Slick moves: New lube room tools and tips
Sheila Kennedy says keep it clean, folks: How to help prevent lubrication contamination.
Lubricant contamination is a hazard to the lifecycle of lubricated parts. Improper handling and storage can introduce contaminants to the lubricant before it ever reaches the equipment. The lube room itself may be the source of such problems. A…
Lake Superior College to graduate its first wave of aviation maintenance students
The ongoing journey toward lubrication perfection
In pursuit of lubrication perfection
Lubrication plays a major role in Turkey’s energy production
Program serves high demand for avionics mechanics across verticals, from energy to transportation
Until finding her way inside the hangar that houses the college's Center for Advanced Aviation at the Duluth International Airport, Lisa Forness, 31, had spent her career in the personal care industry, taking care of people as a certified nursing assistant.
Now, Forness is set to join 16 others on stage at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center for graduation on May 16.
The journey, both for the students and the program, has been equal parts challenge and discovery, and a program once boxed and stored in crates is now rolling out graduates.
At home, Forness used to take apart toasters, microwaves, washers and dryers — whatever needed fixing. After a steep learning curve in the first year of classroom work, she found it wasn't…
Get your alignment in line: Don't jiggle while you work
Choose the right tool for vibration analysis
Combine vibration monitoring and ultrasound for more cost-effective predictive maintenance
Use vibration monitoring to improve PdM and prevent failures before they occur
Simple steps to accurate alignment
How vibration analysis can detect alignment problems
Thermal growth and alignment
Industry experts sound off on PdM survey results
How to use ultrasound to improve lubrication practices
How ultrasound technicians are improving reliability at your plant
Six leaders share their thoughts on program spending, technologies, and satisfaction.
As part of our 2016 predictive maintenance survey, Plant Services engaged with six industry leaders to get their thoughts on whether the trends identified from 2014 to 2016 were fair predictors of the future, as well as what new insights the data were turning up. Their comments focused on two key areas of the survey: explaining the trend of increased PdM investment yet reduced program satisfaction and the impact that technology innovation (especially the Industrial Internet of Things) is having on PdM adoption. Read on for a cross-section of responses from the experts.
PdM program investment and satisfaction
These conversations started with a question that to us was the most difficult to answer, at least on the surface: Why would PdM…
Context-aware tech, part 2: Who’s leading the charge?
Thermography heats up
Use thermography to diagnose electrical problems
IR technology offers a tool with multiple applications
USAF: IoT can help with fighter jet maintenance
A tale of 2 industrial plants
Regulate water temperature
Welding QC simple with real-time temperature readings
The big sell: Making people care about infrastructure repair
Repairs are a tough sell to politicians and taxpayers, but safety and reliability threats loom when problems aren't addressed
In comic book movies, transportation infrastructure problems are easy to spot.
Bridges fall. Asphalt shatters. And unless Ironman funds the repairs out of his personal fortune, big public debt issues are ahead.
In real life, damage to roads and rails tends to be gradual, though ultimately just as ruinous to regional well-being.
"The system is safe, but the system is starting to lose on reliability, and you end up spending more money trying to maintain an old system," said Regional Transportation Authority Executive Director Leanne Redden.
Read the full story on chicagotribune.com.
Reduce corrosion costs
Combat corrosive conditions with prevention and early detection
Perform system maintenance to slow degradation of rotating equipment
How to maximize your resources using remote analysis
Looking for a low-risk way to move from reactive to proactive maintenance? Consider a remote monitoring program for your plant.
Organizations are spending more money than ever to collect and store data. While collecting data from equipment and processes is nothing new, what has changed is the accessibility of data. Because the Internet is everywhere, more plants are connected than ever before. Plants that used to be considered too remote to manage are now participating in organizational asset monitoring and are constantly collecting data on the status and condition of their equipment.
What’s more, sensing technology has come down in price dramatically. It is now no longer cost prohibitive to put sensors on devices that in the past would have been left unmonitored. Coupled with the surge in cloud computing and a steep drop in data storage costs, this increase in…
Context-aware tech, part 3: What are the hurdles to adoption, and what's next?
Remote monitoring through turbine retrofit
Work with IT to foster remote monitoring
FAA orders 'urgent' repairs to some GE engines on Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets
Engine failure at 20,000 feet prompts order
Airlines flying Boeing Co.’s 787 Dreamliner jets with the latest General Electric Co. engines were ordered to repair them, or swap out at least one with an older model, in an urgent safety directive issued after an in-flight failure.
A GEnx-1B PIP2, part of a family of engines plagued by issues related to icing, suffered “substantial damage” in the Jan. 29 incident, when ice on the fan blades broke loose, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said in an order published Friday in the Federal Register.
“The potential for common cause failure of both engines in flight is an urgent safety issue,” the FAA said in its order.
Read the full story on bloomberg.com.
How context-aware technology will help you see the future
Context-aware tech, part 1: What does it look like, and what's it worth to my company?
Don't light my fire: Keep flammable vapors at bay
How to safely remove the byproducts of heat transfer fluids.
The prolonged use of heat transfer fluids at high temperature inevitably leads to thermal degradation of the fluid. This process can be slowed by methods such as decreasing the temperature of the operation, which reduces the fluid’s “thermal…
Trelleborg launches online sealing technology resource center
Fluid handling tools you can use
Handle fluid with care
Pumps in peril?
Manufacturing tech orders up in December, down in 2015
Close the book on a disappointing year for manufacturing technology orders, down more than 17% from December 2014
New manufacturing technology orders jumped more than 20% in December, though still less than the recent average for that month, and an overall disappointing year came to a close, according to a new report from the Association for Manufacturing Technology.
The calendar year wrapped up with order values growing 20.4% in December, just below the 22.4% average growth for that month the last five years. That marked the second-highest monthly orders total in 2015, behind only March. Overall, orders dropped 17.4% year-over-year.
The strong finish — though, again, not as strong as recent Decembers — does not change the AMT forecast for 2016, largely because orders rise at the end of the year as companies invest profits into new…
Roomba developer discusses the billion-dollar industry of robots for warehousing
Material handling meets energy efficiency
Big data in the material handling industry: From supply chain to fulfillment
How to ensure effective motor repair and rewind
Speak the same language as your service center when it comes to setting performance expectations.
The Electrical Apparatus Service Association (EASA) has published two documents to help users and service providers ensure that motor repairs performed reflect good practices that maintain or improve a machine's energy efficiency and reliability:…
Wanted: Manufacturing whizzes to work on Tesla's Model 3
Boost motor efficiency for a better payoff
Common sense management of EISA motor changes
Serious air: How to get the right data when upgrading your plant's compressed air system
Plan your compressed air system for maximum efficiency and future flexibility.
Congrats! You’ve been given a project to upgrade your plant’s air system to properly supply a new plant expansion. Now the critical questions: How much compressed air are you using right now? What flow will your new system need? How do you size…
5 tips for getting the most out of your air compressor
What is your compressed air survey ROI?
Compressed air system solutions for deep surface mining
Back to basics: Getting to the bottom of leaks in your compressed air system
Obama launches U.S. kid science advisors' campaign
Initiative will enable children to submit ideas about what they think can shape the future of science, discovery and exploration
President Obama on Thursday launched a kids’ science advisory campaign seeking innovative ideas from the nation's young minds.
The campaign, announced at a ceremony awarding national science medals, invites children to submit ideas about what they think can shape the future of science, discovery and exploration in the country. Ideas for the kids advisory campaign can be submitted on the White House website.
“Science is very important for the progress of our nation,” President Obama said during his speech at the ceremony. “Science, math, engineering is what is going to carry America’s spirit of innovation through the 21st century and beyond.”
The idea of a kid-driven science program was introduced to the president by…
Meet the cobots: Humans and robots together on the factory floor
Case study: Mobile robots + plant workforce = 20% productivity increase
Slideshow: Missile plant gets IoT makeover
Fanuc announces a platform for downloadable robot apps
UPS and SAP launch on-demand manufacturing network for 3D printing
How HP hopes its new 3D printer will change manufacturing
Is manufacturing really new?
Real optimization in a virtual factory
Chicago's DMDII issues $12 million in awards for augmented reality, wearable tech, other digital manufacturing projects
Awards look to help move smart manufacturing tech from the development lab to the plant floor
The Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII), a UI LABS collaboration, today announced that it has issued seven national applied research, development, and demonstration awards. These projects address several digital manufacturing and design topics, including augmented reality for use on manufacturing shop floors and on wearable and mobile devices.“We are excited to continue to advance applied R&D within our core technology focus areas,” said Dr. Dean Bartles, chief manufacturing officer of UI LABS and executive director of DMDII. “With each project call, we bring additional researchers, global industry leaders, and small companies into our consortium and move closer to making technologies related to…
Plant Services CMMS/EAM Software Review
Read David Berger's column, Asset Manager
Subscribe to the Asset Management E-News
Sign up for the 2015 asset managment webcast
The biggest challenges of data-driven manufacturing
Address data-sharing and security issues to help move "smart" manufacturing beyond the hype
The widespread deployment of low-cost sensors and their connection to the internet has generated a great deal of excitement (and hype) about the future of manufacturing. The Internet of Things (IoT) is centered on the application of big data and analytics to creating the next generation of manufacturing: using data to reduce costs through next-generation sales and operations planning, dramatically improved productivity, supply chain and distribution optimization, and new types of after-sales services.
But to get beyond the hype of data-driven manufacturing, managers need to understand some underlying challenges and paradigm shifts, including the transition from time-triggered to event-triggered control systems.
Read the full analysis at…
Intel, Siemens, Uptake leaders among keynote speakers for Smart Industry 2016
Big data in the material handling industry: The NIST project
Improve plant productivity with communication, data gathering, and analysis
Six life lessons my father taught me about reliability
Common sense and a commitment to continuous improvement and taking care of the details will go a long way
As I reflect back on my engineering career, I realize that my father taught me a lot about reliability engineering long before I thought about being an engineer. A lot of people, especially those with whom we work on a daily basis in plants, don’t understand what reliability engineering is. They tend to think it’s something complex that doesn’t involve them. I hope these lessons my father taught me will make this subject easier to understand.
My father was trained as a machinist, and in my early years, he worked in the cigar industry. When I was in elementary school, he became the production/maintenance manager of a small cigar factory. I remember that there were two shifts of production working five days a week when he took over…
Cloud computing: We'll never be all in, say most companies
How the Internet of Things might change your plant
6 mistakes to avoid with EAM software
Bring-your-own-device policies put plant data in the palm of your hand
Can Tesla find the skilled, experienced engineers it needs to ramp up production to target levels?
Technology entrepreneur Elon Musk gave a public shout-out to the sharpest minds in manufacturing last week, calling on them to come help Tesla Motors build a million all-electric cars a year by 2020.
Tesla on Wednesday said it would build 500,000 cars in 2018, two years ahead of schedule, and close to 1 million by 2020. The same day Tesla said its vice presidents in charge of production and manufacturing were leaving.
While young engineers will jump at the chance to work for Tesla, the "by-the-numbers, disciplined manufacturing guys" with 15-20 years of experience will be harder to nab, said Cuneyt Oge, president of the Society of Automotive Engineers.
Read the full story at reuters.com.
How to determine the best electrical safety practices for your plant
Do capacitor systems really save energy?
Electrical safety experts answer your questions
Exxon feels the heat from some investors over climate change risks
Some investors say they're worried that Exxon Mobil isn't doing enough to prepare in case countries start acting on their Paris climate change accord promises
Exxon Mobil has been under pressure for over a year to explain its handling of climate change issues in the past. Now the company faces new pressure to explain its future, particularly how it will change in response to a warming world.
At the company’s planned annual meeting on Wednesday in Dallas, shareholders will vote on a resolution to prod Exxon Mobil to disclose the risks of climate change to its business.
Read the full story on nytimes.com.And for Energy Expert columnist Peter Garforth's take on the Paris climate talks, see "Mission: Reduce emissions."
Make your machines more energy-efficient: 5 basics
Energy management motivation: Fighting mixed signals, misaligned goals and unpredictable resources
Track energy costs like you would operating costs
Establishing an energy management dashboard the right way
Adding a VFD? How to treat it like a VIP
Be aware of potential power quality problems on both the line and load sides.
When companies want to improve performance of equipment that’s driven by motors, they often will incorporate a variable frequency drive (VFD) into their system. VFDs control the AC motor speed and torque by varying the motor input frequency and…
Perspective: Ethane as primary fuel for gas turbines?
Learn the dos and don'ts of generator maintenance
GE Power & Water and Alstom Power combine to form GE Power
Operational benefits of power system upgrades
In Wyoming, hard times return as energy prices slump
Manufacturing activity ticks back up in Texas
Perspective: Too many standards up project cost when oil prices are crashing
The executives leaving oil and gas behind for jobs in clean energy
Steam savings for the long haul
In this installment of What Works, an OEM service partnership helps keep a historic paper maker up and running.
Modernization projects don't end once a new product is installed or a new service is implemented. Moreover, the ultimate success of modernization efforts rides on more than what happens in the first few weeks or months or even the first year after an installation or launch.
Edward Champagne, engineering manager at paper manufacturer Paperlogic in Turners Falls, MA, appreciates that the journey to plant modernization and better asset reliability is more of a marathon than a sprint. When it comes to his facility's generators, installed in place of 70-year-old boilers some time before Champagne joined the company in 2008, a dedicated preventive maintenance program coupled with ready expertise provided by the local vendor that made…
How to monitor day-to-day cooling tower performance
Drive down your energy costs with heat of compression recovery
Compressed air systems' waste heat improves plant economics
Heat recovery — Great in theory, tough in practice
HVACR contractors share chiller maintenance best practices
Regular maintenance is an absolute must, though plans and best practices can differ
Chiller maintenance plans help prevent catastrophic failures by ensuring equipment is properly monitored and serviced on a regular basis. These plans can vary based on a number of factors, including chiller type, manufacturer, geographical region, and client preference, to name a few.
Ray Humphries, area service manager for Capstone Mechanical in Waco, Texas, said the most common chiller failures he sees are not catastrophic. “They are usually very minor component failures, such as thermistors, pressure transducers, and flow switches,” he said. “These are all relatively minor parts that are both inexpensive and easy to replace, if you have them on hand. Most of these are specific to a particular chiller.”
Maintenance plans are then…
Johnson Controls and Tyco announce merger
How to achieve better HVAC and dust collection
Reduced HVAC energy waste
Heat recovery and energy efficiency go hand in hand
Why Nike is making most shoes from manufacturing waste
How to take your plant one step closer to lean
Implementing lean operating systems
Lean manufacturing leads to production gains
Perspective: Reality check – manufacturing jobs aren't coming back
"For every manufacturing job lost to trade, nearly nine have been lost to machines," Ball State professor Michael Hicks writes
A primary election has just passed and Sen. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump both won comfortably with some version of a promise to “bring back jobs and manufacturing to America.” Voters clinging to this hope need to steel themselves for a letdown.
To be sure, our trade deficits have cost us manufacturing jobs. The high-end estimates are that today we have 1.5 million fewer manufacturing jobs across the nation because of foreign trade. All the other 6 million or so lost manufacturing jobs are due to mechanization, better technology and better production practices. Today’s typical factory workers make twice as much “stuff” in an hour as they did in 1977.
For every manufacturing job lost to trade, nearly nine have been lost to…
Manufacturing momentum fades but export orders step up
Growth at American manufacturers cools as challenges persist
House votes to let manufacturers seek lower import tariffs
7 ways 3D printing is making manufacturing more competitive
Manufacturers beef up cybersecurity
Require safety compliance in your supply chain
How to measure the safety of your plant
Safety is everyone's job
Safety and maintenance concerns prompt officials to consider shutting down DC Metro
Subway system in the nation's capital under federal watch for safety lapses
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said last week he had seriously considered ordering a shutdown of Washington's troubled subway and warned the subway agency he would not hesitate to use that authority if necessary.
"We're not afraid to use the authority we have," Foxx told reporters in a briefing at the Transportation Department's Washington headquarters. "The culture of safety is not where we want to see it ... I have great concerns."
In March, Metro launched an unprecedented day-long shutdown for emergency safety checks of 600 underground cables that could pose a fire risk.
Read the full story on reuters.com.
Are new OSHA rules on electrical safety regular or supersize?
The history of electrical safety
Safety on a larger scale: Honeywell integrates protective solutions offerings
Related portfolio encompasses solutions for safety shutdown, process fire & gas detection, physical security, cybersecurity, and effective alarm management
Honeywell Process Solutions recently briefed ARC Advisory Group on the company's Integrated Protective Solutions offerings.
According to Honeywell, the company assembled this collection of offerings to address several needs in the market. What seems to be the most pressing market need is to create a safer and more secure environment with increased layers of protection. Key takeaways from this briefing include:
Honeywell has created an integrated and holistic approach to protect the plant, people, and environment to either avoid or enable faster and better response to abnormal situations.
The related portfolio encompasses solutions for safety shutdown, process fire & gas detection, physical security, cybersecurity, and effective…
US Labor Dept.: Manufacturing workplace fatalities increased in 2014
Got questions about arc flash? We've got answers.
Arc flash hazard experts answer your questions
Mitigate arc-flash risk
For Scott Fetzer Electrical Group, collaborative robotics helped lower repetitive motion injuries while increasing productivity
Located in Nashville, Tennessee, the Scott Fetzer Electrical Group (SFEG) knew it could get more competitive in domestic and foreign markets with the right automation. In addition to the problem faced with its manufacturing mix, worker safety was another issue.
SFEG director of operations, Matt Bush, described the idea of using a mobile robotic force but wondered how to make that happen with the issue of safety enclosures.
“I came across this idea of collaborative robots,” says Bush, “something that can work with humans and you didn’t have to be afraid of being around.”
Read how SFEG achieved a 20% increase in productivity with mobile robots.
Rockwell Automation announces leadership changes
When LOTO isn’t the only answer
In this installment of Automation Zone, alternatives to lockout/tagout can offer safety as well as savings.
When OSHA released its latest annual list of the 10 most-cited workplace safety violations, few people likely were surprised to see lockout/tagout (LOTO) make the list yet again.
For 2015, LOTO came in at No. 5. That’s the same spot it held 10…
ABB shareholder hires consulting group to study potential company breakup
The winning combination for successful design, programming, and manufacturing
Successful design, programming and manufacturing requires more than just functional and reliable machines.
I was walking around a custom machine builder's facility the other day and couldn't help noticing how run-down, dirty and unkempt everything looked. The impression started from the parking lot and continued inside the building. Weeds, broken sidewalk and poorly maintained landscape all started a yellow caution light flashing in my head as this company was touting their innovative designs and manufacturing capabilities.
Do you guys ever notice that? I do, and I cannot help but think that the machine builder's customer does, also.
Although looks can be deceiving, I'm sure many potential customers wonder if the poor appearance bleeds over into poor machine design and workmanship.
Read the full story on controldesign.com.
30-year veteran Blake Moret named president & CEO, Keith Nosbusch to remain Chairman
Rockwell Automation announced today that its board of directors has elected Blake D. Moret, a 30-year veteran of the Company, as president and chief executive officer, effective July 1, 2016.
At that time Keith D. Nosbusch, 65, who has been president and chief executive officer since 2004, will transition from those roles while continuing as chairman of the board. Moret, 53, is currently senior vice president of the Company’s Control Products & Solutions segment.
“It has been an honor and privilege to lead Rockwell Automation over the past 12 years," said Nosbusch. "While as a team we enjoyed tremendous success, I have no doubt that we are well positioned for an even greater future. Blake is the ideal executive to move Rockwell…
Rockwell Automation expands motion control business
Perspective: Don't fear global trade
MAPI report identifies capital investment, educated labor as key U.S. manufacturing influencers
Long Island students 'have no idea' what manufacturing is, execs say
New York manufacturing execs work to broaden awareness of manufacturing careers
More than 2,300 technology-related manufacturing jobs have been posted on Long Island over the last 12 months, according to a workforce skills nonprofit, yet executives said many students in the region are unaware of the career potential and even lack comprehension of what manufacturing is.
“If you a sixth grader what manufacturing is, they probably have no idea,” said Teresa Ferraro, president of East/West Industries.
Read the full story at newsday.com.
Perspective: Stop asking for manufacturing jobs, they're not coming back
In Illinois, students look to ramp up their manufacturing skills
Training and Career Development
Training operators and maintenance staff with 3D visualization
Maker faires: Building the future
In Ohio, fighting to bring manufacturing jobs back
When workers in Mexico make $7,000 a year and get two meals on the job, "How do you compete with that?" economic development leader asks
Scioto County, which sits just across the Ohio River from Kentucky, was a thriving manufacturing hub decades ago, but its industries and many of its remaining factories are mere shells of their former selves. The area lost thousands of jobs — and residents — as companies closed or moved operations overseas. Businesses continue to downsize, leaving Scioto County with a 8.8% unemployment rate.
But Jason Kester, executive director of the Southern Ohio Port Authority, is undeterred in his efforts to spur economic development in the area. More than two dozen companies have opened shop or expanded in the four-county region since 2013, creating 745 new jobs and bringing nearly $150 million in new investments, according to data from the…
Make-ing a difference: The rise of the Makers
Metal manufacturing businesses face workforce shortage
Low oil prices end 21st century gold rush
The era of “mom-and-pops” fueling the shale-oil boom is coming to a close
The 21st century version of the American gold rush is coming to a swift end.
A shakeout is sweeping through the U.S. oil and gas business, putting small-time petroleum prospectors who got rich off of shale energy out of business as rock-bottom oil prices reshape the sector despite the commodity's slight uptick in recent weeks.
The pain low oil prices have sparked has spread into other corners of the energy industry. This week, coal miner Peabody Energy warned that it may have to file for bankruptcy protection and SunEdison, a developer, installer and operator of alternative energy plants said it discovered problems in its accounting processes, the latest in a string of troubles for the company.
At least 48 North American oil and gas…
White House expands TechHire initiative
How automation is changing the jobs outlook: An educator's perspective
GE’s move to Boston: Why it's so important for the cleantech sector
U.S. manufacturing sector’s woes pose wider dangers
In Connecticut, state aid helps manufacturers modernize equipment
Workforce retention: Should I stay or should I go?