Wireless monitoring measures dew point, keeps repair facility flying along

Energy efficiency and optimization are key factors in maintaining a reliable compressed air system. However, anything from ambient humidity to a less-than-perfect setup can make a system work harder, driving up energy costs, limiting production quality, and potentially damaging equipment.


Installation of a condition monitoring system—in this case, SCOUT Technology sensors—allowed Able Engineering workers to calculate dew point, a chief concern among many manufacturers with compressed air systems. (Images courtesy of Parker Hannifin)

For Able Engineering & Component Services, maintaining an effective and efficient compressed air system is vital for the company’s operation. Compressed air plays a significant role at Able’s 194,000-sq-ft repair facility in Mesa, Ariz. At this site, Able repairs aircraft components, offers FAA-approved replacement parts, and performs major overhauls and various assembly repairs. The company recently began operations at its new helicopter completion center, and just launched a new bearing overhaul and repair facility.

From powering media and air blasting equipment, to paint sprayers and air-driven cutting tools in its repair facility, Able is heavily reliant on compressed air. Its system spans 122,000 sq ft within the facility, with more than 7,500 ft of piping in 25mm, 40mm, 63mm, and 76mm diameters. The system is made up of Parker Hannifin’s Transair aluminum compressed air piping, and is powered by an Atlas Copco GA90VSDff 125-PSI compressor, with a Sullair 75 hp 120-psi backup.

System reliability is a critical issue. “If the compressed air system goes down, even for a moment, the entire plant suffers,” said facilities engineering manager, Will C. Rogers. “On average, the cost of downtime is about $350 per machine for every hour of being down. That adds up to about $9,000 per hour if the entire shop is down. Those numbers don’t even consider the additional recovery costs if we get behind on production.”

Clean, dry air is imperative for such systems as equipment for painting and sand blasting or coordinate measuring equipment that reads in the millionths of an inch. As a result, maintaining the proper dew point is critical. In an effort to gain better control over utility costs and avoid unscheduled downtime, Rogers wanted to install a condition monitoring solution that would allow him to keep an eye on changes in the system’s dew point, pressures, flow, and other vital conditions. This would help his workers address any issues before they could impede production, he says.

Rogers contracted with Arizona Contract Services (ACS), a Mesa-based supplier and contractor for advanced air piping systems. Two years ago, ACS designed and installed Able’s Transair system. Based on that past work, ACS already knew Able’s production processes and understood the facility’s unique needs, says ACS general manager, Joe Miller.

“For manufacturers that need clean, dry air, humidity and dew point are a big deal,” Miller says. “Able has several priorities within the same facility. In some areas, dew point and humidity are critical. In other areas, maintaining stable flow and stable pressure are more important in order to maintain the effective operation of cooling systems.”

<< First < Previous Page 1 Page 2 Next > Last >>

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.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
Pipe fabrication and IIoT; 2017 Product of the Year finalists
The future of electrical safety; Four keys to RPM success; Picking the right weld fume option
A new approach to the Skills Gap; Community colleges may hold the key for manufacturing; 2017 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Control room technology innovation; Practical approaches to corrosion protection; Pipeline regulator revises quality programs
The cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Power system design for high-performance buildings; mitigating arc flash hazards
VFDs improving motion control applications; Powering automation and IIoT wirelessly; Connecting the dots
Natural gas engines; New applications for fuel cells; Large engines become more efficient; Extending boiler life

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.
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
This digital report explains how plant engineers and subject matter experts (SME) need support for time series data and its many challenges.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me