Archive | March/April


6:00 am
March 1, 2008
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Key Factors In A World-Class Lubrication Program

Companies today have to work hard and smart to survive in a global marketplace. U.S. industry is managing to keep pace with foreign competition, but only through increased productivity gains. One of the key components to being competitive is extending asset life. This type of focus is changing maintenance strategies from reactive and preventive to more of a reliability-centered approach involving increased condition monitoring—both predictive and proactive.

In reliability-focused organizations, lubrication is recognized as a cornerstone of asset management. Key components shared by the most successful programs include:

  • The right attitude
  • A lubricant champion
  • Effective lubricant surveys
  • Proper scheduling & record-keeping
  • Consolidation
  • Competent personnel
  • Training/certification
  • Correct lubricants
  • Minimized contamination
  • Updating and improving
  • Oil analysis

Foster the right attitude 
Many companies don’t recognize the importance of a well-structured lubrication program, assigning routine—but vital—lubrication tasks to the least-qualified individuals in their organizations. This results in equipment failures, many of which may not be traced back to lubrication, but instead are thought to be nothing more than normal equipment breakdown.

More progressive companies recognize the importance of lubrication and don’t bury it in the organization as a meaningless task. They usually assign it as a function in the maintenance organization—in some cases as part of reliability, if such a separate group exists. The lubricator is usually a maintenance technician who has many tasks, the primary one being to maintain the equipment. This designated individual realizes the importance of lubrication as a key component in equipment life. Lubrication is not considered a task that is only performed if time permits.

The right attitude is set at the top of the organization and allowed to permeate through the maintenance and reliability groups that should have responsibility for lubrication. Over the past few years, upper management in more and more plants finally is beginning to recognize the importance of lubrication.

Designate a lubricant champion 
Every plant needs an individual who is considered to be an expert in lubrication and is capable of being an effective conduit between the lubrication supplier and the plant. He/she serves as a consultant in the plant to solve lubrication related problems. In the past, the steel industry had highly qualified lubrication specialists called “lubrication engineers.” It was not uncommon to find more than one individual performing this task in a mill. Their time was allocated primarily to lubrication. Sadly, as personnel cutbacks and retirements have increased over the past few years, lubrication engineers have gone the way of the dinosaur.

Today, plants still have lubricant champions, but typically this role involves many other duties—not just lubrication. For the most part, though, these in-plant experts are keepers and conveyors of priceless lubrication knowledge. Unfortunately, in light of our aging workforce, with countless workers nearing retirement age, little effort is being made in many plants to train others to fill these crucial lubrication champion positions. This vast amount of knowledge needs to be preserved and passed down. While many of these individuals are not actually trained engineers, their know-how and experience has saved their companies millions of dollars by preventing equipment failures. Some plants now are designating the role of lubricant specialist to a maintenance or reliability engineer, but as that person is promoted, the task is assigned to some other individual. Consequently, there still is a loss in continuity.

Conduct effective lubricant surveys 
Every plant needs a complete up-to-date list of equipment that requires lubrication. In large plants, surveys are usually done by area. For example, in an oil refinery, each major area—crude unit, catalytic cracker, reformer, etc.—would be surveyed separately. Conversely, in a small manufacturing plant, the survey would follow the process flow through the plant. This is a daunting task in a plant with thousands of pieces of rotating equipment.

The responsibility for a lube survey falls on the lubricant supplier. This is a cooperative effort where plant personnel and the lubricant vendor visit each piece of equipment to make sure the correct lubricant is applied properly, recording it all in a document to establish lubrication procedures. The following list reflects the recommended minimum amount of information to be recorded on a lube survey:

  • Equipment Name
  • Equipment ID #
  • Sump Capacity
  • Component Lubricated
  • Application Method
  • Lubricant Name
  • Service Frequency Interval (time interval equipment is checked)
  • Oil Change Interval
  • Oil Analysis (yes/no)
  • Special Considerations

Once a lube survey is completed and recorded in the system via an Access or Excel spreadsheet, it will serve as a basis for scheduling the lubrication routes and frequencies. Each lube survey needs to be continuously updated as equipment is added and dropped. Normally, when switching lubricant suppliers, the new vendor will perform a lube survey.

Observe proper scheduling & record-keeping
Once the lube survey has been completed, it will serve as the platform for the lubrication program. It is vital that proper records be maintained and updated. Tools for doing this range from very basic to highly sophisticated. Select the software program that works best for your operations. The more sophisticated programs integrate the lubrication program into a CMMS system from which work orders and scheduling are generated. Lubricant suppliers, as well as outside companies, sell Access-based programs that will adequately schedule all your lubrication activities and turn out daily, weekly and monthly work orders.

Once the lubrication program is implemented, it is only as good as the data that goes back into the system. Develop a simplified procedure for data input to assist the technician(s) who check and lubricate the equipment. Stress the importance of inputting the data on a timely basis. Lubricant scheduling both in addition and changing of lubricants should be updated as conditions change.

Many technicians recognize the importance of proper scheduling and record keeping. Others don’t. Make sure that the personnel in your organization do.

Consolidate without compromising
There are many advantages to limiting the number of lubricants used in a plant, including:

  • Minimized misapplication
  • Lower inventory costs
  • Lower administrative ordering costs
  • Faster inventory turnover
  • Lower drum and handling costs from bulk purchases

Most plants today are using more lubricants than they need. This is particularly true of greases. In some operations, though, greases have been consolidated from 20+ down to only three or four. Look at your grease inventory as the first place to consolidate, and also identify your goals.

One example of a successful consolidation effort took place several years ago in a large chemical plant. The site decided to consolidate to one polyurea grease (ISO VG of 220) for both its electric motors and general purpose fan bearings. To date, the higher ISO VG for the electric motors has had no detrimental effect on the motor bearing life. Likewise, potential problems resulting from misapplication of light ISO VG 100 electric motor grease with the fan bearings has been eliminated.

At another large chemical plant, the consolidation program calls for the site to minimize lubricant types and consolidate to five greases, as well as cut different oil types by 30% in one year.

Under normal conditions the following grease types can cover many potential applications in a typicalplant:

  • Electric motors- Polyurea ISO VG 100
  • General purpose- #2 Lithium Complex ISO VG 150/220
  • High-load low-speed- #2 Lithium Complex ISO VG 460

Centrifugal pumps lend themselves to consolidation. Some OEMs recommend ISO 68 R & O oil for centrifugal pumps while others recommend an ISO 32. Many plants, especially those in warmer climates, have consolidated to an R & O ISO 68 with no problems.

Consolidation should be done without compromising equipment integrity. Be sure to consult your lubricant supplier and OEM to assist in the process.

Hire & retain competent personnel
Lubrication should not be left to the lowest level person in the plant. Unfortunately, this is too frequent of an occurrence in many operations.

The ideal program is to have a separate group for lubrication—a group that is highly trained, certified and well rewarded. This happens in some plants, but it is rare.

Another approach is to use a highly trained individual to perform a number of duties around the equipment, including lubrication. Give him/her a sense of ownership for that equipment where he/she is responsible on an ongoing basis for a certain route in the plant. This will ensure that the same person is lubricating the equipment over an extended time period. Countless problems are created by the lack of consistency inherent with lubrication of equipment by different people.

Some plants use operators for lubrication—which can create a problem because of an operator’s many duties. Lubrication is usually last on the list of tasks to be completed and, in some cases, it can be almost, if not completely, neglected. The preferred approach is to assign maintenance or reliability technicians— who already have equipment ownership—to provide the lubricating. Not only will they lubricate to preserve the asset, they can be proactive in identifying problems, such as equipment noise, oil color, leakage, high temperatures, etc., at an early stage.

Support training/certification 
There seems to have been a real awakening as to the importance of lubrication over the past 10 years—and the fact that training and certification can offer immediate payback for an organization. In the past, most of the lubrication training was provided by the lubricant supplier. This began to change in the late 90s. Today a great deal of training is performed by non-lubricant, outside training companies or associations. A case in point is The Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers (STLE), the world’s oldest lubrication organization— and with over 4000 members, the largest.

STLE has been promoting lubrication for over 50 years through its publications and annual conferences. It serves as an excellent platform for the introduction of new developments in the field of lubrication and, through its many local chapters, provides training and information exchange for the lubrication community.

Certification programs to recognize individuals who have demonstrated a high level of expertise in lubrication practices are available. In 1994, STLE introduced the Certified Lubrication Specialist (CLS) certification. In 2001, the International Conference of Machinery Lubrication introduced the Machinery Lubrication Technician certifications that are designed for lubrication technicians in plants. These recognized certifications have gone a long way in raising awareness of the importance of lubrication to industry.

Companies can reap substantial benefits by exposing their lubricators to new ideas through technical conferences and training classes, and by supporting certification in lubrication for both technicians and engineers.

Use the correct lubricant 
The use of the wrong lubricant can go undetected for many years with no serious consequences. In some cases, however, this situation can lead to catastrophic equipment failure. Using the right product starts with the initial selection of the lubricant for new equipment.

The OEM manual is the first place to look for the correct lubrication recommendation— and the OEM should be consulted if there are any questions. Also, involve your lubricant supplier.

Based on my own experience conducting many lube surveys, in almost every case there has been a small percentage of the wrong lubricant being used on equipment. How can this happen? Usually, the wrong lubricant was initially selected. When performing lube surveys, some suppliers only refer to the current lubricant being used on a piece of equipment and cross it out with their lubricant equivalent. The correct procedure is to check or contact the OEM if there are any doubts on the correct lubricant to use for a particular piece of equipment.

Once the correct lubricant has been selected, there is no guarantee the wrong lubricant will not be added. It has been estimated that everyday at least 15% of lubricants added to equipment are incorrect. People often say that “oil is oil” and “there is no difference,” so they add the first product available. But, would they add just any oil to their automobile engine? Of course not. Thankfully, this group is a small minority.

All equipment should be color-coded with lubricant tags obtained from the lubricant supplier. Each tag has the ISO viscosity grade and a certain color to designate the lubricant type—such as gear oil or hydraulic oil.

Another best practice is to use one container per oil type and be sure that the container also has a color coded lube tag. You may want to put the same tag on the drum or tanks where the oil will be dispensed. Many problems can be avoided with proper labeling and training.

Minimize contamination
Clean oil starts with the new oil you purchase. Determine how clean the oil needs to be by setting cleanliness goals based on the equipment type and criticality. Consult with your lube supplier on how these goals can be met. In most cases filtration will be required before the oil goes into the storage tank.

On receiving drum shipments from your supplier, you need to examine the oil for cleanliness and water before adding it to the equipment. You may randomly sample from several drums per shipment. This will tell you whether you need to filter before adding to the equipment. It is very difficult to meet stringent cleanliness standards in metal drums. There are companies that will guarantee a certain cleanliness level—but only in plastic drums.

Remember that your relationship with your lubricant supplier should never be adversarial on oil cleanliness. You need to work to together as a team to meet a common goal of clean oil for equipment reliability.

Even if you have very clean oil in a drum, dispensing it in a dirty container will defeat the goal of adding clean oil. Try to use plastic sealed containers. Also, only use very clean funnels or use disposable funnels when adding the oil. Once the oil is added, be sure you have the proper filters—if it is a circulating system—to maintain the cleanliness and use desiccant breathers on vents where appropriate. Keep in mind that abrasive wear caused by particles is the most common wear mode—and 70% of the failures in circulating systems are attributed to contamination.

Continuously update & improve 
Your lube program needs to be constantly evaluated for improvements. Having a lubricant champion in your organization working in concert with your lubricant supplier will guarantee continuous improvement in your program. One way to improve is to be open about using synthetics for difficult applications, which could extend equipment and oil life.

You need to evaluate your program every year to determine if your goals were met and to set goals for the following year. Educate yourself by reading lubrication magazines and attending conferences to keep up with new developments

Utilize oil analysis for condition monitoring 
No lubricant program is world-class unless it has a well designed oil analysis program. Your program will more than pay for itself in a very short period of time. Oil analysis provides the following information:

  • Condition of the lubricant
  • Is it suitable for continued use?
  • Can it be reconditioned?
  • Level of contamination
    • Type and level of contaminants
    • Can they be removed?
  • Condition of lubricated equipment
    • Is the wear abnormal?
    • What is the wear mode?
    • What is the rate of wear?

The information provided by regular oil analysis allows you to be predictive with your equipment and proactive with the lubricant condition. When used with other condition monitoring tools, oil analysis will enhance equipment reliability. Utilize your oil analysis laboratory for training and helping you to establish the best possible program for your facility.

Implementing a world-class lubrication program is not extremely difficult— and it has significant benefits. Where is your current program now? Please take a few minutes to answer the following questions:

1. Do you have a separate lubrication group?



2. Is it located in the maintenance organization?



3. Do lubricators perform other functions?



4. Is there someone in your organization designated as a “lubrication expert” who can resolve lubrication problems?



5. Have you done a lubrication survey in the last five years?



6. If the answer to question #5 is yes, do you keep it current?



7. Are you using less than five different types of grease?



8. In the past year have you reduced the number of different lubricant types being used?



9. Do you have a computerized lubricant scheduling program and is it utilized to create work orders?



10. Do you have lubrication scheduling in a CMMS system?



11. If you change a lubricant on a time basis, are these intervals evaluated and updated?



12. Have you had an onsite lubrication training class in the past year?



13. Have any of your personnel attended an offsite lubrication training class in the past year?



14. Have any of your personnel attended a lubrication conference in the past two years?



15. Does anyone in your organization have an MLT or CLS certification?



16. In the last three years, have you found a situation where the wrong lubricant was being used and was it corrected?



17. Do you use sealed plastic containers to dispense lubricants?



18. Are incoming lubricants checked for water and cleanliness?



19. Is hydraulic oil filtered before being added to a reservoir?



20. During the past year, have you upgraded your lubrication program by improving an application method or switching to a better product like a synthetic?



21. Do you currently use an oil analysis program?



22. Do you receive your reports electronically?



23. Do you have someone in your organization who can evaluate the reports?



24. Has someone in your organization had oil analysis training?



25. In the past three years, has oil analysis identified a potential problem that was effectively resolved?



If you were able to answer “yes” to 80% of these questions, you are well on your way to a world-class lubrication program. If you answered “yes” to less than 50% of these questions, you need to reevaluate your lubrication program.

Contributing editor Ray Thibault is based in Cypress (Houston), TX. An STLECertified Lubrication Specialist and Oil Monitoring Analyst, he conducts extensive training in a number of industries. E-mail:; or telephone: (281) 257-1526.

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6:00 am
March 1, 2008
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LMT News

News of people and events important to the Lubrication Management community

Aaron Aleithe has been named vice president and general manager of Low-Voltage Drives at ABB Inc., Automation Products. He fills the position Rick Hepperla held before his recent promotion to division manager for Automation Products in North America. In his new role, Aleithe will be responsible for the continued growth and strategic business development of low voltage drives in the U.S. market. He also will serve as a member of both the ABB Global LV Drives Business Unit team member and the North America Automation Products Division management team and work closely with the Power & Control sales and channel management teams in the U.S., to ensure continued growth in the industrial market, while extending ABB’s position in the HVAC market segment.

Advanced Technology Services, Inc., (ATS), a leader in managed services for equipment maintenance, IT infrastructure support and industrial parts repair, has announced the appointment of Joseph A. Pycz as vice president of Operations. Pycz brings 30+ years experience in operations and management to ATS, including having served the past 12 as president and CEO of ThyssenKrupp Crankshaft, LLC. During that time, he led and managed the company’s growth from two plants with annual revenues of $35 million to four locations with annual revenues near $350 million. Prior to that, he had been plant manager at Wyman-Gordon Company.

Ivara Corporation has announced that The Timken Company has joined The Aladon Network and the Ivara EXP Enterprise Implementation Partner Program. The Aladon Network is Ivara’s global network of reliability experts and certified practitioners of Ivara RCM2™ and Ivara Maintenance Task Analysis (MTA), advanced methodologies for team-based approaches to developing a reliability strategy for all assets in an organization. As an Aladon Network Member, Timken is certified to deliver training and consulting services for Ivara RCM2 and MTA. In addition, the company now is an authorized reseller of Ivara EXP Professional asset reliability strategy development software. As an EXP Enterprise Implementation Partner, Timken will be able to deliver implementation consulting for Ivara EXP Enterprise asset performance management software. EXP Enterprise provides a cohesive and integrated platform to develop, implement and manage a living equipment reliability program.

Speaking of Timken, building on its extensive line of industrial lubricants, the company has announced the addition of several quality lubricant-delivery products, including grease guns, pumps and kits. These products are being introduced in the United States in March and in Canada during the second quarter of 2008. According to a company spokesperson, its new lubricant-delivery product line complements Timken’s ability to go beyond bearing technology and provide friction management solutions that meet maintenance needs.

The latest Baldor Dodge Reliance “rolling road show” wraps up in March after a successful three-month tour. The centerpiece, a special trailer carrying the value message of Baldor Dodge Reliance products directly to end-users, has been traveling the country since January. As with previous road shows targeting the Poultry and Mining industries, Baldor again partnered with Motion Industries to produce the event, this time outfitting the trailer with products for the Energy and Power Gen industry.

Brought on site to customer locations, the trailer is supported by an area’s local sales team and other representatives of Motion, Baldor Dodge (mechanical products) and Baldor Reliance (electrical products). Inside the airconditioned unit, visitors can walk through a display of Baldor Dodge Reliance offerings, including motors, variable speed drives, gear products, shaft couplings and bearings, then access a touch-screen plasma TV to review specific industry process flow charts. Touching a particular area of the screen produces a dropdown window showing which Baldor products are used at a given point in the process. The customer then can pull up datasheets, drawings and performance data for the product. Actual product demonstrations, Q&As, etc. are conducted outside the trailer where lunch typically is grilled and served for visitors. According to Dave Felt, Baldor’s manager of Channel Development, at the close of its latest three-month, cross-country gig, the trailer will have set up at approximately 30 sites and hosted close to 700 end-user visitors. More “rolling road shows” focusing on other industry markets, he notes, are on tap for the future.

Integrated Power Services (IPS), a national leader in the service and repair of electric motors and mechanical power transmission components, has acquired Electro-Mec. Electro-Mec, a third-generation, family-owned power services company based in Indiana, PA, offers motor and mechanical repair, new product sales, field services and precision machined products. Terms were not disclosed. IPS is the former Power Services unit of Reliance Electric and Dodge. Headquartered in Greenville, SC, it now has 12 regional service centers across the country, offering coast-to-coast, 24/7 support to over 1400 customers across a wide range of capital-intensive industries.

In keeping with its commitment to improving electrical standards and protecting worker safety, Schneider Electric’s North American Operating Division has contributed $500,000 to the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Arc Flash Collaborative Research Project. The results of this collaborative project will provide information to improve electrical safety standards, predict hazards associated with arcing faults and accompanying arc blasts and provide practical safeguards for employees in the workplace. The multiyear project is estimated to cost $6.5 million. With its donation, Schneider becomes a Platinum Level sponsor of the project. OPC

The OPC (open connectivity) Foundation has announced the opening of its first Independent Certification Test Lab to validate and certify OPC products. The laboratory is located at the premier facility of Ascolab in Erlangen, Germany. OPC Foundation president and executive director Tom Burke notes that Ascolab staff members have been designers and developers of OPC Certification tools since the Foundation’s earliest days. “They are widely acknowledged as ‘the experts’ in OPC Certification and they provide a solid foundation on which to build our certification program.” According to Burke, companies that purchase OPC-compliant products expect secure, reliable interoperability in a highly plug-and-play fashion. Thus, all products that are newly-certified by the Test Lab will carry a new ‘OPC Foundation Certified’ logo that provides endusers with an assurance of excellence. “This Certification program,” he says, “means that users can expect reduced system installation costs and products that will perform reliably in multi-vendor installations.”


The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has just released a report entitled “Compendium of Champions: Chronicling Exemplary Energy Efficiency Programs from Across the U.S.,” that profiles 90 of America’s most successful and effective energy efficiency programs. Together, these profiles are a vivid demonstration of how energy efficiency is America’s cheapest, fastest and cleanest new energy resource. Selected from a large set of nominations received during a national search, the 90 initiatives cover 20 different categories, ranging from industrial processes to residential lighting.

This new report is reflective of ACEEE’s second national review and selection of exemplary programs. As with the association’s first such review in 2003, this one not only recognizes outstanding energy efficiency efforts, it also honors the people and organizations responsible for their successes. (ACEEE publicly recognized these “exemplary programs” in an awards ceremony at the 4th National Conference on Energy Efficiency as a Resource, in Berkeley, CA, last October.) In addition to describing each honored program, the report also makes a number of overall observations on the factors that make them stand out.

The “Compendium of Champions” report, including brief summary profiles of each of the 90 honored programs, is available for free at It also can be purchased through ACEEE Publications, by e-mailing:

ASHRAE ( and BOMA, the Building Owners and Managers Association International (www., have signed a Memo of Understanding recognizing shared technical interests in fostering superior building performance. Among other things, the groups will work together to identify opportunities and achieve goals associated with shared services, collaboration on product/ service development and support and participation in standard development, initially centering around ASHRAE standards 62.1, 90.1, 180P and 189.1P.

“ASHRAE and BOMA are on the forefront of developing standards that significantly impact building owners and managers, and we look forward to working more closely with them on these matters,” says BOMA’s international chairman and CEO Brenna S. Walraven. ASHRAE president Kent Peterson, P.E., agrees. “We are all working toward optimal performance of both new and existing buildings. This partnership will be beneficial for both ASHRAE and BOMA members.”


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6:00 am
March 1, 2008
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Part II of II…Screw Compressors: Operating Principles & Sealing

0408_compressors_1Part I of this two-part series (LUBRICATION MANAGEMENT & TECHNOLOGY, Jan./Feb. 2008) emphasized the application ranges and volume control options of twin-screw compressors. It explained the general features of these dual-shaft rotary machines, which operate on the principle of positive displacement combined with internal compression. Operation of oil-free (dry) vs. liquid flooded (wet) rotary screw compressors and available seal design options are the primary focus of this concluding installment.

Regardless of whether a screw compressor is executed for oil-free (“dry”) compression or oil or water injection (the “wet” method), the gas is compressed in chambers that progressively decrease in size. These progressive chambers are formed by the intermeshing action of the two helical rotors and by the surrounding housing wall. Dry machines, however, incorporate timing gears that keep the two counter-rotating screws in the exact relationship to each other. Oil-injected (sometimes called “oil-flooded”) compressors do not incorporate timing gears and the driven male rotor interacts directly with the female rotor. The oil that is injected into the compressor cavity provides intensive lubrication and a large portion of the compression heat is absorbed. At the same time, the clearances between rotors and cylinder (casing) walls also are filled with oil. This prevents the reverse flow of compressed gas and increases the overall compression efficiency.

After leaving the compressor discharge flange, gas and oil exit through a check valve to the oil reservoir where most of the oil is separated from the gas. In oil-flooded compressors, the remaining oil is removed in a downstream separator, and only residual oil amounts of typically five parts per million (ppm) continue to remain in the gas stream. Even this oil carryover can be further lowered by downstream cooling and final moisture separation. The oil separation unit has to be properly maintained and the pressure drop across the separator cartridges taken into account to determine the overall performance of the compressor package. It should also be recognized that the efficiency of oil separation changes as the separator elements become progressively more contaminated.


On small rotary screw compressors, the housing is vertically parted on the suction side. Cylinder (generally called “casing”) and discharge side plate are frequently combined in a single housing. The housings of larger machines usually are parted horizontally for easy assembly. Rotors and shafts are milled out of one piece of either forged or stainless steel. Some manufacturers provide rotors with non-metallic coatings. In severe service, where loss of coating occurs on the rotor edges, a rapid drop in compressor efficiency could be encountered.

Process gas machines typically are designed with the direction of flow from the top to the bottom. This facilitates liquid removal from the compression space whenever liquid is injected into the rotor chamber for cooling, or for cleaning during operation. On-stream cleaning is highly advantageous in services where gases are contaminated or tend to polymerize. The sealing area is equipped with connections for sealing medium supply and relief. In principle, it is possible to apply a cooling medium to the cylinder wall, but non-cooled cylinder housings (or casings) can be used as well. Part 1 illustrated typical rotor combinations, including an asymmetrical rotor profile. The profile combination 4+6 means that the male rotor has four teeth and the female rotor, six. Due to this profile combination, the diameter of the rotor core is relatively thick. This allows for operation with large differential pressures.

Bearing concerns… 
Although air machines often are equipped with rolling element bearings, the majority of dry and wet process gas compressors are furnished with journal bearings and thrust bearings of the type commonly found in centrifugal process gas compressors. The service life of these bearings is practically unlimited as long as proper lubricating and operating procedures are in force. Rolling element bearings are acceptable for (relatively) light loads and where oil cleanliness is assured. Needless to say, selecting a separate closed-loop bearing oil circuit is a powerful step in the direction of maintaining a clean bearing environment.

If a vendor offers a wet screw machine with a single “same oil serves all” support system, the purchaser-owner may be taking a big risk—unless prepared to run up operating and maintenance costs by planning very frequent oil changes, or major investment in oil purification equipment. If that’s not in your plans, make sure you specify twin-screw compressors with separate oil circuits. In other words, do not buy wet screw machines where the oil introduced into the compression space also flows to the bearings. Separate circuits are used in the 5200 kW coke gas compressors illustrated in Fig. 1 and Fig. 2. However, instead of oil, water is being used in these coke gas services.

In many oil-free rotary screw compressor applications, it is best to provide a sealing barrier between the process gas and the bearings. A number of different seal types are feasible (see Figs. 3, A-G). Included are:

  • Carbon ring seals (3A)
  • Carbon ring and ejector-inductor porting (3B)
  • Carbon rings, ejector-inductor and purge gas porting (3C)
  • Combined floating rings and mechanical seals (3D)
  • Mechanical seals and carbon rings (3E)
  • Water as the sealing liquid (3F)
  • Water in small quantities as the sealing liquid (3G)

At the compressor input shaft, manufacturers often opt for either labyrinth seals, or double-acting mechanical seals with rotating springs.

Carbon ring seals, with connections for the injection and education of inert, clean gases, are used in cases where leakage gas, even in connection with sealing gas, may enter into the bearing areas or into the atmosphere. The gas pressure is relieved across floating carbon rings at the edge of the seal chamber.

Not to be forgotten are barrier water floating ring seals and double-acting mechanical seals with stationary springs. On barrier water floating ring seals, barrier water enters the seal chamber and a small amount of water reaches the compression space. Most of the water is returned to the barrier water system for cooling, filtration and re-use. Barrier water seals are able to fully prevent gas leakage and can provide valuable cooling and scrubbing duties. A double-acting stationary spring mechanical seal and a combination mechanical and floating ring seal are primarily used for compression with high differential pressures.


The principle of oil separation and much other worthwhile information can be obtained from Fig. 4 and the various references [Refs. 1, 2 and 3].

Contributing editor Heinz Bloch is the author of 17 comprehensive textbooks and over 340 other publications on machinery reliability and lubrication. He can be contacted at:hpbloch@

1. Bloch, Heinz P., A Practical Guide to Compressor Technology, (2nd Edition, 2006) John Wiley & Sons, (ISBN 0-471-727930-8), [See also 1st Spanish Edition, (1998), McGraw-Hill, New York and Mexico City, ISBN 970-10- 1825-7].

2. Bloch, H.P., and Pierre Noack, “Recent Experience With Large Liquid-Injected Rotary Screw Process Gas Compressors”, (1991, Proceedings of 20th Turbomachinery Symposium, Texas A & M University, Dallas, TX).

3. Bloch, Heinz P., and Claire Soares, Process Plant Machinery, 2nd Edition, 1998, Elsevier Publishing, London-New York-Amsterdam, ISBN 0-7506-7081-9.

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6:00 am
March 1, 2008
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When it comes to ball bearings…What Keeps Customers Rolling? “Five Factors of Excellence”

Providing unfailing operation from ball bearing failure requires looking at the subject the way experts do—with a cold eye on the factors leading to success and failure. Ignore them and the result could be production interruptions that cost your company time, money and reputation. Embrace them and you can look forward to a number of benefits, including fast product delivery and fatter profit margins.

When Goodrich Aerospace (GA) of Vermont opened the door to The Five Factors formula, good things rushed in. According to senior buyer Ross Lowery, long lead times for product delivery vanished, even “troublesome” parts were always in stock and the mind-bending exercise of price comparisons for various quantities of parts came to an end. GA thus expanded its contract with the formula originator, Intercontinental Bearing Supply Company (IBSCO). This Houstonbased supplier of ball bearings and services defines and utilizes The Five Factors for its clients as follows:

Factor One: Traceability… 
Goodrich Aerospace is a Prime Contractor and OEM for the Federal government. Accurate and complete traceability is requisite, especially for bearings. Thus, if there’s a failure in the field, IBSCO’s ball bearing experts will be able to isolate those failures to a given stock number and then take necessary precautions. If it is shown to be a factory defect, IBSCO can do a recall of the specific bearing and minimize the impact. For example, a ball bearing in a piece of handheld equipment used in brain surgery heated up so much that doctors couldn’t handle the device. Diagnosis: a lubrication overfill from bearings acquired through a distributor. Traceability made it possible to pinpoint each of the bearing lots that went into the surgical tool for that particular customer.

On the other hand, ruling out a bearing malfunction can help lead to the real cause of a problem. For example, a client reported that a ball bearing was corroding fast. When a review of the suspect bearing lots showed no prior history of problems, the client shifted focus and discovered the culprit to be its own process that allowed etching fluid into the bearing housing assembly.

As industry relies more on high technology, these days, such situations are not isolated incidents. A problem in a manufacturer’s process creates a domino effect that can cause long-lasting harm to business relationships. Every part received and delivered by your bearing supplier should be accompanied with a Manufacturer’s Certification and lot number or traceability identifier. By providing the Manufacturer’s Certification, it makes the distributor 100% accountable for each bearing—from the point of entry to point of delivery. You ought to know what you are getting, whether you’re buying a $2 bearing or a $10 bearing.

Factor Two: Delivery… 
Suppliers that “out-think” the customer are a step ahead. By being prepared, they can significantly reduce lead-times for delivery. This is critical given the fact that in today’s economic climate, delivery time can stretch from 30 to 55 weeks. With IBSCO’s help, Goodrich Aerospace has reduced its delivery time to days—or a few weeks at most—by obeying one rule: Managing inventory well is the key to managing delivery time.

IBSCO manages Goodrich Aerospace’s inventory. In doing so, GA’s needs are evaluated on a weekly basis with the help of a complex computer matrix and extensive data about sales cycles. As a result, short-term trend changes can be accommodated, such as those occasions when product is required sooner or later than anticipated.

That type of flexibility helped Goodrich Aerospace pause in its delivery of a braking system. Components needed to move forward on the project were delayed, forcing GA to hold back its own production. The change was accommodated without harm to the outcome. There have been other instances where replacement parts for military aircraft, for example, came in sooner than expected. Again, communication about what’s in the pipeline and safety stock for unique situations provided the solution.

Also, remember delivery is not just related to time. Procurement and Quality Control requirements are a significant issue. The U.S. government enforces the Defense Federal Acquisition Register Schedule (DFARS). This means all government-contract parts must be manufactured, purchased and built with raw materials from the United States market or a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) country. If DFARS compliance is required, all raw material and product components must be made from U.S. steel that can be traced back to the milling process. This has grown more difficult as the domestic steel industry has eroded, even as demand and manufacturing costs have increased.

Factor Three: Re-lubrication… 
The ability to re-lubricate bearings serves a dual purpose. First, it restores the shelf life for product with expired use dates. The ability to re-lubricate expired bearings is essential to the aircraft and aerospace industry.

But the primary purpose is producing a custom lubricated bearing. This means while product specific to client needs is stocked, the commonly used sizes are onhand and available for lubing as needed.

Also, buying basic ball bearing stock at bargain prices allowed a medical firm to improve gross sales, even as the value of the U.S. dollar dropped. How? The currency imbalance meant overseas customers would eventually want to buy more American-made products because when the dollar value dropped so did the price. By stocking up on basic parts, the medical firm was well prepared when overseas demand for its equipment increased.

Factor Four: Custom Lubrication… 
Goodrich Aerospace benefits when its provider buys large quantities of “vanilla” stock on its behalf—stock that later can be custom-lubed to GA specs. When incorporated in this type of purchase, OEMs like Goodrich Aerospace may get a better price than they would get from the factory they normally buy from.

Also, as technologies change, adjustments to lube specs may be required. Sometimes re-lubes are needed because the design specs change due to improvements in technology. Dental tools, for example, pose a particular challenge. They require lubricants that can withstand hot-steam cleansings after each use, yet are not so heavy that they promote heat build-up during operation.

Goodrich Aerospace chose IBSCO because of its expertise in custom lubrication blends, fill amounts and understanding the specific needs of the customer.

Factor Five: Certification… 
A factory certification is essential because it includes lot numbers that allow the material to be traced all the way back to the smelting factory. Certification ensures that you’re getting the legitimate part you ordered. You need paperwork to make sure there’s a pedigree.

Lubricants, as well as ball bearings, must be documented. The original factory certification papers must include a lot number and where it was made. Substantial time can be saved if your supplier is factory authorized to do re-lubes. Without this authorization, manufacturers can expect to wait 30 weeks for delivery of a full-warranty product. You need certification detailing what work was done before it was shipped to you. Also, it is essential that the factory scrutinize the processes of the distributor that has been authorized to do full-warranty work—twice a year.

When it comes to ball bearings, those who pay attention to these Five Factors of Excellence should have no trouble rolling along.

Jack O’Donnell has spent 37 years in the bearing business. He has served as president of IBSCO since 1998. IBSCO is a distributor of NHBB, NMB, IJK, Barden and Timken products. Telephone: (800) 231-6480; e-mail:

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Taking it to the extreme…Lubes For Severe Environments

0408_techupdateThe places where lubrication is needed aren’t always made to order. Too often, lubricants are required to stand up (and perform without a hitch) under some of the most severe conditions imaginable—extremely hot and cold environments, hazardous surroundings, contaminated areas, etc. The following list reflects companies and products that take care of the critical equipment and processes that must stay up and running in these types of challenging, often remote, situations.

Royal Purple
Most severe-service equipment reliability problems are caused by heat, contamination and/or load. The severity of these conditions impacts lubricant’s ability to adequately lubricate and protect equipment, resulting in premature failure and reduced operating efficiency. Conventional, low-film strength R & O (rust and oxidation inhibited) oils rely almost solely on their viscosity to protect equipment against wear. A new generation of lubricants offers improved oxidation stability to withstand heat and dramatically increased film strength to withstand severe load. Synfilm, from Royal Purple, has become increasingly popular in severe service applications. Synfilm is a long life, high film strength, synthetic lubricant that’s proven to significantly increase the reliability and life of equipment operating in severe conditions.

Royal Purple 
Porter, TX

The Timken Company 
Timken’s Mill Grease is formulated with high VI paraffinic mineral oil, resulting in better oxidation stability than competitor formulas that use low VI naphtenicbase oil. Use this grease when resistance to water washout and performance under broad operating temperatures are absolutely necessary. Design attributes include superior protection against rust and corrosion, including salt spray, and excellent high-temperature properties, including conditions from -40 F to 400 F. The lubricant contains no heavy metals or other environmentally undesirable additives. Timken’s Mill Grease is applicable for steel mills, paper mills, aluminum mills, foundries, cement plants, power generation, off-road applications, mineral processing, offshore rigs and marine applications.

The Timken Company 
Canton, OH

CITGO Petroleum Corporation 
According to CITGO, its range of synthetics provides exceptional protection for compressors in remote locations, where maintenance and parts replacement demand premium products. CompressorGard PAOs offer superior oxidation and thermal stability for use in rotary vane, rotary screw and centrifugal compressors. The CompressorGard PAGs are recommended for highpressure reciprocating compressors pumping natural gas, hydrogen, helium, CO2 and other polar gases. DE synthetics combine premium diester base stocks with advanced additives for better low-temperature fluidity and thermal conductivity. Compared to conventional lubes, the low vapor pressure of the CompressorGard SS helps reduce oil carryover in a compressed gas stream, and inhibits H2S corrosion. CompressorGard IPG 100 provides increased viscosity at high temperatures, oxidation resistance and good water separation.

CITGO Petroleum Corporation 
Houston, TX

Mobil Industrial Lubricants
Mobilgear 600 XP Gear Oil Series is engineered to deliver exceptional, long-lasting wear and corrosion protection for gearboxes, and can help companies become more competitive by raising their productivity. Surpassing the industry’s most demanding specifications, such as Flender BA Table 7300 A, DIN 51517 Part 3 and AGMA 9005 E02, Mobilgear 600 XP helps control micropitting and is designed to significantly reduce the formation of oil degradation by-products that often lead to frequent oil changes.

Mobil Industrial Lubricants 
Fairfax, VA

CRC Industries
CRC’s Extreme Duty Open Gear & Chain Lube is a heavy duty, extreme pressure lubricant recommended for reducing friction and wear in harsh environments. The formula is specially prepared to penetrate pores in metal, with exceptional “stay-put” characteristics. It assures a smooth, long-lasting, economical and effective coating that will not wash or wear off because of harsh weather and will not break down after repeated use. The lube contains Moly and Graphite, providing lubrication and shock protection, preventing scoring and welding of gear teeth. Its black color guides proper coverage, allowing easy touchup. Use CRC Extreme Duty Open Gear & Chain Lube to lubricate open gears, chains, cables or wire ropes. It is ideal for use on quarry and mining equipment, leaf springs, drive chains, screw threads and flexible couplings. It can also be used on racks and pinions, ball and rod mills, trunions, roller gears and winches.

CRC Industries 
Warminster, PA

The use of synthetic lubricants has become more widespread in automotive and industrial machinery, partly because of the severe demands imposed on the lubricants by downsizing of oil sumps, generating more power and the more stringent performance requirements established by the OEMs. ConocoPhillips Syncon® & Syndustrial ® synthetic lubricants are commonly used in industrial machinery such as air & gas compressors, aero-derivative turbines, underground mining equipment and gearboxes operating in very cold weather or very high temperature environment. They offer significant advantages over conventional lubricants in terms of low temperature pump ability and easier starts in cold weather, as well as energy savings, superior high temperature protection and longer service intervals.

ConocoPhillips Lubricants 
Houston, TX

Designed specifically to perform under harsh conditions and critical chemical service, DuPont™ Krytox® NRT & XHT oils and greases offer an ideal solution to extend equipment life, improve safety and reduce the potential for explosions and fire. Krytox NRT inert lubricants deliver safe, non-reactive, non-flammable lubrication for systems containing LOX, GOX, chlorine and other reactive gasses while extending equipment life. Krytox XHT Extreme High Temperature lubricants perform up to 752 F. From gearboxes, bearings and chains—to seals, actuators, valves, and more—DuPont Krytox NRT & XHT provide unparalleled performance with everyday reliability.

DuPont Performance Lubricants 
Wilmington, DE

JET-LUBE’s industrial 769 Lubricant®, first introduced in 1969, is still delivering high performance in harsh environments. Salt water and salt spray, in particular, are no match for this product. It’s economical, environmentally safe and non-flammable, and it doesn’t evaporate or harden. It contains ashless extreme pressure additives and highly refined lubricating oils that provide superior lubricating protection and anti-wear properties. Additionally, 769 lifts and displaces moisture, while also preventing rust and corrosion. The product is available in a variety of sizes, ranging from 12-oz. aerosol containers to 50-gal. drums.

Houston, TX

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March 1, 2008
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Onboard Pump Intelligence Gives A Timely Heads Up

Kiss unexpected ANSI pump failures good-bye. This industry first is the type of intuitive and efficient early warning system you’ve been wishing for.


We all know it. With so few people and so little time to manage and maintain your equipment and processes, your plant’s ANSI pumps simply may not get as much love and attention as your turbines, compressors and higher-ticket pumping equipment. That’s all about to change!

The new i-FRAME from ITT Goulds provides operations personnel, maintenance managers, reliability engineers and technicians—anyone responsible for monitoring and repairing rotating equipment on a 24/7 basis—with early warning of impending trouble so that changes to the process or machine can be made before failure occurs. The unit’s stainless-steel condition monitor (see inset) is nested securely atop the power end to measure critical vibration and temperature readings. Variations that exceed preset parameters will activate the early warning system by displaying flashing red lights—things that are easily recognized during routine walk-arounds.

Great has gotten better 
According to Patrick Prayne, product manager of ITT Goulds ANSI Process Pumps, the company’s Model 3196 is acknowledged to be the most popular process pump in the world. “Now,” he says, “we’ve made it even better. This increased reliability and condition monitoring intelligence gets to the heart of our most important customer requirement—reduced downtime and equipment life cycle cost.”

In addition to the condition monitor built into the pump, the patent-pending i-FRAME incorporates a number of other standard features designed to increase reliability and the life of the pump, including:

  • Premium severe duty thrust bearings that increase fatigue life by 2 to 5 times that of standard bearings.
  • Dual stainless-steel, bronze bearing isolators for improved corrosion resistance and contaminant exclusion.
  • An optimized sump design to improve heat transfer and collect and concentrate contaminants away from the bearings, resulting in longer bearing life.

Model 3196 units with i-Frame power ends also carry a whopping 5-Year Warranty as standard.

Recognized as a true workhorse in chemical, oil & gas, petrochemical, pulp & paper, and other industrial operations around the globe, the Goulds 3196 comes in 29 different sizes offering a wide range of features for handling challenging applications. According to the manufacturer, its new i-Frame units will be available this April.

ITT Goulds
Seneca Falls, NY

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March 1, 2008
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Compact, durable, lightweight, economical… This New Speed Reducer Takes On Your Toughest Jobs

0408_solutionspotBaldor has introduced the Dodge MagnaGear XTR, an extra-tough speed reducer that has been engineered to offer maximum reliability and superior performance in especially challenging, high-torque applications. According to the manufacturer, the MagnaGear XTR is ideal for bulk material handling in dirty, dusty, harsh environments. That means mining, aggregate, cement, wood products and grain industries, where these robust new products are well suited for a wide range of applications, including conveyors, bucket elevators, feeders, mills and crushers/breakers.

Putting proven technology to work 
Engineered with proven planetary and helical gear technology, the new MagnaGear XTR line covers a full range of horsepowers, up to 2000 HP. Designed as a global product, the reducers are offered with parallel shaft or right-angle configurations, a solid or hollow shaft output and will initially offer torque capacities up to 920,000 lbin. Incorporating a modular design that allows for multiple mounting configurations, they can be used with a variety of soft-start mechanisms.

Developed to meet or exceed AGMA and international standards, heavy-duty, cast iron units feature carburized, hardened and precision-ground gearing. Tandem HBNR lip seals are standard for extra protection. All bearings exceed AGMA standards for L10 life. All components are power matched for optimum performance at a lower installed cost.

A complete line of engineered accessories are available for MagnaGear XTR, including internal lift-off style backstops, cooling systems, rigid couplings, torque arms, swing base mounts, tunnel housings and baseplates.

Baldor Electric Company 
Fort Smith, AR

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March 1, 2008
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Problem Solvers

0408_probsolver_cameraCompact IR Technology

Infrared Cameras’ new compact ICI 7320 is roughly the size of a business card. Offering high image sensitivity and clarity for a 320 x 240 radiometric imager, it operates on a single watt of power using a USB connection. IRFlash software sends real-time radiometric data directly to a hard drive or portable device. Available enclosures provide harsh weather and/or environment protection while meeting all meeting NEMA 4-NEMA 9 specifications.

Infrared Cameras, Inc. 
Beaumont, TX


Lockout/Tagout Compliance

Brady’s new 16- page “Complete LOTO Solutions” handbook lays out a straightforward “4-Steps to Compliance” plan for creating an effective energy control program. Each step includes an explanation of OSHA’s basic requirements, and provides information on the related resources Brady has available for successful implementation of your lockout/tagout program.

Brady Corporation 
Milwaukee, WI

Interactive Tool Helps Manage Energy Costs

Dow Corning has launched an interactive Molykote® Energy Savings Calculator. The online tools helps manage rising energy prices and carbon dioxide emissions by identifying energy and cost savings available through lubrication best practices. Users enter the number of motors, gearboxes, pumps, compressors and fans, the kilowatts needed to run them, their efficiency, the hours per day and days per year into the calculator. They are shown potential reductions in kilowatt hours, CO2 emissions and the associated cost savings.

Dow Corning
Midland, MI

0408_probsolver_shaftShaft Seals For Dry Bulk Processing

According to Woodex Bearing, its custom-engineered MECO shaft seals can increase MTBF by a factor of 4 or more over packed glands in dry bulk process equipment. Rotating on a plane perpendicular to a shaft means there is no relative motion between the shaft and seal, and, thus, no shaft abrasion damage. Seal faces are soft, faulttolerant and almost impossible to break. Like all MECO seals, these robust products are available fully-split for quick installation and rebuilds. Accommodating 6mm or more total shaft runout/misalignment, shock loads and thermal shaft growth, they also contain no internal springs to loosen, corrode or break.

Woodex Bearing Company
Georgetown, ME

0408_probsolver_trampCompact Tramp Oil Separator

Master Chemical’s Master Coalescer Jr.™ is a compact and affordable processor of machine tool coolants. Designed for use with water-miscible coolants and parts-washing fluids that reject tramp oils, it is available in both wheeled and stationary models. Requiring minimal maintenance, these units allow for maximum removal of tramp oil, even while they are running.

Master Chemical Corporation 
Perrysburg, OH


Tank & Vessel Level Measurement

The Gladiator Smart Admittance Level Switch from Hawk is designed to detect the level of liquid, slurry or powder in a tank or vessel. Designed to operate in tough environments, it measures the capacitance between a probe and the wall of the container. The Gladiator is simple to set up and calibrate, and has excellent temperature stability. Several probe types are available to meet specific application requirements, and all types are resistant to product build-up.

Hawk Measurement Systems 
Melbourne, Australia

0408_probsolvers_bearingsSelf-Lubricating Bearings For Dry & Submerged Jobs

Metallized Carbon Corporation offers Metcar grades M-161 and M-162 mechanical materials, unique carbon/graphite Babbit impregnated products designed to operate where conventional lubricating methods can’t. At temperatures up to 350 F, they are well suited for lubricating in submerged low viscosity fluids such as water and fuels. For dry environments, they provide oil-free lubrication at high temperatures. According to the manufacturer, because these materials are completely homogenous and provide continuous lubrication for their long service life, they are ideal for use in bearings, bearing assemblies and mechanical components operating at elevated temperatures. Bearings made from Metcar are self-lubricating, non-galling, dimensionally stable and have high compressive strength.

Metallized Carbon Corp.
Ossining, NY

0408_probsolvers_lanceNew Jet Lance

Lightweight and ergonomic, the NCG40-286 water jet lance from NLB Corp. offers a 40,000 psi and 60- second cartridge change. A one-finger latch prevents accidental actuation and its patented trigger design allows the operator to immediately dump pressure by simply pushing the trigger forward. The lance also can be used with the company’s Viper 40™ self-rotating head, producing rotating water jet action without compressed air.

NLB Corp. 
Wixom, MI

0408_probsolvers_oilmistCalling All Safety-Conscious Oil Mist Users

Inpro/Seal’s OM 32 oil mist seal contains no ferrous materials that could generate sparking conditions by sealing faces or magnets upon wear and eventual component d e g r a d a t i o n . Made of 100% non-sparking bronze, it does not contain any contact surfaces to heat up due to the combustion of volatile materials. Plus, it puts an end to mist condensation on surrounding structures. If the rolling element, primary bearing fails, the OM 32 acts as an emergency sleeve bearing to prevent shaft-to-housing contact. Improvements to the original design include the ability to work with low base lubricant viscosities and the addition of VBXX™, a proprietary technology that eliminates the ingress of contamination.

Inpro/Seal Company 
Rock Island, IL

0408_probsolvers_airUpgraded Air Management Equipment

F or storage, handling and unloading of commodities, AIRLANCO offers the AIRAUGER™ unloading system for storage, handling and unloading of commodities. It safely and efficiently empties commodities from storage facilities utilizing both pitched flooring and air—without bin entry. Capable of being installed in new or existing storage units, all mechanical equipment is situated outside the bin for added safety and ease of service. The system also provides bin aeration of the stored commodity with the same ductwork and fans used during unloading operations.

Falls City, NE

0408_probsolvers_loggerMulti-Tasking Data Logger

Omega’s battery-powered, 3-axis OM-CP-ULTRASHOCK101- 50-EB shock recorder measures and records temperature, pressure and humidity at the selected reading rates, while recording shock at peak acceleration rates. Compact and portable, features include CE compliance, 60-day battery life and data retrieval via a COM or USB port.

OMEGA Engineering, Inc.
Stamford, CT

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