www.plantengineering.com: Latest News http://www.plantengineering.com/ en www.plantengineering.com: Latest News http://www.plantengineering.com/typo3conf/ext/tt_news/ext_icon.gif http://www.plantengineering.com/ 18 16 TYPO3 - get.content.right http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss Tue, 23 May 2017 00:03:00 -0400 German chancellor learns about Industrie 4.0 products at Hannover Messe http://www.plantengineering.com/single-article/german-chancellor-learns-about-industrie-40-products-at-hannover-messe/2251296eb9e4870ecf85da1dccd9cb35.html German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Prime Minister of Poland, Beata Szydlo, visited the Kaeser... As part of her tour marking the opening of 2017 Hannover Messe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo paid a visit to Kaeser's trade show booth to learn about the Coburg-based compressed air system provider and the Industrie 4.0 products on display. In her speech opening this year's Hannover Messe on Sunday, Merkel had expressed concern that although there are currently many concepts related to Industrie 4.0, at this point relatively few concrete products and services are actually available. Chairman of the board Thomas Kaeser explained that Kaeser, a compressed air system provider, does offer Industrie 4.0 products and services. The Kaeser Board presented the Chancellor with a model of a compressor and explained to the two top-level politicians how they use Industrie 4.0 with their smart air concept, which encompasses networked compressors with "digital twins" in the form of intelligent controllers, real-time data transfer and monitoring. All of these recent developments enable Kaeser to track the "health status" of a compressed air system at all times, which means the company can initiate predictive maintenance before a problem occurs. Moreover, digital system management ensures optimized compressed air costs and sufficient compressed air supply at all times. - Edited from a Kaeser press release by CFE Media.]]> Automation Engineering Electrical Engineering Industry Trends Automation News Electrical News Slider Homepage Item - PLE SyndicationType: News SyndicationSource: CFE Media (in-house) Syndication: Other industrial networks (sensor networks fieldbus IoT) Syndication: Compressors (Compressors Compressed Air Compressed Air Leaks) Wed, 26 Apr 2017 10:32:00 -0400 Electrical design as easy as N-E-C http://www.plantengineering.com/single-article/electrical-design-as-easy-as-n-e-c/a725714782a536605d98de7e60e0eed2.html A step-by-step look at how to rework a motor branch circuit as well as tips when a motor control... Although the use of the National Electrical Code (NEC) is mandated by OSHA, many plant electrical engineers whose background is control systems are unaware of how it affects their work. What follows is a look at how to design a motor branch circuit based on NEC regulations. For this example, we're looking at one specific aspect of motor circuit design-a single motor on a branch circuit. The references to NEC articles cited below can be used as a starting point for other motor circuits that feed more than one motor on a set of fuses, for instance. The project: A PLC programmer is presented with the following project: A pump has been upgraded to allow for delivery of more power. The motor driving the pump will need to be increased from 200 HP to 250 HP. The programmer must design the necessary modifications to the existing electrical system to accommodate the new motor and intend to use the existing hardware as much as possible. The first steps: The programmer needs to know what is required for the new 250 HP motor, then he can determine what can be reused. First the programmer must determine the motor characteristics, either from a motor data sheet for this specific motor, or from the motor nameplate. In this case, the motor specifications are:
  • 250 HP
  • 1200 rpm
  • 460 V
  • 3 PH Squirrel Cage Induction Motor with a 1.15 service factor.
This is all the programmer needs to begin the design. The frame size and the enclosure type are not important when designing the circuit components. The steps involved in the process can be ordered whichever way works best for the project. In this case, the programmer begins by determining the motor full load current, or FLA. Section 430.1 in the NEC shows a diagram of a motor branch circuit and which sections in the code apply to which part of the circuit. A branch circuit starts at the final overcurrent device—in this case, a fuse—and extends to the "outlet"-in this case, a motor. 1. Find the full load current (FLA). Use NEC Article 430.6(A)1 and Table 430.250. This section requires us to use this table in determining the FLA and not the motor nameplate date. If a motor is not in the table you can use the nameplate FLA. For a 250 HP motor the FLA is 302 amps. 2. Multiply the FLA by 1.2. Use Article 430.22 to get 378 Amps. This is the beginning of a series of derating steps to adjust the values given in tables to the various situations encountered in the environment for which we are designing. In this case, the multiplier of 1.25 is actually a derating of 80%. This takes into account such things as the motor's service factor, which really is the use of the motor above its HP rating and other deviations from rated conditions. The existing Size 5 motor starter is being abandoned, and a new starter is being designed in line with the National Electrical Code. Courtesy: Robert Barnett3. Choose the wire. Use Table 310.15(B)(16). Note that this table applies to a run of not more than three conductors in a 30° C (86° F) ambient. Use 90° C wire, but choose the ampacity from the 75° C column. This column is used because the terminals of most motor control centers (MCCs) are rated for 75° C. Consult the manufacturer's data to confirm the terminal temperature rating for the MCC being used. Terminals must not be operated above their temperature rating (Article 110.14(C). A conductor chosen from the 90° C column could reach or at least approach, 90° C and cause the terminal to which it is connected to run above its rated temperature. The programmer tentatively chooses a 500 kcmil (500MCM) conductor with THHW insulation in the form or a 3-conductor plus ground armored cable. This size is good for 380 amps under the not more than 3 conductor and 30° C ambient provisions. 4. Check voltage drop. Next the voltage drop must be checked. Refer to Article 210.19(A) No. 4. From the source (the MCC) to the motor it must be less than 3%. There are dozens of voltage drop calculators on the Internet, and in this case, the voltage drop is well below 3%. This is often the case with large wires at distances less than 500 feet. A check of voltage drop should always be made for motor branch circuits, especially because of the sensitivity of motor torque to the voltage applied to it. If the percentage is above 3%, a large conductor is called for. A long run may also require increasing the conductor size to reduce voltage drop and allow the motor to start properly. 5. Check ambient temperature. This motor will be operating in an ambient temperature of 100° F (38° C) for the summer months. Since Table 310.15(B)(16) was based on a 30° C ambient we will have to derate the conductors. Refer to Table 310.15(B)(2)(a). This shows that for a range of 36-40° C, a 90° C conductor must be derated by a factor of 0.91. Since the 90° 500 MCM cable is good for 430 amps in a 30° C ambient, when derated for a 40° C environment it can carry only 430 x 0.91 = 391 amps. Because the motor only requires 378 amps, the 500 MCM conductor is still good in 40° C ambient. With the above design the programmer has kept both the insulation and terminal temperature within ratings and has a cable capable of handling 391 amps in that environment. 6. Choose branch circuit protection. Having chosen the wire size (500 MCM, 90° C), the programmer now selects the branch circuit overcurrent protection (use Section 430). For a motor circuit, the protection is based on the motor FLA and not the wire size. In this case, the programmer uses a dual element fuse. Literature from the fuse manufacturer is used to choose the fuse size. Table 430.52 limits a dual element fuse size to 175% of the motor FLA. So, 1.75 x 302 = 528 A, which means a 500 amp dual element fuse is what should be used. 7. Select the motor starter. A combination starter has the motor branch circuit disconnect, fuses, contactor and overload relay designed and built as one unit. The overload relay is used to protect the motor from an overload situation and the resulting thermal degradation of the windings. Most motors have relays that are set at no more than 125% of full load current. Refer to 430.32(A)(1). Use of an electronic overload relay makes good sense. It is easy to adjust and can be used to monitor the circuit as well. The contactor is used to connect and more important, to disconnect the motor from the power source. It must be chosen to be able to carry and interrupt the current that the motor could draw under normal operation as well as overload and short circuit conditions. The manufacturer's catalog suggests using a size 6 starter. The catalog is based on NEMA specifications. 8. Check the existing equipment. The existing starter is size 5, so a new starter is needed. The existing cable is 500 MCM and can be used if it proves to be in good condition when tested. This single-line electrical drawing cites the pertinent NEC codes discussed in the article. Courtesy: Robert BarnettA size 6 starter is a full section for the MCC in use. The programmer can add a full section to the existing MCC and, with a little help from a good electrician, can reconnect the existing cable using the space where the abandoned size 5 starter was located to mount power terminal blocks. The new starter is added as a section that connects to the MCC buss. It is assumed here that the MCC buss and the circuit components feeding that buss can handle the new load. It also is assumed the short circuit current rating (SCCR) of the MCC and its "buckets" are matched to what the supply can deliver under short circuit conditions. This is a reasonable assumption for an existing MCC. However, the fault level at the MCC should be confirmed to determine if the new starter is suitable for use at the MCC's short circuit rating. This is mandated in NEC 670.5, although this is outside the scope of this example. What if an MCC is not involved? Article 240.21 requires that overcurrent protection (fuse or breaker) be provided in each ungrounded conductor at the point where it receives its supply. Exceptions are allowed for unprotected conductors of a limited length. These are also called feeder tap conductors. For most industrial motor circuit uses, there two exceptions—for feeder taps not over 10 feet long and feeder taps not over 25 feet long. This requirement is called out for motors in Article 430.28(1) and (2). The 10-foot tap conductors must be rated to carry the load and be at least the amp rating of the equipment and the overcurrent device they feed. They must be enclosed in a raceway and not extend past the load equipment. They also must terminate in an overcurrent device. The previously selected 3C/500 MCM cable (380A) would be acceptable if a combination starter located less than 10 feet from the splitter is used. The 25-foot tap conductors must have an amp capacity greater than 33% of the overcurrent device protecting the feeder. They must terminate in a set of fuses or circuit breaker that limit the current to less than the ampacity of the tap conductors. They must also be in a raceway. Here the 350 MCM cable wouldn't work. Assuming the 1200 amp splitter is protected by a 1200 amp fuse or breaker, the cable would have to be at least one-third of 1200 amps. So, a 400 amp, 600 MCM cable is needed. A MCC is always the best solution when more than two or three motors are involved. The above construction method using tap conductors is not recommended but sometimes is needed when an old system is modified. Be careful when modifying this type of outdated construction. The short circuit current rating of this system may not be high enough to provide a safe installation. Robert Barnett PE, is an electrical engineer for Cascades Containerboard Packaging Inc., Niagara Falls, N.Y. ]]>
Electrical Engineering Electrical News Industry Trends Slider Homepage Item - PLE SyndicationType: Article SyndicationSource: CFE Media (in-house) Syndication: Electrical (Switchgear) Syndication: Electrical Systems (Transmission Distribution Smart Grid) Syndication: Codes Standards Regulations Syndication: Safety (Intrinsic Process Machine Plant) Fri, 14 Apr 2017 00:03:00 -0400
Electrical test instruments: Safety is still the first tool http://www.plantengineering.com/single-article/electrical-test-instruments-safety-is-still-the-first-tool/298fde0e9c6a578d230ed58b286ff7ee.html Safety is paramount with electrical test instruments and great care must be taken when using... There is a great deal of attention devoted to safe work practices during electrical construction, maintenance and repair work. Industry electrical publications regularly report on safety issues, including the use of the proper tools and equipment used for energized and de-energized work, as well as utilizing the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) for each workplace situation. Electrical test instruments are given very little discussion, if any, in safety articles. Examples include using the wrong test instruments or improperly using them, which can have catastrophic results. Some of the most frequently used test instruments include noncontact voltage testers, multimeters, insulation testers and ground-resistance testers. The issue with using a non-contact or proximity device is that the requirement to test a circuit to ensure that it is de-energized requires the circuit to be tested phase-to-phase and phase-to-ground, which cannot be done using this type of tester. When electrical safety is discussed, the subjects of shock, arc flash, and arc blast dominate the discussions. One question is often asked: "How do I identify when these hazards are present, or likely to be present, when I am using electrical test instruments on electrical circuits and equipment?" A review of these electrical hazards, along with requirements for assessing the workplace to identify the electrical hazards and PPE associated with using test instruments, is one way to get to the answer. Electrical hazards Electricity is a serious workplace hazard, exposing employees to electrical shock, electrocution, burns, fires and explosions. Employees have been killed or injured in fires and explosions caused by electricity. Besides the electrical hazards of arc flash and arc blast, extremely high energy arcs can damage equipment and cause fragmented metal to fly in all directions. In atmospheres that contain explosive gases or vapors, or combustible dusts, even low-energy arcs can cause violent explosions. In these cases, the electric arc may be the ignition source for a much bigger explosion and fire. Improper use of electrical test instruments can result in shock or electrocution, as well as an arc flash incident. This article addresses these issues, along with the requirements for selecting and utilizing the test instruments to verify the presence of voltage. Selection of test instruments Figure 2: Electrical cable testing instrument used to find faults in a cable system. Courtesy: AVO Training InstituteRegardless of whether you are performing electrical installation work, equipment maintenance, verifying the absence of voltage for de-energized work, troubleshooting, voltage measurements or similar diagnostic work, collecting accurate and consistent information from these tests is imperative. To comply with electrical industry standards and regulations, there is a need to select and use the right test instruments according to the application. When conducting voltage verification, for energized and de-energized work, the electrical worker must select the right test instruments and equipment applicable to the work to be performed. As a minimum, these should include the following:
  • Voltage indicating instrument suitable for conditions
  • Environment
  • Correct CAT category I, II, III, or IV
  • Continuity test instrument
  • Insulation resistance test instrument.
All test instruments include specific manufacturer's operational instructions. Test instruments must be certified and display a label of an independent verification lab, such as UL, CSA, CE, ETL or TÜV. Make sure all meters, test leads and probes have an adequate category (CAT) safety rating. Sometimes, the only thing standing between an electrical worker and an unexpected spike is their meter and test leads. If you use the wrong equipment with the wrong voltage, you could be putting yourself and others at risk. So, before conducting any test, make sure your choice of instrument is correct. Electrical standards, such as UL, ANSI, IEC, and CAN, specify protection from currents at levels well above a system's rated capacity. Without this additional protection, transient overvoltages, which are becoming increasingly common, can lead to equipment failure and serious injury or death. Minimizing such risks requires that everyone working in electrical environments has safety equipment as required. They need properly rated gloves, eye protection and electrical measurement test instruments that provide appropriate protection. Having the correct electrical testing and measurement instruments and using the correct procedures can improve job safety. Use of electrical test instruments Due to the potential electrical hazards associated with the use of electrical test instruments, only qualified persons are permitted to perform tasks such as testing, troubleshooting and voltage measuring when working within the Limited Approach Boundary of exposed energized electrical conductors or circuit parts operating at 50 volts or more, or where any other electrical hazard may exist. Improper use of electrical test instruments can result in shock or electrocution, as well as creating an arc flash incident. The following additional requirements apply to test instruments, equipment, and all associated test leads, cables, power cords, probes, and connectors: 
  • Must be rated for circuits and equipment where they are utilized.
  • Must be designed for the environment to which they will be exposed and for the manner in which they will be utilized.
  • Must be visually inspected for external defects and damage before each use. If there is a defect or evidence of damage that might expose an employee to injury, the defective or damaged item shall be removed from service.
When test instruments are used for testing the absence of voltage on conductors or circuit parts operating at 50 volts or more, the operation of the test instrument must be:
  • Verified on a known voltage source before an absence of voltage test is performed. 
  • Test for the absence of voltage on the de-energized conductor or circuit part. A zero reading might mean that no voltage is present during the testing, or it could mean that the instrument has failed. 
  • Verified on a known voltage source after an absence of voltage test is performed.
Figure 3: In AVO Training Institute’s lab, a student works with an instructor to practice correct procedures to test electrical apparatus. Courtesy: AVO Training InstituteThis verification primarily applies to conductors or circuit parts operating at 50 volts or more. However, under certain conditions (such as wet contact or immersion) even circuits operating under 50 volts can pose a shock hazard. Only qualified persons are permitted to perform tasks such as testing, troubleshooting, and voltage measuring, due to the electrical hazards associated with energized work. All required PPE, for the associated hazards, must be utilized when performing these tasks. Test instruments must be rated for the conditions under which testing is to be performed. When selecting voltage testing instruments, an assessment must be performed to determine the proper category (CAT) rating required, based on the highest hazard exposure. When test instruments are used for testing the absence of voltage, for de-energized work, on conductors or circuit parts operating at 50 volts or more, the operation of the test instrument must be verified on a known voltage source before and after an absence of voltage test is performed. Electrical safety checklist The fundamentals of electrical safety can be overlooked, especially by seasoned electricians. It's worth reviewing a few safety tips, both for the novice electrician and the veteran:
  • Use a meter that meets accepted safety standards for the environment in which it will be used.
  • Use a meter with fused current inputs and be sure to check the fuses before making current measurements.
  • Inspect test leads for physical damage before making a measurement.
  • Use the meter to check continuity of the test leads.
  • Use test leads that have shrouded connectors and finger guards.
  • Use meters with recessed input jacks.
  • Select the proper function and range for your measurement.
  • Be certain the meter is in good operating condition.
  • Follow all equipment safety procedures.
  • Always disconnect the "hot" (red) test lead first.
  • Don't work alone.
  • Use a meter that has overload protection on the ohms function.
  • When measuring current without a current clamp, turn the power off before connecting into the circuit.
  • Be aware of high-current and high-voltage situations and use the appropriate equipment, such as high-voltage probes and high-current clamps.
CAT ratings and their definitions Here's a brief review of the four category (CAT) ratings and their basic definitions: Category I This typically covers electronic equipment. Signal level for telecommunications, electronic equipment and low-energy equipment with transient-limiting protection. The peak impulse transient range is from 600 to 4,000 volts with a 30-ohm source.
  • Protected electronic equipment
  • Equipment connected to (source) circuits in which measures are taken to limit transient overvoltages to an appropriately low level
  • Any high-voltage-low-energy source derived from a high-winding resistance transformer, such as the high-voltage section of a copier.
Figure 4: Conducting an electrical risk assessment wearing the proper PPE. Courtesy: AVO Training InstituteCategory II Single-phase receptacle connected loads. Local level for fixed or non-fixed powered devices-everything from lighting to appliances to office equipment. Also, all outlets at more than 10 meters (30 feet) from Category III sources and all outlets at more than 20 meters (60 feet) from Category IV sources. The peak impulse transient range is from 600 to 6,000 volts with a 12-ohm source.
  • Appliance, portable tools and other household and similar loads
  • Outlet and long branch circuits
  • Outlets at more than 10 meters from CAT III source
  • Outlets at more than 20 meters from CAT IV source.
Category III Three-phase distribution, including single-phase commercial lighting. Distribution level-fixed primary feeders or branch circuits. These circuits are usually separated from Category IV (whether utility service or other high-voltage source) by a minimum of one level of transformer isolation; for example, feeders and short branch circuits, distribution branch panels and heavy appliance outlets with "short" connections to service entrance. The peak impulse transient range is from 600 to 8,000 volts with a 2-ohm source.
  • Equipment in fixed installations, such as switchgear and polyphase motors
  • Bus and feeders in industrial plants
  • Feeders and short branch circuits, distribution panel devices
  • Lighting systems in larger buildings
  • Appliance outlets with short connections to service entrance.
Category IV Three-phase at utility connection, any outdoor conductors or primary supply level. It will cover the highest and most dangerous level of transient overvoltage you are likely to encounter-in utility service to a facility both outside and at the service entrance, as well as the service drop from the pole to the building, the overhead line to a detached building, and the underground line to a well pump. The peak impulse transient range is from 600 to 12,000 volts with a less than 1-ohm source.
  • "Origin of installations," such as where low-voltage connection is made to utility power
  • Electricity meters, primary overcurrent protection equipment
  • Outside and service entrance, service drop from pole to building, run between meter and panel
  • Overhead line to detached building, underground line to well pump.
Global verification Here's a look at the various worldwide labs and test facilities that evaluate electrical safety:
  • UL: Underwriters Laboratory, the U.S.-based test lab. Among its many standards for electrical safety is UL 50, which covers enclosures for electrical equipment.
  • CSA: Canadian Standards Association, which provides product testing and certification services for electrical, mechanical, plumbing, gas and a variety of other products.
  • CE: An abbreviation of the French phrase Conformité Européenne, CE is the marking on products which meet conformity standards for the European Economic Area.
  • ETL: A North American testing laboratory that tests to UL standards. It is recognized at a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory.
  • TÜV: Based in Germany, TÜV Rheinland tests electrical, electronical and programmable electronic components and systems which are applied in safety-related applications.
Dennis K. Neitzel, CPE, CESCP is a trainer with AVO Training Institute. ]]>
Electrical News Electrical Engineering Slider Homepage Item - PLE SyndicationType: Article SyndicationSource: CFE Media (in-house) Syndication: PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) Syndication: Safety (Intrinsic Process Machine Plant) Syndication: Codes Standards Regulations Syndication: Electrical Systems (Transmission Distribution Smart Grid) Syndication: Electrical (Switchgear) Thu, 13 Apr 2017 00:03:00 -0400
2016 Product of the Year Awards http://www.plantengineering.com/single-article/2016-product-of-the-year-awards/59a5aa969d29dbcdc490ecc7c2589bc6.html The 2016 Product of the Year Grand, Gold, Silver, and Bronze award winners are honored. Plant Engineering's 2016 Product of the Year program consisted of 15 categories with 50 winners. The awards were presented to the winners at the 2017 Engineering Awards in Manufacturing dinner hosted by both Plant Engineering and Control Engineering. The 29th annual Plant Engineering Product of the Year competition is a celebration of all that is new and innovative in product development. It is also a time to evaluate your own needs within the plant to see what areas of your operation need improvement. Chances are, the solutions are among the winning products.

View the Winners of the 2016 Product of the Year Awards

Learn about how to enter into the 2017 Product of the Year program by visiting the Product of the Year page. Thank you to all of this year's participants and finalists, and congratulations to the 2016 award winners!]]>
Automation News Electrical News Mechanical News Maintenance & Management News Automation Engineering Electrical Engineering Mechanical Engineering Maintenance & Management Slider Homepage Item - PLE SyndicationType: Article Tue, 04 Apr 2017 03:00:00 -0400
Engineering Leaders Under 40: Nominations are now open! http://www.plantengineering.com/events-and-awards/engineering-leaders-under-40.html The nomination deadline for the 2017 Engineering Leaders Under 40 program is Friday, June 23, 2017,... Industry Trends Automation News Electrical News Mechanical News Maintenance & Management News Automation Engineering Electrical Engineering Mechanical Engineering Maintenance & Management Slider Homepage Item - PLE Tue, 04 Apr 2017 01:00:00 -0400 Top 5 Plant Engineering articles, March 27 to April 2: Permanent magnet motors, automation transforming a brewery, manufacturing's melting pot, more http://www.plantengineering.com/single-article/top-5-plant-engineering-articles-march-27-to-april-2-permanent-magnet-motors-automation-transforming-a-brewery-manufacturing-s-melting-pot-more/d9cf97237abd519d1ba520e79b06b841.html Articles about permanent magnet motors, automation transforming a brewery, manufacturing's melting... Plant Engineering's top 5 most read articles from Mar. 27 to Apr. 2, covered permanent magnet motors, automation transforming a brewery, manufacturing's melting pot, the 2017 Maintenance Survey findings, and arc flash causes. Link to each article below. 1. Understanding permanent magnet motors A permanent magnet (PM) motor is an ac motor that uses magnets imbedded into or attached to the surface of the motor’s rotor. This article provides an elementary understanding behind the terminology, concepts, theory, and physics behind PM motors. 2. Automation helps turn home brewer into brew house Automation methods used in a distillery are adapted for use in the fermentation process at a brew house. 3. Manufacturing’s melting pot focuses on people Manufacturing is a land of opportunity and its greatest asset is an engaged workforce. The best companies have a culture of respect for people. 4. Plant Engineering 2017 Maintenance Study Respondents to the Plant Engineering 2017 Maintenance Study identified six important, high-level findings impacting the manufacturing industries today; access full report. 5. Causes of arc flash and arc flash blast incidents Arc flash incidents are common causes of injury in a facility and knowing how and why they occur is a good strategy to prevent them from occurring in the first place. This list was developed using CFE Media's web analytics for stories viewed on www.plantengineering.com, March 27 to April 2, for articles published within the last two months. Chris Vavra, production editor, CFE Media, cvavra@cfemedia.com.]]> Electrical News Mechanical News Maintenance & Management News Electrical Engineering Mechanical Engineering Maintenance & Management Slider Homepage Item - PLE SyndicationType: Article SyndicationSource: CFE Media (in-house) Syndication: Events and Awards (Leaders Under 40 Product of the Year Top Plant System Integrator Giants) Mon, 03 Apr 2017 00:03:00 -0400 Causes of arc flash and arc flash blast incidents http://www.plantengineering.com/single-article/causes-of-arc-flash-and-arc-flash-blast-incidents/095b52d58c1e1bddbcaea1822d8829b0.html Arc flash incidents are common causes of injury in a facility and knowing how and why they occur is... Arc flash incidents are, unfortunately, common causes of electrical injuries in a facility. These events result from a combination of heat and light emitted during a dangerous electrical explosion. With hot gasses released into the air by an arc flash, they immediately melt metals and similar materials. Copper and other metals also tend to vaporize in an explosive manner because of the high temperature. The plasma arc becomes even more powerful as vaporized metal provides this effect. Moreover, fatalities can occur from arc flash incidents. Severe injuries include eyesight damage and radiation burns. When pressure waves accompany the arc flash, individuals near the incident may suffer brain function and hearing issues. Further accidents are also bound to happen once free tools, debris, and machinery get in the way. Downtime is another problem caused by arc flash once pieces of equipment and tools in the facility fail to function because of massive damages. Causes of arc flash incidents Spikes or voltage transients often cause arc flash. When lightning strikes, or upon switching reactive loads, such voltage transients occur. Although it takes only a few microseconds for the transient to last, this comes with thousands of enormous amps of energy and plasma arcs. Other causes include installation gaps or resistance heating arises because of corrosion and dust. Other arc flash triggers include worn connections, equipment not properly installed, and failure to handle the test probe to the right surface. Then there is the human element. For the most part, carelessness and poor safety practices result to arc flashes and several other types of electrical accidents. Your staff may be well-trained, but there is always the chance that their inability to perform safety procedures or maintain focus on their tasks, hazards in the facility occur. A lack of compliance with safety precautions and guidelines combined with faulty electrical equipment in the building all lead to electrical issues, including an arc flash. Other causes that contribute to an arc flash incident include: 
  • Exposed live parts
  • High voltage cables
  • Damaged equipment
  • Circuit breakers not maintained
  • Broken conductor insulation
  • Static electricity
  • Blocked disconnect panels.
Injuries caused by an arc flash Any individual within the area of the arc flash incident may suffer from injuries and fatalities. An arc flash is hot, which can cause massive burns to one's skin. Even if the person is several feet away from the incident, he or she is still at risk of burns. The clothing ignites right away upon exposure to an arc flash. While there is a treatment for burns caused by an arc flash, there still may be years of recovery. Eye damage also arises from arc flash incidents. If the personnel does not wear the required eye protection, molten debris and projectiles may hit them in the eyes. Damages to the retina result from the harsh UV radiation that accompanies the arc flash. Respiratory problems, such as breathing impairment and lung injury, impacts an individual near an arc flash. Massive heated vapors make it difficult to breathe, which leads to serious lung damage. Other internal organs may also be susceptible to injuries because of the thermoacoustic blast. The powerful blast can knock people off their feet. This explosion increases the chances of a fatality from falls or electrocution.
  • Many types of injuries result from an arc blast include:
  • Memory loss due to a concussion
  • Shock hazard from touching an energized conductor
  • Hearing loss from the explosion sound
  • Shrapnel wounds resulting from flying debris.
More facts on arc flash, arc flash blast Arc flash occurs when there is an uncontrolled conduction of the electrical current from various scenarios, such as phase to neutral, phase to phase, or phase to ground, combined with ionization of the air outside. A three-phase arcing fault may even arise as the conductive metal vaporizes. This fault happens as quick as 1/1000th of a second, which leads to widespread damages in an instant. Any personnel situated nearby or even a few feet away from the incident become exposed to fatalities and injuries caused by arc faults. Expect several injuries as powerful energy in various form escapes into the air due to arc fault current. These include massive burns and damages of one's vision. It is also worth noting that conductors vaporize faster because of a high arc temperature. When copper vapor, for instance, expands to as much as 67,000 times the typical volume of solid copper, a pressure wave or arc blast occurs. This pressure wave is capable of knocking over construction walls or snapping the heads of steel bolts as thick as 3/8-in. Both an arc flash and an arc blast pose serious hazards in an electrical or industrial facility. But, it is possible to prevent these by following proper safety practices and utilizing the right equipment for the best protection. Avoiding energized components in the workplace also spares anyone from fatalities due to these jeopardizing incidents.  David Manney is a marketing administrator at L&S Electric. This article originally appeared on L&S Electric Watts New Blog. L&S Electric is a CFE Media content partner.]]>
Electrical News Electrical Engineering Maintenance & Management News Maintenance & Management Slider Homepage Item - PLE SyndicationType: Article SyndicationSource: CFE Media (in-house) SyndicationSource: Content Partner - L&S Electric Inc. Syndication: Safety (Intrinsic Process Machine Plant) Syndication: Arc Flash Tue, 21 Mar 2017 13:00:00 -0400
Seven mistakes to avoid when upgrading your plant to LEDs http://www.plantengineering.com/single-article/seven-mistakes-to-avoid-when-upgrading-your-plant-to-leds/c6e15d2a5b836402b98111d01bc0313e.html Mistakes to avoid when highlighting your plant to LED include choosing the wrong watt level, not... Lighting may not be the biggest expense in your operating budget, but its performance effects every area of your plant—from productivity to safety. Industrial environments pose lighting challenges that aren't seen in traditional office or corporate environments: hard-to-reach ceilings; large, open spaces; extreme temperatures; and nontraditional operating hours, to name just a few. As LEDs have become more prolific, and less expensive, they're being used more and more in plant operations. It can be tempting to cut corners or rush an LED lighting upgrade when you have several other irons in the fire. But hurrying through the process without fully understanding all the decisions that need to be made can leave you with a system that's less than satisfactory. Avoid these seven common mistakes when upgrading to LEDs. 1. Choosing the wrong light level Wattage is what most of us are used to dealing with when it comes to making lighting decisions-the higher the wattage, the brighter the lamp. Wattage, however, doesn't actually represent lamp brightness; it measures power consumption. For this reason, LED wattage isn't comparable to wattage used to describe other types of lamps; LEDs naturally have a lower wattage because they're designed to be more energy efficient. Many people see the LED wattage level listed and assume it means that LEDs are dimmer than their counterparts. LEDs use the lumens rating to represent total light output (lamp brightness). The higher the lumen rating is, the brighter the light. Today, it can be difficult to recognize which type of lighting system you need if you don't understand what lumens are, the difference between wattage and lumens, or the number of lumens you need. Several LED manufacturers still sell based on wattage instead of lumens. This makes it challenging for you to truly understand what you're getting in an LED lamp, and can lead to a purchase of the wrong lighting system for your plant. 2. Not paying attention to codes and standards Are you over- or under-lighting? It's important to stay up to date on the latest requirements so you don't spend money unnecessarily. For example, lighting power density (LPD)—a lighting power requirement that is part of the ANSI/ASHRAE/IES 90.1 energy standard—recently was reduced by 23% in manufacturing facilities (to 0.9 watts per square foot) and 27% in warehouses (to 0.48 watts per square foot) as part of ANSI/ASHRAE/IES 90.1-2016. This update helps plants save energy without compromising lighting quality. 3. Purchasing without investigating options No matter what you're purchasing, you don't ever want to make a buying decision based in incorrect information. Misinformation from manufacturers is not uncommon, making it harder to select a lighting system that gives you what you need without added costs or performance issues. Manufacturers can be a good starting point for information gathering, but talking to outside experts or consultants who aren't connected to a specific product can provide an unbiased perspective and comparisons between lighting systems and lamps that seem similar. 4. Not using available technology In the past, lighting controls were often an afterthought—and they were very expensive. Today, lighting controls can be added to nearly all types of lighting systems, including LED systems. When it comes to saving money, there's nothing better than shutting your lights off (or at least dimming them)—and LEDs do that well. They respond immediately, with no warmup time or concerns about hot restrike. Lighting controls can set lamps to illuminate specific areas during times of high traffic, turn off or dim based on activity and occupancy levels, and supplement available daylight entering through windows and skylights. The before and after images of a U.S. Steel facility show the effectiveness of proper LED lighting in enclosed spaces. Courtesy: MyLEDLighting GuideThe before and after images of a U.S. Steel facility show the effectiveness of proper LED lighting in enclosed spaces. Courtesy: MyLEDLighting Guide If you don't have lighting controls in place, it's time to seriously consider investing in a system that can help you manage lighting usage. With the savings you'll see, it's possible that the reduction in your energy bills could pay for the system in a few years. If you do have lighting controls in place, but aren't using them—which we've seen happen—now is the time to start. 5. Not taking advantage of incentives Because a lighting upgrade or retrofit is a utility-based initiative, LEDs certified by the DesignLights Consortium (DLC) are eligible for utility rebates. This voluntary DLC certification requires participating LED lighting products to comply with distribution, color and longevity/stress performance standards. A quick look at your local utility's website will tell you what LEDs rebates are available. Consultants and experts who regularly work with utility companies are often available to help you fill out rebate forms to make sure you supply the correct information, get your rebate as quickly as possible, and understand the true costs associated with the lighting system once the rebates are in place. 6. Not investigating in a retrofit If the existing fixtures in your plant are in good condition, and the design and layout of the lighting system meets the needs of your plant, then a new LED lighting system may not be necessary. Instead, you can save time, money and plant disruption by using an LED retrofit kit that allows your fixtures to accept LED lamps. In fact, the LED engines in retrofit kits are as efficient, or sometimes more efficient, than LED engines in new fixtures. Because of their efficiency, they can replace existing luminaries in otherwise perfectly fine lighting fixtures in a plant. 7. Forgetting about areas beyond the plant floor The lighting used in your plant's parking lots, conference rooms and front-office areas is just as important as the lighting used in your plant environment itself. These areas are often overlooked in plant operations, but the lighting in these spaces can impact overall safety, comfort and productivity as well. Even though they're not working in the plant, office workers in manufacturing facilities can benefit from lighting improvements that decrease fatigue and glare, provide appropriate lighting levels for the tasks at hand, and function automatically through lighting controls based on occupancy and schedules. When your lighting upgrades aren't rushed, you have time to establish procedures and processes to make sure you end up with the right LED lighting system for your plant. Avoid these common mistakes, and you'll end up with a system that offers the savings and performance you expect. Dwayne Kula is founder of MyLEDLightingGuide, a consultant that helps commercial and industrial building owners save energy and money by finding efficient LED lighting solutions that will work in their specific environments and to their specifications. ]]> Electrical Engineering Electrical News Slider Homepage Item - PLE SyndicationType: Article SyndicationSource: CFE Media (in-house) Syndication: Lighting Syndication: Electrical Systems (Transmission Distribution Smart Grid) SyndicationTopic: Energy Management SyndicationTopic: Electrical SyndicationIndustry: Manufacturing (General Or Unspecified) Fri, 17 Mar 2017 00:03:00 -0400 Make the smart investment for electrical safety http://www.plantengineering.com/single-article/make-the-smart-investment-for-electrical-safety/bdaac8abd5560e158e52a5bb9f9cc38e.html Paying more to improve a company's electrical safety in the short-term will provide a tremendous... According to the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), a Liberty Mutual poll of executives shows that for every $1 spent on direct costs related to an accident, there are another $3 to $5 worth of indirect costs... putting the actual cost of an accident (with direct medical and compensation costs of $15,000) at somewhere between $45,000 and $75,000. Most polled executives said that for every $1 their company spent on workplace safety, they saved at least $3. In a recent poll of financial decision makers the participants perceived that on average, for every dollar spent improving work place safety approximately $4.41 would be returned. Safety's return on investment (ROI) is dependent on knowing one important thing: How much does an injury actually cost? The various cost factors of an injury fall into two categories: direct and indirect. Direct costs are the more obvious ones such as workers' compensation insurance, medical expenses, property damage, civil liability awards, and related litigation expenses. Indirect costs include OSHA fines, attorney fees, workplace disruptions, loss of productivity, employee replacement, training, and insurance premium increases. OSHA has developed an estimator tool that helps to put these costs into perspective. This tool can be used to assess the impact of occupational injuries and illnesses on the company's profitability. It uses a company's profit margin, the average costs of an injury or illness, and an indirect cost multiplier to project the amount of sales a company would need to generate to cover those costs. For electric shock, OSHA statistics show the average direct cost of one injury to be $86,528. Based on their data, OSHA's direct to indirect cost ratio for electric shock results in $95,180 in indirect costs. This means that the average electric shock injury costs the employer $181,708. The reality is that the amount of the direct cost paid by the employer is going to vary based on the company's workers' compensation insurance policy. However, the employer always pays the higher indirect cost. What is even more interesting about OSHA's tool is that an employer can enter their profit margin and determine what it will take in additional sales to cover the cost of the injury. For an electrical shock injury with a company that has a 3% profit margin, the company would have to have an extra $3,172,693 in product sales to cover the indirect cost associated with the injury. It would take $6,056,933 in additional sales to cover the total cost of the injury. From a strict business model approach, industry data supports the reality that taking a proactive approach to funding an effective safety program to avoid injuries is a more economical approach than the alternative. The money an employer spends on training, PPE, and other services or tools that promote a safety conscious work culture will more than pay for itself over the tenure of the employees. Let's look at an example and consider a business with 20 electricians. We have already learned that there is an average cost of $181,708 if one of those electricians gets injured from electric shock. One action that can be taken to reduce the probability of any of those 20 electricians being injured by a shock would be to have an electrical safety program developed and send the electricians through an electrical safety training course. Let's assume that these efforts reduce the probability of the electricians receiving the shock by 75% resulting in the benefit of avoiding $136,281 in injury expense. While many variables drive the cost of an electrical safety program development, a fair estimate would be $25,000 and $4,000 for onsite low voltage safety training for the electricians. The equation for ROI is as follows: Using our conservative numbers, the ROI of our example is ($136,281 - $29,000)/$29,000 = 3.69. What does this mean? This means that for every dollar your company spends on these safety improvements, you will be saving $3.69 in the future. After evaluating this data, most CFOs would have a hard time finding equally valuable opportunities for investing the company's money. The challenge is, unless a company is already trending injury rates, it is difficult to dogmatically validate the avoidances through improved safety culture. But even more savings beyond the simple ROI calculation exist. One tangible savings opportunity comes from a reduction in lost-workday accidents lowering the experience modification rate (EMR), which can decrease a company's workers' compensation premiums. Some intangible benefits exist as well. The NFPA 70B Recommended Practice for Electrical Equipment Maintenance identifies one of these benefits: Improved moral comes with an employee awareness of a conscious management effort to promote safety by reducing the likelihood of electrical injuries or fatalities, electrical explosions, and fires. Finally, the most significant and typically overlooked return on your investment toward electrical safety culture is peace of mind. This comes from knowing that your employees have the knowledge, tools, and encouragement needed to execute their work safely and return home to their loved ones at the end of the day. One of the worst tasks a manager or business owner can do is make a phone call to an employee's emergency contact to inform them that their loved one has been injured and on their way to the hospital. While this concern for fellow humanity should be sufficient to justify the capital investment needed for maintaining a proper safety culture, it is encouraging to know that there is also factual financial evidence to support spending money on safety now in order to save money later. Tommy Northcott is the president of Northcott Consulting. Courtesy: Northcott ConsultingHas your company made the right investment in electrical safety?  Tommy Northcott earned a BS Degree in Electrical Engineering with an emphasis in Power Systems from Tennessee Technological University. He is a Professional Engineer licensed in the State of Tennessee and a Certified Maintenance and Reliability Professional. Tommy has well over a decade of experience working with one of the largest electric utility systems in Tennessee as a Systems Engineer, Arc Flash Project Manager, Operations and Maintenance Manager, and Reliability Engineering Manager. Currently, Tommy is the President of Northcott Consulting LLC and specializes in Electrical Safety Training and NFPA 70E and OSHA compliance. For more information visit www.northcottconsultingllc.com and feel free to email questions or comments to tommy@northcottconsultingllc.com. ]]> Electrical News Electrical Engineering Slider Homepage Item - PLE SyndicationType: Article SyndicationSource: CFE Media (in-house) SyndicationSource: End User Syndication: Electrical Systems (Transmission Distribution Smart Grid) Syndication: Electrical (Switchgear) Syndication: Safety (Intrinsic Process Machine Plant) SyndicationTopic: Safety Wed, 15 Mar 2017 13:00:00 -0400 Top 5 Plant Engineering articles, March 6-12: Annual IR scans, flexible automation, improved productivity, more http://www.plantengineering.com/single-article/top-5-plant-engineering-articles-march-6-12-annual-ir-scans-flexible-automation-improved-productivity-more/23020531d48ffcfac3a2787e4521bfe2.html Articles about implementing annual IR scans, flexible automation drivers, improved productivity,... Plant Engineering's top 5 most read articles from Mar. 6-12, covered articles about implementing annual IR scans, flexible automation drivers, improved productivity, optimize energy consumption, and improving power factor. Link to each article below. 1. Implement annual IR scans in preventive maintenance program Performing an annual infrared (IR) scan helps secure assets and also prevents downtime and disastrous equipment. 2. The drivers of flexible automation Technology advances designed specifically for industrial automation have made it easier to design and implement flexible automation. And companies are seeing numerous benefits from using the new applications.  3. Striving to achieve a ‘reliable state’ for improved productivity Four ways to reorganize your people and processes will keep assets operating at longer intervals, which will increase productivity and make the workplace safer. 4. Six ways to optimize a facility's energy consumption Companies looking to improve their facility's energy efficiency should look at factors such as utilizing energy bills, conserving water, saving electricity through strategic placement, and other small, but helpful tips that go a long way to improving efficiency in many ways. 5. Improving power factor to reduce energy demand charges, increase capacity Low power is not only inefficient, but can also be expensive over the life of an electrical system. Improved power factor will increase the distribution system’s efficiency and reduce energy costs associated with low power factor penalties. This list was developed using CFE Media's web analytics for stories viewed on www.plantengineering.com, March 6-12, for articles published within the last two months. Chris Vavra, production editor, CFE Media, cvavra@cfemedia.com.]]> Automation Engineering Electrical Engineering Industry Trends Automation News Electrical News Slider Homepage Item - PLE SyndicationType: Article SyndicationSource: CFE Media (in-house) Syndication: Events and Awards (Leaders Under 40 Product of the Year Top Plant System Integrator Giants) Mon, 13 Mar 2017 00:03:00 -0400