Optimation Blog

Going Green and the Trump Energy Policy

Posted by Bill Pollock on Feb 7, 2017 2:10:27 PM

 

There is a lot of heated debate about everything Trump. The Trump energy policy is certainly one of the more heated parts of the debate.  From one side of the debate come Rolling Stone and the Huffington Post.  Rolling Stone ran a headline that simply said “Trump’s Energy Policy would be a Nightmare.”  The Huffington Post joined in.  As they put it, “The earth, and the US economy, needs a President who understands that going green is the single most effective domestic business plan available to him and that burning more fossil fuels, while rolling back clean air and water regulations, will turn us into Beijing or Delhi.”  Not everyone takes such a pessimistic view.  Spencer Dale, group chief economist at BP, says that “U.S. energy policies under new President Donald Trump are unlikely to have a big impact on global action to curb a rise in greenhouse gas emissions or to be a big game changer.”

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Making the Most of a Control System Migration

Posted by Mike Triassi on Feb 2, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Manufacturers utilizing control systemswith obsolete components are faced with the daunting task of needing to replace their system, even though it may meet their production needs and is very well understood by the operations team.  What can be done to help improve the success of a control system migration

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The ROI of a migration project is sometimes difficult to justify. It is often viewed as an "insurance policy" against losing the ability to replace a "likely to fail" subcomponent. In many cases this type of justification gets postponed for many years but most likely there are features of a new system that can improve a migration's value.   

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Topics: Manufacturing, DCS, Controls

Manufacturing Trends 2017 –Adaptive Analytics

Posted by Bill Pollock on Jan 31, 2017 10:31:29 AM

For the past decade and more there has been steady progress toward greater and greater use of advanced automation in manufacturing. While Manufacturing 4.0 and the Internet of Things are new in their implementation, they were preceded by continuing and steady improvements in process control systems, SCADA and historians which have been in place for decades. Capturing process and product data from the plant floor and using analysis techniques such as SPC has been the manufacturing model for decades.  One of the challenges has been dealing with the massive amount of data available to use, storing, analyzing, and using the results to meaningfully improve quality and throughput.

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Topics: Manufacturing, Trends, Smart Factory

What's all the buzz about ... 3D printing?

Posted by Pete Sherer on Jan 30, 2017 11:42:27 AM

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… 

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Topics: Manufacturing, Technology, Trends

Gold Standard Partnerships

Posted by Steve Beyer on Jan 25, 2017 10:54:03 AM

One of the relationships that has been foundational in Optimation’s growth and success over the years is the one we have with National Instruments. NI is the test, measurement, and control systems innovator based in Austin, Texas. For over a dozen years, Optimation has been a partner with NI. We have together been engineering, deploying, supporting, and training in innovative solutions based in the NI ecosystem. Applications range from medical device testing to very high-pressure test system design and fabrications, to custom programming and software design.  Our clients have benefited from the combination of Optimation’s creative engineers and developers with NI’s state-of-the-art suite of open software, innovative solutions, and globally-sourced electronics and systems.

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Topics: Data Logging, Controls, Test Systems, Software

Using Digital Twins in Manufacturing

Posted by Bill Pollock on Jan 23, 2017 3:38:50 PM

I saw an interesting article this week. It was about a vote taken in the European Union by a committee which would grant certain human rights to robots. While this does not apply directly to the subject of digital twins in manufacturing it is very much related to the topic. In both cases it becomes clear that more and more sophistication is being applied in artificial intelligence and computer programming. We have come a very long way since 1996 when IBM’s Deep Blue was first able to win against a human chess master. 

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Topics: Manufacturing, Trends

An Immodest Proposal

Posted by Steve Beyer on Jan 19, 2017 4:16:40 PM

 

It strikes me, in recent days, that some of the most heated rhetoric is aimed at several “threats” to our American essence. That is: Russian hacking, class envy, and (gasp!) Automation!  They stand accused of challenging our very democratic foundations, tearing us apart as a people and turning human beings into commodities and turning us one against the other.

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Topics: Automation, Controls

Manufacturing in 2017 - Reshoring, Newshoring and Nearshoring

Posted by Bill Pollock on Jan 18, 2017 8:00:00 AM

When we are dealing with technical issues we often like to revert to TLMs, FLMs and RCBs.  Somehow it makes us feel more connected and in the know than others. TLMs are “three letter mnemonics,” FLMs are “four letter mnemonics,” and RCBs are “really cool buzzwords.” 

Reshoring, newshoring and nearshoring are RCBs that have come into our lexicon in recent years. I did a bit of a survey and while most people know what offshoring is and many are aware of reshoring, it seems that far less are aware of the trends beginning in nearshoring and newshoring.

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Topics: Manufacturing, Trends

Training: the gift that keeps on giving

Posted by Pete Sherer on Jan 17, 2017 9:41:29 AM

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.

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Topics: web handling, training

Performing upgrades in a Glass Batch Plant

Posted by Wendy Smith on Jan 16, 2017 1:44:27 PM

 

Glass manufacturing is a science, but there has always been a bit of mystery to it, and it is often treated like an art with touch of black magic and a deep rooted theme of “this is how things have always been done.”  The glass industry is one of the most conservative that I have seen. It tends to be slow to change and no one wants to be the first to try something. Glass melting is a 24/7 operation; you cannot stop the flow of glass without impacting the quality, and what you want is consistency, so you really don’t even want to be changing flow rates. This leaves little time for maintenance, whether it be preventive or dealing with some type of catastrophic failure. There is much planning involved when a line or furnace is to be shutdown. It is a window of opportunity and you must accomplish as much as possible when it occurs. 

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Topics: Glass Manufacturing, Batch

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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