Posts By :

Admin A

industrial plumbing cleaning brisbane

How Often Should You Schedule an Industrial Plumbing Clean?

900 515 Admin A

Industrial plumbing clean outs are best practice. They’re a great way of keeping your plumbing fully functional. They’re also good for business, in some surprising ways.

The Truth About Industrial Plumbing Cleaning

Industrial plumbing cleaning is a very important part of operating a plant. Your plumbing can take a real pounding when you’re working in top gear, and top gear, of course, is when possible problems happen.

There are some very common problems with industrial plumbing:

  • Particulate matter in the pipes: This is inevitable. It happens as a natural result of your work. The other side of the issue is that you really don’t want any build up of materials in the pipes. These materials take up space, which means the water has less space, which puts pressure on your system and reduces process water flow. The prognosis for this situation can be anything from a busted pipe to serious downtime undoing the damage.
  • Materials in solution: Solutions are formed in water by a vast range of different chemicals and industrial material. They can also form messy cocktails of compounds, even solids, if mixed with other active chemicals and get stuck in your pipes. Believe us when we say you don’t even want to think about the possible costs.
  • Drains and outlets: The expression “down the drain” has a lot to answer for, when it comes to industrial plumbing. That’s exactly where everything goes, and it can make a real mess of your pipes. Sometimes you even get “donations” from people who should know better, putting things in to your system that shouldn’t be there. Clogged drain equals real problems, equals real costs.
  • Sediments: Sediments are residues of materials. These fine particles are heavy, and tend to settle in your pipes, making a real nuisance of themselves and again, taking up space you need for good water flow. Enough sediments, and you’ve got a real problem with a large bill attached.
  • Acidity and alkalinity: Some chemical processes are naturally acidic or alkaline. You guessed it; they also interact with anything and everything they encounter. Most of these compounds get flushed out by a healthy system, but with an older or overworked system, you can expect trouble.

Sorry for the horror stories, but there’s a pattern to be seen in each of these issues. The truth is that the downside possibilities with industrial plumbing systems are all based on maintaining your system.

Best Practice Industrial Plumbing Cleaning

The simple solution for industrial premises owners is that good maintenance really pays for itself and prevents problems. All you need to do is to simply schedule your maintenance every year.

Need an Industrial Plumber in Brisbane?

EPG Electrical Plumbing Group Pty. Ltd are your industrial plumbing contractors in Brisbane. We also provide integrated consultancy and electrical services for industrial and commercial operation. Ring us on (07) 3319 5068 or contact us using our online form and we’ll be in touch ASAP.

backflow testing device

What are the Requirements for Backflow Device Testing?

500 334 Admin A

Backflow devices are very important parts of any industrial or commercial operation.  Backflow of polluted or contaminated water in to the water mains can cause serious health issues.

Why Backflow Device Testing is So Important

Backflow incidents may expose businesses to serious legal and statutory liabilities.  If contaminated water gets in to the mains water, the effects can be catastrophic. Many industrial chemicals can be lethal, or cause severe poisoning.

There’s another excellent reason for being “backflow conscious”, too. Backflow is a surefire indicator of equipment problems.  If water flow is backing up, there may be real issues with your processing gear.

Water flow problems don’t just happen. Backflow, in fact, may be considered the canary in the coal mine for many different types of onsite issues.  Any issues are good indicators for equipment that needs fixing.

The usual issues are pretty predictable:

  • Valve issues, O ring problems and other minor repairs
  • Older equipment that needs an overhaul
  • Maintenance behind the eight ball
  • Cracked piping or connection problems
  • Pressure management issues

Now the good news: These issues are also quite fixable. Backflow device testing could be a life saver in cost terms, too. If your testing finds small problems before they turn in to large, expensive problems and downtime.

Backflow Devices Testing Basics

Backflow is covered by state and local government regulations. Specific regulatory requirements may vary, but the basics are essentially the same around Australia. If you’re unsure what your obligations are regarding backflow management, check with your local council.

The following information is based on state and Brisbane City Council regulations for testing, which are representative of Australian backflow device testing requirements.

Under local city rules, backflow devices are required to be registered with the local council, and tested annually by licensed plumbers. A report detailing testing results must be filed with the council.

This testing includes devices used to monitor backflow in a range of onsite systems:

  • Irrigation systems
  • Fire hose reels or hydrants
  • Commercial or industrial activity or machinery connected to water mains
  • Water outlets in proximity to pollutants, grease traps or chemicals
  • Underground rainwater tanks with mains water backup.

Backflow Testing Devices

Backflow testing devices must be acceptable according to local government regulations. In the case of Brisbane City Council, “Reduced pressure zone, double check and some single check valves are testable backflow prevention devices.”

Testing must show that the devices are working properly and achieving backflow prevention in accordance with council requirements.

The testing needs to be done anyway, for practical reasons. Invest in a good local plumber and get your advice from the experts. Your backflow device testing will be worth it.

Trying to Find a Commercial Plumber in Brisbane?

EPG Electrical Plumbing Group Pty. Ltd  is your local backflow testing services in Brisbane. We’re also plumbing contractors and we can provide maintenance services as required. We offer additional consultancy and expert professional support for systems upgrades. Give us a call on (07) 3319 5068 or drop us a line online and we’ll be in touch ASAP.

spotting faulty wire

How to Spot Faulty Wiring in the Workplace

900 669 Admin A

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION:

Before we start, please be aware:

  • Faulty wiring can be extremely dangerous.
  • Do NOT make contact with any suspect wiring or systems using that wiring, particularly if it’s a live electrical system.
  • Notify your manager of any wiring issues ASAP.
  • Repairs MUST be done by licensed commercial electricians.

Faulty Wiring Basics

All electricians will tell you that faulty wiring is the single most hazardous part of their work. Faulty wiring is a major, potentially lethal, workplace hazard. It can cause fires, electrocutions, and serious injuries.

Faulty wiring includes:

  • Damaged or loose connections: If a wire looks out of place, not properly connected, or obviously damaged, it’s a hazard.
  • Bare wires of any kind in any system: Electrical wires are supposed to be covered and properly insulated at all times. If not, they’re dangerous and need to be fixed. (Ignore any backyard genius who says a bare, live wire is safe. It can’t be safe.)
  • Wiring related to a malfunctioning system or equipment: If electrical equipment isn’t working properly, electrical problems should be considered to be likely causes.

Spotting Faulty Wiring

Signs of faulty wiring include:

  • Scorch marks around connections: This is a very bad sign. The wiring is definitely unsafe. Report it immediately.
  • Electrical smells, like burning plastic: That’s not supposed to happen. Have it checked out right away.
  • Equipment behaves erratically, turning itself on and off: This is a wiring problem, for sure. A power connection may be compromised, meaning the wiring is unsafe and still has power going through it. Report the problem ASAP.
  • Unusual sounds: Crackling or popping in electrical equipment can mean a fuse, or some other part of the circuitry, has failed. DO NOT TOUCH the equipment and get help.
  • Old or sloppy looking wiring: Electricians will also tell you in very clear language what they think of people who wire up these death traps or don’t fix them. The bottom line is that if wiring looks decrepit or iffy, it MUST be checked out by a qualified electrician. Don’t use risky-looking wiring at all.

Electrical Hazards Safety

If you suspect faulty wiring:

  • DO NOT TOUCH OR USE AFFECTED EQUIPMENT: The power may be still connected.
  • SWITCH OFF AT THE POWER SOURCE: Never use any onboard power switches on equipment with faulty wiring. The risk of electrocution and/or severe burns is almost certain.  If possible, turn off at the switchboard.
  • DISCONNECT ALL POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS EQUIPMENT. High rev and high power equipment like lathes, industrial equipment and cutting machinery can turn on unexpectedly if the wiring is faulty.
  • IF THERE’S WATER NEAR FAULTY WIRING: Evacuate immediately. There’s no way of knowing if the electrical systems have been penetrated by the water. Don’t be a dead hero. Get everyone out and let the professionals handle the problems.

Need a Commercial Electrician in Brisbane?

EPG Electrical Plumbing Group Pty. Ltd.  are your one stop commercial plumbing and electrical contractors in Brisbane. We provide a full range of services for commercial and industrial premises. Call us on (07) 3319 5068 or contact us online for any electrical services you require.

lights out manufacturing

What is ‘Lights Out’ Manufacturing?

500 500 Admin A

“Lights out” manufacturing is a fully automated process. It literally means that the production process continues with the lights out, with no human participation.  “Lights out” is also a description of an automation-based philosophy of manufacturing.

The name is slightly misleading, in both cases. Operationally, many factories operate automatically, but to various degrees during the “lights out” process. Handling, maintenance and production oversight by humans are still required for safe operation. From the philosophical perspective, human management is also part of the process.

 

The Theory of “Lights Out” Manufacturing

The idea of fully automated manufacturing is based on lower operating costs, higher production speeds and reducing manpower costs. It’s actually a business theory, as much as a manufacturing theory.

The theory also works in practice. Current levels of automation don’t really need a lot of human participation in many cases. Projected future automation will probably need even less human involvement.

This type of manufacturing is stringently costed to deliver a series of cost efficiencies at all levels of operation. The metrics used are core business costings, based on unit price, materials, labour, and other conventional measures. An entire production run of a product can be accurately costed, virtually to the last dollar.

 

The Practice of “Lights Out” Manufacturing

The theory, however, comes with multiple caveats in practice. If process handling is becoming obsolete, other types of human participation are essential.

Human operations may be required for:

  • Quality control
  • Emergency and routine maintenance
  • Systems installation, retooling and upgrades
  • Systems management, including electrical, plumbing, and communications
  • Monitoring production and processing systems
  • Production planning and coordination
  • New product production implementation
  • Management

In theory, “lights out” manufacturing can operate indefinitely and efficiently. The problem is that production errors, changes in products, breakdowns, and system issues are inevitable.  Humans must be on site to manage these issues.

 

The Dashboard Effect

One of the most important functional efficiencies in this type of manufacturing is the ability to accurately monitor operations in real time. The “dashboard effect” is the real time reporting capacity of digital systems using dashboard software to monitor businesses. In industry, there are many variations on this theme, including remote monitoring of sites by management and operations staff. It’s easy to get a report or access your dashboard with your phone, for example.

These dashboard systems are good hands-on assets for managers. These systems also provide “operational audits”, like batch information, figures, times and dates for operations.  A “lights out” system can deliver lots of high value information for business uses, which can then be integrated with other business systems like sales and marketing. The net effect is a fully traceable range of metrics from production to sale.

 

Need Help With a “Lights Out” Operation?

EPG Electrical Plumbing Group Pty. Ltd.  is a full service consultancy and onsite services provider for factory automation in Brisbane. We offer services for plant and site switchboards, and also electrical and plumbing contractor services. To enquire about our services, call us on (07) 3319 5068 or if you prefer, contact us online.

Australia’s Manufacturing Evolution: A Case Study

500 341 Admin A

The history of manufacturing in Australia is a strange tale of national perspectives, local and global economics. In early colonial days, manufacturing, such as it was, was mainly consumables. The rise of the agricultural export industries added some acceleration, producing locally needed goods. During the Gold Rush of the 1850s, the demand for gold mining equipment jump-started basic manufacturing of tools and equipment. Public works, infrastructure and the new railway systems added a heavy industry component, based largely on local demand.

By 1891, industrial manufacturing accounted for 4.9% of GDP and 149,000 jobs in all industries. (Figures: Australian Bureau of Statistics 22 November 2012.) Federation in 1901 and free trade between the states generated a total of 328,000 jobs by 1913. (ABS figures as above.)

Australian Manufacturing in the 20th Century

World War 1, the emergence of the steel industry, growing wool and wheat markets, and “expansionist” policies helped drive industrialisation in Australia until the Depression in 1929. Even the Depression, however, barely dented progress in manufacturing. The expanding economy now included motor vehicle manufacturing, cement, rubber, engineering, and electrical manufacturing industries.

During World War 2, manufacturing overtook agriculture as the leading component of Australian GDP. The nation’s industries were adequate to support war needs. After World War 2, protectionist tariff policies and a booming population growth supported further growth and expansion through the 1960s and early 1970s. The 1970s mining boom and oil exploration successes added further expansion to Australian industry growth.

The Big Decline

Australia’s bad habits of relying on protectionism and commodities came fully unstuck in the 1980s. As early globalisation and new global economic factors, notably inflation, took hold, Australia’s terms of trade and the economic viability of the old systems of manufacturing suddenly eroded.  Protectionism also ended, and cheaper imports decimated Australia’s old made-under-license consumer products manufacturing sector.

The Early 21st Century, New Opportunities, and New Growth

A roller coaster ride of global prices and market moves followed through the 1990s and turn of the century. Australia’s mining boom held up the manufacturing sector to some degree, but the old business models were out of sync with the global market. Manufacturing was hit by a colossal double whammy of global production and fluctuating prices for which it simply wasn’t prepared or structured to manage.

The Lucky Country, however, has also had some new, high-value luck in manufacturing. Australia’s old model manufacturing was about to hit its expiry date, anyway. New manufacturing techniques, automation, 3D technology, new materials science, and innovation in a progressively scientific and industrial setting are opening up a vast range of new opportunities.

The future of Australian manufacturing is looking a lot better than in the recent past, with a lot of realistically attainable upsides. A new competitive and market-oriented mindset is another major plus, free of the rather unimaginative, insular local perspectives of the past.

Building a New Australian Manufacturing Sector

If you’re looking for new manufacturing solutions, EPG Electrical Plumbing Group Pty. Ltd. offers a full suite of consultancy and advanced factory automation services for manufacturers in Brisbane. Our services also include plant and sites switchboard, as well as electrical and plumbing contractors. Call us on (07) 3319 5068 or contact us online to discuss your business needs.

The Future of Factory Automation

500 325 Admin A

Automation is one of the most controversial subjects in any discussion of the future of industry and society as a whole. Some people worry that automation will simply take jobs, without replacing them. Others say that automation is more efficient, more flexible, and inevitable economically.

The Current Realities of Factory Automation

Factory automation is at the centre of these arguments. Traditionally, factory production is both a major employer, and the defining reality of manufacturing at all levels. Despite the many arguments, the future of factory automation is likely to be based on pure economic realities.

The current reality is that partial automation is already a fact of life in most industries. New technologies, new automated systems, new system designs, and materials are progressively phasing out old-style manufacturing. Studies have shown that automated production is cheaper, quicker, and produces direct cost benefits for consumers.

Future Factory Automation

The next stage of future factory automation is already happening in China, where whole factories are being turned over from manpower to pure automation. This is also a form of “lights out” manufacturing. This type of manufacturing is 24/7 production without much human participation in the actual manufacturing process.

Another critical economic factor in future factory automation is the sheer flexibility of this type of production. A fully automated factory can switch from producing one product to another almost instantly. The economic values of this capacity are that a single automated factory has the equivalent production of several old-style factories.

New options for manufacturing, like large-scale high speed 3D printing, are currently under development. This new manufacturing technology can manufacture any kind of product, from toys to advanced components for spacecraft.

Whole industries could benefit from these highly agile production capabilities.  A 3D printer-based factory can print an entire house, which has already been done in China. A mansion can be printed in 45 days.

Another 3D printing process printed 10 houses in 24 hours. Custom designed 3D printed houses could be created using CAD programs with literally millions of design choices. You can’t really argue with that level of economic efficiency, particularly when cost benefits delivered those houses at a fraction of conventional construction costs.

Factory Automation and Future Jobs

Manufacturing on this scale also creates jobs in high-end employment fields like:

  • Industrial process systems
  • Product designers
  • Engineering
  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • IT designers
  • Software
  • Sales and marketing
  • Retail
  • Online businesses
  • Wholesalers and distributors
  • Communications
  • System technicians like plumbing and electrical

Everybody will see many direct positive effects of automation. This type of manufacturing delivers a “whole economy” effect. It’s already happening around the world. The fact is that factory automation is based on market needs, which naturally and reliably reflect social needs. The entire global supply chain, from production to consumer, will benefit from these manufacturing techniques, and so will humanity.

Need Some Help with Your Factory Automation and Systems?

EPG Electrical Plumbing Group Pty. Ltd. is your full bandwidth solution for industrial automation and onsite systems needs. Our services include factory automation, switchboards, commercial electrical contractors and plumbing services. We also provide related consultancy and planning services for factories in Brisbane. Contact us by phone or use our online form to get in touch and one of our team will respond to your enquiry ASAP.