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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The global automotive seal maker's plant near Atlanta boasts a 2001 Shingo win and a 12-year record of production improvements, thanks to lean initiatives, Six Sigma and daily doses of kaizen activity. Freudenberg-NOK is a company with much to brag about. The Plymouth, MI-based manufacturer of seals and gaskets, custom rubber products, PTFE components and other products for the automotive industry, is a leader in most of its markets.
Each year, industry spends more than $1 billion dollars on task-specific wipers. No longer simply "rags," today's task-specific industrial wipers are available in many sizes, textures and selections specifically suited to maintenance tasks. While a mid-size plant might use 10,000 wipers per year, large facilities might use up to 100,000.
PPG is the second-largest global manufacturer of continuous-strand fiberglass. The Chester, SC, plant opened in 1996 and is dedicated to fiberglass rovings production. "Our goal is to push the winding process," says Bernd Brockmueller, manager, automation and machine design for the fiberglass division.
Crews working in an underground tank at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport use special spray equipment to apply a polyurea tank-lining system. Aircraft at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) are routinely treated with propylene glycol to prevent and remove ice formation in winter.
In all process industries, valve failures due to improper, welded valve jacketing occur regularly. Their annual costs in lost production, spare parts and maintenance overtime can run into millions of dollars. How can such losses be avoided? It's simple: Avoid welding jackets for valves. Instead, use bolt-on jacketing to effectively provide thermal maintenance for valves.
An experimentation method known as Multivariable Testing analyzes statistical test results to solve problems, boost efficiency and cut costs. Nearly 10 years ago, maintenance engineers at DuPont's Agricultural Products Division in LaPorte, TX, had a near-crisis on their hands. Pumps used in the manufacture of a key herbicide were failing at an alarming rate, shutting down the production line and resulting in losses mounting to $750 million a year.
Whether the need is to reduce costs or improve yields, increase uptime or improve customer satisfaction, the top priority for any facility manager is always a question of risk. The supply of reliable, clean and cost effective energy is mission-critical, yet this continues to be one of the least carefully managed inputs to a business, and this translates to poorly managed risk.
Long-term warranties, improved products and growing incentives mean the time has never been better to consider solar power for your plant or facility. A 4.0 kw photovoltaic system atop a San Francisco duplex provides 85% of the building's power. Similar systems can be used to augment power in industry.
Toll Packaging is a Gibson, IL-based co-packer of pet foods and other specialty products. The company sets high standards for itself and suppliers, including. InkJet, Inc. (IJI), an Elk Grove Village, IL-based provider of low-cost, high-quality inks, replacements parts and service to the coding and marking industry.
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.
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.