Exclusive News: SDT and LUDECA Announce Strategic Partnership

November 24, 2015

Asset Condition ManagementTwo industry leaders of Asset Condition Management technologies for Reliability are joining forces. SDT is thrilled to announce the appointment of LUDECA as exclusive distributor for their portable and online ultrasound condition monitoring technologies in the United States.

SDT’s Director of Business Development Allan Rienstra said, “This strategic partnership is a logical step for two companies whose philosophies are already so closely aligned. Both SDT and LUDECA are approved Reliability Leadership Institute (RLI) Mapped Services and Training (MSAT) Providers. This partnership will deliver significant value to customers through the leveraging of LUDECA’s knowledge and experience.”

Frank Seidenthal, President of LUDECA said, “We are excited by the opportunity to affiliate ourselves with a global ultrasound technology leader such as SDT. SDT’s reputation for producing quality, dependable ultrasound solutions marries well with our vision to enhance our Asset Condition Management product palette.”

SDT develops ultrasound technology that provides industry with a greater understanding about the health of their factory. Their ultrasound condition monitoring solutions help predict failures, control energy costs, and improve product quality. LUDECA is a premier provider of reliability solutions and technologies.

Their years of experience and wealth of knowledge make it possible to offer their customers the very best service and support. They remain the leading supplier of alignment, vibration, and condition monitoring systems to industry.


The Rights for Precision Shaft Alignment

November 24, 2015
  • Right safety procedures before you align.
  • Right machines to align.
  • Right alignment procedure.
  • Right alignment tool.
  • Right alignment tolerances.
  • Right alignment targets.
  • Right soft analysis and correction.
  • Right shims.
  • Right moves.
  • Right bolt tightening sequence.
  • Right bolt torquing.
  • Right alignment report.
Download [Infographic] 5-Step Shaft Alignment Procedure

Who owns equipment reliability in your plant?

November 17, 2015

Who owns equipment reliability in your plant? The answer may surprise you. It is commonly thought that equipment reliability is owned by the maintenance staff in a facility. Is this true? Let’s look at all of the owners of reliability in your plant:

Engineering is responsible for the design of (and often oversees) the installation of new equipment. Your maintenance team cannot overcome poor design and/or poor installation of equipment. They will be tasked to routinely fix the issues that result from improper engineering efforts.

Sales and Marketing have a certain amount of control over equipment reliability. They can affect maintenance schedules, operational schedules, etc.

Purchasing and the storeroom contribute to equipment reliability by ensuring that proper parts are available and kitted when maintenance work is scheduled. Cheap parts, no parts, wrong parts, no kitting, etc., all contribute to maintenance and reliability issues in your plant.

Proper planning and scheduling are critical for equipment reliability. Otherwise, efforts can be misdirected resulting in reactive efforts and reduced reliability.

Operations can do certain maintenance tasks (operator-driven reliability) that allow the maintenance team to focus on more complex tasks and efforts that improve reliability. Operations may not allow proper time to complete required maintenance tasks and drive equipment to the point of failure through poor operation and contribute to reduced equipment reliability.

Management must set the direction and reinforce the achievement of reliability goals. Otherwise, equipment reliability will never be sustainable.

Maintenance staff must ensure that the work is done correctly (within specifications), on-time and with the correct focus. Efforts should be placed on identifying the correct work through Condition Monitoring and proper PM activities. RCM, FMEA and other activities should be utilized that identify and drive out failure means and truly improve equipment reliability.

So, who owns equipment reliability in your plant? The answer is: Everyone!


Today We Honor Those Who Have Served and Fought for our Freedom! Happy Veterans Day!

November 11, 2015

Veterans_LudecaLUDECA, a leading provider of Maintenance and Reliability Solutions, recognizes the sacrifices and selfless service made by all the men and women who have fought for our nation and freedom.

We currently employ very proudly three members of the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy and the U.S. Air Force Reserve:

Damien Hamm has been part of our Service Department for 3 and a half years now. During his nine years in the U.S. Army as an automated logistical specialist/infantryman, Hamm served on three combat tours to Iraq.

Oliver R. Gibbs is a member of the U.S. Air Force Reserve and has been operating as a Fuels Controller in the Technical Sergeant Rank for approximately 7 years. He joined our engineering team a year and a half ago where he continues to exemplify the core values of the U.S. Air Force: Integrity first, Service before self and Excellence in all that’s done. He describes his time in the U.S. Air Force as an adventure that challenges and continues to offer him more ways to improve himself. He brings his experience to the table in today’s workplace environment where discipline and character play a strong role.

Another valuable member of our condition monitoring team is Dave Leach, who was active in the U.S. Navy for 10 years serving as a Machinist Mate. There he received a lot of training in the operation and technical maintenance of marine propulsion systems. Part of his duties were to work on, operate and repair rotating equipment, which gave him a clear understanding of how the equipment is built and how it is supposed to be operated and maintained. This is exactly why he is a true asset to LUDECA today.

Hiring veterans is a win-win situation, a way to say thank you and give a hand to someone who has sacrificed for our safety while gaining a team member with the skills, discipline, training and character necessary for today’s workplace. —Ana Maria Delgado, CRL, Marketing Manager

Thank you Damien, Oliver, Dave and all the men and women of the United States of America who have served for your bravery, hard work and dedication to our country.


What Should We Do When Something Fails?

November 3, 2015

Guest post by Fred Schenkelberg, Reliability Expert for FMS Reliability

A natural question to ask when something fails is “Why did it fail”?

The answer is not always obvious or easy to sort out. Some failures result from design errors, others are related to supply chain and assembly issues, and yet others occur because of seemingly random events (accidents, lightning strikes, etc.). As a reliability engineer, my concern is not simply accounting for end-of-life wear out; it is about meeting operation’s reliability expectations. From design to failure analysis, by considering the range of possible sources I can identify and attend to the root causes that matter.

Consider a circuit board that has a small burn mark where a component exploded off the board. The customer failed to spot the missing part but noticed that certain features were no longer available. The box went dark and no longer powered up. It was dead, so the customer returned it. That is the failure mode – the loss of a feature or function. This is what the customer notices.

The engineer then has to investigate the root cause and identify the failure mechanism.

Failure Mechanisms and Root Cause
Failure mechanisms are the material or software code faults that lead to failure. They include thin insulation leading to dialectic breakdown, contamination leading to corrosion, or faulty code leading to an over-voltage command. Becoming aware of a product failure and starting to determine why it failed is an exploratory process. The clues to when the failure occurs may help frame the initial investigation.

To answer the “Why did it fail?” question in a useful manner we need to determine the sequence of events that led to the failure. Root cause analysis is a process to determine this chain of events. The cause may be faulty material or assembly, damage, or design error. It may also include poor decisions and human error. Generally, we look for the physical or chemical reason for the failure. However, we should also explore the design, assembly, supply chain, and customer-related processes to ascertain where an error or weakness in the process could have contributed to the failure.

The idea behind seeking out root causes and determining failure mechanisms is to mitigate issues with problematic elements of the product whose failure would lead to product failure.

Types of Failures and Timing
Products fail for many reasons via many mechanisms. Most products have literally hundreds of ways in which they can fail. It is really a race between different mechanisms all vying to cause the failure. Eventually, everything will fail.

One of the first steps in sorting out the specific cause is determining when the product failed. How old was the product when it failed? Early life (e.g., when a product is just bought and installed) failures tend to cause more customer anguish then a product that has provided a long life of useful service. In general, we often talk about three periods of failures:
• early life failures
• random failures
• wear-out failures

The three periods are often depicted with a curve shaped like a bathtub. The bathtub curve is the aggregate of many potential failures. Some tend to occur early, whereas some occur later. Each individual product has many possible ways in which it can fail and the most likely failure mechanisms may change over time as the product use and conditions change. Keep in mind that the curve is a fiction to explain a hypothetical profile of possibilities of failure over time for a single item.

Each period of failure also suggests a set of possible causes. Although this set is not always accurate, it provides a good starting place when looking for the root cause.

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Using Short-Flex Coupling Tolerances on Spacer Couplings when Laser Aligning

October 27, 2015

When using short-flex coupling tolerances, the centerline of rotation of each machine is aligned at the coupling center, which is the center between the flex planes, or average center of power of transmission points. Using simple geometry, it’s easy to see why short-flex coupling tolerances are too tight when using spacer couplings. In this example, the only variable is the axial length of the coupling. A small short-flex coupling is compared to a long spacer coupling, but the machine used and feet corrections remain the same. This makes it easy to see how the length of the coupling affects the movement of the centerline of rotation at the coupling center.

The dimensions required for this example are shown in the figures below. In Figure 1, the front and back feet of the machine are 7″ apart. The distance from the back feet to the centerline of rotation at the coupling center of the short flex coupling is 10″. In Figure 2, the latter dimension, which is 18″, represents the distance from the back feet to the center of a 16″ spacer coupling. Note that this coupling center extends 8″ (half of the spacer coupling length) past the first flex plane, or first point of power transmission.

Figure 1

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 2

In the next step, a 2-mil shim is added to the front feet of the right machine, and the back feet are left untouched. This correction is arbitrary and can be represented using three equivalent triangles as shown below.

Figure 3

Figure 3

The total movement of the centerline of rotation at the center of each coupling type is represented by x1 for the short coupling (Figure 1) and x2 for the spacer coupling (Figure 2). These values can be found by setting the ratios of each triangle’s legs equal to each other.

(1 “mil” )/(7 “inches” )=(x_1 “mils” )/(10 “inches” )=(x_2 “mils” )/(18 “inches” )

The figure below shows the total movements at the coupling centers.

Figure 4

Figure 4

After adding 2 mils to the front feet of the machine, the centerline of rotation moved 2.9 mils at the short-flex coupling center and 5.1 mils at the middle of the spacer coupling. That’s a 76% larger movement at the spacer coupling center! This goes to show that the further away the coupling center is from the moveable machine’s feet, the more sensitive the movement will be. It may take all day to align the machine with a spacer coupling to short-coupling tolerances because a small movement at the feet turns into a large movement at the coupling center. The machine may even be aligned within an appropriate spacer shaft tolerance, but the tool will still show that there is misalignment if short-flex coupling tolerances are selected. As a rule of thumb, if the coupling length is smaller than 4″ between flex planes, use short-flex tolerances. If this distance is greater than 4″, use spacer shaft tolerances and make your life easier.

Ludeca Shaft Alignment Tolerances



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