Let’s Talk Maintenance: E&I Services

An on-site service technician working on equipment.

Adam Dittbenner, E&I Service Manager | February 12, 2021

Hello, I'm Adam Dittbenner with Interstates. I manage our E&I services department. I wanted to talk about some of the E&I services that are used on a regular basis inside of a facility. E&I services can range from a small job on your instrumentation to a larger PM job on your electrical infrastructure or on your motors. Some of the common services I see out there are instrumentation calibrations where each device is pumped up, or heated up, or flow is ran through a device on a periodic basis. And the results from that calibration are then documented in a sheet and then turned over to the facility in the end. That way, the facility has a means to know that this device was calibrated on this date, it was working properly, it was accurate. Or maybe, on the other hand, this device needed replacement. Its electronics were fried, its calibration was off and unable to be adjusted.

That's one of the E&I services that's out there. Another service that is commonly performed in the facilities, at least in the Midwest, is hazard monitoring audits. Hazard monitoring audits are necessary, especially in facilities that have dust. Facilities that have dust are typically facilities that are moving grain or processing grain because in that process, a lot of dust is created. And when the dust concentration becomes too large, it can create a hazard. A hazard being as if there was a dust cloud and there was a hot piece of metal, an explosion could occur, resulting in property damage or even personal health circumstances as well.

Hazard monitoring services helps to prevent those issues by checking bearing sensors, alignment sensors, speed sensors that are all installed on belt conveyors, grain legs, and other grain moving equipment and monitoring for that hot equipment. If the equipment gets hot or if the bearing shells out and the bearing gets hot, the temperature sensor will let the plant know—that the operators in the control room know—that equipment is hot, and attention needs to be paid to it. Having accurate, periodic checks done on that monitoring equipment is essential to make sure that that hazard is mitigated.

Some of the common E&I services that are also performed are heat trace audits. Heat trace is a device that keeps your pipes warm in the winter. It prevents your pipes from freezing up and busting or just freezing up and your plant going down. Those circumstances can be avoided by checking your heat trace in the summer, maybe even in the fall, before the cold weather comes. Heat trace checks are best done by doing a meg test to make sure that the heat trace is not shorting to ground, doing voltage and amp checks to make sure that the proper amount of electricity is flowing through the heat trace, and also doing capacitance checks as well to ensure that the heat trace is providing a reading that's accurate for how long the heat trace actually is installed on the pipe.

Those are all periodic E&I services, just a few of the services that can be provided to help keep your plant running well. Another option is just having an embedded E&I crew on your site. Maybe it's a crew that comes in one or two days a week and has the knowledge to work on your systems and efficiently take care of your work orders for you, and then maybe they don't come back for another week. Or maybe it's having just a crew of E&I technicians on your site continuously that are always working away at the work order tasks and keeping the plant up and running and efficiently operating as well.