Northern Illinois University finds broken interlock and avoids US$70,000 motor replacement


Courtesy of IHS Markit

More than a decade ago, environmental compliance managers at Northern Illinois University (NIU) wanted to make enhancements to the school's refrigerant compliance reporting program. The group's reporting system was sufficient to avoid fines, but officials understood that they needed to improve the program's performance.

University officials had previously acquired Compliance Suiteā„¢ Refrigerant Compliance Management Software to streamline its compliance reporting. Now they were ready to put the system to the test.

Compliance Suite paid immediate dividends by providing detailed reporting that had not previously been available. In addition, the system provided an unexpected value-added benefit that enabled NIU staff to diagnose a seemingly minor problem that eventually resulted in a significant cost savings.

While reviewing a periodic report, a compliance manager noticed a recurring problem with 600-amp fuses burning out at the university's engineering building. Further analysis uncovered the fact that a small plastic interlock was broken, which led to the diagnosis that a malfunctioning starter was causing the problem. The starter was repaired at a cost of $5,000. Failure to repair the starter could have required replacing a refrigerant unit motor at an estimated cost of $70,000.

This is just one case out of hundreds throughout the year that shows the system provides real return on investment (ROI) for the university.

'Compliance Suite Refrigerant Management Software may serve as our compliance reporting software, but to me, it serves as our university's historical services and equipment repository,' said Dean Cornell, NIU refrigerant foreman. 'The compliance factor was the primary reason for the purchase of the software, but its real value to me is the machinery and services tracking. I can see who worked on what equipment, when and what was done in one easy overview. It's my asset management system.'

With ESS Refrigerant Compliance Management Software, EHS personnel also perform daily refrigerant management and monitoring tasks, such as tracking refrigerant technician certification and training records and scheduling refrigerant-related service on any appliance.

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