Posts Tagged maintenance

OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1926 Subpart AA: Construction vs. Maintenance Work

The addition to OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1926 was designed to protect employees engaged in construction activities at work sites with one or more confined spaces.

A confined space is not designed for human occupancy. It has limited means of entering or exiting and can have a potentially hazardous atmosphere. Confined spaces may be poorly ventilated and, as a result, lack adequate oxygen or contain dangerous levels of toxic gases.

Before standard 29 CFR 1926, OSHA’s confined space regulations only applied to general industry. A gap grew obvious when the department of labor statistics reported most confined space fatalities were occurring during construction activities.

The new standard is very similar to the previous one, but applies directly to work in construction. It requires a permit to enter, pre-entry testing and continuous monitoring while inside the confined space.

While this new standard closes the gap in construction work, it leaves out one important component: maintenance.

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How your four gas meter is like a leaky faucet

If your weekends are anything like mine, they often involve a run to the Home Depot. Ok, it usually requires multiple trips because often my first “fix” didn’t take.leaky faucet

I recently had to fix a leaky faucet in my bathtub. I assumed it would be a quick fix until I started taking the fixture apart. It’s a Kohler unit, which is nice, but the parts are not inexpensive, a fact which surprised me a bit once I got to the hardware store. I should really say “stores” because the first location didn’t have all the parts I needed and required a second stop. The fix itself wasn’t too bad, but by the time I finished, I had spent a lot more money than I though I would and used up most of the morning.

Sometimes maintaining four gas meters feels the same way. The nicer, more expensive units are great, but maintenance and replacement sensor costs can sneak up on you and add up quickly. Also, if you have to replace sensors by bringing in multiple units from the field on multiple occasions, you may have significant labor hours allocated to a very inexpensive four gas meter. You should always consider the total cost of ownership when deciding which portable gas detection you’re going to use for your facility.

There are a number of variables that can effect total cost of ownership:

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A simpler way to calibrate your Honeywell XNX transmitter sensors in an ambient gas detection system

You know the drill, you have to run all over you site to calibrate your sensors. And remember the number of transmitters and sensors you placed about a foot off the ground so you could measure a heavy gas? Yeah, the ones that saved you a few dollars to mount together. You’re probably excited about getting to lay on the floor to calibrate them, scrolling through menus with the supplied magnet and hoping that you are reading everything correctly.

Would you be happy (or less not happy) if you could use your HART communicator to calibrate them?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Yes? Well then prepare to be happy. We spent a little time with Honeywell a few weeks ago and they walked us through a way to use the Emerson 475 to program the Honeywell XNX gas detection transmitter. There is a local HART port on the XNX that allows the user to plug in their HART communicator and use it for programming, zeroing and calibration. There is not a wireless feature as of yet.

If you are already using HART communicator, and you likely spent a fair amount on it, this provides you with yet another use for it . This will help further standardize you maintenance programs, make it easier to record data, and (importantly) also help justify the purchase.

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Using HART communication for proactive and predictive maintenance

We pride ourselves in helping our customers achieve their goals. We occasionally like to brag about about these successes and we are still celebrating one of our key customers and their achievement of being name HART plant of the year in 2012.

Monsanto’s chemical manufacturing plant in Muscantine, IA has integrated over 600 HART-enabled devices in to their control systems, CMMS (SAP) and daily work processes help to reduce costs and improve plant operations. Monsanto is the manufacturer of Roundup (which you may have in your garage or shed at home) and this plant produces over 70% what is sold in North America.

HART (which is an  acronym for Highway Addressable Remote Transducer) is a way of sending and receiving digital information across analog wires between smart devices and host systems. It’s basically the same technology that allows caller ID to work on your landline (assuming you still have one of those). A host can be any software application from a technician’s hand-held device or laptop to a plant’s process control, asset management, safety or other system using any control platform. 

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