Optimation Blog

The Remarkable Pace of Technological Change

Posted by Bill Pollock on Nov 17, 2017 11:00:28 AM

I live in an underground house on a dirt road, three miles from pavement. A quarter mile down my road is a cemetery. About a hundred individuals are buried there, including soldiers who died in the civil war, and a woman named Thankful Reminton.  The abstract of deed for my property shows that two hundred years ago Thankful owned the property I own now.  Thankful died in 1889 at the age of 88.  She lived the last 35 years of her life as a widow and raised ten daughters and a son, many who predeceased her. She lived in an era that was different from ours and we may wonder how they were able to do what they did with so few of the modern inventions and current technology. 

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Technology, Automation and Employment

Posted by Bill Pollock on Nov 14, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Robots, and the dream of intelligent working robots have been with us for a very long time.  As early as 1495, Leonardo da Vinci designed the first humanoid robot.  It was designed to sit up, wave its arms, and move its head via a flexible neck.  There were hundreds of other robots designed over the next five hundred years.  In 2003 NASA used twin robots as Mars rovers.  Robots were used in industry for activities like welding and painting automobiles.  But until recently most robots were fairly simple, single application, machines.  But it is only because of rapid advances in artificial intelligence that robots are advancing to the potential uses we now visualize. If robots can learn, improve and “think” in ways similar to humans, they can take on a whole new set of challenges.  And, as part of this evolution, robots are also taking on uncannily human-like appearances. The future of robots now appears unlimited.  A robot recently advanced one step closer to human status, when it was granted citizenship to Saudi Arabia.  

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Topics: Manufacturing, Trends, Automation, Robotics

The Benefits of Thinking About the Negatives of a Project

Posted by Steve Beyer on Nov 6, 2017 2:04:03 PM

 

"Unintended consequences." Sounds harmless, guilt-relieving, “not-our-fault” kind of language.  On the surface it's a simple-enough statement, declaring that there were outcomes to some actions taken that (usually) ran counter to the intent of the project, and generally they were not desired.  In other words, "some bad things happened that we did not expect."

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Topics: About Optimation, Communication, Manufacturing, Business, Project Management

When "The Little Things" Add Up, Consider a Service Contract

Posted by Wendy Smith on Oct 31, 2017 4:06:59 PM

 

One of the most efficient ways for an engineering services company to work with a client is by having an Engineering Services Contract or some type of “Blanket Order” in place.  At some companies, it can take longer to get a purchase order than it does to complete the actual work that is requested.  Having a blanket order or an engineering services contract in place streamlines the process and allows work to be authorized and initiated quickly.

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Topics: Engineering Services

From Concept to Fabrication:  What are the Risks, and How are they Mitigated?

Posted by Pete Sherer on Oct 24, 2017 8:39:43 AM

At Optimation, we describe our company in terms of our ability to provide turnkey solutions to the manufacturing segment.  Our solutions and services can start early in the project process, as we are able to assist our clients in investigating a variety of technologies that might help them with their production challenge or problem.  We generally receive a problem statement and some User Requirements from our contact at the client company.  We respond to the customer’s needs with a Concept Design phase, which includes performing a technology assessment.  Our Media Conveyance Facility stands ready to offer Development Engineering and modeling to predict behavior for products that are built on flexible webs, for example.  Once a preferred technology is selected, a manufacturing platform or machine configuration is generated that answers the client’s User Requirements (the first steps of our Project Process).  We then invite our client to participate in a Concept Design review to validate our work product so far.

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Topics: About Optimation, Mechanical and Process Services, Manufacturing, Project Management, Engineering Services

Measuring and Quantifying the Results of Automation and Process Optimization Projects

Posted by Steve Beyer on Oct 20, 2017 9:21:22 AM

Thinking back to an industry report I read, I recall a condition that still plagues many companies operating in today’s manufacturing markets: Change, Complexity, and Costs -- our "3-C's". These factors are so dynamic in ways and at speeds previously unequaled that I wonder how can our clients keep up with such challenges while achieving their goals and maintaining their advantages? Let alone exceeding those same goals and increasing their differentiating values?

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Topics: Automation

Optimation Partners with Gas Technologies to Fabricate Methane-to-Methanol Plants

Posted by Bill Pollock on Oct 17, 2017 3:00:48 PM

Gas Technologies LLC. located in Walloon Lake, MI. has an NGL production facility set up in North Dakota and they are producing NGLs.  Present production is at the rate of 600 mscfd. They anticipate a ramp-up of this rate by year-end and will shortly set up an adjacent Mini-GTL plant at the North Dakota site. Their goal is to change the world of gas flaring by making a huge reduction in the amount of gas flared.

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Topics: Skid Systems, Oil and Gas Industry, Energy

Accident Prevention

Posted by Steve Beyer on Oct 12, 2017 3:01:00 PM

When challenging and important manufacturing tasks get tackled, risks abound.   Materials choices, volatile material handling methods, confined space working areas, complex machinery, and many more factors and conditions apply pressure to safe and efficient work. We can take lessons from past events and near-misses and remind ourselves to study our practices to ensure that corners are not cut and best practices are employed to assure workplace safety. 

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Topics: Safety

National Manufacturing Week

Posted by Bill Pollock on Oct 9, 2017 4:51:09 PM

The first week in October was designated as National Manufacturing Week in the United States.  President Trump made a proclamation, as President Obama did before him. Friday of National Manufacturing Week is proclaimed Manufacturing Day. Manufacturing Week and Manufacturing Day are a celebration of modern manufacturing to inspire the next generation of manufacturers.  In Rochester, we held some activities planned to help with this celebration.  The Rochester Technology and Manufacturing Association held an open house for high school students featuring displays and sessions showing them the opportunities that are available in manufacturing and encouraging them take the math and science classes needed to be eligible for these professions.  Optimation participated in this event which was held at Eastman Business Park.  Over 300 high school students participated. 

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Topics: Manufacturing

Why do you outsource engineering services?

Posted by Wendy Smith on Oct 3, 2017 4:37:55 PM

In today’s economy, it is difficult for some companies to justify a large headcount.  There is constant pressure from the top to keep headcount down, but the argument back is that the employee is needed because they have a specific skill or expertise. Unfortunately, the particular skill that they have is not required 100% of the time and thus some companies hold on to employees just in case something happens. Or they let go of the resource and have to figure out how to accomplish what that person did or fill the gap of their missing expertise. This creates a dilemma within the organization. Should they carry this extra person, train someone else in that area of expertise, or are there other job functions that the employee could perform if they were cross trained in another area? Many times, none of these options are efficient and sometimes even not practical.

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Topics: Engineering Services

Welcome to the Optimation Blog

Tips, tricks and trends

The goal of this blog is to be helpful to readers by providing useful information about applications in industrial engineering, design and skilled trades, as well as industry knowledge. We're passionate about manufacturing in the United States. We have a little fun with it too.  

 

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