Tag Archives: Dave Oliver

Motor and Control Applications: Total Cost Counts

Posted August 26, 2016 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: Blog

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When designing a motor and control application, how often do we actually take the total cost of ownership into account? Are we "saving money" by cutting corners on conductor sizes, ignoring voltage drop and imbalance in our designs? Are we sizing wires incorrectly? The real answer is we probably don't think about total cost of ownership often enough. We are usually faced with many constraints such as:

  1. Time: rapidly encroaching deadlines.
  2. Multiple projects on deck.
  3. Numerous other distractions that we face each and every day.
  4. Space available for components.
Motor and Controls Applications

Spending a little more money on the front end of a motor and controls application design can save a lot in the long run.

There was recent article on the Electrical, Construction and Maintenance website about some energy saving tips for motor installations. I shared this with my colleagues and received some interesting feedback about motor and control applications. It's a good read, so check it out if you get a chance.

One of our controls guys said, “I hadn’t thought of conductor size before from a cost savings over time. I usually push back on customers over sizing wire more than they have too. It effects our input breaker lugs being large enough.”

One of our branch managers commented, “Good Read.  Never even thought of voltage drop because of mis-sized wires!”

We all know the basic formula for Ohm’s Law E=I/R.  But how does that apply in this situation? The smaller the conductor the higher the resistance and therefore higher current. Higher current results in more electricity needed to perform the same amount of work.  As an Electrician and Maintenance Mgr. in my former occupations, I always focused on this aspect of new motor and control applications. I was usually able to get approvals by showing that by spending a little more on the front end we could save a lot more on the back end. That cost savings was essential to getting my projects approved.

Dave Oliver

Oliver

We all know about using energy efficient motors but most of us don’t even think about conductor sizing, voltage drop, or imbalance. These also play important parts in the total cost of ownership. We try to point this out to customers we are working with, since a lower total cost of ownership = a lower bid on many projects.

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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Electrical Troubleshooting Fundamentals

Posted July 27, 2016 by Pepper Hastings

Categories: Blog, Industrial Maintenance

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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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