In depth: 2011 so far, according to Hiram Urbina

Plant Engineering asked Hiram Urbina, plant manager for Eaton, about productivity, manufacturing recovery, and the challenges he’s faced at his plant in 2011.

08/09/2011


Hiram Urbina, plant manager, Eaton Corp.Hiram Urbina is the plant manager for Eaton’s miniature circuit breaker component plant in Las Piedras, Puerto Rico. The plant is about 160,000 sq ft and employs approximately 385 regular, full-time employees. The facility produces components for miniature circuit breakers used in residential and light commercial applications.

PE: Everyone seems to feel the worst of the 2009 recession is behind us. In what ways has 2011 met or exceeded your expectations?

Urbina: Eaton results exceeded expectations by a wide margin in 2010, in part because of decisive actions Eaton took to refocus and resize during the economic downturn. Importantly, Eaton has also been investing in what we believe will be one of the most powerful megatrends for decades to come—power management. In terms of the specific demand for the products we manufacture—miniature residential circuit breakers—we see a strong demand as customers seek solutions that enhance safety and provide premium protection and efficiency.

PE: Where are the warning signs? What still needs to be done?

 

Urbina: Demand for energy is on the rise and, with that, so is the cost of energy. Simultaneously, businesses and consumers are demanding solutions that deliver increased uptime and reliability, greater efficiency, and improved safety.

Given growing energy demand, solutions that help us grow sustainably—while protecting the global environment—are crucial. We are developing and bringing to market solutions that enable more efficient energy consumption and reduce the amount of harmful emissions. Given rising costs and rapidly changing markets, sustainability also makes good economic sense.

PE: Why has maintenance re-emerged as such an important part of the manufacturing operation?

 

Urbina: Often, the power system is a disparate collection of components that do not always work in harmony to deliver the optimal level of reliability, safety, or efficiency. Because an enterprise’s power system changes as the business evolves, it can become more complicated, inefficient, and difficult to manage over time. But expectations of improved performance, efficiency, and reduced costs continue to rise.

So, maintenance is a key aspect of any operation. By managing power as a strategic, integrated asset throughout its lifecycle, enterprises achieve a competitive advantage. Specifically, maintenance programs are crucial to ensuring that vital operations continue to work around the clock; saving energy, reducing costs, improving productivity, and helping to protect the environment; and enhancing safety.

PE: What initiatives have you undertaken to get more productive within your own plant?

 

Urbina: In 2008, our energy costs in this plant were going through the roof. So we tapped the Eaton Business System (EBS), which provides our businesses with a proven set of processes and serves as a compass that directs and measures the actions, decisions, and behaviors of employees. The program was initiated by our facility maintenance team and resulted in a 13.5%t reduction in energy consumption.

The project included a range of improvements to enhance capacity, optimize the efficiency of manufacturing equipment, heating and lighting, and simple procedural changes.

For example, the adjustable frequency drives match power consumption to actual process demands, so we use the power we need and no more. Essentially, the SVX9000 drives are helping us take advantage of downtime to reduce energy consumption. With sophisticated semiconductor technology and modular construction, the drives alone created annual energy savings of 98,000 kWh.

Between Friday afternoon and Sunday, we shut down the plant and use emergency generators to avoid peak demand when we’re back and running on Monday. They help us to slowly take systems back up, staggering processes and avoiding premium peak demand charges.

All in all, these projects were recognized with an award from the Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association in 2010.

PE: What’s your outlook for 2013?

 

Urbina: Eaton will continue to help customers manage power more efficiently, effectively, safely, and sustainably. We will also continue to do business right by employing energy efficiency and sustainability products and solutions within our own operations. We believe that power management will be one of the biggest trends shaping the future as the world’s energy demands grow.



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Leaders Under 40 program features outstanding young people who are making a difference in manufacturing. View the 2013 Leaders here.
The new control room: It's got all the bells and whistles - and alarms, too; Remote maintenance; Specifying VFDs
2014 forecast issue: To serve and to manufacture - Veterans will bring skill and discipline to the plant floor if we can find a way to get them there.
2013 Top Plant: Lincoln Electric Company, Cleveland, Ohio
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Bring focus to PLC programming: 5 things to avoid in putting your system together; Managing the DCS upgrade; PLM upgrade: a step-by-step approach
Balancing the bagging triangle; PID tuning improves process efficiency; Standardizing control room HMIs
Commissioning electrical systems in mission critical facilities; Anticipating the Smart Grid; Mitigating arc flash hazards in medium-voltage switchgear; Comparing generator sizing software

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.