SPY goes visiting.
demonstrating the SPY on a customer's premises, after the
short "school-room" presentation it is normal
to go into the factory and enable the technicians to have
remarkable regularity, previously unknown defects are found
and puzzling situations clarified, often in dimensions which
already save the purchase price of the SPY.
hundreds of leaks found in compressed air systems (the most
expensive form of industrial energy) are not detailed here.
Let it only be said that these, known and unknown, exist
to an alarming degree in every factory we have visited so
far. One manager stated that, over the weekends, when the
demand for compressed air should be less than 10% of the
rated capacity, the compressors (several '000 HP) run 50%
of the time. In a new overhead trunk, just installed by
contractors, 22 leaks were found. In yet another case, the
problem was so acute that an additional compressor ( >
£100,000) had been bought before our coming, to make
good the leaks.
yet to find a compressed air installation in even a medium-sized
factory where the potential savings here alone would not
pay for the SPY comfortably, inside a year.
findings in detail.
large aluminium die-casting machine, the operators had been
aware of an internal fluid leak in the pressure system for
more than 6 months, but had not been able to locate it.
To stop the unit (as big as a house) and carry out a random
search by strip-down would have cost £2000 per down-time
hour. Within 10 minutes the defect was located, permitting
a quick, targeted, repair to be planned.
chocolate factory, a bearing in the motor driving a mixing
machine was detected in seconds to be in an early stage
of deterioration. Failure during mixing would result in
the loss of 3 tonnes of chocolate (plus significant further
production time). The next IR check-up was several months
on the bearing of a 16" dia, callender , through which
water is pumped at 220°C, showed at one point in the
rotation a minimal leak. There was no optical indication
(steam), nor, because of the high general noise level, would
even a much bigger leak have been heard. Should this seal
have, unnoticed, deteriorated significantly more, possibly
leading to a blow-out, not only production losses, but also
a serious safety risk would have resulted. A work station
was located only 2 metres away.
processor of gypsum, requiring an extreme level of dryness
in the compressed air system, relies, like many, on refrigeration
to remove the residual moisture. For several months it had
been necessary to top up the coolant regularly, but it had
not been possible to locate the leak. The SPY found it in
printing company, where a new rotary press had been commissioned
only three months earlier, it was discovered that one of
a bank of motors was running with much rougher bearings
than the rest. The maintenance manager confirmed that under
normal circumstances no-one would have looked at the motors
in the first two years of operation.
newspaper printing house, one of the solenoids controlling
the machines for bundling the newspapers for delivery to
the news-stands was shown to be faulty. On failure, the
printed newspapers could not have been sent out.
the switch-gear for a 5000 tonne press producing truck body
panels, it was noticed that, when the press was on load,
one of the 500V fuse bases was producing indications of
shorting. As this was located on the rear fact of the fuse
base, intermittent, lasted each time for only about 2 seconds
in a cycle time of about 90 seconds and still minimal, it
can safely be said that this defect could not have been
detected by IR techniques.
overhead conveyor system, transferring the 50,000 per day
production of a major piston manufacturer from packing to
the loading bay, it was detected using an acoustic probe
that in one section, five metres overhead, a bearing had
far advanced wear. Just in time ?
bearing manufacturer's cage polishing machine, 3 out of
12 solenoids were shown to be operating imprecisely.
same machine, the bearings of the cutting oil pump, located
centrally, deep under the machine and totally forgotten
in routine maintenance, were shown to be seriously worn.
requested by the production manager to replace all six bearings
in a mixing machine, showed with the help of the SPY (which
he held in his hands for the first time) that in fact only
one bearing was defective and the vibrations from this were
being transmitted to the others. 5 bearings, each £300,
plus 4 man-days' labour and 2 days' production loss saved.
escape turbulence was detected overhead and it was presumed
to be from a compressed air line. Nearer investigation revealed
that the loss came in fact from a trunk line from the storage
tanks to the welding shop for much more costly argon, which
ran alongside. This leak was first detected from 10 meters
the routine quality control, testing under full load a new
telescopic hydraulic ram, while the three smallest cylinders
opened and closed in silence, the SPY revealed that the
surface finish inside the fourth, largest cylinder was not
to the same standard as the other three.
will it be in your factory ?