PowerbyProxi > industrial solutions

The hidden price of fruit

September 26, 2012 / 0 Comments / 197 / Industrial Applications

In our consumerist, open market economy, we have been taught to shop for the best price.  You’ve heard the statement, “nobody pays list retail price anymore.”  At the same time people will tell you to be careful when looking at two items to make sure you are truly getting an “apples to apples” comparison.

Today, the majority of industrial companies have professional buying organizations whose job it is to make sure they get the best price on components they buy. However, many times when they go shopping they get lost in the fruit aisle and come home with a lemon instead of an apple.

So why does this happen.  These are very conscientious people working hard to save money for their company and get what the production team needs to optimize the business.  The problem is that sometimes the price tag covers up the fruit and they don’t realize how good or bad it is until they get it home.  To make better decisions it is necessary to look behind the price tag.  This is called Product Lifecycle analysis.

Here’ a basic example, you buy a mechanical connector for $30 and it takes an electrician to install it that costs you $45.  From the simple price tag view this connector cost you $75.  However, this connector experiences a failure once a year due to corrosion or frictional wear. So the next year you have to buy another connector for $30, it takes an electrician to replace the old one, only this time it is at night and you have to pay call time, so it costs you $100 to replace.  Also, while that connector was failed, the production line was down for 1 hour that cost you $160.  So that $75 connector in a 12 month period has actually cost you $365.  And guess what – that keeps occurring each year, so after 48 months you have spent $1,235 on that connector choice.

Compare that with a Proxi-Point non-contacting connector.  Let’s say you buy the unit for $300, 10 times more than the other connector. You then pay $45 to install it.  The non-contacting connector, with all of the traditional causes of connector failure eliminated, lasts for 48 months with no maintenance.  When you look at your fruit bill over the four years, the traditional, less expensive connector has cost you $1,235 while the non-contacting one has cost you $345.  That’s a lot more fruit you could have purchased.

So, next time your purchasing team is looking to help you buy connectors, steer them down the aisle to true savings.  Go contactless, go Proxi-Point.

David Terkosky is VP of Business Development – Industrial Technologies

Get disconnected for better connectivity

September 12, 2012 / 0 Comments / 176 / Industrial Applications

We live in a connected world.  You’ve surely heard about the theory of 3⁰s of separation.  New connection platforms arise every day, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Skype or mobile phones.  Our ability to reach beyond what we ever imagined 15 years ago is now accepted as a standard part of life, especially for the 30 and under crowd.  I am still amazed at the people I see in airports and restaurants that are connecting on these platforms almost continuously.  To be honest it wears me out.

So why has connectivity in industrial applications lagged behind? Oh, I’m not talking about communication; I am talking about power delivery.  The mechanical connector has served us well over the last century, but isn’t it time we pulled the plug.  Today’s highly automated manufacturing and industrial machinery offer significant capability that again was never envisioned 15 years ago, let alone 100 years ago.  To walk through an automobile assembly plant today, robots are picking, placing, welding, sealing, rotating, aligning, and finishing assembly processes that were at one time tedious human processes.  I’m not here to discuss or argue the positive or negative impact this has had on the cost of products or the middle class workforce; we will leave that to our politicians.

What I will say is that the continued use of traditional contacting mechanical connectors limits the continued advancement and utilization of these technologies. Has there been mechanical connector innovation and improvement over the past 100 years?  Absolutely.  Has there been enough?  Absolutely not.

Our next generation non-contacting, or wireless power Proxi-Point based connectors allow transmission through an air gap to eliminate the chances for corrosion or mechanical failure. It eliminates the limitations that mechanical contact demands, while offering new degrees of flexibility in design of automated equipment. The system is fully automatic, so as the transmitter and receiver are brought into close proximity the power is instantly flowing powering up all of the controls, sensors and actuators.  This allows for moving parts to maintain a high reliability connection or to have interchangeable parts or components to rapidly come online during a change out.   The system also integrates bi-directional data transfer through the same wireless connector.

We applaud the innovation that has occurred in the field of process and equipment automation, but isn’t it time you eliminated the next barrier to even greater gains and applications.  It’s time to get disconnected, to allow new levels of connectivity.

Join in the discussion below or contact us for more information.

David Terkosky is VP of Business Development – Industrial Technologies

The rotating machinery spin game – just a little bling

September 6, 2012 / 0 Comments / 157 / Industrial Applications

When you talk rotation in industrial equipment and machinery, the current solution proposed in most applications is a mechanical slip ring. However in the word mechanical you must read contacting, friction, heat, moisture susceptibility and maintenance.

If you’re a manufacturing person, this means downtime. If you read the websites of leading slip ring manufacturers, they want you to believe that the maintenance is gone, that the environmental factors don’t affect their system and they will run forever.

As you read further, you hear about the use of precious metals and new fiber components that eliminate the wear, corrosion and moisture effects on their systems. I will agree that these have helped improve their performance, but in no way eliminated the environmental issues – this is just their spin game. Ask any wind turbine operator and you will still hear of frequent slip ring problems that are driving way too much downtime.

You did notice the word PRECIOUS in their solution.

What is really precious is your maintenance dollars and your operating uptime. You’re only making money when the system is operating. Their new and improved technology is still old methods with the same issues, but in a shinier package. Please pardon my language, but you’ve probably heard the saying, “even if you gold plate a turd to make it look better, in the end all you still have is a turd”. I rest my case.

With PowerbyProxi’s Proxi-Ring, all of the environmental factors are truly neutralized. No contact, hermetically sealed up to IP68, rated for temperatures from -40 to 185⁰F. The system will transfer power and data over an air gap through any non-metallic material.

So, let’s save precious metals for jewelry and protect your precious operating uptime with a superior Proxi-Ring solution that keeps environmental conditions a subject for the local weather forecaster.

David Terkosky is VP of Business Development – Industrial Technologies

All wrapped up and no place to go

August 20, 2012 / 0 Comments / 153 / Industrial Applications

I’m not sure why the telephone seems to be a common factor in all my blogs. Maybe people’s need to communicate and be heard is the source of all problems, and all solutions. I think I’ll hold that thought for my next counseling session.

Today, the majority of residential telephones have gone cordless. What does that mean? It means that the cable between the telephone receiver and the handset has been eliminated. And oh how wonderful that is. As a teenager (and yes they had telephones back then, but the telephone number in the US was a letter and four digits, not the 7 digit one of today, but I digress), I remember wanting privacy to talk to some young lady or the other, so I put this very long coily cord on the phone to allow me to stretch the handset into my room so I could close the door. This cord was always a tangled mess, and with the continuous stretching it would, over time, fail. Now the battery powered cordless phone comes along and all of that mess is gone. Hallelujah! But this left the coily cord manufacturers looking their declining market straight in the eye and saying, “we need to find someone else to use our product or we’re out of business”.

Enter materials handling and other construction equipment where technology innovation was looking to put sensors and controllers on moving components like clamping attachments on forklifts or alignment sensors on road paving machines. The coily cord industry was saved. Now the telephone cord issue of my youth is the nightmare of industrial equipment manufacturers. Instead of a privacy issue, they have a productivity issue. One forklift attachment company has said “no more”. They contacted PowerbyProxi and we worked with them on the special application of our Proxi-Point system with both power and data transfer to eliminate the coily cord and this source of downtime and customer frustration.

In closing, I want to say I have nothing against coily cord manufacturers and in fact wish them great success in creating another market while we are fixing this one. Then we’ll meet them there. Ah, the circle of life.

Join in the discussion or contact us for more information.

David Terkosky is VP of Business Development – Industrial Technologies

Can’t find the strike zone?

August 13, 2012 / 0 Comments / 150 / Industrial Applications

The sun is shining, there is a cool breeze blowing in from left field.  Yes, its Thursday afternoon and you’re at the businessman’s special watching your home town heroes play their arch rivals. As is the American baseball tradition, you have a hot dog in one hand, a cold beverage in the other, and a bag of peanuts rests on your lap just waiting to be cracked open.  On the field, however, things aren’t going so well.  The Ace is on the mound but he can’t seem to find the plate, he has walked three straight batters.  The fan behind you, an obvious fanatic, has an old transistor radio and is listening to the broadcast while watching the game and you hear the broadcaster say. “Joe is really having a pitch control problem today.”

Just then your phone buzzes, a new text message.  You put your beverage between your knees and look at the message.  You instantly realize that Joe is not the only person with a pitch control problem.  It’s “the farm”, turbine 7 is down due to lost connection on the mechanical slip ring on the pitch control system. They want you to come ASAP to climb the tower and get the turbine back up and running, as downtime equals lost revenue.   So much for those peanuts.

Now I am a guy that is fascinated with mechanical equipment and I admire the ingenuity and creativity that has led to such innovation, and this includes the mechanical slip ring and automotive ignition systems (yes they were mechanical at one time).  These mechanical designs were solutions to problems that haunted engineers for years and offered unique capability.  However, like points in the old mechanical ignition systems that has now been replaced by electrical fuel injection systems, the time for the mechanical slip ring needs to be in the past.

PowerbyProxi has worked with companies to develop an all-electric, non-contacting slip ring replacement called the Proxi-Ring.  This system that can be sealed to IP 69 level, deliver power from watts to kilowatts, and has no moving parts or frictional connection, allowing for the direct replacement of current mechanical slip rings with a high reliability, no maintenance solution.  So while you’re walking up the aisle with that unopened bag of peanuts, another company’s reliability team is ordering their second cold beverage as the reliever runs in from the bullpen.  See you at the ballpark.

Join in the discussion or contact us for more information.

David Terkosky is VP of Business Development – Industrial Technologies