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Being Safe at the Workplace

Does Your Centrifugal Pump Need A Suction Strainer?

Posted by on Oct 8, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Does Your Centrifugal Pump Need A Suction Strainer?

A common question asked among fluid handling equipment operators is whether or not their centrifugal pumps need a suction strainer – a device that helps keep sediment and other undesired solids from entering and potentially damaging the pump. When equipped, a suction strainer can help reduce the amount of wear and tear on centrifugal pump components, but it may not be necessary given the recent advances of today’s pump impellers. The following explores whether or not a suction strainer is really necessary for modern centrifugal pumps. Necessary Yesterday, But Not Today In the past, many water and wastewater facilities used turbine pumps as their preferred choice for fluid handling. As opposed to the multi-stage centrifugal pumps that are prevalent in today’s fluid handling environment, turbine pump impellers relied on exceptionally close tolerances for passing fluids. This often made handling sediment-filled liquids problematic enough to require the use of suction strainers in those designs. In contrast, modern centrifugal pumps do not require such close tolerances in order to function. As a result, grit and other types of sediment aren’t as prone to coming into contact with the pump impeller or other moving components. This characteristic makes centrifugal pumps far more robust than their turbine pump predecessors. Thanks to these loose tolerances, most centrifugal pump designs simply rely on wye-pattern strainers and inlet baskets for most filtration tasks. It is only in uncommon cases where suction strainers are necessary, as noted in the following section. Cases Where Suction Strainers May Be Needed As mentioned before, there are some cases where suction strainers may be necessary when handling water and wastewater. For instance, larger solids commonly found in wastewater could have a much greater impact on a centrifugal pump’s impeller than most typical forms of grit and sediment. This is especially true for centrifugal pumps that have not been explicitly designed for handling solid materials found in wastewater. In this case, a suction strainer may be necessary to help regulate solid materials. Some engineers may also have concerns that the impact of grit, sediment and debris could affect pump efficiency and longevity over the long run. Such concerns could drive them towards using suction strainers as an additional precaution against accelerated wear and tear on pump components. By solving one problem, however, engineers may end up introducing another notable problem involving the use of suction strainers for centrifugal pumps. Monitoring Net Positive Suction Head Engineers must be especially careful about how fluid temperatures and pressures can combine to cause the onset of pump cavitation, which could cause damage to impellers and other centrifugal pump components. This often happens when there is a notable decrease in net positive suction head (NPSH) at the suction side of the pump. The addition of a suction strainer could provoke a low-pressure condition, resulting in the following: As the strainer continuously collects sediment and other debris, the increased restrictions cause drops in suction line pressure. The decrease in section line pressure also decreases the flash point of the fluid being handled. Meanwhile, fluid temperatures continue to increase. The fluid eventually reaches its flash point, creating a sudden transformation of fluid into vapor. As vapor bubbles collide against the impeller and other centrifugal pump components, these bubbles violently collapse, causing microscopic damage to said components. In many cases,...

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5 Reasons to Assign a Worker as a Dumpster Rental Manager on Your Job Site

Posted by on Aug 20, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 5 Reasons to Assign a Worker as a Dumpster Rental Manager on Your Job Site

When industrial jobs create a lot of waste, it’s common to take advantage of dumpster rental services. A dumpster rental provides easy ways to dispose of items directly on the job site. Instead of just letting the dumpster sit there, it’s a good idea to regulate the use and items inside. By assigning a specific employee to the dumpster, everything can be kept track of and in an orderly fashion. It may seem like it would take away from other responsibilities on the work site, but there are five benefits to using a single employee for the task that can ensure that your dumpster is properly used during the rental period. Dumpster Logs One of the main responsibilities of a dumpster worker is to keep a log of the dumpster use. This can help identify when items were thrown in and help with any inquiries. For example, if building materials were accidentally thrown away, a dumpster log can keep track of the worker, time, and type of material that was thrown into the dumpster. It is an easy security task that will answer any questions or concerns that occur. The dumpster logs can be kept manually on paper or through a spreadsheet app on a tablet—whatever task is easier for the employee. Size Regulation Dumpsters have weight and size limits when they are being filled. An assigned worker has the ability to regulate this weight amount and ensure that the dumpster does not fill too quickly or get overfilled. By monitoring the waste and dumpster use, the worker has the ability to get the dumpster picked up and replaced with an empty one. The regulation can also keep the project flow run smoothly. The new dumpsters can be scheduled to arrive as soon as they are needed. Waste will not pile up and the construction or project can move ahead as scheduled. Illegal Dumping An open dumpster may be tempting for other employees and nearby people to use a personal trash bin. While 24-hour monitoring is costly, an employee can help deter illegal dumping during the work day. This way, the full size of the dumpster is used for only work-related tasks. During each morning, the worker can inspect the dumpster to see if anything extra has been dumped inside. Logs can be made to help keep track of these items and any other incidents that higher level bosses should be informed of. Prohibited Items Not everything can be just thrown into a dumpster. There are many items that are prohibited to place in the dumpster, mostly for hazardous reasons. Examples of these items include paint, batteries, oils, automotive parts with fluids, and a variety of electronics. By hiring a worker for dumpster monitoring, you have the ability to track and prevent these items from getting tossed inside. With an inspection of dumped loads, the worker can ensure these items are separated. The monitoring of these items will help prevent any extra charges, fines, or clean up fees associated with the dumping. Recycling & Scrap Metal The costs of a dumpster rental and employee can be recouped by having a variety of the dumpster items monitored. By hosting a second bin on the side of the dumpster, the employee can help sift through items that can be recycled or...

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Tips For Turning Your Company’s Scrap Metal Into Money

Posted by on Jun 23, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tips For Turning Your Company’s Scrap Metal Into Money

If you run a small business that generates metal waste, instead of letting a waste removal service pick up your scrap metal to deliver to landfills, earn some money by recycling the material. The time you take to set up a scrap metal recycling process for your firm will be worth it once the money you earn begins to add up. The following guide provides you with an overview on how to get started recycling your metal waste. Learn What You Can Recycle You may be surprised at how many types of metal products you can recycle. Scrap metal recyclers classify metal as ferrous (iron and steel) and non-ferrous. In addition to ferrous metals, materials that can be recycled include the following: Aluminum Brass Copper Metal alloys that contain nickel, copper and other metals Precious metals including platinum used in industrial applications Tungsten Zinc This means you can recycle many types of old business equipment, metal office furniture, motors, window frames and even old metal garbage cans. However, there are some metal waste materials that cannot be processed because they contain hazardous substances. If you have old equipment that contains refrigerants, you will need to hire a government-certified waste removal technician to dispose of the equipment. Other types of materials that some scrap metal facilities do not handle include the following: Fluorescent lighting fixtures Batteries that contain lead acid Helium tanks Pressurized containers such as fire extinguishers and oxygen tanks Metal containers used for radioactive waste Prepare Material for Recycling You want to make sure that you get the best price for your metal products from a scrap metal dealer. Consequently, it is important to clean and separate your scrap metal before it is picked up or dropped off at a recycling plant. Start by separating the ferrous from the non-ferrous metals. Make sure each piece of metal is accurately identified so a scrap metal handler can determine the grade of the metal. Remove any materials that are not metal such as wood, cardboard, glass, vinyl and plastic from the scrap pieces. Clean the metal and make sure it is free of debris. If possible, weigh your scrap metal to help you get an estimate of what you will be paid for the material. Pay attention to market prices for metals so you will not be surprised if you receive a lower amount than you anticipated for your scrap. Scrap metal is traded on markets around the world and prices fluctuate daily. Metal prices are affected by worldwide supply and demand, your geographic location as well as weather that influences metal-dependent industries such as construction. Find a Reputable Buyer and Secure Your Scrap Metal A reputable scrap metal facility should be licensed and insured. Some buyers provide pick up so you do not have to worry about safely transporting your scrap to a facility. When you sell your scrap you should be paid promptly and receive a detailed receipt that includes the current market price of scrap metals and the weight of your load. If you generate scrap metal waste on a regular basis, you should schedule regular pickups. It is also a good idea to build a secure facility for your metal waste. You do not want to leave valuable scrap out in the open as thieves will...

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6 Very Important Safety Tips For Working With Electricity

Posted by on May 19, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 6 Very Important Safety Tips For Working With Electricity

As any skilled electrician can tell you, it’s extremely dangerous to work with electricity. It’s imperative that you respect the power and dangers associated with it, or else you should expect to feel its wrath. Even the safest and most careful expert electricians have been zapped by electricity. In order to be as safe as possible when doing any type of electrical construction work in your home, follow these very important safety tips: 1. Turn the power off before working on any electrical project. This is the most important piece of advice for anyone working with electricity. Make it a habit to find your main service panel and shut off the circuit to stop the flow of electricity to the area you’ll be working on. This should be the first step to any electrical project you embark on, no matter how small it is, even if the instructions don’t mention it. Then, use a non-contact voltage tester to verify that there is no electricity flowing through the wires before you begin your work. 2. Don’t start a project unless you are totally comfortable with it. A home improvement project that involves working with electricity isn’t something to take lightly. One wrong move can cause serious injuries, or even a fatality. So, if your project requires working on electrical meters, panels, or other areas that are beyond your electrical knowledge, then leave it to the licensed electricians to handle. Don’t attempt to do these types of jobs yourself just to save a few bucks…your life isn’t worth it. 3. Always wear safety gear. High voltage or rubber gloves should always be worn when working with electricity to protect your hands from sharp panels, boxes, cables, and tools. These gloves will also protect you from getting an electrical shock, and will keep your fingers and hands warm during inclement weather. Safety glasses are just as important, because they will protect your eyes from dust and other debris when you are drilling, sawing, and cutting wires. This is especially important when you are working overhead, when debris is guaranteed to fall on your face because you are looking up. Additional safety gear that you should wear when doing any type of electrical work are ear plugs to prevent hearing loss due to working around loud tools, and dust masks to keep your lungs clean. 4. Test every circuit before touching it. This is another fantastic habit to get into. Always check every circuit and conductor before you touch it, even if you’ve tested and touched it before. You never know when a surge of electricity will flow through the wires unexpectedly, and if you touch it without first testing it, you will get electrocuted. This is especially important if you’re working on an electrical project when other people are home. They could turn on the circuit without realizing you’re working on wires, and without you knowing it. 5. Only use certified extension cords and equipment. You will know that any cords or equipment that you use is certified if it bears a certification mark, which is often the letters UL, ETL, CE, FCC, or CSA. These marks mean that a third party has tested the item and has deemed it safe for use. The most common marks in the United States are...

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3 Crane Safety Myths That You Can’t Afford To Believe

Posted by on Mar 20, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

The statistics that surround crane accidents are frightening. In 2009, a full 50% of the crane accidents in the United States that had injuries also resulted in fatalities. An average of 80 workers whose jobs involve lifting and material handling die every year. And 90% of crane accidents can be attributed to human error. Despite the fact that most employers offer safety training, there’s clearly more work to be done when it comes to eliminating errors that compromise the safety – and even the lives – of crane workers. It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that because no one’s been hurt yet, you must be doing everything right. The truth is, workers make errors based on myth and misinformation every day, and sometimes those errors simply become part of the routine. At least until someone does get hurt. Check out a few of the most common crane safety myths that lead to dangerous accidents. Myth: You Can Pull From the Side Safely If you’ve worked with cranes for any length of time, chances are that you’ve seen someone use their crane to pull material from an adjoining bay. Perhaps you’ve even done it yourself. It’s easy to rationalize it – if the piece your lifting is below the maximum capacity of the crane, and if you have enough rope, then why not pull from the side if you need to? It saves time, after all. The problem is, a crane is designed with a limited mission: it can lift straight up and lower straight down. Side pull was never meant to be part of the design. When you pull from the side, you risk damage to the wire rope when it comes out of its groove and rubs against the drum or becomes tangled around the shaft. What’s worse, pulling at a 45-degree angle puts you at risk of bridge beam failure – even if the item you’re lifting is under capacity – because of the stress that it puts on the crane. Suffice it to say that side pull is never a smart or safe idea. Myth: There are Safety Features that Account for Some Overload The assumption that it’s safe to exceed maximum capacity because of manufacturer-provided overload protection features is a very common belief. However, it’s also a very dangerous one. There are a few reasons why the official maximum capacity of the crane should not be exceeded. For one thing, not every crane has overload protection in the first place. Newer cranes do, but there are still plenty of older cranes in use. Do you really want to take the gamble? Furthermore, not all safety features are created equally. Think about it: did your employer pay top dollar for top-of-the-line safety features? Or is it more likely that they chose the crane supplied by the lowest bidder, whose equipment met the minimum required safety standards. Do you really want to trust your life to the minimum required standard? Finally, keep in mind that the safety features in question only apply to some parts of the crane, not the crane system as a whole. Which parts of the crane are you willing to have compromised by extra weight while you’re using it? If the answer is “none”, then it’s best to stick to...

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Where Do Contaminants Come From, And How Should This Affect Your Choice Of Filter?

Posted by on Dec 22, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

You want to make sure you get the best compressed air filter for your industrial needs. The two main choices for large industrial uses are particulate and coalescing filters. The type you choose depends on your individual needs. While getting advice from a professional in the business is important to making the correct selection, there are some basics you can learn on your own to give you an idea of what type of filter you should be looking at in your search. Here are the benefits of both particulate and coalescing air filters. The Similarities Both particulate and coalescing filters are made to remove contaminants from compressed air and gas. It is relatively easy for substances to get into your compressed air and gas that shouldn’t be there. Solid particulate matter, water, soil, and other such things can find their way into your supply. The presence of these contaminants would render the compressed air or gas unusable if it wasn’t removed. In industrial settings, it takes a special kind of filter that works in a specific way to completely clean your supply and maintain its integrity. Both particulate and coalescing filters can do this. How Does Compressed Air and Gas Get Contaminated? According to, water contamination is more common in compressed air than gas, and is the natural byproduct of producing compressed air. The process naturally creates a bit of humidity, which then gets into the compressed air when it turns back into water. Particulate matter gets into your supply through a variety of sources. Dust from air dryers, debris from the outside air compressor components, and rust from old pipes are all common places of origin for particulate matter. Without a filter, this particulate matter will be released into your industrial air supply, which makes things unpleasant for everyone i the building. Oil can even get into your compressed air and gas supply due to the oils used to lubricate it. It can make its way through your compressed air system and into the supply itself. It actually makes its way toward there on a regular basis, and the compressed air filter you choose stops it from entering the supply. Oily compressed air or gas would have a terrible smell that would make working in the building a potentially sickening situation for many employees. Particulate Filters Particulate filters move solid particulate matter out of your gasses and liquids. It is excellent for use on pneumatic machinery that would be damaged by larger particulate matter going through it. These filters are designed to keep out particles as tiny as 3 microns. This is small, but still large enough to damage delicate machine parts. With a particulate filter, you are protected from dirt, dust, debris, and rust particles of all kinds from getting into your compressed air and/or gas supply. Coalescing Filters Coalescing filters are better at moving liquids out of your compressed air and gas supplies. If your system is more prone to getting water and/or oil contamination than particulate contamination, then this is the type you want to use. These filters condense water and oil into tiny, almost microscopic drops, then push them out of the system before they enter the supply. You can also choose from course and fine filters, depending on the degree of filtering...

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4 Fascinating Places You Can Find Precious Metals

Posted by on Dec 10, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

You don’t have to strike out on your own as a speculative miner to find new treasure troves of precious metals. Whether you’re looking for new sources for business applications or you’d just like to have something to sell for a tidy profit, you’ll find precious metals in some unexpected — and quite common — places. Here are four potential sources that might be hiding valuable materials. 1. Electronic Equipment Computers, monitors, cell phones, and other electronic devices all contain significant amounts of precious metals. Printed circuit boards, for instance, make use of gold and copper in their design, while nickel batteries are common power sources for rechargeable mobile phones. Recycling these electronic devices not only represents a responsible attitude toward protecting the environment, but it can also put some extra money in your pocket. If you have dead electronics to get rid of, click this link or look for scrap metal merchants that can give you a cash quote for them based on the amount of precious metals they are likely to contain. Laptop recycling and other forms of computer recycling are available from major electronics retailers. These electronic recycling services may not pay you for the precious metals in your devices, but they will at least see that those devices are put to good use in the creation of future electronic components. 2. Dentistry If you own or operate a dental facility, you might be sitting on a little gold mine of sorts. Even in today’s world of ceramic and porcelain dental appliances, dentists still make liberal use of precious metals in their everyday work, including: Platinum foil – A critical ingredient in the production of porcelain veneers Gold and silver – Precious metals still used for fillings and crowns, often as a fashion statement Titanium – A necessary metal for the surgical installation of permanent tooth implants The grinding, shaping, and other preparations that involve such precious metals inevitably produce debris known in the industry as “dental sweeps.” Refining companies will actually pay good money for these leavings — so instead of throwing them out, why not sell them? 3. Jewelry and Metal Working Shops Do you create jewelry, either as an independent craftsperson or for a company? Do you work on watches or other mechanical items made from precious metals such as silver, gold, or platinum? If so, you may be surrounded by a handy source of extra revenue. The same companies that pay cash for electronic and dental debris will also be interested in the daily sweepings from your workshop. There may even be years or decades of old precious metal filings stuck in your carpet fibers or flooring — and some companies are willing to extract them and pay you for them. 4. Photo Labs Do you run your own photography lab, from a small personal setup to a large commercial facility? Are any of your relatives deeply involved with photography, including the development of their own images? If you’ve ever fixed a photograph onto paper, then you understand that silver is a major ingredient in this process. Both celluloid film and and paper that contains the finished photo may be treated with silver. During the development process, that silver leaches into the fixer solution. As luck would have it, you or your photo lab workers...

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Why Geometry Matters In Micromachining

Posted by on Dec 9, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

When dealing with a wide variety of materials, from prehardened metals and non-ferrous alloys to plastics and other soft materials, it’s important to consider the varied geometric features found on a wide variety of microtools. The following offers a few considerations when choosing the best microtools for common micromachining tasks. Geometric Considerations One of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to micromachining is the assumption that the cutting tools used for these applications are simply smaller versions of their larger counterparts. Despite sharing many of the same characteristics as standard-sized tools, miniature end-mills have a number of important differences that help separate them from their macroscopic counterparts. For instance, there are a number of geometric considerations that must be kept in mind when engineering and selecting microtools: Chip evacuation – A microtool has to provide for effective evacuation of chips left behind during the machining process, especially when making holes in the material. For this reason, there has to be balance between the microtool’s core size and the size and number of flutes. Otherwise, there comes a significant risk of breakage. Stress reduction – To prevent the tool from binding, a slight decrease in diameter starting from the drill point to the drill bit shank is necessary. Having this back taper, normally around 0.0002 inches to 0.0005 inches in diameter, is essential for reducing stress on the microdrill. Edge sharpness – Reductions in tool size can also cause a relative reduction in tool sharpness. What’s extraordinarily sharp for a standard-size tool may not be sharp enough for tools measured in mere microns. The Impact of Coatings There are two opposing viewpoints when it comes to the issue of microtool coatings. On one hand, many people regard these coatings as being essential for extending the life of the cutting tool. To prevent chipping, a physical vapor deposition coating can help reduce that possibility while allowing users to maintain edge sharpness for their cutting needs. On the other hand, many believe that a microtool is only effective when it’s left uncoated. Some experts believe that the benefits of a PVD coating could be marginal, at best, or even detrimental for microtools at certain sizes. The amount of flute fill potentially caused by such a coating could render the tool ineffective for the task at hand. However, microtools that lack a protective coating may be at greater risk of premature wear and eventually fail through fatigue. Considerations for Chip Evacuation As mentioned before, chip evacuation is an important aspect of microtool design and usage. Reducing the number of flutes available offers significant increases in potential chip load, as well as a greater ability to successfully evacuate chips from the microtool. Spindle speeds also play an important role for chip evacuation. Through spindle speeds reaching up to 80,000 rpm, microtools are able to retain acceptable cutting speeds and successfully eject material. Some users attempt to compensate for slow spindle speeds by increasing the number of flutes on the cutting tool. Although this helps preserve ideal feed rates at slow spindle speeds, it may not offer the ideal result when it comes to chip evacuation. A better solution for overcoming this problem on low-rpm machines involves using an air-turbine spindle speeder to provide the ideal speeds for micromachining processes. Chip evacuation can also be...

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Boiler Scaling: How To Prevent It And What You Can Do If It Happens

Posted by on Dec 4, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Steam boilers are typically rugged, reliable pieces of equipment, but they do require close monitoring to ensure safe and efficient operation. If you are responsible for the operation or maintenance of a boiler, even a rented unit, it is critical that you understand how to properly handle your day-to-day tasks of running and maintaining the equipment. There is a lot to learn about boilers, but a great starting point is to learn more about preventing and eradicating a common cause of boiler trouble: the accumulation of scale. Here is more information about scale, what you can do to prevent it from forming, and how to clean it when it does form: Boiler scale: what it is and why it’s bad Scale consists of deposits that are formed on the interior surfaces of a boiler. The increasing concentration of boiler feed water allows partially-dissolved water contaminants, which include a number of chemical elements and compounds, to precipitate onto boiler heat tubes and pipes. Some of the common precipitates include iron, carbonates, sulfates, and silica. Scale is bad for boilers for two primary reasons: it lowers the boiler’s efficiency, and it poses a safety hazard. Scale buildup on boiler tubes serves as an insulating material, and this prevents heat from passing from the hot gases inside the boiler tubes to the water on the outside. This lowered heat output forces the boiler to consume more fuel to achieve a comparable output, and the retention of heat will fatigue the metal boiler tubes. This can result in a failure of the tubes, which then may lead to catastrophic results such as boiler explosions or failure. Unexpected things like this could result in the need of a temporary boiler. Prevention of scale Since scale can pose such a significant hazard and also increase your fuel costs, it is something that must be addressed. As with most problems, it is far easier to prevent scale from forming than to remove it after it has precipitated on heat tubes and pipes. There are a couple of strategies you can use to prevent scale from becoming a problem: Water treatment – treatment of the boiler feed water will help reduce its contaminant content. Water softening systems utilize salt to reduce mineral content, and reverse osmosis is also another viable alternative. If you are renting a boiler, then ask the renting company if water treatment systems are included; you may be responsible for removing scale accumulations, so it’s important to know what you are getting upfront to forestall any problems. Flocculation – this is a process of adding chemicals to feed water to force contaminants to aggregate within the water; once this occurs, the larger particles can then sink to the bottom of the boiler and be ejected in a blowdown. Several chemicals can be used in this process, and the choice of specific ones can be made once a water chemistry analysis is conducted. Blowdown – boiler blowdown is the ejection of feed water that contains a high percentage of scale-forming contaminants. Water near the top of the boiler contains the highest percentage of dissolved contaminants, and a surface blowdown system can drain this water before the contaminants precipitate. In addition, bottom blowdown systems can eliminate heavier, undissolved solids that accumulate at the bottom of the tank....

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