Female Engineer Ignores the Glass Ceiling

Female Engineer Ignores the Glass Ceiling

Rendela Wenzel approaches each maintenance issue like a CSI investigator. “I love to understand how things work and explore the mystery behind equipment failures,” she said. “The main difference between a police detective and me is that I investigate and fix machines, not people.” A global consultant engineer, Wenzel uses every tool in her toolbox. However, her most effective tools are experience, analytical thinking, training, and a belief that every option should be exhausted.

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Isolate the Problem to Solve the Problem

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A small company president’s role involves much more than sitting in a corner office. Jody Millsap gets his hands dirty. “My personality is not that I can be content sitting in an office,” he said. “I like to interact with the customers, help with sales calls, and getting my hands on the equipment. President is just a title. You have to be a jack of all trades. I like to be out doing stuff and staying busy.”

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

Solving problems for his customers is what sets Jody Millsap apart from the pack. “I love to investigate a problem and find a solution,” the 50-year-old president and owner of Water Solutions Engineering said. “This is what I really enjoy. This is one reason why I like to do consulting in addition to our regular work. The customer I started consulting with in 2012 had a 15-year-old problem. It was water related and we were able to solve it. This is what I really love to do—go in and help a customer solve an issue—to show what the problem was and show how we solved it. The gratification of doing that means the world to me.” 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. 

Developing a Reliability Strategy

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Gina Kittle drives processes and programs for her company and SMRP.

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

As a young girl, Gina Hutto Kittle would sit in the garage with her father and grandfather and study their every movement. She watched her father—a mechanic—fix anything that the neighbors needed repaired. Her grandfather, Owen Ramsey, worked with Red Stone Arsenal in Huntsville, AL, where he was part of the core group that launched the first missile into space. Kittle would play with his drafting tools and ask hundreds of questions about how things worked and how to fix them when they broke. Even though she didn’t really know what engineers did, she knew she wanted to be one. 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. 

Designing to Meet Fluid Flow Challenges

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Special-project engineer Edward Hazinski has helped his Plast-O-Matic Valve customers solve reliability and efficiency issues for almost four decades.

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

Edward Hazinski vividly remembers the first time he walked into a manufacturing facility. “It was the late 1970s and it impressed me that there were dozens of operators turning handles, assembling parts, and cranking knobs on all the machinery,” he said. Now, after nearly four decades working in manufacturing as a design engineer, the general manufacturing plant looks much different. “Now you see a few guys sitting in a control room that looks something like a space ship,” he explained. “Everything is automated. Robotics are everywhere. Now, practically anything that is manufactured is controlled by computers.” To read the full story, please follow this link. 

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. 

Highly Charged Reliability

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Bill Myers spearheads an Electrical Maintenance Program that helps AstraZeneca’s West Chester, OH, facility become safe and reliable.

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

Bill Myers learned the hard way that sometimes we are taught more by our mistakes than our successes. In the end, he was able to learn from both. “Ten years ago, a small mistake was made with an electrical connection, and it turned into a big issue,” said Myers, AstraZeneca’s senior engineering technician at the West Chester, OH, facility. “In this line of work, mistakes are dangerous. You must learn from them, and quickly.” To read the full story and learn Bill's Top 5 Reliability Tips, follow this link. 

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. 

A Targeted Focus Leads to Reliability

Working in various locations around the globe, KRATON’s Ron Bitely keeps all focus pointed at a target that never moves.

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

Ron Bitely believes that everyone needs to have a North Star. “We should all have direction in whatever we are doing,” he said. “I don’t like to use the word ‘vision’ because many people consider this just another buzz word that has little meaning. But people can relate to following a North Star that remains constant. Targets move. People need direction so they can make decisions that will create value for their company.” To read the full story, please follow this link. 

Oil and Gas Trends

Pump suppliers discuss trends and challenges in the oil and gas industry involving smart technology, competitive delivery, and optimized equipment efficiency.

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

Speed, portability, and reliability are key factors in optimizing production times and the bottom line in the oil and gas industry, according to experts from major pumping technology companies. Glenn Webb, senior product specialist for Blackmer, Grand Rapids, MI, a leading brand from PSG, (Oakbrook Terrace, IL) said that the most obvious positive manifestation of the ongoing oil and natural gas production boom in the United States can be seen on street corners across the nation. For the full article, please follow this link.

The Next Generation of Manufacturing Leaders

Festo Didactic’s Mechatronics Apprenticeship program connects theory, training, and opportunity.

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

Carolin McCaffrey believes that the renaissance of manufacturing in the United States requires a sustainable talent pipeline.  “Apprenticeships will make manufacturing shine again. Our program is all about closing the skills gap,” the head of Festo Didactic Inc.'s Learning Center Midwest said. For the past three years, McCaffrey has driven the NJ-headquartered company’s mission to bring educators and employers closer together to develop today’s idea of advanced, skills-driven manufacturing. 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. 

Listen for Impact

Josh Mattson drives key reliability programs using ultrasound and root-cause analysis. 

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

Even when he was working on a production line 15 years ago, Josh Mattson spent each day listening, learning, and trying to understand the maintenance side of things. “When I would see a failure of equipment, the mechanics would come and fix it, but I really wanted to understand what they were doing so I could catch the failures earlier and maybe help with the repairs,” said Mattson, the reliability supervisor for USG Interiors, a subsidiary of USG Corp. “I wanted to be involved at a deeper level.” For more, 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. 

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. 

A Lesson in Reliability

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Reliability expert focuses on multiplying excellence through teaching, training, learning, and developing leaders. 

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

Through 20 years of experience in reliability and maintenance, one ideal has remained at the forefront for Joe Anderson. “I want to be remembered as someone who cares about people,” the reliability manager for The Schwan Food Company’s global supply chain said. “Becoming an effective leader is the ultimate story of my life.” For Joe's best advice, tips, and more, read the full article by clicking 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. 

View From the Top

Keck Observatory uses a robust building-automation system to increase the reliability of advanced telescopes that astronomers use to hunt planets and dissect galaxies.

By Michelle Segrest,  Reporting for Maintenance Technology Magazine

When John Baldwin arrives at the W. M. Keck Observatory headquarters every day, it takes another two hours for him to drive to his office. The office sits 13,796 ft. above sea level on the summit of Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano on the island of Hawaii. As he drives up the mountain, the altitude increases and the oxygen available to his body decreases. The altitude can cause him to feel lightheaded, fatigued, and dehydrated. It also can cause irritability and lack of concentration. These are normal working conditions for him and the two dozen other employees who work at the observatory’s summit location. The spectacular view makes it all worthwhile.

For best practices and tips for better reliability from Baldwin and other experts, follow this link.