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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Modular Control Buildings Bring Flexibility To Remote Processing Sites

April 3, 2013 8:05 am | by Matt Hodson, President and CEO, Principal Technology Inc.

Pressures to reduce staff levels for onsite operations coupled with the increasing sophistication and expense of automation and control equipment have led to growing trend to use modular structures to house and protect sensitive process and automation controls.


Virtualization In Manufacturing

April 3, 2013 8:00 am | by Manufacturing Business Technology

Manufacturing Business Technology took time to talk to Frank Hill, director of manufacturing business development, Stratus Technologies, about virtualization. Hill explains what it is, how virtualization can help manufacturers take advantage of the processing power they may already have, and how to mitigate some of the risk facing companies every day.


Redundancy In Manufacturing Control Systems

April 1, 2013 8:05 am | by Greg Lynch

Reliability in process control systems has a different meaning in each industry. Depending on the type of interruption and the severity of the consequences, some manufacturing systems require PLC redundancy to keep people and equipment safe.


Q&A: The Evolution Of PLM

April 1, 2013 8:02 am | by Joel Hans, Managing Editor,

Enterprise software can be a major point of complexity for manufacturers, particularly in the way it seems to change at an incredible speed. In order to help work through some of those changes in product lifecycle management (PLM) software packages, we spoke with Richard Mizuno, a partner at Kalypso. 


The Virtual Plant Seen Through Standardized 3D HMI

March 29, 2013 8:05 am | by Chris Parkinson, Senior Engineer, HMI Technology Lead

HMI or Human Machine Interface – everybody has them. From physical pushbutton stations to sophisticated graphical interfaces with 3D representations of equipment – HMIs are the visible part of a controls and/or manufacturing intelligence system.


Q&A: On Equity (And Unions) At Nissan’s Miss. Plant

March 29, 2013 8:02 am | by Joel Hans, Managing Editor,

Back in the early aughts, global automaker Nissan invested some $2 billion in 4.2 million square-foot vehicle assembly plant in Canton, Mississippi. Since May 27, 2003, the company has been producing as many as 10 different models there, and currently employs 4,350. However, the relationship between Nissan management and plant floor employees haven’t always been smooth. 


Industrial Automation Ripe For Energy Harvesting

March 27, 2013 8:05 am | by Digi-Key

Industrial control and automation is not an obvious application for energy harvesting, although machinery, by its very nature, is an obvious source of energy, ripe for harvesting. Nevertheless, why exploit energy harvesting in a plant or factory environment?


Using Permanent Magnet Technology To Create System Energy Savings

March 26, 2013 9:05 am | by Roman Wajda, Baldor's Industry Business Manager for Air and Unit Handling

At a time when energy efficiency is of utmost importance, recent developments in motor technology have changed the playing field within cooling tower HVAC systems. This new technology, a permanent magnet (PM), laminated frame direct drive motor allows for the removal of all the mechanical components such as gearboxes, drive shafts, disc couplings and existing motors.


New Network Communication Technologies Enhance Motor Feedback Systems

March 22, 2013 9:08 am | by Vikram Phadke, SICK Product Specialist - Encoders

Over the past 25 years, improvements to motor feedback technology have allowed servo system manufacturers to reduce costs and provide products that are simpler, more reliable, and more accurate. New network communications technologies are now enabling the next set of breakthrough innovations in feedback device technology.


Great Northern: Boxing Out The Competition

March 20, 2013 9:00 am

In 2007, with the intention of growing the company’s sales channel and increasing revenue through acquisition of new customers, Bill Calengor, Vice President of Great Northern Corporation (Creative Carton at the time) set out to expand on its traditional business model and bring its corrugated box business online under a new brand.


Exploring Energy Q&A: The Solar Advantage

March 19, 2013 9:00 am

In my opinion, solar helps manufacturers in two ways. Number one: It can lower your costs. And number two: It can help you become sustainable, which may be a requirement of your customers. There are a couple of ways to install solar. One of the ways is on the rooftop. And, if you are going to install solar on the rooftop, you want to make sure that you have an unobstructed view toward the south.


U.S. Teens Fear Risk-Taking; STEM Careers Demand It

March 15, 2013 9:08 am | by Kelton Global

While 95 percent of teens agree that risk-taking is required for innovation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics — or STEM — careers, 46 percent say they are afraid to fail or uncomfortable taking risks to solve problems, according to an ASQ survey conducted by Kelton Global.


ProMat 2013 Serves As Launch Pad For Material Handling Products

March 13, 2013 4:37 pm

Thousands of material handling technology enthusiasts braved a frigid Chicago winter in order to attend MHIA’s biennial ProMat expo this past January – enough, in fact, to cause a record number on the show floor Tuesday, as well as a record number of attendees to Tuesday’s keynote by Steve Forbes.


Indispensible Leak Detection

March 13, 2013 4:31 pm | by Rachel Leisemann Immel, Associate Editor, IMPO

A technician holds a wand to the major piping connections of the air conditioner and waits for a device to alarm if a leak is detected. The technician is not looking for the level of refrigerant along the automotive assembly line, he is looking for whether the refrigerant is leaking from any fitting at a rate greater than preset tolerable limits and trying to locate where the leak is.


Premium Motor Efficiency: Taking Care Of The Latest And Greatest

March 13, 2013 4:28 pm | by Rachel Leisemann Immel, Associate Editor, IMPO

In U.S. factories, electric motor-driven systems account for over 60 percent of the total energy consumed – and 25 percent of the total energy used in the United States overall – a staggering amount of energy that is worthy of a second look to be sure your facility is maximizing its motor performance.


A New Air Style

March 13, 2013 4:21 pm

The mission of CAGI (Compressed Air and Gas Institute) is to be the united voice of the compressed air industry, serving as the unbiased authority on technical, educational, promotional, and other matters that affect the industry. IMPO recently spoke with Rick Stasyshan, CAGI’s Technical Consultant, about ways the organization can help manufacturers become safer and more efficient users of this resource.


Convenience At Your Fingertips

March 13, 2013 4:16 pm | by Bernard Steppeler, Design Engineer, HAVER Filling Systems

A cake mix supplier has 12 hours to fill a 15,000-bag production order for a new customer. during the seventh hour, the filling machine shuts down with no warning. the machine operator attempts to troubleshoot and diagnose the problem but is unable to do so.


Replacing 4-Cycle With 6-Cycle Engine

March 13, 2013 9:08 am | by Terry Persun, Technology Journalist

In its phase 2 operation, the Kashmerick Engine Systems engine technology is proving its effectiveness and viability for military use, and more. The K6-Cycle System head was designed on a standard CAD system and then uploaded to Midwest Composite Technologies to their direct metal laser-sintering machine, which produced a production quality component using stainless steel.


Supply Chain Management Concerns And Solutions, Part 2

March 13, 2013 9:00 am | by Jon Minnick, Associate Editor, MBT

Manufacturers can take a segmented approach to supply chain implementations that is best suited to their business needs, budgets and time constraints. For many manufacturers, depending on the solution implemented, they can see results immediately; and begin to generate ROI and enterprise-wide value as quickly as three to four months.


Cat Dealer’s Hydraulic Shop Salvages Cylinders With Tube Hone

March 12, 2013 4:20 pm

Rebuilding heavy equipment makes good economic sense, particularly for the hydraulic components on construction and earth moving machinery. In fact, the trend since 2008 has been strong enough to support the addition of a machine shop as part of the existing hydraulics shop at Caterpillar dealer Whayne Supply.



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