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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Check Roof Openings for OSHA Compliance

March 12, 2004 6:43 am | by Michael Toohey, Marketing Manager, The Bilco Co.

Roof openings are present in virtually all non-residential buildings. Several types of products can be used to cover them, which serve a variety of purposes. These include providing ventilation or additional light, smoke venting, and/or allowing maintenance workers roof access. Regardless of the openings' function, however, failure to protect workers from the hazards these openings present can have far-reaching consequences.

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Vinyl Curtains Help Manufacturer Split the Difference in Shared Space

March 12, 2004 6:41 am

As a leading designer and manufacturer of hydraulic motion control systems, the Power-Packer division of Milwaukee, WI-based Actuant Corp. has changed location to accommodate its business and size. Recently, the company expanded some of its manufacturing to a facility in Glendale, WI, that it would share with another Actuant division, Gardner Bender, a maker of electrical tools and supplies.

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Best Practices: Naturally Vitamins, Inc.<br> Lean and Green

March 12, 2004 6:40 am | by Rick Carter, Editor-in-Chief

This company's Arizona-based manufacturing facility represents the owner's belief that environmental responsibility and the production of nutraceuticals go hand in hand. Manufacturing quality takes on a new meaning when the product being made is for human consumption. This is true in any food industry, but it's especially true in the world of nutraceuticals, where products are designed to provide medical or health benefits.

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Join the World Class

February 12, 2004 9:59 am | by Nancy Syverson, Managing Editor

Above: Members of the Boeing Airlift and Tanker Program celebrate winning an AQP award last year. At left is Clarke American Checks' 2003 Baldrige award. Applying for awards like the Baldrige and the Shingo offer manufacturers a chance for feedback about their systems and, upon winning, a way to earn the world's respect.

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Filter Maintenance Tips and Techniques

February 12, 2004 9:23 am | by Stephanie Earley, Market Manager, Kimberly-Clark, Filtration Products

Air filters are found in many industrial applications, from HVAC and industrial-process air systems to paint-spray booths. Filtration is at the heart of indoor air quality (IAQ), keeping production environments clean and free from the dust and particulates that may reduce product yields. But while filters keep air breathable and processes clean, they only perform when they are maintained correctly.

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New Era of CNC Maintenance is PC-Based

February 12, 2004 9:23 am | by Nyles Priest, President, MachineMate, Inc.

When the first-shift supervisor for the strut-machining department arrives at his office each day, one of his first tasks is to check e-mail. Not only does he want to see if anyone in his building has sent something important to him, he wants to see if any of the machines in his department require attention.

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Coating Products Extend Cooling-Pump Life at Power Plant

February 12, 2004 9:20 am

Brackish water does a number on metal. As it circulates through massive cooling pumps at the Brandon Shores Power Plant near Baltimore, MD, it erodes the cast-iron casings, impeller blades and other parts. Jeff Jensen is an engineering technician at the coal-powered facility, which is located on the Patapsco River and owned by Constellation Power Source Generation (formerly Baltimore Gas and Electric).

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Ultrasonics Helps Imaging Service Find Air Leaks, Electrical Disturbances

February 12, 2004 9:20 am

The combination of rising energy costs, federal and state emissions regulations, and tight production schedules has turned growing numbers of facility managers to outside service providers for such tasks as periodic compressed-air surveys and inspections for electrical disturbances. American Thermal Imaging (ATI), Red Wing, MN, specializes in ultrasonic, infrared and compressed-air analyses for commercial and industrial applications.

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Keep it Clean!

January 21, 2004 8:46 am | by Joy LePree, Contributing Editor

From advanced equipment to outsourcing options, plant managers are finding ways to clean their facilities faster, safer and more efficiently. Dust, fumes, grease, soot and oil, hazardous byproducts, metal shavings, wood scraps, plastic scraps, paper, cardboard. What isn't a continual challenge to keeping your plant clean? In the past, the job of keeping a manufacturing facility clean usually fell to an on-staff housekeeping crew.

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Advanced AC Lift-Truck Motors Offer Powerful Alternative to Internal-Combustion Models

January 21, 2004 8:36 am | by Dirk von Holt, President Jungheinrich Lift Truck Corp.

For years the forklift, powered by an internal combustion (IC) engine has been the workhorse for industrial and commercial material handling of heavy loads. The noise, emissions and performance limitations of conventional forklifts was accepted as a necessary evil. However, one of the most significant trends in the forklift industry is the increased use of electric-powered forklifts.

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Proper Cleaning of Powder-Paint Booths Improves Safety, Profits

January 21, 2004 8:32 am

The powder-paint coating process offers important advantages that make it the finish of choice among many manufacturers. But it also introduces health and safety issues that make cleanup of powder-coating booths a challenge. Potential hazards of the process include worker exposure to inhalable particles, the possibilities of powder combustion, and environmental damage.

Cut Costs With Automated Tank Cleaning

December 8, 2003 10:30 am

Automated tank-cleaning systems typically consist of a motorized tank washer, pump and process-control package that make efficient use of resources. Chances are, tank cleaning in your facility is a simple procedure. Workers physically rinse, wash and sanitize them. Or the tanks are rinsed, filled with cleaning solution and water, drained and rinsed again.

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Best Practices: Baldor Electric Co.<br> Wired For Quality

December 8, 2003 10:27 am

In its 83rd year, the Arkansas-based electric-motor manufacturer continues to deliver high-quality products and customer-focused value through good times and bad. Randy Breaux, vice president of marketing (top) and Neil Condray, corporate quality manager. Behind them are views of Baldor's main manufacturing facility in Fort Smith, AR.

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Consider 24V DC Control Voltage for Safety, Reliability

November 12, 2003 5:06 am | by Neil O'Shay, Product Manager/Solid State ControlEaton Electrical

There are two basic components to virtually every manufacturing process: motors and the devices that control them. Typically, control devices are large and operate on the same voltage used to power the motors. This results in large motor-control centers that may not provide maximum reliability.

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Lighting Upgrade Reduces Textile-Mill Hazards, Improves Workspace

November 12, 2003 5:03 am

Safety is always a concern in a textile mill because of potential fire hazards. When Avondale Mills, based in Graniteville, SC, constructed a 217,000-sq.-ft. addition at its Horse Creek, SC, plant, the facility installed enclosed luminaires to both improve light and help eliminate lighting-related fire hazards.

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Who Works in Your Plant?<p> A Profile of Today's American Factory Worker

November 12, 2003 5:03 am | by Nancy Syverson, Managing Editor

As the number of manufacturing jobs declines in the U.S., so does the traditional image of the factory worker. Lean times have made today's worker both more competitive and technically sophisticated. A company can only be as good as its employees. But since 1980, the number of employees in manufacturing jobs has dwindled - significantly.

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Soy-Based Lubricants Ready for Industrial Role

October 15, 2003 5:34 am

Soy-based engine oil does not readily boil off and resists heat degradation. In tests, it caused a significant drop in hazardous air emissions, compared with petroleum-based oil. The 2002 Farm Bill signed by President Bush encourages the use of biobased products, including those made from soybeans.

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Custom Oil Blend Helps Treatment Plant Use Caustic Sewage Gas for Energy

October 15, 2003 5:30 am

Lead Wastewater Treatment Plant Mechanic, Tom May (atop engine) inspects one of the six Waukesha lean-burn engines that provide power for the Pima County Wastewater Treatment Plant in Tucson, AZ. The engines run exclusively on sewage effluent gas. Using sewage effluent gas to fuel engines and generators, operators of the Pima County Wastewater Treatment Plant in Tucson, AZ, save an average of $30,000 a month in outside energy costs, reduce environmental pollution by fueling with gases that otherwise would be flared off to the atmosphere, and reduce the use of non-renewable natural gas resources.

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A Practical Approach to Reliability-Centered Maintenance

October 15, 2003 5:29 am | by Michael E. Creecy, Contributor

RCM is not complicated, but requires groundwork and the understanding that it is an ongoing process, not a one-time project. Most writers on the subject of Reliability-Centered Maintenance (RCM) emphasize that it includes a systematic approach to determining what must be done to ensure the reliability and availability of physical assets in a production setting.

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Flushless Seal Boosts Uptime for Ethanol Producer

September 9, 2003 10:50 am

The Abengoa Bioenergy Corp. ethanol fuel plant in York, NE, is one of three U.S. facilities formerly operated by Wichita-based High Plains Corp. that produces 85 million gallons of ethanol a year. It earns $42,000,000 annually and uses more than 19 million bushels of local grain. That type of demand requires that production run at the height of efficiency.

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