Wendy Smith

Recent Posts

When "The Little Things" Add Up, Consider a Service Contract

Posted by Wendy Smith on Oct 31, 2017 4:06:59 PM


One of the most efficient ways for an engineering services company to work with a client is by having an Engineering Services Contract or some type of “Blanket Order” in place.  At some companies, it can take longer to get a purchase order than it does to complete the actual work that is requested.  Having a blanket order or an engineering services contract in place streamlines the process and allows work to be authorized and initiated quickly.

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Topics: Engineering Services

Why do you outsource engineering services?

Posted by Wendy Smith on Oct 3, 2017 4:37:55 PM

In today’s economy, it is difficult for some companies to justify a large headcount.  There is constant pressure from the top to keep headcount down, but the argument back is that the employee is needed because they have a specific skill or expertise. Unfortunately, the particular skill that they have is not required 100% of the time and thus some companies hold on to employees just in case something happens. Or they let go of the resource and have to figure out how to accomplish what that person did or fill the gap of their missing expertise. This creates a dilemma within the organization. Should they carry this extra person, train someone else in that area of expertise, or are there other job functions that the employee could perform if they were cross trained in another area? Many times, none of these options are efficient and sometimes even not practical.

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Topics: Engineering Services

Machine Installation Planning for Glass Batch Houses

Posted by Wendy Smith on Aug 15, 2017 12:56:31 PM

Every type of manufacturing process has its own set of limitations or parameters that you need to work within, especially when planning a shutdown, maintenance, or equipment installations.  Glass manufacturing is no exception.  There are a few rules when working around glass.  You need to work safely, if you don’t you will get burnt or cut.  You need to respect the glassmaking process. 

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Topics: Equipment, Glass Manufacturing, Batch

What We Learned While Re-Certifying to ISO 9001:2015

Posted by Wendy Smith on Jun 21, 2017 2:25:52 PM


Optimation has been certified in ISO 9001 since 1996 There have been several revisions to the standard since that time, with the current ISO 9001:2015 being the latest with the most significant changes.  Knowing that the changes were significant, I did some research to help us prepare for the audit.  I have included some visual comparisons of the standards that I found helpful as noted below.     

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Topics: Quality

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

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

Answers to Questions About an Arc Flash Study

Posted by Wendy Smith on Mar 28, 2017 6:00:00 AM

In my last post, I talked about the NFPA 70E standard and Arc Flash. I mentioned that Optimation has a staff of engineers that perform Arc Flash Studies to help ensure that our customers comply with the standard. OSHA requires that the employer provide its workers a safe work environment free from known hazards. Electric shock and arc flash are known electrical hazards recognized by OSHA.

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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

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

Meeting the next generation of the glass industry

Posted by Wendy Smith on Nov 22, 2016 3:28:39 PM

I recently attended the 77th annual Glass Problems Conference (GPC) in Columbus, Ohio. GPC is the largest glass manufacturing event in North America, attracting global manufacturers and suppliers to exchange innovations and solutions. This is a conference that is co-organized by the Glass Manufacturing Industry Council (GMIC) and Alfred University, with programming direction provided by an industry advisory board.  It brings people associated with all aspects of the manufacturing of glass from all over the world to one location and lasts the better part of 4 days. There are meetings, papers that are presented, technical sessions, tabletop and comprehensive booth displays by vendors, and hospitality suites hosted by suppliers to the glass industry on Monday and Tuesday night.

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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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