Speeding up the Balancing Process with a
Robust Instrument Database
Balancing. Whether dynamic or static, it’s a process that has historically taken a lot of time and energy from both the machinists who perform the service and the managers who oversee the production. A balancing job can take anywhere from a few minutes to an entire day — sometimes more — and then there are the reports. Those take more time.
It is not a rapid practice and finding efficiencies where possible is key to speeding up this sometimes lengthy process. Luckily, modern day balancing instruments are now leveraging technology more effectively, and are often equipped with some rather helpful and innovative features that expedite the balancing process.
Enhanced Reporting & Documentation
Historically, balancing instruments have been equipped with enough memory to make it through a single balancing job from set-up to final balancing tweaks and tests. At the successful completion of a job, users will print out the job results into a report format. This is often the only job documentation available, which is copied for internal recordkeeping and also supplied to the customer.
In 2017, IRD Balancing introduced a robust database as a standard feature to the 295+ balancing instrument, thus alleviating the need to print after every job and providing many more options for shop managers with digital documentation. With the 295+, job records are stored on the instrument’s internal database, and users can decide whether to customize and print reports, or simply save documentation to the network via wifi and ethernet.
Shop managers and other customer-facing workers have benefitted greatly from having dually printable and savable report formats. Kentucky-based Krauth Electric Company has been using the 295+ for the last year. In that short time, the 295+ has brought an added level of trust and speed to the company’s in-house balancing projects.
“The networking capabilities help with document storage and report availability,” Thomas Nalley, Assistant Plant Manager, said. “We’re able to generate a PDF directly to the network, which helps with the speed and availability of the report, and ensures it gets stored in the right location on our system.”
Nalley, though, is adamant that it’s not just about the efficiency an instrument brings to the shop floor — that’s apparent — it’s also about the quality the instrument brings to his customers. He added that the high-quality reports provide an extra level of professionalism in their everyday dealings with customers.
“It’s more about the quality for us,” he said. “The availability of the reports is probably the biggest advantage to our customers,” He said. “Some customers are rebuilding presses, they have customers of their own, and the nice reports are easy to pass along and they look more professional for us, our customers, and their customers.”
The assistant plant manager said that the electronic database is vast enough and stores enough useful data, that he’s considered providing a living library of reports to his customers so they can refer back to the documents when necessary.
In many ways, the 295+ functions like a computer, though it’s not a computer that sits on a desk in an office. It’s an instrument built for quick access and easy use in a shop environment. As such, the Windows operating system, touch screen and intuitive interface are nice, but it’s the standard job saving feature that is much appreciated by shop machinists.
Complementing the instrument’s database is an autosave function, a helpful feature that allows a user to pause a balancing job at any point, then back up and repeat previous tasks without losing any of the progress made on the job. Users can easily redo or double check the initial setup process to ensure it was done correctly, and then jump right back into their job without losing the useful balancing data already compiled.
Mike Wells of Krauth Electric knows firsthand how this feature can help with difficult jobs. The longtime machinist explained that processes of the past involved repeated trial and error. “You had to unbalance it after each correction to make sure the information you had was correct,” Wells said of past jobs. “Today’s instrumentation, particularly the 295+ is driven off of a different principal and is very reliable.”
The ability to create restore points is a feature of the 295+ that Wells, is most impressed with. Historically, if during a balance, the machinist needed to go back and check their work, they had to begin again from the start. With the database’s ability to store all types of data, whether saving a job by customer, job number, or equipment type, he is always able to come back to his work, mid-job or even months later.
Repeating Common Jobs and Tasks
Another way the 295+ is moving things along is by having a library of information on hand so that you can refer to previous jobs or find customer files quickly. This can be useful when balancing a piece of equipment that requires frequent service or maintenance, or when working with a customer who needs the same type of machinery balanced similarly and regularly. Since all data can be saved (whether by automation or manually) to the instrument’s internal hard drive, users can recall past jobs, whether by job type or customer, to understand common steps to success.
For a machinist, this can help eliminate some of the time-sucking trial and error tasks that can accompany a new, unfamiliar balancing job. In this capacity, different machinists can share work with one another, detailing successes to be repeated in the future by other, potentially junior, machinists.
The Future is Bright
While the delicate process of industrial balancing is still a hands-on process that requires both experience and a high attention to detail, the latest balancing instruments are providing some complementing and innovative new features via technological enhancements. Users, machinists and shop managers alike are no longer handcuffed to outdated processes due to limitations of their balancing equipment. The 295+ balancing instrument is just one example of how modern-day instrumentation will continue to become user-friendly and better able to integrate with existing systems and technologies.
If a faster workflow and more efficient reporting sounds good to you, contact IRD’s balancing professionals today.