Motor control center data offers maintenance insight

One piece of equipment that is increasingly being incorporated into a plant’s network is the motor control center.

12/15/2007


One piece of equipment that is increasingly being incorporated into a plant’s network is the motor control center. An MCC is a safe, economical and convenient way to mount control, distribution and automation equipment in one central location. It typically contains components such as motor starters, drives, circuit protection devices (circuit breakers, motor circuit protectors or fuses), circuit monitors and overload relays.

In a networked %%MDASSML%% or intelligent %%MDASSML%% MCCs, the plant’s protocol is built into its individual components via hardware, allowing for myriad information from those components and the processes they control to be fed back to plant personnel or even the process itself.

Though interest in intelligent MCCs is growing, it’s estimated that only about 20% of all MCCs in use today are indeed networked. Chances are, that a plant that isn’t currently using this equipment, is probably at least considering it to capitalize on the information it supplies to make more astute decisions.

An MCC may be overlooked by many as a potential information source because it is typically located behind the closed door of an electrical room along with the rest of the plant’s electrical distribution equipment. However, an intelligent MCC can be a crucial means for solving problems that have plagued facilities for decades, such as unscheduled downtime.

If a conveyor motor in a beverage plant burns out, for example, there is no way to transport bottles from washing to filling until that motor is fixed, which means the whole line is shut down until the repair is made, jeopardizing production goals.

An intelligent MCC can help prevent this by feeding real-time information via the network back to the plant supervisor about that motor’s health. A preset pending condition alarm, indicating the motor is approaching a threshold where it will fail if it isn’t replaced, is also a prudent step.

The cost savings can be significant:

  • Production goals continue to be met

  • Potential loss of raw materials is avoided

  • Workers aren’t idle for an extended period.

    • An intelligent MCC can identify problems instantly, creating the concept of predictive maintenance, which differs slightly from preventive maintenance (i.e., the physical replacement of aging components) and, of course, emergency maintenance.

      An intelligent MCC might also be the only way to diagnose what happened if a fault occurs. For example, an MCC outfitted with circuit monitors can feed information via the network that a voltage spike occurred at 2:36 a.m., resulting in a process shutdown. A plant supervisor can then forward a time-stamped PDF to the local utility. Information from an intelligent MCC can also be fed back into the manufacturing process to make real-time adjustments based on evolving conditions.

      Further considerations

      Deploying intelligent MCCs requires careful personnel considerations. Keep in mind that someone will have to maintain that MCC and its components %%MDASSML%% specifically its network connections %%MDASSML%% because if not, it won’t be able to provide the information necessary to accrue its substantial benefits. It’s good practice to take inventory of the computer expertise of your employees, along with making that a top-level criterion when interviewing for open positions.

      But the most important piece of advice to heed regarding intelligent MCCs is to use the information it facilitates to maximize production. It might be tempting to put off addressing a pending condition alarm until there’s more time, but with the hustle and bustle of daily life on a plant floor, it’s easy to get sidetracked. If unscheduled downtime occurs, the ramifications %%MDASSML%% particularly lower sales and increased costs %%MDASSML%% could be dire for a plant supervisor, the company and all of its employees.


      <table ID = 'id3001845-0-table' CELLSPACING = '0' CELLPADDING = '2' WIDTH = '100%' BORDER = '0'><tbody ID = 'id3002096-0-tbody'><tr ID = 'id3003021-0-tr'><td ID = 'id3002485-0-td' CLASS = 'table' STYLE = 'background-color: #EEEEEE'> Author Information </td></tr><tr ID = 'id3001979-3-tr'><td ID = 'id3003149-3-td' CLASS = 'table'> Terry Schiazza began his career at Square D Co. in 1980, and is business development manager for low voltage motor control centers. Anthony Propes has 20 years of experience in electrical distribution, control and automation equipment, and is staff marketing specialist managing low voltage motor control centers. Both work at the Square D/Schneider Electric facility in Seneca, SC. </td></tr></tbody></table>


No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
IIoT grows up; Six ways to lower IIoT costs; Six mobile safety strategies; 2017 Salary Survey
2016 Top Plant; 2016 Best Practices on manufacturing progress, efficiency, safety
2016 Product of the Year; Diagnose bearing failures; Asset performance management; Testing dust collector performance measures
Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Big Data and bigger solutions; Tablet technologies; SCADA developments
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
What controller fits your application; Permanent magnet motors; Chemical manufacturer tames alarm management; Taking steps in a new direction
Tying a microgrid to the smart grid; Paralleling generator systems; Previewing NEC 2017 changes
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Motion control advances and solutions can help with machine control, automated control on assembly lines, integration of robotics and automation, and machine safety.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role of plant safety and offers advice on best practices.
This article collection contains several articles on preventing compressed air leaks and centrifugal air compressor basics and best practices for the "fifth utility" in manufacturing plants.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
click me