Reconciliation, Part One
One seldom tapped use for a computerized maintenance
management system (CMMS) is procedure reconciliation. The CMMS
useful for this task in two ways. We'll cover the second way in Part
(the March 12 issue). The first way involves comparing maintenance
procedures contained within the CMMS.
Your CMMS probably contains maintenance procedures for individual
pieces of equipment. And you probably have quite a bit of identical
equipment with not-so-identical maintenance procedures. You may, for
example, have Model X motor made by Mfr Y in 16 different locations,
thus 16 separately written maintenance procedures for the same motor.
Inconsistency is never a good thing, especially in maintenance.
First, it is unlikely each variation is technically correct and so
suboptimal maintenance is built into your system. Second, variations
undermine the validity of the procedures and thus promote
One way to end procedural variations is to create a procedure
library. This is a central depot (preferably in a network folder) that
contains each procedure as a separate file/document. With maintenance
procedures no longer embedded in varied forms in multiple locations,
many quality issues in your maintenance program disappear. And when you
reconcile the variations into one document, you (theoretically)
have the best features of all the variations.
Don't create long, meaning-laden names for your procedures. This
mistake is called "attribute overloading." Give each procedure a short,
unique name. For example: Motor001, Motor002, and Motor003. A short
general text name (e.g., motor) makes things more intuitive. For
specificity, append a number to it, as in the examples. But keep it
simple. You can't get much simpler than "003."
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A critical piece of equipment has gone down due to
failure of the drive motor three times in the past year. Each time,
production supervisors have insisted that even one second more of
downtime is too much. They want a new motor installed, pronto. How can
you troubleshoot the motor, if they won't extend the downtime?
The answer to this question appears at the end of this
Repair Scripts: The
When machinery goes down, what is the priority? Getting
that machinery back up, of course. Unfortunately, the pressure to end
downtime often leads to incomplete troubleshooting and insufficient
For example, a motor stops running. Using your advanced knowledge of
motors, you determine that the large cloud of smoke curling up from the
windings indicates there might be a problem with the motor. You replace
the motor, and production is once more humming along. You wanted to
figure out what toasted that motor, but there just wasn't time to do
that. Or was there?
Using a standardized checklist developed for each specific piece of
production equipment, you can usually identify the root cause of a
failure -- and quickly. By doing your thinking, researching, and
planning when the equipment is up, you don't have to do those things
during the pressure-cooker of downtime.
If you haven't created checklists before, you probably should ease
into doing so. Start with the equipment that can least tolerate
downtime. Read the manufacturer's literature, walk down the system
drawings, look through the PLC programming, and so forth. Make a short
list of potential failures and what to check to see of those exist.
as soon as you have a decent-sized list, so this task doesn't overwhelm
you. As new problems are identified, just update your checklist. It
isn't necessary to determine every possible cause when you first
A good checklist will be divided up into short user-friendly
sections, such as these:
- Quick checks
- Supply measurements
- Load inspections
- Top potential failure causes
- Programming checks
As you build each checklist, keep in mind you are trying to do the most
useful checks in a limited window of downtime. You may not catch the
root cause with your checklist, and the downtime will occur again for
the same reason as last time. But at least it won't be for something
obvious like voltage imbalance on the supply to a motor.
NEC at the
How can any facility exist without flexible cords? We
see them everywhere. We count on them to safely provide power in a wide
variety of conditions and for a wide variety of purposes. The phrase
"flexible cords" includes those portable power cords you depend on, but
goes beyond them as well. Flexible cords fall under Article 400. When
the last time you reviewed those requirements against your cord
inventory and usage?
In our previous edition, we pointed out that most
industrial accidents occur because of what people do. That is, unsafe
acts cause accidents and injuries. But where do unsafe acts come from?
One source is incorrect assumptions, such as these:
- "Warming up in the switchgear room is better than freezing out
here." Nobody says getting frostbite is good. But entering a
switchgear room when you don't have to, especially if you aren't
the appropriate arc blast protection, is foolish.
- "If there's a ground fault, the overcurrent device will protect
me." During a low-grade fault, an OCPD can hold long past the time
you become charcoal. It won't protect you.
- "If I'm walking to my work area, safety glasses aren't necessary
because I'm not actually working yet." The purpose of wearing
glasses has nothing to do whether you are working. It has to do with
what dangers may be present. Studies have shown that standard safety
glasses outperform the best excuses, every time.
Show & Events
Visit the EC&M E-Tradeshow and Learn About Claim
Don't miss the live conference Claim Litigation: Bolstering Your
Case presented by John DeDad, senior director, editorial and
EC&M development, scheduled for March 15th. Learn how to
costs resulting from undesirable and/or unplanned working conditions
that are beyond your control. Find out how to document various claim
categories such as acceleration and resulting decreased productivity,
additional engineering costs for change-order work, additional
expenses, and joint occupancy with other work forces. Visit http://ecmweb.com/etradeshow
information on accessing the EC&M e-Tradeshow, a virtual online
exhibition and live conference center.
Electrical Troubleshooting Quiz
Every motor replacement involves downtime. The trick to
getting "troubleshooting downtime" is to realize that troubleshooting
isn't necessarily sequential to replacement. These tasks can, and often
should, be done simultaneously.
Develop a troubleshooting script. If you can base this on
post-mortems of the other drive motors that failed, that's ideal. Have
one team troubleshoot while another team does the remove/replace drill.
If production management balks at the cost of two teams instead of one,
then that motor probably isn't so critical after all.
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