The auto supplier's die-casting facility in Niles, IL, is nearing plant-wide completion of a 5S strategy that has both bonded the workforce and helped keep the unit competitive through tough times. Tom Dolack, director of engineering; a Metaldyne worker operates one of the facility's 40 die-cast machines; Tom Fisher, general manager; and a completed automatic-transmission valve body is cleaned and inspected.
Both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) require facilities to perform routine inspections. These requirements were established to protect the environment from damage and workers from injuries. Routine inspections are a good way to uncover problems, and inspection forms are one of the things that an OSHA or EPA compliance officer will ask to see during an inspection.
Ixion Ceramics, Inc., a Chattanooga, TN-based subsidiary of Ixion Technologies, Inc., designs and manufactures microcircuit "packaging" for telecommunications, military, aerospace and other applications. It makes precision-engineered ceramics and metals that begin as slurries and, when shaped and dried, form tapes and pastes that are, in turn, used to create electronic circuits or screen-printed dielectric layers.
An OSHA area director and, in an exclusive interview, Assistant Secretary of Labor John Henshaw give their views on OSHA inspections, working with the business community, and the satisfaction they derive from helping make workplaces safer. On December 29, 1970, President Richard Nixon signed the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
Automatic lubricators can be installed on most applications that require greasing maintenance. Here, a worker adjusts the lubricator on a honing machine for bearing manufacture. Nearly 90% of all bearings are lubricated with grease and 80% of all bearing failures are lubrication-related.
How do you find mechanical and electrical parts for foreign-made machines here in the U.S.? Maintenance and plant engineers were asking this question at Viking Polymers, a maker of plastic polymers, when they recently needed replacement parts for a specialized, German-built machine at its Jamestown, NC, facility.
Conserving energy on the factory floor cuts costs, reduces energy dependency and helps the environment. A lighting retrofit is an effective way to do that. The U.S. business/industrial community is the best place to start cutting greenhouse-gas emissions. Why? Seventy percent of all electricity is consumed by this sector.
One of the most important parts of a cordless tool system is the corded part: the battery charger. Not only does the charger deliver power to the tools, it affects their economy, efficiency and performance. It's a complex relationship that is often misunderstood. Cordless-tool technology was developed for NASA.
At Dacotah Cement's Rapid City, SD, facility, business starts at a nearby quarry where piano-sized blocks of limestone are blasted from the earth. The blocks are crushed into gravel-sized pieces and blended with other raw materials. Next, the mix is further pulverized in ball mills, where turning steel cylinders filled with thousands of steel balls crush it into powder.
Metrics and lean manufacturing helped turn this family-owned business from a fast-growing, but disorganized player into a world-class leader in the booming market for vinyl replacement windows and doors. Republic's award-winning facility (upper left); Kevin Heylin, vice president of manufacturing (center); and Senthil Rajamanickam, director of window operations and maintenance (above).
Dock-seal fire damage caused by truck-trailer marker lights. Burned loading dock-seal head pads or head pads damaged with burn holes can be found on many docks at which truck/trailers stay parked with the engine running for as little as 20 minutes. Frequency of the burn holes - and fires, in some cases - spiked in the late 1990s, baffling investigators, who first thought they were caused by bare trailer-light bulbs touching seal material.
Weldwood of Canada, Ltd., is a leading producer of plywood and lumber products. To meet ever-increasing demand, the company, a subsidiary of International Paper Co., recently made key investments in new technology to increase plant capacity at its facilities in western Canada. Among the tools used were new computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) that have been installed at six of its plants in British Columbia and Alberta.
A growing list of threats to industry means today's plant managers must take added steps to safeguard their facilities, workers and proprietary information. Here are some considerations. On the morning of February 5, 2001, William Baker traveled to Navistar's engine plant in Melrose, IL, as he had every workday for the preceding 39 years.
System leakage most often occurs at the connections. This is why selecting, installing and maintaining a system's fitting connections is an important component of plant operation. In energy costs alone, a few small leaks in a facility using air at 100 lbs. per sq. in., for example, with an electric-consumption cost of 6 cents/kilowatt-hour, can waste more than $22,000 annually.
Improving quality on a budget is a challenge, especially in tough times. Here's how two manufacturers have improved their processes while keeping the cost of quality under control. Marcus Newman (center), a process improvement leader at International Specialty Products (ISP), and team members David Greene (left) and Chris Guthrie helped ISP reduce its cycle time by 10% last year.
Shamrock Boats, Cape Coral, FL, custom-builds fiberglass boats for sport fishermen and recreational boaters. Workers at the 27-year-old company both construct hulls by hand-lamination or mechanically applied fiberglass roll stock and resin. The boats are manufactured in a 60,000-sq.-ft. plant, staffed by 130 workers.
The top-producing plant for this leading Germany-based maker of outdoor power equipment is in Virginia. Executives at the award-winning facility credit company culture and dedicated employees for nearly 30 years of continuous improvement. Peter Mueller (right), executive vice president, guides Stihl's best plant in the world in Virginia Beach, VA, aided by Paul Bruggeman, director of manufacturing.
According to the Metal Building Manufacturers Association (MBMA), pre-engineered metal buildings account for more than half of all new, low-rise one- and two-story, non-residential construction in the U.S. With this abundance of metal buildings on the market comes a variety of roofing problems.
For many years, Wagner Spray Tech Corp., a Minneapolis, MN-based manufacturer of painting and decorating products, used folded corrugated inserts to protect its professional-grade paint sprayers during shipment. A recent switch to foam-in-bag packaging from Sealed Air Corp., Saddle Brook, NJ, enabled the company to save as much as 45% on material costs and reduce packaging labor by half.
Choosing the correct infrared camera can offer a 10X return on your investment, often in the first year of use. On the other hand, selecting the wrong infrared camera can mean the unit is likely to become a very costly door stop. Purchasing an infrared camera is a significant investment for any buyer.