As we've said before, skids come in all shapes and sizes, for many applications and industries. Take this solvent coater we retrofitted for the New College Institute.
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.
In our role as a solution provider to the manufacturing industry, and in this case that industry segment that deals in batch processes, we frequently provide custom designed subsystems packaged in skid form. These subsystems can be designed for mixing, cleaning, filtration, pumping, delivery, the list is extensive. We package or configure these subsystems in skid form for a number of clear and relevant reasons:
Last week I attended the CSIA (Control Systems Integrators Association) Conference in San Francisco. What is CSIA you may ask? CSIA is an organization that was founded in 1994 as a not-for-profit global trade association that seeks to advance the industry of control systems integration. Control system integrators use their engineering, technical and business skills to help manufacturers and others automate their industrial equipment and systems.
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.
Question: when is a skid not JUST a skid?
Answer: When it is a cart, a panel, a pod, a plate, a module…
More and more frequently we at Optimation are seeing requests, and opportunities, for modular or skid-based production and manufacturing process projects. These are condensed application sets embodied in a well-controlled and highly-engineered custom configuration.
Topics: Skid Systems
At Optimation we design and fabricate many skid systems. These systems are used by manufacturers for a broad variety of applications. Skids can be built as carts, in frames, in shipping containers or trailers. They can be built as prefab production lines units that can be bolted together to form larger systems. Physical layout can be tailored to the complexity, geography and environmental conditions the skid needs to perform in. Some are mounted indoors in factory conditions, others may ultimately be located in the arctic, or on an offshore oil platform. Applications also vary. Some are used for chemical delivery or small scale chemical processing. Others have been used for hydrogen distribution, high pressure test systems, food processing or testing medical devices. Skid systems have the advantage of being built in a shop in controlled conditions and then installed in remote or challenging locations.
Recently, during a visit with my 4-year-old grandson, I had the opportunity to answer some of his questions, and reflect on the career path that I have chosen. It started with him wanting to know what his Poppa did at work. So, I told him I was an engineer, and I helped sell machines that make things (it’s challenging to give a 4-year-old your sales “elevator” speech and have him understand it).
By the time I was nine or ten I knew I was going to be an engineer. By then everyone in my family, and everyone else, I knew also knew I was going to be an engineer. I have three brothers. They all became engineers. Maybe there is something genetic about becoming an engineer. Or perhaps it is environmental and we are taught from an early age. I am not certain about the cause, but I do know that I have enjoyed the practice of engineering from the time I began my career until now. There is something exciting about cause and effect, about creating things that work, and about applied science in general.
Engineers Week promotes recognition among parents, teachers, and students of the importance of a technical education and a high level of math, science, and technology literacy. The intent is to motivate youth to pursue engineering careers in order to provide a diverse and vigorous engineering workforce.