Archive | Reliability & Maintenance Center


9:45 pm
January 13, 2017
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Use Catalog Profiles, Failure Codes to Analyze Assets

By Kristina Gordon, DuPont

randmDetermining why an asset failed during production is a critical function, not only for general reporting, but to measure asset costs and make informed decisions about future use. The SAP system provides an effective means of documenting the key aspects of damages, causes, tasks, and activities. Catalog profiles are used to group attributes together and allow maintenance personnel to document asset failure in the maintenance notification.

Q: What defect codes exist in the SAP catalog profile and how do you turn them on?

A :  Catalog profiles are created based on a company’s general business practices. Each company will have its own standards and naming convention and they should be followed in this setup to maintain consistency and avoid confusion.

The SAP catalog structure goes from catalog to code group to code. Each of these must be set up in the IMG (implementation guide), which is a SAP configuration. A catalog profile should be created such that it describes the equipment at a level that helps identify the possible failures associated with its particular equipment group.

Once the catalog and failure codes are configured, they are assigned to equipment masters. This will connect a catalog profile and corresponding damage or failure code to a specific equipment type, and then allow the proper failure code to be selected and added to the notification for that asset, as seen in the example below.


As shown in the equipment-master screen (next column), the equipment description is R/V, with some identifying characteristics (identification number 531503, in this case). The catalog profile (bottom of the screen) states the profile number with the description “Valve, Safety Relief.”


In the work-order notification generated for the equipment above, the object part goes into a more granular description of the catalog profile, “Disk”.


Finally, the failure code for the damage can be selected. In this example, the inspection produced a “Worn” result.

SAP includes the following key transactions for viewing failure-analysis results:

• MCI5: Damages, based on damage, cause, and activity

• IW67: List of tasks completed for the damages

• IW69: List of items with damage, cause, and other catalog details

• IW65: List of activities with damage, cause, and other catalog details.

Knowing the failure rate can optimize PM intervals and improve failure response and work practices. MT

Kristina Gordon is SAP Program Consultant at the DuPont, Sabine River Works plant in West Orange, TX. If you have SAP questions, send them to and we’ll forward them to Kristina.


9:40 pm
January 13, 2017
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Properly Align Variable-, Fixed-Pitch Sheaves

Aligning sheaves on equipment with multiple V-belts is more complex than aligning them on machines designed with single belts.

Aligning sheaves on equipment with multiple V-belts is more complex than aligning them on machines designed with single belts.

Variable-pitch sheaves are frequently used in air handlers. According to a blog post by Stan Riddle of VibrAlign (Richmond, VA,, they allow design engineers to increase or decrease the speed of the driven machine and, thus, provide:

• changes in motor amp draw to maximize efficiency

• increased or decreased static pressure and air flow.

Normally, a design engineer will specify the use of a variable-pitch sheave on the driver and a fixed-pitch sheave on the driven machine.

Performed on a single-belt machine, proper sheave alignment is simple, if a good sheave-alignment tool is used. When multiple belts are used, as they often are, proper sheave alignment can become more complex. A variable-pitch sheave can be adjusted to increase/decrease the sheave diameter. However, doing so also changes the sheave width, depending on the adjustment.

In his post, Riddle referred to a customer who was attempting to perform a sheave alignment on an air handler. The unit’s motor had a variable-pitch sheave, but the fan sheave was fixed. The customer stated that he could align one belt, but not the other.

As Riddle described it, the customer was struggling because the width of the fixed-diameter sheave was 1 5/8 in., but the width of the variable-pitch sheave was 2 3/8 in. Consequently, only one set of grooves could be aligned, meaning the other was out of alignment.

The key to properly aligning a variable-pitch sheave to a fixed-pitch sheave on equipment with multiple V-belts is to split the difference between the diameter widths of the two sheaves. In this example, splitting the difference between sheave-diameter widths of 2 3/8 in. and 1 5/8 in. would result in a 3/8-in. offset at each groove.

The key to properly aligning a variable-pitch sheave to a fixed-pitch sheave on equipment with multiple V-belts is to split the difference between the diameter widths of the two sheaves. In this example, splitting the difference between sheave-diameter widths of 2 3/8 in. and 1 5/8 in. would result in a 3/8-in. offset at each groove.

The solution

Riddle wrote that the solution to the customer’s problem was simply to split the difference between the width of the two sheave diameters, as shown in the following equation:

2 3/8 in. – 1 5/8 in. = 3/4 in. ÷ 2 = 3/8 in. offset on each groove

randmRiddle also noted that it’s important to keep in mind this approach will probably not align the components sufficiently to eliminate sheave and belt wear. In fact, such wear can’t be eliminated. Still, when it comes to aligning multiple V-belts on an equipment system, splitting the difference between the diameter width of a variable-pitch sheave and that of a fixed-pitch sheave to which it is aligned will make the belts wear evenly.

Variable-pitch sheaves are normally used to balance a system and achieve proper static pressure and speed. When that’s determined, according to Riddle, the variable-pitch sheave should be replaced with a fixed-pitch sheave of the proper diameter to match the desired speed and pressure. Once both sheaves are fixed-pitch, proper alignment can be achieved. MT

—Jane Alexander, Managing Editor

Stan Riddle, a technical trainer for VibraAlign, has spent more than 36 years aligning industrial machinery. For more information from him and other technical experts with the company, visit


9:35 pm
January 13, 2017
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Ramp Up Your Network Security

Industrial-control-system networks may seem secure, but there are opportunities for unwanted access at just about any level and component.

Industrial-control-system networks may seem secure, but there are opportunities for unwanted access at just about any level and component.

It’s inevitable that the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) will continue to grow, with more and more devices connected to networks by the minute. Achieving operational efficiency of those networks, however, is not without problems—including cyber-security threats. Such threats are raising serious concerns throughout industrial operations. What are the best ways to deal with them? Yiwei Chen of Moxa Inc. (, Brea, CA) points to the IEC62443 Standard as a good place to start.

IEC62443 is constantly evolving to provide up-to-date security guidelines and a list of best practices for different parts of a network. It also includes information for those with different network responsibilities. The ultimate goal of the standard is to help improve network safety and enhance industrial-automation and control-settings security. According to Chen, to protect their networks from internal and external threats, it’s paramount for operators to understand IEC62443. This understanding will help them deploy devices with adequate security features to protect networks from internal and external threats.

Just what types of cyber threats can arise, and what options do your operations have for combating them? Chen provided several tips.

— Jane Alexander, Managing Editor

Prevent intrusions and attacks.
The first step in preventing unauthorized access to devices on a network is to implement a password policy. Remember, however, that while password policies are effective to some degree, as the number of users and devices on a network increases, so does the possibility of the network being breached.

Protect sensitive data.
All devices on a network must support and enforce data encryption when data are transmitted. This will virtually eliminate the risk of data being stolen during transmission. The reason data integrity is so important is because it guarantees data accuracy and that information can be processed and retrieved reliably and securely when needed.

randmAudit security events.
Networks must constantly be monitored, and every event that takes place on them should be recorded for possible analysis later. Although several security precautions can be taken to prevent cyber attacks, in the event one were successful, detecting it in real time would be difficult.

Visualize network security status.
Software that visualizes network security status allows operators to monitor any abnormal or potentially damaging activity. This type of software can also help network operators prevent problems before they arise, by allowing personnel, with a quick glance, to verify the correct settings are applied to each device. The security features that are typically covered can include password policies, encryption, log-in credentials, and data integrity.

Ensure correct configuration.
Human error can cause a wide range of problems, including improperly functioning networks, lost data, and creation of significant network vulnerabilities for attackers to exploit. Networks with incorrect configurations can be manipulated by internal staff or outside forces that have gained unauthorized access. Note: Cyber attacks resulting from human error are the most common way that networks are compromised. MT

To learn more about network security and Moxa’s wide range of solutions for ensuring it, visit


9:27 pm
January 13, 2017
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Improve Your Chemical-Pump Maintenance

Maintenance missteps in chemical-pumping applications can be catastrophic.

Maintenance missteps in chemical-pumping applications can be catastrophic.

Regardless of the industry, in chemical-pumping applications, it’s important to understand how the chemical reacts to heat, pressure, and flow. Just as crucial is the need to consider all system components in these applications. One maintenance misstep could be catastrophic.

Jim Raiders, senior technology engineer for Akzo Nobel Pulp and Performance Chemicals Inc., Chicago, offered the following advice for keeping chemical-processing pumps well maintained and reliable. MT

—Michelle Segrest, Contributing Editor

Common maintenance issues and solutions

• Wet-side seal integrity. Select materials and pump designs that offer improved hydraulic flow and the ability to prevent wet-area wear.

• Lubrication. Improve pump-sealing techniques to allow a wide range of operating conditions, without losing containment.

• Cavitation/inadequate flow conditions. Use self-contained lubrication systems and isolate the lubrication systems from process-chemical exposure.

• Corrosion. Use self-contained relief devices on positive-displacement pumps.

• Motor failure. Make better material selections, i.e., opt for quality materials instead of low-cost units.

• Improper mounting of pumps that creates secondary vibration nodes leading to pumping-system damage. Choose motors with improved insulation, bearings, and fan designs.

randmImportant preventive-maintenance steps

Regular inspections

Flow verifications

Vibration analysis and baselining

Power usage/thermal image baselining

Consideration of improved pump location in the process area.

Maintenance best practices

Use double mechanical seals with seal-guard monitoring for rotating pumps.

Place dosing pumps in a containment area to keep them protected from spills and sprays.

Place covers on rotating units for protection from processes.

Use power-line monitoring for loading indication of motor/pump wear.

Mount equipment properly with anchoring, grouting, and grounding.

Locate pumps in well-lit areas, if possible, for ease of monitoring.

Helpful tools

Vibration analysis

Offline and installed monitors

Thermal imaging

Process flow monitoring

CIP (clean-in-place) systems for automated cleaning when systems are offline.

For information about Akzo Nobel chemical-processing products and services, visit


9:20 pm
January 13, 2017
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Choose to Fuse (And Why)

Designed as sacrificial devices in electrical systems, fuses protect costlier components in those systems from the damaging effects of overcurrent. They can also make control systems UL- and NEC-compliant.

Designed as sacrificial devices in electrical systems, fuses protect costlier components in those systems from the damaging effects of overcurrent. They can also make control systems UL- and NEC-compliant.

Fuses are sacrificial devices that help protect costlier components in an electrical system from the damaging effects of overcurrent. (They can also help make control systems UL- and NEC-compliant.) To be sure, there are many other solutions for protecting electrical gear from overcurrent, including circuit breakers and protective relays. Information from Cumming, GA-based AutomationDirect (, though, lists 10 reasons why end users also should consider fusing.

— Jane Alexander, Managing Editor

Overcurrent protective devices that have tripped are often reset without first investigating the cause of the fault. Electromechanical devices may not have the reserve capacity to open safely when a second or third fault occurs. When a fuse opens, it’s replaced with a new fuse, meaning the protection level is not degraded by previous faults.

Fuses typically are the most cost-effective means of providing overcurrent protection. This is especially true where high fault currents exist or where small components, such as control transformers or DC power supplies, need protection.

randmHigh interrupting rating
With most low-voltage current-limiting fuses (< 600 V) having a 200,000-A interrupting rating, users are not paying a high premium for a high-interrupting capacity.

Fuses have no moving parts to wear out or become contaminated by dust or oil.

North American standards
Tri-National Standards specify fuse performance and the maximum allowable fuse Ip and I²t let-through values. Peak let-through current (Ip) and I²t are two measures of the degree of current limitation that is provided by a fuse.

Component protection
The high current-limiting action of a fuse minimizes or eliminates component damage.

Extended protection
Overcurrent-protective devices, with low-interrupting ratings, are often rendered obsolete by service upgrades or increases in available fault current. Updated NEC and UL standards are fueling the need to install potentially expensive system upgrades to non-fused systems.

Fuses can be easily coordinated to provide selectivity under overload and short-circuit conditions.

Minimal maintenance
Fuses do not require periodic recalibration. That is not the case with some electromechanical overcurrent-protective devices.

Long life
As a fuse ages, the speed of response will not slow down or change. A fuse’s ability to provide protection will not be adversely affected by the passage of time. MT

Fuses 101

Fuses consist of a low-resistance metal or wire that is used to close a circuit. When too much current flows through the low-resistance element of the fuse, the element melts and breaks the circuit. This keeps the excessive current from continuing down the circuit to more expensive equipment.

For more information on a range of automation-related topics and solutions, including current-limiting fuses that meet UL and NEC codes, visit or


6:22 pm
December 22, 2016
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Link Outsiders to Documents, Folders

randmBy Kristina Gordon, DuPont

Managing documents and history is a critical part of maintaining equipment reliability.  SAP offers several methods for tracking documents, drawings, and other important information. Here are answers to two common questions that will help you better manage information.

Q: Can you insert documents in a maintenance plan and/or maintenance task list and have them available once the order is issued directly in the maintenance order? Our maintenance contractor doesn’t have access to certain SAP transactions or maintenance task lists but needs to use maintenance procedures, manuals, and detail drawings.

A : The Document Management System (DMS) allows you to provide links outside of SAP to internal information such as equipment functional locations, materials, maintenance plans, and maintenance items. This is a robust and organized approach that ensures all documents are attached directly to the object in SAP.

Q: Can you attach an SAP object directly to a file or a folder?

A: Attaching a file allows you to connect a specific document to your work order, material, or purchase order. Attaching a folder allows you to view the entire content of the folder from a link within your object, giving you multiple selections to view and print within that folder. MT

Use these four steps to create a link that will make a folder available to an outside source.


— Use transaction CV01N to create a document.

— Use document type “DDW,” document part “000,” and document version “00.”

— Click the enter button.


Enter the description. This could begin with the equipment number or inventory number, but needs to easily identify the object to which the folder will be attached. Click the Create File button.


— Use application type “HTM” (the application type will also have to be configured in SAP per your company). The description will be the same as the Document Data Description. In the first box of “Original,” add the desired data carrier. This will be the name of the “Data Carrier” your SAP team will set up. In the second box of “Original,” use the address, or folder structure, of the desired folder. Make sure to exclude the folder that the drop down would automatically take you to in the address.

— Click the green check.


— Click the Object links tab. Click the Equipment master tab. Note: There are multiple different objects to which you can attach. We are using equipment masters as an example for this demo. Enter the desired equipment ID in the equipment field. More than one equipment ID can be added if necessary. The process is completed after clicking the save button.

— You will now be able to view the folder within the equipment master that was attached as the link.


— To create a link to a file, the setup is very similar to that for folders. However, note the following differences:

— The application type will be the type of document that is being linked (Word, Excel, etc.)

— Description will have the desired description of the document.

— The first box of “Original” will contain the data carrier.

— In the second box of “Original,” first select the drop-down box. This will open a browser. Go to file location and click “open.” Your link will be uploaded. Follow the steps in the previous screen shots to completion.

Kristina Gordon is SAP Program Consultant at the DuPont, Sabine River Works plant in West Orange, TX. If you have SAP questions, send them to and we’ll forward them to Kristina.


6:02 pm
December 22, 2016
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Understand How Temperatures Affect Gearboxes

Environmental factors can significantly affect gear-drive service life and maintenance costs. Temperature and temperature variations are at the top of the list.

Environmental factors can significantly affect gear-drive service life and maintenance costs. Temperature and temperature variations are at the top of the list.

Understanding the impact that the environment can have on the long-term well being of gearboxes is key to keeping them healthy. According to experts at Philadelphia Gear (, King of Prussia, PA), environmental factors can significantly influence gear-drive service life and associated maintenance costs. A white paper from the company offers tips on how to deal with several of those factors, including temperature and temperature variations.

When choosing lubricating and cooling oil for a particular gear-drive application, consider viscosity under normal and “cold iron” conditions. The viscosity must be capable of providing adequate oil film to support gear-tooth and bearing loads under all operating conditions. When a gear drive is in the “cold iron” state, viscosity must be low enough so that during the unit’s operation, the splash-lubrication or force-feed lubrication system is capable of distributing the proper amount of oil to where it’s needed. If oil is too thick (due to the cold), there may be no splash, or the pump in a force-feed-lubrication system might stall, thus failing to supply oil to critical surfaces.

Several oil characteristics must be taken into account when selecting products for specific applications and temperature differentials. Some formulations have a flatter temperature index than others, meaning that, as oil temperature increases, viscosity will decrease at a lesser rate than comparable fluids. For example, synthetics have a flatter temperature index than mineral-based oils and, at a low temperature, will be less viscous than similar-viscosity mineral-based products.

Many locales, of course, experience severe temperature swings from summer to winter that can dramatically affect oil viscosity. Sites in such regions should change to different-viscosity products as seasons change. Oils that aren’t changed out seasonally could thin to a kerosene-like consistency in severe summer heat, and thicken to a molasses-like substance in frigid winter cold. Either scenario puts gear drives at risk. (NOTE: To help overcome environmental extremes, oil heaters are often employed to maintain a minimum oil temperature of 40 F to 50 F during colder months, and air-to-oil or water/glycol-to-oil coolers are used to control oil operating temperatures during extreme heat.) MT

randmMore Points to Ponder

When gear operation generates higher-than-normal operating temperatures, mineral-based oil can break down and lose some of its lubricating capability. Over time, this deterioration can cause the fluid to separate into its constituent organic parts, i.e., carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen in various chemical combinations. In such cases, the carbon manifests as fine grit that can be introduced into the oil. If this condition persists and the sludge approaches the thickness of the oil film between gear and bearing components, a loss of film can be expected. This situation, in turn, could result in metal-to-metal contact between gears and bearing components, eventually leading to gearbox failure.

Extreme Pressure (EP) mineral oils, in particular, contain additives such as phosphorous and sulfur, that enhance the products’ ability to support load, but, when broken down, introduce additional, potentially corrosive and abrasive, materials into the mix. Thus, when using EP oils, it is extremely important to monitor the oil through periodic sampling.

While the additives in EP products increase load-carrying capacity, they can be depleted over time. In that event, such oils no longer exhibit their original load-carrying capabilities. How can you tell if this is happening/has happened? Extended gearbox operation with EP oil that has lost its load-carrying capabilities can result in gear-tooth overload symptoms such as pitting.

— Jane Alexander, Managing Editor

For more information from Philadelphia Gear’s experts, and/or to request a copy of  “The Impact of Environmental Conditions on Gearbox Lifecycle,” (the white paper on which this article is based), visit


5:55 pm
December 22, 2016
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Gaps in Your Motor Reliability Program?

Quality control, trending, and troubleshooting are three keys to a successful motor-reliability program.

Quality control, trending, and troubleshooting are three keys to a successful motor-reliability program.

Businesses invest millions of dollars in what they believe will be a fail-safe maintenance program for their electric motors, according to Noah Bethel, vice president, Product Development for PdMA Corp., Tampa, FL. Regular tests are scheduled for each motor; engineers dutifully record the data, when required, and then move on to the next motor.

Collected data is meaningless unless it is analyzed. But, frequently, analysis is nonexistent. When your motor reliability is in question, there could be many reasons including safety issues, quality control, and storage. Motor experts Bethel and Wayne Pilliner, CMRP, The Mosaic Co., Plymouth, MN, say there are three keys to motor reliability:

Quality control. Spend time in the motor-repair shop monitoring the activity.

Trending. Collect data, take advantage of new technology, and remember that trending is your friend.

Troubleshooting. There is an end of life for everything. Get ahead of that. Have a casualty procedure and follow it. Alleviate time delays.

randmDuring the 24th Annual SMRP Conference, held Nov. 2016 in Jacksonville, FL, Bethel and Pilliner presented more tips on avoiding gaps in your motor-reliability program. The first question to ask, they advised, is “Where is your motor-maintenance program?”

Bethel emphasized that it is also important to develop a good business case. This is critical to get buy-in from management for equipment-improvement initiatives, he said.

More questions to answer

• What is the problem?

• What is the gap?

• What is the financial impact?

• What are the goals and objectives?

• What are the roles and responsibilities of the motor-maintenance team? Ensure that these are clearly defined.

• What is the return on investment? Make calculations and predictions for an expanded time period.

The strategy is also something that should be clearly defined. Consider these proven motor-maintenance-strategy process steps:

• Maintain an accurate list of the motors you have in stock and the ones you need to order.

• Identify the criticality of every motor.

• Determine motor-failure modes based on past history.

• Assign corrective actions to prevent established failure modes.

• Develop a sustainable program to ensure compliance.

• Set testing standards and tailor them for your site.

Bethel and Pilliner described several case studies in which this approach helped companies determine the gaps in their motor-reliability program. Look at the gaps as opportunities to learn and improve, they said. Once gaps are identified and a strategic plan is in place, motor reliability at your facility will improve.

Key tips

• Success is dependent on buy-in from stakeholders.

• Motor-testing compliance is greatly improved with M-tap installation, compliant with the 70E standard.

• Put a fundamental maintenance program in place to complement the motor-testing protocol.

• Ensure motor-testing technicians are trained in the technology.

• Knowing the condition of your motors enhances your workflow process. This can result in significant savings from an efficiency and cost-of-failure point of view.

“Productive and long-lasting operation of motors in today’s business environment is the reason for the development of advanced technology and site procedures to increase reliability and assure a quick return to productivity in the event of troubleshooting and repairs,” Bethel said. “The transition of data to usable information becomes more efficient when the analyst has help to make the right decisions.” MT