Monthly Archives: February 2018

A Record-setting 2017!

by Venus Newton

WOW! 2017 is behind us and what a record-setting year it was! Our accomplishments last year have set the stage for 2018 to be even better.  We have shown the marketplace that not only can we manage 1000’s of CO2 inspections in Georgia, but we can also handle complex accounts with black liquor recovery boilers as well.  (Something most of our competition can’t do.)

Everyone talks about customer service, but we at BPC don’t just talk about it – we deliver it.  Being acknowledged by JO as having the #1 spot for lowest percentage of overdues of all JO users two months in a row is clear, indisputable proof that we take customer service very seriously.  This is a tough spot to hold onto as everyone is gunning to knock us out of it, and our workload continues to grow and present its own challenges, but I’m confident that we will be able to stay at or near the top in 2018 as well.

We have the best team of conscientious professionals in the business.  You are capable of not only handling large complex risks, but also smaller organizational intensive accounts.  We have built a team that is getting noticed and will continue to get noticed for the right reasons.  I am proud to be part of this team, and each and every one of you should be as well.  Awesome job!

Tax Changes You Need to Know

By Brandon Loveridge

2018 is off to a fast start. BPC is coming off a record year in terms of number of accounts, employee headcount and inspections completed. This year should be a strong one for the economy also. Tax reform has lowered tax rates for both employers and individuals, which economists predict will increase the rate of GDP growth for the US economy. Here is a rundown of a few of the changes that will affect BPC employees – from both tax reform and the annual adjustments from the IRS.

  • Federal income tax rate for married taxpayers earning from $18K-$76K has decreased from 15% to 12%.
  • The rate for those earning $76K-$153K has decreased from 25% to 22%.
  • The child tax credit has increased from $1,000 to $2,000.
  • Interest is no longer deductible on home-equity loans.
  • Social Security cost-of-living adjustment will increase by 2%.
  • The earnings limit for workers who are younger than “full” retirement age (age 66 for people born in 1943 through 1954) will increase to $17,040. ($1 deducted from benefits for each $2 earned over $17,040.)
  • The earnings limit for people turning 66 in 2018 will increase to $45,360. ($1 deducted from benefits for each $3 earned over $45,360 until the month the worker turns age 66.)
  • The maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax will increase to $128,400.
  • The annual 401(k) limit increases from $18,000 to $18,500. For savers over 50, the limit is $24,500.
  • The 2018 annual contribution limit that individuals with single medical coverage can contribute to a health saving account is $3,450, an increase of $50 from 2017. The annual HSA contribution limit is $6,900 for those covered under qualifying family medical plans (up from $6,750 in 2017). But if you’re 55 or older in 2018, you can contribute an additional $1,000, or total of $4,450 to an HSA for singles and $7,900 for families per year.
  • The Flexible Savings Account limit will increase from $2,600 to $2,650.

With all the changes going into effect, you may find it worthwhile to consult with a CPA or Certified Financial Planner if you have not yet retained one. To find a licensed professional in your area, go to

www.aicpa.org/forthepublic/findacpa.html

or

http://ow.ly/wMC130inA5f

 

 

Shaft Alignment for Rotating Machinery

By Anzar Hasan
Chief Inspector

Failure to properly align shafts results in premature failure of bearings, bearing seals, couplings, and shafts that, in turn, may lead to catastrophic machine failures and process or plant shutdown resulting in a combination of property damage and loss of business. Industry sources estimate that 50 to 70%of rotating machinery failures can be attributed directly to shaft misalignment. When a driver like an electric motor or a turbine is coupled to a pump, generator, kiln drive, blowers or any other piece of equipment, it is essential that the shafts of the two pieces are aligned. Any misalignment between the two increases the stress on the shafts and will almost certainly result in excessive wear and premature breakdown of the equipment.

Since machines are three dimensional, the misalignment of the shaft centerline is addressed by determining their projected position with respect to horizontal and vertical planes. Each position has two parameters; parallel and angular. Therefore misalignment is expressed as vertical (parallel and angular) and horizontal (parallel and angular). Parallel alignment is also referred as “parallel offset”.

Methods of shaft alignment:
• Dial Indicator Methods: The most commonly used method for shaft alignment is the dial indicator method. This method is not 100% accurate, but is considered adequate for small machines. Often alignment brackets are utilized to support dial indicators. Sometimes the brackets are specially made for application.
• Laser Method. This system utilizes a laser beam source and laser beam target in the same module and uses a reflecting prism in the second module. This is a widely used and accurate method for alignments. There are commonly two types of laser beam alignment procedures – React System and Digilaser System.
• Optical Method: This requires careful set up and technique, but has the advantage that it can be used for initial alignment, determining hot alignment, and checking cold alignment offset.
• Electromechanical Spatial Resolution Method: The unique feature of this procedure is that neither shaft must be rotated in order to determine shaft position. The procedures utilized sensor and signals can be electronically nulled to a zero calibration point, which establishes an electronic straight line reference.
• Continuous Monitoring Method: Large equipment often utilizes a continuous shaft alignment monitoring system. This method utilizes unidirectional lasers mounted on the driver and the driven machine for continuous read outs. There are several configurations systems used – Permalign, Dynalign, Acculign and Indikon system that uses eddy current proximity probes.

During inspection of critical rotating equipment, it should be the practice to establish whether or not the plant has a scheduled shaft alignment program.

Looking Forward to Continued Growth!

By Manny Regateiro

BPC continues to steam roll along at a blistering pace. Operationally, our success has been through the combined efforts of field staff and support services. We have practiced our motto “the right people in the right places” by adding additional staff members in key areas. With our continued growth heading into 2018, many future enhancements to the overall process will be coordinated.

As a group we are doing a good job with JOL. Over the past two years BPC has evolved from never using the program to now owning the top spot for two consecutive months among insurance companies/inspection service providers for the least overdue inspections! This was a tall task given the climate of the industry and initial administrative cleanup we completed for our customers. Many of our customers had been with multiple insurance companies using JOL but never had a clean object inventory. Through everybody’s efforts in the field updating location data to the administrative development of policies in JOL, we can effectively provide our customers with accurate data of their objects and distribution preferences. We receive ongoing compliments relating to the engineers’ efforts to correct prior providers mistakes. Thank you for this continued attention to detail when entering inspections.

Please continue to use the scheduling tool in JOL. We have invested in this feature to help the overall account management process deliver a higher level of service and visibility to our customers. If you have any questions regarding the functionality, please contact your supervisor. Our customers are becoming more inquisitive as to the servicing of their facilities and the scheduling tool is invaluable in providing visit confirmation to the customer.

Our Regional Supervisors Tim, Tom, and Del continue to provide an abundant amount of field personnel development and overall support to the organization. They have been very active in creating processes to assist field inspectors, represent BPC/XL at industry events, and provide feedback from all of you in the field. The information is put into practice quickly and has helped in deciding which resources are implemented. Many thanks for their efforts over last year’s busy holiday season.

Be safe out there as winter has its last few moments. If there is anything we can do to help, please don’t hesitate to contact the office.