WE DON’T GET ENJOYMENT OUT OF MAKING YOU PUT HOLES IN YOUR FLOOR…
No, really… We don’t… I know it’s hard to believe the way we harp about installing the machine grounding rod in the floor but it’s for a very good reason.
As the years go by we continually add more sophisticated electronics to our equipment to keep up with the demands of our customers. We are in a perpetual state of advancement with software, control systems, data collection, and the list goes on. It’s all about machine performance and capability and not being stagnant with our equipment.
There is a price we pay for this technology. The care we take in assembling and implementing our equipment becomes more and more critical. No matter how well we assemble our electrical panel or internally ground the machine we MUST have a proper earth ground attached to the machine at the customers facility.
The days of "getting away" with not grounding the equipment to a NEC (NATIONAL ELECTRIC CODE) approved source are long gone. It’s not just a page in a manual typed up by a seemingly overzealous technical writer preaching due diligence. This, my friends is a MUST.
We’ve experienced this issue over the years throughout the industry and on all different manufacturers’ equipment. Your production floor is basically a beehive of electrostatic activity and even the slightest interruption of signal to any of the highly sensitive components in your machine can cause trouble.
For these reasons we have recently concluded that we will not be able to install a piece of equipment without the proper grounding attached. It’s simply too much of a risk to overlook. The same goes for warranty issues. We must be sure the grounding is correct before we allocate labor or parts to a potential electrical / software issue. This may seem like taking a hard line but it’s for our customer’s protection as well as ours.
Please have an open mind when reading this and take the opportunity to evaluate the grounding systems employed in your facility. If you experience "ghost" issues or intermittent interruptions in your machines' operation there is a very good chance you have a grounding issue.
Our standard recommendation is to use an 8’ long steel or iron rod with a 5/8" minimum diameter. This rod is then driven into the floor and the top of the rod is connected to the ground lug in the electrical cabinet. Now we realize this is a recommended method and some facilities have their own challenges. If your floor has rebar in it you stand a good chance of not hitting it when you drill down through. This is important because you don’t want the ground rod contacting the rebar as this can act as a conductor for noise as well. Some floors are reinforced with wire mesh. This obviously poses a real problem because you’re almost guaranteed to hit it. With that said if the 8’ bar method doesn’t work for your facility you must find a NEC method that does.
If you have questions or concerns about your grounding options we will be happy help you select the correct method that works for you and us. If we all make a conscious effort to work together on properly grounding our equipment, everyone will experience lower service costs and less down time.
-Pat Myers, JMC Service Manager