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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Under the Federal Clean Air Act (CAA), many manufacturing operations have become subject to stricter local regulations regarding both VOC (volatile organic compound) and HAP (hazardous air pollutant) emissions. The CAA singles out 188 air pollutants that are of special concern, many of which are used in everyday production and/or manufacturing atmospheres.
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.