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 https://bin95.com/machinery-failure-analysis-and-troubleshooting.pdf 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!