Power Quality and Energy Efficiency

Hi all,

Low lagging power factor (PF) is one great problem. Many users find it difficult to cope with the system Power factor due to poor system design and the types of down stream loads. Ways and means to optimise the system PF are available and are not necessarily expensive. The long-term savings and benefits of using these systems far outweighs the initial expenditure.

Leading PF is a more recent problem, again caused due to down stream loads such as Blade Servers etc. This could cause catastrophic failure of standby Gensets due to over loading, if the loads are transferred to them suddenly due to mains failure.

Here is an article that deals with power quality, remedies and recommendations. Read and be educated.

Beware the bite
Paul Studebaker, CMRP, Editor in Chief, PlantServices.com
What to do when power quality eats into energy efficiency.



Mechanical Maintenance Practices

Hi all,

In the maintenance field, alignment check of dynamic equipment plays a very important role. So does lubrication of moving parts. While browsing around for good articles on such maintenance topics, I came across the linked article that gives good insights on reasons for failure, remedies and other recommendations.

Tracking the causes of coupling failure
Bob Boyle, PlantServices.com
Explore coupling maintenance and the telltale signs of failure to maximize coupling life and ensure reliable system operations.

This is one area where a lot expertise is available. All viewers and readers are requested and invited to share their unique experiences on this topic.


Sub-Meters Minimize Energy Waste, Boost Bottom Line

Increasing utility rates and ever-increasing energy demands eat into the operations budget and the increased greenhouse-gas emissions spells disaster for the environment. Institutional and commercial organizations cannot assume that they can operate as they always had or that the environment will be able to sustain the ongoing facilities operations. Energy use will continue to increase, hence maintenance and engineering managers need to monitor and control energy use in facilities.

The key to this effort is to understand the energy consumption trend in any given facility. Power sub-metering plays a huge role in achieving this goal by helping managers better understand facilities’ overall energy use and take essential corrective actions.

As a front-line data-gathering tool for energy-using systems, sub-meters can improve a company’s overall bottom line dramatically by bringing tremendous visibility to the overall energy footprint. By introducing energy profiling at the source, such as a lighting panel or power panel, down to the individual piece of equipment, a manager can truly begin to understand a facility’s energy profile and design energy conservation

One area in which sub-metering technology excels is measurement and verification. Since we can install a sub-meter almost anywhere in the electrical-distribution or branch-circuiting system, managers can specify meters for use in energy intensive equipment / system clusters.  To understand a building / factory overall energy profile, these meters can help by monitoring individual pieces of equipment, such as chillers, pumps, air handlers, air compressors, large blowers, conveyors etc.

We can identify operational inefficiencies through analysis of the collected data. This step can reveal interesting trends, such as two or more large motor loads starting at the same time, which causes system spikes. By alternating or staggering these loads, we can eliminate spikes and also improve efficiency.

Sub-meters can also be used as a condition based maintenance tool. Monitoring the current drawn by a piece of equipment generates a profile. Once that piece of equipment starts to draw more than the recorded profile current, we can program an alert to let us know about potential problems. The technology allows us to take preventive measures before catastrophic failures occur. The resulting savings in downtime and maintenance costs can more than pay for installation of the sub-meters.


Adapted from an article by David Rosenberger in PE April 2010

Optimising Maintenance Resources

Hi all,

“Much more with much less”, which almost became “Much more with nothing” in the peak of the economic slump condition, still may remain the catch phrase of many organisations.  Maintenance budgets were one of the first to be pruned and slashed since it was perceived not to support the production or services directly.

Although maintenance plays second fiddle in all scenarios, there is no doubt that it plays a very crucial role in the well-being of the organisation’s infrastructure.

The article linked below is very well written, with words, phrases and acronyms that we use day-to-day. The scenarios explained are also from real world experiences that recur in almost all maintenance organisations.


Read and be enlightened.


Controlling Harmonic Distortions

Hi all ,

Advanced Electrical / Electronic  technology hardware at times play havoc with the electrical system by introducing high harmonics and related problems. All forms of computers, electronic chokes, VFDs are some of the villains in the system. These advanced technology items have given us a host of benefits, but also adds to the woes of the energy managers.

All the energy managers are trying their best to optimise the energy usage, increase total asset life and reduce operating expenditure. I have given below a link to a very informative article on the subject. Please click on the link to view the original article.

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.


Leadership – A few Thoughts

Managers and / or Leaders? The differentiation is so subtle that both mostly roll into one. Most of us start somewhere down the line and move up the corporate ladders. Leadership and managerial skills become essential as we start leading groups of people as part of our day-to-day job. There are a few well-known quotes and a few random thoughts about leadership given below.

Establish solid trust before offering advice. Trust men, and they will be true to you; treat them greatly and they will show themselves great. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Keep promises… even small ones. Character is much easier kept than recovered. –Thomas Paine

Be enthusiastic about the success of others. Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders. – Tom Peters

Recognize the potential in others and help them achieve it. Treat people as if they were what they should be, and you help them become what they are capable of becoming. –Johann von Goethe

Catch people doing things right. People ask for criticism, but they only want praise. –W. Somerset Maugham

Praise the baby steps. Praise is like sunlight to the human spirit: we cannot flower and grow without it. – Jess Lair

Go out of your way for people. To lead the people, walk behind them. –Lao-Tzu

Always give something extra. Under-promise; over-deliver. –Tom Peters.

Keep focused on the primary goal for your company. Never let yourself be distracted from that.

1. Surround yourself not with those who only agree with you, but with the right people for the job you need done. Train them and provide them the tools to do the job.

2. Recognize the benefits of having different personalities around you. Not only do separate skill sets come with different personalities, but different approaches that are essential to your company’s success.

3. Having hired the right people, get out of their way. If you must micromanage them, you don’t need them. This is not a big problem, however, since they won’t stay anyway, if you treat them with so little respect.

4. Remember always to consult your feedback loop in all your processes, to make sure things are working as you expect, and that you can make appropriate changes timely. Failure to do this will hasten the failure of your organization in total. Recall that your feedback loop is only as valuable as the people from whom you get feedback. Listen to them.

5. Know when you have exceeded your limitations; acknowledge it. Then get help to overcome it.

6. Each of us has the capability to be a leader. We will only become one when we lose our fear of making mistakes.

Enjoy your leadership role.



Manage your time……….!

Hi all,

Ever felt that the 24 hours day is not long enough?

Time management is an essential skill for effective people in all walks of life. When you master this skill, you will start controlling your workload and be free from the often intense stress of work overload. So…… to start with,
“Concentrate on results, not on just being busy”
The Pareto Principle or the ’80:20 Rule’ is applicable while quantifying your jobs too. When you apply the rule, typically 80% of effort goes towards 20% of results. Vice versa, the balance 80% results are through 20% of effort.
Apply the time management tips and skills that follows to optimise your effort and to ensure that you spend adequate time and energy on the high payoff tasks. Please remember that available time is finite, hence the need to optimise.

Time Management Tips
Write things down: Do not underestimate a simple “To-do” list. Carry and use a small note-book to write everything that you need to do.
Prioritise: Apply the Pareto Principle mentioned above and prioritise the things that are important; weed out the non-essential things.
Plan a Day / Week / Month: Spend some time to plan a days work, extend it to a week and then to a month. Monitor progress at the end of each day and re-plan if necessary. Time spent in planning reduces the unknown elements in our day-to-day work and related stress.
Set Goals: Write down and set short and long-term goals for self. Align these goals with those of your supervisor and the organisation. If you have subordinates, make them set their own goals, aligning with yours and the organisation.
Monitor Goals: Monitor the short-term goals frequently till logical completion. Monitor long-term goals at set intervals, to ensure progress in the right direction.
Be Flexible: In case you hit road blocks while progressing with goals, apply course correction as required. Have alternative plans to achieve the ultimate goal.
Identify bad habits and distractions: List out bad habits (long coffee breaks, frequent smoking breaks, urge to check mails or SMS frequently etc) and other distraction; try to minimise these.
Do not over-commit: Commit to what is achievable with available resources including time.
Delegate: All the work need not be done by you individually. Delegate work to subordinates as per their capabilities. Train them in their jobs. It is better to teach them fishing than supplying them with fish perennially.
Streamline and organise: Organise your work groups and streamline work flow.
Learn the value of saying “No”: On many occasions, we would like to say “No” as an answer, but would answer “Yes”. This adds to our work load and stress; it also eats into available resources and time. If “No” is the most appropriate answer for a given situation, make sure that you say “No”.
Keep things simple: Keep the time management system simple; complicated systems could be confusing and counterproductive.

Enjoy your available time