News from PLANT ENGINEERING: Week of March 6

By Plant Engineering Staff March 6, 2006

Design guide for VAV systems available

Variable air volume systems can be very efficient at full load, but large buildings often spend a large portion of their time operating at part load, where they often operate far less efficiently than they could.That’s because system components are typically not selected and controlled to work together in an integrated fashion. A new comprehensive design guide is now available from the California Energy Commission’s PIER program.The program is aimed at decreasing building energy use through research that develops or improves energy-efficient technologies, strategies, tools, and building performance evaluation methods.

The brief can be accessed from the web at .

Report studies strategies to cool data centers

Room cooling is an ineffective approach for next-generation data centers. Latest generation high density and variable density IT equipment create conditions that room cooling was never intended to address, resulting in cooling systems that are inefficient, unpredictable, and low in power density. Row-oriented and rack-oriented cooling architectures have been developed to address these problems.

A new paper by American Power Conversion that can be found at this link contrasts room, row, and rack architectures and shows why row-oriented cooling will emerge as the preferred solution for most next generation data centers.

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Grainger adds McDonald’s exec to board

Grainger has appointed McDonald’s president and COO Michael J. Roberts to its board of directors, bringing the total number of members to 12. Roberts, 55, graduated from LoyolaUniversity in Chicago with a bachelor of arts degree in sociology. He also completed The CEO Perspective Program at the Kellogg School of Management and CorporateLeadershipCenter at NorthwesternUniversity. He has served as an Advisory Director to McDonald’s Board of Directors and as a board member to several children’s charitable organizations.

A “healthy gain” for manufacturing in February

National Association of Manufacturers economist Chi Nguyen said a report by the Institute for Supply Management reported an uptick in manufacturing in February was a “health gain”. The ISM’s Purchasing Managers Index for manufacturing rose 1.9% in February to 56.7%.

“The manufacturing sector obviously heated up a bit in February,” she said, “and that’s good news.PMI’s indices for both new orders and manufacturing employment were also up 3.9% and 3.7%, respectively, and that bodes well for a nice finish for the first quarter and a solid start to the second.”

“Manufacturing’s steady recovery appears to be staying on track as this is the 33rd consecutive month that the manufacturing index has stayed above 50,” Nguyen said, explaining that an index above 50 indicates growth within the manufacturing sector.An index below 50 indicates contraction.

Manufacturing expansion seen into 2007

The manufacturing sector should be able to withstand some deceleration and continue its expansion through 2007, according to the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI Quarterly Industrial Outlook that analyzes 27 major industries.

In a sign of consistent strength in manufacturing, fourth quarter 2005 figures show that 20 of the 27 industries tracked in the report had inflation-adjusted new orders or production above the level of one year ago, the third consecutive quarter that 20 industries have shown improvement, and thus indicating broad-based growth in the industrial sector.

Top industry performers in the fourth quarter, recording year-over-year double-digit growth, were mining and oil and gas field machinery (32%); ventilation, heating, air conditioning, and commercial refrigeration equipment (28%); communications equipment (26%); material handling equipment (23%); oil and gas well drilling (20%); electronic computers (19%); navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments (18%); aerospace product and parts (15%); and electrical equipment (11%).

, writes that 11 industries are in the accelerating growth (recovery) phase of the business cycle; nine are in the decelerating growth (expansion) phase; six appear to be in the accelerating decline (either early recession or mid-recession) phase; and one—iron and steel products—is in the decelerating decline (late recession or very mild recession) phase of the cycle.

“Consumer goods manufacturing grew at a moderate rate in the fourth quarter, material industries declined, but the capital equipment industries were very strong,” said Daniel J. Meckstroth, Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI Chief Economist and author of the analysis. “High- tech manufacturing also grew rapidly in the fourth quarter.”

Three industries are expected to enjoy double-digit growth in both 2006 and 2007:10%/10%).

In addition, two other industries should see double-digit growth in 2006, communications equipment (19%) and navigation, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments (14%).

The Alliance expects some deceleration in manufacturing industrial production, with import penetration bearing some responsibility as many industries continue to compete with foreign producers.

Cooper Industries acquires Wheelock, Inc.

Cooper Industries, Ltd. announced the acquisition of Wheelock, Inc., a designer and manufacturer of fire safety and emergency incident communications systems and devices.Based in Long Branch, N.J., Wheelock is a privately held company with 2005 annual revenues of approximately $46 million.Financial terms were not disclosed.

Wheelock manufactures a comprehensive fire notification product line that includes electronic strobe horns, mini-horns, strobes, speakers and speaker strobes, and power supplies.The company also manufactures communication systems that combine background music, messaging, and emergency voice evacuation and telephone zone paging for military bases, retail establishments, factory and warehouse operations, and campus environments.

Wheelock becomes part of Cooper Menvier, which is based in the United Kingdom.With the acquisition, Cooper Menvier gains complementary capabilities to enhance its core product offerings in fire safety and security detectors, panels and signaling devices, including strobes, sounders, call points and bells.Additionally, Wheelock provides Cooper Menvier with UL-approved products.

“With its strong history of innovation, Wheelock provides a strategic extension to our European portfolio with products specifically designed and manufactured for the U.S. market,” said Cooper Industries Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Kirk S. Hachigian.

IEST scholarships

The Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology (IEST) announces that two scholarships will be offered to two full-time students in the educational programs of science or engineering. The winners will be announced at the 52nd annual technical meeting and exposition of IEST, to be held May 7-10, 2006 at the Hyatt Regency Phoenix in Phoenix, Arizona.

The Eugene Borson Scholarship, in the amount of $500, is offered annually by IEST for the best original technical paper(s) written by a student in a topic related to the environmental sciences in connection with controlled environments, particularly through contamination control and nanotechnologies, in which products and equipment are manufactured, processed, or tested. Eugene (Gene) Borson was a Fellow of IEST, and was a leader in the field of aerospace environmental and contamination control engineering until his death in 2005.

The Park Espenschade Memorial Scholarship, in the amount of $500, is awarded offered by IEST for the best original technical paper(s) written by a student in a topic related to the environmental sciences. “Environmental sciences” is used by IEST in connection with the effects on equipment and machinery of natural, indoor, and extreme environments which may occur under various aerospace, marine, and climatic conditions; and simulating environments to better trace and predict those effects. Park Espenschade was a member of IEST. After his death in 1976, the Park Espenschade Education Fund was established.

To be eligible for consideration for the scholarships, a student must be entering sophomore year or above in an accredited institution, provide proof that he/she is enrolled full-time in an accredited institution, be pursuing a degree with a major or minor in science or engineering, and have attained a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in most recent semester. No more than one paper may be submitted per applicant. The official application form, the paper, and all supplemental material must be sent to IEST by March 15, 2006.

For further information regarding ESTECH 2006 and the scholarships, visit the IEST website at or call (847) 255-1561.

Humantech offers Lean Ergonomics courses

Humantech, Inc. announced the addition of a two-day seminar to their springcertified ergonomists. The Applied Lean Ergonomics seminars will be offered June 6-7, 2006 at Humantech’s Ann Arbor corporate training center.

Additional course information and online registration are available on Humantech’s Web site ( or by calling Lauren Caris, the seminar coordinator at (734) 663-3330, ext. 137.

ISA releases Foundation Fieldbus book

ISA recently announced the release of the second edition of “Foundation Fieldbus” by Ian Verhappen and Augusto Pereira.

This newly revised book is written by two control systems engineers with extensive FOUNDATION Fieldbus installation experience. The book provides quick reference information on the FOUNDATION Fieldbus H1 protocol and installation tips. The resource also provides other useful information that design engineers, control system engineers, and instrumentation technicians need to know about FOUNDATION Fieldbus.

“Foundation Fieldbus” covers essential information on power distribution and network power supply requirements. The text is packed with handy reference information. The book includes rules for cabling length, documentation requirements, a commissioning checklist, topology diagrams, system sizing formulas, and tips for integrating with other systems. It explains the Fieldbus Intrinsic Safety Concept along with configuration and troubleshooting tips.

Due to the constant changes in technology, one chapter of this revised edition is devoted to new developments in the field. Appendices include nomenclature, a list of Fieldbus Foundation specifications, a resource list, and a helpful guide to acronyms.

More information about this resource can be found at .

NOx Conference is June 7-8

ISA’s 6th annual NOx Emissions and Source Monitoring Technical Conference and Training event will be held June 7 and June 8 in San Jose, CA. Co-located with the POWID/EPRI Conference, the event will feature presentations from industry experts on the latest NOx emissions and source monitoring technology.

The event is sponsored by the ISA Safety Division, the ISA POWID Division, and ICAC Institute of Clean Air Companies. Topics will include experiences with the measurement and control of low level NOx emissions, new concepts for NOx reduction techniques, and innovative monitoring systems. Presenters will participate in Q&A sessions, panel discussions, and be accessible for one-on-one discussions with attendees. The vendor showcase on 8 June will feature live product demonstrations from leading companies in the industry.

For more information, or to register for the event, visit .

Hesh Kagan to serve as WINA president

The Board of Directors of the Wireless Industrial Networking Association has elected Harris (Hesh) Kagan to serve a second term as WINA board president.round-breaking, standards-based I/A Series automation system. 

Kagan currently directs the wireless strategy across Invensys and is the architect of the company’s unique managed wireless network approach, announced at the ISA 2005 EXPO in Chicago.

“This is a particularly exciting time to serve in a leadership role at WINA,” said Kagan.he vendors who are providing wireless products and associated services. These activities include the formation of the ISA SP100 wireless interoperability initiative, accelerated vendor activity in low-power wireless radio devices for sensor mesh networks developed in accordance with the IEEE 802.15.4 standard, and WINA’s own successful educational Webinar series.”

WINA ( ) is a coalition of companies, industry organizations, technology suppliers, software developers, systems integrators, and others interested in accelerating the adoption of wireless solutions for industry.

Did you miss the Feb. 23 Webcast on Power Factor Correction? “Improving Electrical Efficiency through Power Factor Correction” featured electrical efficiency and power quality experts from Schneider Electric, ABB, Eaton Electrical and Siemens Energy & Automation. If you missed it, you can still view this archived Webcast by clicking here.

National Manufacturing Week preview

PLANT ENGINEERING editor Bob Vavra is among the experts you can hear from in this exclusive preview of the 2006 National Manufacturing Week events. Click here to view the On-Demand Webcast and listen to industry experts and keynote speakers talk about this year’s event on March 20-23 in Rosemont, IL.

Voice your views

Preparing for a capital purchase in 2006? What’s at the top of your list?

This month’s PE Poll question at asks, “What capital purchase does your plant need to make next: Motors, drives, software, pumps, HVAC or compressors?”

Check out the March issue of PLANT ENGINEERING for the results of February’s PE Poll question.


Four major shows coming in March

Four major manufacturing events will make March a busy month for those wanting to stay up to date with the latest in trends and products.

Rosemont , IL : National Manufacturing Week kicks off a four day run on March 20 at its new venue, the StephensConvention Center in Rosemont, IL, which is adjacent to O’Hare International Airport. The show features 1,200 exhibitors, more than 250 education sessions and has been a must-see event for plant engineers for decades.

New York City : INTERPHEX is held every other year, and this year’s event at the JavitsConvention Center on March 21 to March 23 will cover such issues as pharmaceutical globalization, contamination control, and RFID. As one of the fastest-growing areas of manufacturing, pharmaceutical companies and the technologies that help them grow will both be on display.

Los Angeles: The Society of Manufacturing Engineers will have its annual meeting, “The Total Manufacturing Experience” on March 27 to March 29 at the Los AngelesConvention Center. The WESTEC 2006 Advanced Productivity Exposition, features technology products and supplier services from 150 categories representing 2,500 international product lines.

Cleveland :The 2006 Material Handling & Logistics Show and Conference (NA 2006) . The three-day biannual event begins March 27 at Cleveland’s I-XCenter. This year’s conference features a free Executive Forum, more than 60 free show floor educational seminars, an RFIDEducationCenter, two detailed educational workshops and a two and one-half day short course outlining leading-edge equipment and technology solutions.