A sound maintenance plan is key to keeping a factory up and running, as it helps ensure both maximum productivity and minimal downtime. While there are several ways to approach the development of a maintenance plan, the following guidelines are applicable across the board for a wide range of factory types.
If you’re a manufacturing plant manager, what don’t you want to see out to the production floor? Probably a significant number of things, but near the top of that list would probably be a large group of workers congregating around a critical piece of machinery that should be running—yet isn’t. Rarely does such a sight have positive implications.
My name is Matt Gingell and I’m Radwell International’s Building & Aquarium Maintenance Associate.
My main responsibilities are taking care of over 40 fish tanks. Right now we have 42 that are up and running. That's a total of 7,300 gallons of water.
One of the larger fish tanks is the one embedded in the wall of Brian Radwell’s office. It’s a 650 gallon fish tank that features South American, African, and Central American Cichlids. However, there is also one huge Gourami who is a community fish but is definitely in charge of the tank.
Remote technology is a growing industry. According to the New York Times, 43 percent of Americans reported in 2016 that they worked remotely for at least part of their workweek. AfterCollege also reported that 68 percent of college graduates surveyed in 2015 said that remote work is one of the most attractive perks that a company could offer. But remote work is not just for people; the concept is changing how maintenance operates, as well. Remote technology can keep workers safer while also saving companies money.
Here are three ways that remote technology is changing the landscape of maintenance operations.
When looking at all that goes into a reliable process, one must be able to see maintenance is only a portion of the process. There are so many different inputs to not only the process, but also the assets themselves. Consider raw material variations, how the equipment is operated, quality specifications, and demand for the assets.
Maintenance is not the silver bullet to success. Success comes from the
entire organization working together. However, in my experience, one of the things the team I was part of did to highlight this was to eliminate 90% of the maintenance-related issues. The result was moving from 58% original equipment efficiency (OEE) to 65% OEE. Upon deep diving the production loss data, numerous issues came to light:
In this day and age, human machine interfaces are everywhere. Think about every point of contact a human has with technology and it becomes a reminder that as humans, we interact with machines in just about every aspect of our lives today. Self-service checkout at the grocery store, plugging an address into your car’s GPS or getting some cash at the ATM are all examples of instances when humans interact with an interface designed to help foster human/machine communication.
As it applies to automation equipment in a manufacturing facility, human machine interface products offer the necessary electronics to easily control automation equipment in an industrial environment. HMI products can range from a simple design with basic screen controls to a more complex touchscreen with numerous features and windows. In most environments, whether for service oriented tasks or in an industrial environment, HMI systems must be resistant to dust, water, moisture, high or low temperatures and even chemicals.
All over the world, manufacturers in the glass fiberizing and glass wool industry are interested in increasing the quality of their products. The Gedevelop GFM System is suited for this process. It works with glass flow and collects data in real time for optimum control of the manufacturing process. This system reduces material costs and shortens production downtime.
How exactly does this system work? The Gedevelop system uses a camera which looks at the glass stream and reads information for stream diameter and stream velocity. The information is then sent to the central unit and based on set parameters, calculates the glass flow. The glass flow meter continuously measures glass flow individually for each fiberizing unit and allows the pull to be controlled within .5%. It also checks that the quality of the glass stream is at the correct level and if it isn’t, the system can make adjustments. This glass flow meter is a non-contact, optical measurement system that calculates the flow of molten glass that falls from the bushing into the fiberizer. Many installations worldwide have proven that glass flow measurement is a very profitable investment in a short amount of payback time.
One of the repair services we provide for our customers at Radwell International is CNC spindle drive retrofits. This service is something that is designed to not only provide cost savings for our clients but also extend the life of a CNC machine tool without requiring an entire machine retrofit. We recently caught up with Mark Councilman, the CNC Sales Manager at Radwell International, based out of our Arlington, Texas location. Mark is a CNC Subject Matter Expert and has been working in the CNC area for 17 years. We had the chance to discuss a bit about CNC machines and how CNC Spindle Retrofits can save time and money for a manufacturing environment.
What is your role at Radwell International?
My role as CNC Sales Manager is to develop & implement strategies for production, distribution, inside/outside sales, and marketing that position Radwell as a leader in the CNC support market. Currently, my day includes gathering information as I research the CNC market. Typically, I’ll review and validate current pricing on the website and process requests for CNC parts as they trickle in from ASM’s, ISM’s, and customers. I might reach out to Alan Gage with an opportunity for Radwell Verified Subs, and/or seek support from Todd Radwell for a list of parts that should be targeted for pre-certification. The facilities I worked in specialized in exchange and repair of motors, drives, power supplies, CRT’s, and control boards for the CNC market. That's how I came to be considered a subject matter expert in this area.
For many manufacturers, the prospect of moving towards eco-friendly solutions and innovations such as renewable energy is very much front of mind; however, actually implementing the necessary changes is easier said than done. Luckily, as technology develops, and the appetite for carbon neutrality increases around the globe, there are many options for saving not only the bottom line, but the environment.
It’s been 51 years since the birth of the Programmable Logic Controller. We look back at the history of the PLC and how replacing hard wired relay systems changed the world of manufacturing.
It was the year 1964 when a young cunning engineer, Dick Morley, was unemployed, had a new baby, a mortgage to pay and only $1,000 in the bank. Morley had previously worked a desk job designing atomic bombs, aeroplanes and communication systems performing the duties he was instructed to do. Morley did not enjoy his job, and, at that time, he had no plans in the pipeline to create such an influential piece of automated equipment. After finding his passion for skiing, Morely quit his job and focused on his hobby which eventually lead him to engineering ideas.
Morley eventually opened up his own professional consulting firm with friend Geogre Schwenk under the name ‘Bedford Associates’’ located in Bedford, Massachusetts, USA. Morley and Schwenk worked with local machine tool firms to help them evolve into the new, solid-state manufacturing sphere. Unfortunately, as his firm progressed, he began to notice that each project he worked on was practically the same; the manufacturing industry was using similar minicomputers and Morley found himself bored.
With his creativity and his engineering motive to ‘make things work’, Morley started to wonder if he could invent a controller which could automate industrial process with multiple input/output arrangements in real time. This would alternately replace the likes of hard wired relay control systems.