Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Federal Buildings Personnel Training Act of 2010 passed

AFE (Association for Facilities Engineering) writes about the Federal Buildings Personnel Training Act of 2010 being passed.

AFE envisions the legislation as a way for the Federal government to model best practices in the operation and maintenance of high efficiency buildings systems. "By passing this legislation, the federal government will demonstrate by correctly maintaining high performance buildings, huge savings in energy and water costs can be achieved," he said. "But those dividends can only be attained when appropriately trained workers maintain high efficiency buildings at peak performance levels."

Read full article at AFE site, click AFE: Latest News

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

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Electrical Preventive Maintenance Will Keep You Safe and Warm

This series of post; "Electrical Preventive Maintenance Will Keep You Safe and Warm" are guest post by Stuart Smith, MBA, MS. He is an avid writer about CMMS and EAM software solutions for Mintek Mobile Data Solutions. Stuart has over 25 years experience running operations in multiple industries. Stuart will have sevral post in the folowing weeks to cover Electrical PM, so please follow our blog to keep up to date on this topic.

Electrical Preventive Maintenance Will Keep You Safe and Warm
By Stuart Smith

With much of the nation buried under mountains of snow or enduring freezing temperatures, now is the time to make sure that your industrial facilities have been inspected for potential electrical problems. Without proper preventive maintenance on your electrical systems, disaster can happen before you have time to thaw.

Why Perform Preventive Maintenance on Electrical Systems

During the winter months, power requirements are higher for many industries as facilities struggle to keep buildings warm and their assets in operation. In addition, in today's economic environment, facility and plant managers also struggle with efforts to lower power consumption in order to reduce expenses.

Training and specialized equipment such as programmable logic controllers (PLC) can only help so much. All of the above goals contribute to a variety of issues that includes but is not limited to:

Ten Reasons to Perform Electrical Preventive Maintenance

◦Avoid electrical shorts that cause fires: Electrical short circuits can occur when wires are overloaded with current, wires are exposed and load imbalances. This can cause excessive heat buildup, arcing or explosions.

◦Identify loose connections: Loose connections can cause power fluctuations to devices, devices to operate erratically and uneven load distribution between wires.

◦Identify components running hot or not according to specifications: Transformers, motors, bearings and wires almost always run hot before they fail. Predictive maintenance technologies such as infrared thermography, vibration analysis and laser alignment tools as well as general maintenance such as regularly scheduled lubrication can avoid asset failure.

◦Identify unusual smells, noises, dust build up, or discoloration: Melting insulation, stressed motors, corrosion through dust and so on make a physical inspection a requirement for electrical components. Electrical troubleshooting should be performed using a systematic approach.

◦Check all emergency lighting, signage and power indicator displays: Many electrical disasters occur when the safety monitoring equipment itself is faulty leading to a false belief that all is ok.

◦Extend the useful lifecycle of assets: Poorly maintained assets require more energy to do the same amount of work. This leads to excessive wear and tear and a shortening of the assets useful lifecycle.

◦Avoid unplanned downtime: Unplanned downtime can shut down production, result in emergency labor costs and unnecessary capital asset replacement. Without proper electrical training, all of these significantly impact the profitability of the organization.

◦Less equipment loss: Consistent electrical preventive maintenance will reduce the amount of equipment that needs to be replaced early as a result of electrical problems.

◦Energy savings: Optimal energy efficiency will occur when equipment is functioning within design parameters and is well maintained.

◦Safety and Liability: The most important reason of all is safety. Avoiding serious injuries or death is worth every penny spent on prevention. Liability lawyers have a field day when facilities have a poor maintenance record.

Please Follow this blog to see the next post in this series titled "How Often Should Electrical PM be done?"

Also if you find this post useful, please share with others using the social media buttons, and your comments below are always appreciated.

About the post author Stuart Smith, MBA, MS: Stuart is an avid writer about CMMS and EAM software solutions for Mintek Mobile Data Solutions.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Your Next Captial Equipment Purchase

Advice: Get advice.

 Get advice from an independent-unbiased consultant before you purchase new capital equipment (Machines, production equipment, automation, etc.)

Example, don’t rely on equipment provider and OEM only. Before making any decisions, signing any agreements, seek out a non-related and non-competitive consultant or training company and ask their advice.

An OEM may sell you on the notion you need the most expensive equipment, or new technology that can often cost you more in support and downtime.

Ask the questions

  • Does the application need this level of technology?
  • Will it make us OEM dependant?
  • Do we have staff trained to maintain, make minor modifications?
  • Is the system cost effectively expandable? Does it really need to be expandable?
  • Will we have access to ALL programs, documentation, needed software?
  • Will the project require ongoing support cost? How Much?
  • Is the process secure from malicious abuse? (Can it be easily accessed remotely by unauthorized persons?)
  • What is the turnaround time to get on-site service tech? At what cost?
Examples from those who have not sought out an independent consultant first

“Paid $10k+ plus for process automation controller to move a press up and down, when a simple PLC for less than $1K would have been just fine.”
“OEM upgrades firmware version on our system, so our software no-longer works requiring us to call OEM when ever even minor modifications are needed or to troubleshoot.”

“Vendor refuses to provide schematics or documented PLC program so we can troubleshoot in-house.”

“It takes 3 days to a week to get service tech in to troubleshoot.”

“Someone got into our machine via the phone modem connected to machine, and corrupted the program, shutting us down.”

“We are trained on PLCs, but the vendor used a PAC to control with C++, now we need a computer programmer to troubleshoot and modify.”

And the most popular … “We are not trained on that.”, “We don’t have schematics, software or documented copy of program.”
And the list of horror stories go on. Please help others out and use the comment area below to tell your personal stories of how a new project cost you more than necessary upfront or after start-up. So we all can learn and avoid future headaches. Thanks for your help.

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