It has been a couple weeks gone since we held our last successful training course on Web Handling Fundamentals. I have been tabulating the attendee feedback forms, and the responses from our guests who came to the workshop are very encouraging. It is clear from the comments provided that most of the students walked away from the completed course with more tools and knowledge with which to perform their respective jobs. But a little more on that in a paragraph or two, first let’s talk a bit about what web handling is, and why its study might be important.
Each year we that we offer web handling training to our clients, we hear their stories of why they decided to take the class, and later, how they applied what they learned in their plant after they left. Pete Sherer writes up a fictional story, based on our own customers and their feedback:
When manufacturing companies in the processing segment are faced with having to solve their varied production problems and challenges, they may find due to resource constraints within their own organizations that hiring in some outside help is required. Manufacturers in these situations frequently have qualification steps to go through to ensure that the potential supplier can provide the level of service necessary to solve the problem at hand. This is equally true whether the company in need requires replacement of a failed part, regulatory guidance for a new chemical to be introduced, or installation of a new piece of process equipment. The varied disciplines within a process based company that may be serviced by contractors is broad and varied. Businesses that look to suppliers for assistance should be able to understand and verify the skills and capabilities of their suppliers, on a project by project basis, to ensure a successful outcome.
Say you are a manufacturer with an aging production infrastructure, faced with the opportunity to sell more of your goods (if only you could up your output from your existing equipment). As you begin your investigation into your options to increase your volumes, and consider the possibility of a capital investment, you may then be faced with the need to deal with parts of your existing system which may have to be brought up to current code. The modifications you may desire for your current machinery, which will enable the integration of new equipment to give you the added production you are seeking, are also now mandating certain regulated updates (this can happen to electrical components and wiring, and can also drive necessary improvements to guarding for operator safety).
As a new year begins to unfurl before us, and we consider trends that may become popular and successful, one technology that is poised to have a significant impact on how goods are manufactured is 3D printing. This breakthrough method, which relies on building plastic, ceramic or metal components by fusing together droplets of liquefied feedstock or particles of finely ground powder, offers several thought provoking advantages. So, let’s talk about 3D printing…
The gift that keeps on giving. We all want to be a recipient of that, don’t we? And not just any gift; we want a present that has high value and appeal, one that you can be assured won’t end up stuffed into a closet and regifted next year.
In today’s rapidly changing manufacturing landscape, many companies that produce consumer or industrial products have evolved to a staffing construct that is lean and cost effective. These companies have found that they can’t afford to carry a technical staff to support all aspects of both their manufacturing platform and their plant infrastructure. So, out of necessity and competitive pressure, they prioritize where to make their staffing investments, and then look to outside help for assistance that can be funded on a pay-as-you-go basis when specific problems or challenges arise. Generally, companies that have focused their technical staff on nurturing their Intellectual Property (either product formulation or process methods) then allow contract engineering firms to partner in the technical space outside of their proprietary domain.
At Optimation, we provide a variety of goods and services to our customers who manufacture a range of products for numerous markets. One of the verticals that we service is that segment of the manufacturing population that produces goods continuously in web form (or roll-to-roll). These products can be commodities like garbage bags and food wrap, or they can be more high tech, such as printable electronics. In either case, in order to take advantage of the attractive unit manufacturing costs that uninterrupted production garners, these companies need to have sufficient knowledge of the process and machinery that is the platform for their operation. It is this knowledge of the science behind the web machinery that drives troubleshooting, new product introductions, diagnostics, and improvements.
One of the services that we offer our clients is machine relocation. Our construction personnel, who are experienced with process equipment, are seasoned in the discipline of dismantling, crating, moving, and re-installing used machinery to other sites, or for other uses. While we have the ability to perform this work, one can certainly observe all the effort that can go into such a move and come away wondering if accomplishing the needed business goal by virtue of this approach is worth it …
As a provider of multiple services to our clients in the manufacturing segment, delivering our product offerings, whether it be labor hours or machinery, necessitates an awareness of the inherent health and safety risks in all that we do. We must be able to assist our customers with support and machine solutions that are properly guarded, and preserve our own and our client personnel’s safety; we must also interact/interface with our client’s systems in a way that does not damage any of their existing machinery. In order to do this with certainty, a high level of rigor and effort must be applied around machine guarding. This can include but not necessarily be limited to construction safety plans, daily tool box talks, design reviews, job hazard analysis, potential problem analysis, and the list can go on.