Optimation Blog

Web Handling - In Over Your Head?

Posted by Pete Sherer on Mar 14, 2017 10:46:08 AM

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:

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Topics: Mechanical and Process Services, web handling, training

A little bit of Process Knowledge goes a long way

Posted by Pete Sherer on Mar 9, 2017 2:57:01 PM

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.

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Topics: Mechanical and Process Services, process design, Batch

Manufacturing in Rochester – From the Perspective of Time

Posted by Bill Pollock on Mar 7, 2017 2:10:31 PM

The byword of the presidential campaign and the new administration has been creating manufacturing jobs in the United States.  But even before the change in leadership in Washington there was a push to create manufacturing jobs, save the automobile industry, provide funding to create apprenticeships and new qualified tradesmen. 

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Topics: Manufacturing, Trends

Service as a Product/Product as a Service

Posted by Bill Pollock on Mar 1, 2017 10:14:31 AM

 

There has always been an element of service as a product but it is accelerating in recent years and may become the dominant method of delivery for sophisticated goods over the next several years. The question being asked by manufactures is, do consumers want a “thing” or do they want the service that the product delivers? Do consumers want to buy a device and use and maintain it or would they prefer to pay for the actual use they get from it?  A traditional example of this was the car lease. Consumers get a car to use and effectively pay for the miles they drive. The repair and maintained costs are covered in the lease fee paid. The same concept can now be applied to almost anything a consumer uses.  As the Internet of Things has become more robust it has made it possible to monitor more closely the operation and failure of appliances, and to do predictive and preventive maintenance. 

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Topics: Manufacturing, Trends, Internet of Things

The most productive way to assess and upgrade an aging infrastructure

Posted by Pete Sherer on Feb 27, 2017 2:01:51 PM

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).

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Topics: Mechanical and Process Services, Manufacturing, Safety, process design

Arc Flash and NFPA 70E Training

Posted by Wendy Smith on Feb 22, 2017 1:52:50 PM

A couple of buzz words in today’s industrial vocabulary are Arc Flash and NFPA 70E.

Arc Flash is a type of electrical explosion or discharge that results from a low-impedance connection through air to ground or another voltage phase in an electrical system.  In layman’s terms, it’s an explosion of light and heat that contains electrical energy that can cause substantial damage, harm, fire, injury and financial loss. (It is something that you want to prevent from occurring in your facility!)

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Topics: Safety, training

Automation – Job Eliminator or Job Creator?

Posted by Bill Pollock on Feb 20, 2017 3:59:53 PM

In a quote attributed to Warren Bennis over a decade ago, it was stated that “The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching any of the equipment.”  Perhaps the future he visualized is very near. 

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Topics: Manufacturing, Automation

The Top Risks to Your Project

Posted by Steve Beyer on Feb 8, 2017 1:55:19 PM

I recently sat with a couple of our top project managers here at Optimation. The subject was project management: risk assessment and mitigation. Risk is a big deal here. Very often our clients hire us to help manage their project risk. This can come in the form of scope, schedule, or budget dimensions, each of which poses its own unique challenges to a client's ability to achieve their goals when undertaking capital projects.

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Topics: Project Management

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

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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