PLant Engineering blog: Five Fast Things for Nov. 30, 2006


By Bob Vavra


Plant Engineering magazine

1. High-tailing it out of Orlando : I’m back at home base outside of Chicago after the Power Gen show. I got out a little early after promised a foot of snow on top of my home %%MDASSML%% and every other home in a 100-mile radius. So while it’s never hard to leave Orlando, it’s even easier to go when you’re trying to beat a blizzard.

Before I left, though, I picked up a few good tidbits and some interesting news I’ll be sharing over the next week or so. For an overview of everything at Power Gen, click here to get the latest daily updates from the event.

2. Generating power quality knowledge: The Plant Engineering Roundtable sponsored by APC at the Power Gen show produced some lively discussions on what to do when hurricanes are headed your way %%MDASSML%% and whether transients in your power line are even more dangerous. Steve Wencis, director of professional services, North America for APC, discusses some of the things manufacturers need to look for in evaluating their electrical system in this exclusive audio clip. The full text of the Roundtable will appear in the January issue of Plant Engineering, along with the 2006 Salary Survey.

3. New site for Ludeca: Doral, FL-based Ludeca has just relaunched its Website at . It features video clips and training and product information, and it is a great source for information on vibration monitoring and aslignment equipment. I was talking with Dieter Siedenthal of Ludeca at Power Gen, and he made an interesting point about motors and shaft alignment. He noted that even the most energy efficient motor is wasted if it’s not installed and aligned properly %%MDASSML%% and any motor can be more energy efficient if it is operating at peak efficiency. The tendency these days is to look for a “buzz-word solution” instead of making sure you optimize each piece of equipment on your plant floor.

4. Green comes in many colors: GE Energy had a major presence at PowerGen with its EcoMagination strategy to promote greener energy use. One way it made the point was to hand out a box of eight Crayola crayons with energy-friendly names. Think black can’t be energy-friendly? Try Clean Burning Coal Black…

For more on click here . Those who wonder whether wind is a viable power generating source need only go to Europe to see the tall white windmills dotting the landscape, as one California group proposes . Those who don’t want to see tall white windmills dotting the American landscape need to understand one alternative is tall gray nuclear cooling towers, and either is preferable to darkness.

5. A waste of time, but a brilliant waste of time: What do you get when you cross 251 2-liter bottles of Diet Coke with 1,506 Mentos mints? Perhaps you’ve seen this little experiment on YouTube . Perhaps not. Either way, it is brilliant and surreal. It is the modern day equivalent of knocking over a whole bunch of dominoes. Mentos was so proud , it actually created a contest for others to do this. When you see a clip like this, it makes you understand that Google got a bargain when it paid $1.65 billion for YouTube. And that we’re using our free time productively.

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