of the Year Competition
Your vote will help us identify the 2011 Platinum, Gold, and
Silver Product of the Year award winners. EC&M subscribers,
simply review the products from the 2011
EC&M Product of the Year category winners list, and then choose
your favorite from the drop-down menu. Three lucky voters will be
randomly selected to receive $100.
The voting poll will remain
open through 5 p.m. on May 20. Please, only one vote per EC&M
subscriber. Any votes received from manufacturers, PR firms, or
non-EC&M subscribers will not be counted.
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Do you have the expertise to properly conduct the tests
needed to make good maintenance decisions? If not, these are some
areas of error that will crop up:
We'll look at a solution to these problems in our next issue.
- Ground testing.
often results in useless information due to erroneous testing
procedures. One common mistake is conducting three-point ground testing
with the utility power connected, thus bringing the neutral into the
measurement. The results have no validity for the purposes of ground
- Motor testing. What's burning up windings or causing
electronics to fail? Sticking a DMM on motor drive output terminals
won't give you a complete picture. For that, you need a power analyzer
as well as training so you know what to look for and what you're
at when you find it.
- Breaker condition. Few facilities have the in-house
expertise to correctly, safely, and efficiently ascertain breaker
condition. Study the manual for any big breaker, and you'll see why.
- Harmonics evaluation. A harmonic analyzer or power
analyzer can provide useful data. But do you know the conditions under
which some data means more than other data or what actually constitutes
an actionable problem?
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Your plant has a production machine that's fed by a roll of
steel at one end and spits out a metal product at the other. The
cuts, stamps, and welds robotically to create custom-made products for
customers to use in making their own products. A typical product is
similar to the metal tub in your kitchen range or refrigerator.
The new QA manager just informed you that an entire run is out
spec, and he wants the machine adjusted so the product meets spec. You
know the mechanics keep the dies in good condition and the setup crew
always tests a small run to ensure the setup is correct. What should
Visit EC&M's website
to see the answer.
Suppose a piece of production equipment is down. You open
controls cabinet to be greeted by the unmistakable smell of burnt
semiconductors. You replace the toasted circuit board and voilà —
machine starts and runs properly. While you exchange high fives with
operator, another downtime call comes in. Off you go to solve yet
another downtime issue. But did you really solve this one?
You could assume that the board was destroyed by some kind of
spike that came in through the service entrance. This is a bad
assumption, because most power quality events (and chronic power
problems) originate inside a facility. To complete this repair, you
go through a methodical investigative process to identify the source of
that power quality problem. The process may not identify this
problem, but skipping it means you definitely won't identify the
To read more on this story, visit EC&M's website.
Many facilities are installing wireless routers to provide
connectivity between industrial process devices and control systems as
well as setting up wireless networks for other reasons. However,
wireless routers still require a wired system behind them (usually with
Ethernet to the routers). Sometimes, a wireless network ends up being
wired even in a "user zone." For example, metallic obstructions may be
easier to wire around than to try to surmount wirelessly. If you have
broadband, you have a wired system. This means compliance with Art.
To read more on this story, visit EC&M's website.
Before working in any confined space:
If anything isn't right, stop work and immediately inform your
supervisor about the problems you encountered. Entering the confined
space before all problems are solved could prove fatal.
- Review the
confined entry procedures for that particular space. If a copy isn't
posted near the entrance, notify your supervisor.
- Ensure a qualified attendant will be present the entire time
you occupy the confined space. The attendant is qualified only if
understands the relevant extraction and rescue procedures and has the
required equipment at the location.
- The confined entry procedure may call for specific tests
pertaining to variables such as gases or temperature. Don't assume the
tests have been done. Instead, check the written log to see who did
and when. If the tests aren't current, notify your supervisor, and
enter the confined space. A test is current only if done for your crew
on your shift.
- Inspect your breathing and extraction PPE.