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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Zero-to-Landfill: Preserving Planet and Profit

April 11, 2005 11:58 am | Articles | Comments

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.

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Resin Plant’s Filter-System Upgrade Boosts Safety, Efficiency

April 11, 2005 11:49 am | Articles | Comments

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.

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Dipsticks

April 11, 2005 11:40 am | Blogs | Comments

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.

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Trends in Productivity

April 11, 2005 11:28 am | Articles | Comments

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.

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Maximizing Sensor Performance in Demanding Applications

March 14, 2005 10:10 am | by John P. Connelly, Sensor Product Manager, Invensys Process Systems, Foxboro Measurements and Instruments Div., Foxboro, MA | Articles | Comments

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.

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The Road to Manufacturing Excellence : Are We There Yet?

February 11, 2005 7:18 am | Articles | Comments

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.

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Infrared Tells More Than Temperature

February 10, 2005 7:00 am | by John Snell, President, Snell Infrared | Articles | Comments

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.

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Conveyor meets manufacturer’s need to cleanly move loose food items

February 10, 2005 5:50 am | Articles | Comments

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.

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For Tsunami Survivors and the World

February 10, 2005 5:48 am | Blogs | Comments

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.

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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.

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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