April 24, 2006 A Prism Business Media Publication Vol. II No. 8

Semiconductor Projects Soar in the Rockies

HVAC Spring Maintenance

Electrical Troubleshooting Quiz

Speed Doors

NEC at the Facility

The Practical Implications of OSHA 1926.403, Part 3

Answer to Electrical Troubleshooting Quiz


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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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    Project Watch
    Semiconductor Projects
    Soar in the Rockies

    The Rocky Mountain region has become a hub of activity for the semiconductor industry. The states of Arizona, Colorado, and Idaho have more than $5.7 billion worth of active project opportunities on the books, according to marketing information resources company Industrial Information Resources (IIR). The company recently cited key investments in each of these three states.

    Intel Corp. has been investing heavily in its semiconductor manufacturing facilities in both Arizona and New Mexico. Last year, the company began construction on a $3 billion plant in Arizona and is planning an additional investment of $2 billion on a renovation/expansion of its Fab 22 facility in the state. In New Mexico, it began work on a $105 million wafer manufacturing plant conversion project at the end of last year, and earlier this year broke ground on a $650 million wafer fabrication plant expansion at the same location.

    In Boise, Micron Technology has plans for two major expansion projects -- a $50 million memory chip and image sensor manufacturing plant addition and a $1 billion semiconductor manufacturing plant expansion.

    AutomationDirect's new
    C-more touch panel is available in 6-, 8-, 10-, 12- or 15-inch versions. Equipped with an analog touch screen that eliminates defined touch cell boundaries, C-more's configuration software allows objects to be placed, scaled and overlapped without limitation. Advanced capabilities include built-in e-mail client, FTP and web servers. www.automationdirect.com/photoelectric

    HVAC Spring Maintenance
    In our previous issue, we explained that upsizing HVAC units may actually reduce your cooling. If you have more heat than your present system can overcome, you don't necessarily need more cooling. You may simply need to reduce heat at the source and heat infiltration into air-conditioned spaces.

    To reduce heat at the source:

    • Examine electrical infrastructure for power factor, harmonics levels, and transformer loading.
    • Upgrade to high-efficiency lamps and ballasts wherever possible. Use automated lighting controls, especially in low-traffic areas in air conditioned spaces.
    • Examine processes for opportunities to reduce process temperatures. Reschedule some hot processes, if possible, to the night shift -- when it's cooler.
    • Improve the ventilation of areas not served by air conditioning. Look closely at ventilation hoods, ducting, and fan configurations.
    • Reduce hot water temperatures. In many facilities, these temperatures are unnecessarily high. Lower them, and less heat escapes from hot water pipes into air-conditioned spaces.
    To reduce infiltration:
    • Install air curtains and speed doors between hot areas and other spaces. If you already have these items, now is the time to test them for proper operation.
    • Upgrade window treatments, and consider replacing sun-facing windows with emissivity-corrected windows.
    • Caulk, seal, and insulate.
    This is only a partial list of what a facility can do to reduce source heat and infiltration. For example, many companies have redesigned their processes to reduce the need for lift trucks. But those kinds of improvements fall outside the realm of MRO. Other improvements do not -- make an effort to involve your entire MRO team in uncovering these.

    Beware - Arc
    Flash Hazard

    Pin and sleeve plugs & receptacles can be dangerous if operated under load. To prevent accidents install Decontactor Series switch rated plugs 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

    Electrical Troubleshooting Quiz
    You discover you have only 105V on a convenience receptacle, yet that branch circuit comes off a 120/208 panel. Then it occurs to you the lights are dim. You measure only 442V at your service. You look through the power monitor logs, and see that -- until a few weeks ago -- you always had between 481V and 484V, and voltage has been steadily declining since. What could be wrong?

    The answer to this question appears at the end of this newsletter.

    Speed Doors
    Typically, the door fails so someone from maintenance uses the manual over-ride and locks the door open so lift trucks can get through. After a few days, someone "gets around to" making the door operable again. This involves replacing broken parts -- usually in the drive mechanism. But seldom does anyone fix the problem that causes premature failure: excessive use.

    You need speed doors for lift trucks, not for people. If space permits, install a "service door." If you have a service door, post a sign reminding pedestrians to use it. If your door operates off a motion detector system, consider replacing that with a system requiring a device (e.g., passcard) on the lift truck. You can use PLC control to bypass this during shift changes, breaks, and other times when the number of pedestrians makes the service door impractical.

    SureTest® Circuit Tracer Takes Testing
    to a New Level

    The new SureTest® Circuit Tracer provides unparalleled levels of precision and performance. The innovative, super-bright SwivelDisplay rotates the reading for the user. In addition, the exclusive displayed numeric value (0-99) and variable tone/pitch audible maximizes the ease-of-use when identifying breakers, tracing wires and finding opens/shorts. For more information on our circuit tracer kits, click here to download a PDF.

    NEC at the Facility
    In our previous issue, we touched on Article 230 (which consists of seven parts), paying particular attention to Part I. Some more common violations pertain to Part VI.

    For example, the service disconnect must be in a readily accessible location -- either outside the building or nearest the point of entry of the service entrance conductors. This requirement allows firefighters to quickly shut off the power. Yet, many facilities have access issues that would create serious delays while people are trapped in a burning building. Walk through Part VI requirements one at a time, and ensure your facility complies. Doing so may just save a life one day.

    The Practical Implications of OSHA 1926.403, Part 3
    Two common misperceptions make life dangerous for MRO workers:

    1. As long as you leave pretty close to 3 feet of semi-cluttered working space in front of an electrical panel, the installation is fine.
    2. Since electricians don't need to get into dry-type transformers, these make handy shelves (even if you block the vent).
    OSHA requires a minimum of 3 feet of space -- sometimes more -- in front of electrical equipment (including transformers), plus provides requirements in other dimensions. These requirements are the legal minimums. So, meet these and no crime is committed.

    But that doesn't mean these are the optimum clearances. Nor does it mean they are necessarily adequate for safety or performance. Don't be pressured into trying to get as close to the OSHA minimums as a bent ruler held at an angle will allow.

    Instead, determine the space required to safely perform the maintenance and repairs necessary for uptime. Make a list of all maintenance and repair operations you could need at that location. Walk through the procedures (how will you move switchgear cabinets, how much room do you need to pull cable?) to determine the amount of space needed. Then, erect proper barriers, and keep that space clear.

    You will always have to cost-justify any space beyond OSHA minimums. Build your case by showing the additional downtime hours incurred due to inadequate space. Be prepared to compromise with movable items being put in that space. Do not compromise on the OSHA minimums.

    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. Clark/Challenger/Joslyn/Sylvania series available: Old style auxiliaries, Type CY, Type TM, Type KD, Type KS, Type 7400 (RS, RD, DC) www.repcoinc.com

    Quiz Answers
    Answer to Electrical Troubleshooting Quiz
    Often when you have low voltage at a receptacle, the problem is a failing or overloaded transformer. The same is true at the service. First, contact your utility to ensure they are delivering the right voltage to your transformer. If the utility owns the transformer, they'll probably want you to shut down as soon as possible so they can service it. If they don't own it, hire a specialist to service it.

    Maybe servicing can correct the voltage deficiency or maybe you can change a transformer tap (if advisable). But you might need to replace the transformer. Or you may need to upgrade your service. Work with a specialist to develop a plan, and act on it quickly. To get the requisite downtime, explain that delay could mean several weeks with no power if you lose that service transformer -- lead times may be long.

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    Copyright 2006, Prism Business Media. 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 Prism Business Media.