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, in his small clinic, will have quite a few commonly used instruments for diagnosing regularly treated diseases. Of course, for advanced tests and check-up, if need arises, the Doctor will refer us to a bigger hospital or testing labs Aren’t maintenance technicians sort of doctors diagnosing machines and their problems? Shouldn’t they also possess certain critical tools / measuring devices for effective diagnosis and troubleshooting? Welcome to Factory Clinic…….. Know what basic things you have to keep in your clinic for treating the patient !!
SPIRIT LEVEL – A simple device used to measure the alignment of almost anything from long pipe lines to machines. Sealed small glass or plastic tube consists of spirit – usually Methyl Alcohol – with a bubble in it which shifts from the center line based on its alignment. The accuracy of spirit level is measured like 0.1 or 0.01 or 0.001 millimeter per meter. Generally, 0.01 per meter Spirit Level is sufficient for all day to day activities. It is suggested to have X-Y (as shown above) dual axis Spirit Level for easier alignment / checking in both directions.
VERNIER CALIPER – A simple measuring tool for checking dimensions like length, diameter (internal & external) with accuracy of 0.01 millimeter (called Least Count) is sufficient for day to day quick measurements. It can also be used for checking the “depths” of any component . Calipers are available in different sizes. Usually 300mm / 12” is commonly used. It is also available in digital format which not only precisely displays the value but also stores it for recollecting later.
FEELER GAUGE – It is a collection of hardened steel sheets of different sizes varying from 0.0001mm up to 5mm combined together. By adding the sheets of different sizes we can easily determine many dimensions – bearing clearance, gap between two mating parts, spark plug clearance, valve clearances, eccentricity in a circular assembly and many more… A simple yet powerful piece of tool which can be tucked inside a pocket too….
MICROGAUGE or MICROMETER – It is yet another small piece of measuring instrument that can be used to measure critical dimensions. Its limitation is that it cannot be used for large measurements. Using this tool, we can measure cable strand diameters (for example to check incoming material quality and compare to standards), sheet thicknesses (you may want to insert some shims into an assembly), valve dimensions, critical washer dimensions and more……
MAGNIFYING LENS – Don’t be surprised about having it in your tool box. It can do a lot good than just burning paper in sunlight !!! Use it to inspect and analyze small relay failures, read information on tiny PCBs, inspect contactors for carbon deposits, magnifying valve spools. It can also be used to check presence of any foreign objects in grease, lubricating oil and many more… Don’t use it to predict someone’s future!!!!
DIAL INDICATOR – A very sensitive measuring device which can be obtained in many accuracy levels. It can even measure a variation of 0.001mm when mounted correctly. Usually it is fixed to a magnetic stand. This dial indicator can be used to measure axial and radial run outs, parallelism of a bar or a straight bar or object, variations in any pattern over a period of time, vibration of any rotating equipment. It can also be used to sense any changes in stroke length variation of actuating cylinders or rods
MAGNETIC STAND – A compulsory supplement to the dial indicator, it can also serve many other purposes. It can be used to hold any other measuring device or probe in the intended location. With a simple ON-OFF switch the stand can be magnetized or demagnetized.
HYDROMETER – A simple device to measure the specific gravity of liquid. Specific Gravity (SG) is the ratio of density of any liquid to WATER, which is the standard liquid. Water has a specific gravity of 1. Its obvious use is checking SG of electrolyte in the battery. It can also be used to measure SG of any liquid including engine oils, hydraulic oils. For example, on filling new oil measure the SG and monitor it after a fixed period to analyze any deviations and take corrective action
LITMUS PAPER – Litmus is basically a water soluble mixture of many natural dyes obtained from lichens, a type of organism. It is absorbed into filter paper which when dipped in any liquid changes its color depending on pH value. It therefore, broadly, tells whether the liquid is acidic or alkaline. It turns red when the dipped liquid is very acidic and blue when it is very alkaline. It can also change to intermediate color. Although it is widely used for checking engine coolant mixture, it can also be used for checking many liquids in a typical plant including drinking, sanitary water.
TORQUE WRENCH – In TPM there is a fundamental concept taught to the operators. It is called CLIT standard in which T stands for TIGHTENING. How much tightness a bolt requires depends on its application and criticality. A 25mm (1”) bolt definitely can be tightened more than a 5mm (1/5”) bolt for example. And if an assembly has multiple bolts, it is essential to TIGHT them to same value which can only be determined by using a torque wrench. It can be a simple mechanical torque wrench as shown in picture or advanced one which “clicks” on reaching set torque and does not allow over tightening
MAGNETIC COMPASS – Although considered as a scientific instrument, it will be helpful in determining direction for construction and orientation purpose. It helps instantly determine the latitude and longitude of a position.
ANALOG MULTIMETER – Any fluctuation in the voltage, resistance and / or current can be easily understood by this simple analog meter. Digital multi-meters measures the RMS value of any parameter and does not clearly show the fluctuation of a value. One of the best example of analog multi-meter is checking resistance variation in a brush type DC motor. It is also useful in analyzing outputs from various feedback devices like potentiometer, encoder and more.
DMM – Digital Multi-Meter is a simple measuring instrument with wide range of selections. DMMs measure RMS (Root Mean Square) value of any parameter and many basic models will not show the Peak values. Some of the common features that a DMM should have are: i) Hold option to lock a particular value ii) Diode Test Indicator iii) Internal fuse for protection iv) AC / DC voltage and current measurement options v) Resistance measurement option up to 20 Mega Ohms vi) Auto Range selection vii) Auto Power off to conserve battery
MEGGER – An indispensible measuring device for determining insulation resistance of any electrical component – electric motor, transformer, cable and more. Although electro-mechanical meggers are economical, digital meggers are more easier to use and different voltage levels can be easily set. They also have data storage and transfer facility with ability to retain data for longer periods.
LCR Meter – It is quite possible that DMMs can also have option to measure LCR or Inductance (L – Henry), Capacitance (F-Farad) and Resistance (R-Ohms). But a separate LCR meter is recommended for troubleshooting and maintenance purposes. A typical LCR should have auto range and hold facility. More advanced LCR (and even DMMs) have a serial data transfer port which can be connected to a computer for continuous data acquisition.
ANEMOMETER – It is a simple hand held device to measure the velocity of air. Its application can vary from measuring output across a radiator (which will help check the blockage) to measuring output from a fan or centralized air handling system. The measurement can be displayed in any linear units of velocity like centimeter per second, miler per second, kilometer per hour etc.
DECIBEL or SOUND METER – With stringent regulations on noise pollution in and around a factory, it is quite essential to have “sound” knowledge of noise levels. Although our ears are best judges, it is essential to measure noise produced from various equipments. It will also help in early detection of arriving problems. For example, a loose coupling or a faulty bearing from an equipment can influence the noise levels. This simple measuring device measure noise in dB (deciBels).
WALKIE TALKIE – Have you been running from place to place trying to communicate with technicians? When two people are working on fixing some problem, but are located far away, this simple device, even the ones available in toy shop, will enhance communication. One person in utility room, for example, can talk to another person on shop floor on various issues. It will also help reduce searching for people without actually running around. Can be a very important device for reducing MTTR (Mean Time To Repair) in the TPM implementation process.
(Electro Static Discharge) Wrap – Independent of our ability to handle any electronic boards, especially the ones which have memory storage ICs, it is essential to discharge static electricity from our body. This simple wrap must be worn around wrist and grounded to prevent damaging expensive electronic boards.
LUX METER – No facility can run without sufficient lighting. How much is “sufficient” should not be a guess work since lighting has direct influence on a person’s efficiency. Some facility might need “bright” lighting and some may need “just enough” lighting. A simple lux meter, which measures intensity of lighting usually in LUMEN units can help avoid guessing. It will also help selecting right type of lighting and understanding the distribution.
INFRARED THERMOMETER – Measuring temperature of high temperature or distant objects can be easily accomplished using this device. An infrared ray is passed on to the target object and amount of reflection from it determines its temperature.
RH / Temperature Gauge - Temperature and Relative Humidity are two factors that will help determine many conditions including efficiency of air conditioner for example. Relative Humidity indicates percentage of moisture present in atmosphere
TACHOMETER - A device used for measuring the RPM (Revolutions Per Minute) of any rotating equipment. With additional components, it can measure the surface speed of various elements like conveyor belts, chains and more. Contactless tachometers are also available.
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