KCF Technologies Blog

How to prepare your factory for the next wave of government regulations


Last week we wrote about the U.S. Department of Energy’s interest in improving the industrial world’s energy efficiency.

One of the regulations is likely to have a huge impact on your bottom line – requiring all pumps to operate at 75 percent efficiency when the average today is just 40 percent.

Seems unfair, doesn’t it? Well, not if you take a broad look at energy and where the majority of it is consumed.  Regardless of how one feels about climate change or government regulations, it’s hard to argue with the idea that using less energy to achieve the same results is a step in the right direction.

Fact:  Industry consumes about 2/3 of all energy. 
Fact: Pumps consume 25% of that pie.

I recently attended an energy conference and the keynote speaker, an executive from Siemens, put it best:  “Imagine if you were constantly driving your car with pedal to the metal, and the only way you could slow the car down was by simultaneously slamming on the brakes.  In the industrial world, that’s how a huge percentage of our pumps and motors still operate.  They’re constantly at full throttle [bad for energy efficiency], and it’s only by consuming additional energy that we can adjust the speed of the system.”

Yes, Variable Speed and Asset Management systems are making a difference but no factory has the budget or time to swap out EVERY old pump or motor with a newer, smarter one. 
So besides going completely off the grid what steps can you take today to prepare your factory for new efficiency regulations?

Get involved with the Hydraulic Institute – the best resource you’ve never heard of.  The Hydraulic Institute is the go-to authority on pumps. It develops comprehensive guidebooks and has taken a leading role in protecting the pump industry against unfair or inappropriate regulations.

Schedule a Pump System Audit with a living legend in the field. For more than 30 years WilliamLivoti has designed, tested and repaired seals, compressors and pumps. He is co-author of two books which are both worth picking up – “Pumps System Optimization Guide Lines” and “Power Plant Pump Application Guide Lines.” A visit from William will open your eyes to ways of getting your factory on the right track toward compliance.

What are other ways you are preparing your factory for ISO 50001? Share your thoughts with the community!

KCF Technologies is an engineering company founded in 2000 and based in Central Pennsylvania. Its latest breakthrough is a wireless sensor system that notifies you when a machine is going to fail before it actually does. It’s called SmartDiagnostics. Organizations taking advantage of this new technology are seeing significant improvements in safety, uptime and profitability.

Is your factory prepared for the next wave of government regulations?



There’s one energy-efficiency issue that if solved would revolutionize the industry, or at least help close that hole in the ozone – inefficient pump systems. And guess what? The government is about to force you to get serious about it.

Pump systems are horribly inefficient. The pump itself may be 95 percent efficient and purr like a new Mercedes but the moment you connect it to a series of poorly designed pipes and valves, your efficiency gains go out the window. The average pump system efficiency is only 40 percent!

Yes, some pumps are getting more efficient but more than likely you have many old ones in your factory that would be too costly to swap out for new ones. The only way you’re going to make a real dent in your energy efficiency is by addressing your pump system as a whole.

Soon, government and industry regulations will have all of us interested in solving the problem. Of course this is a good thing for your factory in the long run. Improved energy performance can provide rapid benefits.

Still, the biggest concern for you and your facility may be that the U.S. Department of Energy is currently developing minimum efficiency standards for pumping systems, which it could set as high as 75 percent. 

Yikes!  You mean my facility is going to have to nearly DOUBLE its average pump system efficiency?  That’s a serious undertaking.

If Uncle Sam came knocking tomorrow with a mandate for your company to double your pump system efficiencies, how would you do it? We’ll share some ideas next week but we’d love to hear yours!

KCF Technologies is an engineering company founded in 2000 and based in Central Pennsylvania. Its latest breakthrough is a wireless sensor system that notifies you when a machine is going to fail before it actually does. It’s called SmartDiagnostics. Organizations taking advantage of this new technology are seeing significant improvements in safety, uptime and profitability

How to go from reacting to failures to predicting failures in your factory


Most factories in the U.S. are still way behind where they could be with predictive maintenance, and understandably so!

Predictive Maintenance technologies such as ultrasound, alignment tools and vibration monitoring have traditionally been expensive and complicated to learn. As a result, many factory workers are stuck with maintenance schedules similar to those used a generation ago. However, some factories have found ways to minimize up-front predictive maintenance investments and leapfrog a century of old habits.
How are these industry leaders, often on a tight budget, catapulting their factory into the 21st Century? Here are some of their best practices:

Think beyond hard hats, exit door locations, and cautioning people to not trip over the projector cables. To what extent do your safety meetings cover predictive maintenance? Show your colleagues some of the graphs from last week’s post. Remind them how dangerous it is to “respond” to emergencies. Celebrate the fires that never started as much as you celebrate the fires that your maintenance team had to rush out and extinguish.

Educate your boss on the difference between preventive and predictive maintenance. Preventive and predictive maintenance are terms that are often used interchangeably, yet they represent two very different approaches.

Preventive maintenance is work you do based on factors like the age of the machine and how long it’s been in use. It’s comparable to changing the oil in your truck every 5,000 miles. You do it because the manufacturer recommends it. However, replacing parts when there is no need can result in unnecessary maintenance and costs.

Here’s something that made us think twice about the value of preventive maintenance: A United Airlines study found that 89 percent of all failures are random. Meaning, you can have the best preventive maintenance practices in the world but that will only protect 11 percent of machine failures.


Predictive maintenance is determined by the condition of equipment rather than the time it’s been used. Condition-Based Maintenance (CBM) is the heart of predictive maintenance. Imagine the fatal blows you’ll deliver to safety hazards, downtime and missed deliveries when your team can identify an issue, schedule the repair and complete the work weeks or months in advance of when an imminent failure occurs.

Shift 15 percent of your maintenance budget from reactive (such as stockpiling spare parts or paying loads of overtime for the Saturday repair at 3 a.m.) to predictive technologies. By doing so, you can reduce reactive maintenance by more than 50 percent. For example, leading oil & gas companies with whom our company works are routinely saving more than $30 each month for every $1 they invest in predictive maintenance.  You don’t have to make drastic shifts in your maintenance budget to see drastic improvements in safety and bottom line profits.

What are some tips you have for inspiring senior management to support the shift from reactive to predictive maintenance?

KCF Technologies is an engineering company founded in 2000 and based in Central Pennsylvania. Its latest breakthrough is a wireless sensor system that notifies you when a machine is going to fail before it actually does. It’s called SmartDiagnostics. Organizations taking advantage of this new technology are seeing significant improvements in safety, uptime and profitability.

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