The electricity that flows through the electrical distribution system of any industrial facility is the lifeblood of the entire operation. Production processes, environmental controls and security, lighting and safety systems all require a clean, reliable, and continuously available flow of power.
In today’s manufacturing universe, cost-effectiveness is a constant battle. Every element from raw goods to worker efficiency, eliminating waste of time and material, streamlining processes, and even evaluating and improving supervisory expertise, is undergoing microscopic and expert examination so that companies can remain functional and profitable.
Tracking indirect material is a challenge many industries face today. With the need for controlled environments on the rise, many companies wonder which process is best for gaining control and retaining a level of standardization.
“Static electricity, and the potential for defects due to electrostatic discharge (ESD) is one of the biggest manufacturing headaches a board manufacturer can face,” says Itron’s Paul Anderson.
Successful RCA initiatives have common threads for accomplishment. The management maintains an active role in the RCA effort. They take the responsibility to set up the support systems that will encourage the employees to go after and solve chronic issues that affect the bottom line. (See figure 1) Figure 1 - Click to expand Executive management decides the company will incorporate an RCA initiative and provide funding to create the environment needed for success.
In today’s business climate, reliability requirements force the consideration of backup power when power from the electric utility is unavailable. But what type of backup power should you be considering? With the number of available solutions on the market today, the issue of just what solution fits a particular facility’s needs should be considered before making such a crucial and potentially costly investment.
One of the major opportunities for fast-payback electrical savings in industrial facilities is lighting. Lighting can account for up to 30 percent of a facility’s electric bill. The obvious first step is to replace incandescent with fluorescent lighting, and many plants have already taken this step– but that’s just the first.
Find out which specification of lift truck would best suit your particular handling needs: What is the maximum weight the truck will need to lift? What lift height is required? Are there any height/width restrictions? Choose a power type, but remember, engine powered trucks are normally only used outdoors.
In a global marketplace, local regulatory issues can impact the sale of your product. This is one of the reasons it is important to understand the safety profile of your products and the chemicals that go into them, as well as how local regulations may affect sales.
At the heart of almost every industrial facility are electric motors, which can render equipment inoperative should their rolling element bearings fail. This is an occurrence more common than necessary due to strain resulting from improper lubrication.
NPK Construction Equipment Inc. (NPK), based in Walton Hills, OH, manufactures attachments for heavy machinery equipment. In the past few years, sales and production have grown exponentially, and the company's manual welding process was experiencing growing pains.
Cumberland Pencil Co. (located in Borrowdale, in England’s picturesque Lake District), started as a cottage industry in the mid-19th century to make pencils from locally mined graphite. The company now produces some 750,000 fine art and graphic pencils per week, sold worldwide under the brand name of Derwent.
The paper is based on manufacturers’ experiences and research conducted by Activplant Chief Product Strategist Dennis Cocco. In this body of work, Cocco introduces an evolution in thinking: the most efficient way to increase productivity is to focus on product flow through the process.
FUJIFILM U.S.A., Inc., began manufacturing operations at the 500-acre Greenwood, SC campus in 1988, when the company announced the construction of its first U.S. factory for the production of pre-sensitized plates for the graphic arts market. The manufacturing complex is currently comprised of five high-tech manufacturing plants, as well as the Greenwood Research Laboratories, and the largest FUJIFILM distribution center in the world.
Roseau, MN is the birthplace of Polaris, and the sport of snowmobiling. Polaris’ Roseau facility houses both its high-tech product testing lab and manufacturing operations for its ATVs, snowmobiles and Ranger UTVs. The state-of-the-art testing lab in Roseau is a series of glass-walled rooms where engineers can re-create real-life stresses on engines to study their effects on components. While Polaris parts have proven to stand up to virtually any adverse condition, the lab’s flooring, ironically, has repeatedly failed the stress test.
Increasing energy efficiency and cost savings in an industrial facility often comes down to a keen understanding of the manufacturing process, and contouring an appropriate strategy to maximize available opportunities. Case in point is the Menasha, WI, facility of Albany International Corp., a worldwide manufacturer of paper machine clothing, where a unique lighting control strategy was implemented in 2002 during a lighting retrofit.
Because variables such as storage techniques, electrode diameter, and flux composition all contribute to stick electrode selection and performance, arming yourself with some basic knowledge can help you minimize confusion and better ensure stick-welding success.
Providing a maintenance professional with a safe work environment can be an extremely challenging task. The nature of the job requires the technician to put him or herself in different situations every day. This adds additional risk that might not be present in other professions. So how do we keep these employees safe?
Officials at Sierracin/Sylmar Corp. saw the light with an energy conservation project that cut electrical use nearly two-thirds. The company also made back its investment in less than a year in energy cost savings, achieved unexpected energy savings for other operations, and created a brighter workspace. The project was one of the top 20 energy-efficiency programs recognized by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
It's no longer enough for industrial facility managers to simply be aware of their monthly power demands. Today, they must have a solid understanding of the electrical issues that are most likely to impact the bottom line, as well as the tools available to minimize that impact.
World class maintenance organizations are those that consistently demonstrate maintenance best practices to produce bottom line results. A maintenance audit, designed to objectively evaluate best practices in maintenance organizations, is an excellent tool to drive continuous improvement.
A plant can make significant investments in work cell technology, conveyors and the latest in inspection equipment. It can tighten everything up with Lean/Six Sigma, but unless the shipping/receiving dock is given the proper attention, breakdowns in this area can choke off productivity throughout the system.
More than 20 years ago someone made the statement, “The vibrations produced in a machine are the best indication of the machine’s health.” This statement still holds true today. Of all the predictive maintenance (PM) technologies, vibration analysis remains the best measure of machine health.
It’s widely acknowledged that energy efficiency offers an opportunity to improve the bottom line. The question, however, is whether decision-makers are aware of all the places they can reduce energy losses and raise efficiency in an industrial facility. Chances are, companies can add tens of thousands of dollars per year to their energy savings by looking in the right places and choosing the right solutions.
Chances are if you have been working in a manufacturing environment you have heard of the problem-solving methodology of Six Sigma. But what is it? The following is a basic description of the Six Sigma DMAIC methodology (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control).