Heavy Hitters in Industrial
HVAC Spring Maintenance
Electrical Troubleshooting Quiz
NEC at the Facility
The Practical Implications of OSHA 1926.403,
Answer to Electrical Troubleshooting Quiz
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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.
Heavy Hitters in Industrial
A recent analysis of active capital and maintenance
projects scheduled to begin construction this year in the United States
reveals more than 4,590 industrial projects totaling approximately $177
billion, according to marketing information resources company
Information Resources (IIR). Last year, the region saw 53 plants start
up operation. Planned project spending is up 2% as compared to 2005. A
closer look at a few of the heavy hitter states uncovered the following
- Texas -- With 427 projects under development, totaling $18
billion, Texas retains its position as the top state for planned
industrial project spending. Although the expenditure level in 2006
remains relatively flat, as compared with 2005, there are some large
shifts within industries. The power and terminals industries will see
increase in spending from fewer projects, while the chemical processing
and petroleum refining industries will experience significant
- California -- California is home to more than 2,100 major
industrial plants and ranks second behind Texas among the top 20 states
in industrial spending. However, analysis of planned capital and
maintenance projects scheduled to begin construction this year (232
projects worth $12 billion) reveals a 20% decline from its 2005 level.
This decrease is mainly attributed to a large drop in project spending
and activity in the industrial manufacturing and power industries. The
large drop in spending in these industries outweighs the increases in
the oil & gas transmission, food & beverage, and metals & minerals
- Ohio -- Ohio has been a big spender the last few years.
Projections for this year point to another solid year, with more than
200 capital and maintenance projects on the books worth more than $8.5
billion. The power industry leads the pack (35 active projects),
followed by chemical processing (34 projects), metals & minerals (32
projects), and pharmaceutical-biotech (8 projects).
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HVAC Spring Maintenance
Summer will be here soon -- and so will the push for
air conditioning. But don't wait until HVAC units break down in
sweltering heat to work on them. It's much better -- and cheaper --
to maintain them now than to repair them later. At a minimum, you
- Conduct visual inspections. Check the electrical contacts,
wiring, connections, raceways, controllers, switches, and mounting
hardware. Now is the time to address winter corrosion, rodent damage,
and failure causes.
- Clean and inspect the condenser coils. If you don't have a
condenser fin comb, buy one. This handy tool allows you to straighten
bent-over fins that block airflow.
- Test the motors. Perform insulation resistance testing on
HVAC motors. Beat the lead time crunch for replacement motors by doing
this now. Consider having a motor repair shop inspect motors for
critical units -- and perform needed repairs.
- Perform refrigerant maintenance. Have a certified HVAC tech
examine the refrigerant levels and add as needed. This is a good time
look for, and repair, leaks. You may even find it necessary to replace
the entire unit. Waiting until July is a bad idea.
- Inspect and repair ductwork. Check everything from the roof
curbings to the minor distribution points, wherever accessible. Fixing
leaks in the distribution system can have the same effect as adding
another entire unit -- but at a fraction of the cost.
Beware - Arc Flash
Pin and sleeve plugs & receptacles can be dangerous if operated under
load. To prevent accidents install Decontactor Series switch rated
and receptacles. They are a UL rated plug, receptacle and disconnect
switch in one device. 100 kA short circuit ratings protect users in
fault conditions. Inquire about our free trial program.
Meltric Corporation, call 800-433-7642, www.Meltric.com
In the middle of summer, at least one HVAC motor drops
out on overload every afternoon. Suspecting damaged winding insulation,
you have pulled and inspected the motors. But there's nothing wrong
them. What could be causing these mysterious dropouts?
The answer to this question appears at the end of this
Properly replacing HVAC units is not as straightforward
as many people think. Non-technical managers may demand additional
or upsizing existing units. Not so fast...
Adding units raises these concerns:
Upsizing is a losing proposition that will probably result in
less cooling capacity than if you stayed with the original-sized
unit. Here are some of the factors that come into play:
- Adequate roof structure to support the weight. Requires
- Adequate electrical infrastructure to support the load. Requires
- Design and installation of new ductwork, and engineered
of existing ductwork to properly distribute the additional capacity.
Requires a specialist.
In our next issue, we'll look at how to improve cooling without
- Mismatch of unit footprint to existing roof curbing. When
replace same-size units, you may need to reconfigure the roof curbing
due to shape changes. But when you upsize a unit, you funnel a larger
volume into a smaller volume. This damages airflow dynamics, creates
system backpressure, and increases the load on the motor.
- Violation of weight limits. A larger unit weighs more. A
correct architectural analysis might nix the upsizing.
- Inadequate electrical infrastructure. Larger units have
larger motors. Where will you get the supply power from? How much it
will cost? If you need a larger service, this could be a very expensive
SureTest® Circuit Tracer Takes Testing to a New
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maximizes the ease-of-use when identifying breakers, tracing wires and
finding opens/shorts. For more information on our circuit tracer kits,
here to download a PDF.
NEC at the Facility
Article 230 addresses electrical services. This is
obviously not a daily topic for maintenance or repair teams. But any
problem here will affect the entire service area. The consequences of
service issues can include facility-wide shutdowns, fire, and personal
injury. Flagrant violations can result in destruction of the entire
facility and any nearby buildings.
Article 230 consists of seven parts, each addressing a specific
subtopic. Part I supplies the general requirements. One of the major
concerns here is conductor clearances. While these clearances may have
been correct when your facility was built, subsequent modification
mean you are out of compliance. Take some time to review Article 230,
Part I, and correct any violations. Contact the electric utility about
how to best proceed in measuring those clearances and making any needed
repairs -- only qualified personnel should do this work.
The Practical Implications of OSHA
1926.403, Part 2
When it comes time to settle a personal injury suit,
don't want to be guilty of not following OSHA and NEC requirements in
the selection and use of equipment. Violations also give insurers a
defense against paying on claims. And, of course, you don't want
injured to begin with. What are some common mistakes?
- Permanent portable cords. It may be convenient to string
cords overhead to supply power to equipment, but when you start
those cords to surfaces and making them permanent, you are violating
both OSHA rules and NEC requirements.
- Questionable mounting. OSHA is weak on the details here, but
manufacturers' instructions and standard industry practices are clear
how to mount transformers, lights, panels, and other equipment. Mount
equipment so it's secure. In an earthquake zone, more stringent
- Poor cooling. Stacking things in front of a transformer vent
might seem like a smart way to maximize revenue per square foot, but it
creates a fire hazard. It may also reduce the efficiency and lifespan
- Poor identification. This is more of a problem than most
people realize. First responders have difficulty identifying the power
source for a given room, area, or piece of equipment -- thereby
frustrating their efforts. This same situation also increases downtime
by frustrating maintenance and repair operations on a daily
Replacement Contacts for Motor Starters & Contactors
Quality, low-cost electrical contacts for industrial motor starters
& contactors. Repco replacements for Allen-Bradley, ABB, Clark,
Cutler-Hammer, Furnas, GE, Hubbell, Siemens, Square D & Westinghouse.
Large inventory & application help.
Allen-Bradley series available: Bulletin 646, Series A, 500-Line,
Series K-700 Line, 100-Line
Answer to Electrical
The problem is not electrical at all. It's in the
controls -- specifically relating to thermostats accessible to
occupants. Most people don't understand that a thermostat is a switch.
Moving the setting to maximum doesn't bring more cooling. Instead, it
causes the unit to run constantly. When this happens, the condenser
coils ice up, and the unit can no longer "breathe." The motor keeps
drawing more current, until it trips its overloads. You have to wait
the condenser ice to melt before the unit can again provide cooling
Note: You get a similar effect when you upsize a unit and try
to mate the new unit to the smaller ductwork provided for the original
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