MRO Magazine

Maintenance excellence awards include Toronto company

Computational Systems Inc. has announced the winners of the annual Reliability-Based Maintenance Excellence Awards for 1999. The RBM Excellence Award, which began as the Predictive Maintenance Program...

April 1, 2000 | By MRO Magazine

Computational Systems Inc. has announced the winners of the annual Reliability-Based Maintenance Excellence Awards for 1999. The RBM Excellence Award, which began as the Predictive Maintenance Program of the Year Award, is for equipment maintenance programs in the manufacturing and process industries. Today, it is much broader–incorporating the RBM philosophy, a comprehensive strategy that applies advanced maintenance technologies and work process improvements to reduce costs and increase plant capacity.

From its inception in 1990, the RBM Excellence Award has identified and promoted standards of excellence for world-class maintenance programs, providing an opportunity for those maintenance departments–armed with a well-designed and implemented RBM program–to tout the dramatic impact they have had on their organization’s productivity and profitability. Entries are evaluated against an extensive list of criteria that includes work process, technologies, management and work culture, and people skills.

The winner of this year’s Mature Program RBM Excellence Award is Campbell Soup of Toronto. This award honours programs that have been operational for more than 18 months. Campbell’s largest soup business outside the United States is in Canada, where the company has increased soup consumption an average of 5% yearly for each of the past three years. Finalists included the Department of Defense/National Security Administration in Fort Mead, Md., Reynolds Metal in Richmond, Va., and Sulzer Carbomedics in Austin, Tex.

Naval Aviation Depot of Cherry Point, N.C., won this year’s New Program RBM Excellence Award, which honours programs that have been in operation for less than 18 months. For over 50 years, the Depot has provided maintenance, engineering and logistics support on a variety of aircraft, engines and other components for all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, federal agencies and foreign nations.


Yallourn Energy of Victoria, Australia, won this year’s International RBM Excellence Award. The company mines and supplies brown coal to the Yallourn W power station, which generates 10% of the nation’s electrical power requirements. Finalists included DuPont Du Brasil in Pawleenya, Brazil, and the Procter & Gamble Vayeho plant in Mexico City, Mexico.

Computational Systems Inc (CSI), founded in 1984 and based in Knoxville, Tenn., designs, produces and markets condition-monitoring products and services. The company can be reached by calling (423) 675-2110, fax (423) 675-3100.


A new computer system for assembling orders in warehouses for distribution to main-street stores has been developed in the United Kingdom. Eliminating paperwork, improving inventory accuracy and reducing operating costs, the WS (wearable system) 1040 enables the use of both hands to perform tasks while scanning barcode-based data. It works by linking two lightweight components, worn by the user, through radio frequency. These components comprise a ring scanner that fits on a finger and is capable of reading barcodes from a width of 10 cm (4 in.) to 63.5 cm (25 in.) and a microcomputer handset strapped to the wrist. The handset has a four-line display, keyboard and a radio for data communication.

Orders received by the finger-scanning system are split into individual assembly assignments. A real-time pick list is then transmitted to the handset. The user can scan the commodity-location barcode to confirm the correct one has been selected. Once a selection assignment has been completed, a label is produced to allow the goods to be scanned into the vehicle-loading system for delivery. The device was developed by Symbol Technologies, a company involved in mobile computing and communications systems based on wireless local area networking (LANs), application-specific mobile computing and barcode data capture. According to company vice-president Gordon Ambridge, “the ring scanner combines the best of traditional hand-held aim-and-shoot laser scanning with the freedom of having both hands available to perform mobile and workstation applications.”

Further information may be obtained by contacting Symbol Technologies, Symbol Place, Winnersh Triangle, Berkshire, U.K., RG41 5TP; tel. 011-44-118-945-7000; fax 011-44-118-945-7500; e-mail:; web site:


Designed as a tool to promote the PT/MC industry and attract talented employees, the 18-minute video, Find Your Future: Careers in Industrial Power Transmission/Motion Control, has been released by the Power Transmission Distributors Association (PTDA) and PTDA Educational and Scholastic Foundation. The objective of the video is to increase individual awareness of the PT/MC industry, provide a recruiting tool and assist in the new employee orientation process.

“There is a strong need for a tool that focuses on our industry, and why someone should make a career in industrial distribution,” said Bruce Martin, vice-president of sales for Industrial Equipment and chair of PTDA’s Human Resources Committee. “While there may be more lucrative job markets, none offers the broad career paths and opportunities of the PT/MC industry.”

Included in the video is footage of several PT/MC distributor and manufacturer members discussing their jobs, and sharing their experiences and opportunities with the next generation. Those interviewed characterize a career in the PT/MC industry as rewarding, dynamic, fulfilling and exciting. Funded by PTDA’s Educational and Scholastic Foundation, the video will be donated to career placement offices at vocational and technical schools, community colleges and universities that offer classes related to the industry. Copies also are available for purchase by PTDA members for their own recruiting efforts, or for donation to local academic programs. Cost is US$14.95. Orders can be placed by contacting PTDA at (847) 825-2000, or by visiting PTDA’s shopping cart on the Internet at


Standards, the tens of thousands of rules and specifications which aided the industrial development of nations, bringing essential order to product development and use, have been included among the greatest mechanical engineering achievements of the 20th century. In a survey conducted in 1999 by ASME International (American Society of Mechanical Engineers), codes and standards were voted one of 10 engineering feats that advanced the quality of life over the past 100 years. It ranked tenth in the survey of 1,400 engineers.

Codes and standards are generally defined as technical guidelines that establish criteria of quality and safety in manufactured products and systems. At the time of rapid industrialization and commercialization in the United States and other nations, standards not only prescribed a level of quality, but also ensured product interchangeability, specifying the characteristics of parts that must fit together.

In addition to codes and standards, the other nine engineering achievements, according to ASME, are the automobile, Apollo spacecraft, power generation technology, agricultural mechanization, the airplane, integrated circuit mass production, air conditioning and refrigeration, computer-aided engineering and bio-engineering technology.


DeviceNet University, recently opened by the Open DeviceNet Vendor Association (ODVA), comprises a two-day, hands-on training course for DeviceNet users. Hosted by distributors throughout North America, this is a travelling program that teaches attendees the techniques and skills they need to successfully implement and maintain DeviceNet. The program alternates between interactive classroom instruction and hands-on training, with emphasis laid on troubleshooting. Future DeviceNet University locations and dates can be found on the ODVA web site at Distributors who are interested in hosting the program should call (954) 340-5412.

In news from Euro
pe, DeviceNet has been officially adopted as a European Standard, following a successful vote in the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC). The new standard is known as EN 50325, “Industrial communications subsystem based on ISO 11898 (CAN) for controller-device interfaces.” DeviceNet received overwhelming support from the CENELEC member countries, and the CENELEC Technical Board followed the unanimous recommendation from its Fieldbus Committee to accept DeviceNet as a standard. This means that the system now can be used in European applications, such as public works, where standards are required.

“The standardization of DeviceNet in Europe is important because many users are migrating to open platforms,” said ODVA executive director Bill Moss. “Users who want to engage a low-cost, high-performance networking solution in their plants are assured that DeviceNet complies with the European directive on networks.” DeviceNet is an open communications network designed to connect factory floor devices, such as sensors, push buttons, motor starters and drives, to control systems.


The search is on to identify 2,000 unique uses for WD-40, the familiar, multi-purpose spray lubricant, in the year 2000. The Search for 2000 Uses sweepstakes, launched by WD-40 Company, carries a grand prize of US$10,000 worth of stock in the company. The grand prize winner will be selected in a random drawing of eligible entries on or near Dec. 15, 2000, as will 100 winners of other prizes, including WD-40 T-shirts, portable WD-40 can AM/FM radios and WD-40 caps.

Over the years, many Canadians have written to WD-40 Company, sharing new uses they have discovered for the lubricant. Through these sweepstakes, the company plans to gather and catalogue the uses and share them with other consumers. “We put up a new web site last year, and the number one request we get is for a list of all the uses of WD-40,” said Stephanie Barry, Canadian brand manager for WD-40.

The Search for 2000 Uses sweepstakes is open to legal Canadian residents (except Quebec province) and legal U.S. residents (except Florida and Puerto Rico), 18 years of age and older, and requires no purchase to enter. Entries can be submitted on-line at through Nov. 30, 2000, or by mail by hand-printing name, address, phone number, age, e-mail address (if applicable) and the use for WD-40 on an 8.5-in. by 11-in. piece of paper. Entries submitted by mail must be sent to WD-40 “2000 Uses” Sweepstakes, P.O. Box 6041, Sherman Oaks, CA 91413. All mail-in entries must be postmarked by Dec. 1, 2000. A full set of rules may be obtained by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to WD-40 Rules, P.O. Box 56436, Sherman Oaks, CA 91413.


Rework of parts wastes person-hours and reduces spindle in-cut time, greatly hamstringing a tooling shop’s productivity. The solution for a Boeing tooling shop, manufacturer of assembly jigs and fixtures for complex aerospace components, was to verify its CNC machines prior to the process, instead of relying on CMMs for an after-the-fact check against the machines.

Proven in advance through Renishaw ML10 laser calibration and QC10 ballbar diagnoses, the machines can be trusted to produce parts that will meet specifications before removal from the machine. “A CMM can tell us only when there is an error on the part, but not if there is a repeatable error traceable to the machine tool,” said a company official.

The tooling shop’s first step was to baseline its machines through ballbar and laser testing, measuring the accuracy of each and flagging those in need of maintenance. The second step was to fingerprint each healthy machine over time with periodic tests. By monitoring how each machine’s positioning and contouring capabilities are trending, the shop avoids putting a fine-tolerance job on a ‘loose’ machine.

In the past, the shop used the circle-diamond-square test, which was helpful in finding errors in the X-Y plane, but often missed errors in the X-Z and Y-Z planes. Subsequent ballbar diagnosis on a five-axis machine that passed the circle-diamond-square test revealed following errors as large as 0.065 in., a result of misalignment between rotary and linear axes.

The ballbar and laser tools complement each other, and even use the same notebook PC for machine evaluation. The QC10 ballbar measures and plots dynamic, multi-axis errors that are only apparent when the machine is in motion. It tracks machine movement to plus or minus 0.5 micron, allowing calculation of circularity error, servo gain mismatch, vibration, stick-slip errors, backlash, repeatability and scale mismatch, as well as machine geometry. The ML10 laser performs straightness, linearity, angularity, squareness and parallelism data capture and analysis to detect backlash, scaling errors and general component wear.

The tooling shop has since eliminated part rework on machines it has fingerprinted. “With fingerprinting, we know immediately when a machine’s capabilities decline, meaning we can correct the problem and return the machine to its original performance level,” said the company official.

For more details on Renishaw’s machine tool calibration products, contact the company at (847) 843-3666, fax (847)843-1744, or visit its web site at


The Canadian Fluid Power Association’s Centennial College Scholarship is awarded annually to a participating student within the college’s Automation & Robotics Technician and Technologist course. The selection is made by Centennial’s faculty of Engineering Technology in recognition of the student who best exemplifies a winning attitude, good academic achievement and a great deal of determination to be in their program of study.

This year the award was presented to Chris Bowman, who also received the Centennial Citizenship Award. This is awarded to the 1999 graduate who has a reputation for mature interpersonal relations with both staff and students, a record of active participation in student activities and a good academic standing.


Explosion proof motors and motors contained within an integral gear assembly must now comply with requirements under Canada’s Energy Efficiency Act and Energy Efficiency Regulations. The ruling, which came into effect Nov. 27, 1999, applies to electric motors from 1 to 200 hp (NEMA motors) or 0.745 to 150 kW (IEC motors).

Also, dealers–manufacturers, importers and distributors–meet the following requirements:

1) Ensure that these motors, if built after Nov. 27, 1999, meet the energy efficiency standard specified in the regulations;

2) File an energy efficiency report with Natural Resources Canada on regulated motors before importing or shipping these products between provinces;

3) Ensure the product bears an energy efficiency verification mark; and

4) When importing regulated motors, provide Revenue Canada, Customs with required information.

For further information, visit the web site, or contact the Office of Energy Efficiency, 20th floor, 580 Booth St., Ottawa, ON K1A 0E4, fax: (613) 947-0373. For performance standards information, contact Valerie Whelan, Equipment Standards Officer, tel. (613) 947-1207, e-mail:


Cutler-Hammer, a business unit of Eaton Corporation, and Steeplechase Software, have announced a stronger alliance, in which Cutler-Hammer will use Steeplechase’s Visual Logic Controller (VLC) for its PC-based control solutions.

For the past three years, Cutler-Hammer has been selling a brand-labelled version of VLC, under the NetSolver brand name. According to the new agreement, Cutler-Hammer will identify the software as Steeplechase. This will eliminate duplicate costs associated with presenting two separate brand names, such as
unique documentation and separate support organizations.

By unifying its NetSolver brand name with the Steeplechase brand name, Cutler-Hammer is enabling its customers to take advantage of support services provided directly by Steeplechase. For more information, contact Cutler-Hammer at (216) 523-4685 (web site, or Steeplechase at (734) 975-8137 (web site

Note to readers: If you have an opinion you’d like to express about the ongoing buyouts of Canadian industrial distributors by large U.S. firms, please send it to the Editor by fax to (416) 442-2077 or by e-mail to


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