The most productive way to assess and upgrade an aging infrastructure

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

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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).

Being in a position to assist our customers in a wide variety of challenging manufacturing scenarios extends even into implementing solutions for mandated events like NEC, NFPA, and OSHA driven changes.  In this specific case, let’s talk about what can happen when the investment a client would like to make will require an update to his machine guarding (based on current OSHA regulations and guidelines). This happens when the logical improvement to a customer’s production system means that the old state of the design is no longer grandfathered.  In order to gain approval to install the desired upgrades, the associated equipment must be brought up to current codes. (As a side note, sometimes this annoying mandate drives manufacturers to simply replace older equipment with new, because it is supplied with designs that are compliant with the current state of the applicable codes).

Contact Pete About Production Upgrades

Work with a service provider with a Safety Engineer on staff to help you in this type of situation by providing an assessment on the current state of your affected equipment. A safety professional will look at areas that may not be compliant, and provide a report card on those specific machine locations that will need remediation.

If you’re working with a multi-disciplined company, its technical staff can work with its safety engineer to concept applicable methods to satisfy the regulatory requirements. At Optimation, our goal is to offer hardware solutions that meet code, plus offer the user a cost-effective method that can extend the useful life of machinery that otherwise might have been removed from service.  The interaction between our own in-house personnel allows us to understand not only the letter of the codes that are in force, but also the interpretation of some of the nuances.  This is significant in that these interpretations are what sometimes allow a simple correction to emerge, that can save our client significant time and money to implement a compliant corrective action plan.

In keeping with being a total solution provider, once the problem areas have been studied, and a cost effective remediation solution concept identified and approved, an estimate to implement the upgrade can be generated.  This is provided to enable our client to study their business case, do some financial calculations, and approve the execution of the solution.  At this point, Preliminary Engineering can commence, which leads to better definition of the hardware and controls, plus software, to implement the needed upgrades.  At the completion of the Preliminary Engineering phase, a quote is provided to execute the detailed design, fabrication, installation, debug and startup of the code required corrections.  From problem statement to installed equipment, Optimation has been supporting its client with all of the needed skills to seamlessly deliver a turnkey solution.

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

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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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