Archive | April


4:34 pm
April 1, 2009
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Capacity Assurance Marketplace

sol-spotlight_abbFast-Response pH Sensor For Industrial Applications

ABB now offers the Endura TBX587 Retractable pH sensor that targets 1″ NPT process connections found in sample lines in a range of industrial applications. This convenient new system incorporates a number of innovative design features, including a temperature compensation element at the tip of the sensor to provide response times up to 6x faster then conventional gel-filled pH sensors. The Endura TBX587 is based on ABB’s highly successful solid state, Next Step Reference design that stands up to the type of chemical poisoning and build-up often found in strong chemical processes and slurries. 316 Stainless hardware is standard, with options for Hastelloy and Titanium metallic fittings.

Warminster, PA

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sol_spotlight_skfRugged And Simplified Machine Monitoring

The SKF Machine Condition Advisor (MCA) is a rugged, easy-to-use, hand-held device that measures vibration signals and temperature simultaneously to indicate machine health or bearing damage, and provides early warning of machine problems before a costly breakdown occurs. It simultaneously measures vibration signals from 10 to 1000 Hz and temperature from -20 to 200 C (-4 to 392 F) and displays the values in Metric or English on a bright backlit LCD. The SKF MCA is ergonomically designed and uses an environmentally friendly rechargeable Lithium ion battery. An optional external vibration sensor with a magnet provides convenience for hard-to-reach surfaces and more repeatable and accurate measurements.

SKF Reliability Systems
San Diego, CA

For more info, enter 36 at
sol_spotlight_eagleburgmannNew API 682 Category 1 Seal Without Compromise

EagleBurgmann’s new APItex™ series seal comprises single and dual pusher type seals in accordance with “Category 1” of API 682, 3rd Edition/ISO 21049 for the chemical industry. According to the manufacturer, the specifications of “Category 1” were taken fully into account in the design of the new APItex line. Its operating limits are 360 PSIG (25 bar), -40 F to +500 F (-40 C to 260 C). Features include shrink-fitted seal faces, solid seats, product-protected springs, reverse pressurization capability and pump ring.

Houston, TX

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Decontactor Series Switch Rated Plugs and Receptacles

Meltric has announced the availability of its new 2009 product catalog featuring Decontactor Series switch rated plugs, receptacles and connectors. This new 224-page catalog also provides information about Meltric’s other plug and receptacle product offerings including some new hazardous duty rated devices, PF high ampacity devices (up to 600A), and a wide variety of Multipin devices (up to 37 contacts).

Meltric Corporation
Franklin, WI

For more info, enter 38 at
sol_spotlight_mapconRevolutionary Wireless Software Has Your Back

Mapcon’s new Hybrid PDA Wireless Software, Pocket-Maint™ Wireless, is a companion to the company’s powerful Maintenance Management Software MAPCON® Professional. The new Hybrid product will automatically save work to a database on a PDA when a wireless signal is lost. Upon re-connection to a wireless signal, the user will be able to upload all the saved data to prevent data loss. During wireless signal loss the user will still be able to create Work Orders, issue parts, create Work Requests and more! In addition to the new Hybrid wireless capabilities, PocketMaint Wireless has improved lookups. Lookups can be customized, sorted or searched by any column, making it easier for users to find valuable information.

Mapcon Technologies Inc.
Clive, IA

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SEL arc flash detectionMinimize Dangerous Arc-Fault Energy

Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories’ new arc-flash detection (AFD) relay provides fully automatic protection against arc-flash events. The SEL-751A Feeder Protection Relay uses fiber-optic, arc-flash light sensors to detect the light created by an arc-flash event. To prevent false tripping, the SEL-751A looks for an overcurrent that coincides with the light flash. When both conditions are met, the AFD solution sends a trip signal to the circuit breaker in as fast as 2 ms. This fast tripping significantly reducing the damage-causing energy released by the arc-flash event.

Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. (SEL)
Pullman, WA

For more info, enter 40 at
Guaranteed Rapid-Ship Cylinder Program

Numatics, a leading manufacturer of fluid power products, has introduced a 2-day guaranteed shipping program for pneumatic cylinders. The program covers the Numatics A Series N.F.P.A. interchangeable cylinder line and its M Series non-repairable round body air cylinder line. According to the company, compared to other rapid shipping offerings, the Numatics 2-day shipping program provides higher guaranteed quantity availability. It guarantees to ship a quantity of 10 or less cylinders for all part numbers (generated from the applicable A and M Series how-to-order pages) in 2 days or less, or it pays for the shipping.

Numatics, A Division of Emerson
Novi, MI

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6:00 am
April 1, 2009
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Solution Spotlight: Leveraging An Advanced Maintenance Technology

The FLIR T250 infrared camera is the type of advanced technology that can pay for itself in very short order. Optimized for electrical mechanical surveys, it can scan wide areas and multiple components to find trouble fast. Among other things, it also can be used to help identify unsafe working conditions from overheating motors, compressors, pipes and any number of other sources in a busy plant environment.

sol_spotlight_flirNew detector technology
The T250 is the mid-range camera in FLIR’s T-series line-up (which also includes the T200, T360 and T400). It takes advantage of the company’s newest line of lightweight, advanced infrared detectors that perform in the 7.5 to 13µm spectral range. Straightforward software and documentation help users quickly conduct surveys. The T250 is upgrade-able, too. Higher-model T-Series features can be added as needs change and grow, thus protecting your plant’s investment. Both entry-level and experienced thermographers will benefit from its ease-of-use and various productivity-targeted features, including:

  • Convenient touch-screen Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) to capture sharp thermal images and report findings. Using the stylus and T250 touch-screen, professionals can scroll through pre-defined lists of text to help simplify reporting chores. The on-screen sketch, marker tool, and voice annotation capability also can make it easier to describe and report findings.
  • 80 mK thermal sensitivity that delivers 200 x 150 IR resolution (30,000 pixels). That’s one-third more detail than models with 160 x 120 resolution.
  • A 25° lens for normal views. An optional 45° lens is available for wide-angle images, and a 15° telephoto lens is available for long-range work.
  • Interchangeable lenses that easily attach to the camera body. Tilting only the optic allows intuitive and productive use of the camera for extended periods of time.
  • This is a benefit to organizations that regularly conduct detailed electrical surveys.
  • Auto and manual focus features that allow a wide range of users to take advantage of the camera. This ensures that everyone can take sharp thermal images and produce accurate temperature analysis and results. The camera’s 2x digital zoom capability helps users zoom in to get close detail in a range of applications.

The T250 includes QuickReport analysis and reporting software. Optional Reporter software—a Microsoft® Word-based program—is available from FLIR for advanced analyses and report generation. MT

FLIR Systems
Boston, MA

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6:00 am
April 1, 2009
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My Take: Cash For Clunkers and Crush For Credit



Jane Alexander, Editor-In-Chief

Tuesday, April 7, as I thought I was putting the finishing touches on this column about some exciting motor news, I took a few minutes to scroll through the online edition of the New York Times. In the Opinion section, an editorial entitled “Cash for Clunkers”* caught my attention. Its focus was on a movement in Congress to help take gas-guzzling clunkers off the nation’s roads and replace them with more fuel-efficient models. According to the editorial writer(s), while this idea has benefits for both the environment and our troubled auto industry, there’s a right and wrong way to get it done.
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6:00 am
April 1, 2009
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MT News

News of people and events important to the maintenance and reliability community

Robert J. Pagano, Jr. has been appointed president of Industrial Process (IP), one of the ITT Corporation fluid businesses headquartered in Seneca Falls, NY. He replaces Ken Napolitano, who has been named president of ITT’s Residential and Commercial Water value center headquartered in Morton Grove, IL. Pagano is not unfamiliar with his newly announced role. He actually began his ITT career with IP, holding a series of increasingly responsible positions over the years. He eventually went on to lead that business as president from 2002-2004, a particularly challenging period, during which he helped position IP for future growth. Most recently, he had been serving as vice president of Finance for ITT Corporation, and had been CFO for the Motion and Flow Control group. ITT Industrial Process manufactures and markets industrial pumps, valves, monitoring and control systems, water treatment products and aftermarket services globally under the Goulds Pumps®, Fabri-Valve®, PumpSmart®, C’treat® and PRO Services® brands. It has 18 manufacturing plants, 14 service facilities and 32 sales offices worldwide with more than 2200 employees.

John Crane, a division of global technology business Smiths Group, has announced the purchase of Orion Corporation, a leading U.S.-based designer and manufacturer of hydrodynamic bearings for energy and general industrial markets. Headquartered in Grafton, WI, Orion complements and extends John Crane Bearing Technology, a business unit formed following the corporation’s 2007 acquisition of Sartorius Bearing Technology (SBT), based in Gottingen, Germany. Orion designs and manufactures hydrodynamic bearings for high-speed turbine, generator, compressor and gear-drive applications for the power gen, oil and gas and general industrial markets. Employing 270 people at its Wisconsin and Nebraska facilities, it reported sales of approximately $50 million for its 2008 fiscal year ending October 31.

On a related note, John Crane, already a leading supplier to the refining market, has recently added a new Production Solutions division to serve the upstream part of the oil and gas industry (oil and gas recovery, with respect to optimization of the well). Led by Tom Whipple, president, the Production Solutions division is currently made up of CDI Energy Services and Fiberod, two Texas-based companies. CDI is one of the largest artificial lift service companies in North America. Fiberod is a leader in innovative fiberglass sucker rod (FSR) technology.

Emerson has acquired epro GmbH (epro), a privately held Gronau, Germany-based company that engineers, manufactures and assembles API 670-compliant protection systems delivered to the process industries worldwide. The deal expands Emerson’s online machinery monitoring capability with a full API 670-compliant protection offering. It is also expected to speed availability of next generation solutions. Terms of the deal were not announced.

ExxonMobil recently inaugurated its newest high-efficiency cogeneration plant at its Antwerp refinery in Belgium.According to the company, this facility is more efficient than many traditional cogeneration plants because of its heat recovery system. In addition to generating steam, the cogeneration operation utilizes heat created in the gas-turbine exhaust to heat crude oil, the initial step in the process of converting crude oil into refined products. The unit will generate 125 megawatts and reduce Belgium’s carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 200,000 tons annually—the equivalent of removing about 90,000 cars from Europe’s roads.

“This new cogeneration plant allows for the efficient generation of electricity to run pumps, compressors and other equipment in our facilities, while at the same time, producing additional steam that is needed in processes that transform crude oil into refined products,” notes Gilbert Asselman, manager of the Antwerp refinery. “With the latest technology, cogeneration is significantly more efficient than traditional methods of producing steam and power separately. This results in lower operating costs and significantly less greenhouse gas emissions.”

With the launch of the Antwerp facility, ExxonMobil now has interests in about 4600 megawatts of cogeneration capacity in about 100 individual installations at more than 30 sites worldwide. New facilities under construction in Singapore and China will increase ExxonMobil’s cogeneration capacity to more than 5000 megawatts in the next three years.


The SMRP Board of Directors of the Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals (SMRP) has approved a program to develop programs, products and services in partnerships with its members. Known as the “Member Affinity/Partner Program,” it will allow supplier members to partner with SMRP to develop and implement programs, products and services to meet member needs. Supplier members that are interested in partnering with SMRP to provide a program, product or service to the industry or profession should submit a written proposal, including program features, benefits, cost conditions and the details to the Improve Member Services Committee. The Committee will screen the program against some very basic criteria, and, if necessary, the member will fund research among SMRP audiences to determine if there is interest in the program. The committee and staff will analyze research results and if a sufficient level of audience interest is evident, will present the proposed program to the Board of Directors. The first program of this type to be approved is with ABB Reliability Services to provide a series of workshops at no cost to SMRP members. For additional information, or to submit a proposal for consideration, e-mail


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6:00 am
April 1, 2009
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Uptime: Factory Jobs Anyone?



Bob Williamson, Contributing Editor

Imagine that you’re 15 years old. You like new technology. You’re a whiz at strategy games. You built your own computer and set up a wireless network. You’re yearning for your first car. You have fleeting thoughts what you would like to do when you grow up. Earn big bucks! A job? A career? Go to college? Why? All they seem to care about any more in school is math and science. You would like to do things, make things, build things, solve puzzles and problems, figure things out, investigate.
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6:00 am
April 1, 2009
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Viewpoint: Aligning The Right People For Profitability


Jeff Shiver, CMRP, CPMM, Managing Principal, People and Processes, Inc.

Studies have shown that many organizations suffer from a self-induced failure rate upwards of 70% in equipment reliability processes and practices. These failures result from sources such as operator error, management, purchasing and maintenance methods, to name a few. More rarely considered as a reason for failure is organizational alignment and structure—yet it can have significant financial and functional impact. This is especially true when Maintenance and Operations are decentralized and using high-performance team concepts with little or no direct supervision, and no real centralized support functions such as Planning and Scheduling.

While many manufacturing organizations abandoned the high-performance team concept over 15 years ago, not everyone followed suit. Some organizations in the last few years have chosen to revisit and pursue the concept with the great intent of empowering people down to the lowest levels. The few supervisors who remain in the organization become “coaches” since it is the team that now makes the decisions. Often, the reality is that the response time for making significant decisions slows greatly. Consider that one high-performing team organization worked with a consultant for over a year with weekly meetings just to determine (via a voting process) if they were going to plan and schedule maintenance activities.

Although there are advantages to the high-performance team concept, the disadvantages for the Maintenance group and—ultimately—for the organization as a whole, outweigh them. Consider the fact that teams don’t like to share ‘parts’ of people, especially craftspeople. Because craftspeople never work in other areas, they have no knowledge of ‘site’ or other area equipment. Because the ‘team lead’ responsibilities change every day or week, there is no continuity in direction other than getting product out the door. Loss of direct supervision skilled in maintenance is one of the first casualties. This is quickly followed by the loss of Maintenance Planning and Scheduling with the focus on production goals of the craftspeople. In light of no planned work and no preventive maintenance, equipment reliability suffers. Costs go up. Since we can’t use the craftspeople across different areas, we must staff shutdowns and other activities with contractors. Craftspeople living the cycle of reactive chaos become disenfranchised and leave the organization. As equipment reliability falls, so does the profitability due to increased downtime and ensuing loss of capacity.

Setting up the right organizational alignment to thrive and profit starts with educating leadership. A proactive team culture requires effective Maintenance Planning and Scheduling; knowledgeable and dedicated craftspeople that have direct supervision (ideally with craft skills); a Maintenance Engineering (not Project Engineering) function; and a partnership with other stakeholders such as Operations. When these functions are properly staffed and supported with mutually beneficial partnerships, you are well on the way to creating a winning team that balances empowerment with profitability.

As a long-time maintenance practitioner and now as managing principal of People and Processes, Inc., based in Yulee, FL, Jeff Shiver has educated and assisted hundreds of people and numerous organizations in implementing Best Practices for Maintenance and Operations. E-mail:

The opinions expressed in this Viewpoint section are those of the author, and don’t necessarily reflect those of the staff and management of MAINTENANCE TECHNOLOGY magazine. Continue Reading →


6:00 am
April 1, 2009
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Lubrication Checkup: A First Step Toward Wellness

“We are a small manufacturing company with a maintenance staff of 8 persons. We currently support a loosely put together lubrication program, but continue to experience many premature bearing failures. We recognize the [lubrication] program is probably not very effective, and would like some suggestions on where to start our improvement efforts.”

Getting the most out of your lubrication program requires an understanding of lubrication fundamentals. Performing a “back to basics” examination of your current program will ensure that it is built on a solid foundation and deriving optimized benefits from effective lubrication.

Examining the following two “basic” areas will help you in determining if you have major problems with your lubrication program and give you a great starting point for improvement:

1. Cleanliness – The old adage “cleanliness is next to godliness” must be the mantra of the day when working with lubrication. Bearing surface areas and lubrication systems are NOT dirt tolerant. Poor work practices and dirty lubricant storage/handling tools and areas are responsible for many premature bearing failures. Develop a cleaning regimen as part of the PM task. Ensure the lubricant reservoirs and lubricant delivery devices are always kept scrupulously clean.

2. Over-lubrication – Most bearings and motors are actually “killed with kindness” by over-zealous maintainers over-lubricating bearings. Telltale signs include:

a. Blown seals – A seal is no match for the pressure of a grease gun in an untrained hand.

b. Oceans of grease surrounding or dripping from the bearing – “More is better” is a false assumption when it comes to lubrication.

c. Multiple non-standard grease guns still in use – No two grease guns are alike; they all have different pressure ratings and delivery speci? cations.

d. Subjective PMs stating “lubricate as necessary” – Rarely will two individuals’ ideas as to the necessary amount be the same.

e. Grease-packed motor armatures – Many motors expire prematurely from over-lubrication.

On your organization’s road to lube wellness, it’s important to examine for evidence of these signs. Then, seek help from a Lubrication Engineering specialist to provide proper training and assistance in realigning your lubrication program.


Have lubrication questions? Contact Dr. Lube, aka Ken Bannister, specializes in helping companies throughout industry implement practical and successful lubrication management programs. The noted author of the best-selling book Lubrication for Industry and of the 28th edition Machinery’s Handbook section on Lubrication, he also is, among other things, a contributing editor to both Maintenance Technology and Lubrication Management & Technology magazines. E-mail:

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6:00 am
April 1, 2009
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For on the Floor: The Skills Scramble


Rick Carter, Executive Editor

What do you do with an aging workforce? More to the point, what are you doing with your aging workforce? This is part of the most recent question we asked of our MAINTENANCE TECHNOLOGY Reader Panelists. We also asked how their maintenance operation deals with the shortage of trained workers.

Twenty years ago, these issues could be treated separately. Today, with the oldest wave of Baby Boomers now lining up for Social Security, they have become two sides of the same coin. Among the many statistics available on the topic(s), here’s one that efficiently addresses it:

The retirement-age population is projected to be more than twice as large in 2030 as it was in 2000, jumping from 35 million to 72 million. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau).

So in 2009, we’re nearly a third of the way toward reaching that 72 million mark. Couple this with other information you’ve seen about the high percentage of U.S. manufacturers who say they can’t find qualified workers to fill open positions (81%, according to a 2005 report from the National Association of Manufacturers), as well as the various projects begun in the last decade to build interest in manufacturing among the young, and the scope of the problem takes shape: Experienced workers are leaving the workforce in greater numbers than replacements can be found —and could be doing so for some time.

The economic downturn further spins the problem. With demand and production down, fewer workers are needed. While this has hastened the release of experienced workers (especially from automakers), it has not accelerated the search for their replacements. Some of the experienced workers have found opportunities elsewhere, thus fending off their retirements and increasing the chance that their skill knowledge will be preserved. This is a plus for them and their new employers. But the value these workers bring is short-term. It will only postpone the need for new talent, not replace it. When budgets again become more robust, those who have delayed finding, nurturing and training their next generation of workers may find themselves without one.

None of this is lost on the Maintenance Technology Reader Panelists, who seem to be experiencing all combinations of the above events. Here’s exactly what we asked them, followed by their responses:

How has your maintenance operation been affected by the shortage of trained workers and/ or the retirement of experienced workers? How are you and your company meeting the challenge this presents

“We have been fortunate in the mechanical disciplines due to surrounding industries such as Ford and GM that have provided people to us as they’ve reduced their operations,” says a project manager in the Midwest. He adds that while a local trade school also keeps the company supplied with machine operators, he has been less fortunate finding electricians and machinists. “Because of this,” he says, “we find ourselves looking out of town when a full machinist is required. This fills the need, but it places greater strain on our hiring costs.”

A maintenance supervisor, also in the Midwest, reports a similar experience.”Our company trains people who migrate from production to maintenance,” he says, “but the training for maintenance mechanics, machine repair, electrician/hvac and pipe fitters is expensive. Now, with the availability of skilled people because of the automotive downturn in our state, we hope to hire journeyman-grade people and save the training money.”

Not all maintenance departments have this option, of course. A maintenance mechanic at an East Coast utility, for example, says that the do-more-with-less mantra has essentially become corporate policy at his operation that has lost many positions through retirement and attrition. He notes that the maintenance team has coped with these losses because it knows its equipment, processes, procedures and systems. “But the squeeze is on because there’s no time for knowledge transfer,” he says, “and we are all getting older.”

This Panelist’s company has acknowledged its widening skill gap, though, and has begun what he terms a mechanic’s boot camp. It ensures that workers have the basic skill sets required and the safety knowledge to see procedures done right, he tells us. “They aren’t allowed to touch a tool until they are through this course.” After course completion, trainees are paired with mentors. “This means the job takes longer,” he says,”but the challenge of striking a balance between production and training is one I have faith we’ll overcome.”

Mentoring can bridge the gap
Mentoring is a solution used to great effect by some Panelists. One utilities-industry maintenance mechanic, for example, credits his company’s mentoring program for helping him impart the “tribal knowledge” needed to run his plant to 25 new hires in the past four years. With his response to this month’s question, he included a 16-page Mentoring Guide his organization uses to explain the mentoring process. It outlines specific responsibilities and goals of the program, as well as the expected relationship between trainee and mentor. It includes worksheets and a page of suggested outside reading.

Another Panelist, a consultant, says companies without structured mentoring programs are missing the boat. As he puts it, youth-outreach programs need that second step, and maintenance teams can’t depend on CMMS systems alone to accurately convey deep details. “Good mentoring efforts are the one thing I see missing for the most part,” he asserts. “So much of the corporate memory today still resides in the heads and desk drawers of the senior people, especially in the craft and technician areas.”

But experienced workers continue to leave
At press time, manufacturing layoffs continue among companies seeking a quick route to profitability. But the cost of big layoffs is high, both monetarily and in terms of lost experience, laments a Panelist in the Midwest who consults for large industrial clients. “A major U.S. client of mine with a substantial retirement fund has been using that fund to ‘improve productivity’ by retiring folks early,” he explains. “This has cost them tens of millions of dollars per quarter in some places. And when the people who know how and when to do things are lost,” he says, “there is nothing to fill the vacuum.” He adds that approximately 70% of maintenance workers in his client’s industry have more than 30 years experience and are currently eligible to retire, either by choice or directive. “This is terrifying,” he says,”if you’re the man counting on the equipment to meet production schedules.”

It’s also a terrifying thought for others, including—but not limited to—workers who are receiving their walking papers. That’s what recently happened to one of our international Panelists. “I was employed as the Maintenance Systems project manager, heavily involved in fundamental plant-reliability issues, tribology and training,” he reports. “Because there is only a limited on-site knowledge of utilities, I was also involved in getting the details right (pipe layouts, correct steam traps, etc.). Now the company is facing a sales slowdown so I’ve been laid off.” This Panelist adds that his talents are unusual because he has trades background across various industries, as well as a college degree. “I am working toward a Master’s in Maintenance Management. But that does not seem to count, so out the door I go!” MT

What’s on your mind?
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