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Sept. 4, 2014 – Maintaining fluorescent lamps tends to be a trial-and-error process. Bulbs not lit? Climb the ladder and replace them. Still not lit? Go back up the ladder and replace the ballast. Still not lit? Climb the ladder one more time. It’s tedious, time-consuming, and inefficient, plus any time workers climb ladders there are potential safety issues.
May 12, 2014 – Maintenance technicians make better, faster decisions when they have field access to maintenance records and when they can review measurements in real time with team members and supervisors. Yet records are usually kept back in the office and team members are rarely in the same place at the same time. The Fluke Connect system solves these problems while increasing the safety of technicians working with energized equipment.
April 28, 2014 — Fluke Corp. introduces the Fluke 190-504 Series II 500 MHz ScopeMeter Portable Oscilloscope, the first to achieve a 500 MHz at 5 GS/s real time sample rate in a 4-channel handheld, sealed, and rugged oscilloscope without compromising on safety rating, ruggedness, or battery operating time. The Fluke 190-504 fills the needs of professional electronic troubleshooters working on medical, communications, navigation, and military devices who need the fast 5 GS/s — or 200 pico seconds — sample rate and 4-channels for greater accuracy and clarity of shape and amplitude of unknown waveform phenomena like transients, induced noise and ringing or reflections. The 504 rounds out the line of rugged ScopeMeter 190 Series II units that feature 2 or 4 independently insulated input channels and an IP51 dust and dripping water ingress protection with models available in 500 MHz, 200 MHz, 100 MHz or 60 MHz bandwidths. The series features deep memory up to 10,000 samples-per-channel so technicians can examine very small parts of the waveform in detail. The ScopeMeter 190 Series II include innovative functions like Connect-and-View triggering for intelligent, automatic triggering on fast, slow or even complex signals, ScopeRecord™ mode, TrendPlot™ feature, and automatic measurements functions you would expect to find in high performance benchtop scopes. The 190 Series II safety rating, according to CSA C22.2 No 61010 (IEC 61010) standard, is 1000 V CAT III/ 600 V CAT IV making it possible to safely measure from mV to 1000 V. For more information, visit
January 18, 2014  – For the Smart Grid system to work reliably, phasor measurement units (PMUs) must be calibrated so that their data is consistent, accurate, and credible, and so that models from different manufacturers are inter-operable. NIST, The National Institute of Standards and Technology, felt so strongly about the need for a PMU calibrator that it awarded Fluke a development grant in 2010 to get the project underway. The resulting Fluke Calibration 6135A/PMUCAL Phasor Measurement Unit Calibration System is the only automated and traceable PMU calibration system available today. It fills an essential need for PMU designers and manufacturers, as well national metrology institutes, third party calibration houses, and electrical utilities.
October 07, 2013  – Fluke Corporation introduces the Fluke VT04 Visual IR Thermometer, the latest troubleshooting tool with built-in digital camera and thermal heat map overlay that bridges the gap between traditional IR thermometers and infrared cameras. Building on the extremely popular Fluke VT02, the VT04 adds PyroBlend Plus with a four-times sharper resolution than the VT02 and automatic alarm features. It is the ideal frontline troubleshooting tool for electrical, industrial maintenance, HVAC/R, and automotive applications.
August 6, 2013 - Fluke has developed a series of predictive maintenance application notes that focus on helping maintenance professionals implement proactive techniques that promise to save them time and money. Each application note is presented as a free downloadable PDF, and Fluke says to check back regularly as the PdM library continues to grow. Current notes include:PdM Part 1: Predictive maintenance overview - This overview explains the different kinds of methods, terms, standards and cost equations, and provides basic process steps and an equipment list.PdM Part 2: Applying hand-held test tools to predictive maintenance - Basic strategy, cost analysis, tool advice, key indicators and measurement guidelines for using DMMs (digital multimeters), clamp meters, insulation resistance testers and infrared thermometers.PdM Part 3: Applying infrared thermography to predictive maintenance - Guidelines for integrating thermography into a cost-effective PdM program; includes cost analysis and measurement guidelines.PdM Part 4: Six simple ways to reduce costs with a Fluke 434 power quality analyzer - Straightforward descriptions, cost calculations and How-Tos for six power quality measurements: voltage imbalance, THD, phase current, voltage sags, peak demand and power factor.PdM Part 5: Insulation resistance testing on lighting circuit wiring - This case study describes the methodology used by Minneapolis Airport technicians to check leakage to ground along their lighting wiring paths. Step-by-step instructions and preventive maintenance scheduling examples included.
July 3, 2013 - Fluke Calibration introduced the 3130 portable pneumatic pressure calibrator, a complete system for pressure sensor and pressure gauge calibration, on the bench or in the field. The 3130 digital pressure calibrator contains everything needed to generate, control, and measure pressure, as well as read the output of the device under test, says the company. It includes an onboard pressure sensor with a full scale of 2 MPa (300 psi, 20 bar) and an accuracy of 0.025%, reading plus 0.01% FS. For applications that involve filling a large volume with pressure, the 3130 allows for connection to an external gas supply, such as compressed plant air or gas cylinder, to supply pressure up-to-300 psi. The pressure can be fine-tuned using the variable volume. The 3130 includes electrical measurement capabilities, pressure switch testing, and pressure transmitter and pressure transducer calibration.
Fluke introduces the Fluke 709H precision current loop calibrator with HART Communications, an easy-to-use tool with a user-friendly interface and HART capabilities that reduces the time it takes to measure or source, voltage or current, and power up a loop.   The 709H supports a select set of HART universal and common practice commands. In the communicator mode, technicians can read basic device information, perform diagnostic tests, and trim the calibration on most HART-enabled transmitters. In the past, this could only be done with a dedicated communicator, a high-end multifunction calibrator, or a laptop computer with a HART modem. It also features a built-in, selectable 250-ohm resistor to tune the loop for HART communications.   The 709H and non-HART 709 models feature an intuitive interface with dedicated buttons, a Quick-Set rotary encoder knob, and simple two wire connection for quick, easy measurements. The dedicated 0-100-per-cent span and 25-per-cent step buttons make for quick and easy testing. Ramping and auto-stepping enables technicians to perform tests remotely and be in “two places at once.”   The optional 709H/TRACK software with communication cable can document milliamp measurements and HART transmitter parameters and upload to a PC.  
Fluke Corp. introduces the Fluke 190 Series II 500 MHz ScopeMeter Test Tool, the first to achieve a 500 MHz at 5 GS/s real time sample rate in a handheld, sealed, rugged, oscilloscope, without compromising on safety rating, ruggedness or battery operating time. Now professional electronic troubleshooters have a high-performance scope with the bandwidth and resolution to capture virtually any signal while in the field. The two-channel 190-502 model is the latest in the190 Series II with bandwidth from 60, 100, 200, — and now 500 — MHz.   High-tech electronics in today’s medical, communications, navigation and military devices routinely operate at high speeds requiring higher bandwidth. Correct display of waveforms with high frequency content such as clock pulses requires a bandwidth of at least five times the clock rate of the system under test. The 5 GS/s — or 200 pico seconds — sample rate of the Fluke 190-502 provides greater accuracy and clarity of shape and amplitude of unknown waveform phenomena like transients, induced noise and ringing or reflections.   The rugged 190 Series II ScopeMeter test tools include innovative functions like ScopeRecord, TrendPlot, advanced triggering and automatic measurements functions you would expect to find in high performance scopes. The 190 Series II safety rating according to IEC 61010 standard is 1000 V CAT III/ 600 V CAT IV making it possible to safely measure from mV to 1,000 V.
In simplest terms, vibration in motorized equipment is the back-and-forth movement, or oscillation, of machines and components, such as drive motors, driven devices (such as pumps and compressors) and the bearings, shafts, gears, belts and other elements that make up mechanical systems. Vibration in industrial equipment can be both a sign and a source of trouble. Other times, it just “goes with the territory” as a normal part of machine operation and should not cause undue concern. But how can a maintenance professional tell the difference between acceptable vibration and the kind that requires immediate attention to service or replace troubled equipment? Vibration is not always a problem. In some tasks, vibration is essential. Machines like oscillating sanders and vibratory tumblers use vibration to remove materials and finish surfaces. Vibratory feeders use vibration to move materials. In construction, vibrators are used to help concrete settle into forms and compact fill materials. Vibratory rollers help compress asphalt used in highway paving. In other cases, vibration is inherent in machine design. For instance, some vibration is almost unavoidable in the operation of reciprocating pumps and compressors, and internal combustion engines. In a well-engineered, well-maintained machine, such vibration should be no cause for concern. When vibration is a problem Most industrial devices are engineered to operate smoothly and avoid vibration, not produce it. In these machines, vibration can indicate problems or deterioration in the equipment. When the underlying causes are not corrected, the unwanted vibration itself can cause additional damage. This article focuses on machines that are supposed to vibrate as part of normal operation, but on those that should not vibrate: electric motors, rotary pumps and compressors, and fans and blowers. In these devices, smoother operation is generally better, and a machine running with zero vibration is the ideal. Causes Vibration can result from a number of conditions, acting alone or in combination. Keep in mind that vibration problems may be caused by auxiliary equipment, not just the primary equipment. These are some of the major causes of vibration. Imbalance A ‘heavy spot’ in a rotating component will cause vibration when the unbalanced weight rotates around the machine’s axis, creating a centrifugal force. Imbalance could be caused by manufacturing defects (i.e. machining errors, casting flaws) or maintenance issues (i.e. deformed or dirty fan blades, missing balance weights). As machine speed increases, the effects of imbalance become greater. Imbalance can severely reduce bearing life as well as cause undue machine vibration. Misalignment/shaft runout Vibration can result when machine shafts are out of line. Angular misalignment occurs when, for example, the axes of a motor and pump are not parallel. When the axes are parallel but not exactly aligned, the condition is known as parallel misalignment. Misalignment may be caused during assembly or develop over time due to thermal expansion, components shifting or improper reassembly after maintenance. The resulting vibration may be radial or axial (in line with the axis of the machine) or both. Wear As components such as ball or roller bearings, drive belts or gears become worn, they may cause vibration. When a roller bearing race becomes pitted, for instance, the bearing rollers will cause a vibration each time they travel over the damaged area. A gear tooth that is heavily chipped or worn, or a drive belt that is breaking down, can also produce vibration. Looseness Vibration that might otherwise go unnoticed may become obvious and destructive when the component that is vibrating has loose bearings or is loosely attached to its mounts. Such looseness may or may not be caused by the underlying vibration. Whatever its cause, looseness can allow any vibration present to cause damage, such as further bearing wear, wear and fatigue in equipment mounts and other components. Effects The effects of vibration can be severe. Unchecked machine vibration can accelerate rates of wear (i.e. reduce bearing life) and damage equipment. Vibrating machinery can create noise, cause safety problems and lead to degradation in plant working conditions. Vibration can cause machinery to consume excessive power and may damage product quality. In the worst cases, vibration can damage equipment so severely as to knock it out of service and halt plant production. Yet there is a positive aspect to machine vibration. Measured and analyzed correctly, vibration can be used in a preventive maintenance program as an indicator of machine condition, and help guide the plant maintenance professional to take remedial action before disaster strikes. Characteristics of vibration To understand how vibration manifests itself, consider a simple rotating machine like an electric motor. The motor and shaft rotate around the axis of the shaft, which is supported by a bearing at each end. One key consideration when analyzing vibration is the direction of the vibrating force. In our electric motor, vibration can occur as a force applied in a radial direction (outward from the shaft) or in an axial direction (parallel to the shaft). An imbalance in the motor, for instance, would most likely cause a radial vibration, as the heavy spot in the motor rotates creating a centrifugal force that tugs the motor outward as the shaft rotates through 360 degrees. A shaft misalignment could cause vibration in an axial direction (back and forth along the shaft axis) due to misalignment in a shaft coupling device. Another key factor in vibration is amplitude, or how much force or severity the vibration has. The farther out of balance our motor is, the greater its amplitude of vibration. Other factors, such as speed of rotation, can also affect vibration amplitude. As rotation rate goes up, the imbalance force increases significantly. Frequency refers to the oscillation rate of vibration, or how rapidly the machine tends to move back and forth under the force of the condition or conditions causing the vibration. Frequency is commonly expressed in cycles per minute or Hertz (cpm or Hz). One Hz equals one cycle per second or 60 cycles per minute. Though we called our example motor “simple”, even this machine can exhibit a complex vibration signature. As it operates, it could be vibrating in multiple directions (radially and axially), with several rates of amplitude and frequency. Imbalance vibration, axial vibration, vibration from deteriorating roller bearings and more could all combine to create a complex vibration spectrum. Conclusion Vibration is a characteristic of virtually all industrial machines. When vibration increases beyond normal levels, it may indicate only normal wear, or it may signal the need for further assessment of the underlying causes, or for immediate maintenance action. Understanding why vibration occurs and how it manifests itself is a key first step toward preventing vibration from causing trouble in the production environment. This article is based on the Fluke white paper “Introduction to vibration.” For more information, visit
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