The rise in energy prices is an unwelcome reality in today’s manufacturing and business environment. While the rate of price increases for natural gas, heating oil, and other sources may vary from year to year, the upward trajectory is clear. Energy cost reduction strategies are vital to staying competitive.
Manufacturers of aluminum extrusions are highly dependent on the availability of high-quality billet, which can sometimes be difficult to procure either in cut lengths or logs. Without billet, extrusions do not get run and on-time deliveries do not occur, particularly with custom products. This situation can put customers at risk.
Energy costs are a significant portion of any compressed air system's total lifetime cost. In fact, the amount of energy required to run an air compressor for just one year can exceed the compressor purchase price. Over a period of 10 years, energy normally totals 70 percent of the overall costs.
In order to appreciate where we are today, it’s helpful to understand the evolution of chemical compliance. Prior to 1970, chemical management was nearly non-existent. Then came OSHA and the EPA, setting the United States on a path toward greater workplace safety and environmental conscientiousness.
China’s overwhelming manufacturing cost advantage over the U.S. is shrinking fast. Within three years, a Boston Consulting Group analysis concludes that rising Chinese wages, higher U.S. productivity, a weaker dollar, and other factors will virtually close the cost gap between the U.S. and China for many goods consumed in North America.
By implementing a Product Lifecycle Management system, companies benefit by simplifying each phase of the product development process. Due to their focus on product engineering, discrete manufacturers in the small-to-medium sized space typically adopt a PLM system to support best in class engineering processes and to address challenges with continual new product introductions, shorter product lifecycles and shrinking profit margins.
Virtually all analysts agree that, yes, many American manufacturers have been successful in bringing some previously lost business back home. But it’s happening at a slower pace than the industry had hoped. According to Henry Moser, the founder of the national Reshoring Initiative, the actual rate of reshoring is somewhere between a trickle and torrent.
A closer look at the factors contributing to slowing growth rates in Brazil, Russia, India and China offers insight on the next collection of emerging markets, as well as the established economies picking up the pace. For quite some time the subset of countries known as the BRICs have been the primary targets of U.S. manufacturers looking for either less expensive production settings or a new market in which to grow.
Though the foregoing examples focus primarily on how a strong safety culture can impress and reassure customers, the chief impetus behind building a strong safety culture is to protect a company’s most valuable asset: its employees.
Like other innovations spurred by a combination of technology development and government mandates, solid state lighting (SSL) presents a real triple bottom line scenario – good for the planet, good for profit, and good for end users. Manufacturers play a key role in making sure LED adoption will hit its full potential.
Some might question why OSHA wants employees trained on the changes a year and half before chemical manufacturers and distributors have to make them, and the answer is because OSHA wants employees familiar with new label elements and the new safety data sheet format before they encounter them in the workplace.
The buzz around wearable technology has been escalating the past several months. With this market gaining momentum, a key question needs to be addressed: How prepared are manufacturers to design and deliver these new and innovative types of products time and time again?
Lately, there has been a lot of buzz about the new and emerging technologies in manufacturing that are likely to produce major industry changes in the coming months and years. One such area of technology, as identified by the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) group, is remanufacturing.
Facebook is the single largest collective of people ever in the history of mankind, and it’s changed how we interact socially. When you add the fact that there are one billion users, and almost 70 percent of its access is mobile, the impact broadens tremendously.
The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award is recognized as one of the most prestigious honors a U.S. company in the manufacturing sector can attain. We recently sat down with Woodbury University President Luis Calingo, member of the 2013 Board of Examiners for the award. He offers perspective on goals every company in this sector should strive for and the irony of cost cuts that are often made to employee training programs.
Today over 43 million workers in over 5 million workplaces are covered by the HazCom Standard, which means OSHA’s adoption of GHS creates compliance issues that extend far and wide into American workplaces, especially industrial facilities. The biggest changes that companies in the United States will see thanks to GHS adoption are to chemical classification, labels and safety data sheets.
To address coming workforce demographic changes, employers must create a corporate culture that promotes both safety and wellness. Healthy workers and a safe workspace reduce costs and increase productivity, so these efforts will be repaid fully.
From repetitive motion to lifting risks, the warehouse presents many challenges to personnel safety. Repetitive motion of any type, when sustained, can result in injury, says the president of Hamilton Caster. “Manufacturers can help reduce injuries by providing equipment that eliminates risky motions, such as reaching too far to position products for transit, and by observing best ergonomic practices for working height.
The risk of slips and falls is one every business must face, but industrial environments contend with the added challenge of preventing significantly more dangerous incidents. With heavy machinery, rotating equipment, sharp corners, and other various dangers around every corner, it’s critical manufacturers stress safety… and what better place to start than the floors.
Fasteners are essential to modern life; it is easy to forget just what an important role they play. Automakers have reported that the majority of their warranty costs arise from fastener related issues – ranging from the simple rattle in the dashboard coming from a loose tapping screw to a major recall resulting from mis-torqued high strength fasteners in the steering system. Many problems relate back to the not-so-simple fastener.