Optimation Blog

Bill Pollock

Recent Posts

Process Monitor Analytics and IIoT

Posted by Bill Pollock on Dec 12, 2018 8:30:00 AM

The Internet of Things is revolutionizing all areas of our lives.  Manufacturing Industry 4.0 is a revolution as transformative as the first industrial revolution that began nearly three hundred years ago.  Over the past few years major manufacturers of industrial control products, as well as smaller software companies and start-ups, have been developing and introducing software and software tools to provide analytics and artificial intelligence to improve both manufacturing processes as well as products manufactured.  Advancements in manufacturing analytics are coming fast and furious. 

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Topics: IIoT, Process Monitor

Pet Food Manufacturing, Contamination and Regulation

Posted by Bill Pollock on Dec 4, 2018 2:58:23 PM

The pet food industry in the United States is huge and growing. In 2017, American families spent over 30 million dollars on pet food.  On average that’s about 800 dollars per year per pet.  There are about 300 manufacturers making this pet food in the United States. If you’re a pet owner yourself, these numbers may not be much of a surprise! What you may not realize is that just like food for people, pet food is regulated.

Today there are stringent regulations put in place by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the manufacturing of food for pets. These regulations are strict enough that some feel they hinder the growth of the pet food market. The regulations were put in place to assure several things.  It’s mandatory that pet food be safe to eat, produced under sanitary conditions, free of harmful substances, and labeled truthfully. Canned pet food must also comply with the regulations for any low-acid canned food.  Much of the motivation to enhance regulations for pet food was driven pet food recalls that took place in 2007. 

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Topics: food industry, Safety

National Apprenticeship Week

Posted by Bill Pollock on Nov 13, 2018 3:16:24 PM

National Apprenticeship Week is here!  Join the celebration November 12-18, 2018.  National Apprenticeship Week is a national celebration that offers all of us, especially those of us in manufacturing and industry, a chance to demonstrate our support for apprenticeships.

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Topics: Skilled Trades

How to Avoid Contamination in Stainless Steel Fabrication

Posted by Bill Pollock on Nov 7, 2018 9:20:00 AM

Stainless steel contamination can be a real problem in applications that require clean corrosion free surfaces.  This is frequently a requirement in labs as well as food and pharmaceutical plants.  Stainless steel, when fabricated correctly, provides excellent corrosion resistance. When misapplied, this will not be the case.  Precautions must be taken to prevent contamination of stainless steel surfaces during fabrication.  This is possible with the proper precautions, when done in a shop in controlled conditions, and more difficult when installation is carried out in a project field location.  

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Topics: Manufacturing, Skilled Trades, food industry

The Hazards of Contamination in Stainless Steel Fabrication

Posted by Bill Pollock on Sep 25, 2018 12:46:03 PM

Stainless steel contamination can be a real problem in applications that require clean corrosion free surfaces.  This is frequently a requirement in labs as well as food and pharmaceutical plants.  Stainless steel, when fabricated correctly, provides excellent corrosion resistance. When misapplied, this will not be the case.  Precautions must be taken to prevent contamination of stainless steel surfaces during fabrication.  This is possible with the proper precautions, when done in a shop in controlled conditions, and more difficult when installation is carried out in a project field location.  

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Topics: Manufacturing, Skilled Trades, food industry

Skilled Trades Are An Important Part of America's Future

Posted by Bill Pollock on Jun 28, 2018 12:15:36 PM

The labor shortage of skilled tradesmen in pipefitting, welding, electrical and machinists is well-documented throughout the United States. Older generations of skilled tradesmen are entering retirement much faster than they can be replaced. One statistic indicates that over 50 percent of skilled-trade workers in the U.S. are 50 years old and older, and nearly 20 percent are over 60.

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How A Gotcha Stick Evaluates Machine Safety

Posted by Bill Pollock on Jun 19, 2018 3:49:27 PM

It's human nature to find ways to work around the rules. 

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Topics: Machine Guarding, Safety

Tariffs, Trade, and US Manufacturing

Posted by Bill Pollock on Jun 14, 2018 11:11:58 AM

At Optimation we design and fabricate manufacturing systems for companies all over the United States and the world. To build this equipment, we use a lot of steel and stainless steel and lesser amounts of aluminum and exotic alloys. A couple months ago, the rules changed when getting prices for these commodity items. Many of our suppliers began to provide pricing which was good for only 24 hours. This reaction by our suppliers was created by threats of tariffs being placed on steel and aluminum.

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Topics: Manufacturing, Trends, Purchasing, Business

In Search of IIoT Demand

Posted by Bill Pollock on May 15, 2018 12:03:12 PM

 This post originally ran in the Automation World CSIA Blog.

Recent advances in technology have made it possible for manufacturers to build processing lines that will create products faster, cheaper and of higher quality. Many of the new technologies have moved so quickly that they are considered disruptive in the changes they make to manufacturing processes. But new technology doesn’t come without a cost.

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Topics: Internet of Things, IIoT, Trends, Manufacturing

Boston, The BAA and Lessons We Can Learn

Posted by Bill Pollock on Apr 23, 2018 1:30:40 PM

Monday April 16, 2018 was Patriots Day in Boston. The weather was abysmal; 37 degrees, pouring rain, headwinds of up to 20 miles per hour. It was the worst weather ever for a Boston Marathon. But the BAA and Bostonians were determined to make it one of the best marathons ever. I arrived in Hopkinton on a school bus like twenty thousand other runners.  By the time we got there the field was already standing mud.  We squeezed into a large tent along with thousands of others.  Inside volunteers were doing what little they could to make runners comfortable. They gave us a sheet of Mylar to sit on and some energy gels. We weren’t out of the rain long before it was time for the 45-minute walk to the starting corrals and the run to downtown Boston.

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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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