Tips & Tricks 2004

Time-conserving, money-saving, aggravation-avoiding ideas for solving typical maintenance problems should be shared with others in the plant engineering profession. This idea exchange concept serves as the basic philosophy for PLANT ENGINEERING magazine's 16th annual "Tips & Tricks" article. Details of this article were explained in the December 2003 issue.


Help pick the best tips
Safety first
Remove broken taps
Digitize assemblies
Limit battery charge
Clean spray nozzles
Sidewalk water drilling
Changing tiny bulbs
Protecting weld nuts
Don't be blue
Deep O-rings
Rounded flat head screw

Time-conserving, money-saving, aggravation-avoiding ideas for solving typical maintenance problems should be shared with others in the plant engineering profession. This idea exchange concept serves as the basic philosophy for PLANT ENGINEERING magazine's 16th annual "Tips & Tricks" article.

Details of this article were explained in the December 2003 issue. Readers were invited to submit shortcut maintenance methods or procedures used over the years for solving commonly encountered problems. A review panel examined the submittals and selected those appearing on the following pages.

All items not selected for this article will be considered for a future appearance in PLANT ENGINEERING 's monthly "Solutions" department. A $35 honorarium is paid for each tip published.

Help pick the best tips

Review the 10 suggestions offered by others in the plant engineering profession and vote for the 5 you believe are the most useful by writing the tip numbers on the special ballot next to p 52. The tip receiving the most votes will win the " PLANT ENGINEERING Maintenance Tip of the Year Award." The submitter will receive $1000 for the suggestion. Both runners-up will each receive $250.

Please return ballots by October 1, 2004.

Safety first

In all cases, even if not specifically mentioned in the descriptions, verify that the tip does not violate any relevant code, standard, or practice. Always use the appropriate safety equipment and procedures when applying the maintenance tips.

Remove broken taps

Problem : Taps break off, especially when tap-ping a blind hole. Is there an easy way to remove the tap without damaging the piece part?
Solution : Build up a small welding bead on top of the tap. Then slip a nut over the bead and weld the nut to the bead. Using a wrench, the tap should be easily extracted.
Contributor : Jakob T. Dussa, Production Engineer, Matsushita Electric Motor, Berea, KY.

To Vote, Write 222 On Ballot

Digitize assemblies

Problem : Extensive repair jobs usually entail taking apart a great number of parts. Is there a way to keep track of where all the parts belong and do the reassembly correctly?
Solution : When starting a repair job, get a digital camera. Take photos before and during disassembly. The photos can be emailed to parts vendors if there are any questions. The sequence of photos will ensure assembly will be correct.
Contributor : Larry Janssen, EDM Supervisor, Fox Valley Tool & Die CO., Kaukauna, WI.

To Vote, Write 224 On Ballot

Limit battery charge

Problem : The battery life of portable power tools is reduced if overcharged due to the battery over-heating. How can this problem be eliminated?
Solution : Provide the correct number of charging hours by using an outlet timer. When the tool is picked up in the morning it will have the proper charge.
Contributor : Craig Deluhery, Formosa Plastics, Illiopolis, IL.

To Vote, Write 223 On Ballot

Clean spray nozzles

Problem : Spray nozzles can frequently plug up. Efforts to clean them can cause damage and result in altering the spray pattern. Is there a way to safely clean spray nozzles?
Solution : Never use a welder's tip cleaning rasp, wire brush, pocket knife, screwdriver, or any other metal object. Instead use an old toothbrush. The soft fibers clean effectively without altering the nozzle.
Contributor : Jon Barber, Spraying Systems Co., Wheaton, IL.

To Vote, Write 225 On Ballot

Sidewalk water drilling

Problem : Sometimes it is necessary to run cable or pipe under a sidewalk. Is there a way to do this without tearing up the sidewalk?
Solution : Dig a hole on each side of the side-walk. Attach a water hose to a threaded PVC pipe and use water pressure to make a hole under the sidewalk. When finished you have a pipe in place with threaded ends for cable connections.
Contributor : Jason Barron, Industrial Engineer, Diversified Technology, Inc., Ridgeland, MS.

To Vote, Write 228 On Ballot

Changing tiny bulbs

Problem: Small bulbs inside illuminated pushbuttons are often difficult to remove. Is there a way to replace them without disassembling the pushbutton?
Solution : Take the cover from a ballpoint pen that has an ID slightly smaller than the bulb OD. Remove the metal clip from the cap, if there is one, shut off the power, and remove the burned out bulb.
Contributor : John Hayes, Facilities Manager, Metro Furniture, Oakland, CA.

To Vote, Write 221 On Ballot

Protecting weld nuts

Problem : When welding nuts to a piece of equipment, they are usually held in place by a bolt. The heat of welding may gall the threads on the nut and bolt. How can this galling be prevented and allow easy bolt removal?
Solution : Apply high-temperature anti-seize compound to the threads of the nut and bolt before assembly. After welding, the bolt can easily be removed.
Contributor : Gary Treece, Pilgrim's Pride, Clinton, AR.

To Vote, Write 229 On Ballot

Don't be blue

Problem : Layouts are made on machine parts after applying bluing to show marks and lines. After the work is done, the bluing is everywhere and difficult to remove. Is there a way to easily remove the layout bluing?
Solution : Use a spray can of disinfectant. Spray it on, wait 20 sec. and wipe the bluing right off. This works better than most solvents and smells good.
Contributor : R. Rzeszotarski, Weaverville, NC.

To Vote, Write 226 On Ballot

Deep O-rings

Problem : When repairing cylinders, O-rings and other seals can be at the bottom of a small bore cylinder. Is there an easy way to remove the seals without damaging the cylinder?
Solution : Pick up a set of used dental picks, explorers, etc. There is usually one that is perfect for the job at hand. They make the job easier and won't damage the equipment.
Contributor : Jim Schwaller, Maintenance Supervisor, Sporlan Valve Co., Washington, MO.

To Vote, Write 227 On Ballot

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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