It’s now just over a year since the publication of the new international standard for rotating equipment.
Rotating equipment standard IEC 60034-23:2019 was published in spring 2019. Its effect, says Karl Metcalfe, technical assistant of the Association of Electrical and Mechanical Trades (AEMT), has been significant.
“Until now environmental considerations for rotating equipment have mainly focused on new equipment and energy efficiency; however, the full lifecycle of an existing device, including material consumption, is now being considered,” he explains.
The repair of electrical machines fits in exactly to this concept and by keeping equipment operational and energy efficient, we are minimising the use of additional resources
Karl Metcalfe, technical assistant of AEMT
“The new international standard is the first to include the requirements of the circular economy, which aims to reduce the consumption of resources.”
This creates benchmarks for repairing rotating equipment, maintaining efficiency levels, high standards of quality control and improving efficiency in associated pieces of equipment, he points out.
However, it does not supersede those pertaining to specialist equipment, such as ATEX, nuclear, aviation, hydrogen cooled and traction, but does reference them and several other standards.
The benefit is that maintenance and repair facilities can prove the quality of workmanship and performance, but also usefully promote their commitment to reducing waste and recycling.
In fact, repaired equipment can be badged with an indicative sustainability statement, a useful asset when attracting reputation-conscious large companies and public bodies.
“The long-term aim of the standard is to maintain or improve the efficiency of equipment. It will allow upgrades to be implemented, if they are allowed by the original equipment manufacturer. This means that a repairer needs to be well equipped, with good quality control procedures and staffed by suitably qualified employees capable of delivering high quality repairs.”
But if there is a new pressure on service suppliers to invest more in their businesses, the gains long-term outweigh this, reminds Metcalfe [pictured above]. The principles that underlie the new standard are dedicated to promoting sustainability via the concept of the circular economy.
“[This] aims to minimise waste through reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products,” he states.
“The repair of electrical machines fits in exactly to this concept and by keeping equipment operational and energy efficient, we are minimising the use of additional resources.”
Repairing electrical machines keeps existing equipment operational and energy efficient, minimising use of additional resources, he points out.
Some machines’ efficiency may be upgraded simultaneously during repair. Metcalfe cites the use of modern materials and higher-grade insulation that may be much thinner than the legacy component; copper content of the windings can be increased, making it more efficient by reducing the electrical losses and extending the motor longevity.
Meanwhile, old windings and bearings can be recycled, to minimise net increase in material consumption.
“Not every motor, drive or gearbox can be economically repaired, and new units do offer increasingly high efficiency levels alongside advanced control and monitoring options,” he acknowledges.
“However, best practice for an accurate efficiency and sustainability analysis should consider both the repair and the replacement options, which is where the new standard will help to provide a balance of information in order to make the best environmental decision.”
Sulzer is one of several firms with longstanding expertise in the rotating equipment field. Such companies have been quick to adapt to the growing commercial and environmental commitment to the circular economic principle.
The Sulzer service centre in Bromborough, Merseyside is one example of the prevalent one stop shop approach, providing all-round services including repairs and preventative maintenance, that derive the most value from customers, and vice versa.
Facilities include high-voltage test beds, overnight coil manufacturing, electronic repairs, pump maintenance and precision machining. Field service engineers can carry out maintenance assessments, condition monitoring, balancing, alignment checks, thermal imaging and vibration analysis onsite to ensure asset performance and reliability.
Scale brings benefits too as each service centre can call on the wider national network, extending from Southampton to Aberdeen.
Digitalisation and automation have enhanced the ability of rotating equipment servicers to cater for a growing portfolio of customer needs, extending their potential customer base and helping ensure more of that essential return business that will be vital during a period of economic contraction.
Luton-based SKF scored a breakthrough earlier this year with the award of hazardous area approval for its QuickCollect sensor.
The sensor enjoys certification for both the international IECEx and European ATEX standards, for use in Zone 1 hazardous areas. It is also approved for CSA Class I, Division 2, making it suitable also for some applications in North America.
The monitoring of hazardous areas has traditionally been a manual affair, notes the company, owing to the very lack of certified equipment.
Now, fully automated predictive maintenance can be introduced, it says, with the certification award opening the prospects of applications in a range of sectors, including the petrochemicals, mining and marine industries. And it brings digitalisation of data into hazardous areas, previously a relative rarity, says SKF.
A by-product is that this will streamline data collection, enable better prediction and can diminish the use of error-prone legacy paperwork systems.
“It helps customers bring digitalisation to the most extreme environments of their operations, while improving their key performance indicators,” insists Barrie Rodgers, product line manager for mobile solutions at SKF.
The QuickCollect sensor can be used in conjunction with SKF’s ProCollect mobile app which connects the sensor to SKF’s web-based software platform, Enlight Centre. This creates a portable condition monitoring system, SKF Enlight ProCollect, offering direct access to SKF remote diagnostic services.
The package is available as a subscription service, which is charged monthly or annually, says Rodgers.
He continues: “The package will typically be used on rotating machinery such as pumps and compressors. As well as providing vibration and temperature data, it prompts technicians to gather other maintenance information, such as taking a photograph of a component. This gives the analyst more data to provide the correct insights on which to make a decision.”
RPI may have celebrated its eighth decade in the sector but it’s still an innovator
The postponement of the Control 2020 trade show deprived RPI of the intended platform for the debut of a range of product launches.
But, the company which this year celebrates its 80th anniversary, has maintained its commitment to innovation with the launch of its TruMotion and QuadProfile products.
TruMotion is a manual spin rotary table designed to inspect circular components such as gauges, bearings, aero engine components and optical assemblies in a shop floor environment.
The QuadProfile horizontal axis is designed as an additional rotary axis for high-precision coordinate measurement machines intended to deliver high-speed measurement of smaller parts such as inner engine blades and gears.
“The world has changed a lot since the 1940s but our passion to design and manufacture exceedingly dependable, low-maintenance products, with a service life measured in decades, not just years, remains as true today as it was 80 years ago,” comments RPI sales manager Jim Palmer.