A motor manufacturer, Baldor Electric Co., has been upgrading its offerings to comply with the Dec. 19, 2010, round of U.S. motor efficiency mandates. Baldor also is gaining efficiency in how it manufactures those motors as it integrates multiple acquisitions (including Dodge-Reliance). Control Engineering "Think Again," April 2010.
A motor manufacturer, Baldor Electric Co., has been upgrading its offerings to comply with the Dec. 19, 2010, round of U.S. motor efficiency mandates. Baldor also is gaining efficiency in how it manufactures those motors as it integrates multiple acquisitions (including Dodge-Reliance).
The next major deadline in the U.S. Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) is bearing down. Motors made prior to the Dec. 19 EISA deadline can still be sold and used in customer applications after the law goes into effect, Baldor says, though motors manufactured for use in the U.S., or entering the U.S. as a component of another piece of equipment, as of that date must comply with the new requirements. Baldor says machine builders and other original equipment manufacturers need to:
1. Adapt product designs appropriately for high-efficiency motors, which can be slightly larger, depending on the motor. Check with suppliers.
2. Educate customers that higher-efficiency motors cost 12-30% more initially but will lower overall ownership cost because of lower electricity use over time. Seek and plan for the new pricing information.
3. Get in line in a big hurry if systems designed with the new motors require recertification through listing agencies such as UL or CSA because of use of a different motor or because machine design needs to change to fit the more efficient (and slightly larger) motor.
In nearly parallel fashion, Baldor is improving its manufacturing processes after several acquisitions. Baldor continues to:
1. Implement lean manufacturing processes that eliminate waste and streamline workflows. In the Oshkosh, WI, generator plant, a rail line was just completed, allowing generators to roll to the workers instead of the workers going to the generators. In the Fort Smith, AR, plant, installation of a new highly integrated robotic motor coil winding cell is underway. Concrete has been removed in key locations for utilities and the footings to support the new equipment.
2. Teach and learn from employees , adapting best in class in efficiency. Baldor consults with operators about layout of production machines and related tools, workflow, and consistently evaluates equipment investments to get the most efficient mix of automation and manual operations.
3. Reorganize production locations by limiting number of frame sizes built at any facility, with a little redundancy, to ensure higher throughput and fewer errors, and some extra capacity as needed.
What efficiencies do you need to rethink and reapply?
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After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.