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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

High-Pressure Air Handler Enables Caterpillar to Meet Clean-Room Specs

August 8, 2001 11:12 am | Articles | Comments

The Caterpillar Lafayette, IN, plant manufactures large diesel engines that power trucks, ships and boats, construction and mining machines. The testing of these engines is done on high-precision equipment in contaminant-free environments. Like the production of computers or chips, engine production requires clean room or clean-area environments to protect parts and machinery against damage from dust and other unwanted air particles.

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ISO 14001: A Popular Plan for Environmental Excellence

August 8, 2001 11:11 am | by Stanley Fielding, Contributor | Articles | Comments

Use of this environmental-management standard has spread dramatically around the world since its introduction in 1996. Now it's catching on in the U.S. Here's why. At one time, companies implemented environmental management systems largely to reduce their exposure to EPA penalties and/or to increase profitability from a new perspective.

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Asphalt Refinery Improves Distribution With New Railcar-Loading System

July 9, 2001 6:31 am | Articles | Comments

When CITGO Asphalt and Refining Co. purchased a 70-year-old Savannah, GA, refinery in 1993, the company bought into an outdated and non-compliant facility with operational problems. In particular, the plant's 18-spot railcar loading station was not only inefficient and in need of continuous repair, it was unsafe and its location impeded truck-loading operations.

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Nuclear Plant's Tough Floor Coating Minimizes Spread of Radioactive Contaminants

July 9, 2001 6:31 am | Articles | Comments

Keeping concrete floors clean, is always an important maintenance function. In nuclear power plants, however, this function is especially important because it helps stop the spread of radioactive particles generated during maintenance on systems containing radioactive contamination. These contaminants accumulate and spread in nuclear facilities in much the same way dirt and dust spread through other industrial plants.

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Ergonomics: Still an Issue

July 9, 2001 6:29 am | by Nancy Syverson, Managing Editor | Articles | Comments

Despite President Bush's repeal of the Clinton administration's ergonomics standard, companies remain responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace. Here's why. Each year, 1.8 million Americans suffer on-the-job repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) like carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, nerve damage and back pain.

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Advanced Videoprobes Locate Defects Deep Inside Pipes, Tubing

June 11, 2001 8:27 am | Articles | Comments

Conam Inspection, Inc., a Glendale Heights, IL-based inspection and testing service, uses advanced visual-inspection instruments called "videoprobes" for plant applications. The company depends on the probes to complete its nationwide quality-control service, which provides nondestructive testing, mechanical testing, and metallurgical- and chemical-analysis services Figure 1: A Conam inspector uses a View-A-Pipe videoprobe to inspect the welds inside a stainless steel heat exchanger used in the glassmaking industry.

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Special Report: Manufacturing in Mexico Lean Strategies, Production Efficiencies Get a Foothold

June 11, 2001 8:02 am | by Enrique Mora and Alejandro Castillo | Articles | Comments

Efficient production methods are slow to be accepted in Mexico, but surveys show that progress is being made. The application of the so-called "Toyota Production System" began in America several years ago. It all started when the American automotive industry, in an effort to survive, decided to adopt the system developed by the Japanese.

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Special Report: Manufacturing in Mexico Mexico's Manufacturers Look For More Growth

June 11, 2001 8:02 am | by Alejandro Castillo | Articles | Comments

As the strongest sector of the Mexican economy, manufacturing is well-positioned to grow under the country's new, pro-business leadership. Forecasts suggest, however, that progress hinges on an upswing in the U.S. economy In recent years, Mexico's manufacturing industry has made significant progress.

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Special Report: Manufacturing in Mexico Mexico's Job Market: Size Outpaces Worker Needs

June 11, 2001 8:02 am | by Rubén Fierro | Articles | Comments

Jobs are on the rise in Mexico, but according to a recent study, worker earnings and benefits still lag behind. The following summarizes portions of a recent study undertaken by the International Labor Organization (ILO) concerning the evolution, problems and challenges of the job market in Mexico.

High-Tech Help for HazMat Classification

June 11, 2001 7:30 am | by David C. Frankil, CEOVirtual Compliance, Inc. | Articles | Comments

Identifying and classifying hazardous materials for shipment over the nation's roads can be tricky business. One mistake can create risks throughout the chain of custody, from loading dock to transporter, increasing the potential for the wrong response to an incident, not to mention the chance for penalties or fines.

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Rare Earth Magnets Provide Needed Holding Power For Disk Brake Parts Maker

June 11, 2001 7:23 am | Articles | Comments

Gunn Metal Stamping is a Guelph, Ontario, Canada-based manufacturer of molded steel backing plates for disk brake assemblies. The company's brake parts are produced from steel coils fed by decoilers through eight mechanical, straight-sided and C-frame presses ranging in capacity from 250 to 1,000 tons.

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Stopping Storage-Tank Safety-Vent Leakage

May 7, 2001 10:13 am | by Arnold Fox, Senior Manager-Marketing & Strategic Planning, Protectoseal Co | Articles | Comments

The process of storing large volumes of liquid VOC's (volatile organic compounds) in storage tanks requires a complex operation. Numerous pressure controls and emergency pressure relief vents are included in the vapor control system. Filling and draining the tanks changes the gas pressure above the liquids as do changes in atmospheric pressure and temperature, especially when the tanks are located above ground.

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Multimeter Provides Reliable Test Data Under Rigorous Manufacturing Conditions

May 7, 2001 10:07 am | Articles | Comments

Alaska Diesel Electric, Inc., is a Seattle-WA-based manufacturer of marine generator sets and propulsion engines. The company's business is 50% building new electrical generation systems for fishing vessels, and 50% retrofitting or repairing existing systems. The market it serves places a heavy burden on the company because shipboard electrical systems must be reliable.

New Lightning-Dissipation System Keeps Power Plant On Line in the Worst Storms

May 7, 2001 10:07 am | Articles | Comments

Lightning strikes the Earth 100 times each second. A bolt of lightning can reach a temperature of 50,000 degrees F, about five times hotter than the surface of the sun. Damage as a result of lightning costs millions of dollars each year. It can knock out a plant's electronics, alter computer memory, ignite forest fires and cause injuries or death.

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IMPO Best Practices: Texas Nameplate's Texas-Sized Turnaround

May 7, 2001 10:04 am | Articles | Comments

Once plagued by error-prone production, worker apathy and dwindling profits, this Dallas-based label maker turned around with a vengeance after almost losing its largest customer a decade ago. Here's how the company went on to win multiple awards, including the Malcolm Baldrige in 1998, and continues to raise the bar for itself.

Kaizen: Continuing to Improve

April 9, 2001 10:31 am | by Nancy Syverson, Managing Editor | Articles | Comments

The Japanese term for 'continuous improvement' has come to represent a new culture for many U.S. manufacturers, as well as a new opportunity to compete. 'Kaizen' - the term may send at least a subliminal shiver up the spines of those of a certain generation. Japanese for "continuous improvement," the term is usually applied to manufacturing processes.

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User-Friendly Control System Increases Automated Guide Vehicle Value at Procter & Gamble Plant

April 9, 2001 10:04 am | Articles | Comments

Proctor and Gamble, Inc. (P&G), is one of the world's most successful manufacturers of consumer goods, with processing operations in more than 70 countries. Its products, including those in beauty care, food, beverage, health care, laundry and cleaning markets, are sold in more than 140 countries. P&G's Iowa City, IA, plant, which produces shampoo, conditioner and mouthwash, operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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Ultrasound Testing Helps Cable Manufacturer Detect Early Bearing Failure

April 9, 2001 10:03 am | Articles | Comments

"Our goal is to predict bearing failure before it adversely affects the quality of our product," says Jackie Walker, a 17-year veteran and associate supervisor, preventive maintenance, at the Belden Electronics division in Tomkinsville, KY. "Ultrasonics technology in conjunction with vibration analysis are the troubleshooting tools we use to help us achieve this goal.

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INDUSTRIAL PSYCHOLOGY AT WORK

April 9, 2001 10:01 am | by Nancy Syverson, Managing Editor | Articles | Comments

The science has produced volumes of information about workers, productivity, behavior, motivation and other issues. Here's a look at the effect it has had and continues to have on industrial human relations. In 1945 there were a grand total of 130 participants in a newly-formed division of the Washington, D.

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Loading-Dock Upgrades Can Improve Supply-Chain Performance

March 15, 2001 4:58 am | by Kyle Nelson, vice president of levelers/restraints,Rite-Hite Corp. | Articles | Comments

The push for supply chain efficiency has driven changes in over-the-road trucks and how they're loaded. The changes have a direct impact at the loading dock - an essential yet often overlooked link in the supply chain. Innovative dock design and properly applied equipment can help companies keep material flowing smoothly across their docks, keeping production lines supplied and ensuring reliable deliveries.

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