Manufacturers of edible products face a diverse world of significant challenges, including stringent government regulations, harsh working conditions and complex equipment that can be difficult to maintain. In the world of manufacturing, every industry has its own set of problems and issues.
Die-casting is a century-old process of injecting molten metal into a steel die under high pressure. The metal - aluminum, zinc, magnesium or copper - is held under pressure until it solidifies into a net-shape metal part. Die casters produce precision and high-strength products at a rapid production rate, from automobile engine and transmission parts, to intricate components for computers and medical devices.
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.
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.
When CITGO Asphalt and Refining Co. purchased a 70-year-old Savannah, GA, refinery in 1993, the company bought into an outdated and non-compliant facility with operational problems.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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.