It’s time to tackle the spring to-do list of home maintenance chores. Fertilizing the lawn, removing debris from flower beds and putting a fresh coat of paint on the mailbox are just a few items on my list. These relatively easy chores have immediate eye-pleasing results and, if left undone, wouldn’t cause anyone harm —  just create a few unhappy neighbors.

Other routine maintenance chores, if ignored, could cause significant damage to your home, property and bank account. Failure to clean the gutters, for example, could result in a flood in your basement. By channeling water off the roof and away from the house, gutters help protect shingles, soffits, siding, flooring and landscaping from problems and expensive repairs.

Prevention is always better than having to face a preventable and costly repair at the most inconvenient time. This is true at home, but obviously on a much grander scale at processing plants. It’s fitting that preventive maintenance is the cover topic for the May issue of Processing. Preventive maintenance is the regular, routine maintenance to help keep equipment up and running, preventing any unplanned downtime and expensive costs from unanticipated equipment failure.

Many food processing companies — well aware of the need to prevent unscheduled machine downtime — have already introduced predictive and preventive maintenance regimes. Preventive maintenance based on vibration monitoring can be applied across the food processing industry. In addition to the overall benefit of preventing downtime, there are a few emerging areas where it could prove particularly useful. Learn more about these areas in Hansford Sensors’ article “Vibration monitoring in food processing.”

While vibration analysis is one of the most effective ways to detect and prevent equipment failure or downtime and identify early failure modes, Fluke discusses other techniques maintenance personnel should employ to monitor the health of their assets, including ultrasound, temperature, thermal, power monitoring and current and voltage monitoring in “How to combine vibration screening with other techniques to strengthen predictive maintenance strategies.”

The goal of predictive maintenance is to be able to perform maintenance at a time when it is not only the most cost-effective, but also when it will have the least impact on operations. Our cover series ends with a look at a new analytics approach that empowers process experts to combine their knowledge with information hidden in the data historian to drive their own predictive maintenance strategies for all equipment within the production line. Through the use of self-service analytics, TrendMiner says every asset can be assessed for performance and predictive maintenance. Read more in “How to use a self-service predictive analytics approach.”

Motors and drives are no strangers to preventive maintenance. This month’s special section on the topic looks closely at one of our 2017 Processing Breakthrough Products Awards winners. The three-level active front-end technology used in the Altivar 680 and Altivar 980 Low Harmonic AFE Drive Solutions from Schneider Electric offers harmonic mitigation performance in a small footprint, allowing for more flexibility in numerous applications.

Lastly, our special section ends with tips from ABB on how to identify the kind of high-voltage motor that will perform most reliably in the application it is designed for.

We’ll be learning more about motors and drives at the 2018 EASA Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, June 24–26. Read a show preview here and stop by and see us at Booth 650. In the meantime, don’t forget to clean out those gutters!

Sincerely,

Amy W. Richardson