Airing their differences: two approaches to the environment

Preserving the environment and conserving energy are goals on parallel tracks. Discussions at the recent National Manufacturing Week offered further proof that these multifaceted issues can also be economic drivers for the plant as well — even if it is addition by subtraction in one case.

04/13/2005


Preserving the environment and conserving energy are goals on parallel tracks. Discussions at the recent National Manufacturing Week offered further proof that these multifaceted issues can also be economic drivers for the plant as well — even if it is addition by subtraction in one case.

The EPA's Clean Air Interstate Rule got grudging praise from manufacturing leaders as "an advance for environmental health,” which is modeled on the pollution credit system that helped put a dent in acid rain emissions. NAM Director of Air Quality Bryan Brendle said the new EPA rule "will cut sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions by 70% in the eastern half of the country by 2015."

The reason CAIR doesn't have manufacturing leaping for joy is the implementation costs — though industry officials contend it's better than litigation. "Though CAIR may cost industry as much as $35 billion to implement during the next decade," Brendle said, "Our biggest concern is the incessant and hugely expensive litigation that mires air quality regulation in confusion and uncertainty. Clear-cut and less-readily litigated legislation is the preferable way to address our environmental challenges, and manufacturers are very disappointed with a handful of lawmakers who stubbornly refused to put the public good over politics.

"Nonetheless, CAIR should help clarify and streamline a contradictory and overlapping mess of existing regulations that plague industry and regulators," Brendle said.

Industry leaders had pushed for passage of the so-called the Clear Skies legislation before Congress, but that was held up by what the NAM called partisan politics.

There is little disagreement that the high cost of fuel is going to have an impact this summer on manufacturing costs, which is why publication of the NAM's new Energy Efficiency, Water and Waste-Reduction Guidebook for Manufacturers is so timely.

U.S. natural gas prices have risen by nearly 120% in the last five years while the prices of manufactured products rose only 14%."These rising prices have put many manufacturers in a cost-price squeeze, cutting profits, investment and jobs," said Bill Canis, executive director of The Manufacturing Institute, the NAM affiliate which produced the guidebook.

"Manufacturers can't ignore rising costs of critical commodities such as natural gas, oil and water," said former Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham. "U.S. competitiveness depends on the ability of manufacturers and other businesses to control their energy and water costs to stay and compete in a tough global marketplace."

It's more than an issue of cost reduction for most manufacturers, however. "Beyond the financial necessity to reduce energy and water use, many manufacturers have come to understand that conserving scarce resources and limiting their impact on the environment is just the right thing to do," said Tom Gannon, executive vice president of Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls, Inc."We commend NAM for bringing forth this publication at this important time, as manufacturers emerge from a difficult recession yet continue to face rising costs for energy and other resources."





Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America.
Product of the Year
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
System Integrator of the Year
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.
June 2018
2018 Lubrication Guide, Motor and maintenance management, Control system migration
May 2018
Electrical standards, robots and Lean manufacturing, and how an aluminum packaging plant is helping community growth.
April 2018
2017 Product of the Year winners, retrofitting a press, IMTS and Hannover Messe preview, natural refrigerants, testing steam traps
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, programming cavity pumps
April 2018
ROVs, rigs, and the real time; wellsite valve manifolds; AI on a chip; analytics use for pipelines
February 2018
Focus on power systems, process safety, electrical and power systems, edge computing in the oil & gas industry
Spring 2018
Burners for heat-treating furnaces, CHP, dryers, gas humidification, and more
April 2018
Implementing a DCS, stepper motors, intelligent motion control, remote monitoring of irrigation systems
February 2018
Setting internal automation standards

Annual Salary Survey

After two years of economic concerns, manufacturing leaders once again have homed in on the single biggest issue facing their operations:

It's the workers—or more specifically, the lack of workers.

The 2017 Plant Engineering Salary Survey looks at not just what plant managers make, but what they think. As they look across their plants today, plant managers say they don’t have the operational depth to take on the new technologies and new challenges of global manufacturing.

Read more: 2017 Salary Survey

The Maintenance and Reliability Coach's blog
Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
One Voice for Manufacturing
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Maintenance and Reliability Professionals Blog
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Machine Safety
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
Research Analyst Blog
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Marshall on Maintenance
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
Lachance on CMMS
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Electrical Safety Update
This digital report explains how plant engineers need to take greater care when it comes to electrical safety incidents on the plant floor.
Maintenance & Safety
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
IIoT: Machines, Equipment, & Asset Management
Articles in this digital report highlight technologies that enable Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies.
Randy Steele
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Matthew J. Woo, PE, RCDD, LEED AP BD+C
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Randy Oliver
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me