Archive | Tools


9:00 am
July 21, 2016
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Impact Bit Set

1607mtprod24pTerminator impact bit set is available in a compact metal box. Features include a reported performance of as much as 30 times that of standard screwdriver bits, two-component impact-absorbing materials combined for enhanced tool life, and optimized dual-material torsion zone. Bits are available in insert and power bit lengths. No special bit holders are required.
Wiha Quality Tools
Monticello, MN


9:54 pm
July 1, 2014
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Good To Go: Workforce Mobility Roundup

Enabling technologies let today’s workers do their jobs effectively from anywhere. It’s a capability industry could only dream of in the past.

By Jane Alexander, Deputy Editor

In fast-paced maintenance environments, what’s really trending now is anything “mobile” that helps personnel do their jobs correctly, efficiently and, as required, from any place at any time. The industrial mobile revolution has helped birth countless technologies (digital and portable) that deliver real-time operational intelligence (RtOI) to support and empower the workforce.

What this means for maintenance departments pounded by the ongoing skills crisis is that significant relief is available today—possibly in the palms of their team members’ hands. Sources are plentiful. In fact, the marketplace looks as if a maintenance team ever “dreamed” of a compelling mobile application, one or more manufacturers may have already turned it into a productivity-enhancing mobile technology—or will do so soon. Consider the following:

Schneider Electric

0714f3-schneider“Pressure to reduce labor costs and increase productivity is fueling the need to facilitate proactive decision-making on the move,” says Jamie Stapleton, Technology Manager–Asset Management, for Schneider Electric ( Stapleton says Schneider, which recently acquired Invensys, has noted a growing trend in maintenance-team mobility, especially in sectors with heavy focus on cost and efficiency.

The ability to receive real-time information regarding the health of the plant and act on it without having to return to a control room or central hub, Stapleton explains, is paramount to any company wishing to maximize both plant availability and profit. “Mobility,” he says, “is an underlying requirement for this.” As an example, he points to open touch-enabled technologies, such as HTML5 and others, which support highly functional but simple interfaces that can be launched on a Web browser, from any site-connected mobile device or desktop computer.

Stapleton also characterizes mobility as a critical component in effective predictive-maintenance strategies that increase the volume of data with which maintenance personnel must deal. A mobile solution for this task might involve managing the generated data with Enterprise Asset Management software like Schneider Electric’s Avantis EAM software and storing it in cloud-based historians.

Saadi Kermani, Schneider Electric’s Product Manager, Cloud and Mobile Solutions, says today’s maintenance professionals are looking for “the sweet spot between the mobile-app consumer experience that brings simplicity, ease of use and readily accessible information without a PC or VPN, and the business peace of mind that comes with enterprise-class support, security and compliance.” He cites his company’s Wonderware SmartGlance software as an example of that type of sweet spot.

A native mobile reporting app available for all major mobile platforms, SmartGlance software can feed near real-time charts, tables and alerts based on various industrial data sources, including popular CMMS or EAM systems like Avantis software. The app can be downloaded from any app store for viewing, analyzing and collaborating around process or operational data, metrics, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and reports, anywhere, anytime and with any device. That capability is key, according to Kermani.

“The speed of business is accelerating and expectations are higher for everyone concerned,” says Kermani. “Engineers who are fighting to stay on top of it all are finding that traditional, paper-driven processes lack speed and efficiency. What they need, are tighter and leaner feedback loops and solutions they can download and try immediately.”


0714f3-flukeFluke ( says its recently introduced Fluke Connect system allows maintenance technicians to wirelessly transmit measurement data from their test tools to their smart phones for secure storage on the cloud and universal team access from the field. To date, more than 20 Fluke tools connect wirelessly with the app, including digital multimeters, insulation testers, process meters and specific voltage, current and temperature models, as well as infrared cameras like the company’s new Ti90 and Ti95 units that feature wireless connectivity and extensive SD memory systems.

Leigh Copp, Engineering and Business Unit Manager, Linamar Advanced Systems Group, views the new technology as a “natural evolution of earlier wireless systems,” one that’s making his life making his significantly easier: “Fluke Connect allows me to be in three places at once, “ he says. “I can monitor multiple parts of a large system while staying clear of arc flash or other hazards. A two- or three-person troubleshooting task becomes possible with a single tech, and measurements can be easily saved or shared to document the results.”

Among other things, according to Fluke, technicians can AutoRecord measurements and infrared images to Fluke Cloud™ storage from wherever they’re working, without writing anything down. Everyone on the team with a smartphone and the app can see the data. Team collaboration is accomplished via ShareLive video calls, where technicians can share measurements with others in real time, get approvals for repairs or get questions answered without leaving the field.

The Fluke Connect app includes EquipmentLog history that allows technicians to assign measurements to specific equipment, creating a cloud-based history of test-measurement data for easy access during both troubleshooting and reliability maintenance. A TrendIt feature supports instant graphing of data, which leads to identification of trends and quick, informed decisions. The Fluke Connect app can be downloaded at no charge from the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Fluke Cloud storage is built upon state-of-the-art security, including secure access, electronic surveillance, multi-factor access control systems, built-in firewalls and encrypted data storage.


0714f3-mobidioMobideo ( is a real-time operations-management software platform that delivers mobile solutions addressing the human-resource component of complex business operations in discrete and continuous process industries. 

According to Greg Alvarado, who recently joined Mobideo as Senior Vice President for Process Industries (and is based in the company’s new Houston, TX, offices), a major challenge for companies everywhere involves the accurate capture of the myriad details of their operating processes. The forms and documents that typically contain this crucial information, including procedural manuals, Standard Operating Procedures, checklists and other task-specific formats, can be prone to error, difficult to use and insensitive to changing conditions in the field. 

“Situations like these,” explains Alvarado, “can have significant impact on an organization’s workforce. They will lead to inefficiencies, risk exposure and compliance and safety issues.” 

Mobideo’s patented software platform overcomes those types of problems with its ability to quickly and seamlessly convert documentation of any type and format along with information retrieved from ERP, EAM and other third-party enterprise software products into an automated, validated, guided business process. The program ingests the documentation and best practices as its starting point, then applies sophisticated tools to create a context- and content-driven application.

Alvarado says that Mobideo Mobile offers a range of benefits for workers in process environments. As an example, he cites results of a recent pilot project with the technology during a large oil-refinery turnaround (TAR) that indicated a 50% compression/reduction in response times for findings during the TAR and an overall 30% reduction in the length of the TAR.

Operating on any device by which personnel (in the field or plant) receive tasks, Mobideo Mobile incorporates an easy-to-use, intuitive graphical interface that lets the user see exactly what task(s) he/she needs to complete. Information is presented as a single, unified application comprised of forms and documents bundled with data populated in real-time from other enterprise software products. The application guides workers through the process of doing their jobs, and shields them from making errors and minimizes mistakes.

Depending on the data that serves as the foundation for an application, personnel can follow procedures, collect information, fill out forms and gather photographs, barcode scans, GPS locations and RFID tags. Time and location are captured through every screen-touch interaction with the Mobile application. All captured data is sent to the Mobideo Engine and analyzed in real-time on the Mobideo Portal.

Sorting Out Mobile-Device Concerns: COTS and BYOD

Can you afford to use off-the-shelf and/or employee-supplied smart mobile devices in your operations?

A recently released White Paper by Opto 22, the Temecula, CA-based maker of the groov technologies featured on page 31, discusses the benefits and risks associated with the use of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products and workers’ personal smart devices, aka “Bring Your Own Devices (BYODs),” in industrial automation. That experience may have practical implications for readers in the maintenance arena.

The paper describes how automation engineers and technicians use COTS mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets to remotely access equipment, commission and maintain systems, provide inexpensive machine operator interfaces and other purposes—frequently without problems.

However, Benson Hougland, a Vice President at Opto 22, cautions that use of such technologies can also lead to trouble, including breaches in system security. In the end, he says, four factors—environment, safety, security and connectivity—will influence the decision to use or not use mobile devices in industrial settings. The referenced White Paper considers each of those factors, reviews mobile-device trends and discusses the pros and cons associated with COTS devices. 

(Read the White Paper here.)

Product Spotlight

0714roundup1. Emerson’s CSI 2140 Machinery Health Analyzer

According to Emerson Process Management, not all vibration-measurement technologies are the same. The company explains that its small, compact, easily-carried CSI 2140 Machinery Health Analyzer takes vibration measurements to the next level with simultaneous four-channel plus phase data collection and unique peak detection capabilities for the earliest indication of bearing and gearbox degradation.

Emerson says it designed the CSI 2140 to meet the toughest user challenge. In addition to delivering faster data collection that translates into less time in the field and/or more machines monitored, the multi-tasking unit incorporates ergonomic features that allow comfortable, single-hand operation all
day long.

Other features and capabilities include a battery life that lasts beyond a full shift (10+hours of continuous use); a bright, full-color touch-screen that auto-adjusts to every lighting environment; embedded analysis-expert capabilities to help even novice users with sophisticated troubleshooting tests; early bearing- and gear-wear detection with PeakVue technology; and sleeve-bearing analysis via dual orbit plots.

Routine data and corrective maintenance jobs can be uploaded to Emerson’s AMS Suite: Machinery Health Manager for additional analysis and reporting.

2. TAB@LIGN Laser Shaft Alignment from Ludeca

Ludeca’s tab@lign is an entry-level wireless alignment system for tablets and smartphones. Combining PRUFTECHNIK measurement technology with mobile devices, its lets users align horizontal machines in three simple steps: Enter dimensions, rotate shafts and display measurement result. According to the manufacturer, tab@lign’s standard features and capabilities include “Active Clock” measurement mode; “Live Move” for real-time corrections; a Bluetooth communication module; pre-assembled brackets for quick mounting; and the ability to measure, correct and save soft-foot findings. Measurement results can be emailed immediately as a clear single-page graphical report. The tab@lign App runs on Apple and Android mobile devices. It can be downloaded free of charge from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

3. Opto 22’s groov Box

Opto 22 has introduced a new groov Box (GROOV-AR1) that hosts the company’s groov mobile operator interfaces for virtually any automation system. The company’s groov technology is a zero-programming, Web-based way to build, deploy and view effective, scalable operator interfaces to monitor and control automation systems and associated components, equipment, and processes. These interfaces can be viewed on almost any mobile device or computer, regardless of manufacturer, operating system or screen size, and two-way communication allows remote control for authorized and authenticated users. With the new groov Box, users first connect their automation systems to groov, then connect authorized mobile devices to groov via a Web browser or app. This allows each device to interact with the automation system in a secure, predefined manner.According to the company, the groov Box is manufactured in and supported from the USA.  Opto 22 product support is free.


According to the manufacturer, the ALL-TEST PRO Online II (ATPOL II) reflects two instruments in one: a complete Power Quality Analyzer (PQ) and complete Motor Analyzer (ESA). The unit’s wireless Bluetooth communication capabilities eliminate the need to run cables back to a PC and allow operators to test motors up to 10 meters away from energized equipment. The company says optional ALL-SAFE PRO connection boxes can be installed so the electrical panel doesn’t need to be opened for data collection. In addition to improving safety, the optional connection box can help a user test up to 100 motors per day. The ATPOL II is suited for use with equipment like AC induction and DC motors, generators, wound-rotor motors, synchronous motors, machine tool motors and transformers.

5. Benchmate’s PDA Module

The Benchmate PDA Module captures maintenance activities and equipment condition as the work is performed. The Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) lists jobs downloaded from Benchmate. As planned work begins, a Benchmate-printed equipment label is scanned to display job description and comprehensive details downloaded from Benchmate CMMS. The PDA’s integral bar-code scanner identifies parts used on each job

Unplanned or emergency maintenance requests are recorded by scanning the equipment bar code, which also captures the start date and time. After entering a brief description of the request or problem, labor, parts used and comments are captured as for planned jobs.

When maintenance data from the PDA is downloaded to Benchmate, it’s posted to the Service Log, the associated Work Order or Trouble Call is closed and PMs rescheduled.

Unplanned or emergency jobs are designated as unplanned. Recent Service Log activity can be displayed with one-click, allowing supervisors to review and sign-off on each job.

The PDA Module utilizes the Janam XM66 Mobile Computer with Benchmate software to capture data and scan bar codes. Benchmate CMMS controls communication with the device to capture maintenance activities from the PDA and load jobs into the PDA. MT


4:17 pm
June 23, 2014
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Easy-to-Use Voltage/Continuity Testers Boost Troubleshooter Accuracy on Electrical Systems

Milwaukee tester2213-20_2Milwaukee Tool has expanded its Test & Measurement portfolio with two new Auto Voltage/Continuity Testers. Combining the simplicity of a traditional voltage/continuity tester with the digital read-out capabilities of higher-functionality meters, they let users accurately troubleshoot common electrical issues with ease in increasingly diverse electrical systems.

According to the manufacturer, while traditional testers only indicate broad voltage ranges that mask electrical issues like voltage drops, its new Auto Voltage/Continuity Testers deliver measurements down to the decimal, and display them on easy-to-read LCD screens. With their built-in intelligence, the devices automatically determine whether to test for voltage or continuity and also identify AC or DC Voltage, thus providing more information than a single test can supply.

Features include built-in LED work lights for low-lit areas and test-lead holders to store the probes when the job is done. Both units are compatible with common threaded carrying and mounting accessories like belt clips and magnets.

The new units will be available in August 2014.



8:50 pm
June 20, 2014
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Hydrostatic Testing of Pipelines Goes Digital

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 3.42.51 PMMeriam Process Technologies’ PIT5000 Pipeline Integrity Tester  replaces the deadweight and chart recorders that have typically been part of the hydrostatic testing landscape. The product’s real-time data-collection and alarm capabilities improve upon the traditional labor-intensive pen and paper method by automating the process and, in turn, helping speed response to critical conditions.

According to the manufacturer, the PIT5000 does the work for the operator. Once a test is completed, a printed report with testing details, calibration information, plot data and test graphs is generated. Visual indication of the test’s performance is reflected in a Temperature & Pressure vs. Time graph and a Yield graph.

Features of this self-contained testing equipment include, among others, zoom in/out controls; Go/No Go alarms based on user settings; and automatic data backup to an SD card. The battery-operated unit can be recharged from any standard 115V AC or 12V DC source.

The company says that in addition to a reduction in operator intervention, the PIT5000 eliminates a learning curve for new personnel. It also saves time on setup and teardown.


4:03 pm
June 3, 2014
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Milwaukee Tool Acquires Wisconsin-Based Empire Level Business

060314MilwaukeeMilwaukee Tool has announced the acquisition of the Empire Level business based in Mukwonago, WI. Empire has been a leading designer and innovator of accurate and durable layout and measuring tools for over 90 years.Its industry firsts include the Monovial, the Torpedo Level, the Magnetic Level and, most recently, the TrueBlue product line. The company employs approximately 160 people at its Wisconsin manufacturing facilities and sells its products in over 50 countries around the world.




7:54 pm
May 27, 2014
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Safer, Faster, Easier Flange Maintenance

052714EqualizerAccording to Equalizer USA,  its patented flange-spreading tools can be used with all flange-joint types, even those with no access gaps between them. The company says its new Equalizer SWi product range can make activities associated with flange maintenance in a plant safer, more efficient and more cost-effective than in the past.

Products in the SWI line are shorter and lighter than previous models and offer a 60% more spreading force and almost 30% more spreading-distance. Molded revolving handles, revolving safety lanyards and the absence of finger-pinch points enhance usability. Simpliefied disassembly and reassembly of these spreaders translates into easier maintenance of the tools themselves. The SWI range includes three different models:

  • Mechanically operated, the  SWi12/14TM (shown) is capable of exerting 14Tons of Spreading Force.
  • The SWi20/25TE is hydraulically operated by a separate hand pump and capable of exerting 24Tons of Spreading Force.
  • Featuring an integral hydraulic pump,  the SWi20/25TI is capable of exerting 24Tons of Spreading Force.





3:16 pm
May 12, 2014
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Reading and Sharing Measurements Anywhere

Last week a group visited the Maintenance Technology offices in the Chicago area from Fluke in order to introduce us to a new product—FlukeConnect.

Fluke Connect Trends Three Phases

Fluke Connect Trends Three Phases

FlukeConnect combines many trends occurring in industry and consumer technology. These trends include smaller, mobile devices and leveraging the “cloud” or data anywhere. It also enables improved collaboration for problem solving through the use of video and data sharing.

Fluke recognizes that maintenance technicians make better, faster decisions when they have field access to maintenance records and when they can review measurements in real time with team members and supervisors. Yet records are usually kept back in the office and team members are rarely in the same place at the same time. The Fluke Connect system solves these problems while increasing the safety of technicians working with energized equipment.

FlukeConnect Transfer Motor Data

FlukeConnect Transfer Motor Data

The Fluke Connect system allows maintenance technicians to wirelessly transmit measurement data from their test tools to their smart phones for secure storage on the cloud and universal team access from the field. More than 20 Fluke tools connect wirelessly with the app, including digital multimeters, infrared cameras, insulation testers, process meters, and specific voltage, current and temperature models.

Technicians can AutoRecord measurements and infrared images to Fluke Cloud storage from wherever they’re working, without writing anything down. Everyone on the team with a smart phone and the app can see the data.

Team collaboration is made easy with ShareLive video calls, where technicians can share measurements with other team members in real time, get approvals for repairs or get questions answered without leaving the field.

The Fluke Connect app features EquipmentLog history, which allows technicians to assign measurements to specific equipment, creating a cloud-based history of test measurement data for easy access during both troubleshooting and reliability maintenance. And TrendIt enables technicians to instantly graph data, helping to identify trends and quickly make informed decisions.

Fluke Cloud storage is built upon state-of-the-art security, including secure access, electronic surveillance, multi-factor access control systems, built-in firewalls, and encrypted data storage.

The Fluke Connect app can be downloaded for free from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.