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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

The Gray Shift Part 1: An Aging Workforce Creates New Workplace Injury Issues

September 17, 2013 8:01 am | by Earl Hagman, PhD, MSEE, MBA, President, Ergotech Incorporated

The median age of the labor force is anticipated to increase rapidly, with one-third of the U.S. labor force turning 55 by 2015. This may have far-reaching implications on the number and type of work-related injuries experienced. Most companies are not prepared for these changing demographics.

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5 Quick Questions: Mike Weller, President, Miller Electric

September 16, 2013 8:01 am | by Jeff Reinke, Editorial Director

Miller Electric, a leading manufacturer of welders and welding supplies, recently announced that its president, Mike Weller, has been recognized by the Wisconsin Technical College District Boards Association for his service to the Wisconsin Technical College System. Given the constant pressure that manufacturers face in attracting and replacing skilled workers, we asked Weller for some perspective on the future of the skills trades. 

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The Sweeping Transformation Of Manufacturing

September 13, 2013 8:02 am | by Beth Ambaruch, Director Corporate Communications, PTC

Whether we like it or not, globalization has been a major factor in the staying power of many manufacturers. The practice of scattering production, jobs and plants across the globe has delivered great benefits to the consumer and the manufacturer. Companies have been able to squeeze as much efficiency as possible from the products they make so that what we desire is affordable and readily available.

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The ‘One-To-Many’ Supply Chain

September 13, 2013 8:01 am | by Joel Hans, Managing Editor, Manufacturing.net

Most everyone in manufacturing is aware that today, supply chain is, more or less, “king” of the manufacturing lifecycle. With more globalized supply chains and the trend of working with more and more third parties, it’s critical that manufacturers keep a strong hold on the flow of materials from one location to the next. 

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Midsize Manufacturers Optimistic, Says Survey

September 12, 2013 3:43 pm | by Prime Advantage

Prime Advantage, a leading buying consortium for midsized  manufacturers, announced the findings of its twelfth semi-annual Group Outlook Survey, revealing financial projections and top concerns of its member companies for the rest of 2013. The results show continued optimism about revenues and employment despite concerns about federal regulations and fiscal policy uncertainties.

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Spare Parts Inventory: An Exercise In Risk Management, Part 2

September 11, 2013 8:02 am | by Joel Levitt, Phillip Slater

With insurance, you want to cover only what you need and can afford – nothing more. It’s the same with your spare parts inventories. Of course, with your spare parts, it is important to cover the risk but it is also important to be able to justify everything on the shelf – holding only what you need, and can justify, and nothing more. That is the key to effective spare parts risk management.

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The Future Of Control Automation Has Arrived

September 11, 2013 8:01 am | by Eric Klein, Director of Sales, Lenze Americas

Automated and robotic machines for manufacturing operations can pose design challenges. The expansion of automation into broader applications has spurred demand for smarter, more efficient drives, controls and software tools. Staying ahead of the technological curve requires leveraging state of the art tools.

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Spare Parts Inventory: An Exercise In Risk Management, Part 1

September 10, 2013 8:02 am | by Joel Levitt, Phillip Slater

Just like your car insurance is a way to minimize the financial consequence of a car crash and backing up your files is a way to minimize the consequence of a computer crash, spare parts inventory is a way to minimize the consequence of an equipment crash. It’s all about risk management.

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A ‘Monster’ Look On Manufacturing Jobs

September 9, 2013 8:02 am | by Joel Hans, Managing Editor, Manufacturing.net

Not too long ago, Monster.com, the well-known online job marketplace, conducted a comprehensive survey on the state of U.S. manufacturing jobs, and came to some compelling, if not worrying, results. In general, workers in U.S. manufacturing are largely unhappy with their current positions, for a variety of reasons, and are more likely to be actively searching for different work, be it at another plant, or another industry.

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ISM: Manufacturing Hits A High Note

September 9, 2013 8:01 am | by Jon Minnick, Associate Editor, Manufacturing Business Technology

We’re still in a slow recovery period and there are things to be concerned about if they materialize, such as issues in the Middle East and Federal government spending. So manufacturing is not out of the woods yet, but nevertheless, two solid months to start the second half is a good sign.

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Explosion Proof Lighting In The Industrial Workplace (Part II)

September 6, 2013 8:02 am | by Rob Bresnahan, Larson Electronics

Explosion proof fixtures provide protection by preventing any ignitions within the fixture housing from igniting the atmosphere outside of the fixture. Intrinsically safe fixtures are more specialized and provide their protection by being low powered and incapable of producing enough heat or spark to produce ignition. 

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Explosion Proof Lighting: Quality Is The Goal (Part I)

September 4, 2013 8:02 am | by Rob Bresnahan, Larson Electronics

Industrial lighting systems although performing the same basic role as lighting in any other setting by providing illumination in areas where available light is inadequate, must also address a host of factors that never come into play in common non commercial/industrial settings. 

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Crimp Force Monitoring – The Recipe for Success

September 4, 2013 8:01 am | by Gustavo Garcia-Cota, Crimping Product Manager, Schleuniger, Inc.

Crimp quality detection is similar to baking a cake. There are a lot of ingredients and if one ingredient is missing or of bad quality, you likely are not going to achieve your desired result. This article will go back through the basics of a crimp quality detection system and discuss what ingredients or variables you need to consider before switching off that CFM.

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Power Plants Diagnose Motor Problems Without Highly Trained Personnel

September 3, 2013 8:02 am | by Jacob Beck, Electrom Instruments, developer of the iTIG II

The electronic devices used to test and analyze electric motors and other equipment have become much more powerful than in the past. Yet, in many instances these sophisticated devices have also introduced a high degree of complexity for users, requiring that highly trained and experienced personnel perform the testing.

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Birthplace Of Rosie The Riveter: The Willow Run Bomber Plant

August 30, 2013 8:02 am | by John Zajac, Randy Hotten, Julie Osborne, Mike Montgomery

The iconic Rosie the Riveter may seem to be simply a fiction from the past but she has a name – and an important history. She was part of that migration, part of the 40,000 employees at the Ford-run Willow Run B-24 bomber plant and part of the great Arsenal of Democracy that Detroit and the Southeastern Michigan region became, cranking out airplanes, tanks, trucks, and weapons.

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A ‘Made In America’ Walmart: Truth Or Gimmick?

August 30, 2013 8:01 am | by Joel Hans, Managing Editor, Manufacturing.net

Last week, Walmart Stores announced that they would be holding a summit on U.S. manufacturing, and there’s a fair amount of skepticism over the company’s motives, particularly considering its long history of sourcing a vast majority of products from overseas.

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Optimizing Machines Using Programmable Drives

August 28, 2013 8:02 am | by Kollmorgen

Programmable drives are becoming more sophisticated and capable, enabling controls engineers to drastically reduce project costs. On a new design, some integrators and OEMs reach for an elaborate multi-axis PLC system to solve a relatively simple application. This happens as designers work under compressed schedules, and choosing a familiar solution seems like the right thing to do.

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Deadly & Life-Saving: Printing Our 3D Future

August 27, 2013 8:02 am | by Richard Console

With the emergence of 3D printers into mainstream markets, what the devices actually do seems to matter less than what they will do, or could be made to do, in the future. Will they create a crisis of unregistered, undetectable firearms? Or will 3D printers become such a life-saving medical necessity that future consumers will regard the technology as unremarkable as the current practice of casting broken bones?

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5 Quick Questions: Attracting & Retaining Quality Manufacturing Workers

August 27, 2013 8:01 am | by Jeff Reinke, Editorial Director

It’s no secret that one of the most pressing issues facing U.S. manufacturing is a lack of qualified workers. In looking to fill this skills gap, Brian Binke, the President & CEO of The Birmingham Group, an affiliate of MRINetwork and one of the world’s largest recruitment organizations, feels that organizations need to focus on several internal facets in attracting the best and most qualified people.

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FEA Aids Deepwater Horizon Failure Forensics

August 26, 2013 8:02 am | by Det Norske Veritas

On the evening of April 20, 2010, Deepwater Horizon suffered a blowout while drilling in the Macondo Prospect, an area in the Gulf of Mexico 40 miles off the southeast coast of Louisiana. The platform caught fire; two days later, it sank.

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