Optimation Blog

The one thing that can make or break your capital project

Posted by Steve Beyer on May 16, 2017 2:50:40 PM

Communication is one of the most significant factors in any kind of successful venture. Whether it's operating a business or executing a capital project, communication among team members and between stakeholders is critical. Clarifying understanding, and enabling trust and confidence, are just a few of the critical benefits of optimized communication. This blog post is intended to explore the application of effective communication, specifically in capital projects.

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Topics: Project Management

Control Systems Integrators - Leaders in Manufacturing Automation

Posted by Bill Pollock on May 9, 2017 1:08:40 PM

I spent last week at the annual conference of the Control Systems Integrators Association (CSIA).  Since it was founded almost 30 years ago, the CSIA has been the leading force in advancement of manufacturing automation in the United States and increasingly around the world.  At last week’s conference, over 500 owners and C-level executives from more than 200 automation firms came together to learn, share and teach.  They have discovered that “co-opetition” is one of the best ways to grow and improve themselves. 

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Topics: Trends, System Integration, Controls

Delegation, Procrastination and Time Management

Posted by Bill Pollock on May 4, 2017 3:16:54 PM

Do you know anyone who routinely loses their vacation at the end of the year because they have been too busy working all year to be able to be able to plan it or schedule it?  Do you know people who are never able to keep up with their workload but are too busy to be able to train someone to help them, or maybe too busy to be able to delegate anything to someone fully qualified to help them? Perhaps they make the excuse that it is easier or faster to do a task themselves than to delegate it to someone else.  There may be a little bit of those traits in each of us. But the further we go down those paths, the less effective we become in doing our jobs and creating paths for success in our own lives. 

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A Different Approach to Safety

Posted by Al Manzer on May 3, 2017 6:00:00 AM

Most safety folks know that safety success is all about sales. They also know that selling safety to CEOs, Managers, Supervisors and even the workforce is tough, because most are not buying. The perception is that safety adds time, it’s inconvenient and adds to the bottom line.

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Why you should use third-party engineering firms (or work for one)

Posted by Steve Beyer on Apr 27, 2017 4:17:59 PM

How do you work on the most stimulating and meaningful engineering and manufacturing projects across a wide variety of applications without working directly and exclusively for one of the world's biggest manufacturing companies?  Work for a firm that services those companies and participate in select projects that are sourced to your firm.

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Topics: Manufacturing, Resource Planning, Trends

Why it's already time to plan for summer shutdowns

Posted by Wendy Smith on Apr 20, 2017 2:20:39 PM

In Rochester, the transition from winter to spring came pretty fast!  One day it was 70 degrees and we were getting ready to pull our cars and motorcycles out of storage and the next day there was 3” inches of snow and salt on the roads again.  Friday I did yard work and noticed some buds on the trees, and by Sunday everything was in bloom! 

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Topics: Manufacturing

Manufacturing Employment and the Skills Gap

Posted by Bill Pollock on Apr 19, 2017 3:16:18 PM

One of the big goals this year is to grow manufacturing jobs in the United States.  It is a wonderful goal and I endorse it. There are some challenges with the plan that not too many are talking about. At face value, manufacturing jobs sound great.  But manufacturing jobs in 2017 are not the same as manufacturing jobs were in the 50s, 60s or 70s.  Because of advanced technologies in our manufacturing plants and the high levels of automation, many of the jobs available today require much greater levels of skills and training than those of past decades. 

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Smart Manufacturing

Posted by Mike Triassi on Apr 13, 2017 12:38:33 PM

It seems that its time has come and its more than we imagined.

As an ABB Chemical Business Unit employee in 1991, I attended an internal meeting by a corporate "think tank" group within the company that postulated on automation and where it was trending. The main theme was that user interfaces would be multi-faceted. Displays that offer configuration forms, loop drawings, and P&ID views for engineering; at the click of a button morph into a version with setpoint entries, alarm status feedback, and real-time trends for operators; another click transforms to I/O troubleshooting, statistical reports, and repair orders for maintenance; still more variations with cost of operation, yield and order status for production and management. It sounded like a great idea, but no products offered this type of seamless operation between stakeholders.

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Topics: Manufacturing, Trends, Smart Factory

Machine Guarding and Safety Guarding

Posted by Bill Pollock on Apr 11, 2017 1:20:48 PM

Machine guarding is often thought of as something associated with industry and manufacturing plants. It is true that the potential for hazards from machines is greater in those settings.  But even in our homes we often have machines where safety guards have become common.  Our garage doors have sensors so that if anything cuts the plane of the door the opener will reverse the action and open the door. Riding lawnmowers have seat interlocks to shut down the engine when we get off the mower. Table saws have sensors to shut the blade off quickly if it comes in contact with a finger. And even kitchen appliances like a food processor have interlocks to keep clumsy home operators from cutting their fingers. 

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Topics: Safety, Glass Manufacturing, Machine Guarding

Rochester's future is in STEM

Posted by Wendy Smith on Apr 6, 2017 3:16:37 PM

Earlier this year it was announced that Rochester ranked 23rd in the U.S. for STEM workers in a study done by WalletHub.  WalletHub is a social website that offers financial tools and information for consumer and small business owners.  They ranked 100 of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas on 17 metrics from per-capita job opening for STEM graduates to projected demand for STEM workers by 2020.  This is great news for the area, but how do we move up on this and ensure that we at least hold our position and move higher on the list?

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Topics: Manufacturing, Technology, Trends

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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