Control Harmonic Distortion to Reduce Energy Consumption

Hi all,

After a short gap I was going through the Plan Services Web page and found this informative article on how to control harmonic distortions and achieve energy consumption reduction. As a bonus, we can get extended life for our equipment such as motors and drives.

Please read and be enlightened.

Control harmonic distortion to reduce energy consumption and extend asset life
Timothy Skell, Eaton Corp.Mitigate electrical harmonics: It improves system reliability, uptime and energy efficiency.


In Plant Partnerships and Cooperation


The progress that any organisation makes depends on the team work and cooperation displayed by all the groups and individuals. Trust and communication are the keys to the organisation’s success.

Most of the organisations start making functional silos as they grow. Such silos start becoming watertight barriers with minimal communications and interactions. Unhealthy and unethical competition within and between silos adds to the communication woes.

Healthy and positive partnership between operations, maintenance, engineering and purchase groups will benefit all the groups on the long run the organisation as a whole.

The linked article makes a good reading in simple terms and is loaded with information.Please read and be enlightened.


Computerised Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS)

Hi all,

We all do a lot of maintenance day-to-day. Over the years we have all matured to get some methods and processes to plan, schedule and monitor the maintenance activities.  The larger industrial and office facilities have customised high-end CMMS packages such as “Maximo”. Some of us use a few shareware or freeware packages with very limited capabilities.

With the complexity of infrastructure and concentration of equipment increasing within a premise on the increase, it has become essential that we need to use a computer to do the planning, scheduling and monitoring of the maintenance efforts.

There is phrase, “By the way maintenance”. Take a case of a technician proceeding with all his tools and documents to do a maintenance work on some equipment – that is his assigned task. While on his way, someone calls him to attend to some job which may take a very short time or long time. The technician obliges and completes that job. The time taken for the additional job has robbed time from his actually assigned task.

There is no record of the additional job undertaken, the reason for undertaking the job, spares or consumables used and whether the job was completed satisfactorily or only a temporary fix was given. An analysis of our current maintenance performance is likely to turn up surprising results showing a very high percentage of such “By the way maintenance”. Such jobs will give wrong feedback on the actual utilisation of man power and material in our maintenance efforts. 

The usable data that is collected and keyed in as part of the CMMS could be used to analyse the effectiveness the adopted maintenance programme, recurring breakdowns, spares and consumables utilised for scheduled and unscheduled maintenance,  spares and consumables logistics management, cost of labour utilised, total cost of maintenance, budget management etc.

CMMS could be a client-server set up or web-based. With cloud computing becoming very popular, even industries and establishments without their own server setup can use CMMS software.

The linked article covers some basic information on CMMS.–11969?source=fi10/11/2010

 Tail Piece

While it is true that CMMS will help us all in optimising the maintenance effort and related cost, we need to focus on the actual maintenance on ground to ensure that the assigned maintenance personnel complete jobs in time, observing all safety norms and equalling or exceeding the agreed quality levels.  


Visual Factory to Improve Service Quality

Visual Factory and Visual Management

Visual factory systems are custom-built visuals that enable all people accessing any facility to understand the current status, assess problem areas, give safety precautions, indicate standard routes of access & egress, give real-time information etc.  

Visual management can be achieved using:

  • Visual workplace
    • signs and signage  
    • painted floor areas indicating walk ways, storage areas etc
    • direction of flow indicators, particularly in the case of continuous processes
    • identified equipment, materials and locations (labels, color-coded markings, position markers)  
  • A visual information system
    • process documentation using standard symbols and language
    • procedures in the form of flow charts  
  • Visual production control
    • visual process indicators for various stages
    •  production status boards for various stages
    • visual signals such as warning and go ahead lamps
  • Visual performance measurement
    • quality control charts
    • production performance
    • status of the factory
  • Visual safety management
    • safety warnings
    • precaution information

A few live examples from an industrial unit:

  • All the starting and stopping procedure for various utility equipments have been provided in the form of process charts using standard symbols and nomenclature across the facility.
  • Points for inspecting various parameters during equipment operations have been marked with an “Eye” symbol indicating visual inspection, “Palm” symbol indicating check by feeling, “Ear” symbol indicating check by listening to the noise etc.
  • Markings on the floor indicate the positions from where to take readings, check various other parameters and the arrow marks indicate the route to take.
  • Cautionary signs kept at strategic positions indicate to the operators on what all PPE are to be worn before accessing specific places.
  • Markings on the roads indicate the pedestrians walking space, likely vehicle crossing areas, warning lamps and hooters indicating equipment that are likely to move or turn etc.
  • Annunciation panels indicating current production level compared to target, stoppage segment if any, brief reason for stoppage etc.
  • Rest rooms daily check lists are with symbols of “Nose” to check for odours, picture of a “Wet mop” indicating the wet mopping process etc.   

The benefits of visual management: 

  • Employee involvement and motivation
  • Higher employee satisfaction and pride  
  • Open communication
  • Avoids mistakes and skipping of process steps. 
  • Higher quality and productivity  
  • Faster decision process and corrective actions
  • Standardising of operations
  • Shorter learning curve
  • Safer operations

Mobile or Portable or Spot Cooling Solutions

Hi all,

In many of our sites we face some crises caused by faulty HVAC systems leading to servers crashing, control circuits failing, critical operations coming to a grinding halt etc.

We are used to Window type ACs, Split ACs, Split ductable ACs, Central chillers of various sizes and types.

Take a case of critical server rooms that are very sensitive to both temperature and humidity. With the server technology moving at break neck speeds, each server upgrade reduces its footprint, but increases the heat load many fold. In most cases, server upgrades take place in bits and pieces with only the obsolete machines being replaced. This adds to the woes of the infrastructure maintainers.

The replacement servers are normally heat spewing monsters and cause hot spots in the server rooms. The infrastructure maintainers run helter-skelter to control the situation, but most of the time fail to achieve ideal conditions.

Recently I happened to read a few articles and papers regarding mobile / portable / spot cooling AC solutions. I also happened to visit the website of one of the product suppliers specialising in such solutions.  The linked web page has many other links from which you can get further details.


Energy Conservation and incentives

Hi all,

The linked article is more towards the legal aspects of energy conservation, but as infrastructure maintenance professionals, we need to read between the lines to understand how all we could conserve energy.

Waste heat recovery is definitely a less travelled path in older facilities. We waste much energy through heat exchangers and cooling towers. The amount of heat thus wasted could have been fruitfully used elsewhere.

The article will definitely provide food for your thoughts.

Energy incentives are a win-win for new plants
Energy Expert, Peter Garforth says break the heat recovery paradox and replace tax breaks with energy incentives.


Communication, Key to Successful Fire Evacuation Plan

Hi all,

Fire accidents can happen anywhere, anytime; with or  without much warning, can be minor or major and can cause catastrophic damage. The picture given below shows the extensive damage caused by a fire that started from a small split AC FCU and spread through the above ceiling space to two adjacent floors.

Burnt down premisesEvacuation during fire incidents is a mandatory requirement in all facilities. The evacuation mock drills are conducted periodically to check the response time of premise occupants and to make the occupants aware of the routes of egress and safe assembly points.

These exercises prepare the designated fire wardens, searchers, safety members to understand their duties and practice the same.

The linked article covers the nuances of fire evacuation with all the related problems faced on ground. We need to highlight to our employees the need to be fully aware of the fire evacuation rules, dos & donts,  roles & responsibilities etc    

Communication Key to Successful Fire Evacuation Plan.