BOMA NY Members Wowed by One World Trade Center

Electronic Drives and Controls BOMA OWTCLast month, the Building Owners Management Association (BOMA) of New York hosted their first off-site Brunch N’ Learn at One World Trade Center, highlighting the latest technology in vertical transportation from ThyssenKrupp Elevator. Electronic Drives and Controls, Inc. (EDC) has been a BOMA, NY member for 11 years.  EDC’s Deborah Deluca, Vice President, serves as a volunteer on the professional development committee of BOMA NY. She coined the idea for Brunch N’ Learns, otherwise known as Lunch N’ Learns, back in the summer of 2016 in an effort to increase interest in the organization’s membership program. Since then, Deb has been deeply involved in the planning and production of these monthly events for BOMA members.

Deb reflects on the success of this month’s Brunch N’ Learn, mentioning that “One World Trade Center (OWTC) was a special location for BOMA members to visit as it has both the fastest elevators and is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.” At 104 floors tall and 2.6 million square feet, the building has 71 elevators that reach speeds of up to 23 MPH- 2,000 feet per minute. “Twenty BOMA NY members including property managers and commercial real estate representatives joined us to learn more about this very impressive building and what’s new in vertical transportation.”

EDC BOMA NY ThyssenKruppJoe Cossentino, Director of Vertical Transportation for Syska Henessy Group Inc., opened the event, giving BOMA members a glimpse into the history of the World Trade Center site since its humble beginnings, hosting a 22-story railroad terminal in the 1900s. Today, OWTC stands tall on the site as a symbol of hope and perseverance for New York after the tragedies of 9/11.

Joe mentions that this presentation was particularly special for him as he was a project manager of mechanical engineering, overseeing the design of 30 elevators and 50 escalators, during the rebuilding of OWTC from 2004-2013. He says, “It was a privilege to be part of the design engineering and rebuilding of the World Trade Center Site in New York City. From the day that I witnessed the tragedy on 9/11 from midtown Manhattan, to the day that I stood on the 104th Floor of One World Trade Center as they poured the final concrete slab, our sense of respect and reverence for the families and first responders, along with our sense of accomplishment and renewal by the entire design team, was part of our shared experience.”

EDC OWTC BOMA NY ThyssenKruppJeffery Smith, Director of New Installation Sales in New York for ThyssenKrupp Elevators, then took the stage to deliver an innovative presentation on the future of elevators and building technology. Kenny Peng, an Account Manager for ThyssenKrupp discusses the presentation mentioning, “Attendees were given an inside look at how our new elevator systems are going to revolutionize tall building construction not just in New York, but around the world. One example of this is our groundbreaking rope-free elevator system called MULTI. MULTI elevators allow passengers to travel horizontally and diagonally in addition to classic vertical transportation. The elevators operate in a manner that compares to that of a subway, where multiple elevators run independently but within the same hoistway. This was of high interest to attendees as it is a completely new concept for elevator technology and the first building to incorporate this kind of elevator system is currently being built in Germany.”

EDC BOMA NY Brunch N Learn ThyssenKruppAfter boggling minds with elevators that go multiple directions and at lightning speeds, attendees toured one of the elevator machine rooms, where 6 of the building’s 71 elevators are located. Deb notes, “This part of the event was a great opportunity for attendees to have firsthand interaction with ThyssenKrupp Elevator technology.” The floor was then opened for networking and questions for the speakers.

The BOMA NY/ThyssenKrupp Brunch N’ Learn was a great success. “BOMA members left the Brunch N’ Learn with a deeper breadth of knowledge on up-and-coming technological advances in vertical transportation with a behind-the-scenes look at one of the most impressive buildings in the world,” said Deb.

Are you a BOMA member? Stay connected with BOMA NY’s event calendar to catch your next opportunity to attend one of BOMA’s monthly Lunch N’ Learns!

 

Top 4 Reasons to Implement a Control System Preventative Maintenance Program

What is Preventative Maintenance?

Preventative Maintenance (PM) is a program designed to maintain optimal function of your control systems (Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs), PLCs, etc.) in real time while also preventing deterioration and failure in the future. With regularly scheduled maintenance, PM allows users to realize the greatest return on their investment.

How does Preventative Maintenance work?

Preventative Maintenance procedures are carried out on a prescribed basis, customized to the specific needs of each control system. During PM, controls undergo various physical, visual, and electrical inspections in addition to regular maintenance procedures including predefined part replacement and fine-tuning. Any irregularities are identified and remedied before they have the opportunity to magnify and cause more serious and potentially costly damage. Each procedure concludes with full documentation of the controls system’s condition at the time, creating a history file that helps predict future maintenance needs.

Why implement a PM Program?

While there are many important reasons to implement a Preventative Maintenance (PM) program for the control systems in your facility, there are four that stand out from the rest:

EDC Electronic Drives and Controls Preventative Maintenance Heat Sink Clog
Clogged heat sinks can lead to degradation of VFD performance.

 

     1. Prolongs Life of Investment

Did you know that a drive without Preventative Maintenance could have a life expectancy as low as 3-4 years before problems climb beyond economical repair? The same drive could have a life expectancy of 12-15 years or more if well maintained. Without PM, it’s difficult to tell if your drive is operating under ideal conditions or not. Non-ideal conditions put stress on crucial components such as IGBTs, capacitors and other sensitive electronics that can significantly reduce their life-expectancy. With PM, operations users realize low peak-demand rates, drive reliability and an improvement in the return on investment of their drive.

 

     2. Minimize Downtime

Electronic Drives and Controls Infra-Red Connection Problem Preventative Maintenance
Faulty connections made visible with infra-red technology can cause future problems if not promptly fixed.

Control system failure can cause major downtime in operations, costing businesses thousands of dollars. Preventative Maintenance is meant to reduce the chances of control system failure and the severity of failures if they do happen. Industries at the highest risk for losing a great volume of assets due to downtime include pharmaceutical, medical, wire and cable, and more. For example, a pharmaceutical company that relies on their drives to keep their facility and laboratories sterile could lose hundreds of batches of product and have an experiment that has lasted years be completely compromised by an unsterile facility if their drives were to fail.

 

     3. Maximize Energy Savings

To paraphrase and old pirate yarn, “Dead drives save no energy.” Preventative Maintenance programs ensure that control system’s energy consumption matches energy requirements. Mechanical systems controlled by drives and/or PLCs that unnecessarily operate at high energy consumption, endure stress that can reduce their life expectancy. With PM, systems run efficiently, reducing energy related costs and the facility’s overall carbon footprint.

 

Control Systems Messy Wiring Preventative Maintenance
Messy wiring can cause difficulties during trouble shooting and even lead to control failure if not remedied.

     4. Maintain a Knowledge Base of Equipment

After each Preventative Maintenance procedure, the information collected including inspection, updates, comments, suggestions and more is logged into a system that contains the operating history of each drive or PLC with PM. At first, this may sound like a small piece of a large puzzle when it comes to the upkeep of control systems. However, having a knowledge base of a control system’s history can be highly predictive for future maintenance needs and problems. In the long run, this helps decrease damage related costs and increase operational reliability.

 

Why EDC?

Electronic Drives and Controls (EDC) has over 50 years of experience in commercial and industrial variable speed drive maintenance, repair and retrofits- servicing over a quarter million drives to date. Over those 50 years of service, we have built a proprietary Preventative Maintenance program with customized checkpoints to assure consistent and thorough inspection of all our client’s equipment.

Commonly, organizations whose focus is on the sale and support of single brands of VFDs or other controls are at a technical disadvantage when faced with providing effective, cost-efficient maintenance and service on competitor’s equipment. Our highly trained and nationally recognized service engineers have experience with a wide variety of equipment, as we are a factory authorized/factory trained service center for over 40 drive brands, and have alliances with world class hardware and software providers. This allows our engineers to accurately identify areas of concern before they turn into more costly, complicated issues- regardless of the control system’s brand, age, model, etc.

In half a century of service, EDC has also remained brand-neutral in an effort to operate in our clients’ best interests. Remaining brand-neutral has allowed us to give product recommendations to our clients without the influence of a third party. This also allows us to be as transparent as possible with our clients, documenting and sharing all information collected during PM visits and making suggestions for proper care between visits.

Our field service engineering team is available 24/7/365, providing immediate response to any drive and PLC repair, service installation, maintenance, start-up need and more. For more information regarding Electronic Drives and Controls, Inc. please contact us at 973-428-0500.

 

Film Coating Line Downtime Resolved with EDC’s Successful Drives & Controls Upgrade using Rockwell Automation Products

Manufacturers across the country are faced with the challenges of costly downtime related toEDC coating lineaging equipment with obsolete drives and control systems. At some point, trying to patch and repair outdated systems becomes unrealistic. The good news is that investing in new advanced drive and control system technology can breathe new life into your equipment and provide a significant return on investment (ROI). The ROI can come in multiple forms including savings on downtime, improved system efficiencies, remote system capabilities, energy savings, increased safety, or a combination of those benefits. Our project at ORAFOL demonstrates how success can be achieved by investing in a major retrofit.

ORAFOL Americas Inc. is a global manufacturer of graphic films, reflective solutions, and adhesive tape products for a variety of industries. The company’s Avon, CT plant manufactures the leading brand of DOT-C2 compliant conspicuity tapes for the heavy-duty truck and trailer market.

ORAFOL was experiencing significant downtime on an existing film coating line due to aging equipment and legacy control systems. The company decided it was time for a major overhaul including replacing some equipment with new and retrofitting obsolete controls on the entire line. The coating process is very intricate, requiring expert engineering knowledge of complex winders, tension controls and web transport systems.

EDC provided a robust turnkey solution using Rockwell Automation technology and was responsible for all aspects of the project, both mechanical and electrical including design, procurement, removal, installation, along with the startup and tuning. In addition, EDC managed vendors, suppliers, other engineers, and machine shops; a lot had to come together at the same time to make a project of this magnitude flow smoothly.

ORAFOL now has a reliable, modern, state-of-the-art coating line with many benefits. To read a detailed case study on the project, click here or download the PDF.

When interviewed after its completion, ORAFOL’s Director of Engineering, Gary Gauer, expressed his delight with the project, “The EDC team delivered exactly what was promised and worked with our engineers to customize the system to the satisfaction and ease of the machine operators. EDC demonstrates a very strong commitment to their technical expertise, understanding the latest products that are available and having a technical acumen with those products. They are proficient as well as being responsive and personable.”

When the Problem Isn’t the Motor, It Doesn’t Mean It’s the Drive

Scott SullivanBlog post by Scott Sullivan, electrical engineer at Electronic Drives and Controls who specializes in on-site field service of AC drives.EDC motors drives

Recently, I was called in to troubleshoot a customer’s air handler drive. This particular unit was blowing fuses on its input from the main line. The customer’s in-house electrician correctly determined that something was drawing too much current. He then decided that the problem had to be with the drive or the motor. For testing purposes he bypassed the drive, which he believed left only the motor. When he attempted to start the motor, the fuses blew again. Since he believed the motor and drive were the only possible culprits and the drive was bypassed, he figured the motor had failed and so he installed a new motor. This time when he tried to start the new motor with the old drive, the fuses still blew. His determination was that both the motor and the drive had failed. At this point I was called in to troubleshoot.

After being given a brief summary of the problem, I started to examine the drive. After a thorough examination I didn’t find anything wrong with the drive that would explain the issue. To test my hypothesis, I disconnected the motor from the drive and tried to start. If the drive had been the problem, the fuses would have blown at this point. The fuses remained fine, so the problem was not between the main line and the drive. This left only the output wiring and the motor. Since the motor was brand new, it was unlikely to be the problem. Therefore, the output wiring was the only issue remaining. With the aid of the customer’s electrician, I ran new wire from the drive to the motor and tried to start. The motor and air handler started up without an issue. After examining the wiring I found that some of the insulation had worn off and part of the live wire was touching the metal conduit. This caused a short to ground and caused excessive current to be produced, thereby blowing the fuses. If the fuses had not blown, the drive would have most likely failed, possibly burnt up the new motor, and maybe even caused a fire.

The lesson to be learned here is that there are many causes for fuses failing. Just because you eliminate one cause doesn’t automatically mean it has to be something else. This customer spent money on a new motor when they probably didn’t need it. When you determine a problem has occurred and you don’t know how to fix it, the best solution is to ask for outside help. It may actually end up saving you money.

 

Behind the scenes of EDC Emergency Services with Service Manager, Gregg Martin and Service Coordinator, Sal Zannino

Service Manager, Gregg Martin

Ever have a damaged VFD, PLC, or HVAC affect your business’ operations? Ever experience costly downtime due to equipment failure? Ever have this happen on Christmas Eve during the night shift in the middle of a snowstorm? We know this feeling. We understand the detrimental impact any of these situations could cause to the operations of your facility. That’s why we have a dedicated team of field service engineers ready to respond to your emergency service call at the drop of a hat!

Electronic Drives and Controls’ Service Manager, Gregg Martin and Service Coordinator, Sal Zannino are the men behind the scenes dispatching and one of fifteen qualified service engineers from EDC’s headquarters in Parsippany, NJ to across the Tri-State area and beyond. Gregg and Sal have been working in the service department of EDC for the past 13 years and have seen it all when it comes to emergency service calls. These service experts have the experience and knowledge necessary to get the right engineers out with the proper equipment as quickly and efficiently as possible in response to emergency service calls.

In a recent interview, Gregg shared details of the service department’s capabilities saying, “At any given time, 365/24/7, we have a team of 3 highly-trained service engineers on call, ready to respond to any emergency that comes our way. We generally operate in a 3-4 hour driving radius, serving locations in New Jersey (NJ), New York (NY), Pennsylvania (PE), Connecticut (CT), and Delaware (DE). Our engineers, on average, have about 10+ years’ experience in emergency service response, working with over 40 different drive and control brands. They will go above and beyond to make sure that emergency calls from both existing customers and first time callers are responded to in a timely fashion with quality work.”

Sal adds to Gregg’s comment by mentioning, “The service department also has an incredibly strong ability as a team to figure out the make, model and more of parts when a caller has no idea what they are looking at. This includes those 20-year-old, obsolete parts that may not have been touched for years.” Sal specifically points to EDC’s Senior Parts Specialist, Matt Pepe, as an expert in this area. Matt has been working in the service department of EDC for over 20 years. During that time, he has gained the knowledge and expertise it takes to figure out exactly what even the most unique parts are and then source a custom solution to take their place when necessary.

Service Coordinator, Sal Zannino

Finally, Gregg and Sal shared a list of information that they need to collect on any call that comes through to the service department. In the case of an emergency, having this information ready ahead of time will be of great benefit to the caller:

Product Information:

    • Manufacturer
    • Model number
    • Drawings
    • Owner’s manual
    • Cabling

Sal comments on the list saying, “Of course, if a caller does not have this information prepared we are still ready to help however we can! However, if they do have this information ready it will help us diagnose their problem and needs as quickly as possible.”

Senior Parts Specialist, Matt Pepe

Emergency service calls reach the desks of Gregg and Sal in EDC’s service department every day. The entire EDC team is committed to reducing the impact equipment problems have on customers by solving them as quickly as possible without sacrificing quality of work. EDC is also committed to operating in our client’s best interest by providing turn-key VFD replacements using our customer’s favored brand when repairs are not cost or time efficient. If you have an emergency with a control system (variable frequency drive (VFD), PLC, etc.) or other equipment in your facility, please contact us at 973.428.0500

A NYC Building With no A/C in The Middle of a Summertime Heat Wave!

On June 13th 2018 EDC received a worried call from Jack Resnick + Sons’ Chief Engineer Scott Stefanski, with a problem on the company’s property, One Seaport Plaza in New York City. Scott had discovered that the drive powering the building’s lobby air conditioning had gotten wet and was destroyed. As the heat in the lobby steadily increased, Scott realized this problem was going to cause more than just discomfort to the building’s patrons. The lobby also featured artwork worth millions of dollars that, if exposed to high levels of heat, would be destroyed. Knowing new drives usually require more lead time than he could get away with in anticipation of another 90-degree hot and humid day, Scott was scrambling to find a quick solution.

EDC’s Sales Representative Eric Dillard was the one to receive Scott’s late-afternoon emergency call. Immediately, Eric reached out to EDC’s Service Manager Gregg Martin, to see what he could do to help. Lucky for Scott, he reached EDC before the local vendors closed for the day.  After Gregg had made a series of unsuccessful calls, he was finally able to find Scott the appropriate replacement for the lobby’s broken drive.

Bright and early the next day, EDC sent out Scott’s new drive with Service Engineer, Marius Bagdonas. Marius was able to reach One Seaport, NYC early that afternoon and had the drive installed within 24 hours of Scott’s initial call.

Scott expressed his appreciation saying, “EDC did not have the drive we needed on hand but went out of their way to source it for us. The following afternoon they had the new drive installed and our lobby air conditioning was back up and running. EDC is a new vendor for us; I was really impressed and happy with how quickly they were able to respond and help us out of a critical situation. It’s refreshing to work with a company you can count on, and really cares about their customers. I have already been recommending EDC to my counterpart Chief Engineers at our other buildings!”

Emergency service calls like Scott’s come to the desks of EDC’s service department every day. EDC is committed to reducing the impact these types of problems have on customers by solving them as quickly as possible without sacrificing the quality of work. If you have an emergency with a control system (variable frequency drive (VFD), PLC, etc.) or other equipment in your facility, please contact us at 973.428.0500 .

 

 

Spare Equipment Needs Maintenance Too

Failure to maintain spare equipment can cost you money and downtime, as well as being a safety issue.

Scott SullivanBlog post by Scott Sullivan, electrical engineer at Electronic Drives and Controls who specializes in on-site field service of AC drives.

Nobody likes downtime. In industry, you lose money every minute that product isn’t going through a machine. In HVAC applications, downtime usually leads to complaints from sweaty people in the summer or freezing people in the winter. In extreme cases, having one machine down can cause other machines to run improperly, resulting in damage and more downtime. For simple applications, a bypass circuit can be implemented to prevent downtime but this comes at the cost of only being able to run at 100% speed. This forgoes the energy savings usually associated with drives and is incompatible with processes that require variable speed. When downtime isn’t an option and a drive is required, the most common solution is to have a spare AC drive on site for a quick installation. However, failure to maintain this spare equipment can lead to downtime anyway- and added costs.

Similar to how you can’t put a battery that’s been sitting in your garage for years right into your car, AC drives can’t just be wired in if they’ve been sitting on a shelf for years. AC drives contain capacitors, which have a very small amount of insulating oxide separating the conductive material. This material degrades over time but is chemically replenished within the capacitor as long as voltage is applied. If no voltage is applied, for example if the drive is in storage, the material still degrades. If you were to try to apply full line voltage to a degraded capacitor, it will most likely fail in a horrendous fashion due to this material shorting out.

So what do you do if you have a drive that has been sitting around for a while? Using the previous example of a car battery, you would hook the battery up to a trickle charger and let it sit for a day. AC drives require a very similar procedure where you hook up a lower voltage circuit to provide a small current to the capacitors. This allows them to chemically rebuild the insulating oxide layer without the danger of shorting the capacitors. For safety, a series resistor or a fuse is commonly used in case too much current is generated. This process is known as “reaging” or “reforming” the capacitors. Consult your user’s manual for the drive for specifics on how this is done. Typical times are 1 hour of charging per year of inactivity and should be performed every 1-2 years of inactivity. My recommendation is to write on the drive, in big black letters, the last date the drive was in service. That way you know if a charging is required and how long to charge if it is needed. If you are unsure of how long it has been since a drive was in use, call a service center. Most drive service companies will either let you send them the drive for capacitor testing or reform the caps on site at your location.

I’m reminded of a service call I had not too long ago. A customer’s drive had failed and it was going to be a couple weeks until I could get spare parts to repair it. The customer had a spare drive from a similar unit that was decommissioned and he asked if I could just install that drive in the meantime. The drive was compatible, but I could see from the manufacturer’s label that the drive was close to a decade old. I asked the customer when it was last in service and he said, rather vaguely, “not too long ago.” I explained the risks and he asked me to install it anyway. I installed the drive and shortly after powering it on there was a loud bang. One of the drive’s internal capacitors had exploded and damaged most of the drive’s other internal components. The drive was beyond economical repair, so the customer had to wait a few days until I could get another drive to install. It was at this point I learned the customer’s definition of “not too long ago” was about 6 years, whereas the manufacturer’s maximum idle time for the drive was 2 years.

Had the customer in my example been aware of this or kept some record of the last time the drive was in use, I would never have installed it. Capacitors exploding is dangerous to both equipment and nearby personnel. Always keep your spare equipment maintained and have the maintenance performed by qualified personnel. This customer ended up having to buy a new drive to replace the spare, money that he would not have had to spend if the drive was kept in working order or the capacitors were reformed.