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HECO Blog

Maintenance Culture: Are you defending or evolving?

07/12/2017

It is easy to look at something you created or implemented with blinders on. You put the effort into it and figured it all out and now someone else (a new manager or vendor, etc.) is coming to you saying that their idea is better and will improve upon what you built. It is human nature to be skeptical and defensive, especially since people are always over-promising and under-delivering on what they initially say they can do.

The big question here is were you receptive or did you immediately defend what you are already doing? Are you keeping an open-mind in order to evolve or are you a brick wall and its your way or the highway?

How important is certification for vibration analysis?

07/06/2017

Category I, Category II, Category III and Category IV - What are they and what do they have to do with vibration analysis? Why should they matter to my corporation?

Through The Vibration Institute, Mobius Institute, Technical Associates of Charlotte, and various other groups offer certification in vibration analysis. More importantly, they are certification to ISO 18436-2 Vibration Condition Monitoring and Diagnostics.

So... My Electric Motor Failed - What Now? A Reliability Story

06/19/2017

So your electric motor failed, AGAIN! You remove it and send it to Harold at Acme Motor Repair across town and a few months later you get it back, just like the last time. Harold is a good old boy, always there to fix that motor every time it fails. The key words here are “every time”.

Harold never asks you what conditions the motor was under when it failed, what the environment conditions are where the motor was installed. Harold never asks you if you are lubricating the motor or if you even know how to lubricate the motor. Harold has never asked you if the motor is directly coupled or if you are belting it, he just fixes the motor. You once asked Harold for a failure report and he sent us a copy of the invoice. You’ve asked Harold if it made more sense to purchase another motor and he said that he was cheaper than anyone in the neighborhood on his repairs and under the price of a new motor.

Electric motor items to consider when adding a VFD to your system

06/06/2017

So you are thinking about adding a variable frequency drive (VFD) to an electric motor in your plant. Great! Variable Frequency Drives are great controls that allow you to adjust the speed of the machine at the push of a button or program it into your automation platform.

But what could this do to your motor? There are a variety of factors to consider before adding a drive to an electric motor, such as:

Speed Range

Motors are designed to operate at a certain speed. If they are designed to operate on A VFD at certain speed ratios, those are listed (Dependent on torque type) on the nameplate. These motors have been tested by the manufacturer and are nameplated to be acceptable for use in those situations. This does not mean a motor that is not namplated for these ratios will not work, you just may want to consider if it designed to operate at a different speed or not.

Are you trying anything different in order to keep your plant running?

05/30/2017

Albert Einstein famously said that "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

The same applies for industrial maintenance and reliability practices. It is amazing the amount of individuals who rather than trying something different, will hunker down and defend "the way it always has been". Many times those same people will then discuss how many unplanned failures they have had and that they got a great response from their vendor and a great turn-around time. Repair, Failure, Repeat - over and over and over.

Imbalance and Vibration in your fan are not the same!

05/25/2017

It is very regularly that we receive a call from a client that a fan is vibrating and that we need to send someone out there to balance the fan! A good portion of the time when we arrive, it is indeed a balance issue, where the fan has had a buildup of material on it. Many times this throws off the balance but simply cleaning the fan blades can resolve the issue. Sometimes it can't which is when the actual process of balancing comes into play.

What information do you get from your electric motor repair vendors?

05/17/2017

When you send an electric motor out for repair, what information is provided back to you? Do you receive a formal, written quotation showing all of the items that are in need or repair, before they are done by your electric motor repair vendor? Or do you just get a repaired motor back, never knowing what was done to it?

Do you receive a final report once the motor is sent back, showing testing, measurements, and conditions of individual components of your motor?  Or do you just get a repaired motor back with none of the test results that you paid for?

How do you manage your electric motor costs?

05/09/2017

Managing costs associated with electric motors can be tricky. On one side you have direct acquisition costs. What a motor repair or a replacement motor will cost you. On the other side you have long-term reliability to consider. There is a fine balance to keep here where you do not go "over-board" with reliability measures that then make your motor repair or new purchase way over-priced. On the other hand if you dont factor in any long-term reliability measures, how long will what you are buying last you?

Go visit your electric motor repair shop!

04/27/2017

In the early nineties we landed a massive contract for motor management and electric motor repair. The company was about a 5 hour drive from our service center and with the flip of a switch we went from doing no work with them to, literally, semi truck trailers full of motors at once. They became a very large account for us with little to no diligence from their side on who we are and how we do what we do.

WARNING! STOP fixing what's broken in your plant!

04/20/2017

Who is this crazy person telling me to stop fixing things that are broken? Why is a company that diagnoses and fixes things as a business, telling me to stop fixing broken things? 

Yes, we are in the service of fixing broken items, but more importantly we are in the service of stopping the reason why the failure happened in the first place!

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