Introducing the EC&M
EC&M magazine's new online tradeshow and
conference series is now open! Use it as often as you like at no cost
to you. The E-tradeshow is a 3D exhibition where you can examine some
the latest in electrical products, meet with exhibitors, and gather
information. Plus, you'll be able to attend conference seminars inside
the E-Tradeshow throughout the year.
here and you'll be connected to detailed information about how
to get inside and make full use of the E-tradeshow. In minutes you'll
exploring in the 3D environment, be visiting in our charter exhibitors'
booths, and checking out some very cool products.
See you in the show!
Fix Equipment Problems Faster with C-more!
12-inch C-more machine operator panels are among the
easiest to use in the industry. The Event Manager logs alarms and send
email messages to multiple addresses based on alarms, changing tag
values, periodic events, or even particular screen changes.
C-more...learn more at cmore.automationdirect.com.
Plant Closures on the Horizon
According to marketing information resources company
Industrial Information Resources (IIR), 165 U.S. industrial plants will
close their doors between January 2006 and the end of 2008, translating
into 64,000 lost jobs. The regions most affected appear to be the
Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Great Lakes, each losing between 30 to 32
plants and 9,000 to 13,000 jobs. Many of the plants are tied to the
But the news isn't all bad. IIR is also tracking 742 plants
to open throughout North America during the same time period. The new
plants are projected to add approximately 155,000 jobs.
A Better Way to Connect Electrical Equipment
Decontactors are a UL rated plug, receptacle and disconnect switch in
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be quickly connected or disconnected - up to 60hp, 200A. NFPA 70E and
NEC code compliance is simplified because a safety shutter prevents
unintentional access to live parts and 100 kA short circuit ratings
protect users in fault conditions. Click below to learn more and to
request literature or a free sample.
Maintaining Batteries, Part
Ask the typical manufacturing plant engineer about
batteries, and you'll hear about lift trucks. In a data center, you'll
probably hear about racks of stationary batteries and lift truck
One appeal of electric lift trucks is they eliminate fuel storage
fuel handling issues. For indoor operations, they eliminate air quality
problems that arise from combustion fumes. However, their downside can
When an internal combustion engine runs out of LP gas or diesel, it
shuts off (in a diesel, this shortens the life of the fuel pump). An
internal combustion engine doesn't start overheating as the fuel tank
nears empty. But an electric motor does.
How do you manage battery care? Do you leave it up to the lift
operator to monitor battery life, stop work, drive to the lift truck
depot, have maintenance swap out batteries, and then resume work --
all while production managers are hollering for the machine? If so, you
have identified a curable cause of the high motor failure rate in your
But it's not just the motor that is in danger with a
"leave-it-to-the-operator" policy. Does the operator carry loads up
grades? That's when the battery drain will be most noticeable. The lift
truck motor, unable to produce enough torque with the low battery,
on the ramp, causing the truck to roll backward.
Does your battery replacement program account for the fact that
batteries lose capacity over time? Burning up lift truck motors because
you run on old batteries to reduce battery purchase costs equals false
On the other hand, a formal battery maintenance program is a
way to reduce battery purchase costs -- and it helps ensure reliable
operation of your lift trucks.
Exclusive TightSight Display helps set a new
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
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
a high voltage indicator will ensure that you've never felt safer.
a preview of the 600A and 1000A clamp meters from IDEAL.
An electric lift truck has burned up three motors in as
many months. The battery is less than a year old, and it gets a full
charge every night. What are some possible causes?
The answer to this question appears at the end of this
Replacing Lift Truck
Because so-called "maintenance-free" batteries are
"sealed," the myth exists that they neither leak acid nor need
maintenance. In reality, they are not sealed, and they do require
maintenance. In fact, they contain a pressure valve that regulates the
gas pressure inside the battery.
All batteries produce gas. Exposure to sunlight can heat up the
battery, raising the gas pressure -- do your trucks ever sit outside?
Excessive charging or discharging also raises gas pressure. If the gas
pressure is too great, the battery may vent acid in addition to gas. If
the battery can't vent fast enough, the case will bulge and may even
When replacing a battery, take the time to clean the battery tray
with a neutralizer -- even if it's just baking soda and water. Clean
the mounting hardware, cables, and terminations. Inspect the cable ends
-- are they still serviceable, or should you replace them? Inspect
insulating materials for damage.
A maintenance tech changing a lift truck battery in an Illinois gear
factory made inadvertent contact between his screwdriver and the truck
frame. He wasn't shocked or burned, because he was wearing the correct
PPE. But a large portion of his screwdriver blade vaporized. Training
the proper procedures is essential, which is one reason many firms
simply outsource their lift truck maintenance to specialty shops (net
cost savings is another).
Battery storage, transportation, and disposal each bring
that you may not have considered. Ask your battery vendor or a lift
truck maintenance service for advice.
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
category two. Premium construction offers double-stitched shoulders,
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. www.CarharttFR.com
NEC at the Facility
Electricians regularly engaged in construction tend to
be well-versed in Art. 310 -- not confused by its many nuances. The
opposite tends to be true of facility maintenance electricians or plant
engineers performing the infrequent new wiring job. Some tips will help
you avoid confusion:
- If you run parallel conductors, think of them as "clones." If the
conductors differ in size, insulation, terminations, or length, you are
doing the job incorrectly [310.4].
- Don't run THHN for everything, just because you have THHN in your
storeroom. This may not be the proper insulation for the application.
Follow the requirements of 310.7 through 310.10, and 310.13.
- Where more than one ampacity could apply to a circuit, use the
lowest value. See the FPN in 310.35(2) for the one exception to this
- Remember that the terminations limit the conductor temperature
rating you can use. If you are using a 90°C conductor with a
60°C termination, you must consider Tables 310.16 through
OSHA and the Manager in
The typical plant has a safety director onsite. This
leads to the common misconception that safety plan enforcement is the
duty of that person, not the individual managers.
Company executives are responsible for ensuring the company's safety
plan includes an enforcement component. Enforcement procedures
range from progressive discipline for minor infractions to termination
for willful violations. And, yes, OSHA does track willful violations.
While it may be tempting to overlook safety violations, doing so can
create legal problems in addition to creating an unsafe work
environment. It can also cost you your job. If you have concerns about
properly disciplining and documenting safety violations, ask your HR
manager for assistance.
Answer to Electrical
Just because a battery is fairly new doesn't mean it's
in good condition. A full discharge does permanent damage. What's the
discharge/recharge history on that battery? Or do you track battery
charging cycles? Here are some other questions to ask:
- Is the new battery the right size and model for that truck (it may
be replacing an incorrectly specified battery)?
- What is the condition of the battery; how long does it hold a
- Is that truck the right size and configuration for the work being
- Is the operator frequently cycling the truck on and off, thus
heating up the motor unnecessarily?
- What's the condition of the drive train?
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