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Time for tuning

By Clarence Klassen  
  
Having just returned from a major drive upgrade, I am again reminded of the difficulty of planning and scheduling startup work. This project involved replacing 10 variable-speed drives, six requiring motor changes (200 to 800 HP each). Additionally, line maintenance was performed. A great planning team was in place including production, maintenance, mechanical, structural, electrical, and commissioning people. 

The plan was for an aggressive four-day outage to complete the work. As much installation work as possible was completed before the shutdown, including powering up and programming new drive equipment. A bit of slack was put into the plan, but “found” work soon used up the slack. 

The first step in the plan was to lockout (LOTO). This complex LOTO started with locking out the old drives and transitioning to the new drives as they were connected. Tuning could not commence until the locks were removed; that is, after the new motors were in place and aligned. Motor leads and encoder connections were completed. Millwrights, tinsmiths, and painters had finished their work. 

Tune-up time – a bit later than the timeline showed. Now the programming software acts up. A few wiring problems were discovered. A few motors rotated backward.

Eventually, the tune-up was completed. A bit longer than scheduled. It’s very late in the day, but the line is running.
One day late. 20% longer than scheduled. Not atypical.

How does this compare with your projects? We all survived the project debrief with a few “lessons learned.”

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