Tribology Program Fills Skills Gap

Tribology Program Fills Skills Gap

A one-of-a-kind program at Auburn is helping develop manufacturing engineers with hands-on experience that translates directly to real-world jobs. Whether it’s an airport runway, a manufacturing robot, fluid couplings, power transmission, a tile floor, human-joint replacement, hard-drive technology, or biomedical equipment, surfaces are in constant contact with each other in the mechanical world. The result is friction and wear. In fact, one fourth of the world’s manmade energy is lost to friction. Tribology is used to maintain, control, monitor, and positively manipulate friction, and studying it has the potential to make innovative contributions to industry, society, and environmental conservation.

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Create Action from Data Analysis

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Manufacturers are finding ways to gather, analyze, and use data analytics to solve problems before they happen and drive upgrades in uptime and quality.

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

There was a time, not so long ago, when manufacturing companies had systems that were stuck in silos with little or no communication between humans and machines. Data was difficult to gather and shared only through spreadsheets and by word of mouth, making problems almost impossible to predict. Today, not only are humans and machines communicating, but machines are talking to each other. Massive amounts of raw data are flying through the air at warp speed revealing all kinds of intelligence. It’s one thing to have the data. It’s another to be able to analyze the data. But the secret sauce, according to Nathan Oostendorp, co-founder and chief technical officer of Sight Machine, San Francisco (sightmachine.com), is dissecting the data, identifying the right data, and then using the knowledge gained in a meaningful way to create actionable results. Follow this link to read the full article.

Manufacturers Leverage IIoT Data

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As companies make digital transformations using IIoT data, they see immediate results that save time and money.

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

A plastics manufacturer had a major piece of equipment that was frequently breaking down with no warning. It was a $40-million problem every time it happened. By incorporating a digital-transformation strategy, the company was able to predict the problem five days in advance.  “This is the power of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT),” said Robert Golightly, senior manager, Product Manufacturing at AspenTech, Bedford, MA (aspentech.com), a supplier of software that optimizes asset performance. “When a machine fails, companies generally wait until the machine is fixed, and when the process is running again, they go back to work. They are forced to do this because there is not enough time to do anything else. But when you have a few more days or even weeks to think about it, suddenly there are all kinds of options. You can use the time to build inventory or reschedule production. There are half-dozen smart business decisions we could make if we had enough time.” 

IIoT is having a profound effect on the way companies collect, manage, and analyze data. Click here to read the 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!

Drones Fly Beyond Inspections

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Unmanned-aircraft systems are excellent and safe inspectors, but the future is in analyzing the data they collect.

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

They can be as small as a pizza or as large as a picnic table. With the help of a licensed pilot, they can fly over and around heavy equipment. They can hover high above facilities and gather data from areas that would require scaffolding and cranes for humans to reach. They can maneuver into tight, hard-to-reach spots, such as industrial piping. Most important, they safely collect valuable data in record time and with minimal risk of unnecessary shutdowns or need for excessive manpower. To read the full article, please follow this link.

Additive Technology Can Improve Performance

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Companies can produce more reliable and efficient components faster and with fewer resources using 3D-printing technology. 

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

Ryan Hooley vividly remembers when General Electric’s (GE) aviation department manufactured a fuel-nozzle component using 3D-printing technology. Traditionally, the component was made of many smaller components. It required welding and assembly—processes that needed time, energy, and materials. But GE found a way to produce a fuel nozzle using additive manufacturing—specifically, 3D printing.  “They were able to make it in one shot, one part,” said Hooley, general manager of product management for GE’s Power Services business in the B/E class fleets. “But additive manufacturing is not just looking at the value propositions like assembly, cost, and cycle. Now we can look at actually improving performance. When people hear 3D printing, I wonder if they realize how it’s being used today. It seems very futuristic. This upgrade is evidence that additive manufacturing is here today. It’s relevant, and it delivers value. Additive manufacturing is fundamentally changing what we can do. It’s not 10 years away. It’s here.” Follow this link to read the full story.

Educating Work-Ready Students

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Oakland University program works closely with local manufacturers to create a program that provides experienced workers based on industry needs.

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

In Southeast Michigan, within a 60-mi. radius of the Oakland Univ. Rochester, MI, campus, there are thousands of major manufacturing companies representing automotive, metals, machinery, food and beverage, plastics, rubber, bioscience, furniture, chemical products, energy, computer and electronics, and defense. These companies need industrial and systems engineers who are ready to go to work right out of college. Oakland’s Industrial & Systems Engineering (ISE) Department is giving them what they need.  “Our program is all about educating engineers for a lifetime,” said Robert Van Til, Ph.D., the school’s Chair and Pawley Professor of Lean Studies, Industrial & Systems Engineering Department (oakland.edu/ise). “It’s not about training someone to be super productive one day on the job. We are preparing engineers to be work ready right out of college.” Follow this link to read the full story. 

Be Aware of Wear Before Failure

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A chemical-pump expert shows how preventive maintenance can ensure chemical pumping performance.

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

Understanding that flow components such as diaphragms and check valves will start to show wear before they fail can be strong motivation to incorporate an effective preventive-maintenance program for chemical-processing equipment, according to metering-pump expert Jim Holts, senior technical sales manager, dosing pump line, Grundfos Pumps Corp. (us.grundfos.com, Downers Grove, IL). “It is very common in this industry to say, ‘I’m going to wait until something fails, and then fix it,’” Holts explained. “Proactive maintenance is the key. When the components start to wear, you will start to lose the accuracy of your pump, which is one of the reasons you bought a metering pump to begin with—for it’s high, repeatable accuracy. And since we may classify metering pumps more on the instrumentation side, just remember that you are paying for something you are not getting if you are not doing proper maintenance.” To read the full story, please follow this link. 

Improve Chemical Pump Maintenance

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

Regardless of the industry, in chemical-pumping applications, it’s important to understand how the chemical reacts to heat, pressure, and flow. Just as crucial is the need to consider all system components in these applications. One maintenance misstep could be catastrophic. Jim Raiders, senior technology engineer for Akzo Nobel Pulp and Performance Chemicals Inc., Chicago, offered the following advice for keeping chemical-processing pumps well maintained and reliable. To read the full article follow this link. 

Match Pump Specs to Chemicals for Smooth Operation

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Marrying a specific product with the right equipment is crucial in chemical-processing pump maintenance.

By Michelle Segrest, Reporting for Maintenance Technology Magazine

The biggest problem a pump operator can face, especially when explosive, corrosive, and abrasive chemicals are involved is not having a structured maintenance program, according to Tim Mann, president of TKM Industries Inc., a Marietta, GA-based manufacturer of custom-engineered metering pumps for the chemical, wastewater, and mining industries. 

For best practices, technology, tools, and tips, read the full story by clicking this link.

Top Reliability Tips for Maintaining Food & Beverage Processing Pumps

Food-and-beverage pumps are subjected to extensive and harsh cleaning procedures to assure that they meet all health regulations.

By Michelle Segrest, Reporting for Maintenance Technology Magazine

It can be as smooth and clear as water or wine, or as sticky and thick as cookie dough or peanut butter. Regardless the viscosity, one thing remains a top priority when pumping processed food and beverages—no corners can be cut when it comes to keeping the systems clean and hygienically safe.

Read more, including specific real-world examples, by following this link.

Inject Reliability in Water and Wastewater Pumps

Address the most common problems and follow best maintenance practices to keep critical water movers running around the clock.

By Michelle Segrest, Reporting for Maintenance Technology Magazine

One faulty $5,000 pump in a wastewater-treatment facility can shut down an entire operation and end up costing the company or municipality $500,000/day, according to Jim Elsey, vice president and general manager of Summit Pump Inc., Green Bay, WI. Why do pumps fail? The 44-year veteran of the pump repair and maintenance business has five very specific reasons and they all trace back to the people who are charged with making those pumps perform and those who provide (or don’t) the resources needed to purchase, install, and service the devices that form the backbone of every water-handling system. To read the full story, click here. 

Solve Oil and Gas Pumping Problems

Experts describe some of the common maintenance issues that arise in oil and gas pumping systems, and demonstrate some of the ways to solve them.

By Michelle Segrest, Reporting for Maintenance Technology

In some parts of North America, you can clearly see the oil and gas pumping industry hard at work. Fly over Texas and see a checkerboard of sucker-rod “donkey” pumps, nodding in unison, pulling up millions of barrels of oil from deep beneath the surface. At hydraulic fracturing sites, gigantic frac pumps dominate the landscape and shake the earth—splitting the mud, shale, and rock into bits with enormous pressure. That’s how oil corporations and service companies capture the elusive black gold buried deep inside—the material that literally fuels the multi-billion dollar oil and gas industry.

Read the full story and learn how maintenance experts keep these visible and hidden oil and gas pumps running efficiently. 

Maintenance in the Palm of Your Hand

VIP Services is a mobile app and maintenance tool designed to improve efficiency and increase productivity.

By Michelle Segrest, Reporting for Maintenance Technology

MINNETONKA, Minnesota (January 12, 2016) - Four years ago, a longtime customer of Wunderlich-Malec (Minnetonka, MN) approached the engineering service provider about the possibility of a paperless solution for its maintenance operations. “Our customer was faced with their labor force retiring and a high rate of attrition occurring at multiple sites,” said business unit manager Joel Gil. “The client wanted to have a means of digitizing their systems so that new employees could have information instantly and be able to support their maintenance needs.” Read the full story