September 2006 Issue


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  • The future of reliability

    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.

  • Companies struggle to recruit; can job fairs ease the burden?

    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.

  • Free web resources for job hunters

    Humans are resources or assets, just like computers, which we routinely toss in the garbage when they can’t 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.

  • The smart way to troubleshoot hydraulics

    Plant managers, building engineers and project managers have an inherent stake in the productivity and health of their hydraulic equipment. When there’s a recurrent or chronic problem, it’s imperative to have background information or, better yet, a strong suspicion of what’s wrong before the service providers, inside or outside the company, are called.

  • A less-expensive RCM technique

    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.

  • Mid-life crisis

    If you’re 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.

  • Green energy technology has a big positive effect on the bottom line

    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.

  • Behind the dashboard

    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.

  • How top companies reduce pump failures- and how you can, too

    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.

  • DOE boiler software is a hot way to save energy

    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.

  • Turnaround done down to the dime

    Valero Energy Corp., the largest U.S. refining company, utilized synchronization to get credible, timely information during a refinery shutdown.