Maintaining for Energy
Savings, Part 8
Bottleneck Motor Repairs, Part
NEC in the Facility
Answer to Electrical
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MRO Insider addresses topics such
Working with management and supervision
National Electrical Code® on the production floor
Safety procedures and programs
Equipment maintenance and testing tips
Managing motors and generators
Trends in training and education
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The designations "National Electrical Code" and "NEC" refer to the
National Electrical Code®, which is a registered
trademark of the National Fire Protection Association.
Energy Savings, Part 8
Power-wasting problems can lie hidden for years,
stealthily sucking down your energy dollars. Eventually, a string of
equipment failures gets people looking for a root cause, and it turns
out to be a power anomaly.
Had that anomaly been fixed sooner, the equipment would have been
spared. And how much extra did it cost to operate your facility during
To eliminate this stealthy energy waste, you need a tool to identify
and report power problems in real time. A well-planned power monitoring
system is that tool.
Putting such a system in place involves more than slapping a monitor
on the wall at the service entrance. It requires setting up a network
monitoring points that include large individual loads, such as
compressor motors, and large load nodes, such as computer supply branch
circuits. Obviously, doing this requires an investment of time and
money. However, the return on that investment tends to be high.
Again, we’re talking about a system that looks at power
where the power is being used rather than only where it enters
the building. If you plan this system with the goal of enhancing energy
efficiency, you can receive automatic, instant notifications of major
sources of energy waste as problems emerge. That is much less
expensive than relying on “the canary in the mine approach”
for equipment to fail).
If your only goal is to qualify for a favorable utility rate based
the power factor at your utility meter, a power monitor is overkill.
don’t need a power monitor to determine if power factor correction
capacitors are getting you that favorable billing rate. But qualifying
for this rate doesn’t mean your facility is energy efficient. It can
be grossly energy inefficient and still qualify for this rate.
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A few years ago, your company added a new process on
your plant site. It required a new building with its own electrical
service. The plant controller now says the electric bills for this
building are too high. The utility’s kilowatt-hour usage reports for
building show a significant increase over time. Yet, no process changes
or equipment additions have been made since startup. What steps should
you take to investigate and solve this?
The answer to this question appears at the end of this
Repairs, Part 4
To reduce the time for your most critical repairs of
bottleneck motors, walk through (physically rehearse) each repair
scenario and do the following:
- Ensure repair procedures include lists of parts, materials, PPE,
other items typically needed to perform that repair.
- Determine training needs, and ensure you have a sufficient number
qualified people on each shift. Avoid concentrating the training into
only a few people (that creates a resource bottleneck).
- Try to move repair steps from the downtime window to before (or
after) the repair.
- Determine what tools are needed and keep them in a tool kit stored
near that motor.
- Look for ways to create parallel paths of work flow. For example,
while Tech A does this while Tech B does that.
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NEC in the
Class III locations are those that have (or may have)
combustible fibers in quantities sufficient to produce explosion
or ignition [500.5(D)]. As with Class I and II locations, Class III
locations may be Division 1 (combustibles present under normal
operations) or Division 2 (combustibles present under abnormal
Perhaps the most critical way in which Class III locations differ
from Class I and Class II is in the requirements for wiring methods.
These are in 503.10.
They also differ in seal requirements. In Class I locations, seal
requirements are stringent. In Class II locations, they are simple. In
Class III locations, they aren’t explicitly stated. However, sealing
may be implicitly required. For example, you may need to pour a
seal to maintain the integrity of a protection technique [500.7]
required by 503.25.
Class III locations have the largest particles (fibers), which are
the easiest to contain. Thus, Class III requirements are easier to
implement than Class I and Class II requirements.
Each year, OSHA releases a "most common violations"
list. Fall protection deficiencies make the list every time.
Guardrails are a type of fall protection. Manufacturers of guardrail
systems provide worksheets and other guides to help you create the
correct specifications for new guardrails in your facility. OSHA also
provides guardrail requirements, which you’ll find in
Where do you need guardrails? OSHA says to install guardrails any
time a surface is 6 ft or more above a lower level (alternatively, you
can use safety net systems or personal fall arrest systems).
However, danger also is present below 6 ft. Rather than think in
terms of how high you can be before violating OSHA requirements, think
about how to make every elevation safe.
This goes beyond simply installing guardrails. For example, if the
structure lacks the requisite strength and integrity for safe use, then
a guardrail doesn’t much matter.
Electrical Troubleshooting Quiz
The mere fact that you are in troubleshooting mode on
this issue reveals a glaring deficiency. With a properly setup power
monitoring system, you would have already had the answers.
Back when energy usage first started to rise, a system that monitors
this building’s major energy users would have sent you a series of
notifications. The system also would provide you the ability to view a
wide range of trends on various power characteristics.
It would be interesting to compare the cost of wasted energy over
past few years with the amount of money "saved" by not undertaking the
investment in an adequate power monitoring system. Now is a good time
put in a funding request for such a system. Once you actually reduce
energy bills, the perception of need will diminish dramatically.
Your initial troubleshooting steps:
- Use a portable power analyzer on feeders and then branch circuits.
- Check all air filters.
- Check the bonding system for faulty connections.
- Check cables for insulation integrity.
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