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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
for Downtime Reduction
These are the same principles you need to follow for
effective maintenance management, except you need to shift gears a
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
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
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
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
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.
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
You are subscribed to this newsletter as <*email*>
For questions concerning delivery of this
newsletter, please contact our Customer Service Department at:
US Toll Free: (866) 505-7173
International: (402) 505-7173
Primedia Business Magazines & Media
9800 Metcalf Avenue
Overland Park, KS 66212
Copyright 2005, PRIMEDIA. All rights reserved. This article is protected
by United States copyright and other intellectual property laws and may
not be reproduced, rewritten, distributed, re-disseminated, transmitted,
displayed, published or broadcast, directly or indirectly, in any medium
without the prior written permission of Primedia Business Magazines &