Simple Solutions


A hole in one

Problem: An electrical enclosure has a hole in it that is no longer being used. How can the hole be covered and not be noticed?

Solution: Put masking tape on the outside of the enclosure. Fill the hole from the inside with RTV sealant. When the sealant cures, remove the tape. The hole is now flush with the enclosure surface and can be painted to blend in.

Contributor: Joe Rossi, Senior Control Technician, M&M Mars, Hackettstown, NJ.

Very large emergency strap wrench

Problem: Emergency repairs have to be done on a large PVC pipeline. How can you unscrew the pipe or fittings without damaging them?

Solution: Build a strap wrench with a 2 x 4 and a cogged fan belt. Put a slot in the 2 x 4 the width of the belt. Cut the belt, pass one end through the slot with the cogs facing as shown, and fasten it to the 2 x 4. Wrap the other end of the belt around the item to be removed, back through the slot, and lock the cogs together. This tool can be as large as needed, provided the belt is long enough.

Contributor: Tom Baldwin, Eminence, MO.

Keep photo-eyes clear

Problem: Photo-eyes on machinery in dusty environments have to be periodically cleaned or they will give false indications. Can these devices be kept clean automatically?

Solution: Pipe exhaust compressed air to regularly blow off the lenses of photo-eyes. As long as the air-operated devices cycle regularly, the lenses should stay clean. Be careful to pick an exhaust source that is not downstream from a lubricator or from a lubricated device. The oil in the exhaust air will cause a greater dirt accumulation on the lenses.

Contributor: William E. Jacobyansky, Plant Engineer, Temple Inland Forest Products Corp., Shippenville, PA.

The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2017 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
SCCR, 2018 Maintenance study, and VFDs in a washdown environment.
Welding ergonomics, 2017 Salary Survey, and surge protection
2017 Top Plant winner, Best practices, Plant Engineering at 70, Top 10 stories of 2017
Product of the Year winners, Pattern recognition, Engineering analytics, Revitalize older pump installations
Control room technology innovation; Practical approaches to corrosion protection; Pipeline regulator revises quality programs
The cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Setting internal automation standards
Knowing how and when to use parallel generators
PID controllers, Solar-powered SCADA, Using 80 GHz radar sensors

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

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This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
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This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
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