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IMPO Insider

Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Lean Energy Management In Manufacturing

July 12, 2013 8:02 am | by Michael Overturf, CEO, ZF Energy Development

Lean manufacturing is by now a widely understood method of making wide variety, small quantity products. Few manufacturing managers are not familiar with the idea of lean manufacturing having come of age in the 1980s. This movement has effectively created the low-cost, wide variety product universe in which we live now. Industrialized societies have become so efficient at making stuff in such variety that we’re literally drowning in it.

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Take Control Of Your Company’s Future: The R&D Tax Credit

July 10, 2013 9:21 am | by Dean Zerbe, alliantgroup National Managing Director

The manufacturing industry remains in a constant race to improve their products, as well as the process of making their products — all while dealing with tight budgets and low profit margins. These twin efforts push innovation to the forefront, and the tax code rewards manufacturers who are engaged in these efforts to stay competitive with the R&D tax credit.

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Purchasing Parts Vs. Buying Into A Strategy

July 10, 2013 8:05 am | by Bill Michels, CPSM, C.P.M., ADR North America

The old days of “write a specification, collect bids, and pick the low one” are long gone. Your suppliers are now an extension of your company. This is especially true in manufacturing. For instance, there are companies that will manage all your maintenance and repair parts within your own facility. These companies essentially fund and staff an MRO “parts cage” on the factory floor.

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Bremen Castings: Making Heavy Industry A Safer Place

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

Bremen, Ind., is a small town of about 5,500 people roughly 15 minutes south of the South Bend/Elkhart area. And one of its major employers, Bremen Castings Inc. (BCI), has been around long enough, having been established in 1939, to gain a reputation of being one of the area’s best employers.

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‘Rightsourcing’ — A Better Procurement Model For Manufacturers

July 9, 2013 8:01 am | by Jack Daniels, President and CEO, EastBridge Engineering

The manufacturing community is currently enmeshed in an ideological debate over sourcing and procurement. There's vigorous — and at times emotional — argument surrounding strategies for insourcing, outsourcing, near sourcing or keeping it in-house. The argument really shouldn’t focus on the fervent and at times politically-tinged abstractions of what flag flies over the factory, but rather what’s best for your business.

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ISM: Manufacturing Back On Track

July 8, 2013 8:02 am | by Jon Minnick, Associate Editor, Manufacturing Business Technology

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector returned to a slow, steady expansion in June, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest ISM Report On Business. The PMI number indicated expansion in manufacturing for the fifth time in six months, reversing May’s contracting PMI rate of 49 percentage points. Although U.S. manufacturing is growing at a slow, steady rate, it’s still in line to meet yearly expectations.

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Tech Savvy

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

According to the business consulting firm Jones Lang LaSalle, there has been a significant uptick in the number of tech manufacturing jobs in the U.S. since 2001. One of the major reasons for expanding manufacturing to the U.S. stems from the desire to have factories closer to consumers and those who can then fix problems.

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Leveraging Business And Manufacturing Intelligence

July 3, 2013 8:02 am | by James Montgomery, Product Manager, Apriso

Manufacturers cannot expect to sustain success with traditional decision making when facing today’s unprecedented shifts in markets, demands, technologies and opportunities. To maintain a leadership position and profit margins, companies must respond intelligently to more frequent, drastic and faster changes.

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Nothin' But Blue Skies

July 3, 2013 8:01 am | by Rachel Leisemann Immel, Associate Editor, IMPO

After a car maker or a steel mill wears out a factory, extracts all the tax breaks a treasury will bear, and accumulates more obligations to its workers than the stockholders will bear, it flees town like a deadbeat husband, leaving a worn-out, exploited patch of land no else will touch. An industrial city follows the same life cycle as a boxer, or a prostitute.

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Mechanical Fasteners Or Endless Splicing: Part 2

July 2, 2013 8:05 am | by Beth Miller, Director of Marketing – Light Duty, Flexco

There are two major processes to choose from when splicing your conveyor belt: mechanical fasteners and endless splicing. Reviewing the available alternatives against the realities of your conveyor system will help you determine which type will serve your needs best.

Comprehensive Recall Protection, Inside And Out

July 2, 2013 8:01 am | by Joel Hans, Managing Editor, Manufacturing.net

In today’s business climate, in particular for many industries that serve consumers directly — think automakers, consumer packaged goods manufacturers, or pharmaceutical firms — operate under the assumption that they’ll be subjected to a recall incident at some point.

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Mechanical Fasteners Or Endless Splicing: Part I

July 1, 2013 8:05 am | by Beth Miller, Director of Marketing – Light Duty, Flexco

Still searching for ways to take your productivity to higher ground? One good way to do that is by getting all the uptime you can from the belt conveyors that carry materials, parts and finished/packaged products throughout your plant. Belt conveyors naturally demand a certain amount of downtime for maintenance and parts replacement, and keeping those events as seldom and brief as possible is what uptime is all about.

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Essential Tips For Industrial Hydraulic Components

July 1, 2013 8:01 am | by Mike Fitzpatrick, General Manager at PSI Repair Services, Inc.

The most important part of a hydraulic system is keeping it clean. Any extreme pressure system is vulnerable to dirt, particles, and other matter that could contaminate the close tolerances necessary for any hydraulic system. All pipes, fittings, and other components must be extremely clean before use.

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Talent Management: Easier Hires, Better Skills, More Compliance

June 28, 2013 8:03 am | by Joel Hans, Managing Editor, Manufacturing.net

There is an epidemic of sorts within the high-tech manufacturing community, in that there are thousands of available jobs, but few candidates to fill them. And while manufacturers have taken off in dozens of directions on the best methods to fill those roles, Irma Long, Director of Global Talent Acquisition at ACCO Brands has one simpler solution: better talent management.

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A Supply Chain With No Weak Links

June 26, 2013 8:03 am | by Rowmark

Despite the ever looming concern about high fuel prices, there is still booming interest in many motorsports vehicles and products. Over the past several years, Sportech, Inc. has experienced an explosive increase in demand for their Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) parts for original equipment manufacturers of motorcycles, snowmobiles, ATVs, and other off-road vehicles.

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4 Ways Manufacturers Can Cope With Rising Energy Prices

June 25, 2013 8:05 am | by Michael Lewis

Manufacturers require tremendous amounts of energy to power equipment and light and heat facilities, and move raw materials to their plants and finished goods to store shelves. Chemical, fertilizer and plastics manufacturers use carbon-based fuels as feedstock, so accurate projected costs and ready availability is essential to adequate pricing.

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High-Voltage Battery Simulator & Test Systems

June 24, 2013 9:08 am | by Randall Beattie, President of SAKOR Technologies

High voltage battery simulator and test systems are essential for conducting testing of the high voltage DC power systems that are such a critical element of electric (EV) and hybrid/electric (HEV) vehicles. To accurately test a high voltage hybrid or electric drivetrain, you need to be able to provide precise, repeatable high-voltage DC power.

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Ford Explorer Production Goes International

June 24, 2013 8:00 am | by Rachel Leisemann Immel, Associate Editor, IMPO

The first full-production Explorer rolled off the assembly line in April at Ford Sollers Elabuga Assembly Plant in the Republic of Tatarstan for the Russian market. Previously, only knock-down versions of Explorer had been built anywhere outside of the United States. Here, Bruce Hettle, director of manufacturing engineering with Ford, talks global Ford SUV production, the Ford Production System, and the future auto market.

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Retaining Your Number One Asset: Employees

June 21, 2013 8:08 am | by Maria Ferrante, Vice President, Education & Workforce Development, PMMI

There is one absolute that applies to every company, independent of industry: You cannot expect to operate efficiently without dedicated and skilled employees. When looking at the manufacturing industry specifically, finding a highly skilled workforce has proven to be one of the greatest challenges.

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Engineering: A Crucial Element Of A Burgeoning Firearms Industry

June 19, 2013 8:00 am | by ATW

Firearm sales have increased exponentially over the past few years, and forecasts are continuing to escalate, reflecting an increase in the popularity of hunting, a rise in the desire for personal protection, and a variety of other socio-economic factors. As manufacturers seek to meet demand while decreasing costs, reducing weight, and increasing durability, the spotlight is turning to engineering and design capabilities in the industry.

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