Maintenance Technology April 2017 - 48

SOLUTION FOCUS

'Spring
Cleaning'

For Your Fuse
Inventory

Improve safety and reap cost savings through
smart, streamlined ordering and stocking.

SOMETIMES IT PAYS to take a fresh look at routine tasks.
A major manufacturer of refrigeration and air-conditioning
products was contacted by its electrical-equipment distributor
regarding the site's fuse orders. The production operation had
hundreds of fuses in its storerooms-numbers that represented a
$22,000 burden sitting in inventory.
Over time, those storerooms had accumulated fuses from a
variety of manufacturers. For maintenance personnel, the natural
impulse is to replace a blown fuse with one of the same brand,
type, and rating. While this seems like the safest approach, it
leads to unintended duplication in a storeroom. What's more,
workers continue to reorder fuses that may have become obsolete
and/or they don't update to more modern, safer types.
Seeking to determine how much of their current fuse
inventory was really needed, managers at the site generated an
electronic spreadsheet of such items in their storerooms and
asked the electrical distributor to forward it to Chicago-based
fuse supplier Littelfuse (littelfuse.com) for analysis. The results
were, in simple terms, shocking.
The fuse vendor supplied a consolidated inventory list
that reduced the number of SKUs by 37%-from 224 to 164.
Several fuses, which may have been on the shelves for 10 to 15
years, were older styles that didn't provide maximum safety
and equipment protection. After managers cleaned out the old
and confusing array of fuses and adopted the recommended
consolidated fuse inventory, they were able to project a savings of
approximately $6,000/year.
Those savings, however, didn't include the cost of downtime
avoided by switching to indicating fuses that are more quickly
identified when outages occur. Nor did the calculation factor in
the labor savings from being able to quickly find a needed fuse

48 |

MAINTENANCE TECHNOLOGY

on the shelf, or the potential costs of inadequate protection from
the use of obsolete fuses.
A simple table posted in the storeroom allowed personnel to
cross-reference old fuse types and brands with the new types
they should use. To top it off, the vendor printed customized
bin labels with the plant's part numbers, reorder numbers, and
barcodes for all fuse sizes.

Now, it's your turn
Whether you work with a supplier or do it on an in-house basis,
here are the steps for cleaning up your site's fuse inventory.
1. Inspect for damage. Look for fuses that are not clearly
marked and discard them. Issues such as flooding from
storms or broken pipes can also damage fuses. If the sand or
filler material inside the fuse gets wet, it may not safely quench
the arc, and may never completely dry out. When in doubt,
throw it out.
2. Identify outdated fuses. Print out your fuse inventory and
highlight old fuse types such as Class H (renewable) and even
Class K5 fuses.
Unfortunately, some workers still think that renewable
fuses can be "repaired" and put back into service, but this is
definitely not recommended. They have a low short-circuit
interrupting capacity of just 10,000 A. They provide no
current limitation, and there is no way to control what a
worker will use as a replacement element. These fuses are truly
obsolete, and UL prohibits renewables in new applications.
Also called "one-time" fuses, Class K5 fuses were an
improvement over renewables. They are tamperproof, and
have a higher interrupting rating of 50,000 A, but they provide
no current limitation.
APRIL 2017


http://www.littelfuse.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Maintenance Technology April 2017

Maintenance Technology April 2017 - 1
Maintenance Technology April 2017 - Cover1
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