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.
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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