Spring into productivity
There was spring in the air and a spring in the step of the winners of the 2009 Product of the Year awards dinner. The unseasonably warm weather in Chicago March 29 contributed to a warm atmosphere at the Hotel Sofitel, where the 22nd annual Product of the Year awards were presented. Fluke Corporation’s Digital Multimeter received the Grand Award, which is presented to the product that r...
There was spring in the air and a spring in the step of the winners of the 2009 Product of the Year awards dinner. The unseasonably warm weather in Chicago March 29 contributed to a warm atmosphere at the Hotel Sofitel, where the 22nd annual Product of the Year awards were presented.
Fluke Corporation’s Digital Multimeter received the Grand Award, which is presented to the product that receives the single highest number of votes from all reader votes submitted. Fluke President Barbara Huitt was on hand to accept the 2009 Grand Award, one of three won by Fluke on March 29.
The 2009 dinner honored more than 50 products in 17 categories in all facets of a plant manager’s responsibilities. Edward Bryan of IBM Corp. delivered the keynote address at the 2009 dinner, discussing how manufacturing needs to change in the new post-recession economy.
Bryan said manufacturers must set new priorities going forward to address the greater pressures on capital and staff as the recovery begins to move forward:
1. Manufacturers must synchronize activities within functional and geographically dispersed units
2. Identify opportunities to restructure and streamline operations while enhancing connectivity and collaboration within their manufacturing, supply chain and business teams
3. Improve collaboration with suppliers and customers to respond to market pressures and meet customer demands
The changing manufacturing environment was the focus of the two-day Manufacturing/Automation Summit, presented by Plant Engineering and Control Engineering magazines, which took place concurrent to the Product of the Year dinner. Manufacturing leaders and plant managers came together for two days to discuss the operational challenges and opportunities facing manufacturing in 2010.
One major issue of the two-day symposium was energy and sustainability. Offering advice on these topics were Rene Wolf, general manager, factory automation, Siemens; Carl Castellow, industrial energy efficiency manager, Schneider Electric; Rod Ellsworth, vice president for global asset sustainability, Infor; and Marc Leroux, marketing manager for ABB’s collaborative production.
Wolf said companies need a comprehensive approach to energy management, where identify energy flows to uncover hidden energy potential; evaluate potential savings by considering life cycle costs of investments; and realize efficiency gains to optimize equipment and processes.
Castellow said that an energy action plan was essential to get a handle on actual energy costs. An energy action plan “should buy a seat at the table” for interested in managing those costs, Castellow said. The plan should be built into production and company-wide thinking, he added.
Leroux said technology as fundamental as applying variable speed drives can save about 30% in related energy costs. He said it was also important to assign costs to various production centers based on cost of operations according to time and processes, so real-time energy costs can be factored into cost of production.
Ellsworth noted that because energy efficiency requires integration of behavioral changes, continuous energy commissioning needs to become part of ongoing processes, related to all assets.
Mary Bunzel of IBM discussed the emerging asset management market and its need to be better aligned to maintenance needs. She said next generation MRO tools can help manufacturers:
· Do more with less, extend the life of current assets, maintain product quality, manage waste (labor raw materials and energy), and grow the business.
· Overcome operational hurdles, such as globalization over multiple sites, cultural changes, scheduling pressures, and the need to transform data into information.
· Better manage risk, related to regulations, health, and safety issues.
· Address technological challenges, such as short and long term data flow, removing silo walls, and justifying focus on MRO tools, to create the most throughput at the lowest cost.
The 2010 Manufacturing/Automation Summit also featured the formal presentation of the 2009 Top Plant award to Siemens Industry Inc. of Norwood, OH. Their designation as the 2009 Top Plant winner was announced in the December 2009 issue, and a presentation of the Top Plant trophy was made to the Norwood employees in February.
Read about the Product of the Year gold, silver, and bronze award winners in the following text.
For 22 years, Plant Engineering has awarded the Grand Award to honor the one product that has earned that loyalty. It is the one product that receives the most votes from voters from 30 countries throughout the world. Here is the winner of the 2009 Plant Engineering Product of the Year Grand award:
From Fluke Corporation, the model 233 digital multimeter uses a 2.4 GHz ISM Band wireless transmitter to send measurements to a detached display. The device can be placed up to 33 feet from the point of measurement and will stick to metal surfaces due to the magnet on the back of the multimeter.
From Grundfos, The Multi-Stage CR-H suction pump is designed to maximize pump efficiency and minimize internal wear. The pump allows for expanded pressure range by adding additional stages and the motor can be up-sized if necessary. The CR-H cartridge can be replaced without pump removal and the device is available with variable speed functionality.
From Exair, the Chip Trapper cleans solids out of used coolants and other liquids. The device vacuums coolant or liquid that is filled with debris into the included 55-gallon drum, which traps all of the solids in a reusable filter bag. It’s designed for use on machines with sumps, parts washers, tanks and storage containers. The vacuum is powered by an air compressor and has no motors or impellers to clog or wear out.
From New Pig, The PIG vapor-control latching drum lid helps to convert a 55-gallon drum into a safe collection container for hazardous waste. A nitrile gasket lid with a 5-inch port reduces vapor and odor emissions during and after waste disposal. The lid features latching handles that open with one-hand operation.
From Atlas Copco, The ZR-series of water-cooled, oil-free air compressors features built-in energy recovery systems and a TUV certification for net-zero energy consumption. Also, 100% of the compressor’s electrical power can be recovered in the form of water as hot as 194 F. The recovered hot water can be used for space heating, shower and other hot water applications in food processing, pulp and paper, textile, pharmaceutical, refineries, chemical and petrochemical plants.
From Sullair, the TS-20 two-stage tandem air compressor offers a choice of either constant speed or variable speed drive for full-load efficiency. The compressor’s capacity ranges from 495 to 1,200 actual cubic feet per minute and the pressure ranges from 100 to 175 psig. The compressor features a Supervisor Controller, which serves as a microprocessor control unit that provides critical operating information using simple graphics of monitored functions.
From Quincy Compressors, the QGD rotary screw air compressor features a modular enclosure that limits sound levels to 67 dB. The device uses a direct drive air-end, which uses no gears or belts, but a C-Face mounted motor that transmits power directly. The device uses a horizontal separator tank and multi-service block that allows for the use of a spin-on filter, oil separation and ease of maintenance.
From Veyance Technologies, the Falcon HTC belt features a power transfer rate up to 98% for high-efficiency motors. The rubber compound power transmission belt features a Plioguard HD tooth facing fabric to increase torque and tooth-loading capacity while reducing tension decay. The belt runs at a noise level of 5 dBA and transfers up to 30% more power than previous belt models.
From Gates Corporation, the Draftguard anti-rotation device prevents back-drafting of fans, eliminates hard starts during wind-milling and helps avoid damage to belt drive system and structure during startup. Designed with mounting holes for bushings found on air-cooled heat exchanger belt drive systems, the device adapts to clockwise or counter-clockwise rotation. The device uses a high-torque, one-way clutch to prevent the fan drive form rotating in the opposite direction during maintenance.
From Bador, ULTRA KLEEN ball bearings are made of 100% stainless steel and include set screws positioned at 65-degree angles to provide maximum locking force without compromising inner ring strength. The bearings use a QuadGuard sealing system that uses a triple-lip seal design to maximize sealing and a rubberized finger to provide protection from outside contaminants. The bearings feature a ball retainer Maxlife cage that creates a grease compartment around each of the rolling elements. The compartment holds grease in, preventing it from being washed out.
Environmental Safety and Health
From Gorbel, the Tether Track rigid fall arrest anchor system reduces the risk of fall-related injuries in elevated work environments. The system is available as monorail or bridge system and is designed to support multiple works, each weighing up to 310 pounds with tools. The system exceeds the OSHA 1926 Subpart M Construction Standard as well as ANSI Z359 Fall Protection Code.
From Sperian Fall Protection, the Miller Vi-Go ladder climbing safety system provides continuous fall protection when climbing fixed ladders. The system accommodates four users simultaneously and features a lifeline tensioner with dual functionality designed to prevent ladder deformation and indicates when lifeline is properly tensioned. The system features automatic-pass-through brackets that glide through intermediate brackets uninterrupted. The system’s top bracket is engineered with an integral shock absorber to reduce the forces in the event of a fall.
From Liftow, the Safe-belt forklift seat belt provides forklift operators with flexibility and operability while operating a forklift. The belt’s spring action arm inhibits operator functionality if the belt is not connected, which ensures operators wear the safety belt. The yellow-colored ends of the belt allow supervisors to see if the belts are not being worn and the belt extends further across the operator’s body, which limits the distance the operator needs to stretch to reach the belt.
Automation and Control
From Rockwell Automation, the PlantPAx process automation system is designed to enable process plant optimization. The system’s key areas include a library of reusable control objects; control and visualization platforms; performance and process optimization tools; ISA-88-based batch and sequencing technologies; process safety and critical control integration; asset management; historian-based process data management; and instrumentation and control interoperability.
From ProSoft Technology, the Wireless POINT I/O high-speed standards-based wireless I/O communication adapter offers a wireless alternative for linking Rockwell Automation controllers to distributed process I/O modules. Typical applications include collecting data from and controlling moving systems such as robots, automated carts, overhead cranes and earthmovers; and from fixed-position racks in hard-to-reach areas of the plant. The adapter employs 802.11i WPA2 with AES encryption.
From Fluke Corporation, the 773 Milliamp Process Clamp Meter is designed to enable technicians and engineers to do mA loop troubleshooting on process control circuits, instrumentation and automation I/O without breaking the circuit. The meter also measures and sources dc voltage, and sources a scaled mA output that corresponds to the measured signal.
Electric Motors and Drives
From Baldor, the RPM AC Cooling Tower Direct Drive system eliminates the gearbox and mechanical transmission drive for cooling tower applications. The system combines a laminated-frame ac motor with permanent magnet salient pole rotor design and an adjustable speed drive. The fan couples directly to the motor, which is designed for minimal maintenance. Critical motor operational parameters are integrated into the drive’s firmware to provide simplified cooling tower startups.
From CBS Arc Safe, the Remote Switch Actuator enables service personnel to stand outside the arc flash boundary while performing the charge, close and trip of a manually-operated electrical device, which reduces personal protective equipment category requirements. The remote actuator attaches mechanically assisted by earth magnets; no switchgear modifications are required. The actuator can be moved from device to device.
From Electro-Static Technology, the AEGIS SGR is a maintenance-free shaft grounding ring that is designed to extend motor and bearing life. It provides protection from VFD-induced electrical bearing damage by channeling harmful shaft currents to ground. A major modification to the grounding ring allows faster installation in the field without decoupling or drilling holes in the motor; it can now be permanently attached to the motor’s end bell with conductive epoxy. The ring works with virtually no friction or wear.
From Siemens Industry Inc., the Simatic ET 200pro IWLAN wireless interface can be directly mounted on a machine, eliminating the need for installation inside an electrical enclosure. The interface uses an IEEE 802.11 WLAN-based wireless design that supports industrial Ethernet communications using the Profinet protocol. The device includes wireless network interface, connections for modular controls and I/O, diagnostic LEDs and a built-in Ethernet port.
From Rockwell Automation, the PowerFlex 755 ac drive offers an embedded DeviceLogix control, which gives users the flexibility to combine inputs and/or outputs and local logic functions to determine the drive’s behavior. The drive can be configured to provide advance notification of operating data on cooling fans, I/O relay cycles, motor run-time hours and potential fault warnings. Other features include selectable motor control, embedded EtherNet/IP port and advanced safety options.
Cooper Lighting, the Metalux Flip-Up Striplites and Industrials include the SSF standard body striplite series: 4-1/4-inch wide channel; the SNF narrow body striplite series: 2-3/4-inch channel width; and the IAF/ICF light-duty industrials that use apertured and closed reflector combinations. The striplites do not require the socket to be attached to the socket track or the end plates installed to the channel. The striplite series features dedicated housing for T8 and T5 lamping configurations, allowing users to the use current ballast and lamp technologies.
From Cooper Lighting, the McGraw-Edison Generation LED Post Top Luminaire provides illumination similar to a 100 W HID system. The luminaire produces 5,000 lumens and the optical design yields effective distributions – Type III and Type V – while focusing light on the task instead of providing uncontrolled illumination. The luminaire provides provide 50% power reduction during the close of the business day, while maintaining critical-to-safety site lighting uniformity levels.
From Orion Energy Systems, the Outdoor Energy Efficient lighting system consumes 50% less electricity than traditional, high-intensity discharge lights. The fluorescent technology is designed to function in extreme hot and cold conditions and has UL listing for wet locations. Constructed of coated, galvanized steel and welded together, the lighting system provides a sealed interior to keep the lamps and ballasts free from moisture, dirt and bugs. The lamps are also protected by an impact-resistant polycarbonate lens.
Productivity and Training Software
From New Standard Institute, the “Fuses, Circuit Breakers and Overloads” training software features interactive animations, voice-over narration, pop-up definitions, interactive exercises, word search and enlargeable graphics. The training is available as Web-based, on CD or a downloadable file that can be installed onto the user’s computer. Training covers electrical protective devices, fault current, short circuit ratings, motor overload protection and how they interact.
From SigmaQuest, the Process Flow Visualization software allows users to track product development via graphical data views with drill-down analytics. The software enables manufacturers to determine if the documented process flow is followed, and when and where their supply chain process is not working. It also allows them to know if products have been built to spec, have gone through all appropriate tests, if tests were skipped, if (and where) products failed in the test process and how many times tests were repeated.
From Autodesk, the AutoCAD Plant 3D 2010 modeling software brings the benefits of model-based design to plant design projects. It is built for design, modeling and documentation of process plants. The software includes specification-driven design and standard parts catalogs for the placement of piping, equipment and support structures. Users can generate isometrics and orthographic documents from the 3D model. Users can search, query and manipulate data contained in drawings.
From APC by Schneider Electric, the Symmetra MW II modular uninterruptible power system provides power in the range of 400 kW to 1,600 kW with paralleling capabilities for increased capacity or redundancy. The UPS delivers efficiencies from more than 94% at 25% load to more than 97% at full-load. Its modularity allows a power module to be easily replaced for maintenance. The system maintains high availability through internal N+1 redundancy and self-diagnosing power modules for predictive failure notification.
Eaton Corporation, the VaultGuard Gateway network protector provides monitoring and remote control for electrical control rooms or vault systems. The gateway can connect up to 32 network protector relays through existing shielded twisted pair cable. It is designed to track network protector performance metrics. Onboard Web pages are accessible through Wi-Fi and data can link to existing SCADA.
From Eaton Corporation, the low voltage arc-resistant switchgear protects operating and maintenance personnel from dangerous arcing faults by channeling arc energy out of the top of the switchgear. The switchgear is rated as ANSI Type 2 and is available with a NEMA Type 2B rating option, which is designed to increase operator protection even if the low-voltage instrument compartment door is open.
From Asset Point, the Maintenance Validation Program is a structured program that evaluates 174 individual tasks within 15 separate process elements. Its primary focus is to document compliance and identify specific areas for improvement. Process elements are comprised of individual steps, each with a definition, performance expectation and validation process. Participants are interviewed and observed performing each step. An ROI calculator provides an estimate of attainable savings through maintenance program improvements.
From Rockwell Automation, the FactoryTalk AssetCentre Machine Edition is a software tool designed to help smaller manufacturers and machine builders with a limited number of automation assets maximize their automation investment and minimize downtime. The software provides a centralized tool for gathering, managing and securing data on up to 25 devices such as control systems, drives and HMIs using a single workstation. Users can centrally manage and track changes in four key areas of functionality: security, audit trail, archive and disaster recovery.
From Siemens Industry Inc., the Simatic Maintenance Station is a software option for the Simatic WinCC SCADA system that supports preventive, condition-based and reactive plant maintenance activities. The focus of the features in Version 2009 is diagnostic functionality and plant asset management. The software visualizes diagnostic and maintenance information from a PC to network components all the way to controllers, switching, protection, drives and control units. It allows access from field devices via a Web client for remote maintenance.
Material Handling Systems
From Blue Giant Equipment Corporation, the StrongArm SVR303 vehicle restraint system provides security to loading dock operations. It features a low-profile rotating arm that engages the vehicle’s rear impact guard at a 90-degree angle to secure the trailer to the dock with 35,000 pounds of restraining force. Dual-acting hydraulic cylinders ensure proper engagement and prevent lock-up or disengagement problems. The restraint can be mounted to either the dock face or driveway.
From the Raymond Corporation, the 9000 Series Swing-Reach lift truck now offers energy saving features such as ac technology, regenerative lowering and LED compartment lights. Its ac drive motor and ac lift motor combination provides quick acceleration, smooth direction changes and quiet, precise traction and lift. The system is also designed to provide more run time per battery charge. The lift trucks can be used for both pallet handling and case picking for flexibility in changing warehouse environments and narrow aisles.
From Toyota Material Handling USA, the line of large IC pneumatic lift trucks has been expanded to include four new models: up to 51,000-pound capacities at a 36-inch load center. The expanded product line is designed for applications including ports, construction, lumber yards, metal fabricators and concrete and masonry yards. Other features include wet disc brakes and a deluxe steel cab with an integrated air conditioner and heater/defroster.
Maintenance Tools and Equipment
From Azima DLI, the DCA-60 vibration data collector and real-time analyzer allows plant technicians to collect vibration data and diagnose machine faults onsite or via the Internet-based WATCHMAN Analysis program. The collector enables four-channel simultaneous vibration data collection through capabilities such as wireless connectivity, multimedia, 80GB of data storage and compatibility with Windows software.
From New Pig Corporation, the PIG Sheet allows a user to form custom liquid control and containment devices for areas where space is awkward or limiting. The steel mesh core is coated with pliable PVC that can be reshaped without cracking to provide the moldability of metal and the corrosion resistance of plastic. The device can attach to magnets for connection to metal surfaces.
From RIDGID, The SeeSnake microDrain inspection system allows for inspection of difficult to reach areas. The system features a 30-foot flexible cable and a small 22-mm diameter camera head that provides views of tight places such as toilet traps and small P traps. The system features multiple monitor compatibility, which allows users to use the microDrain reel with any monitor or digital inspection camera to capture still and video images.
Construction, Buildings and Grounds
From Bentley Systems, the ConstructSim provides an automation tool for workface planning, sequencing, execution and monitoring of construction activities within an virtual plant model. The software provides virtual walk through, 4D schedule simulations, automated construction material take-offs and automated detail task list generation. The software provides life-cycle status tracking such as color coding material availability and progress by area, system, and task.
From DL Manufacturing, the Leveler Blanket insulated leveler cover eliminates energy loss through the side gaps, bottom door seal or by heat transfer through the dock leveler plate. The insulated cover prevents energy loss at loading docks while helping reduce the strain on chillers and heating systems. The insulated cover is convenient to place and reset when the door is not in use. The return on investment is one year when used eight hours per day.
From Rite-Hite Doors Inc., the SplitSecond series of high-performance, bi-parting, industrial doors take up less wall space and provide immediate access through door openings with a peak speed of 120 inches per second. The door features a variable frequency drive and spring-tube design that opens a fabric curtain from the middle. The door features three through-beam photo eyes that monitor the door opening and automatically open the door when an obstruction is detected.
From Victaulic, the Style 177 QuickVic flexible coupling has no loose parts and requires no disassembly before installation. Using hand tools or an impact wrench, the coupling fits onto the ends of a pipe, fitting or valve. The coupling features EHP gasket material for performance from -30 to 250 F and is designed for applications rated up to 1,000 psi. The coupling is available in sizes ranging from 2 inches to 6 inches.
From Big Ass Fans, the Powerfoil X industrial fan uses its NitroSeal Drive to reduce gearbox maintenance and run the fan at a cooler temperature. The hermetically-sealed drive is nitrogen-filled to ensure zero moisture and contamination. The hollow output shaft allows for the integration of electronic devices such as a light, camera or VESDA smoke detection. The fan’s onboard electronics eliminates electromagnetic and radio frequency interference. The wall-mounted, low-voltage Cat5 keypad can control several fans up to 1,000 feet away.
From Big Ass Fans, the AirGo mobile vertical fan features a 43.2 decibel noise level at maximum speed and provides 6,000 square feet of floor coverage. The IP55-rated, OSHA-compliant mobile vertical fan provides a cooling breeze up to 140 feet and the fan’s housing provides 360-degree angle adjustments, while locked in position by four independent, locking swivel casters.
From Mobil Industrial Lubricants, the Mobil DTE 10 Excel hydraulic fluid is designed for applications in industrial and off-highway sectors, including construction, energy/power, mining, general manufacturing, machine shops, plastics and pulp/paper. The hydraulic fluid improves energy efficiency and oil life with hydraulic machinery. The fluid operates in temperatures as low as minus-30 F and has a high viscosity index.
From Inpro-Seal, the Current Diverter Ring features a bronze ring with conductive fibrous material that contacts the shaft and creates a path of least resistance away from the bearings for stray shaft currents that leads them through the motor and to ground. The bearing protection device avoids pitting, frosting and fluting of the bearings and also impedes stray shaft currents from traveling to coupled equipment.
From New Pig Corporation, the PIG BLUE absorbent mat uses its polypropylene and cellulose blend to increase absorbency and disperse liquid evenly. Containing 70% recycled fibers, the mat’s FiberFusion technology adds strength to the cellulose and absorbency to the polypropylene. The mat meets the NFPA 99 standard for static decay and won’t burn when exposed to flame.
From Flir Systems, the FLIR i7 infrared camera offers 120 x 120 pixel infrared resolution, 2% accuracy and 0.1 C thermal sensitivity. The camera reveals abnormal temperature readings with images displayed on a 2.8-inch high-resolution color LCD screen. Its fully automatic design, intuitive menu navigation and focus-free lens promote ease of use. Three measurement modes are available for extensive job-site analysis.
From Honeywell Process Solutions, the FlexLine wireless radar gauge captures a wide array of tank measurements and transmits them via the OneWireless network to control rooms, eliminating the need for manual data collection. The gauge measures level, temperature, pressure, water and overfill. The OneWireless network is based on equipment compatible with the ISA 100.11a standard, and is designed to simultaneously accommodate multiple wireless protocols and thousands of field devices ranging from transmitters and gauge readers to mobile handheld devices and RFID tags.
From Fluke Corporation, the Ti32 thermal imager is designed for troubleshooting and preventive maintenance of electrical installations, and electromechanical, process and HVAC/R equipment. Using IR-Fusion technology, users can marry high-precision thermal images with visual (visible light) images in full screen, picture-in-picture or blended views. Users can also record voice comments with every image taken. Optional telephoto and wide-angle lenses are also available.
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Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.