By Steve Rogers NRTLs (nationally recognized testing laboratories) offer companies the ability to secure third-party verification of product capabilities. These approvals can also be a wise marketing strategy since they allow products to be compared fairly and completely by potential customers. However, the process can be both costly and lengthy without organization and attention to detail.
Most companies today are exposed to one of the most complex and diverse business environments in manufacturing history. With a globally distributed design/build process and supply chain, a demand-driven market, and the need for real-time collaboration and response across the manufacturing enterprise, companies are facing formidable challenges.
Here’s a guide to help you answer that question, and tips for what to do if the response is ‘yes.’ Outsourcing of IT maintenance is expected to grow as more manufacturers turn to computer-based production technologies. Many companies have been guilty of viewing production maintenance as a necessary evil or, at best, a cost that is difficult to isolate and control.
Keeping the line moving at the tool crib has always been a problem. Without an efficient method for handling the congestion of workers waiting for the tools they need, it’s easy for employees to spend more time in that line than the company might like.
This North Dakota-based maker of aircraft cargo systems believes its lean-based operating platform is the key to a bright future. By Rick Carter, Editor-in-Chief Of all industries hurt by 9/11, aerospace probably tops the list. Commercial carriers, airplane builders and suppliers all saw their business drop after that tragic day.
Application and operators: These are the two things that should drive the decision of purchasing a lift truck, not acquisition cost. You need to know how well potential trucks are designed for your application. And you need to know how well they’re designed for operator confidence, productivity and safety. With the appropriate truck in the hands of a confident operator, productivity is optimized. And when that machine is built to last, you get the winning combination of high productivity, safety and low total cost of ownership.
By Rick Carter, Editor-in-Chief Anyone wishing to polish their powers of deception couldn’t ask for a better teacher than our own President Bush. Tricks that would make con artists envious are enacted before our eyes by the Bush team in dazzling government-financed splendor. Like any shell game, though, if you know where to look, the sleight of hand is evident.
Distributors can help you cut MRO costs, says this expert, but only if you allow them. The strategy: customized, value-added support. By Mark Dancer, Contributor Distributors know the trap: Manufacturing customers demand high levels of support, but are increasingly unwilling to pay for the value-add.
Materials management is essential to better supply-chain performance. One way to improve the flow of product all along the supply chain is to use plastic reusable packaging. World-class companies like Ford, John Deere, Harley-Davidson, Tyson and others have already recognized the value of reusable packaging in moving their product faster, better, safer and more cost-effectively. A study conducted by Michigan State University, for example, noted that one U.S. automaker saved $10.9 million a year over a four-year period after a $16.3 million investment in reusable packaging.
By Paul J. Burton, Vice President of Manufacturing, Plug Power, Latham, NY Many manufacturers view sustainable practices and cost savings as an either/or proposition. Either a company can do what is best for people and the environment, their thinking goes, or it can address its bottom line. Ecology, they believe, costs extra.
The self-cleaning Russell Finex Eco Filter means less downtime and safer working conditions at a hydrocarbon resin plant in California. When Neville Chemical Co. opened its Anaheim, CA, plant in 1958, its major competitors in the growing hydrocarbon resin industry were domestic giants such as Eastman and Exxon.
By Rick Carter, Editor-in-Chief Too bad all this talk about oil prices and shortages isn’t just another 1970s nostalgia program. It might be funny if the characters got mixed up in that decade’s “oil embargo” politics. Or if they did something funny while waiting in a long line for gasoline. Then, by next week, the program would be on to a new topic, and the whole gas-shortage thing would be gone.
The competitive global marketplace demands that manufacturers be the low-cost producer to survive. Improvements in productivity, driven by the latest in automation and management policies, can provide the leverage managers are looking for. By Nancy Syverson, Managing Editor Productivity is the critical measure that determines plant efficiency.
For maintenance and plant operations, one device that can often represent significant cost is the sensor, particularly in harsh applications such as chemical and petrochemical processing. Often exposed to or immersed in highly corrosive solutions and subjected to extremely high operating temperatures and other severe conditions, pH sensors are the critical front-line probes that gather and deliver key data.
Specialty chemicals manufacturer Rohm and Haas Co. has reinvigorated its Manufacturing Excellence initiative, to better compete in a tough chemical marketplace. Here's how the company did it. By David Rosenthal, P.E., Rohm and Haas Co., Bristol, PA Global competition, maturing markets, over-capacity plants, increasing environmental pressure, and rising raw material prices continue to challenge chemical-industry profitability.
Investments in infrared thermography will return handsomely when used as part of a well-planned maintenance program. Unfortunately, many companies don't get those returns. In fact, thermography all too often becomes a burdensome expense, and the program is eventually abandoned. One reason this happens is because managers fail to understand the basics of the technology and the needs of their staff who use it.
The conveyer moves dry bulk-food blends without mixing or cross-contamination, and can be placed where needed. GloryBee Foods, founded in 1975 as a one-man operation selling honey, is a Eugene, OR-based manufacturer and distributor of organic food products. The family-run business still sells honey and other liquid sweeteners.
By Rick Carter, Editor-in-Chief A Procter and Gamble product called PUR is on duty right now in the tsunami-ravaged areas of Sri Lanka and Indonesia. It’s a powder that, when mixed with dirty water, makes it drinkable. It sounds like science fiction, but Greg Allgood, PhD, head of P&G’s Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program, assures me it’s real science and really works.
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.
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.