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: