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March 4, 2008 A Penton Media Publication Vol. IV No. 5

Reports 101

Motor Maintenance Tip, Part 8

Electrical Troubleshooting Quiz

Facilitate Breaker Repairs

Make Space

NEC in the Facility


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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    Reports 101
    You can use maintenance reports to see where you should improve your maintenance efforts and to defend or expand the budget needed to implement those improvements.

    But the reports are only as good as the data on which you base them, so you need efficient ways of collecting accurate data. To reduce the overhead of manual collection methods, talk to vendors about automated data collection through your control systems and power monitoring system. For manual collection:

    • Collect only the data you need. Ask for too much, and accuracy plummets. Don't ask for data that would be "nice to have."
    • Use simple collection forms. Provide predetermined choices, wherever possible, ensuring the choices include "other."
    • Motivate the data collectors
    • . Techs under pressure to do repairs (or PM) with equipment shut down need frequent reminders that recording data serves a vital purpose. When you can show a connection between results and data collection, do so.
    In our next issue, we'll look at what information you need to make those reports especially effective.

    Motor Maintenance Tip, Part 8
    About half of all motor failures occur due to failed bearings. One cause of bearing failure is the mixing of incompatible greases, which can have the same effect as pouring sand into the bearing. Determine which lubricant to use in a given bearing, and stick with it.

    Another cause is excessive greasing. Excess grease can:

    • Hold in heat to the point that all of the grease melts and runs out, leaving the bearing dry.
    • Create a hard crust that abrades the bearing.
    • Short your windings.
    Misalignment, poor mounting, and overloading also cause bearing failures. Don't add to those problems with improper lubrication methods.

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    Electrical Troubleshooting Quiz
    Your boss temporarily reassigns you to another facility to solve its plant-wide plague of premature motor failures. You've already reviewed the information from the power monitoring system and ruled out voltage imbalance and other supply issues. You want to solve this problem quickly and go home. Where should you focus your efforts?

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

    Facilitate Breaker Repairs
    Previously, we identified some information needed for each model of breaker. However, you also need certain information on each individual breaker. Ideally, you will store this in your CMMS and ensure it's easily accessible to the repair techs.

    For each breaker, have information such as:

    • Load data. Characterize each load. Include current draw, inrush currents, usage factors, and any data pertinent to that application.
    • Settings. Determine the correct values for each possible adjustment. This typically shouldn't (or can't) be done in the field.
    • PM data trends. Comparing test measurements to historic trends can greatly reduce repair time while increasing the completeness of repairs.
    • Maintenance history. What has been done (or not done) to maintain that breaker? What anomalies have been noted?
    Additional tips include:
    • Review breaker information for completeness and accuracy, as part of the scheduled PM.
    • Store test results digitally so they can be easily accessed and easily trended.
    • Store thermal image files digitally, to speed up retrieval and comparison.

    Make Space
    Senior managers seek to maximize revenue per square foot of floor space. So when Article 110 and OSHA 1926.403 talk about minimum working clearances, all of the values somehow get translated into exactly 3 feet of working clearance.

    Make a point of correcting this "lost-in-translation" problem, but don't stop there. Art. 110 and OSHA 1926.403 provide several values of minimum clearances for safety. The clearances needed to maximize the average revenue per square foot of the facility could be significantly more.

    If a production line produces $250,000 an hour of revenue, what's the net loss resulting from the "fully utilized" floor space arrangement that doubles the time needed for repair?

    Walk through your critical repair situations and look for a combination of permanent space, temporary space, modified accessways, modified tools, and innovative techniques that can eliminate delays caused by trying to work in too-tight quarters.

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    Battcon International Stationary Battery Conference,
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    Jennifer Stryker, Albércorp/Battcon, 3103 No. Andrews Ave. Ext., Pompano Beach, FL 33064. (954) 623-6660.

    NEC in the Facility
    Feeder taps seem to grow in popularity as a facility ages. The reasons for using feeder taps in new construction tend to focus on installation cost. In an existing facility, the focus tends to be on installation speed. Take care not to go too fast. You can't install all feeder taps per 240.21(B). If such a tap supplies a motor, it must comply with 430.28.

    Report all unsafe conditions to your supervisor (even if you are a supervisor). Depending on the circumstances, you may report unsafe conditions to other people first.

    For example, say you notice a gas leak. Your first duty is to "sound the alarm" and warn others so they can leave the area. Then, you need to ensure the first responders are notified. After you've addressed the immediate situation this way, you then notify the area manager (e.g., the production manager or line supervisor for the affected area). Now, at last, you can tell your supervisor.

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    Quiz Answer
    Answer to Electrical Troubleshooting Quiz The fact this is a plant-wide issue actually helps you narrow down the problem. Application-specific motor selection issues, such as the wrong insulation rating for the temperature, are unlikely to be at the root of a plant-wide problem. Apply this same "filter" to other potential causes and most will move to the "unlikely" column.

    The root cause will likely be human error. But what error is it? Conduct a forensic analysis of a few failed motors, and symptoms that are common to these will lead to the answer.

    The new maintenance manager at an appliance plant found his answer after opening a few motors. Each one was filled with grease -- packed in tight. At this plant, motor lubrication had been regarded as "grunt work" and assigned to two junior techs working a backshift.

    Several manufacturers' maintenance manuals clearly explained the motor lubrication procedure. However, nobody read the manuals. The techs were pumping in random amounts of new grease without opening the bottom port to remove the old grease.

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