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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Advanced Heat Exchanger Design Improves Compressed Air Dryer Systems

November 8, 2001 9:29 am | by John Bergh, vice president / engineering, ZEKS Compressed Air Solutions | Articles | Comments

Moisture, oils, vapors, and other contaminants in industrial compressed air systems have long been a costly problem that negatively affect the efficiency of pneumatically operated appliances, controls, instruments, machinery, and tools, and reduces the service life of motors, air tools and cylinders.

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School Chooses Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) Roof for Durability, Energy Efficiency

November 8, 2001 9:17 am | Articles | Comments

Computer Dynamics Institute, a private business school in Virginia Beach, VA, has occupied a 17,500-sq.-ft., 20-year-old building for nine years. Recently, the building was experiencing leakage problems with its 20,000 sq. ft built-up roof (BUR). Although this was the building's second roof, it was leaking in as many as 30 places.

The Evolution of E-Commerce

November 8, 2001 9:15 am | Articles | Comments

For MRO distributors, E-commerce has been perceived as everything from threat to saving grace. In the process, it has become an integral part of modern supply management. Here's how it got there. Nancy Syverson, Managing Editor For some time, the $450 billion MRO distribution industry has wrestled with the issue of e-commerce.

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Food Distributor Expects Greater Safety, Time Savings from Loading-Dock Door Sensors

October 9, 2001 7:28 am | Articles | Comments

WinCo Foods, a Portland, OR-based food distributor, recently installed safety door contacts on the loading dock doors of its distribution center in Woodburn, OR. The contacts, designed to remote-control dock levelers, are made by Sentrol Industrial, a Tualatin, OR-based maker of non-contact safety interlock switches for industrial applications.

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Infrared Gas Heaters Improve Work Environment for Aviation Maintenance Crew

October 9, 2001 7:28 am | Articles | Comments

Austin Jet International in Horseshoe Bay, TX, is located in the center of the triangle created by Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. Its three-hangar, 12,500-sq.-ft. facility is a Federal Aviation Administration repair station. Employees who work in the hangar provide clients with a variety of maintenance services, including scheduled inspections, parts, inventory, engine overhaul and non-routine maintenance.

Baxter Mountain Home: A Small-Town's Claim to World-Class Fame

October 9, 2001 7:27 am | by Rick Carter, Editor-in-Chief | Articles | Comments

Baxter Healthcare, the giant, Illinois-based healthcare-product manufacturer, runs other award-winning facilities, but its Mountain Home plant in northern Arkansas may be the most exceptional. Here's why. Plant manager Vick Crawley matter-of-factly explains the numerous achievements of his Baxter Healthcare facility in Mountain Home, AR, as if he's done it many times before.

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Software Solutions Can Simplify On-Site Compliance

September 10, 2001 7:56 am | by Dave Dively, Director of Sales and Marketing, Corbus-PA | Articles | Comments

If OSHA paid a visit and decided to give your employees a pop quiz regarding the location of a particular MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets), would they pass? Do you know how many pounds of each EPA-reportable chemical ingredient are located within your facility? Hopefully you've answered a firm and accurate "yes" to both of these questions.

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Oil Skimmers Keep Winnebago Production Running Clean

September 10, 2001 7:48 am | Articles | Comments

The Winnebago name is associated with quality recreational vehicles. Based in Forest City, IA, Winnebago Industries builds motor homes under the Winnebago, Itasca, Rialta and Ultimate brand names, and markets them to dealers throughout the U.S. and Canada. Motor home sales have represented at least 87% of company revenues over the past five years.

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Pharmaceutical Manufacturer Streamlines Production With Custom-Made Work-Positioning Tables

September 10, 2001 7:48 am | Articles | Comments

Roxane Laboratories, Inc., a Columbus, OH-based manufacturer of prescription drugs, recently added state-of-the-art work-positioning tables to prevent back strain among its production-line employees. Since the addition of seven Roll-On Level Loaders custom-made by last year by the Southworth Products Corp.

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The Challenge of Food-Industry Maintenance

September 10, 2001 7:46 am | by Joy LePree, Contributing Editor | Articles | Comments

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.

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Tough Light Fixtures Meet the Challenge of Die-Casting Plant's Harsh Environment

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

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.

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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.

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