Remove Risk from Full-Scale Projects

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Pilot plants demonstrate the feasibility of proposed process technologies for real-world operations.

By Michelle Segrest, Navigate Content, Inc. - Reporting for Efficient Plant Magazine

De-risking has always been the driving force behind pilot plants and that force is as strong, if not stronger, in today’s environment of ever-shorter product life cycles. For example, when a company’s research and development group has an idea for a new process technology, testing may be performed at a “glass scale.“

“This can mean making only one liter of a certain chemical, similar to the type of tests you do in a high school chemistry class,” according to John Schott P.E., president of EPIC Systems Inc., St. Louis (epicsysinc.com), a manufacturing and service company that designs, integrates, and builds pilot-plant solutions for manufacturers worldwide. “Let’s say all goes well. The tests show the technology works at that scale. But are they convinced enough to take the risk to build a plant for $150 million that produces 10,000 pounds of the material each day? In most cases, it’s just too big a jump to spend that kind of money and hope a plant works.” A pilot plant is meant to show that a process technology can be made at a smaller industrial scale, or perhaps two evolutions of that scale, before a larger, full-scale production plant is built. Click here to reqd full article.

Augmented Reality Accelerates Manufacturing Efficiency

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Connecting humans and machines through augmented reality is changing the face of industrial manufacturing. 

By Michelle Segrest, Navigate Content, Inc. - Reporting for Efficient Plant Magazine

When digital content is overlaid on a piece of machinery, the equipment comes to life. Detailed instructions pop into focus to guide the operator, helping him/her to identify and fix any problems. Animated 3D renderings, in exact proportion, explode into view and visually show the operator how to repair and maintain the machinery through step-by-step visual aides. Like something from “The Terminator” or “Minority Report” movies, the operator can instantly see the digital content directly in front of him. This is one example of how augmented reality (AR) is revolutionizing the efficiency of industrial operations. Thanks to this technology, paper manuals will soon be as ancient and obsolete as a rotary phone mounted on a wall. No longer will operators need to search and research to find answers to technical questions. With AR technology, solutions to their problems literally appear before their eyes.  Follow this link for the full story!

Automation Accelerates Beer Production

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Automation and a focus on reliable processes are at the core of a craft-beer business that grew from a hobby to a full-time pursuit in less than 10 years.

By Michelle Segrest, Navigate Content, Inc. - Reporting for Efficient Plant Magazine

Jason Roeper grew up watching and learning from his uncle, a hobbyist home brewer. The day he turned 21, Roeper went to his uncle’s house and brewed his first batch of beer. He honed his craft and, in 2007, submitted his unblended Elderberry Lambic, “Straight Up,” to the Sam Adams Longshot Competition. He was named a finalist, which inspired him to pursue his dream of becoming a craft-beer brewer. In 2009, after being laid off from a corporate job, Roeper translated his longtime vision into a business plan and began the Rivertown Brewing Company in Lockland, OH. In 2017, he expanded to a larger space in Monroe, OH, and rebranded the business Rivertown Brewery & Barrel House (rivertownbrewery.com), which now covers 31,000 sq. ft., including the manufacturing facility and a barbeque restaurant and pub. With a 417-barrel fleet, the company produces 28,000 barrels of beer in 28 flavor varieties annually, and distributes in 37 U.S. states. Follow this link to read the full story. 

Tomorrow's Plant in Action Today

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Using 3D laser scanning and rapid prototyping, Festo created its Scharnhausen Technology Plant with Industry 4.0 and complete communication at its core.

By Michelle Segrest, Navigate Content, Inc. - Reporting for Efficient Plant Magazine

Thanks to progressive and innovative methods and a focus on Industry 4.0, Festo (festo.com) has designed and built a facility in which employees safely interact with a flexible robot that takes over assembly tasks ergonomically disadvantageous for humans. An energy transparency system allows all energy flow and consumption to be tracked in the future. Tablets, with interactive apps, have become the primary working tool to detect and rectify machine faults quickly and directly on site. The Scharnhausen Technology Plant in Ostfildern/Stuttgart, Germany, is at the forefront of automation’s future. To read the full story, please follow this link. 

Bourbon Boom Drives Distillery Expansion

Historic Kentucky spirits manufacturer doubles production capacity with minimal increase in physical space.
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By Michelle Segrest, Navigate Content, Inc. - Reporting for Efficient Plant Magazine

Nestled on the scenic Salt River in Lawrenceburg, KY, sits a unique distillery with Spanish mission-style architecture. Four Roses Distillery began producing bourbon on this site in 1910. Bottling and single-story rack warehousing are handled at a second facility at nearby Cox’s Creek.  Rich in tradition and history, Four Roses handcrafts 10 distinct bourbon recipes and is one of the largest bourbon manufacturers in Kentucky, a state that produces 95% of the world’s supply. Managers at the 130-yr.-old company decided, in 2015, to embark on a plant expansion that would double its yearly capacity from 4-million to 8-million proof gallons. The decision to expand was based on increasing and projected industry growth, but the plans included only a limited increase in square footage. Strategic space planning became an essential element. Follow this link to read the full story. 

Motor Repair Anywhere, Anytime

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A family-owned motor repair and service company uses a never-say-no attitude to tackle challenging projects of any size. 

By Michelle Segrest, Navigate Content, Inc. - Reporting for Efficient Plant Magazine

Instinct and guts drove Higinio “Tico” Rodriguez to leave Cuba when Fidel Castro came to power in 1959. “He wasn’t sure why at the time, but he just knew he had to get out of there,” said his son, Victor Rodriguez. “He knew that something just wasn’t quite right.” With five dollars in his pocket and an 8th-grade education, Tico Rodriguez left his homeland and never looked back. Two decades later, in 1978, it was the same instinct and guts that drove him to start his own motor-repair shop in Pensacola, FL. To read the full story, please follow this link. 

Tips for Maintaining Brewery Equipment

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Justin Farmer has worked in food and beverage processing more than half his life. As a teenager, he learned from his father, who was a master electrician and an industrial maintenance manager and engineer. He started at the bottom, but quickly earned the experience and knowledge to work his way into a leadership role at Rhinegeist Brewery in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he is transforming the maintenance and reliability programs of the historic brewery.

By Michelle Segrest, Navigate Content, Inc. - Reporting for Valve World and Pump Engineer

Justin Farmer has seen maintenance and reliability from every angle. While working with his father in the maintenance department at a tortilla plant in Northeast Georgia when he was 16 years old, Farmer had the opportunity to learn all about maintaining pumps and valves from senior mechanics. “They taught me the basics like motor replacement, gear replacement, and how to repair failed transfer systems,” the 35-year old Facilities and Maintenance Manager said. “There was a great amount of knowledge to be learned. Of course, I was one of the young ones, so I didn’t get a lot of the good jobs. I started at the bottom working in the water treatment pit. Most of my friends were out having fun, and I was working my tail off. But this was how I could spend time with my father.”  Follow this link to read the full story. 

PdM Keeps Coating Company Operating

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Weekly planned maintenance and continuous improvement drive reliability for a finishing company that works on an extraordinarily tight schedule.

By Michelle Segrest, Navigate Content, Inc., - Reporting for Efficient Plant Magazine

Situated in the middle of the production process for its customers, Linetec, based in Wausau, WI, relies on critical processes, complex scheduling, and all systems working in sync to get products in and out of its finishing facility at lightning speed. To make this happen, production keeps moving at all times. The clock only stops one line at a time—in 12-hour weekly increments—for critical preventive maintenance. “The important story that we have to tell is one of reliability,” said Andy Joswiak, Linetec’s vice president of engineering and technical services and a 28-year company veteran. “We are right in the center of our customers’ business. We need to be reliable, and we need to be up. We have a maintenance staff that runs all the time with multiple and creative schedules.” Read the full article. 

Integrating Automation into Manufacturing

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Draper Inc. experiences a century-long evolution of product diversity and manufacturing transitions while holding firm to its family-owned foundation. 

By Michelle Segrest, Navigate Content - Reporting for Efficient Plant Magazine

A few things have changed in the 115 years since fifth-generation, family-owned Draper Inc. opened its doors for business in the small town of Spiceland, IN, in 1902. There were no phones, no cars, and no computers. Less than 20 years ago, operators still used bulky, 5-lb. scissors to hand cut fabric shades and projection screens, and a seamstress would sit at a table and operate a traditional sewing machine with a foot pedal. Today, following a focus on lean manufacturing that began in 2000, automated machines do the cutting and sewing and much of the other manufacturing for the company that is located just 40 miles east of Indianapolis. Read the full story. 

Bionics Drive Future Factories

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Festo’s Bionic Learning Network studies the movement and behavior of animals in nature to inspire interactive, intelligent technology and machines that stretch the boundaries of factory automation.

By Michelle Segrest, Navigate Content - Reporting for Maintenance Technology Magazine

Walk through Festo’s headquarters in Esslingen, Germany, and you’ll witness what appears to be science fiction. Artificial intelligence and energy efficiency are deeply imbedded into its bionic robots. The engineers at Festo believe that by turning to nature to study the behavior, movement, and communication techniques of mammals, insects, and reptiles, you can build a smart factory with advanced automation. In fact, you can build the factory of the future. Please follow this link to read the full story. 

Reliable Security Depends on Reliable Operations

A focus on PM optimization, culture change, sustainable processes, and employee empowerment drives reliability efforts at the Y-12 National Security Complex mini city.

By Michelle Segrest, Navigate Content - Reporting for Maintenance Technology Magazine

Spanning 2.5 miles between its east and west boundaries, the 74-yr.-old Y-12 National Security Complex is a “mini city” inside the city of Oak Ridge, TN. Within its secure borders, are 379 buildings of manufacturing, production, laboratory, support, and research and development areas managed by Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC (CNS) under contract for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). To read the full story, please follow this link. 

Powering Auto Production

A highly sophisticated electrical protection-and-control system helps Mercedes-Benz keep the power running and its people and equipment safe.

By Michelle Segrest, Navigate Content - Reporting for Maintenance Technology Magazine

When electric current flows through an air gap between conductors, it creates an arc flash. Sparks fly, equipment can explode, and anyone who happens to be nearby can be injured—or even killed. 

To read the full story and to view informative videos, please follow this link. 

Redefining Reliability

Biopharmaceutical manufacturing company AstraZeneca leverages an advanced reliability program to streamline more-effective maintenance processes.

By Michelle Segrest, Navigate Content, Inc. - Reporting for Maintenance Technology Magazine

Even though the AstraZeneca manufacturing facility in Mt. Vernon, IN, looks like a hospital surgical unit—with key equipment separated into concentrated clean rooms—for years it operated like an emergency room. When an equipment breakdown occurred, personnel jumped into action, triaging the issue and not always looking into the true symptoms to prevent future occurrences. Follow this link to read the full story. 

 

Training, Automation, Innovation Drive Reliability

German-based Aquatherm provides reliable, sustainable pipe production as a result of advanced technology, automation, and in-house design and innovation.

By Michelle Segrest, Navigate Content, Reporting for Maintenance Technology Magazine

As one of the first three companies in the European market to manufacture under-floor heating systems, Attendorn, Germany-based Aquatherm has come a long way since the company was founded 44 years ago. It now leverages state-of-the-art automation and innovative energy-saving systems to drive its reliability and sustainability programs. For the full article and more, please follow this link.

Reliability Changes Lives

Using skilled technicians and advanced technology, Eli Lilly and Company creates life-saving medicines and devices worldwide. 

By Michelle Segrest, Navigate Content, Inc., Reporting for Maintenance Technology Magazine

At Eli Lillythe motivation to improve production reliability is not just something that is tracked on graphs and charts for upper management to review. In fact, for maintenance and reliability engineer Carrie Krodel, it’s personal. Krodel, who is responsible for maintenance strategies at the Eli Lilly Indianapolis facility’s division that handles Parenteral Device Assembly and Packaging (PDAP), has a family member who uses the company’s insulin. “I come to work every day to save his life,” she said. To read the full story, please follow this link.

Reliability on a Global Scale

Petrochemical plant in India commits to superior maintenance to build a world-class program.

By Michelle Segrest, Navigate Content - Reporting for Maintenance Technology Magazine

Enter the gates of the Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) Hazira manufacturing division site in Gujarat, India, to find perfectly manicured landscaping with plush trees, bright-green lawns, and flower beds containing thousands of daisies, basoras, exora, petunia, and other varieties decorating the entire 1,000-acre campus. Though visitors may feel as if they are at an exclusive vacation resort, deep within the beauty of the grounds, serious manufacturing is at work—27 individual chemical and petrochemical plants that operate above capacity and with superior maintenance, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Read the full story to discover the truly unique programs being implemented by this world-class manufacturing facility. 

The Path to Reliability

Maintenance programs take center stage as manufacturing facilities use key trends to improve reliability.

By Michelle Segrest, Navigate Content, Inc., Reporting for Maintenance Technology Magazine

In 2016, Maintenance Technology traveled from West Palm Beach, FL, to Delano, CA, covering successful reliability and maintenance programs at diverse manufacturing facilities throughout the United States. Whether manufacturing snack foods, EPS foam products, drivetrains, construction tools, air-movement equipment, pumps, energy-efficient windows, electrical wiring, oil refining, or maintaining zoo operations, the best practices for maintenance programs have evolved to include advanced technology and critical strategy.  For an overview of some of the best practices we discovered in 2016, click this link. 

Maintenance Excellence on the Cutting Edge

Greenheck uses “pit stop” Kaizen events and other key tools to encourage and implement continuous-improvement projects.

By Michelle Segrest, Reporting for Maintenance Technology Magazine

It’s not difficult to spot the shiny, steel, domed rooftop units that keep the air moving in industrial, commercial, and residential buildings. These are a core product of Greenheck Fan Corp. Becoming a market-share leader for air-movement components hasn’t happened by accident for the Schofield, WI-based corporation. Through strategic and progressive capital investments in equipment, technology, and people, the company has thrived by living on the cutting edge. “We actually live on the bleeding edge of technology,” said Greenheck’s maintenance-technology supervisor Paul Smith.

To read the full story and view exclusive video from our tour of Greenheck Fan Corp., please follow this link. 

Obsessed with Change

A transformation in management and culture, combined with an investment for future growth, revitalizes a 97-year-old tool-manufacturing company.

By Michelle Segrest, Reporting for Maintenance Technology Magazine

For Empire Level, giving new life to a company that was family-owned for five generations is more than an investment. It is an obsession. “There is a big difference between passion and obsession, and we are truly obsessed,” said Richard Gray, the senior vice president and general manager of Empire Level, Mukwonago, WI, a division of Milwaukee Tool Corp., Brookfield, WI. “Anyone can be passionate, but we go beyond that. We are obsessed about our brand being the best, obsessed about the quality of our manufacturing, obsessed about how clean our plant is, how happy our people are, and how well they are trained. We are obsessed about how much fun we have watching the company grow every day. This obsession really drives us.” To read the full story, please click here. 

CMMS Drives Maintenance Efficiency

Robust data and extensive CMMS use put vehicle-parts manufacturing company in the reliability driver’s seat.

By Michelle Segrest, Reporting for Maintenance Technology Magazine

A vehicle’s drivetrain translates the power of an engine into the mechanical force of the wheels. Likewise, the maintenance program at the Fort Wayne, IN, manufacturing facility of Dana Inc. is translating the power of effective data collection into equipment assets. Click here to read the full story.