October 27, 2005 A PRIMEDIA Property Vol. I No. 1

The Start of Something Good

Good Things Come in Threes

Three Principles for Effective Maintenance Management

Three Principles for Effective Training Management

Three Principles for Being an Effective Trainee

PLC Troubleshooting Quiz

Three Principles for Downtime Reduction

The Practical Implications of OSHA 1926.101

New Motor Acceptance Criteria

NEC on the Production Floor

Ethernet and Real-Time Motion Control

About This Newsletter
This twice-a-month
e-newsletter is brought to you from the publisher of EC&M magazine.

MRO Insider addresses topics such as:

  • Working with management and supervision
  • National Electrical Code® on the production floor
  • Safety procedures and programs
  • Troubleshooting techniques
  • Equipment maintenance and testing tips
  • Managing motors and generators
  • Trends in training and education
  • Managing energy use

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    The designations "National Electrical Code” and “NEC” refer to the National Electrical Code®, which is a registered trademark of the National Fire Protection Association.

    The Start of Something Good
    Welcome to the premier issue of MRO Insider, an e-newsletter devoted exclusively to the topics of maintenance, repair, and operation. Through the efforts of the EC&M editorial team and its respected electrical consultants, this exciting new product will challenge you to improve your skill set and drive change in your organization.

    Mailed twice a month to select engineers, facility and energy managers, maintenance supervisors, electricians, and technicians working in industrial, commercial, and institutional facilities, this one-of-kind product promises to help you power up your O&M efforts.

    Drop us a line and let us know what you think about our first issue. And while you're at it, let us know what you'd like us to discuss in future issues.

    AutomationDirect now offers the Cutler-Hammer Enhanced 50 series of high-performance photoelectric sensors, manufactured by Eaton, with prices starting at $44. Thru-beam, polarized reflex, diffuse and clear object models are available, with sensing ranges from 45 inches to 500 feet. All sensors are IP67 rated and are available with a variety of cabling choices. Visit www.automationdirect.com/photoelectric.

    Good Things Come in Threes
    We all live our lives based on a set of guidelines or principles. If we didn't, imagine how chaotic our lives would be. Let's take a look at some principles you should follow in the areas of maintenance management and training.

    Three Principles for Effective Maintenance Management
    Plan carefully. Using a CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management System) isn't enough, if you are simply automating a bad process. Identify your most critical equipment and the preventive maintenance work needed to keep it running efficiently. Identify all work by category (emergency, PM, urgent project work, non-urgent project work) -- then prioritize work by category.

    Execute the plan. If you give in to political pressure to divert maintenance people from PM work to project work, you will be politically worse off because your performance numbers will tank. Stick to your plan, and explain to your maintenance customers why this is important to their ability to meet their numbers.

    Review for improvement. Even the best laid plans aren't perfect. Actively solicit the ideas of maintenance workers and your customers -- these people are close to the work and know more than they are usually given credit for.

    Three Principles for Effective Training Management
    Train by need. Sending the same people to training creates an imbalance with multi-layered negative repercussions. First determine the training needs of each individual; then determine the structure of the training program.

    Train by product flow. Your core function is to keep product flowing out the door. Your plant has a pecking order of products -- based on sales. Work with your operations customers to identify which products need the most trained support.

    Assign related work to fresh trainees. Don't make the mistake of always "putting the best guy" on a problem. Give trainees field experience, as soon as possible.

    Three Principles for Being an Effective Trainee
    Do your homework. You can't learn by osmosis. Immerse yourself in the training. Ask for extra reading, do extra problems, ask questions.

    Picture it. Constantly picture how you will use what you are learning when you are back at your plant. How does it apply? Talk this over with your instructor, if need be.

    Review it. Review with your boss what you learned, and ask for related hands-on work so the training sticks.

    PLC Troubleshooting Quiz
    Think you've got what it takes to fix a finicky PLC? If so, then you shouldn't have any trouble answering these questions, right? Go ahead, give it a try.

    1. A system under PLC control suddenly stopped running. What is the first thing you should check?

    2. If a PLC controls four valves for a mixing tank, but only one of those valves fails to open, what (in order) are the first three things you should check?

    3. You have been getting complaints about erratic operation of a newly-installed PLC-controlled system. Valves are cycling, and there are wild oscillations in temperature and pressure sensors. What is the most likely cause of these problems?

    The answers to these questions will appear in the next issue.

    Three Principles for Downtime Reduction
    These are the same principles you need to follow for effective maintenance management, except you need to shift gears a bit.

    1. Plan carefully. You know critical equipment is going to fail, sooner or later. So, work out a service restoration plan for each item. Prepare a spare parts kit, special tools kit, and whatever else you need to "get your hands on" in a hurry when this equipment is down. Train a response team for such critical equipment as plant air compressors, fire safety systems, and that one production line the plant manager says can't lose a minute of uptime.

    2. Execute the plan. Plans are worthless, if people don't follow them. Sticking to the plan minimizes the need to think things through during critical windows of time -- making response faster, safer, and more accurate.

    3. Review for improvement. After you get the equipment running again, discuss with everyone involved what you did right, what you did wrong, and what you could have done better. Then, make any needed improvements.

    The Practical Implications of OSHA 1926.101
    This regulation addresses hearing protection. Employers are required to reduce noise levels per OSHA's Table D-2, reduce exposure times, or provide qualified PPE to protect the ears. People typically approach this from the viewpoint of determining the minimum OSHA requirement. But it's better to ask, "What do I need to do to protect my hearing?" Even if you live and breathe Table D-2, you can make mistakes -- there are simply too many variables. Rule of thumb: If you need to raise your voice to carry on a conversation, wear hearing protection -- whether there is a sign posted or not.

    New Motor Acceptance Criteria
    Five minutes of testing can save you hours of downtime. When a motor arrives at the receiving dock, does it go right back to spare parts storage or a repair staging area? If so, this is a mistake. Before the delivery truck leaves, perform these tests:

    1. Rotate the shaft. It should rotate freely, without noise. The motor may leave the factory or repair shop in perfect order, only to have the shaft bent during loading, shipping, or unloading. Discover the damage before you install the motor.

    2. Perform an insulation resistance test. This gives you baseline data for maintenance. It also reveals any gross insulation failures before you go through four hours of installing the motor, only to yank it out again and install another one.

    3. Check the documentation. If your motor is hard to install, or if it's for critical equipment, ensure it's been balanced -- to avoid installing a motor that is going to vibrate itself to an early death. If the motor must be installed ASAP, you at least have reduced the time it takes to have a properly tested motor arrive at your facility.

    NEC on the Production Floor
    Work Space Around Equipment [110.32].
    The NEC space requirement is not the number to go by -- it's just the minimum. Don't think in terms of NEC compliance; think in terms of downtime minimization. If you lose time because you can't get your maintenance carts or other equipment close to that critical equipment, you have a problem. If you get into a "revenue per square foot" argument, present the "revenue lost per square foot" of work space for critical equipment -- it's usually quite persuasive.

    Manufacturer's Corner
    Ethernet and Real-Time Motion Control
    Looking for some guidance on the use of Ethernet in real-time motion and machinery control applications? Then check out this free 28-page document from Baldor. The guide begins with a description of the Ethernet Powerlink protocol and its deterministic features. It then contrasts conventional machine control system architecture, requiring servo motor-based motion and other industrial I/O, with a new system based on Ethernet. The publication concludes with an introduction to programming tools, and details a range of Ethernet compliant machine controllers and servo drives, plus related machine control accessories including motors and HMIs.

    Request your free guide from Baldor today.

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