Panel Builder System Integrator

March 13, 2018

Utopias are common in fiction, from Plato’s The Republic to The Federation in Star Trek. For manufacturers, a world without unplanned downtime would be the perfect utopia. The question is, is abolishing unplanned downtime a far-fetched dream, or is it closer than we think? Here, Jonathan Wilkins, marketing director of obsolete industrial equipment supplier, EU Automation shares his vision for a downtime free age.

 According to research by Oneserve, machine downtime is costing British manufacturers over £180 billion a year. Unplanned downtime halts production, but can also lead to wasted raw materials or damage to the system itself – amplifying the cost beyond loss of production. Further research conducted by GE Digital found that 70 per cent of companies lack full awareness of when equipment is due for maintenance, upgrade or repair.

These figures are worrying, as unplanned downtime is having a huge impact on productivity and causing major losses to the economy. Manufacturers must be aware of when maintenance is required in order to lower this figure.

Does it have to be this way?

Machines break down —  it’s an unfortunate fact of everyday life. However, there are signs of machine failure that can be monitored and managed. For example, vibration analysis or analysing the speed of machines can provide insight into the condition of equipment, indicating that it may be about to break down. Proactively monitoring equipment and scheduling maintenance in advance can drastically reduce the risk of machine breakdown, which is why preventative maintenance is taking manufacturing by storm.

What does preventative maintenance mean for downtime?

Gone are the days when manufacturers must take a run to failure, calendar or usage-based approach, which involves waiting for a motor to fail or a heat transfer system to leak before taking action. Plant managers can now plan regular inspections, upgrades and troubleshooting on equipment to avoid breakdowns.

This is good news — Industry 4.0 is increasing manufacturers’ capabilities to a stage where maintenance can be data driven. Information collected by sensors on the factory floor can be relayed to a plant manager and used to make real-time decisions on servicing and maintenance. Using a digital twin, a virtual representation of a factory’s operations, combined with machine learning software, could allow the system to identify and plan for faults in advance.

In future, this could involve a system self-diagnosing and self-repairing – ordering a replacement part or machine from an automation equipment supplier and planning automated maintenance.

 Could zero downtime ever be possible?

Manufacturers seem to think so – eight in ten companies surveyed by GE Digital thought digital tools could eliminate unplanned downtime and 72 per cent of organisations said that zero unplanned downtime is a high priority.

Taking a proactive approach to maintenance is the best way to reduce your company’s risk of unplanned downtime. As Industry 4.0 develops and more connected sensors, digital twins and machine learning software are developed and implemented, downtime will reduce. We may be a way away from the perfect paradise, but we are certainly on the right track.

http://www.euautomation.com/us/ 

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 Path to North American Approval of Uncertified Electrical Products

CSA Seminar ft

Go HERE to register

Unique circumstances sometimes make it challenging, impractical, or even impossible for products to undergo the traditional certification process. This could be due to new technology that does not fit within a current standard, custom or imported equipment or impracticality due to limited volume production runs. Additionally relocating, modifying or refurbishing equipment introduces additional compliance requirements that if ignored can prevent a product from being placed in service.

In these unique situations, contractors and manufacturers of electrical products need to understand the steps to take to avoid having equipment red-tagged and prevented from being connected or installed at the job site. Go HERE to register

One of Canada’s largest wastewater treatment plants at Annacis Island provides secondary treatment to approximately 175 billion litres of wastewater every year for over 1 million residents in 14 municipalities. After almost 20 years in operation, the variable frequency drives supporting the critical pumping systems for the primary treatment and secondary treatment facilities had to be replaced to ensure that the plant’s high operational availability and reliability will not be compromised in serving the plant, the surrounding municipalities and the environment. Metro Vancouver Regional District chose to deploy Rittal’s enclosure and power distribution solutions with E-plan software to efficiently support vital infrastructure improvements by reducing equipment replacement times and thereby minimizing risk to plant operations.

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 Littelfuse to Host Webinar on Arc-Flash Protection

 

PBSI Littelfuse logo seminar 400Littelfuse, Inc., a global manufacturer of technologies in circuit protection and power control, invites plant engineers, facility managers, and maintenance professionals to join our special arc-flash webinar on how to cost-effectively protect against catastrophic arc-flash events. The webinar will take place on Tuesday, February 26, 2019 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM Central Standard Time.

Attendees will learn:
• Methods available to help identify the risk of arc flash within your system
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• A real-life example of how a few thousand-dollar investment helped a customer avoid an $800,000 catastrophic arc-flash event

The webinar is free, and attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions in a live Q&A session after the presentation. To sign up, visit the arc-flash webinar registration page.

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 Like many cyclical industries, mining is reviving, driven by steady global economic growth and an increasing demand for materials to support new technologies like electric vehicles, renewable energy and mobile devices. Despite the optimism, the industry still faces major operational challenges including process efficiencies, cost control, worker health and safety, and skills gaps. To address these challenges, Rockwell Automation introduced The Connected Mine, leveraging the latest enabling and digital technologies.

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