In the previous two issues of MRO Insider, we examined
how to stop the blame game. The final piece of this puzzle is getting
production operators to:
However, the operators don't work for you, so how can you accomplish
this? Here are three suggestions:
- Identify specific problems. You need to know about any
problem that slows production or reduces quality. Automaker Toyota
its reputation not by solving a few great problems, but by solving many
- Look for improvements. Those closest to the work have
on how to make things run better, faster, and safer.
- Tell the right people. Operators see problems all the time,
but often drop the ball on getting that information to maintenance so
can be acted upon. Make it easy for them to do so.
- Look. Walk around and see how operators work. This helps you
understand what they tell you.
- Listen. Relying on suggestion forms is a mistake. Operators
rarely fill them out in a useful way -- if at all. Ask questions, and
listen to the replies. Don't argue or judge.
- Talk. Tell operators how you think they can help make your
mutual goals happen. Briefly explain the logic. Be careful not to tell
them how to do their jobs. Try suggesting instead.
Little" Maintenance: Part 1
Maintenance managers, trying to make do with limited
resources, often cut back on vital predictive and preventive
maintenance. Frequent victims include breaker testing, infrared
transformer testing, and insulation resistance tests. Cost-cutting on
these activities, however, is a proven way to generate enormous costs
downtime and repair.
A common cause of cutting back on true maintenance work is the
to complete unessential projects thrown on maintenance by outside
managers -- especially in organizations where maintenance isn't
allowed to "charge" for its work. Fight back by monetizing each
activity. When someone insists that maintenance should do a given
project, ask two simple questions:
You'll find that many "essential" projects and tasks don't make
financial sense for the company. Use that fact to get maintenance off
the hook. Consider including this information about proposed, accepted,
and completed projects in a weekly report to all departments.
- How much does it cost to perform?
- How much revenue loss does it prevent, or how much revenue does it
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online at www.infraredseminars.com or
A motor loses an overload fuse just about every day.
DMMs with high/low recording have been monitoring the input for two
weeks and have yet to show either undervoltage or overcurrent. What are
some possible reasons, and how can you find them?
The answer to this question appears at the end of this
Repair Mistakes: Part 1
Replacing or resetting a motor overload without taking
measurements usually solves the problem of the non-running motor
quickly. However, this seldom restores the motor system to proper
operation or provides confidence the motor will stay running.
Why did that overload trip? How close are you now to another trip?
Motor overloads protect a motor from overcurrent, because they open
the current draw exceeds some limit. If the motor is drawing just under
that limit, the overloads won't open. This doesn't mean your motor
system is healthy.
When the motor is down, you can perform insulation resistance
on the windings and supply cables, ohmmeter testing on the control
circuits, and alignment checks on the motor and load. Although
essential, these static tests don't tell you the whole story. Rely
completely on them, and you'll probably leave a root cause unsolved.
need dynamic testing for a complete repair.
Three dynamic tests are especially helpful:
- Vibration analysis. Quickly see if you have deficiencies in
mounting, support, or alignment.
- Thermal analysis. Quickly find such problems with
and lubrication. Pinpoint winding hot spots (insulation breakdown) and
identify bearings on the edge of failure.
- Voltage and current analysis. Using a standard DMM, check
voltage imbalance, low voltage, and high current. You can learn more
with a power analyzer (e.g., low power factor, excessive 3rd harmonics,
and waveform flat-topping).
NEC in the
You can reduce the cost of ordering and/or stocking
replacement ballasts and lamps by reducing the variety of luminaires in
a facility. Standardizing on a particular design reduces costs. For
example, carry all 277V fluorescents rather than a mix of 120V and 277V
and try to reduce the number of fixture styles. However, be careful not
to carry this too far.
Most facilities have a room for storing various cleaning chemicals
and janitorial supplies. Even when ventilated, these rooms can be
considered corrosive locations. A loading dock may become a damp
location or even a wet one when its doors are open during inclement
Make sure your lighting installations conform to 410.4:
- Use fixtures marked as suitable for any damp, wet, or corrosive
locations. Don't overlook locations that meet those descriptions only
- In damp or wet locations, install the fixtures so that water can't
enter or accumulate inside them.
- In corrosive locations, follow the manufacturer's installation
instructions rather than installing per your normal methods.
Make two safety habits part of the maintenance way of
- Participate. Take an active role in safety meetings,
discussions, and training. Being present but inattentive won't make you
safer. Ask questions, seek advice, and mention concerns.
- Work neatly. A messy workplace is a dangerous workplace.
work areas free of debris, scrap, and loose parts. Look for hazards
could lead to fire, falling, slipping, and tripping.
Show & Events
Where do you turn when you need accurate information on
changes to the National Electrical Code? Acknowledged as the leaders in
providing information on the NEC, EC&M magazine and EC&M
Seminars have been the preferred sources of this information for more
than 60 years. Seven Code change conferences have been scheduled in the
fall of 2007. Host cities include: Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Orlando,
Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Seattle.
As an approved provider with the National Council of Examiners for
Engineering and Surveying (NCEES), through its Registered Continuing
Education provider Program (RCEPP), professional engineers attending
of our 2008 Code change conferences will receive Professional
Development Hours (PDHs), a requirement for re-licensing in many
The conferences are also approved by every state that has a continuing
education requirement for contractors and electricians.
For additional information on the dates and locations of these
Electrical Troubleshooting Quiz
These fuses are obviously overheating. The DMMs are
looking at the fundamental current only. A power analyzer will show you
that the total current is close to the rating of the overload fuses.
the analyzer to identify the specific anomalies present in the supply
current. You can then solve for the cause(s) of those anomalies.
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