Archive | February

313

6:00 am
March 1, 2009
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You Get What You Pay For… Or Do You?

Even in the best of times, you couldn’t afford to gamble on the efficiency and reliability of your pumping systems. Don’t start now.

you-get-what-you-pay-forOne of the most costly mistakes that almost every company makes with its pumps is to actually buy the wrong pump. Sadly, this is a situation that occurs with much more frequency than anyone would care to admit. The ramifications are truly enormous—and they are magnified even more in tough economic environments. Efficiency drops. Reliability plummets. Maintenance costs rise dramatically.

Two of the most common reasons behind buying the wrong pump are:

  1. Providing the supplier with incomplete information.
  2. Buying the cheapest pump.

Providing incomplete information to suppliers
Frequently, when a pump is being selected, it is known that the unit will need to operate at more than a single condition. Unfortunately, this information is not always transmitted to the supplier, and it is the customer’s engineer who decides for which of these conditions the pump will be sized. It is not uncommon for that decision to be made based on what is considered to be the “Worst Condition.” The thought process being that, “if it can handle the worst condition, it should be able to handle all the others.” Such is not the case. In fact, when a pump is selected for the “Worst Condition,” that immediately becomes the “Best Condition,” by virtue of the fact that it is the duty for which the pump has been selected.

The resultant problems show up in two ways: when the Static Head in a system undergoes a change and also when Friction Losses change.

Static Head changes…
A classic example of such a situation is in a batch transfer system, where the Total Head is constantly adjusting as a result of the change in tank levels throughout the batch process. Consequently, when the supplier is given only one set of operating conditions for this application, he is receiving inaccurate and misleading information.

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Let’s assume that the operating conditions supplied will be the startup conditions where the level of liquid in the supply tank will be at its highest, while the level in the discharge tank could be zero. This will translate into a low value of Static Head as is depicted in Fig. 1. The pump also will be selected to operate close to the Best Efficiency Point (BEP)—which also happens to be the most reliable operating condition of that pump.

However, as the level of liquid in the supply tank drops and the level in the discharge tank increases, the Static Head will steadily increase. By the time there is no longer any liquid in the supply tank, the level in the discharge tank will be at its maximum. At this point the Static Head will also be at its maximum and the Pump Performance Curve will be as shown. At this point, the pump should be shut down.

As the pump operation moves steadily from startup to shutdown, there will be a corresponding change in pump capacity. However, as the system approaches the shutdown point, the pump performance will become unstable, thus resulting in low reliability and high maintenance costs.

Had the complete system information been provided to the pump supplier, an alternative selection with a steeper performance curve could have been made—placing the BEP midway between the startup and shutdown conditions. As shown in Fig. 2, this is a more reliable pump selection as it provides a more stable operation within a smaller range of flow rates.

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A similar situation can occur in a boiler feed system, where the feed pump takes its suction from a de-aerator under vacuum and supplies a boiler under pressure. In this system, the Differential Pressure is not a function of the flow rate and will have similar consequences as the Static Head change in the previous example. Any change in pressure—in either the deaerator or the boiler—will cause the system curve to fluctuate as is identified in Fig 2.

Friction loss changes…
A closed loop system is one in which the entire system is pressurized by the pump. To achieve this, the pumpage is fully contained within a series of pipes and pressurized process equipment all the way from the pump discharge, through the system and back to the pump inlet. In such a layout, the Static Head in the system is effectively zero, and the pumping conditions are usually controlled by adjusting the friction losses.

A change in friction loss can be caused by a variety of conditions such as manual operation or automated controls opening and closing a different valving system. This will result in the System Curve adopting a different slope that will pivot about its point of origin at zero capacity.

The same effect also can be realized when the bore of the pipe in the discharge side of the pump reduces in size owing to some kind of buildup such as scaling, etc. This type of a buildup also may occur inside process equipment such as filters or heat exchangers. These buildups automatically reduce the bore of the pipe and, therefore, increase the friction losses in that pipe. The consequences of these changes will take years to become evident.

When we are selecting a pump for a particular service, it is important to be aware of all the ramifications of that service before deciding on which type of unit to use. Often, the basic operating data is insufficient for an optimum selection. Knowledge of any extreme or upset conditions must be made available to the supplier in order that the correct pump can be purchased. This will minimize maintenance costs and maximize pump and system reliability and efficiency.

Buying the cheapest pump
Although the policy of always buying the cheapest product or service is one that few of us practice in our private lives, it continues to be the single biggest mistake made by pump users. Why?

The reason simply may be one of ignorance. Many people think that if all pumps under consideration meet the specification (assuming there is one!), then the cheapest one is the best buy. Alas, that is just not true and the problem often resides within the specification itself.

Most pump specifications are either inappropriate or incomplete. This is a very serious situation—and one that occurs far too often. Typically it stems, not from malicious misrepresentation or withholding of data, but rather from the specifier(s)’ limited knowledge of field conditions and the understanding of how these conditions might impact a pump’s performance and reliability.

All pump reliability problems arise from either internal or external stresses. The internal stresses mostly occur as a result of upset hydraulic conditions—which are rarely discussed in any specification, regardless of how integral they are to the system in which the pump must operate. The external stresses come from inappropriate installation or operation and they, too, tend to be ignored in the specification. In the end, the real issue is that the selected pump must be able to withstand these (sometimes) unknown stresses. The cheaper pump rarely does.

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Negotiating the price…
Traditional pricing negotiation frequently shows up in the guise of “Your price is too high!” That instantly takes the emphasis away from the need to buy the best value, and not the lowest price. Many salespeople have not yet realized that this statement is simply a set piece in the informal script of the negotiation process, which has become part of the pump purchasing scenario over the years. Any purchasing agent worth his or her salt will use that phrase at some time during negotiations—regardless of the specific numbers in front of him or her.

Regrettably, this problem is aggravated by the fact that many of those who purchase pumps don’t know how to evaluate one pump bid against another on anything other than a subjective basis. Consequently, the low-bid policy continues to rule.

The sad part is that this misguided strategy, over the years, has resulted in elimination of the availability of some very-good-quality products in certain markets. This, ultimately, leaves the industries in those markets with inappropriate and usually inefficient equipment with which to transfer and process the liquids needed in their operation.

Consequences…
The long-term consequence of this scenario usually finds these same end users negotiating low bids on the prices of the over-abundance of spare parts they need to keep their pumps operational. Many of these parts are now supplied by third-party organizations that rarely accept responsibility for any inappropriate changes in hydraulic operation of the pumps for which they provide the parts.

The trouble is that, when we buy the cheapest pump, it almost always is less efficient, breaks down more easily—and more frequently—and often doesn’t even do the job that was expected of it. This results in more power draw, which increases the cost of running the pump. More frequent breakdowns increase the cost of spares and expended manpower, as well as an overall reduction in reliability.

The correction
Value-Based Purchasing helps us buy the pumps that are the best available in the market—and the ones most suited to the operation for which they are being purchased.

This approach involves a detailed evaluation and comparison of pump quotes, and always will require some degree of subjective evaluation about the accuracy of the data presented.

In this area, some previous experience with pumps and potential suppliers will be invaluable. The overall consideration, however, must continue to be the best long-term value for the money. To do that, we must consider specific aspects of the equipment being purchased, including:

  1. Hydraulic suitability to the service
  2. Efficiency of operation
  3. Mechanical suitability to the service

Reliability-focused organizations already include some type of evaluation for the first two factors in their considerations. The only comment that can be made would be in relation to the hydraulic suitability of the pump for the service. This only can be established if all the extremes of operation are considered, and not just the ‘normal’ conditions.

With respect to efficiency of operation, an evaluation of power cost is fairly standard, and is based on the particular cost of usable power in that plant. To ensure a real appreciation of the value of an efficient pump, it is strongly recommended that the actual power consumption cost for each pump under consideration be calculated. Do not be tempted into only calculating the difference in efficiency quoted, as it tends to give a false impression.

It is recommended also that life-cycle cost considerations for various system setups be considered along with the various mechanical options within the pump itself. In view of the ready availability of computer-based design programs and pump selection programs, this is a far simpler exercise than it used to be in the olden days when slide rules were accurate. One major benefit that has been identified in recent years is the ability to change the size of the pipes in the system design and show the resulting comparison of the system curves. With a larger pipe diameter, the flow velocities and friction losses are reduced, the Head required from the pump also is lowered, together with the power draw needed to drive that pump.

In other words, since we don’t always buy the “cheapest” of anything else in our lives, let’s start working with a value-based approach to pump purchasing, and stop buying the wrong pumps. By purchasing the right pumps up front, we will be able to increase efficiency and reliability and reduce maintenance costs over the entire desired service life of the equipment. MT


Ross Mackay is an internationally renowned expert in pumping reliability and the author of The Practical Pumping Handbook. He specializes in helping companies increase their pump asset reliability and reduce operating and maintenance costs through a range of pump training programs. Telephone: (800) 465-6260; Web: www.practicalpumping.com

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212

11:35 pm
February 1, 2009
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Capacity Assurance Marketplace

solution_spotlights_skfVibration Monitoring Technology Customized For Your Applications

SKF’s Microlog Analyzer AX, with simultaneous triaxial or 4-channel vibration measurement capability, speeds up data collection and saves time in monitoring rounds. Its 806 MHz Xscale processor means faster real-time rate and display updates, all viewed on the vivid 6.4″ VGA color display. Users can select from a range of application modules, to suit their individual requirements, and add modules as needs develop. Pre-configured models (AX-M, AX-S and AX-F) also are available with a selection of loaded modules to fit various needs. The Microlog Analyzer AX is compatible with SKF @ptitude Analyst 4.1 or later software.

SKF Reliability Systems
San Diego, CA

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solution_spotlights_electronic_development_labsEnsure Accuracy Of Your Insulation Resistance Testing

According to Electronic Development Labs (EDL), its Megaohm Validator takes the doubt out of your insulation resistance testing by providing a simple method to ensure insulation resistance testers are operating properly. Measurements with insulation testers in high resistance ranges are often difficult to interpret when problems exist in the unit undergoing testing. Erratic readings caused by polarization, moisture and poor insulation result in faulty analysis and cause doubt in the measurement. This is why verifying the tester and lead performance is vital to understanding the measurement. Lightweight and portable, the Megaohm Validator can be used in the laboratory or field.

Electronic Development Labs, Inc.
Danville, VA

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solution_spotlights_iotechDynamic Signal Analyzer With Temperature And Voltage Inputs

IOtech has released the USB-based 655u, the latest in the 600 Series of Dynamic Signal Analyzers (DSAs). Offering both temperature and voltage input channels, the 655u is the first DSA in the 600 Series to offer the type of direct temperature measurements that can be a critical part of many vibration analysis and monitoring applications. It also is compatible with IOtech’s eZ-Series software: eZ-TOMAS and eZ-TOMAS Remote for rotating machine analysis, eZ-Analyst for real-time vibration and acoustic analysis, and eZ-Balance for machine balancing (DSA channel support only with eZ Analyst and eZ-Balance).

IOtech
Cleveland, OH

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solution_spotlights_pumps_2000Efficient, Low-Maintenance AODD Pump Redesign

Pumps 2000 now offers the Dual Diaphragm Pump, the first redesign of the AODD. These low-maintenance units were developed for use in tough Australian mining conditions, where performance and reliability are paramount. They feature patented diaphragms and valves, and air motors that are stall-free and capable of running with low air consumption and no lubrication requirements. Their plastic design is not only lighter than that of earlier units, it helps these pumps resist deterioration even in low-pH locations.

Pumps 2000America/Megator
Pittsburgh, PA

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solution_spotlights_wahlNew High-Accuracy RTD Thermometers

Wahl has begun offering the DST500 Temperature Indicator and the DSX500 Transmitter Thermometers that are suited to many applications where accurate and reliable temperature monitoring and transmitting are critical. They both feature a 1″ high LCD display that is readable from 30 feet away and are available in a variety of standard and custom-built probe configurations, including MIG standard tapered bulb for drop-in direct MIG replacement and tight-fit installations. According to the manufacturer, a unique Quick Disconnect option allows the user to remove the probe and meter for calibration without removing the permanently installed cable.

Wahl Insruments, Inc.
Asheville, NC

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The Power Of A DCS For Smaller Plants

Honeywell’s Experion® LS control system provides the power and reliability of a distributed control system (DCS) in a small and flexible solution. It manages all continuous process control applications and optimizes batch and sequence-oriented applications. Scalable from a single PC and controller to multiple stations, it is suited for smaller plants. According to the company, because it requires less engineering effort to configure and is easier to maintain than a PLC or large DCS, Experion LS can help plants save up to $20,000 per year in support per system. Simplified configuration also enables faster and more-reliable changeovers, allowing operators to more easily modify batch recipes and increase production.

Honeywell Process Solutions
Phoenix, AZ

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182

6:00 am
February 1, 2009
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Lubrication Checkup: What Hurts?

lubrication-checkupThere are a number of undisputable truths every capacity assurance professional must learn if they are, in fact, to assure an acceptable level of equipment reliability, uptime and availability. One of those truths states:

Approximately 70% of mechanical failures are directly or indirectly attributable to poor or ineffective lubrication practices.

Simply put, “we kill bearings,” albeit with the best of intentions! The problem with lubrication is that it is almost always thought of and practiced in the simplest of all terms. Old adages like “oil is oil, so any oil will do,” or “a little lube is good, so a lot is better” may have run true when we were predominantly an agrarian society in the late 1800s to early 1900s—but that’s certainly not the case in today’s world.

The supposedly simple act of greasing a bearing seems so intuitive, yet hardly anyone I question is able to tell me what pressure his/her grease gun is able to deliver, or how much lubricant it dispenses per stroke. Most grease gun operators are actually unaware that virtually every grease gun is manufactured to a different specification! That’s a real problem given the fact that so many PM task instructions merely state, “lubricate as necessary.” Since we can calculate the amount of lubricant necessary for differing conditions of bearing use, there should be no excuse for killing machinery through over- or under-lubrication.

With so much of our plant equipment reliability based on effective lubrication practices, it behooves us to closely examine our lubrication strategies. The best part of effective lubrication is that we not only put in place an instant reliability and energy management program—we can do it for virtually no capital outlay!

Going forward, I invite you to participate in this unique, interactive “Lubrication Checkup” forum. Please e-mail doctorlube@atpnetwork.com with your lubrication management questions, tips and concerns. I look forward to discussing them in future installments of this column. MT


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

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6:00 am
February 1, 2009
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Saving Time & Money By Automating Maintenance Documentation

The vast amount of diagnostic data produced by today’s smart field devices can be a very important source for accurate documentation of maintenance activities. But the sheer volume and complexity of such information can be daunting and difficult for maintenance personnel to manage. What’s needed is an effective means of compiling and organizing the data for day-to-day utilization by your staff, while preserving and recording significant events for future reference. That’s the successful approach two Iowa chemical operations are taking these days.

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For example, at the big Monsanto herbicide plant in Muscatine, Joel Holmes, site tactical reliability engineer, not only copes with large amounts of field-generated data, he turns that information to his advantage in a number of ways. For example, he has begun to utilize the Alert Messenger™ application with Emerson’s AMS® Suite: Intelligent Device Manager predictive maintenance software, to filter field device “alerts”and auto-generate e-mail messages to responsible individuals in the plant maintenance group. In this way, the most important issues are identified and handled quickly without individual technicians spending a lot of time each week reviewing accumulated alerts within the alert monitor list.

“My ultimate goal,” Holmes says, “is to fully integrate these alerts with our SAP computerized maintenance management system to generate work orders as needed. That will give us true automation from the time a field device begins to show signs of reduced performance until a work order is printed out in the maintenance department and a technician is dispatched to the scene. We’re working toward that solution right now!”

A big bang for the buck
Holmes cites a predictive maintenance program aimed at critical control valves as another area where field-generated data is providing a “big bang for the buck.” This program is fully installed in a loop-intensive, continuous process where it is very important to maintain optimum performance on some 30 critical control valves.

“We take a hard look at valve travel deviation and drive signal alerts by examining the diagnostics produced by digital valve controllers (DVCs) attached to these valves,” Holmes explains. “If a valve travel deviation exceeds five percent for five seconds, an AMS alert is activated, and we initiate an SAP maintenance work order to execute our control valve PM procedure. A field evaluation of the control valve is conducted followed by a series of scans and tests, citing “as found/as left” findings. These results can then be compared to benchmark valve performance results from when the valve assembly was last serviced or newly installed. In this way, we can confirm whether the valve has significant issues with packing leaks, increased travel friction, worn seat or trim, etc. Or, maybe the DVC simply needs to be calibrated due to normal valve wear.”

According to Holmes, potential problems are often identified and corrective action can be taken before operators are aware that anything is amiss. In addition to the assurance that these critical valves are delivering top performance, benefits of this program include increased plant availability and lower maintenance costs because most faults are caught before they can evolve into problems requiring major repairs and/or costly process interruptions and downtime.

Maintenance histories
When field data are properly acquired and managed, the documents needed to verify the accuracy and periodic calibration of field instruments can be produced very easily. Such documentation is essential in highly critical processes like pharmaceutical production, to verify the accuracy of device measurements, show that plant effluents meet environmental standards, or support ISO applications.

Equipment history cards have long been used to keep maintenance personnel informed about field devices—but maintaining these histories manually is difficult and time-consuming. There’s always pressure to do something else; handwritten entries can be impossible for another person to read; and errors are common.

Still, maintaining accurate records is a high priority in most maintenance departments, and technology can help. With the development of open communication protocols, the information accumulated by smart field devices can be captured by asset management software. It’s no longer necessary for technicians to carry handheld communicators or laptops into the plant to evaluate the condition of instruments, some of which are quite inaccessible or in hazardous areas, to be followed by manually documenting test results and current device status.

An application like the AMS Device Manager compiles a database of every smart instrument used for process control, including its design parameters, original configuration, maintenance history and current operating condition. With this online tool, technicians can obtain up-to-date information on any device without ever leaving the instrument shop—and they never have to make manual entries back into a system. Every event is recognized and recorded, whether initiated by a technician or caused by an external force such as an equipment breakdown or power failure.

Audit trails
To generate documents based on the total history of a device or group of devices in the system, end-users can call upon an application like the AMS Device Manager Audit Trail. This capability works in the background to automatically create a history of past device performance and changes that have occurred. Since all records are date- and time-stamped, users can easily determine when and by whom a particular device was changed or tested, including “as found/as left” notations. With this information in a database that cannot be edited, it should never be necessary for technicians to spend time searching for historical information on a device. Since events can also be recorded manually, users can document unusual occurrences affecting the entire plant, such as a lightning strike or power outage, or individual events like device inspections.

Users can refer to recorded alerts to identify any devices that have been problematic over time and what corrective steps may have been taken previously. Automated documentation provides a seamless record of events in a given production area, including communication failures, device malfunctions and process variables that are out of range. Armed with this information, maintenance personnel are better equipped to understand and resolve nagging repetitive issues to improve the process.

One Audit Trail user, Jody Minor, E&I reliability specialist at LyondellBasell’s Clinton, IA, plant says: “If there is an issue, or if we are experiencing a rash of issues, we can go back into the records and get a sense of what’s been going on over time. You can search by a specific device or by location. For example, if I have a transmitter that failed and needs to be replaced, I can see the whole history for that device, or I can look at the history of the location. Checking the location lets me look for a trend indicating a problem beyond a failed device. The instrument may need to be reconfigured or re-ranged. In this way, Audit Trail can actually contribute to improving the process.”

Keeping track of device configuration changes is a key function. The tabular format enables users to review all configuration changes or focus on specific events. When it is necessary to reconfigure a device, everything done to that device in the past can be viewed, enabling the technician to install new parameters if necessary. The configuration records can also be used to help meet process safety requirements. A report showing the calibration history of any given device or group of devices can be printed at the same time.

Device comparisons are also possible with the Audit Trail capability. Users can compare the current configuration and operating status of any two devices in the database. Or, they can go back and review the past parameters in effect at a previous time. Such comparisons can be useful in determining devices that may not be performing at a desired level and finding out why. As always, easy access to device status information saves time.

“I frequently use Audit Trail when questions are brought to me about the reliability of a device or how a control is working,” Minor says. “If an operator has a question about the operation of a given device, I can check it out very quickly from my office. Even if an alert has not been raised, I can learn if the device’s performance is lagging and often determine what’s wrong. This is very helpful and saves a lot of walking and climbing in a big plant.”

Other resources
Two other features broaden the utility of the Audit Trail application. The Drawing and Notes feature launches a blank MS Word or Excel file where users can embed links to Webpages, photos and other documentation. It also allows them to type in their own notes so others can use them during troubleshooting. The Generic Application Launcher feature also can be used to link/launch into an existing database of historical data, such as calibration data that was recorded at an earlier time.

Use of an automated document generator like Audit Trail allows maintenance supervisors to customize their own accurate, up-to-date documents. Depending on the size of your plant, this can save hundreds of man hours that can be put to effective use elsewhere. In many cases, documentation time is cut in half, explaining why there are more than 3000 Audit Trail users worldwide. Still, the flexibility of this application gives maintenance managers the ability to customize documents to reflect exactly what they need to report. MT


Eric Snyder is a business development manager for Emerson Process Management, focusing on Plant Asset Management products and services for North America.

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6:00 am
February 1, 2009
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Putting Hurricane-Ravaged Operations Back In Business

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As storms go, last year’s Hurricane Ike was a particularly nasty one. On September 5th, 2008, Ike was a Category 4, packing winds of up to 145 miles per hour and carrying the potential to cause the highest storm surge in history. Thankfully, by the time he made his ? nal landfall at Baytown, TX, in the early morning hours of September 13, he had dropped to a Category 2. Still, over the course of his long, deadly rampage—which is said to have resulted in 112 confirmed deaths and 34 missing in the United States—Ike left almost 30-billion dollars of destruction in his wake. Today, this hurricane ranks as the third costliest ever to have hit the U.S. Recovering from it has not been easy for anybody or any company with the misfortune to have been in this monster’s path. That includes some of the Texas Gulf Coast’s prized process industries, where, true to form, Ike showed very little mercy.

Around the Texas “Golden Triangle” region of Beaumont, Port Arthur and Orange, Ike’s storm surge caused at least six petrochemical plants and two refineries to completely shut down. Before they could start up again, significant repairs had to be made and most machinery rebuilt— practically every piece of rotating equipment in these facilities was ruined.

A massive challenge
The maintenance teams at these eight sites faced a particularly daunting challenge in getting their operations back up and running as quickly as possible: They had to deal with thousands of pumps, motors, drives, gearboxes and steam turbines that had been submerged in salt water for a period of 12-24 hours. With that amount of saltwater exposure, not much was salvageable.

Lost production due to their unscheduled shutdowns would clearly cost these plants vast amounts of money and—in the case of the refinery operations—help lead to stiff price increases for consumers. That couldn’t be tolerated for very long. Thus, managers of these eight shut-down facilities, working closely with maintenance teams brought in from operations across North America, decided that the best way to get their equipment up and running was to completely rebuild everything with new parts—which would give the equipment the same specifications as new. If something could not be rebuilt, it would be replaced with a totally new item.

With its ability to repair, rebuild and/or replace as a single-source supplier, Flowserve Solutions Division (FSD) was retained to help return these sites to operation. FSD immediately began sending in personnel and shipping out damaged machinery to repair facilities across North America for cleaning, sandblasting, painting and replacing all internal parts with brand new as detailed— whatever it took.

Interestingly, at this point, the damaged facilities decided that as long as the equipment had to be taken apart, it would be a good time to install bearing isolators in units that didn’t already have them. So, when it came to repairing, rebuilding or replacing their pumps, motors and steam turbines, no matter what sealing method was previously used (lip, contact, face, dual face), it was specified that they be replaced with bearing isolators. If bearing isolators had previously been installed on the equipment, they were to be replaced with new ones. If any of this equipment was to be replaced in full, bearing isolators were to be included.

Even under normal circumstances, responding to the demand for thousands of in-stock bearing isolators in such a short period of time would not be easy for a supplier. However, the urgency and scope of these particular Gulf Coast projects would make fulfillment far more difficult. That’s because off-the-shelf products could not be used. Each device was to be produced as a custom order for a specific piece of machinery. When the plants and refineries checked into it, they found that Inpro/Seal was the only company in the world that would be able to manufacture and deliver the necessary quantity of these special-order bearing isolators in the specified timeframe. And it did—overnight, by providing same-day shipping in almost all instances.

The value of overnight delivery
To understand the situation in Texas, some background information on bearing isolators is in order. Thirty years ago, in his quest to find a positive, permanent means to protect bearings while enhancing and extending the service life of rotating equipment, David Orlowski developed the world’s first bearing isolator—a unique, compound labrynth seal comprised of a unitized rotor and stator that do not contact each other. He patented the device in 1977, the same year he founded Inpro/Seal, coining the term “bearing isolator” in the process.

Prior to the advent of the bearing isolator, bearing protection was limited to contacting seals such as lip and face seals that carried (and still do) short, unpredictable service lives—often as few as 1000 hours. With their 100% failure rate, two things end users truly could count on were catastrophic equipment failure and downtime.

From day one, Inpro/Seal realized the importance of fast delivery. As he had operated a successful pump repair business before inventing the bearing isolator, Orlowski knew that when it came to vital parts, very few plants could wait until “tomorrow.” That’s especially true if you’re a shut-down process plant—and your downtime costs run as high as $87,000 per hour.

Evidently, Inpro/Seal’s commitment to quality products and fast delivery has helped make a difference down in the Texas Golden Triangle. As of January 1, the eight hurricane-ravaged petrochemical and refinery operations described in this article were back online. MT


Rock LaBove, a regional manager for the Inpro/Seal, is based in Nederland, TX where he supervises the company’s operations on the Texas Gulf Coast. A 20-year employee with Inpro/Seal, LaBove, like all of the company’s regional managers, is specially trained in tribology, rotating equipment, bearing protection and process know-how. Telephone: (409) 626-4537; e-mail; rick@inpro-seal.com

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6:00 am
February 1, 2009
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Solution Spotlight

solution_spotlight_eatonSolid-State Motor Protection, Control & Advanced Monitoring in a Single Product

Eaton is expanding its motor and load protection solutions with Motor Insight™, the first offering from its Intelligent Power Control Solutions family. According to the manufacturer, Motor Insight delivers improved reliability, uptime, energy savings and safety features with advanced monitoring capabilities and motor protection in a single user-friendly device. Incorporating highly configurable line, load and motor protection, the product provides an enhanced level of system protection, allowing users to configure the type and level of protection required for varied applications. It is designed to meet the demanding conditions of the petrochemical, mining, water and wastewater industries.

Delivering all the bells and whistles
An overload and monitoring relay, Motor Insight features solid-state line, load and motor protection with ground fault detection, power voltage and current monitoring and flexible communications. In addition to allowing adjustments to be made to overload settings without disconnecting power, it also has an enhanced capacity to withstand surges. The device has an IP20 rated terminal block—that minimzes shock hazards—a user interface with a bright Light Emitting Diode (LED) display and easy-to-understand settings. With add-ons, including a remote display and multiple communications adapters, customers are able to choose among a spectrum of protocols, including DeviceNet, Modbus, Probus, and EtherNet/IP, as well as input/output options.

With its robust design, Motor Insight is well suited for operations with high line conditions and poor power quality, and meets the rigorous conditions found in the petrochemical, water, wastewater and mining industries, among others. The product can be used in a wide range of applications, including coal-bed methane well pumps, low-speed mixers, can motor pumps, mag-drive pumps, centrifugal pumps, submersible pumps and belt-driven loads.

Eaton offers Motor Insight in three operating voltage options (including 240, 480, and 600 volts), with a selectable trip class (5-30) and a broad full load amperes (FLA) range of 1-540 amperes. It has two output relays: one form C single pole double throw (SPDT) (fault relay) and one form a single pole single throw (SPST) (ground fault relay). The overload relay includes one external remote reset terminal as well as a trip status indicator.

Motor Insight is Underwriters Laboratories® (UL) listed, Canadian Standards Association® (CSA) certified and meets the National Electrical Manufacturer Association (NEMA) and Conformité Européenne (CE) standards. The device also is Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) compliant. MT

Eaton Corporation
Pittsburgh, PA

For more info, enter 35 at www.MT-freeinfo.com

 

 

Vibration Monitoring Technology Customized For Your Applications
solution_spotlights_skfSKF’s Microlog Analyzer AX, with simultaneous triaxial or 4-channel vibration measurement capability, speeds up data collection and saves time in monitoring rounds. Its 806 MHz Xscale processor means faster real-time rate and display updates, all viewed on the vivid 6.4″ VGA color display. Users can select from a range of application modules, to suit their individual requirements, and add modules as needs develop. Pre-configured models (AX-M, AX-S and AX-F) also are available with a selection of loaded modules to fit various needs. The Microlog Analyzer AX is compatible with SKF @ptitude Analyst 4.1 or later software.

SKF Reliability Systems, San Diego, CA
For more info, enter 37 at www.MT-freeinfo.com

 

Ensure Accuracy Of Your Insulation Resistance Testing
solution_spotlights_electronic_development_labsAccording to Electronic Development Labs (EDL), its Megaohm Validator takes the doubt out of your insulation resistance testing by providing a simple method to ensure insulation resistance testers are operating properly. Measurements with insulation testers in high resistance ranges are often difficult to interpret when problems exist in the unit undergoing testing. Erratic readings caused by polarization, moisture and poor insulation result in faulty analysis and cause doubt in the measurement. This is why verifying the tester and lead performance is vital to understanding the measurement. Lightweight and portable, the Megaohm Validator can be used in the laboratory or field.

Electronic Development Labs, Inc., Danville, VA
For more info, enter 38 at www.MT-freeinfo.com

 

Dynamic Signal Analyzer With Temperature And Voltage Inputs
solution_spotlights_iotechIOtech has released the USB-based 655u, the latest in the 600 Series of Dynamic Signal Analyzers (DSAs). Offering both temperature and voltage input channels, the 655u is the first DSA in the 600 Series to offer the type of direct temperature measurements that can be a critical part of many vibration analysis and monitoring applications. It also is compatible with IOtech’s eZ-Series software: eZ-TOMAS and eZ-TOMAS Remote for rotating machine analysis, eZ-Analyst for real-time vibration and acoustic analysis, and eZ-Balance for machine balancing (DSA channel support only with eZ Analyst and eZ-Balance).

IOtech, Cleveland, OH
For more info, enter 39 at www.MT-freeinfo.com

 

Efficient, Low-Maintenance AODD Pump Redesign
solution_spotlights_pumps_2000Pumps 2000 now offers the Dual Diaphragm Pump, the first redesign of the AODD. These low-maintenance units were developed for use in tough Australian mining conditions, where performance and reliability are paramount. They feature patented diaphragms and valves, and air motors that are stall-free and capable of running with low air consumption and no lubrication requirements. Their plastic design is not only lighter than that of earlier units, it helps these pumps resist deterioration even in low-pH locations.

Pumps 2000America/Megator, Pittsburgh, PA
For more info, enter 40 at www.MT-freeinfo.com

 

New High-Accuracy RTD Thermometers
solution_spotlights_wahlWahl has begun offering the DST500 Temperature Indicator and the DSX500 Transmitter Thermometers that are suited to many applications where accurate and reliable temperature monitoring and transmitting are critical. They both feature a 1″ high LCD display that is readable from 30 feet away and are available in a variety of standard and custom-built probe configurations, including MIG standard tapered bulb for drop-in direct MIG replacement and tight-fit installations. According to the manufacturer, a unique Quick Disconnect option allows the user to remove the probe and meter for calibration without removing the permanently installed cable.

 

Wahl Insruments, Inc., Asheville, NC
For more info, enter 41 at www.MT-freeinfo.com

 

The Power Of A DCS For Smaller Plants
Honeywell’s Experion® LS control system provides the power and reliability of a distributed control system (DCS) in a small and flexible solution. It manages all continuous process control applications and optimizes batch and sequence-oriented applications. Scalable from a single PC and controller to multiple stations, it is suited for smaller plants. According to the company, because it requires less engineering effort to configure and is easier to maintain than a PLC or large DCS, Experion LS can help plants save up to $20,000 per year in support per system. Simplified configuration also enables faster and more-reliable changeovers, allowing operators to more easily modify batch recipes and increase production.

Honeywell Process Solutions, Phoenix, AZ
For more info, enter 42 at www.MT-freeinfo.com

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6:00 am
February 1, 2009
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My Take: Get Back On Your Pony

jalexander

Jane Alexander, Editor-In-Chief

Watching wave upon wave of terrible economics news roll in over the past few weeks has had me thinking back to the Christmas when Santa Claus left two weary-looking Shetland ponies for my brothers and me. I had just turned nine, and money was pretty tight for my South Texas farm family. Santa, though, was a consummate bargain hunter. He cut a deal with an even more cash-strapped carnival operation that was wintering near our home on the Mexican border and managed to deliver on every child’s dream—or so we thought.

Bless their insolent little hearts, unlike some big, sleek, even-tempered horses that had roamed our place in better times, these creatures were short, scraggly and downright mean. Having escaped bleak lives in which they were expected to shuffle endlessly around in circles with exuberant, often ill-behaved brats on their backs, they had no intention of pursuing the same goals as the four hopeful and excited little heathens that came with their new digs.

We kids could easily picture ourselves riding like the wind across the fields behind the house— the ponies couldn’t. It was a point they made abundantly clear by constantly snorting, stomping, snapping, biting and kicking at us. Even worse, every time we managed to get up on their backs, they would immediately begin bucking and twisting and throw us right off. Things certainly weren’t going as planned. After a few painful hours on Christmas Day, we all were ready to give up.

Our bruised behinds and even-more bruised egos, however, didn’t elicit much sympathy from our folks. It didn’t matter how loudly we wailed or carried on, “Get back on your pony and ride,” was all they would say to each of us, over and over. “Right now!”

And we did, of course. We had to. In fact, by early spring, when the carnival—along with our ponies—headed north for its annual swing through the Midwest, each of us had become quite proficient at hanging on and guiding our stubby little steeds in directions that they might not actually have chosen for themselves. In retrospect, though, I don’t think anybody in the family really missed the Shetlands after they left. They were, after all, very obstinate critters.

On the other hand, my brothers and I did learn some valuable lessons from this episode—lessons that have served us well any time a situation or event in our lives has “thrown” us. The most important of these is that no matter how scared, how tired or how hurt you are, you can’t stay down. Whatever it takes, you have to get right back on whatever “pony” bucked you off, hang on as tight as you can and ride wherever you really want to go. Which brings me back to the worsening global recession…

More individuals, institutions and industries than we can count have been thrown violently by or from something in the past year. Today, as I write this column, hardworking people and companies all over America are STILL waiting for the House and Senate to pass a compromise economic stimulus package. While this “pony” may not be as perfect as some might like, it could be just enough to spark the type of hope and confidence that will help put workers and businesses across all sectors back in the saddle again. With their energy, enthusiasm and ability to innovate, you can bet that they’ll get our economy where it truly needs to be. All they need is the pony. MT

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6:00 am
February 1, 2009
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MT News

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

GILSDORF IS NEW PRESIDENT OF HONEYWELL PROCESS SOLUTIONS

Honeywell has announced the appointment of Norman “Norm” Gilsdorf as president of Honeywell Process Solutions. He replaces Jack Bolick, who has retired from the corporation after 10 years of service, including six years as president of the Process Solutions business. Gilsdorf, most recently, had been vice-president and general manager of Honeywell Process Solutions in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Prior to joining that organization, he had been with the wholly owned Honeywell International subsidiary UOP, for which he had served in various executive capacities since 1977.

ASCO NUMATICS ANNOUNCES ‘09 ENGINEERING SCHOLARSHIPS

ASCO Numatics (ASCO), an Emerson Industrial Automation business, has announced the start of its 2009/2010 academic-year application period for two $5000 scholarships available to U.S. engineering students pursuing careers in industrial automation-related disciplines. ASCO also will make $1000 grants to the engineering departments of the colleges in which the winners are enrolled.

These scholarships are merit-based and will be awarded based on the candidate’s potential for leadership and for making a significant contribution to the engineering, instrumentation, systems, electrical, mechanical and automation professions, particularly as they relate to the application of fluid control and fluid power technology. A panel of ASCO Numatics and independent judges will select the finalists.

Applicants must be enrolled full-time in an undergraduate or graduate program in an engineering, instrumentation, systems, electrical, mechanical or automation discipline at an accredited U.S. educational institution for the 2009/2010 academic year. At the time of application, they must have completed at least their sophomore year in a bachelor’s degree program, have at least a 3.2 GPA on a 4.0 scale, and be a U.S. citizen or legal U.S. resident. For details and application forms, visit www.asconumatics.com/scholarship

RESEARCH ON ADVANCED WIND TURBINE TECHNOLOGY TAKES OFF

American Superconductor Corporation, a leading energy technologies company, has announced that it has entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and its National Wind Technology Center (NWTC) to validate the economics of a full 10 megawatt (MW) class superconductor wind turbine. AMSC is separately developing full 10 MW-class wind turbine component and system designs. A CRADA allows the Federal government and industry partners to optimize their resources, share technical expertise in a protected environment and speed the commercialization of technologies.

Under the 12-month program, AMSC Windtec™, a wholly owned subsidiary of AMSC, will analyze the cost of a full 10 MW-class superconductor wind turbine, which will include a direct drive superconductor generator and all other components, including the blades, hub, power electronics, nacelle, tower and controls. The NWTC will then benchmark and evaluate the wind turbine’s economic impact, both in terms of its initial cost and its overall cost of energy.

Direct drive wind generator systems utilizing high-temperature superconductor (HTS) wire instead of copper wire for the generator’s rotor are expected to be much smaller, lighter, more efficient and more reliable than conventional generators and gearboxes. AMSC estimates that its superconductor technology will enable a 10 MW-class generator system that would weigh approximately 120 metric tons, compared with approximately 300 metric tons for conventional direct drive generators with this power rating. In addition, direct drive generators eliminate the need for massive gearboxes, the component with the highest maintenance costs in conventional wind turbines. This will open up the opportunity for the development of wind farms in more areas on land and offshore.

ATP & UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO JOIN IN EDUCATIONAL INITIATIVES

The Center for Maintenance Optimization and Reliability Engineering (C-MORE) at the University of Toronto has signed a long-term agreement with Applied Technology Publications (ATP) to partner on future educational and developmental opportunities. The first event on which the partners will collaborate is IMEC – The Asset Management Conference, (www.IMEC.ca), scheduled for September 9-11, 2009, in Toronto.

According to Ali Zuashkiani, Ph.D., C-MORE’s director of Educational Programs, this newly announced agreement formalizes a mutually beneficial partnership that connects C-MORE’s leading research and training in the area of asset management with the vast marketing and industry reach of ATP, a respected publisher of high-quality information for asset management practitioners in North America.

Prospective conference speakers and exhibitors should contact Bill Kiesel, Vice President and Publisher, Applied Technology Publications, at bkiesel@atpnetwork.com, or visit www.IMEC.ca for more information.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Applied Technology Publications is publisher of a number of trade journals, including Maintenance Technology and Lubrication Management & Technology, and the producer of MARTS [the Maintenance & Reliability Technology Summit].)

ROCKWELL COMMENTS ON SURVEYS THAT I.D. IMPROVED MANUFACTURING AS PRIORITIES

According to a recent survey sponsored by Rockwell Automation and conducted by Opinion Research Corporation, an overwhelming majority of Americans believe, among other things, that safer, cleaner and more energy-efficient production are the most important manufacturing issues in today’s economy. Commenting on the survey’s findings, Rockwell chairman and CEO Keith Nosbusch said: “Whether it’s toys, peanut butter or pet food, product quality is top of mind for Americans. Consumers recognize that government incentives to invest in more highly automated, modern factories can both stimulate U.S. economic growth and lead to safer, cleaner and more energy-efficient production at the same time.”Nosbusch also noted that while most Americans think incorrectly that the U.S. is no longer the world’s largest manufacturer, they feel there is an urgent need for government stimulus. “Government incentives to modernize manufacturing will help create highly-skilled, higher-paying jobs upgrading and operating more automated U.S. factories for many years to come,” he stated. “The technologies are cost-effective and ready to be deployed today for benefits that are both immediate and sustainable.”

Among the statistics…
When considering a manufacturing company, survey respondents said some of the most important attributes included being able to:

• Provide safe, quality products (86%)

• Provide a safe workplace (84%)

• Use natural resources efficiently (80%)

• Produce minimal waste (71%)

• Keep current prices or reduce prices (59%)

Despite the economic downturn, this survey found that support remains strong and unchanged from a similar survey last summer for government incentives to U.S. companies to invest in technology and automation to remain competitive and keep manufacturing operations from moving overseas. More than three-quarters (79%) said the government should provide such incentives and that U.S. manufacturers need to invest in automating and modernizing their factories in order to:

• Use energy, raw materials or natural resources more efficiently (92%)

• Continue to remain competitive and grow (89%)

• Minimize waste and other environmental impacts (86%)

• Provide safer, high quality products (85%)

• Respond more quickly to customer demands (85%)

• Provide a safer workplace (83%)

The telephone surveys on which this research was based were conducted January 15-18, 2009 and May 2008. To review the full survey, please visit www.rockwellautomation.com/news/get/ManufacturingSurvey.pdf

YOUR NEWS IS OUR NEWS! OUR READERS WANT TO KNOW ALL ABOUT IT. SEND MT NEWS ITEMS TO: jalexander@atpnetwork.com

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