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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Maintenance Scorecards: Measure What you Manage

February 10, 2005 5:42 am | Articles | Comments

Scorecards offer an easy way to track and evaluate maintenance effectiveness. Here's how to put them to work in any industrial environment. By Mike Cowley, Contributor Industrial maintenance is getting beyond the days when it was called to action only when equipment failed. Plant managers know that maintenance plays a key role not only in equipment uptime, but in production and overall plant efficiency.

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Rental Services Can Maximize Floor-Mat Benefits

January 14, 2005 9:30 am | by Jim Zahrt, Director of Public Affairs, Uniform Textile and Service Assn., Arlington, VA | Articles | Comments

What do safety, health, productivity and floor-cleaning schedules have in common? All of these aspects of your plant can be improved by making optimal use of modern floor-mat options. And mats available from textile service companies offer customization options and features that surpass those you’re likely to find in a standard industrial catalog.

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Synthetic Lubricants, Training, Optimize Equipment Maintenance

January 14, 2005 8:14 am | Articles | Comments

GKN Aerospace's largest U.S. manufacturing site, based in St. Louis, is a 1.7 million sq.-ft. under roof, 76-acre campus. The facility specializes in designing and machining large frame aerospace structures, components, and assemblies for aircraft and aero engine manufacturers. It was purchased by GKN plc in January 2001 from Boeing, one of GKN Aerospace's largest customers.

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Making the Case for Capital Expenditures

January 14, 2005 8:13 am | Articles | Comments

New equipment will help you meet production requirements, but getting it means justifying a capital expense. Here's how to make that process a success. By Lloyd Morgan, Contributor In most modern organizations, everyone competes for the same pile of capital allocated for project work.

Cashing In On the Road to Beijing

January 14, 2005 8:11 am | Blogs | Comments

The new Chinese Revolution — the one that is flooding the world with Chinese-made goods has created more than a few unexpected scenarios. To the evaporation of various U.S. industries and other results, add the story of American consultant Sidney Rittenberg. A recent New York Times article profiles Rittenberg as a superstar among U.

How to Avoid Pump Packing Failures

November 9, 2004 9:56 am | by Al Guizzetti, Product Specialist, W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc. | Articles | Comments

When compression packing fails, the consequences can be devastating. Packing failure can cause pump damage, pump failure and unscheduled plant shutdowns, not to mention the cleanup effort. Considering the potential cost impact, keeping compression packing functioning properly may well be the most critical factor ensuring that the pump keeps working.

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Dust-collection system improves recycling plant's air quality inside and out

November 9, 2004 9:13 am | Articles | Comments

Dust collection from melt and holding furnaces had been an issue for the Alcan, Inc., beverage-can-recycling plant in Berea, KY. But the air inside the facility is now clean after a installing a CECOaire Fabric Dust Collector System in December 2003. The dust collector system was manufacured by CECO Environmental, a Cincinnati, OH-based maker of large-scale dust- and mist-collection systems.

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Supply Chain's Strong New Link

November 9, 2004 9:09 am | Blogs | Comments

By Rick Carter, Editor-in-Chief You'll learn in this month's cover story that RFID is not the only noteworthy trend in warehousing and distribution, but it is getting the most attention. Since Wal-Mart's 2003 demand that its top 100 suppliers apply RFID tags on shipping cases and pallets by January 1, 2005, the race has been on to learn what it is, how to use it and how to pay for it.

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Trends in Warehousing and Distribution

November 9, 2004 8:48 am | Articles | Comments

Competition, customer demands and sophisticated tools like RFID are bringing new efficiencies to distribution operations that will benefit manufacturers at all levels. By Tom Singer, Contributor In the past decade, warehousing and distribution operations have had to cope with a variety of emerging business trends and forces.

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The Manufacturing Candidate

October 19, 2004 9:42 am | by Rick Carter, Editor-in-Chief | Blogs | Comments

Who is the manufacturing candidate? John Kerry has said more on the issue than George Bush, but the President says his record speaks for itself. With unemployment hovering near 5% and the country slowly regaining some of the 2 million manufacturing jobs lost since 2000, U.S. manufacturing has been worse off - but not much.

Maintenance In High-Tech Industries

October 11, 2004 6:48 am | by Nancy Syverson, Managing Editor | Articles | Comments

Technical innovation has created challenges in maintenance that high-tech manufacturers say can be as complex and costly as the manufacturing process itself. The world has come to expect marvels from high-tech manufacturing. Extraordinary advances in computers, instrumentation, digital cameras, medical devices and other areas enter the market daily, more powerful, smaller and less expensive than before.

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Five Steps to Loading-Dock Door Selection

October 6, 2004 7:10 am | by Al Hochstein, Product Manager, Rite-Hite Doors, Inc. | Articles | Comments

While plant managers and other decision-makers are often surprised with the many developments in loading-dock doors, the selection process need not be challenging or time consuming. Here are five steps to help guide the door selection process, based on the goals of improved safety, increased productivity, lower maintenance costs and overall satisfaction.

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Standardized Speed Reducers Help Cut Steelmaker's Costs

October 6, 2004 7:05 am | Articles | Comments

Nucor-Yamato Steel Co. produces hot-rolled wide flange structural steel shapes, standard channel and miscellaneous channel shapes, car building shapes, H-piling and hot rolled steel sheet piling sections. The company has produced structural steel in Blytheville, AR, since its first mill opened in 1988.

Upgrades Improve Cement Plant’s Production, Safety

September 23, 2004 7:54 am | Articles | Comments

An automated filler cuts as much as seven seconds from the time needed to produce one bag of cement. Rinker Materials Corp., West Palm Beach, FL, is one of the largest producers of bagged cement, ready-mix concrete and concrete block in the U.S. In order to increase productivity at its cement terminal in Port Everglades, FL, the company recently made changes that helped its packaging process run smoother and produce bags that were closer to target weight goals, while providing a safer environment for employees.

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Making the PLC Internet-Ready

September 14, 2004 12:12 pm | by Mike Rothwell Director/Cincinnati Product Division Advantech Automation Group Cincinnati, OH | Articles | Comments

Is there any truth to the idea of Web-enabled automation? Is it possible to connect production and processing machinery by their PLCs to the Internet? More relevant, is it practical or profitable? The short answers: First, Internet access can provide compelling competitive advantages for linking manufacturers with service technicians, customers, suppliers and subcontractors.

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Best Practices: FPI Thermoplastic Technologies: A Rebound With an MEP Assist

September 14, 2004 8:00 am | by Rick Carter, Editor-in-Chief | Articles | Comments

When this New Jersey-based injection suffered a critical loss of business, it turned to its state Manufacturing Extension Partnership program for help. Now the company is a competitor on the world market. Culture change can come in many forms. While it’s often driven by the need to improve poor production techniques or simply by new leadership, sometimes it takes place when a company learns the hard way that its business strategy is about to self-destruct.

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The Manufacturing Extension Partnership: Help for Small Manufacturers

September 14, 2004 8:00 am | Articles | Comments

The federal Manufacturing Extension Partnership program – MEP – is probably one of the most effective government programs out there. Designed specifically to help small and medium-sized manufacturers, MEP has worked with more than 184,000 firms in all 50 states and Puerto Rico since the program began in 1988.

A Guide to MIG Welding Success

August 12, 2004 10:11 am | by David Anderson, Manager, Hobart Welders, Appleton, WI | Articles | Comments

Whether your company wants to fabricate, modify or repair, investing in a welder and taking a welding course can provide an excellent return on investment. Many businesses have discovered that they can pay for a unit within two days. Additional good news is that you don't have to be a professional welder to achieve good results.

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Battery Refill System Boosts Fork Lift Uptime

August 12, 2004 7:39 am | Articles | Comments

Atlas Cold Storage is a two-warehouse facility incorporating 402,350 sq. ft. of storage space in Hatfield, PA, 30 miles north of Philadelphia. Nationally branded makers of ice cream and other frozen food products warehouse their foods at Atlas until they are ready for shipment to retail outlets. Atlas' freezers are maintained at a constant temperature of -18 degrees Fahrenheit; loading docks and other areas remain about 35 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Plaza At PPL Center: A Study In Green

August 10, 2004 11:58 am | by Nancy Syverson, Managing Editor | Articles | Comments

In January 2002, contractors broke ground on a 1.5-acre lot in downtown Allentown, PA, to construct an office building for PPL (Pennsylvania Power & Light) Corp.'s overflowing energy marketing and trading department. The proposed building would be only a few steps from the company's art-deco-style headquarters across the street, but miles apart in design.

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