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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

What Can SMED Do for You?

July 14, 2004 6:56 am | by Gary Gathen, Contributor

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.


Best Practices: Freudenberg-NOK/Cleveland, GA: Continuous Kaizens

June 8, 2004 8:17 am | by Rick Carter, Editor-in-Chief

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.


Let Task, Disposal Rules Guide Wiper Choice

June 8, 2004 7:44 am | by Bernie Brill, Executive Director of the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART)

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.


AGVs Keep Fiberglass Plant's Product Moving

June 8, 2004 7:40 am

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.


Coating System Ensures Airport's De-Icing Tanks Stay Leak-Free

May 17, 2004 10:05 am

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.

Bolt-On Jackets Can Boost Valve Reliability

May 12, 2004 5:28 am | by Henry Gaines, P.E., Controls Southeast, Inc.

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.


Putting Metrics to Work

May 11, 2004 1:28 pm | by David Cochran and Kerry Stone, Contributors

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.


An Enterprise Energy Management System Can Reduce Your Energy Risk

April 7, 2004 7:31 am | by Rudi Carolsfeld, Business Development Manager, Power Measurement

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.


Sun Power: A Guide to Industrial Solar Options

April 7, 2004 7:26 am | by Gregory Kerwin, Contributor

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.


Aftermarket Inkjet Nozzle Reduces Packager's Maintenance, Production Costs

April 7, 2004 7:11 am

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.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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).


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.


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.


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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