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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Maintenance Scorecards: Measure What you Manage

February 10, 2005 5:42 am

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

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

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

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.

How to Avoid Pump Packing Failures

November 9, 2004 9:56 am | by Al Guizzetti, Product Specialist, W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc.

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

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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Trends in Warehousing and Distribution

November 9, 2004 8:48 am

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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Maintenance In High-Tech Industries

October 11, 2004 6:48 am | by Nancy Syverson, Managing Editor

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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Five Steps to Loading-Dock Door Selection

October 6, 2004 7:10 am | by Al Hochstein, Product Manager, Rite-Hite Doors, Inc.

While plant managers and other decision-makers are often surprised with the many developments in loading-dock doors, the selection process need not be challenging or time consuming. Here are five steps to help guide the door selection process, based on the goals of improved safety, increased productivity, lower maintenance costs and overall satisfaction.

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Standardized Speed Reducers Help Cut Steelmaker's Costs

October 6, 2004 7:05 am

Nucor-Yamato Steel Co. produces hot-rolled wide flange structural steel shapes, standard channel and miscellaneous channel shapes, car building shapes, H-piling and hot rolled steel sheet piling sections. The company has produced structural steel in Blytheville, AR, since its first mill opened in 1988.

Upgrades Improve Cement Plant’s Production, Safety

September 23, 2004 7:54 am

An automated filler cuts as much as seven seconds from the time needed to produce one bag of cement. Rinker Materials Corp., West Palm Beach, FL, is one of the largest producers of bagged cement, ready-mix concrete and concrete block in the U.S. In order to increase productivity at its cement terminal in Port Everglades, FL, the company recently made changes that helped its packaging process run smoother and produce bags that were closer to target weight goals, while providing a safer environment for employees.

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Making the PLC Internet-Ready

September 14, 2004 12:12 pm | by Mike Rothwell Director/Cincinnati Product Division Advantech Automation Group Cincinnati, OH

Is there any truth to the idea of Web-enabled automation? Is it possible to connect production and processing machinery by their PLCs to the Internet? More relevant, is it practical or profitable? The short answers: First, Internet access can provide compelling competitive advantages for linking manufacturers with service technicians, customers, suppliers and subcontractors.

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The Manufacturing Extension Partnership: Help for Small Manufacturers

September 14, 2004 8:00 am

The federal Manufacturing Extension Partnership program – MEP – is probably one of the most effective government programs out there. Designed specifically to help small and medium-sized manufacturers, MEP has worked with more than 184,000 firms in all 50 states and Puerto Rico since the program began in 1988.

Best Practices: FPI Thermoplastic Technologies: A Rebound With an MEP Assist

September 14, 2004 8:00 am | by Rick Carter, Editor-in-Chief

When this New Jersey-based injection suffered a critical loss of business, it turned to its state Manufacturing Extension Partnership program for help. Now the company is a competitor on the world market. Culture change can come in many forms. While it’s often driven by the need to improve poor production techniques or simply by new leadership, sometimes it takes place when a company learns the hard way that its business strategy is about to self-destruct.

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A Guide to MIG Welding Success

August 12, 2004 10:11 am | by David Anderson, Manager, Hobart Welders, Appleton, WI

Whether your company wants to fabricate, modify or repair, investing in a welder and taking a welding course can provide an excellent return on investment. Many businesses have discovered that they can pay for a unit within two days. Additional good news is that you don't have to be a professional welder to achieve good results.

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Battery Refill System Boosts Fork Lift Uptime

August 12, 2004 7:39 am

Atlas Cold Storage is a two-warehouse facility incorporating 402,350 sq. ft. of storage space in Hatfield, PA, 30 miles north of Philadelphia. Nationally branded makers of ice cream and other frozen food products warehouse their foods at Atlas until they are ready for shipment to retail outlets. Atlas' freezers are maintained at a constant temperature of -18 degrees Fahrenheit; loading docks and other areas remain about 35 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Plaza At PPL Center: A Study In Green

August 10, 2004 11:58 am | by Nancy Syverson, Managing Editor

In January 2002, contractors broke ground on a 1.5-acre lot in downtown Allentown, PA, to construct an office building for PPL (Pennsylvania Power & Light) Corp.'s overflowing energy marketing and trading department. The proposed building would be only a few steps from the company's art-deco-style headquarters across the street, but miles apart in design.

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How Synthetic Lubricants Can Save Energy, Boost Efficiency

July 15, 2004 7:15 am | by Garrett Grega, Global Marketing Manager, Anderol, Inc.

Any strategy to reduce power consumption in industrial systems must include steps that extend equipment performance, reduce heat and minimize friction. One of these steps should be the use of lubricants that enhance machine investment and ensure that critical applications run at peak performance. Today, the challenge to find the right lubricant has been simplified with the advent of synthetics such as polyglycol (PAG)- and polyalphaolefin (PAO)-based products and their additive technology that can be customized for applications and environments.

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Scrap-Removal System Simplifies Foundry's Production

July 14, 2004 7:47 am

Case IH Corp. is one of America's oldest and largest manufacturers. The Racine, WI-based company was the first builder of steam engines for agricultural use. Today, with several domestic and international manufacturing facilities in operation, Case IH is recognized as a global leader in the manufacture of agricultural and construction equipment.

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What Can SMED Do for You?

July 14, 2004 6:56 am | by Gary Gathen, Contributor

SMED - single-minute exchange of dies - refers to the process of reducing die-change time to less than 10 minutes in order to cut costs and lead time. A cornerstone of lean manufacturing, SMED concepts help die-casters as well as other machine setups, especially in plants seeking to begin or improve continuous-flow.

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