SPY goes visiting
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cabine seal integrity
cabine seal integrity

The SPY goes visiting.

When 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 "ears-on" experience.

With remarkable regularity, previously unknown defects are found and puzzling situations clarified, often in dimensions which already save the purchase price of the SPY.

The 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.

We have 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.

Some findings in detail.

In a 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.

In a 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 ahead.

An end-seal 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.

A major 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 two minutes.

In a 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.

At a 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.

Surveying 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.

In an 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 ?

In a bearing manufacturer's cage polishing machine, 3 out of 12 solenoids were shown to be operating imprecisely.

In the 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.

A foreman, 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.

A gas 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 distance.

During 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.

What will it be in your factory ?

conveyor barrings
conveyor barrings
loose terminals
loose terminals
designed by e-motion4u/2001
Sales: Richard Chambers, Heimstetten bei München