MT News

EP Editorial Staff | December 1, 2008

News of people and events important to the maintenance and reliability community


Klaus Blache has accepted the position of associate director with the Maintenance and Reliability Center (MRC) at the University of Tennessee. In making the announcement, MRC’s director Tom Byerley noted that Blache is a recently retired GM manger with a rich history of education,training and experiences, much of which is directly in the area of reliability and maintenance. He was an early chairman of the Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals (SMRP) and has championed reliability and maintenance initiatives within GM for years. He has numerous honors and awards, holds several certifications and has a MBA, an MS in Plant Engineering and a PhD in Civil-Mechanical Engineering. Working half time for now, he will be focusing on MRC’s Membership and Research programs and gradually taking over the UT-Monash Graduate Study program.


Dingo Maintenance Systems has announced the promotion of Steve Bradbury to chief operating officer and the naming of Bob Williams to vice president of sales. Williams will report to Bradbury, who joined Dingo in 2005 as vice president, Operations, following a distinguished career with Air Control Science where he served for eight years leading Alliances and Contracts and Business Development. Williams joins Dingo after leading business growth and operations in a variety of industries, including British Oxygen Company, Siemens Energy and Automation, Invensys and Leica Geosystems.


Emerson Process Management has announced the formation of an alliance with Mitsubishi Power Systems Americas, Inc. (MPSA) of Orlando, FL. The alliance, which combines Emerson’s expertise in power plant automation and control with Mitsubishi’s experience in gas and steam turbine design and service, applies to North American and Latin American turbine retrofit projects supporting W251, W501D5, W501D5A and W501F gas turbines, as well as all models of Westinghouse technology steam turbines. MPSA has unique and valuable expertise on these turbines because they were involved in the design and development of the Westinghouse technology since the 1970s and continue to support and modernize the original Westinghouse technology platform.

“Leveraging the respective strengths of Emerson and MPSA results in a complete turbine solution, giving power generators an OEM alternative for gas and steam turbine retrofits, and long-term service and support,” said Bob Yeager, president of the Power & Water Solutions division of Emerson. “Together, these companies can offer customers a level of turbine reliability, durability and operability that they don’t always get from their existing suppliers.”


For decades, Emerson’s automation technology has been helping customers to control critical power generation processes, increase plant efficiencies and megawatt production, and realize long-term O&M savings. As a leading control systems supplier to the North American power market, Emerson has supplied more than 1200 steam and gas turbine control systems.

Mitsubishi is one of the largest OEM service providers for gas turbine outages in North America with a proactive turbine service program focused on enhanced performance, turbine life extension, protection against avoidable damage and prevention of unplanned outages. Mitsubishi brings a wealth of service support experience to the alliance including form-fit equivalent product modifications, long-term service agreements, gas and steam turbine outage services, and new and extended-life parts, as well as U.S.-based manufacturing, shop repair and engineering support.

Emerson and MPSA have already successfully collaborated on a number of turbine retrofit projects. These include performing mechanical upgrades and installing controls at the Termocandalaria power plant in Cartagena, Colombia and for the San Juan Repowering Project in Puerto Rico.


Danfoss Turbocor Compressors Inc. (DTC), a joint venture between Danfoss, Inc. and Turbocorp, has announced that its manufacturing facility in Tallahassee, FL has received ISO 9001:2000 certification. The certification applies to the design and manufacture of highly efficient, oil-free compressors for commercial air conditioning and refrigeration applications. DTC operates a 38,000 sq. ft., stage-one manufacturing plant in Tallahassee. It is designed for machining, sub-assembly, quality assurance and final assembly operations, including run testing prior to shipment. State-of-the-art automated assembly and computer-controlled, manufacturing work centers enable an annual plant capacity of more than 10,000 units.


AC drives manufacturer Vacon will build new office and factory premises in Chambersburg, PA, with completion expected by the end of 2009. According to Dan Isaksson, president of Vacon, Inc., the new facility will allow the Finnish company to expand its product portfolio in the local market and also offer shorter delivery times to all parts of North America. “We will also have our product development and test laboratory under the same roof. This will further help us to serve our North American customers with the commitment Vacon is famous for around the world.”

Vacon, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Vacon Plc, was founded in December 2007. On January 1, 2008 it acquired the AC drives business of TB Wood’s. Its announcement that it will build a new U.S. factory came shortly after news of Vacon extending its supplier agreement with Eaton Corporation with regard to variable speed AC drive technology. Vacon will provide Eaton with its design expertise and latest VFD hardware. Eaton will promote its VFD offering throughout its global organization, including the recently acquired Moeller business, through which the corporation expanded its position as a worldwide supplier of electrical control products and power distribution, as well as power quality equipment and systems.

Vacon has sales on all continents and R&D and production on three continents.


The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) cautions employers against cutting back on workplace safety in time of economic difficulty and encourages them to explore creative ways of generating temporary and long-term savings in safety and training expenses, while still ensuring that the safety needs of employees and safety regulations are met.

Laura Comstock, president-elect of the ASSE South Carolina Chapter, cites the possibility that employers seeking to cut expenses in a down economy may target variable operating costs such as travel, training and safety. She notes that while some safety-related purchases and testing can be deferred, other purchases, including those for employee personal protective equipment like hardhats, safety glasses and respirators, are critical to operations. She also notes that it is especially important for companies to show support for their employee safety during challenging economic times. Employee morale may be low and employees may be carrying additional workloads, including working additional hours or doing unfamiliar tasks due to cutbacks, which can make them more prone to injury and accidents than in the past.

Comstock, who holds Masters Degrees in occupational safety and business, adds: “In order to remain viable long-term, a company must maintain a solid safety program and strong safety performance even through difficult times. The most successful companies in the long term also have the strongest safety performance.”

Employers should remember that some safety-related training is driven by regulation, is time sensitive and cannot be delayed. According to Comstock, however, savings can be generated through streamlining and implementing some simple solutions. Those types of solutions include using online or electronic safety training services, rather than face-to-face classroom safety training, even if employees and employers prefer classroom settings.

“Even if a company doesn’t have a high-tech system, having employees view a simple presentation may meet the company’s need for safety training,” Comstock said. “Employers that have safety and training professionals on staff can save on costs related to training by conducting training on-shift and at the jobsite to prevent overtime or taking employees off the job for extended periods.”

ASSE Region VI vice president Jim Morris agrees with Comstock. “Money cut from safety programs now could have an enormous cost later; this can be from fines, employee morale, or worst of all, employee injury or even death.” As he puts it, there are better and smarter ways to protect the bottom line. Good safety is good business.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: In recent remarks to occupational safety and health students from Oklahoma State University and the surrounding area, ASSE President Warren K. Brown emphasized the fact that investing in safety pays and contributes positively not only to a great working environment, but to a business’ bottom line. Brown reported that businesses spend about $170 billion a year on costs associated with workplace injuries and illnesses and pay almost $1 billion every week to injured employees and their medical providers. He also referenced a recent Goldman Sachs study in Australia that showed valuation links between workplace safety and health factors and investment performance. That research revealed that companies who did not adequately manage workplace safety issues underperformed those that did and that workplace safety and health factors have potentially greater effectiveness at identifying underperforming stocks.) MT

Your News Is Our News!Our Readers Want To Know All About It. Send MT News Items To:




View Comments

Sign up for insights, trends, & developments in
  • Machinery Solutions
  • Maintenance & Reliability Solutions
  • Energy Efficiency
Return to top