An Inside Look At Our New Motor Control Components Module

An Inside Look At Our New Motor Control Components Module

 

It is hard to imagine an industrial building or factory of any type that does not have motors operating various functions – from conveyor belts to lifts, cranes, and garage doors. One of the most ubiquitous motors is the 3-phase squirrel cage motor. Working with and troubleshooting motors is an incredibly common task in any plant or factory. That is why at Simutech, troubleshooting motor controls is part of our core learning modules.

Motors bring added complexity to troubleshooting. For example, how a 3-phase motor is wired, and how load affects a motor introduces a new level of complexity to the troubleshooting process. So does the fact that current is now an added consideration when troubleshooting.

Our approach to troubleshooting motors allows the learner to explore all topics related to motor operations and troubleshooting in a virtual lab environment, and proceed to practice what they learned in a troubleshooting simulation where several faults are introduced to a garage door setting.

The Motor Control Components Learning Lab is a comprehensive overview of 3-phase motors, how they operate, and how they are wired, and it teaches the learner how to approach problems related to 3-phase motors.

 

Simutech Motor Control Components Module

 

The learning lab has five main sections. In the first four sections, the learner is provided with the learning along with practice exercises required to operate and troubleshoot motors. In the last section, the learner is given hands-on experience by interacting with motors in a virtual setting.

 

Windings and Resistance

 

In the first section, time is spent understanding the difference between Wye and Delta configuration and learning how to measure winding resistance. This is achieved using video, images and virtual interactive workbenches.

 

LLMCC - Workbenches

 

The workbenches are used in several exercises and allow the user to interact with the components, take measurements using a virtual meter, read schematics, adjust and change components as needed. The virtual benches allow the learner to apply load to a motor and observe the impact, take amperage measurements, observe how contactors and overloads behave, etc.

 

LLMCC - Workbench 1

LLMCC - Workbench 2

 

The lab also allows a user to understand how current and motor behaviour are related. For example, the learner is shown and is able to measure inrush current and compare that to running current using their virtual multimeter.

 

Simutech Motor Control Components Module

Motor Behavior

 

Load plays a major part in the performance of a motor. We dedicate a section in our learning to understand how load impacts motors and components that interact with it. The learner is introduced to Overloads and Contactors in this section. The learner is also taught how to read schematics and wiring diagrams related to motor operations.

 

Simutech Motor Control Components - Hallway

LLMCC - Diagram

 

In the final section, the learner is shown the typical issues related to motor failures, from mechanical issues to opens, shorts, malfunctions circuits, and more. This section provides a lot of interactivity with the virtual workbenches and by the end of it, the learner show has all the tools needed to troubleshoot motors.

 

Determining Causes of Failure

 

In the next module, our troubleshooting simulation, a learner puts all of these skills to the test by troubleshooting over 40 faults related to motors in our garage door simulation, but more on that soon!

How do you approach troubleshooting 3-phase motors, what are some of the common issues you see and how do you go about fixing them? Let us know at sales@simutechmultimedia.com

Get started with your demo

[Whitepaper] Leveraging Electrical Simulation Training To Bridge the Skills Gap

[Whitepaper] Leveraging Electrical Simulation Training To Bridge the Skills Gap

The skills gap is real, and appears to be widening: a Deloitte study recently estimated that 2.4 million manufacturing positions in the US will go unfilled between 2018 and 2028, up from 2 million predicted in 2014. It’s not just a Millennial problem—older workers facing a rapidly changing world of technology, automation, digitization, and other new systems, and many do not have the skills to meet the demands of the new factory floor.

The skills gap has a cognitive component. A defined, systematic troubleshooting process is necessary when faced with multiple potential solutions, or no solution at all. Without a systematic process, maintenance troubleshooters will struggle. In this whitepaper, we explain how manufacturers can leverage electrical Simulation training to bridge the skills gap.

Download the whitepaper

Get started with your demo

The Automation Paradox and How It Affects Your Company

The Automation Paradox and How It Affects Your Company

In recent years, technology has completely changed how manufacturers deliver products to customers. Whether it’s the addition of robotics and IoT to the production process or artificial intelligence and big data, manufacturers now have several tools available to increase efficiency, lower costs, and train their teams.

You might think that implementing a fully automated manufacturing process would also reduce the need to hire maintenance staff, but the opposite is true. This paradox is known as the automation paradox, and it has some severe implications on your business.

What is the automation paradox?

The automation paradox states that as computers start doing the work of people, the need for people also increases. That’s because automation makes it harder for humans to predict outcomes when something goes wrong. For example, the 2019 737 Max plane crashes of Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air were all caused by a malfunction in one of the aircraft’s automated systems.

This system, known as the MCAS, was created to prevent aircraft from stalling due to the placement of the engines. If one of the plane’s sensors fed the wrong information to the MCAS, the aircraft would pitch the nose down, thinking that the aircraft was stalling even if that wasn’t the case.

Pilots of Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines were unaware of this feature, and as they tried to correct the aircraft’s pitch by pulling the nose upwards, the MCAS system kicked in once again to pitch the nose down because it assumed that the plane was stalling further. This fatal flaw cost hundreds of lives and led to the grounding of an entire fleet.

Automation paradox in the manufacturing industry

As you can see, automation is great for managing routine, predictable tasks, but it can’t fully replace the decision-making abilities of a human being. That’s why you’ll always need to invest in training your staff even when you have a highly automated and advanced manufacturing process in place. If something goes wrong, human decision making and creativity will be your best solution to the problem.

Modern automated systems are also designed with several redundancy systems to increase reliability and reduce human error. That’s great in many cases, but it also means that when something does go wrong, the problem will likely be very complex to solve. It will involve diagnosing at both a hardware and software level and require your maintenance staff to have a broader skill set.

Whether it’s fixing an issue with your PLCs or troubleshooting control circuits, Simutech Multimedia’s training system will equip your maintenance staff with skills they need to diagnose various complex electrical faults in a safe, immersive 3D environment.

For more information, contact us at sales@simutechmultimedia.com.

For more help with troubleshooting, the Simutech training platform has everything you need to ensure your maintenance team has the training they need. With our simulations, you can build your own curriculum and give professionals a safe, immersive environment to widen their skillset and reinforce their fundamentals. Schedule a demo for our 2D installed electrical troubleshooting simulations or our 3D cloud-based electrical troubleshooting simulations.

 

Get started with your demo

5 Tips to Reduce Manufacturing Downtime

5 Tips to Reduce Manufacturing Downtime

Downtime is expensive and extremely damaging to manufacturers. Studies have shown that it costs industrial manufacturers an estimated $50 billion annually. In the automotive industry alone, it’s estimated that 1 minute of downtime costs manufacturers $22,000 per minute or $1.3 million per hour.

Every time your machines are not working, there’s a big chance you’ll lose a lot of revenue. Without an effective strategy to reduce downtime, these losses can quickly add up and severely affect your business. This infographic shares five simple tips you can use to ensure your manufacturing facility isn’t affected by unplanned downtime.

 

Get started with your demo

The real cost of manufacturing turnover

The real cost of manufacturing turnover

The skills gap has been one of the biggest talking points in manufacturing over the past few years. It’s a serious issue that affects many manufacturers, and even companies that do manage to close the gap by securing talent have another challenge — retaining employees.

Multiple reports and studies estimate that nearly 2.5 million manufacturing jobs will go unfilled through 2028. And for those that are unable to retain their employees, the financial impact of employee turnover is estimated to be anywhere from hundreds of thousands, to millions of dollars annually.

What are the main causes of manufacturing turnover?

Lack of adequate training stands out as the primary reason for turnover in the manufacturing industry. According to one report from 2019, most manufacturing companies are not upskilling or investing in continued education to ensure higher retention numbers. 

More than 75% of companies responded saying they don’t have a talent development strategy in place to train manufacturing employees. Less than 50% of the industry respondents also strongly agreed their company trained employees to develop the right knowledge and skills. 

Here’s what else the data revealed: 

  •     36% of manufactures have a budget for employee development
  •     44% have training for on-the-job trainers
  •     56% assess critical job tasks using structured evaluations
  •     12% use training programs and skills assessments
  •     15% use skills development to determine worker compensation

As you can see, the manufacturing industry still has a long way to go when it comes to training and skills development. Traditional methods of training are no longer feasible in today’s climate. That’s why looking at other solutions is necessary if you want to reduce turnover. 

Using simulation training to reduce turnover

An effective solution to manufacturing training is simulation training. With Simutech Multimedia’s training system, your maintenance professionals will learn how to troubleshoot electrical faults in an immersive 3D environment where they are free to fail without the risk of injury. If you would like to learn more, contact us sales@simutechmultimedia.com.

Get started with your demo

How to reopen your manufacturing facilities

How to reopen your manufacturing facilities

The first half of 2020 was a challenging time for the manufacturing industry. In a recent survey, 60% of manufacturing leaders revealed that they faced disruptions caused by the recent coronavirus outbreak on their production facilities and supply chains. A further 34% of survey respondents expected a decline in business.

Fast forward to today, and we’re only just starting to reopen. For many, it’s time to revive business continuity plans and ensure staff can get back to working at full capacity. There’s a right and wrong way to go about this whole process, so we’ve put together this blog post to share a few tips you should consider when reopening your manufacturing plant.

Considerations before reopening

The first thing you’ll need to do before you open the doors to your facility is to make sure you have a written plan of action. This plan should take into account all the potential health and safety risks associated with reopening and any guidance from your local government.

For example, according to OSHA Section 5(a)(1), “each employer shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.”

These guidelines are nothing new, but they will need to be looked at under a different lens in a post-pandemic world where uncertainty remains the main sentiment among employers. In addition, previously established standards may no longer be applicable when businesses reopen and will need to be readapted to fit a “new normal.”

How to ensure a successful Manufacturing Facility Reopening

To ensure a successful transition into this new normal, Leaders will need to take an employee-first approach when reopening facilities. Empathy is the key word. That means focusing on creating an inclusive and rewarding environment and ensuring everyone feels safe to come to work every day.

Employees returning from lockdown will also likely have several issues and concerns about the safety of their jobs, so it’s up to you to listen and offer solutions. By showing your employees that you value their wellbeing, you’ll be more likely to get everyone on board with new ways of working in a short amount of time.

Adapting workspaces

In addition to addressing employee concerns, consider what changes you’ll need to make to your workspaces. Social distancing rules that came into effect during the lockdown will still need to be reinforced when your manufacturing facilities are reopened. That will affect how much working space you’ll have available on the manufacturing floor.

For instance, if your manufacturing facility had dedicated spaces for training employees, you could repurpose them into new workspaces and opt for virtual training solutions such as Simutech’s simulation training platform. That will ensure your new working environment conforms to the new standard of virtual/physical hybrid spaces without affecting your training programs.

Manage your costs and schedule

You’ll want to make sure to keep track of your spending as you reopen your facilities. Avoid making any sudden investments. Instead, use a wait-and-see approach and only spend if there’s a long term benefit to your operations after reopening.

Rolling out your manufacturing reopening in multiple phases can also help you control your costs, and create a better process for getting everyone back to work. As a part of your schedule, you should consider any unforeseen events that may happen and remain flexible to any changes.

Retrain your employees

Reopening your facility is a perfect time to retrain your employees on electrical troubleshooting and equipment maintenance. You want to refresh any knowledge that may have been lost during the lockdown, and one of the most effective ways to do that is through simulation training.

Contact us today at support@simutechmultimedia.com to learn more about how you can use our platform to train your workers.

 

Get started with your demo