September 2006 Issue
The dilemma that American companies face and will continue to face during the next five to 10 years is having a poorly educated, unmotivated workforce when something else is needed to operate and maintain ever more complex production and information management systems.
More and more companies are feeling the symptoms of the Maintenance Crisis. Deferred maintenance is reaching chronic levels as current equipment continues to age, thus requiring more maintenance, while sophisticated, new equipment needs more care, attention and custom configuration. Companies are struggling for internal talent who can read foreign blueprints from their German, Japanese and Italian equipment suppliers.
Humans are resources or assets, just like computers, which we routinely toss in the garbage when they cant cope with the hot, new features programmers build into their latest software offerings. The manufacturing industry is merely swapping out assets endowed with Skill Set A for those having Skill Set B. Russ Kratowicz, PE, offers these registration-free web resources to improve your financial lot in life.
Plant managers, building engineers and project managers have an inherent stake in the productivity and health of their hydraulic equipment. When theres a recurrent or chronic problem, its imperative to have background information or, better yet, a strong suspicion of whats wrong before the service providers, inside or outside the company, are called.
Early exposure to engineering can pave a positive path for the future. Engineering-focused summer camps prove to be huge influences on young people, says managing editor Ken Schnepf in his latest column.
An Acme employee institutes an English-only policy in his plant filled with second-generation workers and the company ends up facing a union backlash. Find out the details in our monthly In the Trenches, where only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.
Implementation is hard, especially with programs such as Lean, Total Productive Maintenance, Reliability-Centered Maintenance or CMMS. Learn the common pitfalls and how to successfully implement CMMS.
There is a tremendous amount of time and training which translates to cost required to conduct a full RCM analysis, especially if you insist that each participant be trained and certified in RCM techniques. Learn about another less-rigorous method.
If youre good at keeping old stuff running, how do you decide when to replace it? Editor in Chief Paul Studebaker gives his take on aging equipment in his latest column.
Don't be lulled into the status quo when building your energy management program. Instead, invest in consultants that bring a new way of thinking to the same old problems, says Peter Garforth in his latest Energy Expert column.
Lighting control is among the strategies that improve economic and environmental performance. Such systems can curb lighting energy costs by more than 50%, defer lamp replacement costs by cutting burn hours and encourage predictive maintenance practices, says Sheila Kennedy in her latest Technology Toolbox column.
Visual systems that allow technicians, engineers and managers to quickly ascertain the status of industrial equipment are very real, and on their way to a plant near you.
Some U.S. oil refineries repair their centrifugal pumps every three years while other refineries enjoy an average repair interval of 10 years. Learn about the highest-performing refineries and other petrochemical companies that have significantly reduced pump failures, and how you can obtain the same results.
Take a look at a parametric study to quantify energy savings from five common best practices for packaged boiler systems. Then use the free software to perform a plant-specific study of your own.
Valero Energy Corp., the largest U.S. refining company, utilized synchronization to get credible, timely information during a refinery shutdown.
Maintenance changes are behind the recent partial shutdown of the oil pipeline at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Choices made about how often, at what expense, and what level of maintenance is appropriate are being questioned in hindsight.
Ivara Corp. has joined the MRO Software Complementary Solution Partner program just as IBM completed plans to acquire MRO.
The Life Cycle Institute was recently opened by Life Cycle Engineering (LCE) to serve as its new and expanded flagship educational facility.
ABB has announced it will manage maintenance operations at Cooper Tire and Rubber Companys Albany, Ga. plant.
Baldor Electric Co., Fort Smith, Ark., recently completed its new motor manufacturing plant in Columbus, Miss. and the expansion of its Oshkosh, Wis. generator plant.