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IMPO Insider

Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Trends in Material Handling

January 14, 2003 5:39 am | by Bruce Tompkins, Principal/Operations, and Darrell Krasoski, Principal/Integration, Tompkins Associates, Raleigh, NC

The industry is responding to manufacturer demands for equipment that is less complex, but smarter, requires less maintenance and is more cost-effective. Today's economy requires that every investment a company makes yields a quicker ROI than ever before. As manufacturers replace and upgrade material handling equip-ment, they are looking for solutions that can meet this requirement.

Eight Steps to Precision Torque Control Of Fasteners

December 11, 2002 11:32 am | by Gordon Wall, Engineer Manager, Mountz, Inc.

Torque is defined as the force causing rotation or torsion in machinery. In the manufacturing and assembly world, tightening, controlling, or measuring torque on fasteners is imperative for production efficiency. An inadequately torqued fastener can vibrate or work loose. Conversely, if tension is too high, the fastener can snap or strip its threads.

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Behavioral Training Gives Workers Standards for Optimizing Output

December 11, 2002 11:29 am

Southern Clay Products is a Gonzales, TX-based producer of specialty clay minerals for a variety of global markets. It supplies manufacturers of paints, inks, greases, drilling fluids, plastics, paper, and home- and personal-care products. At the site, clay minerals are packaged in a variety of bag sizes, from fiber drums, to bulk and railcar shipments.

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Training in a Down Economy

December 11, 2002 11:28 am

Do you cut it or keep it? Two training experts present a variety of solutions manufacturers are using. Everyone in manufacturing believes training is important. But tough times put that belief to the test. While true believers maintain or strengthen training efforts, doubters or those on weak ground cut back.

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Listening for the Faint Sounds of Boiler Leaks Helps Avert Shutdowns

November 11, 2002 8:43 am | by Bob Soden, President Triple 5 Industries, LLC

Listen to your plant boiler; it has important things to say. Acoustic monitoring (listening) systems (AMS) provide an early warning of potentially serious problems, saving thousands of dollars by averting shutdowns at power stations, pulp and paper mills, chemical plants and other industrial facilities.

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Inside Grainger

November 11, 2002 8:41 am | by Nancy Syverson, Managing Editor

When the recession hit, industrial distributor W.W. Grainger had two things its competitors didn't: cash and a vision. Here's how the $4.8 billion dollar company is restructuring to improve customer service, gain market share, and create the "perfect order." Ask president and chief operating officer, Wesley M.

How to Check and Reduce Acid Levels in Compressor Lubricant

October 9, 2002 6:42 am | by Tim Tucker President, Air Engineering, Inc.

When it comes to lubricating rotary-screw air compressors, a unique set of circumstances can make the process difficult. This is because in most lubricant applications, oxygen, heat and moisture are not continually combined. Two of these three factors are often combined, but not all three. In a rotary screw air compressor, the lubricant is constantly injected into the compressor air end along with the intake air, and both are moved through the compressor chamber.

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Root Cause Analysis Software Helps Refiner End Valve-Actuator Failures

October 9, 2002 6:35 am

At the Lyondell-Citgo petroleum refinery in Houston, TX, a decision was made some years ago to replace manually operated wedge-plug isolation and switch valves on the coker drums with motor operated, metal-seated ball valves. The change was expected to improve efficiency of these valve operations, critical to the refining process.

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Maryland's Move To Manufacturing Excellence

October 9, 2002 6:35 am | by Rick Carter, Editor-in-Chief

The Maryland World Class Manufacturing Consortium has been helping state manufacturers become world-class competitors since 1996. Lean, Kaizen, Six Sigma and other strategies are part of a program that guarantees its members will improve. If someone told you they would help your manufacturing operation achieve world-class standards, pay half the cost of high-level consultants, and help you network with other manufacturers _ all for a nominal annual fee _ you would probably question their credibility.

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Don't Let Chain Hoist Safety be Your Weakest Link

September 11, 2002 10:10 am | by Chris Hess, Engineering and Quality Control Manager Harrington Hoists and Cranes

Paul Smith was only trying to be helpful. As he finished loading engine fasteners from the bustling and noisy work floor to an awaiting hoist, he stood next to a railing and placed his hand atop the load in an effort to balance it and prevent it from moving. He had done this many times before. At the same time, the hoist operator thought he heard someone tell him to pick up, and he began to lift the load.

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High-Voltage Inductor, For Cost and Downtime Savings

September 11, 2002 10:07 am

Perkin Elmer Corp. is a Norwalk, CT-based manufacturer of life-science systems and analytical instruments. Among other products, the company's Optoelectronics business produces thyratrons, fast acting, high-energy switches capable of operations up to 20 kA and 75 kV. They are typically used in applications such as gas laser, radar, and other modulator applications.

Safety Practices in High-Risk Industries

September 11, 2002 10:07 am | by Nancy Syverson

Dangerous jobs challenge safety experts in extraordinary ways. Here's how professionals in some of the nation's most dangerous jobs keep the focus on safety in their daily routines. Safety experts stress that accidents are not random occurrences. They happen for a reason, usually resulting from interactions among people, machines and their environments.

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Plenty to Consider When Choosing the Proper Cord Grip

August 12, 2002 8:18 am | by Mark Sweeney, Vice President of Sales and Marketing,Remke Industries

Used in both industrial and commercial facilities, cord grips provide the means for passing cord or cable into an enclosure, through a bulkhead, or into a control device such as a switch. Grips prevent cable pull-out or premature fatigue because they secure the cable where it enters the enclosure, or where it terminates into a hardwired application.

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Automated Powder-Unloading System Speeds Blending Process for Chocolate Maker

August 12, 2002 8:11 am

When Forbes Chocolate introduced an automated bulk-bag discharger at its Cleveland, OH-based plant, it was able to introduce into three ribbon blenders up to one-third more cocoa powder per shift than previous manual dumping of 50-lb. bags. The change, enabled by equipment purchased from Flexicon Corp.

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Trends in Facilities Maintenance: Tight Budgets, New Solutions

August 12, 2002 8:11 am | by Gabriella Jacobs, Contributor

As budgets shrink in both manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors, facility maintenance professionals have found new ways to cope. Do more with less. That theme has been echoing across the business world for some time now, and it's particularly resounding for facility managers. But as budget belts tighten, requirements and requests for high-quality maintenance remain.

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Best Practices: Rohm and Haas Company: Manufacturing Excellence One Step at a Time

July 12, 2002 11:30 am | by Rick Carter, Editor-in-Chief

With the help of company veterans like Dave Rosenthal and others, the Philadelphia-based maker of specialty chemicals has embarked on a manufacturing-excellence initiative tailored to the unique needs of its worldwide businesses. Credited for increasing capacity and reducing costs, it has helped transform a solid, old-line company into a streamlined, world-class supplier.

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Seven Steps to Pressure-Gauge Selection

July 11, 2002 10:22 am | by Richard Jankura, Engineering Manager, Dresser Instrument

Pressure gauges have been a reliable source of accurate pressure measurement for more than 100 years. The operation and design of pressure gauges dates back to the mid 1800s when Eugene Bourdon invented the Bourdon tube. This same principle is used today, albeit with enhancements to last longer and resist corrosion.

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Corrosion-Proof Components Extend Bearing Life Under Food Manufacturer's Harsh Conditions

July 11, 2002 10:14 am

In the food industry, moisture and harsh cleaning solutions are part of everyday life, and corrosion is a production manager's nightmare. It can cause bearing failure, necessitate unplanned maintenance and, depending on where the failure occurs, shut down an entire line, resulting in costly downtime and serious disruptions to operations.

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Monitor Power Usage for Predictive Maintenance

June 10, 2002 9:14 am | by Rich Harwell, Automation Product Line Manager Cutler Hammer

Unplanned shutdowns and downtime continue to be among the largest avoidable costs to manufacturing. In process industries, downtime frequently leaves material useless when the production process is shut down mid-stream. These shutdowns may never be completely avoidable, but new technologies can help minimize their occurrence and their impact on manufacturing.

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Is Power's Next Generation On-Site?

June 10, 2002 9:10 am | by Clint "Jito" Coleman, Contributor

As power interruption becomes less tolerable to manufacturers, the option of generating efficient back-up power at the point of use begins to make sense. The benefits are many. Industry's electric-power needs are not as simple as they once were. In today's manufacturing and processing plants, where systems are almost completely operated by computers, plant managers face more complex concerns regarding the power that fuels their facilities.

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