Author Archives: admin

3D Printing: The Materials Used for 3D Printing

3D printing was developed back in the early 80s but it has seen much growth since the past 10 years. It has now become one of the biggest growth areas in the tech industry and is revolutionising manufacturing covering every industry possible. The 3D printing business is now multi-billion dollar industry and is likely to continue growing at an exponential rate.

3D printing is quite a simple process conceptually, the printers work by printing the chosen material in layers on top of each other, with each layer setting prior to the next pass of the printer.

3D printers have been used to print all sorts of materials from cheap and normal materials to things you would expect to read in a sci-fi book.

For the consumer market, plastics are used exclusively as the materials are cheap to buy, but more importantly, the technology required to print plastic is relatively simple and low cost.

Low-cost 3D printers using plastic tend to use Fused filament fabrication (FFF). This is basically a process where a cord of plastic is heated up to become pliable then fed through the machine layering the plastic. The machines generally use one of the following plastics

PLA (Polylactic Acid) – PLA is probably the easiest material to work with when you first start 3D printing. It is an environmentally friendly material that is very safe to use, as it is a biodegradable thermoplastic that has been derived from renewable resources such as corn starch and sugar canes. This is a similar plastic that is used in compostable bags which safely bio degrade compared to more traditional plastics used in Poly Bags.

ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) – ABS is considered to be the second easiest material to work with when you start 3D printing. It’s very safe and strong and widely used for things like car bumpers, and Lego (the kid’s toy).

PVA (Polyvinyl Alcohol Plastic) – PVA plastic which is quite different to PVA Glue (please don’t try putting PVA Glue into your 3D Printer, it definitely won’t work). The popular MakerBot Replicator 2 printers use PVA plastic.

Plastics are used extensively on all levels from consumer to businesses prototyping new products. However, in the business market, there is a huge demand for metal 3D printing. Some printers can use powdered material that is then heated to create a solid. This method is typically Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) and this particular technique is why we don’t see consumer metal 3D printing. DMLS requires a huge amount of heat and giant expensive printers to sinter the material together, and while 3D printing a metal object might be expensive compared to mass production, it is incredibly cost efficient for complex and expensive projects. A good example of DMLS based 3D printing is GE Aviation using it to produce 35,000 fuel injectors for its LEAP jet engine.

Using boring materials such as metal is almost archaic in the world of 3D printing now; some companies now do 3D bioprinting which is the process of creating cell patterns in a confined space using 3D printing technologies, where cell function and viability are preserved within the printed construct. These 3D bioprinters have the capacity to print skin tissue, heart tissue, and blood vessels among other basic tissues that could be suitable for surgical therapy and transplantation.

A Sneak Peek Into The Advantages Of An Industrial Oven

Industrial ovens are large and heated chambers, which are used for heating, baking, curing, annealing and many other activities. When we think or talk about the oven so the first thing depicts the mind is baking, however, it has many other applications that you need to know. They are used in multiple applications including aging, bonding, curing, sterilization, pre heating, annealing, drying, tempering, etc. And thus, available in different design and size options.

Choosing the right industrial oven is a challenging task because of the number of specification available that confuses the buyers. Therefore, before you come to any decision, it is important to get familiarize with the product, so, you know what you are buying. So, what are you waiting for? Take a look at the short and snappy description that let you know about all its advantages.

Airflow Efficiency: One of the most important features of an industrial oven is its airflow efficiency that affects the working of the device. Generally, it helps to determine the efficiency of the device and temperature uniformity in all the areas. They must have solid airflow to guarantee the smooth performance.
Temperature Rise: Managing the right temperature level is important to make sure that it works well and provide uniform heat all over the chamber. Different types of industrial ovens take different time to reach the correct temperature rise, so, your application will never get hampered and work in all conditions. It is also important because the uneven heating affects the application and damages it drastically.
Heating Medium: Determining the source of heat is an important factor that makes a huge difference in the working of the different industrial ovens. Make sure the device you buy work as per your required heating medium.
Installation And Maintenance: The installation of an industrial oven is very simple and takes only a few minutes. Also, you can upgrade the system timely for better functioning.
Affordable Price: Even if you are low in budget, you can take the benefit of the device as it is available at the dirt cheap price that fits into your budget. Also, the price is the major factor that affects the buying decision, thus, you should buy it.

These are some of the features of the industrial ovens and also these factors affect the customers buying decision, so, make sure you consider all of them before coming to any decision. Also, to get the right device at the right price always consult a reliable company.

5 Energy-Saving Tips For Manufacturers

Are you worried about the current oil prices? If so, you should stop worrying as the price won’t last forever. Actually, OPEC has almost no influence on electricity or natural gas. The fact of the matter is that the old coal-based power plants increased electricity prices in 2016. However, the problem is that energy efficiency is really important for you should you want to stay ahead of the competition. If you are a plant manager and you want to save energy, we suggest that you follow the tips given below.

Process Heating

The US Department of Energy suggests that plant managers can cut down on the heating costs through the implementation of some energy-saving measures. As a matter of fact, process heating includes 30% of the energy consumed in this sector. Therefore, if you save energy in this area, you can make a significant impact.

Moreover, you can monitor and control your air-to-fuel ratio and exhaust gases in order to save a lot of energy. But if your plant requires lots of hot water, it’s a good idea to use a solar-water heating plant to preheat the process water. This is another great way of saving a lot of money.

Motors and Equipment

Machine drives accounts for over 22% of power consumption in the manufacturing sector. If you want to cut down on your operating costs, we suggest that you analyze the system and shaft losses. In addition, you can also consider upgrading to a system that is more efficient.

At times, you may have to replace the equipment to achieve your targets. But you don’t have to spend a huge sum for each upgrade. As a matter of fact, you can hone the mechanical performance of the plant through the alteration of the operational or maintenance procedures.

Lighting

Typically, building-performance experts consider lighting as the main source of energy consumption. For energy saving, you can opt for fluorescent bulbs, fixtures, LED tube lights, and skylights, just to name a few. However, you don’t have to replace all of your lighting systems in order to save energy.

Utilities

You may not want to overlook utilities as far as saving energy is concerned. What you need to do is review your usage plans and then get in touch with the service provider to find out if they can provide alternative procurement or other option that can help you save money.

Actually, some utilities offer attractive incentives for the installation of energy-saving improvements. It’s also a good idea to contact the competitors. You can also negotiate with them to get the best deal.

Employees

For energy efficiency, employee behavior also matters. You may want to let your employees know your goals and progress. Don’t forget to appreciate them for playing a role in the achievement of your goals. You will see that they have great insights. As a matter of fact, studies show that upgrades for energy efficiency help workers become more productive.

Long story short, when you are planning an energy-saving program, you may want to look for opportunities that can help you reduce cost. Next, as the operating costs come down, you can invest in an energy saving infrastructure like a solar energy system. Hopefully, the tips given above will help you save on energy costs.

Why Installing An Industrial Transformer Is A Smart Choice

The transformer is the device that is designed with the aim to transfer constant power supply. They consist of two or more circuits that create the electromagnetic power between them. It is the best device which is known to provide the accurate power supply. Transformers are mostly used in the manufacturing sectors and each transformer serves different requirements. There are different types of transformers available in the market according to different industrial use. All the transformers have different capacities to handle the voltage supply, depends upon the equipment they are attached to. It is very important to choose the right kind of device to get the effective results. Many manufacturers offer a device chart that indicates the types of transformers and their voltage supplying capacity. It makes it easier for a customer to choose it carefully. Always buy from good manufacturers that are well-known for its quality products. Here are some of the benefits of installing a transformer.

Cost Efficient Device – Transformers are known as an essential device that can help to protect your appliances for high voltage. To save your costly machinery and appliances, the transformer can be a cost saving investment. This device is highly affordable and will not going to create the burden on your wallet. Investing in transformers can be a worth full choice.
Superior Protection Quality – A Transformer is the best device that helps to provide the best protection to your appliance by minimizing the voltage level. They are helpful to modify the current voltage. This device is usually made with superior technology that provides you the best results. It is also used to avoid the high voltage or short-circuit hazards.
Great Functionality – They are well-known to provide the constant power supply. Transformers are the best device that is the main component of a powerhouse. It is available in different variants hence, you can choose according to your industrial needs. Every transformer serves different requirement so, it is important to ensure your need before buying them. A transformer is a safe investment and a great device to use.

These are some of the benefits of having a transformer. It is easy to install and does not require a huge labor, hence it helps to save the installation cost. You can use it at your workplace to avoid short circuits. It is the best device that is highly affordable hence; you can buy it at a very low-cost. It is best suited for industrial purpose and known as the essential device for the electrical powerhouse. Try these transformers and offer a protection to your appliances.

3 Keys to a Successful Preventive Maintenance Program

Preventive maintenance planning and practices influence most major maintenance department activities in a manufacturing environment. Here are some examples of this.

Equipment downtime is largely affected by preventive maintenance or the lack there of.
Repair work orders are subjected to the influences of the preventive maintenance program.
Purchasing and inventory are affected by preventive maintenance for routine replacement of expendable spares as well as repair parts required for unexpected downtime.

As evidenced by the points above, preventive maintenance should be “first base” for any maintenance department. Unfortunately sometimes routine preventive maintenance activities often do not get the attention or credit they are due. This is a mistake. So what are the keys to a successful preventive maintenance program?

1. Careful Planning of the Preventive Maintenance Program

Planning a preventive maintenance program involves the following:

Determine tasks and intervals needed to maintain the equipment.
Ensure that the appropriate resources are in place.
Schedule maintenance personnel for maximum preventive maintenance wrench time.
Understand how scheduled equipment downtime and maintenance personnel scheduling interface.
Manage spares effectively.
Select a scheduling and accountability system (preventive maintenance software, CMMS software or equivalent)

Determine Maintenance Tasks and Intervals

A good preventive maintenance (PM) task list contains the following components:

The equipment item.
The task(s).
The person the task is assigned to.
A task interval.
A start date and due date.
Optional: Detailed instructions and pictures if needed.
Optional: Task completion sequence.

Begin with your equipment list. Next gather appropriate tasks for preventive maintenance task lists from OEM manuals or online manuals when possible. This is a good place to start, especially with newer equipment. In some cases, the equipment warranty is dependent upon following the OEM recommendations. Another source of tasks is the maintenance manager’s experience and intuition. Yet another source is branch locations running similar equipment.

When developing a task list, consider the reusability of the task descriptions. Reusability refers to using the same task description on potentially multiple equipment items. The benefit is that there are fewer tasks, no duplicate task descriptions and better reporting and analysis of PMs. Consider these examples:

REUSABLE task description: Lubricate Roller Chain(s)

NOT REUSABLE: Lubricate Roller Chain(s) on Conveyor #1

In the first example this task, Lubricate Roller Chain(s), is appropriate for any equipment with a roller chain. In the second example, Lubricate Roller Chain on Conveyor #1, is only appropriate on the Conveyor #1 PM task list. Imagine how cumbersome your preventive maintenance software management efforts become if you are not using reusable tasks. Another example that may cause problems later is naming conventions such as 30 Day PMs or Weekly Tasks. This creates unneeded redundancy, as the interval (30 in this case) is included in the PM record already. Additionally there is no task description here that refers to the actual work performed.

How do you create reusable tasks? Begin with the most generic tasks you can think of and create these first. Examples could be Inspect, Clean, Lubricate, etc. After these task descriptions have been created, go to the next step and create tasks that are somewhat more specific. Here are some examples: Check Wiring, Replace Lubricant, Lube Chains. Continue with increasingly more specific tasks always trying to avoid including the equipment or equipment component in the task description. Eventually, for specialized tasks that are only performed on specific equipment, it may become necessary to include a component of the equipment in the task description. Keep the task description short and focused on the actual task. Obviously if the task description is short, it may not fully describe the job. This is where detailed instructions and pictures are used.

Next, determine what interval units are needed for your PM system. Calendar-based PMs usually will use a day interval. For example every 7 days Lubricate Roller Chain(s). Other tasks may be demand based or based upon the actual runtime of the equipment. In some cases, hours or minutes may be appropriate. As you gain experience with this set of PM tasks and intervals changes to the tasks and intervals may be warranted. Consequently choose a system that makes editing existing PMs simple and without historical data loss.

Ensure that Adequate Resources are in Place

Listed below are resources you need for a successful preventive maintenance program:

Trained and available personnel.
Adequate spares, expendables, lubricants, drive chain, bearings, etc.
Time in the production or equipment runtime schedule to perform PMs.
A motivated team of maintenance professionals.

Personnel must be trained and capable of safely performing the required work. Vigorously enforce proper lockout/tagout procedures. Stock on hand for expendables and other spares used for PMs has to be adequate. Inadequate spares not only prevents completion of the PMs, but also hurts motivation when personnel attempting to perform their job are hindered by a lack of spares. As such, the purchasing department has to have an ordering system that stays ahead of preventive maintenance spares requirements. Additionally an accountability system (CMMS) helps track spares use for restocking purposes. In summary, show your maintenance technicians how important you believe preventive maintenance is by providing the materials and training needed for these important tasks.

Time is a resource. Time must be available so that personnel can perform their work. This may require scheduling changes so that maintenance personnel are available during scheduled equipment downtime. Given the right resources, your maintenance team cannot help but be motivated to succeed with equipment maintenance.

Use a Maintenance Software Solution to Track and Manage Maintenance

Now that the tasks, intervals, personnel, training and scheduling are established it is time to load the data into a preventive maintenance software system. With so many CMMS choices, it is important to do your research carefully. Approximately fifty CMMS companies go out of business annually and fifty more replace these. Choose a well-established long-term CMMS company that has a proven record of accomplishment. Ask the following questions when choosing a CMMS:

How long has the CMMS company been in business?
How flexible is the preventive maintenance system?
Are there different task list formats available?
Is it possible to automate task list issuance?
Do technicians have the ability to close their own PMs while maintaining the integrity of the data?
Is it possible to close PMs without leaving the plant floor?
How easy (or hard) is it to adjust preventive maintenance task schedules?
Are labor and parts costs easily summarized and reported?
Is there an objective way to know how to optimize task lists or task intervals based upon downtime or reliability data?

When evaluating a CMMS it is best to run a demonstration copy of the proposed system with your own sample equipment and tasks. Use the system for at least 30 days. Issue preventive maintenance task lists to your personnel. Get their buy-in by demonstrating the usefulness of the system. Prove to yourself and your maintenance technicians that using the software makes both of your jobs easier. Most importantly confirm that this system has the potential to improve equipment availability and reliability.

Consider support and training as part of the initial investment. CMMS software training is well worth the investment as it brings the maintenance department up to speed quickly with the CMMS and instills confidence in its use. This leads to better compliance in entering and updating data.

Price is important, however the real cost benefit of CMMS comes not from the initial investment in CMMS but in the ongoing use and benefits derived from that use. Some CMMS software solutions are subscription-based. Others are a one-time investment with a perpetual license. While there are several factors to consider in CMMS selection, initial investment (price) should be a low priority when the budget allows. Ask yourself this question: “Do you want to trust millions of dollars in equipment assets to a cheap CMMS?”

2. Implement Your New Preventive Maintenance Program

Now it is time to start reaping the benefits of your new preventive maintenance program. Here are a few questions to consider when implementing your new PM program:

Should tasks lists be printed, emailed or simply viewed through a tablet or smart-phone?
How are tasks closed and what data should be included?
Who should close the preventive maintenance tasks as they are completed?
What will you use the system when maintenance personnel are absent?
Should spare parts lists be included on the task list?
If spares are included on the task list, should stock levels automatically draw down when the PM is completed?

The answers to these question come down to company policy, industry requirements, regulations and personal preference.

3. Assess and Adjust Your Equipment Maintenance Program

Constantly assessing your preventive maintenance program is an integral part of managing this system effectively. Equipment runtime schedules change, equipment demand changes, personnel change, maintenance technologies and procedures change. Your primary assessment tool is equipment maintenance data. The longer you use your CMMS system the more data it accumulates. Assuming that you chose a CMMS that provides extensive analysis and reporting, this data is now a valuable decision-making store. Use this data for OEE (overall equipment effectiveness) and reliability analysis. Choose a CMMS that uses MTBF (mean time between failures) to suggest preventive maintenance task intervals. Using real runtime data to set PM task intervals eliminates guesswork.

Being a proactive maintenance manager you should be adjusting to these changes as needed. Here are some things to look out for and some ideas on how to react. Keep in mind that sometimes there is no substitute for an experienced maintenance manager’s intuition.

Equipment Runtime Schedule Changes

In some situations, preventive maintenance can only be performed while equipment is in a scheduled shut down period. This creates a problem for maintenance scheduling. Here are some ways to manage this situation.

Non-maintenance machine operators can complete some simple maintenance procedures such as minor lubrication tasks.
Double-team certain equipment when it is down.
Adjust maintenance schedules.
Use automated maintenance devices, such as lubricators.
Implement preventive maintenance procedures during unscheduled downtime.

Equipment Demand Changes

Equipment demand relates to more than just runtime schedule changes. Demand reflects the actual time equipment is running and how much work it performs during the scheduled period. Obviously triggering PMs based upon calendar days would not be appropriate in these cases. It is best to trigger PMs in this case based upon runtime hours, cycles, cuts or whatever the appropriate meter unit is for that equipment. Consequently this equipment should have a counting device or be connected to the system that automatically triggers preventive maintenance work orders through an OPC compliant data connection.

Select a CMMS software solution that reads OPC data directly from the equipment then automatically responds with a preventive maintenance work order at exactly the right moment.

Personnel Changes

The best way to overcome this inevitable change is to have detailed listings of preventive maintenance tasks, intervals, spares requirements and history. Make sure this information is available to pass on to the new person. The more organized your system is the easier is to move seamlessly through this change. Once again, a good preventive maintenance software solution addresses this need.

Additionally, ongoing training and cross training in various maintenance processes can offset personnel change issues.

Changes in Maintenance Technologies and Procedures

An example of this type of change could be a new sensor that provides critical maintenance data to an OPC server. This data in turn indicates the correct PM interval. Another example could simply be running the equipment only when needed. This action saves energy resources and may reduce wear and tear on the equipment.

Software is constantly improving. Desired options with preventive maintenance software solutions are as follows:

Is there a role-based permission capability that allows the maintenance technicians to close their own PMs?
Is there a mechanism to validate PMs closed by technicians?
Does the ability to temporarily assign tasks to an alternate maintenance technician exist?
Is it possible to gather runtime data through an OPC compliant data network and issue work orders automatically.

Summary

Preventive maintenance is the one of the primary responsibilities of the maintenance manager in a manufacturing environment. Many maintenance department activities are affected by, and rely on a successful preventive maintenance program. More importantly, success of the manufacturing facility as a whole is directly proportional to the quality of the design, implementation and management of the preventive maintenance system.

Top Tips to Choose the Best Connectors

From smart phones to sophisticated machineries that manufacture them, you can find an electrical connector in many forms. If you are an electrical industrialist or purchase engineer, it is essential to have some key factors in mind before making your final choice.

Here are a few essential aspects to check while choosing a connector:

Power

Power of the connector is a determining factor. The market offers a wide range of connectors with different power-ratings. Identify your requirement and choose the one that meets the purpose.

A low power variant may not give you the expected efficiency and on the other hand, a high power connector can even damage the entire system.

Density

The density of a connector is yet another influential factor in the present day. The higher the connector density, the more compact your machine design will be. This is especially important in case of complex machineries. In order to keep it solid at the same time give exceptional performances, it is essential to choose a high-density connector.

Temperature Resistance

Another important feature that adds to the quality of a connector is its capacity to withstand high temperatures. Most of these connectors are used in intricate machineries and they undergo immense heat exposure during their functioning. High-end connectors are often passed through multiple levels of testing to ensure its temperature resistance.

Speed

The transmission speeds of connectors are quite significant for their overall performance. Many of the latest connectors ensure to meet high transmission speeds. ExaMAX High Speed Backplane Connectors are one of the best you can get in the market these days.

Mating Features

The mating features of any connector play an important role in determining its performance, quality and durability. Before you choose your connector, ensure that you scout through specifications to analyze its mating features. The angle of mating, the number of mating cycles, etc. will be clearly mentioned in the specifications, which help to find the one matching your requirements. Mating cycles are especially important for connectors that are mated and unmated frequently. For a USB connector the mating cycles will be in thousands where as for a board to board connector will have a lesser mating cycle.

The easiest way to decide on a connector is often to choose the best brands. The connectors manufactured by prominent brands will have all major certifications, which makes it trustworthy. In that case, you will not have to compromise in terms of quality and safety.

Industrial Processes And Emerging Technologies

Technology has been playing an incredible role in transforming the way industrial processes are performed. Whether it is a machine-to-machine communication or augmented reality, technology has been helping industries in every possible way to streamline and automate their work. Emerging technologies, like 3D printing, robots, algorithms, etc., have the power to completely transform the existing manufacturing processes. Or, in other words, modern technology has the potential to make our lives better. A rapid increase in the level of sophistication in technology has a strong impact on the workforce.

Robotics

Robots are being increasingly used to perform all sorts of industrial tasks. The developed parts of the world have witnessed a sharp rise in the demand for automated machines and equipment. Approximately, there are more than 2 million robots in use and the number is expected to rise quickly in coming years. Japan is leading the list of countries with the most number of robots. Recent years have witnessed a major decrease in the costs of automation and robotics.

Additive manufacturing

Additive manufacturing or 3D printing is an emerging technology that enables industries to manufacture three-dimensional objects. It is a process of building complex products by adding ultrathin layers of materials one by one. Currently, only selected items are being created out of a single material, for instance, medical implants and plastic prototypes. Comparing 3D industrial technology with that of traditional, additive manufacturing enables industries to manufacture new shapes without worrying about manufacturing limitations.

Autonomous technology

Autonomous technology, such as unmanned cars, is stretching the possibility of producing highly sophisticated industrial machines capable of performing the unthinkable. It has a great potential in making industrial processes seamlessly smooth with hardly any human intervention. Autonomous robots have already been deployed by a number of industries worldwide to perform quality control and inspection related tasks.

Augmented reality

Augmented reality is about the augmentation of the elements of physical world. By using handheld sensors, people can simulate various situations or, in other words, augmented reality enables us to create an illusion of reality. This technology can help engineers build incredible industrial solutions. One of the practical applications of this technology is the training of military recruits where they are tested with various virtual situations.

Conclusively speaking, new technologies are enabling engineers to develop intelligent machines that can perform multiple industrial tasks with great precision and speed. Companies need to invest in automation technology in order to maintain competitiveness and meet growing demand for innovation and modernity.

Protecting Storage Tanks From Lightning

Providing adequate and effective lightning protection for storage tanks constitutes a beneficial and cost-effective step in assuring both personnel safety and reliability. Fortunately, securing such protection is not difficult or complicated, and guidance is readily available. It helps to become familiar with some basic recommended practices and standards for reference. We will be referring to the National Fire Protection Association NFPA 780, Standard for the Installation of Lightning Protection Systems; the American Petroleum Institute API 545, Recommended Practice for Lightning Protection of Aboveground Storage Tanks for Flammable or Combustible Liquids; and the American Petroleum Institute API 2003, Recommended Practice for Protection Against Ignitions Arising Out of Static, Lightning, and Stray Currents.

Whenever considering lightning protection, it helps to fall back upon the three basic steps: bonding and grounding, surge suppression, and structural lightning protection.

BONDING AND GROUNDING. The first consideration is bonding and grounding. According to API 545, flat-bottom tanks are inherently self-grounding for lightning protection purposes. The mass of the tank and surface area of its bottom in contact with whatever material it occupies provides a sufficiently low-impedance path to conduct lightning currents without increasing the risk of ignition. This applies whether or not a non-conductive containment membrane is in place under the tank.

It should be noted that, although adequate for lightning grounding, the path to ground may be high resistance, rendering it unsuitable for AC power grounding. In the event of an AC power ground fault, the lack of a low-resistance return path may leave the tank energized. Therefore, we recommend at least one, and preferable one each 100′ of tank perimeter, “solid” connection to ground. This usually consists of a conductor attached to a grounding tab at the base of the tank shell running to a ground rod or to the grounding grid.

Bonding is simply a matter of electrically connecting different masses of inductance (metallic masses) together to maintain them at the same potential, to equalize changing potential, and to provide a path for lightning current between them.

The major area of concern is obviously the floating roof. On an external floating roof tank, there are three lightning events that can cause arcing between the roof and tank shell. The first is a direct strike to the roof itself or its appurtenances. In this case, all of the lightning energy must flow across the seals to the tank shell and to ground. The second is a direct strike to the top of the tank shell. In this case, the lightning energy flows down the shell to ground, and the roof potential must be equalized to that of the tank shell. In the third case, a nearby strike changes the potential of the tank shell, and much less difference in potential must be equalized between the roof and tank shell.

Lighting energy consists of two components with an intervening transition component. The first is a high-energy, short-duration surge of energy. The second is a lower-energy, longer-duration event. The first segment, although conveying high amperage, is so short that it does not normally cause ignition. Think of passing your finger quickly through the flame of a candle. However, the second segment consists of a few hundred amps (about equivalent to the electrical service into your home) over half to three-quarters of a second. When faced with resistance between the floating roof and tank shell, it can easily produce sufficient heat to cause the ignition of any flammable gasses present. Think of your kitchen stove on steroids.

Therefore, two types of conductors are required between the floating roof and tank shell. The first is a sliding contact between the roof and shell, and is intended to handle the short-duration, high-energy pulse. This has historically been addressed by the use of shunts between the roof and tank shell. These were developed to overcome the shortcomings on non-conductive seals. However, most modern tanks employ metallic shoes as the primary seal between the roof and shell. These shoes have many times the surface area of shunts. According to wording which will presumable be adopted in the next revision of both NFPA 780 and API 545, the presence of primary metallic shoe seals will negate the requirement for shunts.

Shunt Primary Metallic Shoe Seals

However, contacts sliding on contaminants produce arcing and sparking, raising the need for a second type of conductor, the bypass conductor. This is a hard electrical connection between the floating roof and tank shell. Because the bypass conductor must be of sufficient length to allow full range of motion of the tank roof, it requires time to become conductive. When it becomes conductive, it quenches any arcing at the sliding contacts, and conducts the long-duration, lower energy second segment of the lightning strike.

Bypass conductors

Another area of concern is thief hatches. The hatch itself rests on a rubber seal and is connected to its collar by a pin-type hinge. In the field, we have measured a high resistance between the thief hatch and its collar. Lightning current flow across that resistance is capable of producing sufficient heat and arcing to cause ignition. Therefore, a flexible jumper between the hatch and collar should be added to each.

SURGE SUPPRESSION. The second step in securing adequate protection is surge suppression. Any conductor running to or from a tank is perfectly capable of introducing all types of mischief. A surge suppressor is simply a device that keeps that from happening. Typical conductors found on a tank include AC power for site lights, pumps, valves, etc., and for data collection including levels, temperatures, flow rates, etc. Surge suppressors should be installed at the tank end of such conductors and also at their origin. This will limit the transient gremlins in their mischief.

STRUCTURAL LIGHTNING PROTECTION. The third step in securing protection is structural lightning protection. When we think of structural lightning protection we normally think of lightning rods on the roof of a building. It is important to remember that the purpose of a lightning rod system is to convey lightning energy around a non-conductive structure, such as a house or barn, thereby keeping that structure from burning down.

Note that there is absolutely no benefit to installing lightning rods on a tank. According to NFPA 780, the tank itself is inherently self-protecting. There are three components that make up a lightning rod system: the lightning rods, conductor system and grounding system. On a tank, the tank itself is of sufficient thickness to be substituted for the lightning rods, the shell is of adequate cross section to be substituted as the conductor system, and the site ground is more than adequate for lightning protection purposes. Therefore, the tank is self-protecting without the need to install additional components. Lightning rods would only tend to attract lightning to the tank.

There is, however, a technology alternative to conventional lightning rods. These are streamer-delaying air terminals. These air terminals, colloquially known as “fuzzy ball™” lightning rods, are designed to interrupt the lightning completion process by delaying the formation of lightning-completing streamers from objects on the surface of the earth.

A lightning strike begins with the formation of stepped leaders from the base of the storm cloud. These leaders jump in steps of around 150′, working their way downward towards the surface of the earth. When they reach to within 500′ or so of the surface, they begin pulling streamers of ground charge off of objects on the surface. Whichever streamer meets a stepped leader first determines what gets hit. As the ground charge builds on a streamer-delaying air terminal, the sharp points break down into corona under a low potential. When it comes time for a streamer to form from a protected object, the ground charge that would constitute the streamer has been partly dissipated into the atmosphere, thereby reducing the likelihood of a direct strike.

We use NFPA 780 as the design standard for protecting a tank. As the tank contains flammable material, we reduce the diameter of the rolling sphere to 100′, reducing the spacing between air terminals to jus over 12′. We install them around the perimeter of the tank shell on the foam injection plates and rim, and on the gauging platform. We also install them on the walkway handrail, if one is installed.

Streamer delaying air terminals on storage tanks

API 2003, Annex C, Direct Stroke Lightning Protection, C.1 notes that conventional lightning protection systems do not protect against indirect lightning currents or induced voltages. These are both major causes of ignition, particularly in production tanks. It further notes in C.2.1 that, according to vendor claims, streamer-delaying systems may have some benefit in protecting against indirect lightning currents of induced voltages. This type of performance is obviously preferable.

In the real world, we have seen a very high success rate with operators installing this type of system. Indeed, the cost has been justified many times over in both actual savings associated with extinguishing a fire and reducing lost time in service.

New Technologies: A Solution to Improve Profitable Growth

 

The quick pace of technological advancements explains clearly why manufacturers focus on getting innovative products to market. An insatiable drive for innovation creates a strain on companies and make them look constantly for new techniques to manufacture products. Taking this into account, how can you profitably satisfy your customers and grow your business? The following discussion will help you understand how you can achieve profitable growth when incorporating new technologies into your new and existing products.

Your customers always want to gain an edge from the latest technological updates no matter your customers are individuals or businesses. As a manufacturer, the only solution you have is to add new methods of production as efficiently and as quickly as possible and ensure on-time delivery. Innovative and modern manufacturing techniques can be associated with lighter materials, energy-efficient designs, faster processors, more efficient software or hardware features, etc.

A robust product lifecycle management system will enable you to integrate manufacturing processes, supply chain, and procurement. It will eventually lead to an increase in the efficiency of your business. Fundamentally, innovation means implementing something new to your business. It could be associated with:

  • Adding value to existing products and services in order to gain a competitive edge
  • Developing improved products and services to meet emerging consumer needs and requirements
  • Improving or replacing traditional business processes to materialize higher productivity and efficiency
  • Extending the functionality and quality of existing products

Before you invest in any technology, carry out a careful assessment to determine which industry-specific solutions are best suited to your business. From accounting and supply chain management to human resource and enterprise resource planning, you can find readily available and affordable manufacturing solutions. Every business has its own unique strengths and weaknesses. You need custom engineering and management solutions to meet your unique requirements.In order to achieve sustainable growth, a business must carefully examine its sense of purpose and make sure the organization serves it well. An inspiring purpose is all about:

  • A strong engagement within a company and its stakeholders
  • Non-stop, pragmatic innovation
  • A consistent and constant sense of focus

Automation is the single most significant factor that can help manufacturers meet their production and growth objectives. Automated machines, industrial robots, intelligent sensors and control systems, advanced quality control (QC) systems are few examples of innovative manufacturing techniques.If you want to build a scalable business, you have to understand how critical it is to build and implement efficient machines capable of operating intelligently and independently. The right technology can dramatically improve how you manage your business. Consult a reputable manufacturing and engineering solution provider in order to eliminate complexities and inefficiencies from your production system and achieve profitable growth.

Securing Construction With Nuts Bolts And Washers In Fabrication

All steel fabrication units need structural members and these must remain connected together with fasteners. We see that the use of these fasteners such as washers, nuts, and bolts makes a structure secure. During the manufacturing or assembly process, we need to make sure that we use the proper thing at the proper place.

Uses of nuts bolts and washers

There are many varieties of the nuts, bolts, and washers. The specifications have to remain verified from the High Tensile Bolt Nut and Washer Manufacturers before one begins the construction. Only those materials that pass the quality considerations will find use in the building of the structure.

Types of nuts

Nuts are the anchoring unit of the joint assembly. They come in various sizes and types. You can use three types of nuts.

  • High tensile nuts
  • Stud nuts
  • Hot dipped nuts

High tensile nuts are capable of withstanding more loads without failing. These find use in high-rise construction and manufacture of huge machinery. Stud nuts find use as fasteners for a variety of applications. Hot dipped nuts have the thickest coating on the metal so that they have superior corrosion resistance. You can get all these specifications from the and Nut Bolt Manufacturers before use in the construction. The various other types of nuts are High Strength Friction Grip Nuts, MS Nut, and zinc plated nuts.Types of bolts

The bolts provide the strength to the joint. We make them according to use and location in the structure.

  • Foundation bolts
  • J-bolts
  • Hex bolts
  • U-bolts
  • MS bolts
  • L-bolts
  • Stud bolts

The J-bolts are J-shaped fasteners that have threads on the flat side. They often find use in building construction for fastening the walls to the concrete foundation. For the support, the bent end of the J bolt remains hooked around the rebar and cast in concrete. They then serve as an anchor bolt.Foundation bolts serve to attach objects to concrete structures. You have many types in this category. All have a threaded end where one may attach a washer and nut for fixing the external load.

U-bolts find a use for securing cables, conduits, pipes, and machinery. It has a U shape with threads on both the ends. People use it to secure their foundations and roofs. We define the U-bolt by the material used to make the bolt, the inside height, inside diameter, and the thread dimensions.

MS bolts find many applications and they use it according to the strength specification needed. In the MS bolted joint, the nut applies a clamping force while the shank of the bolt acts as a dowel. This pins the joint sideways to resist the sideways shearing force.

Uses of washers

Washers serve two main purposes. One is to protect the surface against abrasive and damaging forces by spreading the forces over a large surface area. The other is to preserve the security of the connection by ensuring that the nut in the joint remains secure without coming apart. When the joint surface is uneven, the bolt has most chances of coming loose and the joint will open.