View this email as a Web page Please add MRO Insider to your Safe Sender list.

May 24, 2006 A Prism Business Media Publication Vol. II No. 10

Cast Your Vote Now!

Vacancy Rates Rise for Industrial Buildings

Cable Testing

Electrical Troubleshooting Quiz

Replacing Cables

NEC at the Facility

The Practical Implications of OSHA 1926.405

Answer to Electrical Troubleshooting Quiz


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

  • Subscriptions
    To unsubscribe from this newsletter go to: Unsubscribe

    To subscribe to this newsletter, go to: Subscribe

    To get this newsletter in a different format (Text or HTML), or to change your e-mail address, please visit your profile page to change your delivery preferences.

    Back Issues
    Missed an issue? Visit the MRO Insider archive page on the EC&M Web site.

    Share with a Friend
    Do you know someone who’d like to receive his or her own copy of MRO Insider? Visit the subscriber site enter their e-mail address, and spread the wealth. Subscribe

    To find out how to advertise in this newsletter, e-mail David Miller or call him at (312) 840-8497.

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


    Product of the Year Competition
    Cast Your Vote Now!
    Do you want the opportunity to win $100? Then visit the EC&M Web site by June 30 to cast your vote in EC&M's Product of the Year competition and help us to identify the best new product introduced for the electrical industry in 2005.

    When you visit the EC&M Product of the Year page, an automatic poll will pop up. (Note: If you have a pop-up blocker program, it may prevent you from seeing the poll. Temporarily disable the program to allow the poll to appear on your computer.) You then need to type in your contact information, choose your favorite product, and click submit. It's that simple.

    A panel of nine judges narrowed the field from 114 entrants to 24 category finalists, and now we need your help to determine the Platinum Award winner. The competition has honored innovation and excellence in product development in the electrical industry for the past six years.

    Project Watch
    Vacancy Rates Rise for Industrial Buildings
    According to a Market Insight note on the Grubb & Ellis Web site, robust construction has produced an increase in the vacancy rate for larger industrial buildings. The report notes at the end of the first quarter there was 110 million square feet of industrial space under construction. New construction accounted for 1.1% of this inventory. This ratio is the highest it's been in four years. However, vacancy rates in this sector (5.6%) remain below the national average of 8.0%.

    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.

    Cable Testing
    A single cable failure can bring down an entire facility. Determining the cause of a shutdown was actually a cable fault, but locating the fault may take hours. Then while operators helplessly wait, maintenance rushes to obtain and install new cable. If that cable is not stocked locally, things get even dicier.

    Now, imagine a different scenario. You administer a well-planned cable testing program, and you trend test results. During the last cable test, three cables showed a sharp change in the normally gentle downward slope of the trend line. Using normal purchasing channels, you find the best price on replacement cables and schedule replacement over the holidays when production isn't running anyhow.

    But don't think just in terms of downtime and costs. Cable faults can result in catastrophic destruction of an entire facility. To prevent the downtime, costs, and destruction, you must plan and execute a cable-testing program.

    For Quick Motor

    Decontactors are a combination plug & receptacle and disconnect switch. They allow electrical equipment to be safely and easily disconnected and connected - up to 60 hp or 200A. Since there is no access to live parts workers can change out a motor without having to 'suit-up'. Inquire about our free trial program.
    Meltric Corporation, call 800-433-7642,

    Electrical Troubleshooting Quiz
    It's another one of those days when it looks like your facility is going to set a new record for the most trouble calls in one day. You hope the problems will magically fix themselves as they did on previous days like this. Meanwhile, production is screaming about the downtime.

    You have low voltage and a host of other problems. A critical machine lost power, and the operators are telling you they can't reset the breaker. You make a note to train operators not to touch breakers, right after this latest breakdown nightmare passes. You make that note on paper, because your network is down.

    You meet with your top guns, and everyone agrees there is obviously a root cause, or this many failures wouldn't happen on the same day. One of your people says, "Well, we can rule out rain. It hasn't rained for several days." What is the likely problem, and how should you hunt it down?

    Replacing Cables
    With a cable-testing program, you will very rarely -- if ever -- see cable failure. Instead, you will see cable deterioration -- and you repair or replace cables before they fail. Here are some tips on replacing cables effectively:

    1. Determine the cause(s) of deterioration. A qualified testing firm is an excellent resource for assistance with this. Cables do deteriorate due to age, but don't assume that's the cause. Many things can accelerate insulation degradation.
    2. Evaluate the cable for the application. Before replacing a cable, consult your supplier with the details of the application and get a recommendation for the type of cable to use. Your application may have changed since the original installation, or a better cable may now be available.
    3. Review routing and mechanical protection. Because you'll disturb raceways and physical cable bundling to replace an existing cable, think carefully about how you want to put things back. For example, you might relocate motor drive cables away from the general use feeder cable tray.
    4. Prepare for proper installation. When production is down, you don't have time for installation tutorials. The crew must know the correct methods in advance. The wrong methods can cause premature failure. Exceeding a bend radius or maximum pulling tension, for example, reduces the life of the cable. Following the specific installation procedure for a specialty cable may greatly extend the life of the cable.

    Exclusive TightSight Display Helps Set a New Standard for Clamp Meters
    They're packed with features and like nothing you've ever seen before. When we began designing the line, we certainly started at the bottom and worked our way up. The innovative TightSight™ display gives you a level of testing freedom and safety beyond any test tool on the market. In tight, dark or bright locations, it's invaluable. Other features like a high voltage indicator will ensure that you've never felt safer. Visit for a preview of the 600A and 1000A clamp meters from IDEAL.

    NEC at the Facility
    An overcurrent protection device (OCPD) must have an enclosure to protect it. Article 240, Part III addresses OCPD enclosure requirements. But these are for protecting the OCPD, not for protecting people operating it. You must go beyond Article 240, Part III to have a safe enclosure installation.

    A common problem is an enclosure installed without adequate room on the right-hand side. For example, the panel is too close to a corner. This forces you to stand in front of the enclosure to operate the OCPD (which, presumably, you do with the left hand). When are breakers most likely to explode? When they're being operated. Where do you want to be when that happens? Not in front of the breaker, that's for sure.

    Install OCPD enclosures so people can operate the OCPDs without standing directly in the blast path. Manufacturers are excellent sources of advice, anytime you add OCPDs or an enclosure.

    The Practical Implications of OSHA 1926.405
    You may have heard, "We aren't required to follow the NEC inside our facility." This may be somewhat true if the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) granted exceptions for the installation of conductors and equipment [90.2(C)]. However, OSHA puts those requirements right back in place. The reason is very simple. NEC requirements -- based on the laws of physics -- attempt to answer the question, "How do we protect people and property?" OSHA attempts to protect people.

    Thus, OSHA 1926.405 poses requirements you also find in NEC Chapter 3. Consequently, violations of Chapter 3 wiring methods can result in far more than a fine from the local AHJ. OSHA fines are possible. But so is personal criminal liability, in the event of a tragedy.

    Carhartt's Flame-Resistant Twill Shirt
    Carhartt's flame-resistant twill shirts are available in khaki, medium blue and dark navy. This shirt has an ATPV of 8.2 and meets hazard risk category two. Premium construction offers double-stitched shoulders, and a shaped shirt tail for increased mobility. All Carhartt FR can be home or industrial laundered and is guaranteed to be flame-resistant for the life of the garment.

    Quiz Answers
    Answer to Electrical Troubleshooting Quiz
    The fact this is occurring on such a wide scale in so many systems indicates there is a root cause. The most likely cause is cable insulation deterioration. The observation that "it hasn't rained for several days" is a good clue -- you had rain just a few days ago. This means rainwater had time to make its way into raceways and form a conductive path between the cable insulation and ground.

    Under dry conditions, the leakage from the cable goes unnoticed. But when water enters the raceway, that leakage increases dramatically -- you get low voltage and other symptoms. The leaking electricity boils off the water, causing these problems to "magically" disappear until the next incursion of water.

    To fix this, you start with a one-line diagram of your facility and thoroughly test all of the cables in each drill-down from your one-line. If you test just "major" cables, you may not increase uptime because another cable failure will still shut you down. However, you'll need to weigh that consideration against the possibility of a catastrophic cable fault at the service or feeder level. A qualified testing firm can help you develop the best approach for your situation.

    See our tips for cable replacement, above. As you replace bad cables, carefully examine the installation for ways to reduce water incursion.

    You are subscribed to this newsletter as #email#

    For questions concerning delivery of this newsletter, please contact our Customer Service Department at:
    Customer Service Department
    A Prism Business Media publication
    US Toll Free: 866-505-7173
    International: 847-763-9504

    Prism Business Media
    9800 Metcalf Avenue
    Overland Park, KS 66212

    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.