At Optimation we’ve been engaged in many renewable energy projects over the past few decades. Early on much of the focus was the production of ethanol as an alternate fuel. Most of the early production was from corn. Many states, like New York, mandated that commercial gasoline be blended with ten percent ethanol. There were some unintended consequences of these original plants. The large demand for corn, to convert to ethanol, caused disruptions in the food supply. There were also unanticipated maintenance issues for many using ethanol blended gas to power lawn mowers and other small engines.
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.
On the heels of the 65th Engineers Week, I would like to highlight the accomplishments of the Rochester Engineering Society (and specifically RES Board Member Lee Loomis) in launching a tutoring program with our city schools. Serving on the board for a number of years, most recently as treasurer, I have been involved with this program as it has come off the ground. I think it is a fine example of how engineers are making a difference in our local communities.