During normal operation, a Parker nitrogen generator should not vent any significant volumes of oxygen or nitrogen gas within the installation location as long as the area is adequately sized and ventilated. This obviously depends on quite a few factors including but not limited to - the free volume of room where the system is installed or gas used within, potential exhaust/permeate flow, possible nitrogen vent capacity, and room ambient air volume change rate.
Ensure adequate ventilation and set vessel vent flow to ensure no oxygen depletion occurs. Alternatively, fit a suitable flexible hose of the correct pressure rating to the vessel drain connection and vent to a safe location.Labelling and warning notices
Reducing routine service intervals is an important objective of any fleet manager. Preventing unscheduled maintenance is even more critical to keeping heavy-duty trucks and equipment operational. Methods and innovative product solutions that guarantee trouble-free operation offer tremendous value in ensuring productivity and customer satisfaction. Proper air filtration is paramount to preventing contamination from reaching the engine. Even the smallest amount of dirt can cause a huge amount of engine damage resulting in unscheduled, costly downtime and failure. When choosing an engine air filter, considering these factors will help ensure the best possible performance and engine protection:
An air filter must be highly efficient at capturing contamination throughout the full life of the filter. This makes structural stability and media strength critically important. Contaminant by-pass (going around, not through the media), failed seals or adhesives and microscopic holes in the media itself will render a filter practically useless. Rigorous testing under extreme conditions for longer than the typical service interval is an excellent indicator of how a filter will perform in its intended application.Advances in air filtration technology
Parker Engine Mobile Aftermarket Division has recently introduced a revolutionary new air filter technology, the Baldwin EnduraPanel™. EnduraPanel air filters combine high efficiency and maximum capacity in an extremely rugged, compact design that is up to 50 percent smaller than conventional engine air filters.
"EnduraPanel's single and dual element designs provide the maximum amount of filter media with ample air flow, even when space is at a premium."
— Steve Zimmerman, head of product management and engineering, Parker Engine Mobile Aftermarket Division
Performance under the harshest conditions
EnduraPanel filters have been designed to withstand extreme conditions, such as vibration and high temperatures, for extended periods without rips, tears or structural failures — providing exceptional protection to heavy-duty trucks and equipment.
These filters deliver superior efficiency throughout the entire service interval with dirt holding capacity surpassing the OE filters. Even more importantly, structural endurance testing shows how Baldwin EnduraPanel exceeds the OE in durability. Baldwin filters protect equipment throughout the filter life, even under the toughest working conditions. See figures 1-3.
Figure 1. Capacity (g) Baldwin EnduraPanel PA31010 vs. OE
Figure 2. Efficiency (%) Baldwin EnduraPanel PA31010 vs. OE
Figure 3. Structural Endurance (Cycles) Baldwin EnduraPanel PA31010 vs. OE
Parker Engine Mobile Aftermarket Division
As a global provider of filtration products and services, our mission is to protect our customers’ engines and mobile equipment, from first to last use, through innovative filtration solutions and outstanding customer service. We have a worldwide customer base, superb product quality, an extensive distribution network and the industry's broadest product line. This comprehensive portfolio of filtration products and technologies offers customers a single streamlined source for all their engine and mobile filtration needs.
For additional information on the Baldwin EnduraPanel, please visit our website.
This blog was contributed by Steve Zimmerman, head of product management and engineering, Parker Engine Mobile Aftermarket Division.
Effective filtration is vital to process protection and factors such as filter selection, testing and optimization can have an impact on process risk. Here we examine the factors to consider when implementing normal flow and tangential flow filtration systems into biopharmaceutical manufacturing processes in order to maximize process protection.
With normal flow filtration, the selection of an appropriate filter for the product stream at any given point will primarily be driven by the level of retention required.
In some circumstances, a highly retentive filter such as PROPOR MR may be required to remove diminutive organisms such as mycoplasma from process fluids. However, implementing an extremely retentive filtration step where it is not required will only create an additional burden on the process.
It is therefore important to understand precisely what is appropriate at each stage.
Sterilizing-grade filters such as PROPOR SG and PROPOR HC ranges are frequently employed, and correctly so in many aspects of biopharmaceutical production. However, employing a sterilizing-grade filter where only bioburden control is needed will require an oversized filter stage: this may potentially restrict the process and will create the need for additional filter integrity testing steps.
In many cases, downstream processing stages are not truly sterile — chromatography being the prime example — and therefore in this example, a bioburden control filter such as PROPOR BR will provide sufficient process protection without risking unnecessary additional process operations.
Integrity testing protocols should be designed to provide assurance of filter integrity in accordance with regulatory requirements, but must also be balanced against introducing further process risk. Additional flushing and testing operations may confirm that the filter is still fit for purpose but they can also create a risk of contamination. In addition, from a product safety perspective, the data provided may be redundant when further post-use integrity testing is performed anyway.
Vendor assistance should be requested during filter sizing exercises. The filter supplier may be able to offer additional experience, which can be brought to bear in advising on a specific filter and application pairing: this may not be immediately apparent if the operator only relied upon data from a single bench top capacity study, which would not take into account the effect of long-term process variation upon filter performance.
Operating and testing procedures should be designed to deal with troubleshooting aspects of filter use. If, for example, a filter blocks prematurely due to process variation, or if an integrity test fail result is returned, are these eventualities written into the operator protocols? And has the vendor provided input regarding best practice in each case?Tangential flow filtration
When utilizing tangential flow filtration, the membrane cut-off used to achieve the appropriate degree of retention or transmission is clearly important.
However, it is always good practice to ensure that the process has been optimized to provide repeatable performance under defined operating conditions. For example, faster processing or better membrane recovery can be achieved through optimization studies. If these studies are not performed, this may have a detrimental effect on process efficiency or even quality.
Module format should also be considered: cassettes and hollow fibres are commonly used but may provide advantages in certain situations arising from process needs.
In some applications, aseptic closed-loop processing may be highly beneficial. For example, some vaccines are too large to be sterile-filtered and therefore processing in a pre-sterilized single-use system is ideal. This means that gamma-stable cross-flow elements with very low extractables content, such as the single-use PROPOR TFF product, are very beneficial.
In any application, process systems should also be designed to maximize product yield through the elimination of unnecessary tubing or pipework and minimizing any potential for product to be lost within the process.
Finally, sterilization methods should be considered. If gamma irradiation is used, a product such as Parker Bioscience’s single-use PROPOR TFF element is required. On the other hand, if autoclave sterilization or caustic sanitization are implemented, products such as the PROPOR TFF autoclavable or reusable elements would be appropriate.
Now watch our webinar to find out more about how to protect your biopharmaceutical manufacturing process.
Approximately 36 percent of nitrogen gas supplied by gas companies is delivered in high-pressure cylinders. At first, it would appear to be a fairly simple method of supply, requiring a cylinder, pressure regulator and piping to deliver nitrogen gas to the application.
However, the following checks and procedures must be carried out every time a cylinder is exchanged and the pressure regulator re-fitted and re-connected to a gas system to ensure safe operation. It is also important to understand that when an individual is charged with the responsibility of connecting and disconnecting high-pressure cylinders to an application, they could be personally liable if anything goes wrong.
When taking delivery of cylinders, it is essential that the three safety inspections listed below are carried out each and every time a cylinder is changed over.1. Colour coding and labels
Although cylinders are colour coded, this should not be relied upon to identify the contents. The label affixed to the cylinder must always be used as the primary means of contents identification. Cylinders without labels or where the label doesn’t match the colour coding should not be used. They need to be set aside or quarantined and returned to the supplier. It is essential to refuse acceptance at the point of delivery if any cylinders do not have identification labels attached.
Having determined the contents of the cylinder, it is then necessary to check that the gas is suitable for the application. The pressure of the gas in the cylinder should not be more than the regulator fitted, and the cylinder needs to be secured so that it can’t topple over — ideally in a purpose-built cylinder rack or store.2. Cylinder valve
The cylinder valve comes fitted to the cylinder when it is delivered. It is basically an open or closed valve operated with a key/spanner. The pressure regulator is then fitted to this. If the valve is on a newly filled, unused cylinder it should have a factory sealing cap in place. Checks should be carried out to ensure the fitting is undamaged and contaminate free. It is essential that there are no signs of solvents, oils, greases or PTFE tape, and it must be clear of dirt and moisture. Note that PTFE sealing tape should never be used as the pressure regulator has its own rubber seal. PTFE can cause fire/explosions if used with certain gas species.3. Pressure regulator
Now, you should be good to go!
Alternatively, an on-site nitrogen generator can be used and will alleviate all the hazards and risks associated with high-pressure nitrogen gas cylinders. The Parker NITROSource generator, for example, offers a unique design and advanced energy-saving technology that requires less compressed air to generate more nitrogen. Substantially lower servicing costs, reduced downtime, and longer working life make it the most cost-efficient nitrogen supply available. Additional benefits include:
Watch this video to learn more about the Parker NITROSource on-site nitrogen generator.
In Parker Bioscience’s webinar entitled Protect The Process, Protect The Patient, the concern that biopharmaceutical manufacturers have regarding the impact of human error on their processes was all too evident.
When asked "what do you see as the biggest cause of operational errors?" 71.4 percent of participants cited "human error", compared to 14.3 percent who cited "consumables failure" and 7.1 percent who named "equipment failure" as the main culprit.
The risk of human error and the subsequent damage this can cause to a process — product batches, delivery to market and ultimately, patient health — is clear.
But what can be done to mitigate this risk?
One option is to use automation. Let’s look at the main benefits that automation can provide within the single-use sector.
A fully manual process is very labour and operator intensive and involves a high level of manual data acquisition, manual analysis and manning of workstations. Indeed, sometimes many operators are required simply to look after one single process step.
Timings and end points can be subjective, and variation can be caused by human error.
Benefits of using automation
In a world of standardization, manual processing is not the ideal scenario. On the other hand, if we look at automation within the single-use sector, it can offer a huge number of improvements to biopharma process:
Even with clear batch records and SOPs, it is possible there are differences in the way that different teams perform tasks, and there is also the potential for transcription and other human errors which can produce some variation in process controls, systems and quality documentation.
Also, when processes are transferred between facilities, there may be differences in the way processing steps are conducted in order to achieve facility fit. As much standardisation as possible surrounding this area would be an ideal scenario as it allows for faster implementation and validation.
Automation can help in all of these scenarios and is able to detect and reduce variation within processing parameters which would be impossible to perform manually.
Condition monitoring has a key role to play in every maintenance programme and can be a valuable tool for optimising safety standards, maximising operational efficiency, and enhancing profitability.
Despite proven gains resulting from employing effective condition monitoring and reliability-centered maintenance practices, all too often its implementation is haphazard rather than strategic, further stretching already scarce resources and having little positive effect on productivity – or the bottom line.
When we consider the lifecycle of an asset – from the design, installation, operation and decommissioning – our expectations are that it will perform its required function efficiently for as long as it’s required. Indeed in a laboratory setting, this isn’t an unreasonable assumption. However, in the less forgiving marine environment, with large variations in weather, crew, and aptitude, it is vital to take into consideration how these variables can affect the operational life of critical assets, and proactively monitor these systems to ensure that operations are not compromised by unexpected breakdowns.
Condition monitoring has one goal: to ensure that an asset can effectively function to meet the demands of the operation, whenever it’s required. To do that, the necessary people, processes, and resources must be available to maintain the asset in a fit-for-service condition. This can be done reliably, safely and cost-effectively by employing a combination of condition monitoring tools, both on and offline. All that’s required is a consistent, top-to-bottom appreciation of the compound benefits that accrue to organisations that prioritise asset integrity.
A number of innovations have influenced condition monitoring in recent years that today allow engineers to enjoy the benefits of a combination of online, onsite and laboratory testing.
Digitalisation is fundamentally changing the way marine maintenance services are conducted. Advanced data analysis is helping companies optimise the efficiency of their operations and improve the performance of their assets. One of the most prominent advocates in this area is the original equipment manufacturer, Wärtsilä.
It employs asset performance optimisation concepts extensively and uses interactive and real-time data to help predict maintenance needs well in advance, thus enabling better planning and support services. A number of innovations have influenced condition monitoring in recent years that today allow engineers to enjoy the benefits of a combination of online, onsite and laboratory testing. Through more detailed but potentially delayed sample results from a laboratory, supplemented by the real-time information delivered by onsite testing, operators have the most accurate picture of the condition of the systems and equipment onboard.
“Condition monitoring has one goal: to ensure that an asset can effectively function to meet the demands of the operation”
The skills shortage and difficulty finding fully-trained personnel in the marine industry has been well documented over recent years, which is why condition monitoring experts have continued to develop technology that is simple to use and doesn’t require extensive training or re-education, whilst still providing accurate and detailed information. The cylinder liner, for example, is a crucial part of a ship’s engine.
Monitoring wear extends operational life
Monitoring wear not only extends operational life but also prevents unexpected and costly repair bills and unscheduled downtime that ship owners can ill afford, with the average cost for a replacement liner at over $150,000. Global carrier Matson has installed Parker Kittiwake’s LinerSCAN, an online sensor which instantly reports changes in the cylinder caused by abrasive wear, onto several of its vessels as part of a range of condition monitoring tools. Payback proved immediate, as on the first voyage after installation, the LinerSCAN system indicated increased wear on the cylinder liners. Upon investigation, Matson detected damaging levels of cat fines in the system on one of its vessels, identified the cause of the issue and addressed the problem before the damage occurred.
Tools such as online sensors and onboard test kits can empower engineers to make fast and informed decisions with confidence. By monitoring wear levels in real time through online sensors such as LinerSCAN, engineers are alerted to escalating cylinder liner wear and are able to react quickly to changes, enabling preventative maintenance during the ship’s passage to the next port and ensuring against expensive downtime.
Today’s oil analysis follows a new triangular paradigm. Real-time, online oil analysis via sensors is the most straightforward and efficient tools for monitoring critical machinery onboard vessels in remote locations.
Coupled with effective portable onboard test kits, many existing and potential problems can be detected and addressed within minutes rather than days. This is still fundamentally supported by offsite, laboratory analysis to provide more detailed analysis, plug information gaps and validate decisions. The advent of slow steaming brought with it the challenge of cold corrosion, due to optimum engine operating temperatures not being attained. Cold corrosion is when sulphuric acid forms on the engine cylinder liner walls and corrodes the liner surface. The Parker Kittiwake Cold Corrosion Test Kit (CCTK) is an onboard tool that gives a clear indication of whether there is a serious problem without the time delay and cost incurred with sending samples for laboratory analysis.
“Kittiwake’s condition monitoring equipment provides information rather than subjective data that can be acted upon immediately, preventing premature wear and subsequent damage”
When used alongside ferro-magnetic analysers, such as the new Kittiwake Ferrous Wear Meter (FWM), operators can identify levels of both abrasive iron and corrosive iron compounds in minutes. It is through employing a combination of online and offline tools that encompass a comprehensive range of processes within the system that operators can best arm themselves with the information they need to manage maintenance, prevent damage and maximise uptime. Kittiwake’s condition monitoring equipment provides information rather than subjective data that can be acted upon immediately, preventing premature wear and subsequent damage. Condition monitoring onboard is a maintenance tool rather than a scientific research tool. Downtime costs money and impacts profitability, which must be steadfastly avoided, especially in today’s financial climate. So with the spectre of downtime ever present, condition monitoring systems and oil analysis programmes are the first line of defence for diagnosing problems with critical plant machinery and equipment.
The impact of successful troubleshooting using a combination of the state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment available can equate to millions of dollars in savings across a fleet. Critical asset failure takes a vessel out of service immediately, affecting profitability, reputation viability as a line operator and invites downstream complications that interfere with successful strategic planning.
The benefits of prevention are often overlooked and sacrificed.
“For ship owners, uptime is the most crucial factor affecting quality and profitability.”
Magnus Miemois, Director of Field Services at Wärtsilä
Even though it might not be instinctual, the present downturn presents a valuable opportunity to revisit the existing asset integrity and reliability processes. Shortcutting safety and performance could become apparent in the future with incidents and accidents costing more than the required investment for assurance.
For many, this will be a step-change policy - investing in onboard condition monitoring and embracing 21st-century marine engineering rather than relying on intuition or the strict period-based maintenance of old.
Article contributed by Larry Rumbol, condition monitoring market development manager (marine), Engine Mobile Hydraulic and Fuel Filtration Division, United Kingdom. Originally published in Marine Trader
Additional articles related to condition monitoring:
In a manufacturing facility, it is essential that equipment runs at optimum performance, not only to maintain production but also ensure staff safety and product quality. In many cases, when equipment fails, it is due to the fact that the correct service intervals have not been met and/or replacement parts installed are not in line with genuine original manufacturer's specification.
By employing a scheduled service plan, approved by the original equipment manufacturer, maintenance and operation managers can rest assured that equipment and systems run smoothly. This blog discusses the benefits of implementing a scheduled maintenance plan as well as the importance of choosing the right equipment to ensure uninterrupted production.Benefits of a maintenance plan
Compressed air treatment and industrial gas equipment are vital elements in production machinery operation. Investing in the right equipment and properly maintaining it are critical to uninterrupted production. Some factors to consider when selecting compressed air treatment and industrial gas generation systems include:
Parker’s Gas Separation and Filtration Division EMEA (GSFE) compressed air treatment and industrial gas products, for example, are designed to maximize uptime in the most effective and energy-efficient way. Parker's compressed air treatment products are Third Party validated to deliver 100% compressed air quality and high efficiency. Parker's industrial nitrogen generation systems feature advanced energy-saving technology for reduced energy consumption.Industry-leading extended warranty
Parker GSFE's confidence in its products has led to the introduction of an industry leading 5 year extended warranty across its industrial range of products — in addition to the standard one year guarantee (some exclusions apply but these are clearly defined in the terms of the warranty which is available on request). This unique warranty combined with a maintenance plan provides manufacturers with the peace of mind that equipment will operate reliably and efficiently — allowing them to concentrate on what really matters.Replacement parts at no cost
With a maintenance plan in place, businesses can easily forecast their equipment upkeep costs and, with Parker’s extended warranty, be sure that they will be entitled to replacement parts free of charge without any complicated process or tiresome insurance claims. What’s more, the warranty itself is free, by simply registering their new products within 180 days of invoicing and signing up to an approved suppliers service plan, owners of Parker GSFE equipment can be assured of a lifetime of efficient operation.You’re in good hands
All Parker approved service technicians are continually trained to the highest standards and will always guarantee that genuine Parker spares and consumables are used. Also, with the additional benefit of being able to call upon their expert advice and knowledge of industry standards, you can be assured that your process is working to its full potential.
Once the product is installed and the service plan is agreed, all that is required is the minimal input of some important information via the warranty portal. To make things as simple as possible, this information can be provided by either the product owner or the Parker partner who will carry out the scheduled service. Once registered, simply continue with the day to day operations, safe in the knowledge that your process is assured.
For more information please download our extended warranty brochure, or contact your approved distributor or local Parker sales office.
This article was contributed by David Sykes, compressed air and gas treatment technology blog team member, Parker Gas Separation and Filtration EMEA
2017 saw economic growth accelerate and the indicators suggest that trend will continue. This puts productivity initiatives high on the list of manufacturers, keen on taking full advantage of favorable conditions. Parker’s filtration technology blogs featured productivity-enhancing technologies across a broad range of industries, such as industrial manufacturing, food and beverage, oil and gas, transportation, and life science. Our team of experts is dedicated to sharing our knowledge to help our customers solve their application challenges and do their jobs better. Looking to streamline your bioprocess with automation? Want to understand and realize the benefits of a food grade compliant nitrogen supply? We’ve got you covered. Answers to your questions and solutions to your challenges can be found in the application articles and technical posts featured below in our list of top filtration blog posts for 2017.
Desalination System Provides Ultra-Pure Water for Offshore Oil and Gas Rigs
On offshore oil and gas platforms and vessels, a supply of fresh water is essential, not only for drinking but also to keep critical machinery and equipment operational. Rig managers, water quality managers and design engineers face several challenges when it comes to finding the right desalination solution for generating potable and ultra-pure water. Read what to consider before selecting a system.The Importance of Maintaining CO2 Gas Quality in Bottling Applications | Case Study
Adding carbon dioxide to a beverage carries the risk of product contamination with potentially expensive consequences including off-flavors and odors, spoilage, product recalls and damaged reputation. Foul taste, odors and off-appearance will change the way the consumers view the product and may alter their decision to buy more of it — directly impacting the manufacturer’s bottom line. Read the steps food and beverage manufacturers should take to protect the quality of the carbon dioxide and ensure consumers consistently experience a high-quality, desirable product.
Nine Reasons To Consider On-Site Nitrogen Generation
This blog examines the three traditional gas supply methods — liquid bulk, high-pressure gas cylinders and on-site gas generation — and reasons why plant managers should consider using an on-site nitrogen generator to maximize their productivity.
Filtration Requirements for Downstream Oil and Gas Processes
Read how the proper design and optimization of filtration systems will directly impact the efficient and reliable function and operational costs of downstream oil and gas processes: amine sweetening and glycol dehydration, hydrocracking, hydrotreating, and final product filtration.
The Importance of a Food Grade Compliant Nitrogen Gas Supply
Consumers’ expectations for high quality, healthy and conveniently accessible food products result in an ever-increasing demand on producers and packers. With growing public knowledge of the issues surrounding the use of chemicals and preservatives in food production, suppliers must seek alternative methods for food preservation. Learn why food grade compliant nitrogen offers a suitable solution.Engineering Managers: Streamline Your Bioprocess With Automation
The use of automation in running complex single-use processes has many benefits for engineering managers, such as improving process control and consistency, increasing speed, and reducing human error deviations. It also frees up time for highly skilled scientists to carry out more value-added activities, such as research and development. Read more benefits in this blog.
Is On-Site Nitrogen Gas Generation Economical for Variable Flow Applications?
Many applications that involve nitrogen gas in the production process require varied volumes of gas to be delivered during peak and off-peak operation. Discover how a facility can realize substantial energy savings at off-peak times, maximizing sustainability and increasing performance and profitability with on-site gas generation vs. bulk liquid vessels and cylinder packs.Sizing a Chiller for Your Application - What You Need to Know
When sizing chillers for an application, it is necessary to ensure the unit adequately sized to handle maximum process loads in worst-case site conditions. Read about important factors that must be considered when sizing a chiller, including maximum ambient temperature, outlet water temperature, glycol concentration and elevation above sea level.
Five Critical Challenges in Single-Use Bioprocessing
Single-use technology plays an integral part in nearly all bio-production processes, yet several challenges remain — challenges which are serious enough to delay or even stop the use of single-use technology. Here is Parker's summary of the five most critical challenges in the implementation of single-use technology.
Three Key Reasons Why Gas Generators Are the Safest Option in Laboratories
Laboratories around the world require a reliable and consistent mixture of quality gases for a range of applications. In an environment where safety is paramount, gas generators provide a safe solution for using gases in the laboratory. Read more about how gas generators ensure a safe working environment.
Watch this video for more about Parker's Filtration technologies and capabilities:
Identifying potential issues before they escalate into fully developed problems offers obvious benefits in all industries, from manufacturing to sea-based commercial shipping. Preventive measures, like planned diagnostic programs and condition monitoring, help maintenance engineers identify areas of concern before they result in unplanned downtime, costly maintenance, hazardous conditions and loss of revenue. As technology has advanced, the ability to apply specialty devices and use data to understand the granular details of an operation’s systems and equipment has become invaluable. Systems can be scrutinized for areas of concern not visible to an operator and fixes can be applied to avoid catastrophic failures. In all, these measures can reduce maintenance expense, maximize productivity and profits, and assure safe working conditions.
This blog presents a case study detailing how Gram Car Carriers employed an effective online condition monitoring system based on Parker Acoustic Emission (AE) technology to identify the cause of premature bearing failure and prevent future problems.Case study
Gram Car Carriers is a specialized supplier of vessels to the world’s major sea-based vehicle transportation companies. Their unique fleet, includes four Pure Car Carrier Roll-On/Roll-Off vessels. Each of these vessels has a Gross Tonnage of over 20,000 tons and the ability to carry 2000 vehicles. These vessels are each powered by a pair of 6-cylinder medium speed diesel engines. The propulsion shaft is driven through a RENK gearbox, which also drives the main ship’s alternator via a PTO shaft. The vessels were built in 2009 and 2010.The problem
Three of the vessels suffered alternator-specific bearing failures in the first year of operation. While the vessels have a pair of auxiliary generators, these are not able to supply the power required to operate the bow thruster. This lack of power resulted in the cost of hiring additional tugs to maneuver the vessels in port. This was a serious consequence of the bearing failures. The total costs of the additional tugs ran to six figures. The bearings were replaced and ran without incident until another failure in 2015.The solution
At this point, Gram Car Carriers decided to install on-line condition monitoring on the alternator bearings and the gearbox PTO shaft output bearings. The Parker Sigma Bearing Monitor was fitted on the four vessels. This product is based on Parker's Acoustic Emission (AE) technology, and was chosen over more traditional vibration monitoring as it provides a cost-effective solution and is simple to use. It involves the detection of high-frequency structure-borne sound generated by friction and impacts generated by operating machinery, as its condition deteriorates. It was immediately apparent that there was a problem with the alternator bearings on one of the vessels; the “City of Oslo”: The bearings were found to be seriously damaged.The system was used to allow the operator to manage the replacement of the bearings so that there was no impact on the ship’s schedule.
The Sigma Bearing Monitor continued to indicate that there was a problem with the alternator, despite the fact that new bearings had been fitted. This indicated that the mechanism, which had caused the problem, was still present and, left un-checked, would begin to damage the new bearings. The diagnostic output showed that there was a single impact with every revolution of the shaft — a characteristic of misalignment / out of balance.
A specialist maintenance company was contracted to carry out the remedial work and confirmed that the system was out of balance and misaligned. After adjustments were made, the readings from the Sigma Bearing Monitor indicated that the bearings were running smoothly. The bearings have continued to run without issue for the last 12 months.Results
The Sigma Bearing Monitor allowed the operators to:
Identify that there was a serious problem with the alternator bearings.
Track any further degradation and manage the timing of the bearing replacement.
Detect that the installation of new bearings had not solved the problem.
Diagnose that the underlying problem was due to misalignment and out of balance.
Confirm that realignment and balancing had cured the problem.
Confirm the smooth running of these bearings over the next 12 months.
The Sigma Bearing Monitor is a unique, highly sensitive hand-held instrument, providing maintenance engineers with an easy-to-operate, simple to use, and quick method of analyzing bearing condition and lubrication state. The monitor can be used to detect when the bearings are beginning to run in a distressed state, long before any serious damage occurs. A slow increase in the “Distress” reading over several months usually indicates that the bearing should be re-greased. Re-greasing the bearing produced an immediate drop in “Distress” readings to normal levels. A temporary increase in “Distress” usually indicates that the vessel’s operating conditions are putting the alternator bearings under stress.
Chief engineers at Gram Car Carriers are using the systems to identify undesirable operating conditions and avoid them where possible. To date they have identified:
They have also established that heavy sea conditions are not responsible for damage to the alternator bearings.Conclusion
This application illustrates how the Sigma Bearing Monitor can be used to detect damaged bearings and manage the remedial work required. The system is now being used to detect situations that will lead to bearing damage and potential mechanical failure. Early detection will minimise the time that the bearings spend in a distressed state, prolonging their life.
Acoustic emission technology can be applied to a wide range of bearings and gears across all industries. Parker Hannifin offers a range of products including both portable instruments and permanently installed systems. The commercial motivation to employ condition monitoring depends on the application. Key drivers include:
This blog was contributed by Neil Randall, technical specialist, Parker Hydraulic Filtration Division EMEA.
Picture the scene: Unprecedented rainfall and poor flood defences causes flooding to a biopharmaceutical facility, damaging equipment, making large areas of a site unsafe and inaccessible, and preventing staff from even making it into work. Product batches can be lost and new production delayed while the facility gets up and running again, with the resulting impact on the supply of essential drugs.
This is a very real problem. In the summer of 2017, for instance, a major cold packaging and distribution facility for the pharma industry was hit by a power cut due to a severe storm in Pennsylvania, resulting in products being quarantined. In 2016, a biotech firm in New Jersey suffered damage to its manufacturing capability when a malfunctioning sprinkler system caused the site’s clean room to be covered in stagnant water and silt.
There are numerous scenarios and incidents that can unexpectedly occur and have a serious impact on a biopharmaceutical company’s ability to operate, such as those detailed above, as well as:
This blog presents the steps involved in building a business recovery plan and key factors to consider.
When disaster strikes, do you have a plan?
As vendors and end-user supply chains become ever more closely integrated, it’s therefore vital that these risks are understood and that organisations have plans in place to mitigate them. Business recovery planning – or disaster recovery planning – is a key part of that process. In every scenario, it’s prudent to assume that a catastrophic incident will occur at the worst possible time – for instance when a fire breaks out during a shift swap over when there are twice as many people on a site and in different stages of logging in and logging out. An effective business continuity plan should have a procedure to assess, review, relocate (if necessary) and recover to ensure that downtime is minimized.
The first step in building a robust business continuity plan is to have a policy in place to look at the risks and create a mitigation strategy. This should include clear objectives and defined roles and responsibilities for staff.An example is as follows:
When looking at disaster scenarios, organisations should consider the effect on a facility should the worst case scenario occur, as well as the impact on the workforce, such as their access to the site. They should also consider appropriate evacuation procedures for each scenario, and support procedures for staff — taking into account funds, housing and transport.Key factors to consider when creating a business recovery plan Critical equipment
Equipment which is critical to your operations should be identified and a plan should be put in place to repair, replace and/or rebuild the equipment, based on the characteristics of the equipment in question. To do this, determine if the equipment is unique, rare or commonly available. Blueprints and schematics of the equipment should be securely stored, and manufacturers should also identify where they could source alternative equipment, such as through outsourcing, leasing or borrowing equipment from other sites.Utilities
Biopharmaceutical manufacturers should have a plan in place for the loss of critical utilities: electrical power, gas supply, water and compressed air. The plan should ensure that in the event of a disruption to access to one of these services, the required utilities are brought back online with minimal disruption to critical processes. For instance, if water services are lost or reduced, the supply of water should be limited to essential services, and a plan should include the provision of tankers to supply the site.
Similarly, backup generators, rented from approved vendors, should be considered when examining the risks posed by the loss of electrical power and compressed air, while a backup gas supply – drawn from cylinders or a tanker – could help to reduce the impact of a loss in gas services. In all cases, reducing demand for utilities – and prioritising essential services – should be part of the risk mitigation strategy.The supply chain
Business continuity planning should also put the supply chain in sharp focus. Supply chain risks can be mitigated by stock levels that match usage rates and allow for known build times. It’s also vital to ensure that suppliers are qualified and have robust business continuity plans in place. Dual sourcing is an important risk mitigation policy and some vendors will offer dual manufacturing of consumables to enable this.Drills
Finally, regular drills – designed specifically for each scenario, such as fire evacuation – are an important part of the preparation process. Should a plan need to be executed, staff must know their roles and responsibilities – and how to carry these out.
In conclusion, by identifying and understanding the risk, and establishing processes and procedures to overcome the effects of a potentially catastrophic incident or threat to production, biopharmaceutical manufacturers can ensure that damage to their operations is limited, with the resulting benefits for their businesses, and ultimately, patients.What process protection measures do you have in place? Let us know in the comments below.
This post was contributed by Guy Matthews, market development manager, Parker Bioscience Division, United Kingdom.
Parker Bioscience Division specializes in automating and controlling single-use processes. By integrating sensory and automation technology, a manufacturer can control the fluid more effectively, ensuring the quality of the final product.