Industrial Maintenance

Electronics And Heat Don’t Mix

Posted July 10, 2017 by Omar Mediano

Categories: Blog, Electronics Repair, Industrial Electronics Repair, Industrial Maintenance, Innovative-IDM

Tags: , , ,

As we here in Texas groan about high temperatures of summer, it’s important to remember that we aren’t the only ones suffering from the heat. Electronics and heat don’t mix and the combination can be disastrous.

As temperatures rise the number of businesses that lost power or experienced brown increase. During that time, many people turn on their generators or use battery power to keep machines running. What they didn’t realize was – the heat could be damaging their equipment.

Circuit systems within electronics work best at lower temperatures. Allowing systems to run for prolonged periods of time in high temperatures can decrease the longevity and reliability of devices. Solid state electronics actually begin to break down and fry at temperatures much above 120 degrees. However, the hotter the temperature – the less functional the machine will become. Most systems tend to run 10 to 20 degrees hotter than room temperature.

Within the era of technology electronic devices such as drives (VFDs), programable logic controllers (PLCs), human machine interfaces(HMIs) and power supplies have dramatically decreased in size. This causes a lot of systems to run with a higher heat density. While many companies have worked to include cooling systems within their products – cooling systems cannot keep up when devices are left in areas without air conditioning. Believe it or not, just surfing the web on your cellphone or playing games on your laptop may sound like the perfect idea during a blackout, but that heat can even damage them!

When the power is off or it is not stable and rooms temperatures are high, limit use of electronic devices.  Cooling units similar to small air conditioners can be purchased and installed to keep equipment cabinets cool.  Placing a fan in front of a cabinet with the door open will provide temporary relief, but could cause more environmental damage to the drive by allowing foreign material, dirt and water into the cabinet.  Just remember. The longer the use, the hotter the object will get.

If you experience issues with any electronic device after exposure to heat send it to Innovative IDM and we will provide a free evaluation. IIDM also stocks and sells new world class VFDs, PLCs and HMIs and can do turnkey installations. So, if you have a piece of equipment you’d like to check on repairing, contact your IIDM sale representative or email us at repairs@iidm.com.

Marc Phelps

Marc Phelps is manager of the Innovative-IDM repair facility in Houston. You can contact him at marc.phelps@iidm.com

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Choosing an Industrial Repairs Service

Posted December 29, 2016 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: Blog, Industrial Maintenance

When your assembly line is down and it's time for choosing an industrial repairs and field service company, make sure the company can be reached 24/7.

It might take a couple of hours for a technician to arrive on the scene, but make sure the phone is answered 24/7. Here are some other tips on choosing an industrial repairs service.

  • Cheapest rates are not always in your best interest. If you want an electrician, that’s one rate. If you want a technician who can program AC drives, troubleshoot PLC programs AND fix your electrical problems, that’s another rate.
  • Does the field service company have access to parts 24/7? Are they supported by a warehouse? Do they have relationships directly with the machine component manufacturers? All of this can save time.
  • Establish a relationship with several field service companies. If you have an emergency and your primary company is busy, now what? Invite several field service companies into your plant to familiarize them with your machines. It could save you a lot headaches later.
  • Keep those industrial field service phone numbers where all of your staff can see them. Don’t waste time looking for contact information.

After the devastating floods in Baton Rouge last fall, Fairchild uses a pressure sprayer on an electrical panel in a printing plant. No, it's not plugged in.

One of our customers recently let the smoke out of their obsolete, 600-amp DC drive. Of course, they needed a replacement tomorrow. Why do all emergencies seem to happen at 5 on Friday afternoon?

I called our headquarters in Dallas, and we manage to use our pull with Bardac Drives, since we also are an authorized distributor for Bardac. Yes, they have one in stock. And yes, they agree to drive the package to the UPS terminal to be shipped out same day. Pretty good for after 5 p.m. on Friday huh? Hats off to the people at Bardac. But, we’re not out of the woods yet.

After working well into the Satruday night helping the customer retrofit his brand new Bardac drive, it’s time to start it up. But we can’t. There is some kind of mechanical issue.
“Can you beback first thing in the morning?”

Sure I can.

Well, honestly I wasn’t exactly prepared to stay overnight on this job, which was three hours away from home. I cannot find a store open at midnight in Picayune, Miss., and the Holiday Inn front desk is out of complimentary toothbrushes.

Fairchild

I decide that today is not my day. I show up that next morning wearing the same clothes, (pretty nasty I know). But the customer was extremely grateful. The Friday afternoon breakdown could easily have been a week or more of downtime. But thanks to Bardac, the Holiday Inn and some dedication, it was only two days.I now keep a “go” bag in my truck at all times.

Joey Fairchild is a field service technician in IIDM's Baton Rouge location. He can be reached at joey.fairchild@iidm.com

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Baton Rouge Flooded Control Panels

Posted August 30, 2016 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: Blog, Industrial Electronics Repair, Industrial Maintenance

Tags: ,

Fairchild uses a pressure sprayer on an electrical panel. No, it's not plugged in.

Fairchild uses a pressure sprayer on an electrical panel. No, it's not plugged in.

Our customers and employees in Baton Rouge continue to endure dire conditions from the staggering flooding in that area and throughout southern Louisiana. One of our customers, a printing plant, sustained horrible damage. Everything flooded. Office turned upside down. Every control panel went under water.

On the scene, IIDM field service technician from our Baton Rouge office Joey Fairchild surmised the situation: "We are attempting to save all the wiring, term strips and relay sockets. The plan is to replace every component. I’m working on that now. I’ll let you know how it goes in a week or so. Power stayed on. However we will need to clean distribution gear at some point."

Fairchild said the plan is this:

  • Pressure wash the mud and oil coating with a degreaser. It was all wet anyway.
  • Dry with fans 1-2 weeks while parts are ordered and delivered.
  • Send flooded motors out for rebuild.
  • Send high HP drives in to IIDM repair facility for rebuild.
  • Megger test all wiring, with components removed, to find shorts/moisture.

The photos and video tells the story better than words.

Baton Rouge Flooded Control Panel from Innovative-IDM on Vimeo.

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Electrical Troubleshooting Fundamentals

Posted July 27, 2016 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: Blog, Industrial Maintenance

Tags: ,

I was reading an article on electrical troubleshooting fundamentals in Electrical, Construction & Maintenance magazine. In this article they talk about using a “divide and conquer troubleshooting” to save time.

Electrical troubleshooting becomes quicker when using the "half bracketing" technique.

Electrical troubleshooting becomes quicker when using the "half bracketing" technique.

Fellow Marine and Navy vets will recognize this a what we were taught as the “Half-Split Bracketing." This electrical troubleshooting fundamental technique is a very useful and time effective method of troubleshooting.

The basic premise of "divide and conquer" is to check the system at the beginning to determine if a simple breaker or switch needs to be energized. If everything is OK at that point, you split the system in half and check there. If you have voltage or signal there, you know that the problem lies further down the line. If you don’t have the voltage or signal, then you know that the problem lies between here and the disconnect. You keep splitting the remaining portions of the system in half until you locate the problem. This is basic electrical troubleshooting fundamentals.

When I was Maintenance Lead, Supervisor or Manager, I always insisted that the techs utilized the electrical prints and drawings for that particular piece of equipment. Now, as a field service technician in the Memphis area, I have countless times been asked to help troubleshoot a piece of equipment -- and no one has even looked at a print. They say they had been working on this equipment for years and did not need the prints. If the prints were available and used, then the problem could have been found and corrected sooner.

Use the prints when troubleshooting and electrical problem on a piece of equipment. Prints will usually determine which components are "make or break" for a certain function to occur.

Dave Oliver

Oliver

By using the “Half-Split Bracketing” or the “divide and conquer” approach as mentioned in Mark Lamendola's  EC&M article, your electrical troubleshooting will become more effective.

Dave Oliver grows very, very hot ghost peppers and is a field service technician for Innovative-IDM's Memphis branch. You can reach him at dave.oliver@iidm.com

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How to Start a Preventive Maintenance Program

Posted January 8, 2016 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: Blog, Industrial Maintenance

How to Start a Preventive Maintenance ProgramStarting a Preventive Maintenance Program isn't easy....or is it? While taking a proactive approach to your maintenance makes sense on paper, putting the practice to work takes some planning and implementation. That's why many industrial plants outsource their Preventive Maintenance Programs.

But a do-it-yourself PMP can work, too. With budgets tight and repair teams stretched thin, it can take some patience before a PMP bears any fruit. But patience is a virtue that often is rewarded.

Most factory maintenance teams spend time stamping out repairs and drowning in an endless sea of repair and parts availability problems. Getting ahead of the problems seems impossible -- but it's not.

Any size team can implement a Preventive Maintenance Program of some type. Research indicates that up to 70 percent of all equipment failures are traced back to a lack of regular maintenance. Considering this, the benefits of employing a PMP are paramount if you want to achieve optimum performance from your equipment with minimal cost.

It’s easiest to start with one system and form the foundation of your PMP from there. Choosing the most vital system to your operation, commonly the HVAC, makes the most sense and will provide automatic relief to your maintenance team by removing the heaviest stress load.

To facilitate the transition to a Preventive Maintenance Program, try assigning a small task force to handle any immediate repairs while the remaining group continues to build the momentum of the PMP. As you begin to focus on proactive maintenance instead of reactive maintenance, the workload will gradually begin to lighten and you’ll be able to allocate more personnel to preventive maintenance.

As systems are consistently maintained instead of repaired until they fail again, repair personnel will have fewer surprises to deal with and will focus their efforts on continuing the PMP push. The systems will also operate more efficiently, increasing performance, lifespan and lowering energy costs by up to 50 percent. This where using an outsourced field service company can really pay off.

Conquering the facility's largest systems first will bring the greatest benefit. Research supports the 80/20 maintenance rule: 80 percent of a facility's problems are caused by 20 percent of the machines.

Once the emergency workload is reduced drastically, maintenance can become a scheduled event instead of a surprise. It's less likely you'll be backed into a corner with a must-have expensive repair. You’ll have time to negotiate a fairer price with outsourced repair contractors backed by the confidence of your stable facility.

The endgame is eventually to have 90 percent of your work orders generated by scheduled equipment inspections. Overall, preventive maintenance should eventually encompass about 30 percent of your total maintenance workload.

Having an easy, scheduled facility to maintain should help you attract and retain quality repairmen who will be more than eager to operate on a schedule instead of in a race. Once all the planning and implementation is done, your repairmen will be thankful, you’ll be thankful and your plant's maintenance spending should be spread out more orderly instead of spikes and valleys. -- Robert Dominguez

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