Thursday, August 8, 2019

PLC SCADA System Training Advice

This article gives you PLC SCADA system training advice so you can select the best PLC SCADA System Training.

(Follow me on Industrial Skills Training Blog and on Twitter @IndTraining .)

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Electrical Troubleshooting Game

Free Online Electrical Troubleshooting Game

O.E.T.S: [pronounced 'oats'] 
The only free Online Electrical Troubleshooting Simulator in the world.
Have you had your OETS today?

This online electrical troubleshooting training game app, is like no other. It is compatible with Smartphone's, tablets, PC, Mac, anything with a web browser, even TVs! Designed for Chrome and IE browsers. Unlike others, this training app includes the official 6 step LockOut-TagOut safety procedure training, also includes environmental and intermittent simulated electrical faults and allows you to use all 5 senses to troubleshoot!

There are three modes of simulator operation. The user starts out in the 'Explorer' mode and after completing the 6 familiarization steps and a review our certificate course offer, the simulator automatically unlocks the 'Skill Test' mode. After user completes the 5 faults in skill test mode, the 'Bonus' mode is unlocked. In the bonus mode, user can retake any or all of the 5 skill test as much as they like. Other simulator features can be unlocked along the way too, like the mode switch on VOM.

In the skill test mode the user monitors True Downtime Cost® (TDC) as well as points earned. Have fun, please share with your friends. The more who use this free tool, the more we will be encouraged to expand on it.

Game App Score:

In explorer mode, each step can score 10-20 points total. Spending 10 minutes or more going through 6 steps and exploring, results in an additional 20 points. The total possible score for all 6 steps combined is 100 (100%). SkillTest score is based on best procedures used, if equipment fixed and time taken. (TDC) Replacement of a part when not needed, results in lower score. Each Skill Test can result in up to 20 points (20% of score) for a total of 100 possible points (100%).

Troubleshooting Skills Test

The battery works it way up to green (full charge) in 10 point increments, starting with orange at the bottom. Actual score will also show below the battery. If the user attempts to work on devices without locking out first, user dies and all points are lost.

Electrical Troubleshooting Downtime Cost:

This troubleshooting simulator uses True Downtime Cost® (TDC). You can click on that link to learn more about how TDC is calculated. By default, true downtime cost per hour is set for $10,000, which is the average cost of a manufacturing bottleneck machine being down. User can click on TDC to change true cost per hour to an amount used at their own company.

True Downtime Cost

Troubleshooting Note Pad:

The troubleshooting note pad is a dual functional one. There are notes to the user, and the user can save/open their own notes. When user has a troubleshooting fault to solve, they can find notes on equipment break down from operator in the note pad too. Additionally, when user starts LockOut-TagOut processes, the required steps appear on the note pad. When user opens progress report, it appears on note pad. Tapping company logo on note pad opens the detailed game app help page.
Electrical Simulator Notes

Game Progress Report:

The game progress report while in the explorer mode or skill test mode, indicates what mode the user is currently in. When user unlocks the Bonus Mode, the skill test area will become editable, so user can check and unchecked the skill test the user wants to take again. After the user makes sure the test they want to take again, is unchecked, user taps the next step button to solve electrical fault present.

Electrical Troubleshooting Faults:

Possible faults types that could be present in the full online version can be many. IE: loose wire, bad part, wrong fuse, short, open, intermittent, etc. Environmental elements that could be involved are heat, vibration, water, bad line voltage. Senses required to troubleshoot may be sight, hearing, touch and smell; so simulator uses innovated ways to simulate those senses. With the free online version loose wire, bad part, open faults are simulated. For that version, sight, hearing and touch are used to troubleshoot. A simple circuit like the one used in the free online electrical troubleshooting game version, could have 20-30 possible faults.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Future Industrial Skills

Top 5 Industrial Skills

Needed in today's industrial automation and more future industrial skill requirements.

For automation technician to automation engineer…

[In order of importance and learning, each build on the previous skill set.]

1. Problem Solving:
The ability to gather information surrounding a problem and use cognitive thinking to come up with creative solutions. 

2. Critical Thinking:
Keeping an open mind to all considerations and details before coming to a conclusion.

3. Computer Literacy:
Knowledge about computers and experience with using computers.

4. Communications:
Communicate technical information in a clear and concise manner, being more detailed when need be.

5. Multitasking:
With multiple skill requirements comes the need to multitask efficiently.

Read more about these 5 necessary industrial skills at Top 5 Skills to excel in today's Industrial Automation on LinkedIn. (The place where professionals hangout.)

Don (Follow me on Industrial Skills Training Blog and on Twitter @IndTraining .) Be sure to to stay on top!

Friday, August 31, 2018

Machine Failure Analysis

Machine Failure Analysis:

PLC Troubleshooting

Most of the time when people refer to PLC Troubleshooting, they are actually referring to using the PLC to troubleshoot machine failure more quickly. In this post, we are applying the machine failure analysis to troubleshooting the PLC itself.

Most reading this, already know how the laws of physics are applied to machine failure analysis and used for machinery failure probability assessments. So a company can assess what parts to stock to minimize downtime cost-effectively. But we have found many neglect to take into account those basic laws when troubleshooting the PLC itself (and other machine automation equipment). So below is the list again, in order of most likely to least likely just as a reference.

Failure probability is categorized like this …
(In order of most likely to least likely)

High Current (because of associated high heat)
Low Current
Solid State

Environment can be an exception to the general rules.
(Relay card most likely, and MTBF is useless unless solid-state, as frequency PLC program activates, dictates failure rate as well as environment.)

The above probability guide translates to PLCs as ...

External to PLC
Output Cards
Input Cards
Power Supply
CPU (processor Card)

The environment can change basic order above. A couple examples, in a foundry, the metal dust causes backplane to fail more frequently. In the machining industry, penetrating fluid getting into sensors causes input cards to fail more than output cards because the liquid causes an input card to sink more current than designed to. In wire manufacturing were a lot of high voltage insulation testing is going on, CPUs fail more often because control voltage for PLC does not have a line filter in line with it. etc. etc. Other variables that affect the failure rate are improper design, like not allowing the 20% extra when calculating relay card or power supply current, etc, etc.

To dig deeper into the analysis, let's take a PLC thermal couple input card as an example. You want to decide, should I stock spares of this type of PLC input card? It is an interesting one, as it has no moving parts, but in industrial applications, commonly used in a high heat environment. So its probability of failure could be classified in the more likely categories of mechanical and high current, even though it is not literally mechanical or high current. (The environment in which it commonly operates places it up there with those high probabilities of failure.) Technically an input card, yet risk at the level of output card due to environment. Point being, while the two priority list above is a general guide, you need to consider your particular environment too. (There are exceptions to every rule. 😊 )  

Download for more machine failure and troubleshooting resources.

Don (Follow me on Industrial Skills Training Blog and on Twitter @IndTraining .) Be sure to to stay on top!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

What is Autonomous Maintenance?

These Autonomous Maintenance Steps answer best...

AM Steps

Autonomous Maintenance (AM) is the first step in Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) methodology which is a part of the LEAN manufacturing philosophy.

Autonomous Maintenance Steps:

Step 0 Is the lessor known and practiced autonomous maintenance step, has the goal of educating machine operators on the basic knowledge of machine components functions and maintenance best practices.

Step 1 of autonomous maintenance is cleaning and inspection. Its sole purpose is to remove grime and dirt from the machine in order to identify any problem associated with the machine. In so doing, the operation of the machine is stopped, all fluids drained and all machine covers removed in order to reveal all parts to be cleaned and inspected.

Step 2 sets out to remove causes of contamination in order to improve access. In this stage, the source of the dirt is of the primary concern operators seek how to minimize the sources of contamination.

Step 3 is about the cleaning and lubrication standards. These standards define what the operators should inspect, clean, lubricate and tighten, how it should be done, after what period and such like.

Step 4: The operators should be trained to gain enough expertise on the function of the machine parts and solution finding skills. They are undergo an in depth training to familiarize themselves of the functionality as well as obligations.

Step 5: Conduction of autonomous inspection using the skills and knowledge gained from the first four steps. Tasks are bench-marked with that of other maintenance departments so that scheduling avoids overlapping effort.

Step 6: Implementation of visual maintenance management to make the workplace as visible as possible. Using a Kamishabi board is important as it points out when and what has been completed.

Step 7: The process is based on the principle of continuous improvement. Records of activities done are subjected to auditing regularly. Achievements and failures are iterated to future designs to improve and make maintenance easier.

With AM Step 0 being the key one to insure greater success with all the other steps, you should learn more. Here are some additional resources to help you.

LEAN | TPM | Autonomous Maintenance Steps | Step 0: Education

Operator Autonomous maintenance Training (OATs)

AM 2 In-house Training Program

Do your part to make the world a better place, please share these resources with others. Everyone could use more success and profits. 👷

Don (Follow me on Industrial Skills Training Blog and on Twitter @IndTraining .) Be sure to to stay on top!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

How to measure conductivity of water

How to measure conductivity of water (conductometry)

Insight to conductivity measurement (conductivity to resistivity) 

This How to measure conductivity of water PDF offers insight to conductivity measurement (conductivity to resistivity) using a conductometry meter. Below are excerpts from whitepaper...
2 plate conductivity probe
Figure No. 1 Traditional two-plate conductivity probe.
Conductivity measurement meter operation and use. The electrical conductivity of water based solutions (and its opposite, conductivity to resistivity) indicate its electrical current carrying ability. High conductivity occurs when many charged atoms and ions are in the water. This typically means the presence of dissolved metals, salts, acidic or alkali chemicals. Conductivity measurement probes are used to measure the total level of charged particles present. This article explains how conductivity measurement probes work and their application in boiler water treatment and management.

The more charged particles that are present, the easier it is for the electricity to flow. The amount of electricity that flows is a direct reflection of the amount of chemicals present in the water. Conductivity measurement, measures the Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) present and can be used as an indication of contamination. Some charged particles contribute more than others. Organic compounds, like fuels, oils, alcohols, sugars, do not behave in the same way and conductivity cannot be used as a measure of contamination.

Conductivity measurement:

To pass electric current through water a conductivity meter has two probes a small distance apart. A known amount of electricity is put down one probe and the amount that gets through to the other probe is measured. The greater the electric current, the greater the number of charged particles present in the water. Figure No. 1 shows how the earliest conductivity probes were designed. To make the probes more sensitive when fewer charged particles were present the distance between the plates was reduced.

The size of the plates/probes and their distance apart establishes a cell constant for the probe. The meter’s sensitivity can be selected by choosing the probe’s cell constant. Low conduction solutions require big probe surface areas close together while highly conducting solutions use smaller surfaces further apart. Click to learn more about how to measure conductivity of water.

Conductometry probes:

The sensor end of the probe is mounted in the water stream and the read-out is displayed locally or in a control room. Conductivity meters are regularly installed in boiler water purification plants to prove the treatment is removing the dissolved salts and metals that would otherwise go into the boiler and scale-up the heat transferring metal surfaces.

Conductivity meters are also used to measure the TDS build-up inside boilers and to automatically open and close a control valve to blow down the boiler contents and lower the TDS. The probe senses the contamination increasing as water is boiled away into steam. Once the conductivity is above a set limit the automated blow down valve opens and discharges the high TDS water. The probe also monitors the falling TDS levels in the boiler and shuts the blow down valve when the lower set point is reached. Click to learn more about how to measure conductivity of water.

References: Process Control Operative Certificate in Chemical Plant Skills, Holmesglen Collage of TAFE.
Aquarius Technical Bulletin #2, Aquarius Technologies P/L

Don (Follow me on Industrial Skills Training Blog and on Twitter @IndTraining .) Be sure to to stay on top!