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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

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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Pneumatic Actuators Sweep Away Manufacturer's Scrap-Metal Problems

March 15, 2001 4:16 am | Articles | Comments

In the metal stamping industry, one of the most critical operations is the removal of post-production scrap metal from the die. Scrap metal that is not removed can affect part quality and ruin the die, costing companies valuable resources to repair or replace dies. In the past, metal-stamping companies removed scrap by pushing it out of the way with a broom, a laborious, tedious process.

Self-Contained, Motorized Pulley Helps Potato Processors Make Perfect Fries

March 15, 2001 4:16 am | Articles | Comments

"For more than 19 years we have been using motorized pulleys to drive a rotating brush on our Automatic Defect Removal (ADR®) system" says Pete Smith, a product manager for Key Technology, Inc., Walla Walla, WA. A leading manufacturer of process automation and electro-optical inspection systems for the food-processing and pharmaceutical industries, Key Technology makes the ADR® 4, a unit that detects and eliminates blemished areas from raw potato strips, improving quality for makers of frozen french-fried potatoes.

Maintaining the Auto-Industry's Automated Edge

March 15, 2001 4:10 am | by Joy LePree, Contributing Editor | Articles | Comments

High-tech automated equipment supports today's automakers, but requires its own high-tech support from skilled maintenance teams to do the job. An automobile manufacturing plant is a technological site to behold. Orange sparks light up the factory as robotic welders swiftly perform their duty and smoothly send product down the line.

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Fuel Cells Will Mean Extended, Pollution-Free Power for Tomorrow's Lift Trucks

February 13, 2001 7:24 am | by Jeff Colborn, Ph.D.President and CEO, Metallic Power | Articles | Comments

The zinc/air fuel cell is a new technology that will make it possible to run an electric lift truck for three shifts at a time, then be refueled as quickly and easily as pumping gasoline. No extra batteries, battery-hoisting equipment, or slow battery recharge and cooldown procedures are needed.

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COPPER GIANT CERRO COPPER CONTINUES ITS TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE WITH CONVEYORS FROM MATHEWS CONVEYOR

February 1, 2001 5:33 am | Articles | Comments

Though copper pipe has been used to carry water since the days of the Egyptians, it was not until the late 1920's that practical and economical thin-walled copper plumbing tube was developed to compete with iron pipe. Once developed, it did not take long for copper - an easily worked, corrosion-resistant product - to replace threaded iron pipe as the standard for many residential and industrial uses.

Uninterruptible Power Supply System Saves Downtime and Lost Materials for Carpet Manufacturer

January 30, 2001 8:03 am | Articles | Comments

The first placement of Caterpillar's 250 kVA Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) system at a plastic extrusion plant in Charlotte, NC, proved to be a powerful success. In November 1999, Shaw Industries' Plant 25 installed the new UPS system on one of its four extrusion lines. The first power interruption occurred on Jan.

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Tank Building: Tough Work That's Changed Little

January 30, 2001 8:01 am | Articles | Comments

Fisher Tank Co. president Leo Pasini describes tank building as "a tough business, a basic, U.S., old industry." In the 52 years Fisher Tank has been in the business of maintaining and building steel tanks for water, chemical and petrochemical-product storage, construction advances have been few. The most notable was the invention of automatic arc welders that travel around a tank to make horizontal welds.

How a respected, old-school tank builder with near-crippling insurance costs was turned around by a new president and his vision for safety-based excellence.

January 30, 2001 8:01 am | by Rick Carter Editor-in-Chief | Articles | Comments

Of the many cost-saving options used by modern manufacturers, cutting workers' compensation insurance premiums is not usually on the short list. And that's too bad because U.S. businesses spend plenty in this area. According to the National Academy of Social Insurance, a Washington, D.C-based research group, all U.

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