? How does he know what post-maintenance testing to conduct and what the acceptance criteria are? How does the supervisor interact to ensure communication and implementation of the maintenance process?

In a later article we will see that the maintenance process is a critical training document. That’s because if the maintenance manager specifies the conduct of maintenance, there will be goals and objectives for the maintenance technicians and supervisors to achieve on a consistent basis. If this is not done, work orders can become adventures being directed by a loose cannon or two. Maintenance process knowledge is as important as technical skills—do your people know how to work?

Second, take a look at your CM work load. Based on failure cause determination in hundreds of analyses covering thousands of mechanical, electrical, and instrumentation and control components, I discovered eight causes of failure for use in front end development of maintenance programs. These causes are:

  • Vibration
  • Degradation
  • Corrosion
  • Wear
  • Maintenance activity
  • Environment
  • Installation anomalies
  • Operations and testing

Coupled with the foregoing focus on irregular failure causes, this also is a great opportunity to apply the thinking inherent in RCM to address the CM problem.

Choose specific maintenance tasks on the basis of the actual failure characteristics for the equipment under study as evidenced by the CM history. All these tasks can be described in terms of the four basic forms of maintenance tasks, each of which is applicable under a unique set of circumstances. The four forms of maintenance tasks are well defined in the RCM literature.

Earlier, we discussed the problems associated with things like obsolescence and modifications that are not maintenance problems but become defacto maintenance problems due to a lack of an engineering function. Applied RCM thinking will help Elegant Maintenance Managers identify this trap before it gets sprung on them. Getting CM under control this way is cleverly apt and simple and obvious. Even in RCM program applications, this approach works when the specified RCM task doesn’t meet expectations for whatever reason, and CM is occurring on an “RCM’ed” unit.

There is even a concept in RCM that goes something like this for overhaul tasks: In the case of overhaul tasks, the question of applicability as well as effectiveness requires an analysis of operating data. Unless the age-reliability characteristics of the item are known from prior experience with a similar item exposed to a similar operating environment, the assumption in an initial program is that an item will not benefit from scheduled overhaul. The implication of these concepts is “make good use of CM data in specifying applicable and effective tasks.”

Let’s see where we are at this time after completing the previous actions. We stopped digging the hole we were in by managing. That produced the strategy that materialized in a maintenance process statement that the maintenance supervisors communicated to the work force, then implemented in the field as the staff conducted the business of maintenance. If supervisors cannot be counted on to communicate the strategy and see to implementation, then coaching and counseling are in order followed by getting competent supervisors in place if the incumbents cannot adapt to change. The reactive component of the maintenance business came under control with the conversion of CM work to PM work. That’s a good start on being effective. By managing, one attacks 50% of the CM cause, and by applying RCM thinking, one can attack just about all the remaining CM problem(s).

In the opening paragraph, randomness was put forth as a limiting factor in the maintenance business. This is where randomness comes in to help the maintenance manager understand what the PM/CM ratios are expected to be. Empirical determination shows that the reasonable values of the PM/CM ratios (computed as PM work orders divided by PM+CM work orders) are approximately as follows:

  • Mechanical Systems—80%. Due to physically harsh service environments and the interplay of many uncontrolled variables, there is a significant impact from random events in these systems. These systems also generally are associated with energy transport and conversion through physical system interaction.
  • Electrical Systems—90%. These systems are generally better controlled regarding environmental conditions, thus minimizing uncontrolled variables and random events. Also, the energy transport and conversion is in many cases by means of an electromagnetic wave, thus taking less of a physical toll on equipment.
  • Measurement and Control Systems—>90%. High CM in these systems is generally due to poor heat management or poor design. These systems should be among the easiest to maintain through a PM program and have a minimum impact from random events.
  • Overall—85%. This overall performance level accounts for about a 15% random failure level that will show up as the CM workload in effective PM programs.

Within a year of instituting the management and CM changes, the Elegant Maintenance Manager should be able to achieve the PM/CM ratios listed in this bulleted list.

Save some, get more resource efficiency
Now would be a good time to take an initial shot at bringing efficiency into the PM program. It is important to be effective first, then efficient, so that’s where the Elegant Maintenance Manager would be at this point in the maintenance program recovery. There are obvious savings from reducing the number of PMs, so the PM intervals should be examined to ensure the maintenance staff is not overdoing the PM thing.

1007_elegantmaint1Examining the PM results versus the interval of performance and effectiveness of the PM process is the first step in adjusting the PM schedule. For a start, consider the following:

  • Eliminate, within reason, all “tear down and inspect”-type PMs. This is the pointless “tear up the plants to check the roots” mindset that seems to make sense but in reality is one of the main causes of maintenanceinduced failures.
  • For scheduled replacement tasks, examine closely the item being replaced and make a determination as to condition. If it is not that bad, consider extending the PM interval by 50%. If you and your staff do not know how to make this judgment call, learn how to do this as soon as possible.
  • For all equipment in low-energy or low-duty-cycle applications, consider doubling the PM interval. Examples of low-energy parameters include temperatures less than 300 F, flow rates less than 100 gpm, operating pressures less than about 100 psi air or water or low-pressure steam systems, and duty cycles of eight hours per day or less.
  • For all changes made per the recommendations listed here, revisit the interval question at the next performance of the PM to again extend the PM interval as possible.
  • For non-critical, low-cost components with no collateral damage potential, consider a run-to-failure maintenance strategy and eliminate the unit from the PM program except for routine monitoring for deficiency identification.
  • Evaluate all skid-mounted instrumentation and control components for usefulness compared to remote process monitoring instrumentation and control systems. Remove redundant or not-used devices from the PM and calibration programs.
  • Design special tools, jigs, and fixtures to support maintenance on certain equipment as necessary and place these items under inventory control to ensure availability when needed.
  • Consolidate PMs. Ensure that subinterval PMs are embedded in longer interval PMs and that as many PMs as possible are included in work packages to minimize equipment downtime and minimize PM logistics.
  • Supply each supervisor, as practical, with a set of specialty tools and measuring and test equipment for their controlled use on their shifts.
  • Remove all barriers in the procurement process from the requisition phase to the receipt and staging of parts to support PMs. This will likely require some “just in time” (JIT) procurement tactics, vendor partnering, and removal of enterprise asset management system (EAMS)-type roadblocks.

Two elegant programs to implement
There are two must-have programs that will provide some of the important information details for the maintenance information flow network. These details are important inputs to the feedback networks that the maintenance department needs to ensure awareness of what is going on. These programs are the “CM Backlog Measure Program” and the “Material Condition Inspection Program.”

A CM work order is generally designed to process work within the constraints imposed by the facility organizational structure. The constraints are in the form of assigned responsibilities and authorizations for completing the specified tasks including appropriate paperwork closeout. If this system is run efficiently and adequate staff is available, experience has shown that an optimal CM backlog can be defined such that there are sufficient manpower resources to address other tasks besides CM or handle a reasonable, sudden increase in the CM workload.

What does this really mean and what does it have to do with a maintenance department’s backlog measure? It means that backlog is something that occurs due to a maintenance organization’s ability to respond to an increased workload in such a fashion that the increased workload is still manageable as part of the organization’s day-to-day business activities. The essence of this concept is that the organization should have the inherent characteristic of a system that responds to how much work there is to do.

Historically, CM backlog has been presented as a trended plot of total backlogged man-hours or total open work requests. While this type of measure does provide some useful information on the CM backlog, it does not tell much about the effectiveness of the organization or why the backlog exists as it is. This is really what we would like to know as opposed to knowing how much CM work has not been done. We are more interested in what caused the alarm than the alarm itself. In order to make use of a CM backlog measure consider this measure to be an indicator of how time-dependent work is addressed by the maintenance organization’s work order processing system. The key item for understanding what backlog really means is the phrase “time dependent.”

The material condition of the facility should be maintained to support safe and reliable operations. It should be everyone’s business to identify and correct deficiencies and prevent the deficiency culture that comes from complacency. The basic approach to developing the facility material condition inspection program (MCIP) is as follows:

  1. Develop and implement an inspection program to define responsibilities for conducting inspection, identifying and correcting deficiencies, and assuring cleanliness, safety and good material condition. Establish inspection areas so that the entire facility is inspected, including areas with difficult access.
  2. Establish inspection guidelines and criteria to assist inspectors in performing their inspections.
  3. Develop a training program for appropriate station personnel, including operations personnel, facility managers, and facility supervisors, to receive inspection techniques training.
  4. Establish a means to report, track, and correct, identified deficiencies in a timely manner. Document each deficiency on a work order. (See Fig. 1 for a simple reporting document that is extremely effective for use by anyone.)
  5. Include recommendation of operation and maintenance good practices in this reporting program as a means of identifying areas for improvement.

A significant side benefit of this program is the equipment monitoring and diagnostic results of these inspections—a sort of informal predictive maintenance. But this predictive maintenance program is a real bargain, since the cost is simply the cost of using available resources.

Conclusion
This installment of the Elegant Maintenance Management series deals with the fundamental mission of the maintenance department. We all know that a lot of CM comes from poor judgment, and that good judgment comes from the experience of bringing a lot of CM under control. Next, that control must be maintained and extended to PM work to achieve efficiencies consistent with the assigned budget. Only then can there be sufficient success to ask for more resources. Remember, only you as the maintenance manager can stop digging. Empower your talented staff to do the climbing.

Dr. Huzdovich is the service contract manager for Raven Services Corporation at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing’s Western Currency Facility in Ft. Worth, TX. He directs the O&M and engineering work performed by the Raven staff of 58 employees, which is responsible for the 24/7 operation and maintenance of all stationary and production support equipment in these operations, including their 850-ton chilled water units, 800-hp low-pressure steam boilers, 3600 KW of diesel generator capacity, the environmental management system and currency mutilation destruction equipment. He also is the principal engineer and consultant providing maintenance and reliability services and expert witness services for Forensic Action Services, LLC, in Denton, TX. Huzdovich serves as an adjunct instructor with the University of North Texas, MBA Program. E-mail: jhuzdovich@verizon.net; telephone: (817) 847-3674.

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207

6:00 am
October 1, 2007
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Inexpensive Electrical System Insurance

Surge protection devices…

The concepts are simple, the solutions straightforward. You’ll find it much less expensive to keep surges and electrical noise from frying your equipment and processes than to recover from the aftereffects of such events.

When it comes to losses from electrical and electronic equipment failure and disruption, few events can match the destruction caused by surges (transients) and electrical noise. These phenomena are responsible for between 30% and 50% of most electronic equipment field failures today—and that doesn’t even begin to take into account the latent damage or degradation to electrical equipment such events cause. Moreover, although no firm figures have been established, the estimated amount of dollars in lost production and lost revenues associated with these problems is staggering. A company can greatly reduce its risk of equipment damage, component degradation and system disruptions with a robust surge protection system.

Understanding the issue
To get a real handle on the problems associated with surge and electrical noise, it’s important to fully understand a number of key concepts.

  • Concept #1: Surges can be generated external to a facility in the form of lightning, as well as originate with a utility system. While these typically are the first sources that come to mind, numerous studies have shown that they account for only 20% of all electrical surges. The remaining 80% can be accounted for by culprits within a facility.
  • Concept #2: Most electrical surges are generated within a system, with common culprits being switched mode power supplies (SMPS), fax machines, printers, welding machines, cycling operation of motors and electronic ballasts for fluorescent lighting, to name but a few.
  • Concept #3: Many of the same culprits also are the source of electrical noise.

Early on in the development of surge protection, the industry was guided by the idea that a certain voltage threshold had to be reached before a surge caused any real damage. We now relate to this idea via terms such as “clamping voltage” and “let thru voltage.” Transients with voltages less than the clamping voltage were thought to be of little significance.

The problem is that sensitive electronics in our datacentric world are more susceptible to transients and noise that don’t reach the clamping voltage and now go undetected more than at any other time in our modern economy. The cumulative effect of these transients that are not diverted or absorbed is negative. For starters, the quantities of surges that are below “clamping voltage” threshold are more numerous than the surges that are “clamped” by the surge protection device. Not only do these smaller surges contribute to degradation of equipment components such as capacitor dielectric, they also can cause errors if coupled into the communications signal where they can mimic the intended signal’s faster operating speeds and lower operating voltages. This coupling becomes easier since circuit board wiring traces are forced to become smaller and, thus, less of a barrier to prevent degradation. This leads us to a fourth important concept that needs to be understood:

  • Concept #4: Transients of significantly less voltage levels than previously considered detrimental are now more likely to be the source of many problems.

Many facility owners and managers believe that since they have never had anything burn up, they don’t have any problems. This is only partially true as total destruction of equipment is only one of the 3-Ds of Surge and Electrical Noise Damage, which also includes degradation of components and process disruption.

  • Concept #5: The fifth concept is that all damage done by surges and electrical noise is not totally destructive, but could be any one of the 3-Ds—destructive, degradation or disruptive.

The surge and electrical noise issues outlined in these five concepts may appear to be overwhelming at first. However, by taking a scientific approach using industry codes, standards and guidelines, an engineered solution is within economic reach. As a starting point, let’s look at the basic function of a surge protection device (SPD) and how it is applied.

SPD basics
The backbone of every SPD is the metal oxide varistor (MOV). The MOV is a nonlinear device that has very high impedance when not activated with an accompanying leakage current typically in micro-amps. It is seen as a short circuit when the voltage between conductors exceeds the “breakdown voltage.”

Internally, the MOV has a myriad of diode-like junctions that shunt surge current through it when biasing voltage thresholds are achieved. The diode-like junctions are made of zinc oxide (which sometime contains small amounts of other metal oxides such as bismuth, cobalt and manganese). It provides bidirectional clamping of surges that must quickly dissipate surge energy as heat while shunting the transient to ground. The MOV typically has an intrinsic response time in the range of 500 picoseconds, which makes it great for events that are in microseconds. The voltage capacity of a MOV is primarily determined by the thickness of the disc while the current-carrying capacity is primarily determined by the surface area of the disc.

Many SPD/TVSS manufacturers stack MOVs in parallel and series to achieve higher performance levels. An important concept about the MOV/SPD is that it is a sacrificial device with degradation of performance over time with exposure to surge energy. It is considered to be at the end of its life when it has lost 10% of its design capacity. Many manufacturers combine the transient suppression capabilities of the SPD with filters tuned to block electrical noise.

SPD application standards
The first standard to consult regarding SPD application is the National Electrical Code (NEC®), NFPA-70, Article 285, which provides details on the installation of such a device (also called a Transient Voltage Surge Suppressor or TVSS).

Grounding and bonding…
Just as important, NEC, Article 250, grounding is a paramount concern in surge protection. Most SPDs on the market today divert surge energy to the facility grounding system. Therefore, the importance of a low-impedance bonding and grounding system for the facility can’t be overstated. Anything less than a low grounding and bonding impedance will cause surge energy to be diverted throughout the facility, with potentially negative effects.

For example:

  • The facility staff could be subjected to dangerous voltages during the event.
  • A large percentage of microprocessor-based equipment uses the ground as a logical reference point. Surge energy diverted to the ground would pollute this reference point.
  • Voltage differentials could be created causing inter-grounding system potential differences and undesirable currents on the grounding network.

Three key points must be addressed regarding grounding and bonding:

  • First, it is imperative to have a qualified person evaluate the facility’s grounding and bonding network for NEC compliance. All outlets should be checked for proper polarity and an equipment ground conductor impedance that should be less than 1 ohm.
  • Second, it is mandatory to determine if the grounding system is robust enough to optimize the function of the SPD (i.e., proper wire size, tightness of connections, etc.).
  • Third, it is essential to determine specific corrective action required to bring the grounding network to both NEC compliance and to the level of performance to address transients and electrical noise.

Zones of protection…
After NEC, the next standard to consult is the IEEE 1100 – IEEE Recommended Practice for Powering and Grounding Sensitive Electronic Equipment (commonly called the Emerald Book). One of the primary recommendations put forth in this guide is the implementation of Zones of Protection. Three zones or levels of SPD deployment within a facility are identified along with corresponding device categories.

  • The first zone is at the service entrance where the most robust SPD is placed to divert surges coming from external sources such as lightning. SPDs installed here are listed as Category “C” devices.
  • The second zone of protection is within the facility at locations identified as susceptible to surges, as well as generators of surges. SPDs at these locations are listed as Category “B” devices and are installed on equipment such as switchgear, switchboards, panel-boards and branch circuit panels. The SPDs installed in this zone further reduce surge energy and divert it to ground, thereby limiting the surge voltage to a level that is tolerable to the equipment requiring protection.
  • The third zone of protection is at the outlet. SPDs installed here are listed as Category “A” devices. Coordination of SPDs is required for optimum protection.

In general the closer the “Clamping Voltages” are to operating voltage, the better the protection. For comprehensive protection within the facility, SPDs should be installed to prevent transient propagation from source generators as well as to protect sensitive loads.

Additional standards…
Other standards that are useful in evaluating SPDs include, but are not limited to:

  • UL 1449 2nd edition (latest edition 2.5, revision effective 7-February-2007) is the safety standard for all equipment installed on the load side of the AC electrical service (480 V and below), as well as throughout the facility including the plug in outlet TVSS.
  • NEMA-LS1 is the primary specification guide for low voltage (< 1000 V) AC power SPD applications.
  • ANSI/IEEE C62.41 describes typical surge environments and includes standardized waveforms for testing of protective devices.
  • NFPA 780 is the standard for Lightning Protection Systems.

Beyond the standards, many SPD manufacturers provide general information on their respective Web sites. Finally, the NEMA Surge Protection Institute (www.nemasurge. com) offers a vendor-neutral (i.e. “unbiased”) SPD presentation.

Your next step
The next logical step is to evaluate the surge risks at your facility. This includes identifying external surge sources and the equipment within the facility that is susceptible to surges and noise, as well as the likely generators of surges and electrical noise within the facility.

A good design segregates the electrical power feeds of susceptible equipment from power feeds of surge and noise generators. Where possible, this segregation ideally should be at the service entrance. Outfit each panel you’ve identified as having susceptible loads or surge and noise generators with a properly sized SPD to mitigate surges.

When you are selecting an SPD, you have many features to consider. These include remote annunciation capabilities, audio alarms, local indicator lights, etc. The most essential function, though, is the SPD’s ability to divert transients. It is important for your chosen device to have a diagnostic indicator (visual, audible or otherwise) to verify that it is still functioning and hasn’t been disabled from the last surge suppression event it experienced. Therefore, some type of indication—either local indicating lights or remote annunciation—is critical. Noise filtering also is crucial, given the growing presence of electrical noise contamination. Several manufacturers claim to have sine wave tracking that allows their SPDs to pick up surges and noise on a frequency basis versus voltage thresholds. Another often-touted feature is a surge counter. Keep in mind, however, that a surge counter is only an indication of past performance—it’s neither an indication of future performance nor a gauge of existing lifetime of the device.

SPD installation
SPDs are either installed in equipment at the factory or installed after the equipment has been shipped and installed on site. There are three advantages to factory installation: a higher probability that the SPD lead lengths are short and as straight as possible; the connections to the buss will be as tight possible; and there is a uniform equipment appearance.

Most major equipment manufacturers provide optional SPD installation with their gear. In many instances, these devices are added after the installation of the major equipment.

When an SPD is installed after major equipment has been set and in operation, it typically is done external to the equipment. The installation practices of external SPDs are critical in order to achieve proper surge protections. It is recommended that external SPDs be installed as close as possible to the electrical buss being protected. Electrical connections must be tight, while connection wiring should be as straight as possible and as short as possible. The effect of excessively long connection cabling is to raise the “let thru voltage” threshold. So use the guide phrase “Close, Tight, Short & Straight” when it comes to external SPD installation and cabling: Close to the electrical buss being protected, Tight connections, Short & Straight lead lengths.

Summary
Once awareness of the problems associated with surges and electrical noise has been achieved, the next step is to identify where the areas of risk exist within the facility and what type of protection is required at each. Selection of an SPD that adequately diverts and filters the transients and electrical noise away from the equipment then follows.

For optimal device performance, installation of each SPD must adhere to strict guidelines. To that end, don’t forget that the facility grounding system must be inspected and upgraded, where necessary. Poor grounding can provide paths of least resistance that divert transients and electrical noise to critical systems instead of away from them.

Many resources are available to help with the needs assessment, evaluation, design, product selection and installation of SPDs. In general:

  • Verify that the protection scheme complies with IEEE recommendations and is installed according to both NEC requirements and the manufacturer’s guidelines.
  • Confirm that zones of protection are coordinated providing maximum surge attenuation and noise contamination filtration.

The threat of damage to electrical and electronic equipment from transients and electrical noise is real and growing. Our data-centric world is more susceptible than ever to damage from transients and noise, be it total destruction, degradation of equipment components or system disruption and malfunction. Since microprocessor-based equipment functions with faster operating speeds and lower operating voltage than other equipment, surges and electrical noise previously classified as non-threatening are significantly more damaging.

Although surges and electrical noise can’t be totally eliminated, they can be mitigated through an engineered approach, thereby reducing their damaging effect. This leads to greater reliability and overall improved productivity. In this regard, surge protection really is an inexpensive form of electrical system insurance. MT


John Gray is manager of the Guarantee Electrical Construction Company’s Critical Power Group, based in St. Louis, MO. The group’s primary focus is on overall electrical power reliability for its clients. Services include electrical system testing, troubleshooting, analysis, mitigation and validation. 

Defining The Problem

What is a surge?
“A sub-cycle disturbance in the AC waveform that is evidenced by a sharp, brief discontinuity of the waveform. May be of either polarity and may be additive to, or subtractive from, nominal waveform.” …Emerald Book

What is electrical noise?
“Unwanted electrical signals that produce undesirable effects…” …Emerald Book

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