Blaming Electrical Problems, Part 1 NKMandic/iStock/Thinkstock

Blaming Electrical Problems, Part 1

If you’ve worked in the manufacturing or process plant environment very long, you’re familiar with the tradition of blaming “electrical problems” for everything from bad materials to operator error. Automatic lubrication systems are often targets for this blame game. What happens is the system experiences intermittent failures or just stops working. With well-designed controls, this causes a preventive shutdown.

But when you check the lubrication system, you don’t find problems with the controls or the power. And the system works perfectly. So what could have triggered that shutdown? Did the lubrication system actually fail? Is this a mysterious PLC problem, or maybe a bad sensor?

You check everything, and conclude it must be a mechanical problem. This doesn’t look good for you, because “mechanical problem” typically means something is broken and that kind of failure can’t produce this scenario.

Don’t do a complete PM in hopes of inadvertently fixing this. In Part 2, we’ll discuss how to zero in on the cause.

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