Real Solutions To Protect Your Business Now

After coming out of the recent economic good times, 2001 has been a year to shake our confidence. Our nation has been attacked; our economy has slowed. Earlier in the year, we wondered if the California electric grid was beginning to resemble that of a Third World nation. We experienced rolling blackouts.


What Can Your Country Do For You?
What You Can Do For Yourself

After coming out of the recent economic good times, 2001 has been a year to shake our confidence. Our nation has been attacked; our economy has slowed. Earlier in the year, we wondered if the California electric grid was beginning to resemble that of a Third World nation. We experienced rolling blackouts. Utilities were caught between price controls and deregulation. And we saw evidence that fossil fuel emissions were carrying us into the catastrophe of global warming.

According to the National Energy Policy Development Group, headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, "U.S. energy consumption is projected to increase by about 32 percent by 2020. Unless a comprehensive national energy policy is adopted, Americans will continue to feel the effects of an inadequate electrical transmission grid, a pipeline system stretched to capacity, insufficient domestic energy supply, and a regional imbalance in supply sources."


The sensible response to the power situation is self-defense. Plant engineers nationwide are asking whether their companies can afford the risks of blackouts and brownouts. Is now the time to invest in a robust backup power system? Does it make sense to generate one's own prime power? What kinds of tax incentives might exist for using alternative energy sources? And how can we further reduce our energy consumption?

What Can Your Country Do For You?

This year the California Public Utilities Commission announced a Self-Generation Program to provide incentives to customers to produce energy using microturbines, small gas turbines, wind turbines, photovoltaics, fuel cells, and internal combustion engines. The incentives include payments of $1 - $4.50/Watt depending on the technology used and will be funded at $138 million annually through 2004.

Illinois offers grants up to $1 million in a Renewable Energy Resources Program to foster development and use of renewable energy resources. These technologies include hydropower, organic waste biomass, photovoltaic cells and panels, solar thermal energy, dedicated crops grown for energy production, and wind.

You can find information on these and other programs across the nation under "Financial Incentives" at . Find information on federal incentives for solar power at under "Fact Sheets." Search "federal incentives for energy" on an Internet search engine for more.

What You Can Do For Yourself

Our special report leads off with a story from Harbec Plastics, a company that chose to generate its own power and to use the exhaust from its microturbines to provide heat in the winter and power a cooling system in the summer.

Eaton's Cutler-Hammer Business offers a ground-up approach, starting with submetering equipment to monitor lines, processes, and departments to form the basis of a company's overall energy strategy. Albany International tells us about its high-speed doors that close quickly and seal from top to bottom to prevent the loss of heated or chilled air. Cooper Turbocompressor offers us a variety of energy-saving solutions for that other plant utility, compressed air.

Baldor Electric provides us with data on its high-efficiency motors. SEW Eurodrive demonstrates the dramatic effects the selection of drive types will have on energy consumption. Rockwell Automation offers us a story on savings from the use of energy-matched motors, and drives. Kaeser explains how variable frequency drives cut compressed air costs. FLIR Systems shows us how to monitor power equipment.

We encourage you to read and benefit. More power to you!

Many have already taken action. An RKS Research & Consulting survey of 831 energy decision-makers in eight U.S. industries found that:

34% employ on-site power generation

30% have purchased insurance to protect against power outage - caused business interruptions

34% have suffered financial losses from power outages

54% are interested in generating their own electricity to reduce demand

Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2017 Top Plant.
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.
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
March 2018
SCCR, 2018 Maintenance study, and VFDs in a washdown environment.
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
December 2017
Product of the Year winners, Pattern recognition, Engineering analytics, Revitalize older pump installations
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

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

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.
Maintenance & Safety
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
Industrial Analytics
This digital report explains how plant engineers and subject matter experts (SME) need support for time series data and its many challenges.
IIoT: Operations & IT
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
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