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Workforce Development November 30, 2023

How to ensure safety, productivity, innovation via continuous training

Continuous learning is critical for plant engineers and operators and employers must invest in strong training programs to stay safe, efficient and competitive

By Bartholomew Jae
Workforce Development November 28, 2023

Overcome VUCA challenges for successful manufacturing construction projects

Mitigate volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity with early contractor involvement

By Brian Gallagher
Workforce Development November 7, 2023

Connected work’s role in a sustainable workforce strategy

A successful sustainable workforce can help attract and retain long-term employees by emphasizing well-being, flexibility, and empathetic leadership.

By Evelyn DuJack
Workforce Development October 16, 2023

How many hours should you work every week? In a nutshell, fewer

Research shows that fewer hours or a shorter workweek can improve productivity and employee sentiment

By Amara Rozgus
Workforce Development September 21, 2023

Employee mentorship programs: good for employees, good for capital projects

Investing in employees and giving them full opportunities to grow improves hiring and retention rates — and improves critical business results, such as during construction projects

By Brian Gallagher
Workforce Development August 16, 2023

Where are trends headed for the rest of the year?

In the Plant Engineering state of the industry report, several trends affect plant managers and industrial experts.

By Amara Rozgus
Workforce Development July 17, 2023

Survey: How to use upskilling, AI to improve manufacturing production results

A study of 500 global manufacturers shows that industry leaders believe technology can improve upskilling efforts and production outcomes. Other manufacturing topics in the study include production challenges, roadblocks to 2023 goals, sustainability efforts, workforce trends, and technology adoption.

By Mark T. Hoske
Workforce Development July 10, 2023

Association announces officers and executive committee

The Electrical Apparatus Service Association (EASA) announced officers for the 2023-2024 administrative year.

By Electrical Apparatus Service Association (EASA)
Workforce Development June 20, 2023

Necessity: The catalyst for innovation in the manufacturing industry

Here are six ways your manufacturing team can become more innovative and drive forward

By Amara Rozgus
Workforce Development June 20, 2023

Labor a top challenge for manufacturers due to low optimism

A Sikich report found 57% manufacturers rated their optimism about business prospects over the next six months.

By Sikich LLP
Workforce Development June 15, 2023

How to mitigate construction costs using quality control

Quality must be a teamwide commitment to execute plant construction projects successfully in today’s volatile building industry.

By Shawn Anderton and Todd Patterson
Workforce Development February 28, 2023

How will you get ahead at your job?

Studies point to manufacturing jobs as highly technical and secure. But how can you stay ahead?

By Amara Rozgus
Workforce Development December 1, 2022

Training and certifications help system integrators succeed

A system integrator takes advantage of training and certification programs demonstrate credibility while accessing continual learning and boosting online visibility for increased customer acquisition.

By Robert Huschka
Workforce Development October 19, 2022

Creating a new path forward with community-driven innovation

Community-driven innovation is pushing the STLE forward with an emphasis on professional development and better communications with current and future members.

By Karl Phipps
Workforce Development September 19, 2022

Top 5 Plant Engineering content: September 12-18, 2022

The top 5 Plant Engineering content from the past week covered leaders under 40, artificial intelligence, bearings, variable speed drives and the metaverse. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Christina Miller
Workforce Development September 12, 2022

Top 5 Plant Engineering content: September 5-11, 2022

The top 5 Plant Engineering content from the past week covered leaders under 40, bearings, compression system and lubrication. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Christina Miller
Workforce Development September 6, 2022

Engineering Leaders Under 40, Class of 2022

The future of automation, engineering and manufacturing relies on the younger workforce, and these 36 individuals are here to advance their industries now and for years to come.

By Amanda Pelliccione
Workforce Development August 5, 2022

Welding, machining apprentices expanding their workplace skillsets

Iowa State University english department faculty are helping high school apprentices in welding and machinery improve their writing and speaking skills through a four-week program sponsored by John Deere.

By Rachel Cramer
Workforce Development June 23, 2022

Five tips for women who want to succeed in engineering

An engineer and researcher from Coventry University offers five tips for women looking to succeed in engineering or other STEM-related careers.

By Coventry University
Workforce Development May 12, 2022

What’s needed to get started for an automation career

Before getting started on a career in automation, it’s important to assess your goals as well as your interests, background, talents and more.

By John Lewis
Workforce Development May 7, 2022

Preparing for career changes as an engineer

Manufacturing operations are constantly changing, and engineers can stay ahead of the curve by volunteering and learning as much as possible.

By Sam Russem
Workforce Development May 6, 2022

Three career tips for engineers

Engineering Leaders Under 40 winner Michael Horth offers advice for young engineers on how to succeed and thrive in the workforce.

By Michael Horth
Workforce Development May 2, 2022

Manufacturers remain confident despite challenges

A survey by Sikich finds more than two-thirds of manufacturers remain optimistic about their business prospects despite supply chain and talent challenges.

By Sikich LLP
Workforce Development April 11, 2022

Remote condition monitoring can alleviate worker shortages

Core maintenance KPIs are tied to increased work completion, reduced backlogs and improved mean-time-to-repair.

By John Bernet
Workforce Development March 24, 2022

Inclusivity is key to promoting STEM education

A North Carolina State University study finds that one key to promoting STEM education is making classrooms feel more inclusive.

By Matt Shipman
Workforce Development March 8, 2022

Hiring for skills becoming popular trend

Focusing on people’s combined skills allows an employee to hire the right person for the job who can start immediately and be effective.

By Zane Pucylowski
Workforce Development February 18, 2022

Three ways to engage your workforce in 2022

Expectations for the workforce are constantly changing and it can be challenging to keep them engaged. Three tips on engaging, training and securing a more remote workforce are highlighted.

By Lance Spitzner
Workforce Development February 14, 2022

A profile in perseverance

Plant engineers put themselves on the front line on a daily basis. Learn more about the results from the 2021 Plant Engineering salary survey.

By CFE Media
Workforce Development January 24, 2022

Top 5 Plant Engineering articles Jan. 17-23, 2022

Articles about the benefits behind cycle-based PM, PSM compliance training according to OSHA, worker safety in semiconductor fabs, and more were Plant Engineering’s five most clicked articles from Jan. 17-23, 2022. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Keagan Gay
Workforce Development January 16, 2022

How to improve workplace technology adoption

Phased rollouts of new technology allow greater control of how digital solutions are implemented and applied by employees

By Cristian Grossmann
Workforce Development January 9, 2022

Automation advantages: 4 ways automation can empower a team to win

The pandemic and worsening manufacturing worker shortage has created opportunities for manufacturers to increase automation to improve plant and workforce productivity. Tools to enhance factory operations (factoryops) will drive faster, better decision-making to improve production and empower talent.

By Lauren Dunford
Workforce Development December 27, 2021

Focus on people to maximize plant efficiency

Balancing people and technology to optimize plant operations.

By Andreas Eschbach and Dr. Andy Brazier
Workforce Development November 23, 2021

Groups launch partnership supporting STEM and technical education

The Delaware Department of Education (DDOE), DuPont and Discovery Education announced a partnership that will increase STEM instructional resources, as well as other career and technical education programs.

By Discovery Education
Workforce Development November 17, 2021

Four tips to help organize a fantastic factory tour

With good planning, people should be able to organize a memorable factory tour for all visitors.

By Rick Farrell
Workforce Development November 3, 2021

Workforce development, automation top of mind at Process Expo

Process manufacturers, especially those in the food and beverage industry, are facing a skills gap crunch due to the pandemic. While some companies are trying to get workers back and engaged, more are turning to automation to keep operations running.

By Chris Vavra
Workforce Development September 17, 2021

Labor shortages are major barrier for manufacturing recovery

Manufacturing is digging out from the impact of COVID-19, but its recovery is being hampered by a labor shortage in many major markets.

By Adrian Lloyd
Workforce Development August 29, 2021

Investing in automation: Strategies manufacturing companies need to know

Manufacturers investing in automation efficiencies with robotics, industrial internet, digitalization and artificial intelligence and other technologies also need to develop the current and future workforce to realize its potential.

By John Felix
Workforce Development August 2, 2021

The best engineers are going to the competition, and here’s why

Hiring engineers is hard. Five reasons why and five tips on how to improve hiring engineers are highlighted.

By Gary Miller
Workforce Development June 10, 2021

Engineering talent critical to state, national economic progress

Engineering fields are facing a major skills gap that isn’t going away. Engineers do more than make things; they provide the backbone for a state and country’s economy. Learn how a university is changing the message.

By Renee Meiller
Workforce Development June 9, 2021

Diversity hiring for engineering companies: 7 tips

Don’t give up at hiring a diverse team for robotics and engineering companies. Get better at it. These seven tips can inspire a more diverse engineering workforce.

By Andra Keay
Workforce Development June 5, 2021

Addressing workforce development with a 360° approach

Devising a workforce development plan to close the knowledge gaps will set everyone up for success and make the Industry 4.0 journey a successful one.

By Duane Grob
Workforce Development March 17, 2021

How to resolve a conflict before it manifests itself

Focus on and build healthier relationships within a workplace team

By Brock Culpepper
Workforce Development January 31, 2021

How leaders develop individual employees and workplace culture

People are individuals and it is a leader’s responsibility to consider each candidate on an individual basis and to cultivate each employee according to his/her needs.  

By Jon Breen
Workforce Development October 19, 2020

Survey on safely remote accessing machines

Remotely accessing machines and other manufacturing assets has become necessary for many in the industry but doing it safely and securely poses a range of new and serious issues.

By CFE Media
Workforce Development June 8, 2020

Employee reviews: The right way and the wrong way

Engineering employee reviews, when done right, give the manager and the employee a chance to build and strengthen a relationship and carve a path for future success. Incorporate these six tips to improve the review process for engineering employees and those around them.

By Jon Breen
Workforce Development October 9, 2019

Workforce development, batteries

The October issue of AppliedAutomation focuses on workforce development through universities and colleges and battery safety.

By Jack Smith
Workforce Development September 26, 2019

Connect with community colleges for a stronger workforce

Collaborative programs benefit employers, colleges, and students.

By Jim Meyers
Workforce Development September 2, 2019

Three ways to improve engineer retention

Companies looking to protect their top engineering talent from rivals should look to improve training, benefits and wages to make employees happier and more productive.

By Angie Keller
Workforce Development August 20, 2019

Study launched to examine hurdles women face in STEM careers

A researcher from Rice University will examine the hurdles women face in STEM careers by examining their everyday work experiences in the profession.

By Amy McCaig
Workforce Development August 9, 2019

Add skills to your skilled workforce

Tech college flexibility helps engineers, skilled workers continue education.

By Steve Staedler
Workforce Development February 14, 2019

Manufacturer hosts STEM career day for local students

Lenze gave middle school students a tour of their Massachusetts headquarters to enable students to explore possible science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) career paths in manufacturing.

By Lenze Americas
Workforce Development January 31, 2019

Manufacturing’s perception runs up against real issues

Leading2Lean study results belie actual manufacturing statistics, which are much better than what the public believes about the industry.

By Bob Vavra
Workforce Development December 31, 2018

Top 5 Plant Engineering articles December 24-30

Articles about the Top Plant winner, the skills gap, Product of the Year finalists, marshaling virtual resources, and automation experts adding productivity were Plant Engineering’s five most clicked articles from December 24-30, 2018. Miss something? You can catch up here.

By Chris Vavra
Workforce Development December 17, 2018

Study finds Skills Gap worsening, impacting production and growth

Report from Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute points to digital skills needed for the future.

By Bob Vavra
Workforce Development November 28, 2018

Group completes third review and update of the original Automation Competency Model

The Automation Federation (AF) convened to perform the third critical review of the Automation Competency Model (ACM) since its inception in 2008.

By Automation Federation
Workforce Development November 2, 2018

Are you ready?

Let's take a look into the future. Not too far out - maybe five years or so. What do you think your plant will be like? Here are some of my predictions.The plant engineer will be more important than ever as reliable and predictable capacity become priorities. Predictive maintenance will replace preventive maintenance as the standard of maintenance operations and organization.

By Richard L. Dunn Editor
Workforce Development November 1, 2018

Pressures from tariffs, inventories drive down PMI

Index falls 2.1 points to 57.7% in October as production orders slow down.

By Bob Vavra, CFE Media
Workforce Development September 28, 2018

A Rosie future for manufacturing?

There is no limitation on learning and the boundaries of the engineering discipline are limited only by the engineer’s imagination.

By Bob Vavra, CFE Media
Workforce Development February 28, 2018

Time to spend on our ‘other’ aging asset

The 2017 Salary Survey identified lack of workers as the primary issue facing the manufacturing industry, but aging equipment and technology should not be ignored.

By Bob Vavra
Workforce Development February 5, 2018

Where to find the workers?

The 2017 Salary Survey reveals there is still difficulty finding skilled workers.

By Bob Vavra, CFE Media
Workforce Development January 29, 2018

2017 Salary Survey: It’s the (lack of) workers

Skilled workforce needed—and technology isn’t seen as the answer.

By Bob Vavra, CFE Media
Workforce Development September 22, 2017

The individuality of manufacturing

Each engineering recruit has a unique skill set and background. By approaching the hiring and training process with an individualized approach, you can help foster and mold future industry leaders.

By Bob Vavra, Content Manager, CFE Media
Workforce Development September 19, 2017

Hidden gems: Community colleges may hold the key to manufacturing’s future workforce

Community colleges may hold the key to manufacturing’s future workforce.

By Billy Hamilton, Motion Industries
Workforce Development March 7, 2017

People-centric leadership helps ensure Lean success

People-centric leaders are focused on growing people and process improvement and they work hard to build ever higher levels of trust by ensuring each and every employee understands they and their contributions to the business are valued by leadership.

By Robert Hafey, AME
Workforce Development September 15, 2016

2016 Engineering Leader Under 40: Christy Sirianni, 39

Director of Performance Excellence, MAVERICK Technologies, Columbia, Ill.

By Erin Dunne, CFE Media
Workforce Development September 15, 2016

2016 Engineering Leader Under 40: Chandradhar Prasad, 28

Senior Project Engineer, L&T Electrical and Automation FZE, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

By Erin Dunne, CFE Media
Workforce Development September 17, 2015

2015 Engineering Leader Under 40: Alfredo Flores, 31

Senior Controls Engineer, RedViking; Plymouth, Mich.; BS Mechatronic Engineering, Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, Querétaro (ITESM)

By Amanda Pelliccione, Project Manager and Director of Research
Workforce Development September 17, 2015

2015 Engineering Leader Under 40: Michael Gagne, 28

Senior Software Engineer, Kepware Technologies; Portland, Maine; BS Electrical & Computer Engineering, University of Maine

By Amanda Pelliccione, Project Manager and Director of Research
Workforce Development September 17, 2015

2015 Engineering Leader Under 40: Jayson Pestow, 31

Senior Controls Engineer, Functional Safety Engineer (TÜV Rheinland); Frakes Engineering; Indianapolis; BS Automation & Control Engineering, Indiana State University

By Amanda Pelliccione, Project Manager and Director of Research
Workforce Development September 17, 2015

2015 Engineering Leader Under 40: Carl-Johan Roos, 34

Functional Safety Officer; Emerson Process Management, Rosemount Division; Shakopee, Minn.; M.Sc. Electrical & Computer Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology; MS Electrical & Electronics Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology; MBA, University of Gothenburg

By Amanda Pelliccione, Project Manager and Director of Research
Workforce Development September 15, 2015

2015 Workforce Development Study

Five findings on the unskilled workforce struggle

By Amanda Pelliccione
Workforce Development June 4, 2015

Become an employer of choice

Strategies to attract and retain manufacturing employees.

By Traci L. Fiatte, Randstad Staffing
Workforce Development October 3, 2014

Are you engaged?

We cover the causes of disengagement in your employees and how to keep your workforce engaged.

By Doug Plucknette, Allied Reliability Group
Workforce Development September 18, 2014

Worker development can focus on partners and employees

Invest in programs that will discover, prepare and retain strong team members

By Glenn Goldney, Rockwell Automation
Workforce Development September 9, 2014

Attendance, technology booming as IMTS opens in Chicago

Day 1: Pre-registration tops 100,000 as attendees hear about 3D printing, workforce development issues.

By CFE Media
Workforce Development July 22, 2014

Obama signs Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

PMA, NTMA say bill will help members to fill skills gap openings

Workforce Development July 22, 2014

Plant Engineering 2014 Workforce Development Study: 6 key findings

According to the data in this report, 66% of manufacturing facilities are experiencing a skilled workforce shortage, and an average of 7% of jobs within plants are unfilled because of it. See what actions are being taken to close this gap and improve manufacturing's appeal to the younger generations.

By Amanda McLeman
Workforce Development June 27, 2014

Optimizing employee engagement across the globe

A strategy for improving the employee experience can pay big dividends for everyone

By Phil Hubbell, Jr., Jabil
Workforce Development March 14, 2014

Fifty schools join Get Skills to Work Initiative

Colleges offer programs in advanced manufacturing for transitioning veterans

Workforce Development February 12, 2014

Think we’re getting younger? Dream on…

The inability to find younger workers in manufacturing continues to be a growing problem as the workforce gets older and older

By Bob Vavra
Workforce Development January 16, 2014

Metalworking industry credentialing on the rise

NIMS reports 58.8% increase in certifications in 2013

By Bob Vavra, Content Manager, Plant Engineering
Workforce Development September 19, 2013

Web exclusive: Data explosion requires a new skill set for workers

Study by Manpower indicates that education programs aren't modernizing fast enough to keep up with pace of technology growth.

By Plant Engineering
Workforce Development September 19, 2013

2013 Leader Under 40: Matthew Albright

Product Manager of Welding Equipment, Lincoln Electric, Cleveland, Ohio.

By Plant Engineering
Workforce Development September 19, 2013

2013 Leader Under 40: Michael Brauss, 32

Continuous Improvement Manager, Mark Andy Inc., Chesterfield, Mo.

By Plant Engineering
Workforce Development September 19, 2013

2013 Leader Under 40: Scott Bungo, 31

Manufacturing Superintendent, Victaulic, Easton, Pa.

By Plant Engineering
Workforce Development September 19, 2013

2013 Leader Under 40: Ted Garrison, 36

Product Engineering Manager, The Raymond Corporation, Greene, N.Y.

By Plant Engineering
Workforce Development September 19, 2013

2013 Leader Under 40: Jerry Miller, 36

Operations Manager, Maverick Technologies, Columbia, Ill.

By Plant Engineering
Workforce Development September 19, 2013

2013 Leader Under 40: Carl Nothnagel, 32

Director of Operations, MBX Systems, Libertyville, Ill.

By Plant Engineering
Workforce Development September 19, 2013

2013 Leader Under 40: Justin Percio, 39

Business Manager of Welding Automation Systems, The Lincoln Electric Company, Cleveland, Ohio

By Plant Engineering
Workforce Development September 19, 2013

2013 Leader Under 40: Jason Scales, 38

Welding Education Specialist, The Lincoln Electric Company, Cleveland, Ohio

By Plant Engineering
Workforce Development September 18, 2013

Training will get the most of your talent

Manufacturing is a stable career with great growth potential, and its future growth lies in our ability to attract and retain the best people we can

By Bob Vavra, Content Manager, CFE Media
Workforce Development September 18, 2013

Becoming an employer of choice

Use every channel available to find, train your workforce

By Bob Vavra, Content Manager, Plant Engineering
Workforce Development September 18, 2013

Recruitment, internships are ways to introduce manufacturing’s value

Organizations need to work more closely with students and promote the career opportunities available within the manufacturing industry

By Karen Lusher, Rockwell Automation
Workforce Development September 18, 2013

Engaging the workforce of the future in the skills-gap era

Manufacturers face a growing gap between requirements for the talent they need to grow their business and qualified candidates actually available.

By Carl Peters, The Lincoln Electric Company
Workforce Development September 18, 2013

Private sector has major role to play in filling manufacturing skills gap

The private sector needs to join forces with technical schools and community colleges to train the student tehnicians of tomorrow in skilled labor positions

By Andy Ginger, Snap-on Industrial
Workforce Development September 18, 2013

Women ready for leadership roles in manufacturing’s growth

Encouraging and retaining women in STEM occupations remains an uphill climb, but one worth fighting

By Karen Purcell, PE, PK Electrical
Workforce Development August 27, 2013

Donation to University of Tennessee establishes joint faculty for engineering, business

Innovative program to prepare engineers in both disciplines

By University of Tennessee
Workforce Development June 27, 2013

Tweak KPIs to improve performance

KPIs can create a stretch model that empowers the entire workforce and drives a continuous improvement engine that meets immediate and long-term goals

By R. Keith Mobley, CMRP, Life Cycle Engineering
Workforce Development June 20, 2013

Eight states earn As from national Manufacturing and Logistics Report

Ball State University study looks at array for factors to determine health of sector

By Bob Vavra, Content Manager, CFE Media
Workforce Development June 17, 2013

A skilled workforce will drive manufacturing growth

Improving workforce development is vital to the continuing growth in manufacturing, particularly when it comes to education

By Chuck Edwards, Lenze Americas
Workforce Development June 10, 2013

SME rebrands to focus on advancement of manufacturing

Society will highlight its wide range of expertise in new branding

By Bob Vavra, Content Manager, CFE Media
Workforce Development April 26, 2013

Beyond reshoring: Why restarting plants and hiring workers are just as crucial

An emphasis on addressing both the skills gap and opening plants that are either closed or underutilized is essential if manufacturing wants to continue growing and attracting new workers

Workforce Development April 23, 2013

Manufacturing CFOs optimistic about growth in 2013

Prime Advantage survey cites taxes, health insurance, skilled labor as major concerns

Workforce Development April 18, 2013

National Engineering Forum to focus on key issues in national meetings

Capacity, capability and competitiveness are topics in year-long discussion series

Workforce Development April 18, 2013

Minnesota manufacturers see short-term challenges, long-term growth

Health care, workforce and taxes contribute to a cautious outlook, survey finds

Workforce Development April 17, 2013

NAM praises Senate immigration reform legislation

Association: “We are on the right track and moving forward”

Workforce Development March 29, 2013

Training, mentoring needed to address skilled worker shortage

Placed workforce development on top of their list of plant floor issues in the 2012 Plant Engineering salary survey, which is an issue that will continue to be a problem if it is not addressed

By Bob Vavra, CFE Media
Workforce Development March 29, 2013

Is your maintenance strategy a profit center or a profit eater?

Set up a maintenance checklist to ensure your program is on the right track

By Dave Bertolini, People and Processes
Workforce Development March 15, 2013

Sweatman earns reappointment to Manufacturing Council

Department of Commerce group advises Obama Administration on manufacturing policy

Workforce Development February 28, 2013

Global growth a compelling option for manufacturing

McGladrey partner Karen Kurek looks at the potential for growth—and the potential for growth to slow down

Workforce Development January 24, 2013

Talent the key to competitiveness, Deloitte study finds

Research with U.S. Council on Competitiveness sees Asia influence growing in the next decade.

By Bob Vavra, Content Manager, CFE Media
Workforce Development December 19, 2012

Metalformers see growth in 2013… but the cliff looms

PMA calls for swift action to resolve federal fiscal crisis

Workforce Development December 18, 2012

Seven steps to training success

Instead of asking, "What happens if I train them and they leave?" ask yourself, "What happens if we don't train them and they stay?"

By Jeff Shiver CMRP, Aladon Network RCM2 Practitioner
Workforce Development November 20, 2012

AHR survey points to a warm start for 2013 economy

Sales, general economy on the rise, said attendees ahead of 2013 AHR Expo

Workforce Development November 1, 2012

PRIME program provides grants to nine high schools

SME Foundation offers funding to schools teaching STEM skills

Workforce Development October 16, 2012

Study: Returning vets believe they have the skills to help manufacturing

Military personnel think their high-tech training will be an asset to manufacturing

Workforce Development October 15, 2012

Get Skills to Work formed to address Skills Gap, veterans training

GE, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Alcoa to fund program to help military personnel transition to manufacturing jobs

Workforce Development October 13, 2012

Women in Manufacturing Summit in Milwaukee Oct. 29-30

PMA event to feature speakers from Kashi, Harley-Davidson, plant tours

By Precision Metalforming Association (PMA)
Workforce Development October 7, 2012

Building a manufacturing dream team

Everyone who calls manufacturing a career tries each day to get better at their jobs, to better serve their customers and their markets.

By Bob Vavra
Workforce Development October 2, 2012

ThinkPad manufacturing back in the U.S.

Lenovo to expand North Carolina facility, add 115 manufacturing jobs

By Lenovo
Workforce Development September 26, 2012

Manufacturing Competitiveness Act passes House with bipartisan support

Bill will create board to analyze U.S. manufacturing and recommend policy and initiatives.

By Plant Engineering
Workforce Development September 11, 2012

IMTS 2012: DMG / Mori Seiki announces factory grand opening in U.S.

DMG / Mori Seiki announced during their press conference that their factory in Davis, Ca., will have its grand opening ceremony on November 7.

By Plant Engineering
Workforce Development September 11, 2012

Unlocking balance, brilliance in the STEM fields

Ensuring more opportunities for women in STEM careers is essential.

By Karen Purcell, PE
Workforce Development July 27, 2012

ASME survey shows engineer salaries on the rise

‘Careers in engineering are rewarding on many levels’

By American Society of Mechanical Engineers
Workforce Development July 23, 2012

Manufacturing Day Oct. 5 an open house for manufacturing

Goal is for manufacturers to show educators, students what modern manufacturing looks like

By Source: SME Education Foundation
Workforce Development July 16, 2012

Daily Insight for July 16, 2012

Daily Insight: Can you hear me now? New study on plant floor hearing loss

By Bob Vavra, Content Manager, Plant Engineering
Workforce Development July 16, 2012

Workforce development seminar to focus on role of technical colleges

Snap-On Industrial, Gateway Technical College, NC3 to lead discussion at Aug. 2 forum in Wisconsin

By Snap-On Industrial
Workforce Development June 29, 2012

Nissan to expand operations in Mississippi

Sentra production in Canton to add 1,000 jobs

By Source: Nissan USA
Workforce Development June 15, 2012

Summer program introduces high school students to GIS systems

BAE Systems, Northern Virginia Community College partner on new program

By Source: BAE Systems
Workforce Development June 13, 2012

U.S. creates competition for manufacturing grants

The Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge is a $26 million competition designed to support projects that aim to help grow a region's industry.

By Source: U.S. Economic Development Administration
Workforce Development June 6, 2012

Wall named new NIMS executive director

Longtime administrator, educator to focus on workforce development

By Source: National Institute for Metalworking Skills
Workforce Development May 31, 2012

Community college best practice program to develop workforce

Donation of Iowa Western Community College launched the Siemens PLM Software best practice technology program.

By Siemens
Workforce Development May 2, 2012

IT security education needed

Nearly 50% of security issues occur because of employee negligence in the workplace, and incidents occur at least once a week, a new report said.

By Source: ISS Source
Workforce Development May 1, 2012

Sweatman: Let manufacturers adapt without policy changes

Roy Sweatman, President of Southern Manufacturing Technologies in Tampa, FL and a member and former Chairman of the National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA), joins 24 other U.S. manufacturing leaders as new members of the Manufacturing Council.

By Plant Engineering
Workforce Development March 29, 2012

National Guard job bank draws support from NTMA, PMA

Associations and organizations hope to close the gap between the more than 60,000 unemployed guardsmen and the shortage of skilled workers.

Workforce Development March 12, 2012

‘Taking Action’ manufacturing plan announced

Business Roundtable proposal focuses on lowering taxes, easing regulation burden.

Workforce Development March 9, 2012

Atkins named NTMA Chairman of the Board

Roger Atkins, a Vice President of Sales and Marketing of MIC Group, has been named the Chairman of the Board for 2012 by NTMA.

Workforce Development March 9, 2012

AMT merges with AMTDA, rebrands organization

Combined organization creates “a cohesive, powerful force,” said AMT’s Woods

By Association for Manufacturing Technology
Workforce Development February 21, 2012

Minnesota manufacturers confident, but concerned about worker shortage

Manufacturers in Minnesota remain confident in their firms' future going forward, but they remain mixed about an overall economic expansion and are worried about available qualified workers and health care.

Workforce Development February 16, 2012

CNN Money report: Worker shortage is slowing manufacturing growth

Article talks to machine shop owners: "I can't find the skill set I need. I would hire tomorrow if I could."

Workforce Development February 14, 2012

Metalforming industry shows growth for near term

Industry sees a "positive outlook" despite concerns about Washington.

Workforce Development October 31, 2011

SME endows Walker Foundation Scholarship fund to $2 million

In honoring past Education Foundation chairman Earl E. Walker, association creates $100,000 a year scholarships

By Source: SME
Workforce Development September 29, 2011

In Depth: McGladrey study finds resolve, optimism among manufacturers

In spite of the economy, McGladrey's study reports manufacturers are confident that their industry will grow, but that they are still having trouble finding skilled workers

By CFE Media
Workforce Development September 13, 2011

Molnar: “We need an innovation policy”

New NIST Chief Manufacturing Officer speaks at imX event on ways to grow manufacturing

By National Institute of Standards and Technology
Workforce Development July 8, 2011

Mori Seiki breaks ground on first North American manufacturing plant

Location, exchange rate factors in machine tool company’s decision to build in CA.

Workforce Development June 26, 2011

President Obama announces expansion of Skills for America’s Future initative

President Obama plans to expand Skills for America's Future program, which puts an emphasis on developing workers for the manufacturing industry as well as helping companies struggling during hard economic times.

By Chris Vavra
Workforce Development April 15, 2011

AME reshoring initiatives help companies avoid global supply chain risk

Supply chain issues lead cause for promotion of reshoring part of a ‘rebirth of manufacturing jobs’

By Source: AME
Workforce Development April 11, 2011

Innovation, education key themes at 2011 Summit

The overriding theme of the 2011 Manufacturing/Automation Summit was to help manufacturing professionals operate more efficiently and collaboratively.

By Bob Vavra, Content Manager
Workforce Development March 25, 2011

MESA Global Education Program awards first certificates

MESA International has successfully completed the first events in the newly launched MESA Global Education Program

Workforce Development March 24, 2011

Milestone celebrated by improving productivity, quality, delivery

WIKA Instrument Corporation recently celebrated its 300th Kaizen event which took on the task of improving productivity, quality and delivery, as well as updating standard work and developing data for routing purposes for the 1830 production cell

Workforce Development March 18, 2011

Woods: It’s time to invest in manufacturing

Woods will be addressing the challenges of manufacturing as the keynote speaker at the 2011 Manufacturing/Automation Summit this month in Chicago. In advance of that event, Woods shared his thoughts on the state of manufacturing and how to keep things moving forward.

Workforce Development March 16, 2011

ATS survey underscores critical need for skilled workers at U.S. factories as baby boomers retire

Manufacturing executives estimate retiring workers will cost their companies an average of $43 million each year over the next five years and that training budgets aren’t sufficient.

Workforce Development September 15, 2010

IMTS 2010: SME acquires Tooling U to expand training outreach

Association president says new training arm will "enable us to offer comprehensive learning and work force development solutions to help companies combat this increasing talent shortage."

Workforce Development August 27, 2010

SME names five new Fellows to honor manufacturing contributions

This year’s class includes Jian Cao, PhD, Northwestern University; Narendra B. Dahotre, PhD, University of North Texas; Herbert Dobbs, PhD, Torvec Board of Directors; I.S. Jawahir, PhD, University of Kentucky; and Günter Warnecke, Dr.-Ing., Technische Universität Kaiserslautern.

Workforce Development August 27, 2010

SME Education Foundation encouraging STEM education, career development

The SME Education Foundation, a catalyst for innovative education, and in lock-step with young minds, is providing enumerable resources for young people, their parents and educators.

Workforce Development April 8, 2010

Tweeting your way to closing the skills gap on your plant floor

An aging domestic workforce creates a knowledge deficit, as does the fact that - even though emerging markets are graduating people in science and engineering and related disciplines - these people often lack practical experience.

By Bob Vavra
Workforce Development April 1, 2010

‘Progressive growth’ for material handling

The biannual NA Show in Cleveland will show off the latest in innovations in material handling systems and products. As manufacturing comes out of the recession, it’s also the time to show off a little confidence. John Nofsinger, CEO of the Material Handling Industry of America, talks about how his organization and his industry sector are preparing for this year’s event and the reco...

Workforce Development April 1, 2010

GE will have Arc Vault system ready for summer delivery

GE will deliver the first Arc Vault system in the fourth quarter of 2010, earlier than originally planned, because of what the company said was “the overwhelming feedback received from customers and the expected demand.”

Workforce Development April 1, 2010

Is Your Boiler the Best It Can Be?

Few energy devices are as universally used in industrial plants as are boilers. Because they are seen as a mature technology, boilers often don’t receive the regular attention given other industrial equipment. Yet because it is the largest single energy consuming device in the plant, the industrial boiler should be at the center of interest in most energy efficiency improvement plans.

Workforce Development March 31, 2010

2010 SUMMIT: Improve asset management with smarter information tools

IBM's Mary Bunzel explained how today's software tools help solve asset management and information integration challenges.

By Bob Vavra
Workforce Development March 16, 2010

GE launches Arc Vault system this summer

New technology will stop arc fault in 8 milliseconds

By Bob Vavra
Workforce Development March 12, 2010

Effective task planning can optimize your outage

Outages can only be successful when the outage work is planned effectively before the work is scheduled and/or started.

By Tim Kister, Life Cycle Engineering
Workforce Development March 12, 2010

IBM’s Bryan: Time to link the ‘islands’ of plant floor information

Summit keynote speaker discusses ways to use data to drive smarter decisions

By Bob Vavra
Workforce Development March 12, 2010

Preventing steam trap failures

Failed traps waste fuel, reduce efficiency, increase production costs and compromise the overall integrity of the steam and condensate systems. Traps should be tested regularly, or the neglect may be quite costly.

By Bruce Gorelick, Enercheck Systems and Alan Bandes, UE Systems Inc.
Workforce Development March 5, 2010

February ISM report: Manufacturing keeps growing, recovering

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in February for the seventh consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 10th consecutive month, say the nation's supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report on Business."While new orders and production were not as strong as they were in January, they still show significant month-over-month growth," said Norbert J. Ore, chairman of the Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. "Additionally, the Employment Index is very encouraging, as it is up 2.8 percentage points for the month to 56.1%.

By Bob Vavra
Workforce Development March 1, 2010

Predict to prevent

We all know the negative effects of economic downturns, but one healthy outcome is a renewed effort to test conventional wisdom and assess value. We see a new normal, which is that leaner companies are forced to make better use of limited resources. Our customers across all industries, at varying levels within supply chains, are seeking significant cost savings from maintenance activities.

By Jonathan Davis, The ITR Company
Workforce Development February 4, 2010

Develop a system of systems

Understanding how assets work together to help manufacturers create more business value requires the performance of these assets to be analyzed.

By Bob Vavra
Workforce Development February 4, 2010

Data collection is key to effective lift truck fleet management

To ensure uptime and profitability, efficient data collection and management is key. Here are some tips to use lift truck data to implement best practices for greater productivity and uptime.

By Joe LaFergola, The Raymond Corporation
Workforce Development February 1, 2010

Effective data collection drives lift truck fleet management

Unexpected lift truck downtime or reduced productivity can be a direct result of poorly managed operating and maintenance data; failing to collect and analyze that data has the potential to impact a company’s bottom line. To ensure uptime and profitability, efficient data collection and management is key.

By Joe LaFergola, The Raymond Corporation
Workforce Development January 1, 2010

Tax, policy issues highlight Obama’s seven-point plan to boost manufacturing

The Obama administration’s new framework for improving manufacturing was released in December. It outlines both the traditional issues facing manufacturing, but also points to new initiatives that the education and business sector must undertake to change the direction of U.S. manufacturing. “Many sectors of American manufacturing have the potential to enjoy significant growth and s...

Workforce Development December 18, 2009

“A framework for revitalizing American manufacturing”

Obama Administration report points to opportunities, challenges in changing manufacturing landscape

By Bob Vavra
Workforce Development December 16, 2009

2009 Top Plant: Siemens Industry Inc., Norwood, OH

Keith Lang has a clear view of everything that goes on today from his command center at Siemens Industry Inc.’s Norwood, OH plant. He also has a clear view of the plant’s history. As operations manager, Lang can monitor production and systems from his office. It’s the same office where, more than a century ago, George Bullock managed what was then the Bullock Electric Manufact...

By Jack Smith, Managing Editor
Workforce Development December 1, 2009

Top Plant

As we emerge from an almost unprecedented recession, we need a blueprint for how to move forward. A great example of what manufacturing can and should look like going forward is reflected in the 2009 Top Plant recipient: Siemens Industry Inc.’s Norwood, OH facility represents both the storied past of manufacturing as well as its future.

Workforce Development December 1, 2009

The new year is a good time to begin anew

Technically speaking, 2010 is the end of the first decade of the 21st Century, and not the beginning of the second decade. I don’t know of very many people who aren’t willing to ignore convention and just start all over in 2010. However you view it, the past decade was a rough 10 years for our nation, our business community and for manufacturing.

By Bob Vavra, Editor
Workforce Development November 9, 2009

Automation controller

The automation controller works with companion components to provide I/O, control and annunciation for industrial applications.

Workforce Development November 1, 2009

ISM report states: Manufacturing is in a ‘sustainable recovery mode’

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in October for the third consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the sixth consecutive month, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business. The report was issued Nov. 1 by Norbert J. Ore, chair of the Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.

Workforce Development November 1, 2009

Reader Feedback – 2009-11-01

New kind of skilled workers needed to fill manufacturing gap The dominant mood among those in political power is one of continued crisis. Every day brings a new and greater challenge that only the wise heads of government can hope to solve. The manufacturing sector has not been immune to this approach as every utterance from the Obama White House paints a grim future for manufacturing in the U.

Workforce Development October 16, 2009

Bentley honors infrastructure excellence with Be Inspired awards

Global engineers, planners honored at event

By Bob Vavra
Workforce Development October 1, 2009

CMMS: 7 Steps to success

The statistics are startling. Up to 80% of Computerized Maintenance Management System implementations have failed in the past. When considering the costs associated with a CMMS project, an 80% failure rate is a tough number for any company to overcome. But, with simple steps for a well thought-out implementation plan, anyone can harness the full potential that a CMMS can bring to an organization.

By Kris Bagadia, PEAK Industrial Solutions
Workforce Development October 1, 2009

Unions take proactive approach to training

Located on the northern edge of Des Moines, Saydel High School is a small but progressive school with big goals. Working with a local labor union, it has implemented a program that prepares students to enter high-demand careers shortly after graduation. Ten students from Saydel High School’s construction shop class have entered a pilot program that allows them direct entry into United Ass...

Workforce Development September 28, 2009

Iowa unions, schools taking a proactive approach to training

Ten students from Saydel High School's construction shop class have entered a pilot program that will allow them direct entry into United Association Plumbers and Steamfitters Local Union 33 once they graduate.

By Bob Vavra
Workforce Development September 24, 2009

Automated Guided Vehicles offer value: MHIA study

Report shows Gen Y more intuitive, will manage material handling systems better

By Bob Vavra
Workforce Development September 3, 2009

‘Grounds for optimism’ in NAM’s Labor Day report

Organization cautions against anti-growth legislation, sees 'signs of returning growth'

Workforce Development September 1, 2009

Standardize automation components for strategic asset management

To save time and money, some companies are now standardizing machinery and automation system components as much as possible, and outsourcing production of configured components to qualified suppliers.

By Patrick Esposito, Misumi USA
Workforce Development September 1, 2009

Focus floor treatment choices on safety, maintenance issues

Untreated bare concrete flooring requires frequent, often daily, maintenance to protect it and keep it clean looking. That's why most concrete floors are not left untreated. Finished concrete can be highly attractive, long-wearing, and easy to maintain. Options include unpigmented wax, colored wax, epoxy, and wet or dry polishing systems.

By Greg Schwietz, L&M Construction Chemicals
Workforce Development August 3, 2009

Hyster marks 80th anniversary in 2009

Hyster Company is marking its 80th year as a lift truck manufacturer. Hyster Company was born when Willamette Iron & Steel, originally a lumber carrier manufacturer, merged with two other companies in 1929 to form a new company named Williamette Ersted. The name was eventually changed to Hyster Company, a reference to laborers shouting "Hoist 'er!" when a load was ready to be lifted.Since introducing a smaller lift truck in 1941 and moving into the container handling market in 1959, Hyster Company now offers 130 models of lift trucks configured for gasoline, LPG, diesel or electric power, with a capacity range between 2,000 pounds and 115,000 pounds.This year, Hyster introduced the E45-70XN, an electric ac product that combines energy efficiency and productivity capabilities."Since 1929, Hyster Company has aimed to provide the best products and support to meet the material handling needs of our customers," said Hyster president Paul Laroia.

By Bob Vavra
Workforce Development August 3, 2009

Intelligent data the key to manage fleet costs

Wireless real-time data acquisition enables managers to track maintenance and associated costs on lift truck fleets,

By Alan Marder, The Raymond Corporation
Workforce Development August 3, 2009

Give safety a lift

A commitment to training and OSHA regulations will ensure not just worker safety, but increase productivity

By Ron Brewer, Crown Equipment Co.
Workforce Development July 16, 2009

Employers must do more on workforce development: study

"The Ill-Prepared U.S. Workforce" report highlights gaps in employer training

By Bob Vavra
Workforce Development July 13, 2009

Choose active solutions for power management

Using active load management allows users to cut energy costs by reducing the number or types of loads connected to the source of power or by shifting the energy consumption to a lower cost time period.

By Dave Loucks, Eaton Corp.
Workforce Development July 1, 2009

Beyond alarm management: Improving operator effectiveness

While effective alarm documentation and rationalization (D&R) is vital to efficient plant operation, too often operators struggle to return the plant to stable operation after an abnormal situation because they don’t understand what conditions generated the alarms in the first place. The master alarm database contains the valuable information operators need to determine the causes and...

By Diego Izarra, Invensys Process Systems
Workforce Development July 1, 2009

Choosing active solutions for power management

Reduced energy costs are accomplished in a variety of ways. One solution is supply side management, which reduces costs through utility rate structure optimization, load aggregation, penalty avoidance and bill verification. These methods do not reduce energy consumption but, instead, ensure that energy is consumed using the provider’s lowest cost of energy.

By Dave Loucks, Eaton Corp.
Workforce Development July 1, 2009

Survey: Manufacturing likely to lag while economy improves

Nearly 60 percent of manufacturing executives believe the economy will improve over the next six months, though they are slightly less optimistic about the prospects for the manufacturing sector. Those were among the key findings of a recent survey conducted KRC Research on behalf of the Baker Tilly accounting firm.

By Staff
Workforce Development July 1, 2009

Removable data storage reaches the plant floor

High-volume data storage capabilities have become an ever-increasing need for plant engineers and automation professionals. These and other individuals working in the industrial sector are constantly looking for ways to improve their control system architectures, make their industrial networks perform better and lower the cost of ownership of the same.

By David Crump, Opto 22
Workforce Development June 29, 2009

"Back in the enforcement business"

New Labor secretary tells ASSE meeting she wants to "return respect to OSHA"

By Business Wire
Workforce Development June 8, 2009

UL launches power quality assessment program

Data, test labs can be tested through new service

By PLE Staff
Workforce Development June 8, 2009

Better maintenance procedures, better tools help improve bearing health

Managing the life cycle of rolling bearings with expert maintenance procedures and tools designed specifically for the job can help to increase plant equipment uptime, cut energy costs and reduce component replacement expenses.

By Paul Michalicka, SKF, USA Inc.
Workforce Development June 1, 2009

Oil’s well that starts well

In today’s increasingly competitive environment, maximizing productivity is a must, especially for small and medium-sized machine shops. Typically, these businesses cannot match the overall production capabilities – in terms of volume – of their larger rivals. Furthermore, larger competitors often have more equipment, more people and more resources than small or medium sized b...

By Glen Sharkowicz, Mobil Industrial Lubricants
Workforce Development May 1, 2009

Lean maintenance offers savings, eliminates non-value activities

When the word “Lean” is mentioned, what thoughts are typically brought to mind? Is it to be able to do more with less? Downsizing? Cost reductions? If so, then the true meaning of “Lean” is missed. If an organization is considered to be Lean, it operates with minimum of waste.

By Terry Wireman, Vesta Partners, LLC
Workforce Development April 10, 2009

Manufacturing Summit looks to the future

Attendees were informed, charmed in Charleston at Plant Engineering event

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development April 1, 2009

Managing collaborative production

The "next generation of MES" brings greater agility, transparency to the process

By Marc Leroux, ABB Inc.
Workforce Development March 6, 2009

There’s not a lot of good news out there

Unemployment hits 25-year high of 8.1%; productivity declines

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development March 1, 2009

Bill Polk: Tremendous opportunity ahead in automation software

In my last column I cited reasons why U.S. manufacturers should be looking to our own shores when analyzing their value chain networks. Some of them included currency fluctuations, fuel volatility, and supply chain risk associated with manufacturing in remote, low-cost labor countries. As companies realign their manufacturing strategies in response to the catalyst of plummeting global demand, o...

By Bill Polk
Workforce Development March 1, 2009

Fixing the global economic crisis

It’s the question of the hour: how will automation fare in today’s economic meltdown? Like the old saying goes, we have good news, and we have bad news; which do you want to hear first?

By Dr. Gerald W. Cockrell, CAP2009, ISA president, Indiana State University
Workforce Development February 18, 2009

The Skills gap: Solutions

Deloitte/NAM study points to the need to get aggressive on developing manufacturing workforce

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development February 1, 2009

Dealing with uncertainty in DMM calibration

Whenever we take a measurement with any meter, we're gambling that the instrument will give us the “real” reading. Fortunately, it's a very safe bet that a quality multimeter will deliver readings that coincide with reality. Specifications quantify the confidence of getting accurate readings and the risk of seeing inaccurate readings.

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development February 1, 2009

Plug the Skills Gap at a grass-roots level

There were 793,000 people in manufacturing who lost jobs in 2008. Here's a story about one person who got a job in manufacturing in 2009. Julie Nechchat is a student at Valencia Community College in Florida. She went from not knowing what she wanted to do after high school to the military, which is not an unusual career path.

By Bob Vavra, Editor
Workforce Development February 1, 2009

Getting students informed, excited about careers in manufacturing

There are two sides to the Skills Gap issue, as this month’s cover story points out. One is understanding why more young people aren’t gravitating toward careers in manufacturing. The other looks at programs designed to create a little gravity toward such a career. A study by the American Society for Quality noted that kids aren’t aware enough about modern manufacturing to mak...

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development January 28, 2009

Organic knowledge: Social networking technology just may solve impending worker shortage

Benjamin Friedman, a research manager for product life-cycle strategies with Framingham, Mass.-based IDC Manufacturing Insights, thinks manufacturers can use social networking and other Web 2.0 technologies to close the knowledge gap that already is forming as workers in the baby-boom generation begin retiring.

By William Atkinson, contributing editor
Workforce Development December 11, 2008

Talent pool: IBM launches workforce management offering

IBM says a new workforce management offering combines human resources software, consulting services, and IT integration.The IBM Workforce and Talent Suite includes workforce analytics, e-recruitment, performance management, workforce deployment and scheduling, an employee portal, collaboration, and social networking. It also provides consulting services including change management, process redesign, technology integration, program management, and business performance measurement.The talent management software comes from Saba and SuccessFactors to enable organizations to access key employee data and manage workforces as a globally integrated talent pool.Says Larry Bowden, VP of IBM's portals and mashups division, "The latest advances in collaborative human capital software such as Lotus Connections, WebSphere Portal, and Cognos 8 Workforce Performance can deliver a talent management system that companies could only imagine a few short years ago.".

By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff
Workforce Development December 5, 2008

Indian manufacturing offers challenges and opportunities

An interview with Dr. Andreas Gruchow of Deutsche Messe

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development December 1, 2008

Employee Free Choice Act ‘anti-business, anti-employee’

Early in 2009, the House and Senate will be asked to vote on one of the most anti-business and anti-employee proposals to come before our Congress in many years. This misnamed proposal, the “Employee Free Choice Act” is commonly called “Card Check.” This proposed legislation would end a workers right to a private ballot election by replacing current law, in place for ove...

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development December 1, 2008

A perfect storm hits the skilled workforce

A number of factors, not the least of which is the aging workforce, are converging to create the skilled labor crisis. Manufacturers can help ebb the flow by investing in their talent, but will they?

By Terry Wireman, Vespa Partners LLC
Workforce Development November 25, 2008

Electronic auditing for 21-CFR-Part-11

This software module manages electronic records and signatures in compliance with Food and Drug Administration regulations.

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development November 20, 2008

Ariba teams with Kelly Services for temporary labor procurement

With the prices of core commodities largely out of their control, companies are on the hunt for opportunities to drive savings in other areas to maintain their cost structures and competitive advantage. And one category in which they are finding them is temporary labor.To help companies quickly convert these opportunities to hard-dollar savings, spend management solutions supplier Ariba reports the launch of a new, network-based offering that will enable companies of all sizes to quickly and easily procure temporary talent across categories leveraging a pre-enabled catalog sponsored by Kelly Services , a world leader in human resources solutions."A highly challenging economic environment with increasingly volatile labor markets demands that hiring managers look to temporary labor as a means to stay competitive and flexible,” says Andrew Bartolini, VP of global supply chain management for Boston-based Aberdeen Group. “Companies with the right tools and processes in place to optimize the management of their temporary labor spend will be best positioned to drive productivity and impact the bottom line.”Delivered as part of Ariba Services Procurement via the Ariba Network, the pre-enabled, temporary labor channel offers flexible and granular visibility into spend, as well as fast access to services across a wide range of temporary labor sub-categories: accounting/finance, contact center, creative services, education, electronic assembly, engineering, health care, IT, legal, light industrial, marketing, office, professional, and scientific.“Good people are hard to find, but through the power of the Ariba Network, companies can quickly access the talent they need to support their business globally and deliver results,” says Rick Collison, an Ariba director for procurement and content.

By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff
Workforce Development November 3, 2008

End of Boeing strike puts machinists back on the job

Eight-week strike had crippled aircraft-maker and halted Dreamliner production

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development November 1, 2008

Programmable controllers: How it all began

This is the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the programmable logic controller (PLC). It started in 1968 and is a real-time device that acts as the modem to your process. It is not part of the computer. My work from 1954 to 1964 was working in specialized projects such as aircraft and memory for computers.

By Dick Morley
Workforce Development November 1, 2008

Growing your own workforce

The demand for qualified people is estimated to be twice the supply over the next 20 years. In the state of South Carolina, the Chamber of Commerce projects that between 2010 and 2030, total employment demand in the state, based on U.S. projections, will increase by approximately 16.3%, while the traditional labor pool available to fill these jobs will grow only by approximately 7.

By Bill Wilder, Life Cycle Engineering
Workforce Development October 27, 2008

Hurricane strength: 3PLs use software to smooth out supply chain disruptions

Two supply chain execution specialists in particular—Ryder, and Fidelitone Logistics—rely on logistics and transportation management software—and resulting visibility—for fleet control and cost containment. Customers are reaping the benefits.

By Jean Thilmany, contributing editor (
Workforce Development October 22, 2008

Undo the Catch-22: Why manufacturers need marketing automation

Getting budget approved for marketing automation is tough because executives normally don't want to invest more in a department they perceive to be a cost center. But as tradeshows and mass advertising lose their effectiveness, marketers must put dollars into technology that will drive more results. The trick is to fund the project out of the existing marketing budget—bypassing a lengthy approval process—to demonstrate results that justify continued investment.

By Jon Miller, Marketo
Workforce Development October 15, 2008

The candidates and manufacturing

Editor’s Note: The 2008 presidential election is Tuesday, Nov. 4. In order to help manufacturing leaders understand the positions of the two presidential candidates on issues that affect plant and manufacturing operations, Plant Engineering has taken their position papers and made them available to our readers.

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development September 17, 2008

Skills saavy: FLEX timesheets set up real-time data exchange

 SoftSolutions says its FLEX workforce management software is gaining traction in the manufacturing sector based on innovative metrics and decision-support tools to best leverage skilled labor markets.

By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff
Workforce Development September 10, 2008

Sparking new careers for welders

Unions help Native Americans fill welding shortage.

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development August 25, 2008

Skilled worker shortage cited again as biggest manufacturing issue

FABTECH poll finds manufacturing execs rate worker shortage as bigger issue than oil prices, economy

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development August 19, 2008

Eco-excellence: New international consortium targets environmental impact of materials

Granta Design announces a new collaborative project called the Environmental Materials Information Technology (EMIT) Consortium, coordinated by the U.K.’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL). The effort will target materials and process decisions that control the environmental impact of engineered products and develop information resources and software to aid members’ response to environmental regulations and to enable design for minimum environmental impact—including low carbon footprint, energy efficiency, reduced wastes and emissions, and avoidance of restricted substances.The three-year project began July 1 with founder members Emerson Electric , Eurocopter , NASA , and Rolls-Royce . It is expected to grow to between 10 and 15 member organizations.

By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff
Workforce Development August 1, 2008

Advanced Technology Services: Plant technicians move from memory reliance to knowledge database advantage

Many companies periodically contemplate creating a database to capture the so-called “tribal knowledge” of employees. That way, they reason, there would be a database containing details about processes, procedures, and previous experience for all employees to actively share instead of relying on the memory of more-experienced employees.

By Jim Fulcher
Workforce Development August 1, 2008

Chicago-manufacturing activity rises for the first time in five months

The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago reported that Chicago-area manufacturing activity rose slightly into positive territory in July after five months of contraction.

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development July 25, 2008

Pulse Survey: Globalization leads to worldwide services supply chain; the challenge lies in effective management

Outsourcing often is viewed as a one-dimensional, point-to-point solution, typically between a U.S. or Western European organization and a company in India. In reality, today’s global sourcing model is akin to an intricate manufacturing supply chain.

By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff
Workforce Development July 15, 2008

A systematic approach to power chain management

Energy-intensive industries such petroleum-chemical, water/wastewater, pulp and paper and data centers understand that electricity has become a very significant business expense. They also realize that quality power has become even more critical to the day-to-day conduct of their business, and that effective management of the power chain is essential to accomplishing their sustainability goals.

By Mike Longman, Eaton Corp.
Workforce Development July 15, 2008

Turning maintenance into a profit center with CMMS

The word “maintenance” is typically associated with negative connotations. Whether the word makes one think of a broken machine or a repair need, it is clearly linked with negativity and pessimism. On the contrary, maintenance is defined as “the work of keeping something in proper condition; upkeep.

By Kris Bagadia, PEAK Industrial Solutions LLC
Workforce Development July 15, 2008

Energy audits get manufacturer WIRED

If you think you have high heating and electrical bills, consider this: Haynes International Inc. spends $9.5 million in natural gas and $5 million in electricity annually at its Kokomo, IN plant. The company is a leading developer, manufacturer and marketer of technologically advanced performance alloys, primarily for the aerospace and chemical processing industries.

By Ethan Rogers, Purdue University Technical Assistance Program
Workforce Development June 24, 2008

Center for Manufacturing Excellence to be built on Ole Miss campus

New $22 million joint venture with state, Toyota to teach management skills to manufacturing plant managers.

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development June 20, 2008

Education will be the way out of U.S. manufacturing’s decline

Author's new book chronicles rise and decline of Midwest manufacturing

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development June 15, 2008

Bentley shifts its color – and its focus – to green

One of the first thing to notice when arriving at Bentley’s annual BE Conference in Baltimore May 27 what that Bentley’s predominant blue color scheme had changed to a lighter green.

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development June 15, 2008

The whens, whys and hows of contract maintenance

The popularity of outsourcing in industrial markets continues to grow as competitive pressures and demand to do more with less have driven many companies to innovation to reduce costs.

By Nathan Wood, GreenWood Inc.
Workforce Development June 6, 2008

U.S. automakers close productivity gap

in 2007, Chrysler LLC and Toyota Motor Corp. were tied for the top spot in plant productivity in North America, according to a closely watched scorecard on auto manufacturing.

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development June 1, 2008

Outsourcing Central: IQMS enterprise module schedules SC movement; monitors work status

The practice of outsourcing certain aspects of production is proving vital in certain industries. In fact, data out of Boston-based AMR Research suggests a confluence of economic, technology, and political factors that, when combined, will drive growth of logistics and greater supply chain outsourcing.

By Jim Fulcher, contributing editor (
Workforce Development May 15, 2008

Robotics, energy costs rise as Europe tackles plant issues head on

The robots can juggle. They can play goalie. They can float through the air and propel themselves through water. They can perform dozens of dazzling maneuvers in a clean room after only being told once what to do.

By Bob Vavra
Workforce Development May 1, 2008

Expert access: Merger unites two organizations devoted to product development

The Product Development and Management Association (PDMA), a resource for the profession of product development and innovation, has merged with the International Association for Product Development (IAPD), granting corporate members access to a significantly expanded network of thousands of experts.

By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff
Workforce Development April 21, 2008

New white paper: Industry Directions on avoiding quality management crisis

When labor costs are low, some companies assume they can just throw people at this problem. As companies in emerging economies grow rapidly, their costs, complexity, competition and rate of change also rise. Adding even skilled employees cannot fix the quality threat, and may even exacerbate it.

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development April 1, 2008

Avnet, others address need for greater transparency in outsourced manufacturing operations

Outsourced manufacturing paired with extended value chains in fast-moving markets is a recipe for complex management challenges. Add lean to the value chain mix and more complexity will surface: inventory optimization at every step, to balance lean with replenishment order planning (ROP) and ensure coordinated responsiveness to the OEM.

By Frank O Smith, senior contributing editor (
Workforce Development March 28, 2008

Hazardous location light fixture

Induction light fixture is now available in a 165-W version, expanding the current product line’s 55- and 85-W lamping options.

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development March 15, 2008

Taking the weight off ergonomic, productivity issues

Elkhart County in north-central Indiana is a part of heartland America where horse-drawn Amish buggies share the road with not only automobiles, but also with an astounding number of recreational vehicles. Called “The RV Capital of the World,” Elkhart County has 107 manufacturers producing half the recreational vehicles sold in America.

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development March 15, 2008

Who’ll keep the lights on?

As utility company executives make plans to meet the growing electricity needs of the Southeast, they're also watching their most experienced personnel approach retirement age. Finding enough skilled personnel to operate complex power-generation facilities poses one of the most critical challenges facing the industry today.

By John Toon, Georgia Tech
Workforce Development March 1, 2008

IQS quality solution remakes automotive supply chain in U.S., then China

Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based Cequent Group, which makes automotive towing systems, trailer parts, and associated brake and electrical components, recently rolled out an enterprise quality management system from IQS to its Chinese supplier base. Embedded in Cequent's U.S. manufacturing operations since 2002, the intention was to duplicate the system's success in establishing both a formal quali...

By Malcolm Wheatley, senior contributing editor (
Workforce Development March 1, 2008

IDC issues top 10 predictions for manufacturing 2008

Large manufacturers will move more assertively in 2008 toward constructing globally integrated business models, according to IDC Manufacturing Insights, the Framingham, Mass.-based market analysis firm. This trend tops IDC's annual top 10 predictions for how manufacturers will invest their IT budgets.

By Staff
Workforce Development February 27, 2008

FPC advisory: Manufacturers need to plan now for 76 million boomer retirements 

New York-based FPC (F-O-R-T-U-N-E Personnel Consultants) says manufacturers are ill prepared for the the massive baby boomer retirement wave expected in the next five years. "The mass retirement wouldn't be so bad if there were enough people coming into the workforce," says Ron Herzog, CEO and president, FPC.

By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff
Workforce Development January 15, 2008

The many roads to real sustainability

A number of factors are moving energy and climate change from the sidelines to center stage in the business world. Everyone remembers how Hurricane Katrina disrupted oil refining on the Gulf Coast, the California energy crisis, and the Northeast power outage. In response to natural disasters, geopolitical turmoil, changes in regulation, surging energy demand from emerging economies and changing...

By Marc Hoffman, Consortium for Energy Efficiency
Workforce Development January 15, 2008

Face up to the challenges, get involved in the solutions

What’s the matter with U.S. manufacturing? There’s a perception that U.S. manufacturers are fleeing to set up shop in countries where labor is cheaper, and this perception has created extensive debate throughout American industry. However, this perception is far from the reality that plagues our industries today.

By Darrin Wikoff, Life Cycle Engineering
Workforce Development January 15, 2008

Database on mature workforce issues established

The Conference Board has launched its new Employer-Practices Locator, a Web database that enables employers, reporters, and researchers to locate examples of specific actions companies have taken to address the challenges presented by the mature workforce. The Locator is part of a multifaceted program by The Conference Board on issues surrounding the aging workforce.

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development January 11, 2008

Global manufacturing salaries on the rise; job market tightens

The world is catching up. It’s not just in manufacturing output, either. The world’s manufacturing salaries are also on the rise. There is no question the complicated, evolving global manufacturing economy has changed the game for American factories. The typical complaint is that wages for manufacturing in emerging economies such as China and India create an unfair advantage.

By Bob Vavra, Editor
Workforce Development January 4, 2008

OSHA notice of proposed rulemaking for new respirator test protocol

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration last week published a notice of proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register for a new fit-testing protocol under Appendix A of OSHA's Respiratory Protection standard.

By Staff
Workforce Development December 21, 2007

GM and DOE look to engineering students for answers

Engineering students around the country will be able to apply their education to a real-world challenge. The EcoCAR challenge, a contest sponsored by General Motors and the Dept. of Energy, will offer students the opportunity to design a car that gets maximum fuel economy and minimal emissions.

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development December 15, 2007

Government attempts to shorten trade gap with China

U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson recently attempted to achieve a breakthrough on the unbalanced exchange rate between the United States and China. U.S. manufacturers claim that the exchange rate gives Chinese products an unfair edge in world markets.

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development December 7, 2007

SME releases revised guide on composites manufacturing

The second edition of Fundamentals of Composites Manufacturing: Materials, Methods, and Applications focuses on materials and composites manufacturing methods.

By Staff
Workforce Development December 3, 2007

Global concerns: Privately held manufacturers fret over rising energy, materials costs

Rising raw materials and energy prices have become major concerns for privately held manufacturing companies, according to a recent survey from Grant Thornton International. Globally, 61 percent of surveyed businesses reported being most concerned about raw materials costs, while 45 percent listed energy costs as their greatest concern.

By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff
Workforce Development November 27, 2007

Integrating EAM Transcription

Full notes on reducing risk and enhancing performance in manufacturing setting through a integrated enterprise asset management system.

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development November 15, 2007

Mechatronics: Rethinking the machine means rethinking engineering

Plant engineers are always on the front lines in a two-front war between technology change and legacy equipment. With every equipment purchase they consider, they know they’re buying their next legacy system. So when suppliers start talking about how mechatronics could transform factory automation, plant engineers have every reason to be skeptical.

By Dave Ballard, SEW-EURODRIVE
Workforce Development November 15, 2007

Focusing on the ‘human side of engineering’ pays big dividends

I’ve seen it time and again. So have you. Two employees – call them Paul and John – are engaged in a heated argument. Eventually their hostility is abated, but with no resolution reached. Tightlipped, they go their separate ways. John shakes his head and stalks off. Paul makes no effort to hide his anger.

By Ray Dreyfack
Workforce Development November 14, 2007

Cut-off wheels

Cut-off wheels feature a reinforced resinoid bonding system of aluminum oxide abrasives and a thin profile for rapid stock removal and cool cutting.

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development November 2, 2007

Ford is likely to follow Chrysler’s retreat

Ford will likely trim 2008 budgets and spending by up to 15% in some departments.

Workforce Development October 22, 2007

Air solvent

EVR clean air solvent is designed to remove grease, oil and dirt from metal parts and equipment. The solvent has no ozone-depleting compounds and is low in volatile organic compound content. It comes in a 14-ounce aerosol can, a 1-gallon can, a 5-gallon pail or a 55-gallon drum and complies with Ozone Transport Commission rules on VOCs, among other rules.

By Staff
Workforce Development October 15, 2007

Real-time collaborative manufacturing model emerges

Spurred by the growth of e-commerce, a new manufacturing model has emerged in response to customers’ needs for build-to-order products. The impact on shop-floor systems is compounded by the increasing need to outsource components or entire assemblies to external suppliers. To service their customers shop operations managers still need visibility and control of delivery, quality and config...

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development October 15, 2007

Chem Show hits New York October 30

Occupying the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York Oct. 30-Nov. 1, Chem Show 2007 features the nanotechnology and nano-bio convergence symposium and workshop, a gathering to discuss the continuing emergence and application of this cutting-edge technology. Some of the top nanoscientists and business leaders in the world will be on hand to discuss the ramifications of nanotechnology and ...

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development October 15, 2007

Rubber hydraulic hose

Twin Tough bonded rubber hydraulic hoses are designed to eliminate the labor required to bundle two separate hoses with tie straps or plastic sleeves. The line is available in four variations, each in 25 and 50-foot lengths and each featuring a one-half SAE 100R1/100R2 minimum bend radius. The 451TC variety offers a 3,000-psi constant working pressure in 3/8-inch and 1/2-inch sizes, with a one-...

By Staff
Workforce Development October 15, 2007

At 60th anniversary celebration, study takes a look at the future

The history of PLANT ENGINEERING magazine was evident at a gala celebration Sept. 26 at National Manufacturing Week. The magazine marked its 60th anniversary at a cocktail event at the show in Rosemont. But the party also served to provide the first public presentation of the magazine’s study, “The Changing Role of the Plant Engineer.

By Staff
Workforce Development October 15, 2007

Open your eyes to the aging workforce

By 2014, the number of people aged 55 and older is expected to increase by 49% while the number of younger workers will grow by only 2.9%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This older population will represent 21% of the civilian labor force, up from 15% in 2004. While companies need to figure out how to attract a new generation of manufacturing employees prepared for 21st century jobs, busi...

By Laura Brown, W.W. Grainger, Inc.
Workforce Development October 8, 2007

Dallas community colleges building workforce development center

Garland, TX facility to serve growing regional manufacturing needs

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development October 5, 2007

Factory orders take a tumble in August; drop 3.3%

Steep drop worse than expected as auto, appliance orders fall; jobs show some rebound

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development September 28, 2007

OSHA guidance on selection and use of slings for handling materials

A new document has been issued to supplement and bring up to speed a 30-year-old industry standard.

By Staff
Workforce Development September 27, 2007

GM settlement means “no more excuses”

Automaker closes cost gap, but is challenged to take advantage of the new opportunity

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development September 21, 2007

New findings contradict perception of parallel fan efficiency

Various factors contribute to differing levels of configuration performance.

By Staff
Workforce Development September 15, 2007

Manufacturing’s future: Punctuating the discussion

I'll be moderating a discussion at National Manufacturing Week in suburban Chicago on Sept. 26. We'll talk about “The Future of Manufacturing.” It's a pretty weighty topic, but drinks will be served, so I think we'll get through it just fine. Any discussion about the future of manufacturing depends how you punctuate that phrase, and how that phrase gets punctuated depends on who you...

By Bob Vavra, Editor
Workforce Development September 12, 2007

Achieving a ‘high-octane’ warehouse operation

Aberdeen report focuses on improving business processes

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development September 7, 2007

FKI Logistex starts graduate engineer training program

The program is designed for recent engineering grads and introduces them to a variety of material handling disciplines.

By Staff
Workforce Development September 7, 2007

Annual Labor Day report indicates workers making solid gains

NAM report shows manufacturing workers gaining from year-to-year, and better than average members of the workforce.

By Staff
Workforce Development August 15, 2007

CECO presentation studies ways to cut energy costs

A new downloadable presentation from CECO Energy Management details the cost impact of wasted energy in industrial buildings and processes, and explains how to reduce the energy component of manufacturing costs. Posted on the homepage, the presentation explains how seven-figure savings are attainable and justified in some cases.

By Staff
Workforce Development August 15, 2007

The power of persistence realized in a lifelong dream completed

It was 1937. Headlines told of hard times and breadlines. I had just graduated Evander Childs High School in the Bronx. My plan was to work days to help my family weather the recession while attending City College of New York (CCNY) evenings. Jobs were hard to come by. I trod Manhattan’s streets day after day without so much as a bite.

By Ray Dreyfack
Workforce Development July 24, 2007

Hackett: Typical Fortune 500 companies net nearly $400M annually via strategic workforce planning, talent management

Hackett’s research demonstrates the bottom-line impact of more effectively managing human assets, and provides strong evidence to executives, investors, and HR leadership of the value of developing intangible assets such as a company’s workforce.

By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff
Workforce Development July 20, 2007

Chem Show 2007 to spend Halloween at Javits in New York

New this year, the Outsourcing Services & Contract Manufacturing Pavilion will feature companies that provide services ranging from research and testing to manpower, logistical support and project management.

By Staff
Workforce Development July 15, 2007

Collaboration creates new advantages for manufacturing

Manufacturing companies have increased their productivity and efficiency over time by implementing new strategies, business processes and IT solutions. Strategies range from total quality management to lean manufacturing and Six Sigma to customer-centricity. Improved business processes and supporting software solutions brought more accuracy, visibility, consistency and efficiency to manufacturi...

By Staff
Workforce Development July 15, 2007

Beyond the ‘break-fix’ mentality is a smarter, safer workplace

Hesh Kagan, the 'Wizard of Wireless,’ was in our offices last month chatting about some new initiatives on sensors. The talk turned to low-cost sensors that would bring the cost of predictive maintenance down to the level where it was cheaper to measure equipment than to simply wait for it to break.

By Bob Vavra, Editor
Workforce Development July 15, 2007

Reader Feedback – 2007-07-15

Beware of costly consulting contracts Back in the days when outsourcing in general was an alien concept, the novelty that anyone actually had a business for outsourced production maintenance was enough to differentiate anyone in the business. Indeed, times have changed. In fact the concept of outsourced factory maintenance is catching on quickly.

By Staff
Workforce Development June 15, 2007

Victaulic Podcast covers workforce development, an industry portal sponsored by Victaulic Company, has launched a Podcast series featuring industry experts who will address maintenance topics. The current edition of the newly enhanced site addresses the skilled labor shortage that the industry is facing. Registrants to CompressedSchedule.

By Staff
Workforce Development June 15, 2007

Changing workforce requires changes in asset management

A customer with a strong maintenance department lost 90% of its experienced people in the last two years. They were now struggling to re-learn everything this team had already learned over the last 10 years. A reliability and maintenance consulting services company based in the United States told us that 80% of their clients indicate an attrition rate among their maintenance craft personnel of ...

By Scott Brady, SKF Reliability Systems
Workforce Development June 8, 2007

UL’s Williams added to NFPA board

President and CEO of UL also spent time with Medtronic, GE.

By Staff
Workforce Development June 8, 2007

OSHA settles challenges to hexavalent chromium standard

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently reached an agreement with the National Association of Manufacturers, the Specialty Steel Industry of North America and several other organizations, settling the groups’ challenges of OSHA’s Final Rule on hexavalent chromium exposure.

By Staff
Workforce Development May 15, 2007

Tips for optimizing lift truck fleets

Lift truck fleet owners may be surprised to learn that the actual purchase price of a lift truck is typically only 20 percent of the overall cost of ownership. Operator salaries and maintenance account for the remaining 80 percent of those costs. However, many opportunities are available to reduce overall ownership costs simply by optimizing the lift truck fleet. Work with a solutions-focused dealer A solutions-focused dealer can provide the plant many ways to reduce lift truck fleet ownership costs.

By Joe Lafergola
Workforce Development May 15, 2007

Giving manufacturers a lift

Everyone can use a lift once in a while. In fact, that was the thought behind the development of the lift truck in the first place. What began in the late 1800s as an evolution from hoists and cranes, lift trucks have long been an essential tool for manufacturers to move their materials and products through the various processes of manufacturing.

By Kevin Campbell, Senior Editor
Workforce Development May 15, 2007

Steel, labor lead new alliance

Top labor and business leaders from the steel industry have formed a new association to address issues facing American manufacturing and to promote manufacturing as a strong career for today and tomorrow. The Alliance for American Manufacturing is a labor-management partnership that includes the United Steelworkers union and several major steel companies including Mittal Steel and AK Steel.

By Staff
Workforce Development May 15, 2007

Five considerations for choosing an arc flash hazard analysis

One of the critical steps to comply with NFPA 70E 2004 is commissioning a flash hazard analysis for your facility. This requirement affects almost all existing facilities that have electrical distribution systems that operate at 50 V or greater, which at some time may require maintenance or even a lockout/tagout procedure while the equipment is energized.

By Joseph Weigel, Square D Services, Schneider Electric
Workforce Development April 20, 2007

Theromography as a maintenance tool

Using IR tools drives better, more frequent maintenance, authors report 

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development April 15, 2007

In a tumultuous year, a call to action for plant engineers

William Rothfelder, the commercial research division manager for Inland Steel, sounded disheartened when looking at the global market for his product: “Our industry is doing all it can, including investing huge amounts of capital, to cope with the import problem,” he said. “And we are fighting a losing battle unless we get help from the government.

By Bob Vavra, Editor
Workforce Development March 9, 2007

Blog! Five Fast Things for March 9, 2007

1. Asset performance and reliability: Oh, sure — it’s a great topic to TALK about. But how do you actually get to measuring and acting on asset performance? The latest white paper now available on will point the way.

By Bob Vavra, Editor, Plant Engineering
Workforce Development March 1, 2007

Updating OSHA directives

Last week, my time was spent preparing for the final stages of a process I’ve worked on for well over a year. I’ve been developing a directive, which is OSHA’s way of transmitting information to OSHA field offices across the country. Directives are written for many reasons. Some of the information is routine and is sent frequently, for example, site specific targeting informat...

By Staff
Workforce Development February 15, 2007

Cheney spurns bill in speech to NAM

In a speech Wednesday to the National Association of Manufacturers , Vice President Dick Cheney vowed to uphold democracy in America’s workplaces by opposing‘card check’ legislation. “Our administration rejects any attempt to short-circuit the rights of workers,” Cheney said. The NAM applauded his comments and urged the House Education & Labor Committee to reject H.R. 800, the so-called “Employee Free Choice Act ,” during its scheduled markup Wednesday. “The legislation would eliminate employees' freedom to choose whether union membership is right for them and their families in private,” said Jason Straczewski, the NAM's director of human resources policy. “This legislation does nothing to promote the well-being of manufacturers' greatest asset: their employees. All it does is take away freedom of choice,” Straczewski said.

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development February 6, 2007

M12 cordsets

The armored M12 cordsets provide protection against abrasion, cuts, water, oil and impact, and are intended for use in automotive, stamping plants and welding environments. The cordsets meet open wiring specifications allowing their use in place of conduit, thereby reducing the extensive labor, wire-pulling, cutting, bending and moisture problems associated with conduit. The armored cordsets use PVC-jacketed cable with interlocking aluminum armor that is ITC/PLTC (instrumentation tray cable) rated.

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development February 1, 2007

Pennsylvania manufacturer taps into regional resources

J.A. Reinhardt & Co., Inc. is an engineering and manufacturing company located in the heart of the Pocono Mountains in Mountainhome, PA. It designs, engineers and manufactures highly sophisticated thermal and mechanical products, such as heat exchangers, avionics chassis, complex electronic housings, microwave antennas and beryllium products for the aerospace industry.

By William J. Desciak, Northeastern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center, Inc.
Workforce Development February 1, 2007

The future-shock of 1956 is close to today’s reality

The design of the new manufacturing facility capitalized on the surge in cell phones with built-in TV receivers. The facility was designed with Lean manufacturing in mind – no on-site storage for raw materials or finished products. The production rate is set by adjusting manufacturing automatically to meet consumer demand.

By Bob Vavra, Editor
Workforce Development January 30, 2007

Blog! Five fast things for January 30, 2007

1. A busy opener at AHR : The opening day of the AHR Expo in Dallas was most notable for the huige crowds that made their way into the DallasConvention Center. The facility was packed on Day 1, and it speaks well for a healthy industry that benefits from growth in both the commercial and residential markets.

By Bob Vavra, Editor
Workforce Development January 5, 2007

OSHA seeks comment on third phase of standards improvement process

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is seeking comments until Feb. 20 on phase three of its Standards Improvement Project , the third in a series of rulemaking actions intended to improve and streamline OSHA standards and lessen regulatory burdens without reducing employee protections. Through the project, OSHA is seeking to improve its standards by revising confusing, outdated, duplicated or inconsistent requirements. The revisions will help employers better understand their obligations, which will lead to increased compliance, ensure greater safety and health for employees, and reduce compliance costs and paperwork burdens. Changes being considered include revisions to eleven standards that OSHA has preliminarily identified to be addressed during the project.

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development January 1, 2007

Leading change from vision to reality

Turner Powertrain Systems, based in Wolverhampton in the United Kingdom, traces its history back to 1875. Over the years, it has manufactured everything from tractors to generators. Today, the Caterpillar subsidiary manufactures hydrodynamic gearboxes for 60 to 130-hp off-road applications, mainly in the building and agricultural industries.

By Dennis Cantillion
Workforce Development December 1, 2006

Blog! Five Fast Things for December 1, 2006

By Bob Vavra Editor Plant Engineering

By Bob Vavra, Editor, Plant Engineering
Workforce Development December 1, 2006

Arc flash research findings presented at PCIC

“Effect of Insulating Barriers in Arc Flash Testing” is the title of a paper that circuit protection company Ferraz Shawmut presented at the IEEE PCIC, the annual technical conference of the IEEE’s Petroleum and Chemical Industry Committee, in Philadelphia. The paper documents the company’s research findings regarding low-voltage arc flash testing using the standard IEEE...

By Staff
Workforce Development November 29, 2006

Blog for November 28: Five Fast things:

1.Live from Orlando, it’s Power Gen: It was a busy first day on the show floor at PowerGen in the heart of the Sunshine State. Tomorrow I’ll have the first look at Plant Engineering’s exclusive Roundtable discussion on Power Quality at the show. Look (and listen) to some of the details tomorrow. 2.

By Bob Vavra, Editor -Plant Engineering
Workforce Development November 3, 2006

OSHA settles challenge to hexavalent chromium standard

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration published a minor amendment in Monday’s Federal Register to the compliance date provision of its hexavalent chromium standard for general industry. The amendment is part of a settlement agreement with the Surface Finishing Industry Council, Public Citizen Health Research Group, and the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union.

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development October 1, 2006

Safety Webcast is on Oct. 26

Safe manufacturers reduce worker’s compensation costs and improve productivity. For those who don’t, the numbers are staggering: On-the-job injuries cost American companies $512 billion each year. “Safety – Right to the Bottom Line” is the title of the Webcast on Thursday, Oct.

By Staff
Workforce Development September 5, 2006

Energy storage system earns UL listing

Pentadyne Power Corp. has earned an Underwriters Laboratories listing for its second-generation VSS+DC flywheel-based clean energy storage systems. According to the UL Website, the UL listing granted is based on "basic standards used to investigate products in this category…ANSI/UL 508, 'Industrial Control Equipment,' UL 1004, 'Electric Motors' and UL 1248, 'Engine-Generator Assemblies for Use in Recreational Vehicles.'" Pentadyne flywheel systems supplement or replace lead-acid battery arrays used with UPS systems. Chemical battery banks require extensive, costly and lengthy permitting processes due to their corrosive materials, fire hazards, toxic fluids and explosive gas emissions. Pentadyne's flywheel power system can completely replace, or greatly extend the life of, lead-acid batteries commonly used in most UPS configurations.

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development September 1, 2006

Avoid the misguided application of the maintenance planner scheduler

If you consider all of the organizations and companies that have maintenance departments, typically only one third of them have the planner/scheduler position in place. Within that group of companies, typically only 10% of those planner/schedulers are effectively being utilized. Why is there such a gap in the effective utilization of the planner/scheduler position? The main reason is the lack o...

By Tim Kister, Life Cycle Engineering
Workforce Development September 1, 2006

Plant floor, enterprise intersect at ‘manufacturing intelligence’

Manufacturing continues to be the engine that drives economies around the world. With competition mounting from global suppliers, and an ever increasing push towards mass customization and shortened product lifecycles, there is an increased need for manufacturers to be more responsive and flexible. They must make rapid decisions using real-time information and make continuous adjustments based ...

By Edward Toung, Senior Director, Product Management, Informance International
Workforce Development September 1, 2006

A business system for the shop floor

Effective automation is at the core of successful manufacturing enterprises because it provides tools to manage information and processes. Yet automation is more than making individual machines, groups of machines or even entire enterprises work effectively. That definition has now expanded to tying together all the islands of information within the enterprise – from the plant floor to th...

By Jack Smith, Senior Editor
Workforce Development August 31, 2006

Manufacturers optimistic about business prospects

Small and medium-size manufacturers are more optimistic than other industry segments, with many owners and managers projecting revenue growth and continued hiring over the next 12 months, according to the recently released results of an International Profit Associates Small Business Research Board survey. The IPA SBRB Manufacturing Confidence Index was established at 45 for the first IPA SBRB manufacturing industry poll. By contrast, the aggregated IPA SBRB Small Business Confidence Index for all small and medium-size businesses participating in the survey was 39.3, which represented a drop from 47.3 for the previous poll, concluded in May 2006. Similarly, the confidence of construction and contracting firms dropped to 30.7 from the 49.3 that was registered three months ago. Nearly half of the manufacturers that responded to the poll indicated that they are forecasting improvement in the economy over the next 12 months, and 50% of them expect revenues to increase during the same period.

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development August 4, 2006

Siemens donates to ISA training program

ISA has received four Model 55M (M43) Nullmatic controls with integral setting and transfer switch from Siemens Energy & Automation, Inc., for ISA’s technical training program. The Nullmatic controllers are applicable to any process with a transmitter or transducer that provides a pneumatically measured variable signal. The controller can be changed from direct action (increase input, increase output) to reverse-control action by turning an external plate. Standard and fast-reset needle valves are interchangeable in these models without disassembling the controller. ISA course attendees will be able to align and calibrate a pneumatic controller and a pneumatic positioner and perform pipe bending for pneumatic device installation on the physical equipment. "ISA appreciates Siemens support of its training programs,” said Dale Lee, director of education services for ISA.

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development August 4, 2006

Keller named president of Association for Manufacturing Excellence

Ralph Keller, a longtime leader and innovator in manufacturing processes, has been named president of the Association for Manufacturing Excellence. “As North American manufacturers struggle to compete with inexpensive overseas labor, it has become paramount that they streamline operations and run a Lean enterprise,” Keller said. “I look forward to helping AME raise awareness of how important efficiency is to the success of a company in today’s marketplace.” Throughout his 35-year career, Keller has helped dozens of companies implement and benefit from global sourcing, Lean manufacturing and Six Sigma. He also has experience in mainline manufacturing functions such as purchasing, engineering, personnel and ERP systems.

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development August 1, 2006

Food process manufacturers find old, new ways to stay efficient

Security. RFID. Uptime and downtime, and maintenance and maintenance-free. For those in the manufacturing sector, these are just a few of the buzzwords that are dealt with daily. Here’s another one: margin. Food processors, in particular, face some hefty challenges – in both their processing and packaging operations – to keep their margins up and their machines operating.

By Kevin Campbell, Senior Editor
Workforce Development August 1, 2006

Putting stakeholders first in satisfying quality, safety and other requirements

Many readers will have encountered ISO 9000 registered organizations that failed to keep their promises. It is often the case that organizations have approached the standard with the wrong objective in mind. The intent of ISO 9000 is not to create uniform management systems. It is a set of criteria that, when applied correctly, will enable organizations to produce products and supply services t...

By David Hoyle, C Eng. MRAeS
Workforce Development August 1, 2006

Converting from manual to automatic scheduling in a union environment

In large manufacturing operations with huge crews working 24/7, just getting the right people in the right jobs is difficult. In union environments, it becomes even more challenging since workers’ schedules must also conform legally to the constraints of union contracts. Contracts, often more than 50 pages long, include language that addresses senior employees’ right-to-work, bumpi...

By James Fitzpatrick, Tugboat Software
Workforce Development July 14, 2006

SME sponsors nanotechnology forum Aug. 23-24

A discussion of nanotechnology and manufacturing, sponsored by SME, will be conducted at the Pollard Technology Conference Center in Oak Ridge, TN Aug. 23-24. The SME conference will highlight the current, near-term and future applications of nanotechnology and how they are transforming the way we manufacture products using innovative, top-down fabrication and bottom-up assembly techniques. This event will also provide a forum for peer networking, information sharing and technology exchange among researchers and developers of nanomanufacturing processes, systems and tools. Speakers from the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing, Georgia Tech, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics will address the conference, which is open to those interested in the next wave of manufacturing technology.

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development June 1, 2006

Germane Systems expansion integrates process, people

For Marc and Kerry Green of Germane Systems, a philosophy and culture of doing the right thing for their customers, industry partners and employees has paid off handsomely. Since its founding in 1997, the company has experienced tremendous revenue growth, from $650,000 in the first year to a projected $30 million in 2006.

By Jeff Kohler, Virginia's Philpott Manufacturing Extension Partnership
Workforce Development June 1, 2006

Reader Feeback

Small innovations can have big impacts An editorial and also an article in the April 2006 issue of PLANT ENGINEERING got me thinking about readily available innovations and why the rate at which some plants adopt innovation is too slow for comfort. Certain innovations are not totally new; they have been extremely well proven elsewhere.

By Staff
Workforce Development June 1, 2006

OSHA summer focus is on teen job safety

As millions of American teens begin their summer jobs, OSHA is focusing on keeping these vulnerable workers safe and healthy. While teen workers earn extra money and gain valuable work experience, the risk of a serious or even fatal injury is present. To address this challenge, OSHA recently kicked-off its Teen Summer Job Safety Campaign that will focus on industries that young people are like...

By Staff
Workforce Development May 12, 2006

Scheduling the Manufacturing Workforce white paper

Scheduling the workforce is a challenge for many large-scale manufacturing companies with constantly changing production requirements. Since labor is the most significant cost of production and management is under pressure to keep their workforce lean, automating the scheduling process stands out as an area where IT should focus. Unlike call centers or airline crewing, Tugboat Software notes, in manufacturing the absence of a leading IT solution has been a conspicuous problem.

Workforce Development May 1, 2006

A revolution for HR managers: Unleashing employees’ talent

The human resources function has, for a number of reasons, been typically viewed by executives as peripheral to the successful performance of their organizations. Human resource management as a course in most MBA programs is often not considered as useful as offerings in finance, marketing, or information technology.

By Ronald J. Burke Schulich School of Business, York University, Canada
Workforce Development May 1, 2006


The HHP91 is a precision manometer for automotive, HVAC, laboratories and general industrial applications. Compatible with air or non-corrosive and non-ionized gases and liquids. Also compatible with all measuring systems due to its eight selectable pressure ranges. Readings are displayed and easy read in its large 15mm high digits screen.

By Staff
Workforce Development April 1, 2006

Many facets to an effective asset management strategy

We've made considerable progress over the past several years in increasing senior management awareness of the importance of reliability principles, the foundation of operational excellence, a condition that is difficult to find in U.S. manufacturing plants. So, this progress has not been good enough, and jobs continue to move to countries with lower labor costs.

By Ron Moore, The RM Group, Inc., Knoxville, TN
Workforce Development March 1, 2006

Engineers play critical role in software implementation and selection

Software is often seen as a quick fix for any problem. It can also be the problem. Lack of foresight in installation can lead to confusion and failure. Selecting the wrong tool for the job will make the new process worse than the one that was meant to be improved. There is always a gap between how software systems should work and how they do work.

By Tamara Wilhite
Workforce Development March 1, 2006

NMW keynotes cover the world of manufacturing

At a pivotal time in American manufacturing, attendees at National Manufacturing Week will get insight from some of America's top business leaders and some of the world's top business analysts. From a look across the Pacific to a candid assessment of America's own problems and opportunities, keynote speakers at this year's NMW will offer some perspectives on the state of global manufacturing C...

By Staff
Workforce Development March 1, 2006

Keeping an eye on alignment

Ten times more? That number represents a flexible coupling's capability for misalignment compared to the tolerance of rotating equipment. That means system alignment should be based first on the minimum requirements of the driven equipment or the driver and finally the coupling. The benefits of proper alignment would seem elementary, but it is all too easy when running three consecutive shifts ...

By Kevin Remack, Lovejoy, Inc., Downers Grove, IL.
Workforce Development February 16, 2006

Top industry leaders to keynote NMW

At a pivotal time in American manufacturing, attendees at National Manufacturing Week will get insight from some of America’s top business leaders and some of the world’s top business analysts. From a look across the Pacific to a candid assessment of America’s own problems and opportunities, keynote speakers at this year’s NMW will offer some perspectives on the state of global manufacturing Colin Wu, president of China Business Sources, will kick off the keynotes on Monday, March 20 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development February 1, 2006

Piece by piece

Sidebars: Supplier worked ahead to meet utilities' needs Suppliers tell their stories of aiding Katrina recovery HARAHAN, LA — They started to return — one and two and four at a time, finding their ways around and through the roadblocks, both human and natural. They returned from Jackson and Baton Rouge and Houston and wherever the 150 mph winds had blown them on that fateful August night. Many returned not knowing the condition of their residences, and they returned with little more than what they could fit in their cars. They came to the only home they knew was still standing.

By Bob Vavra, Editor
Workforce Development January 1, 2006

Process controls offer opportunity

The past twelve months have brought positive margin gains for 15 out of 19 industries in the PLANT ENGINEERING factory equipment and tools market basket. In fact, margin grades improved significantly for six. The air and gas compressor manufacturing was the most dramatic. Its margin grade moved from F-minus one year ago, when manufacturing margins sat at a record-low level, to a passing B grade...

By Staff
Workforce Development January 1, 2006

Precision Metalforming foundation awards $44,500 in training grants

The Precision Metalforming Association Educational Foundation, an organization established to support and develop training and education for metalforming skills and to improve the awareness of careers in metalforming, awarded a total of $44,500 in grants to three programs created to enhance the U.S. metalforming workforce: HIRED/Hennepin Technical College, WIRE-NET and BattleBots IQ.

By Staff
Workforce Development January 1, 2006

Skills Gap Survey: Begin now to attract, train and develop manufacturing workers

The vast majority of American manufacturers are experiencing a serious shortage of qualified employees, which in turn is causing significant impact to business and the ability of the country as a whole to compete in a global economy. This is the key finding of the 2005 Skills Gap Survey. The problem for U.

By Staff
Workforce Development December 1, 2005

Inhouse imaging programs pack power into predictive maintenance

In any industry, optimizing production equipment uptime is essential for increasing productivity and competitiveness in the marketplace. How? Secure the reliability of key production assets and prevent failures through predictive maintenance. The key to successful PdM is to monitor equipment for conditions that indicate imminent failure, determine whether remedial action is warranted and then r...

By Jason Wilbur and William Gray
Workforce Development December 1, 2005

For Ray Dreyfack, it’s not ‘retirement’ but a new chapter

All good things must come to an end. That includes my almost four decades of writing The Human Side for PLANT ENGINEERING. I long have had, and still have, a warm feeling in my heart for this magazine and its excellent staff. I hope my efforts have been useful to many and appreciate the kind and helpful reader response to the column.

By Raymond Dreyfack
Workforce Development November 30, 2005


Post a job Job Position Location Position Type Plant Engineer, more info >> Fresh Express Project Engineering Experienced Engineers, more info >> PinPoint Solutions ________________________________________ Plant Engineer: Fresh Express General Info : Fresh Express, a subsidiary of Chiquita Brands International, Inc. (NYSE: CQB), has been a leader in fresh foods for more than 80 years and is dedicated to providing consumers with healthy, convenient ready-to-eat spinach, salads, vegetables and fruits. With the invention of its special Keep Crisp bag beginning in the early 1980s, Fresh Express pioneered the retail packaged salad category and was the first to make them available nationwide.

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development November 1, 2005

Action needed to head off looming labor shortage

A core policy priority for the National Association of Manufacturers is preparing a skilled workforce for the 21st century. It may seem odd to speak of a manufacturing labor shortage when we have lost millions of manufacturing jobs in recent years. After all, the state of America's economy and its workers is generally good, and our manufacturing sector continues to drive an ongoing recovery and...

By John Engler, President, National Association of Manufacturers
Workforce Development October 1, 2005

OSHA mobilizes to respond to Hurricane Katrina aftermath

As part of the U.S. Department of Labor's response to Hurricane Katrina, OSHA has deployed safety and health professionals to Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama to provide technical assistance to recovery workers in their ongoing efforts along the Gulf Coast of the United States. OSHA has teams of professionals in the devastated regions to help ensure that the restoration of power and telecomm...

By Sherman Williamson, OSHA Department of Enforcement
Workforce Development October 1, 2005

Out with the old

An annual or semiannual plant shutdown gives maintenance staff time to repair equipment, retool for a new production run or even wax and seal the floors. Plant facilities are upgraded or equipment is overhauled during these planned shutdowns. The key word is "planned," especially when it comes to the electrical distribution system.

By Jack Smith, Senior Editor
Workforce Development October 1, 2005

Take charge of your battery maintenance

Batteries! You either love them or hate them. There is no in between. You love them for the convenience of being able to carry around electronic devices without being tethered to an electrical cord. Or you hate them because they seem to fail at the most inopportune times. Batteries have become a way of life in a world where the power grid, although reliable, is not 100% fail safe.

By Mike Lewis, Senior Applications Engineer, Megger, Dallas, TX
Workforce Development September 1, 2005

Welding equipment industry sees margins increase

The green inflation light is flashing for industries that make factory equipment and tools. Among 19 industries in the PLANT ENGINEERING price index, inflation slowed down for only three. Fifteen industries, on the other hand, put the metal to the petal as the rate at which inflation sped up increased from March 2005 to June 2005.

By Staff
Workforce Development August 1, 2005

Human side – 2005-08-01

When promoted, how long does past seniority last? Bill Chernoff had been a hardworking and conscientious member of Tony Royal's work group for more than three years. It was thus no surprise when, upon Tony's retirement, Maintenance Supervisor Arthur Sondheim, appointed Bill to take over the group. At the outset Bill was happy to receive the promotion and especially pleased with the pay raise that went with it. At least that's what he told himself.

By Raymond Dreyfack, Contributing Editor
Workforce Development August 1, 2005

Valuing engineering — and our readers

All too often, we get pat answers and anecdotal evidence as a response to the challenges we face on every front of manufacturing. We examine layoff numbers and study oil prices and watch global manufacturing centers emerge and wring our hands in despair. And then, every once in a while, we get some clear thinking from great minds, and we begin to see where our problems truly begin.

By Bob Vavra, Chief Editor
Workforce Development August 1, 2005

Burgett appointed new ASHRAE president

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers installed Lee Burgett as its new president at its annual meeting June 25-29 in Denver. Lee Burgett, P.E., Fellow ASHRAE, serves as consultant to Trane, a business of American Standard Companies, and others, following his retirement from Trane as vice president-new ventures.

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development July 1, 2005

Jumpstart your energy management program

We have all been tasked with the effort to efficiently manage our facilities including the use and costs of utilities while effectively providing for the needs of our facilities. The term "facilities management" has been around for some time, but the meaning has dramatically changed over the years. In the past, for some people facilities management only related to the physical maintenance and o...

By Dave Goetz, Stanley Consultants
Workforce Development June 1, 2005

Speed changers, drives and gears buck trend

Price, demand and margin trends moved in the same direction for most of the 19 industries in our factory tools and equipment market basket. First of all, average product prices accelerated. The strained budgets that plant engineers manage can testify to that. Only three bucked this inflation trend: saw blades and handsaws, pumps and pumping equipment, and instruments for electrical testing.

By Staff
Workforce Development June 1, 2005

‘Sustainable’ expansion on track, NAM says

With the Labor Department reporting that the economy created a much higher than expected 274,000 new non-farm payroll jobs in April while the unemployment rate held steady at 5.2%, National Association of Manufacturers Chief Economist David Huether observed that, "Many service sectors and construction led the way, and this suggests that a broad and sustainable economic expansion remains on track.

By Staff
Workforce Development May 1, 2005

Oil analysis and preventive maintenance

Imagine the implications of neglecting to check the lubrication systems of plant equipment. Failure here would be both catastrophic and expensive. Not only because of the cost of repairing the physical damage, but also the time it takes to fix the problem and the revenue lost from the equipment not being in use.

By Carl Tolas, ExxonMobil Corp., David Hilligoss, Perkin Elmer Life and Analytical Sciences and Robert Thomas, Scientific Solutions
Workforce Development May 1, 2005

Softwood and steel pipe prices soar

Inflation is running red hot among the products that plant engineers have to buy in order to maintain and repair the factory. Among 21 industries in the PLANT ENGINEERING construction supplies price index, product price inflation accelerated among 17. The softwood industry continued to lead the pack with a 48.

By Staff
Workforce Development May 1, 2005

Five common steam line sizing errors

When operating a boiler for process or building heat, engineers deal with a dynamic system. Phase changes, mass and energy balances, mixed-phase flows, non-Newtonian compressible gases, changes in pressure and velocity, and production-based or seasonal load swings are characteristics of this complex system.

By Vincent Ferguson & Alan Standerwick, Spirax Sarco, Inc., Blythewood, SC
Workforce Development March 10, 2005

Two rules of rebounding

Depending on who you talk to, the state of American manufacturing is either robust or just a bust. The numbers are all over the board. Manufacturing production was up 5.1% in 2004, and has been on a steady rising since the third quarter of 2003. Orders for durable good, which spiked in the first quarter of 2004 then plunged, have made another steady climb and are up 9.

By Bob Vavra, Chief Editor
Workforce Development March 10, 2005

Human side – 2005-03-10

Planning a large layoff? Take care Plant Engineer Hank Selleck had sweated hard times before, but never this tough. The small tool manufacturing plant employed 96 people. The introduction of new technology and other industry changes had all but destroyed the viability of the company's major product line that accounted for much of its sales and profits. Profits.

By Raymond Dreyfack, Contributing Editor
Workforce Development February 10, 2005

New NAM president John Engler: Level the playing field for manufacturing

John Engler became president of the National Association of Manufacturers on October 1, 2004, but his record of support for manufacturing issues precedes this new role. The former three-term Michigan governor brings to the NAM a lifelong commitment to reducing the size of government as a means to boosting economic growth and job creation.

By Staff
Workforce Development January 10, 2005

Elements of breathing-air compressor systems

Industrial plants often require operators to work in environments where ambient air is not suitable for long-term exposure. This requires installing an airline respiratory program or breathing-air system (Fig. 1). Plant breathing air must meet the Compressed Gas Association, Grade-D requirements. OSHA CFR 29-1910.

By Ray Ellis, Air Systems International, Inc., Chesapeake, VA
Workforce Development January 10, 2005

Double trouble for those seeking operating materials

Plant engineers who need to stock up on operating materials and supplies may be facing a double whammy this spring. Two trends will be converging to push up prices. One: The majority of industries that make operating supplies appears to be under extremely tight margin pressure. Two: End-market demand for supplies has begun to grow briskly.

By Staff
Workforce Development December 10, 2004

Hewlett Packard Caribe BV

Outside the Employee Center at the Hewlett Packard Caribe BV site in Aguadilla, PR, a modest structure that resembles the front of a garage serves as a constant reminder. In 1939, Stanford University classmates Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard founded HP and built the company's first product — an audio oscillator — in a Palo Alto, CA, garage.

By James Silvestri, Managing Editor, Plant Engineering magazine
Workforce Development December 10, 2004

S&C Electric Co. John R. Conrad Industrial Complex

Driving down Ridge Blvd. in the Rogers Park neighborhood on Chicago's north side, one could hardly imagine the industrial activity taking place on the other side of the wrought-iron fence. Such was John R. Conrad's vision when he began operations there in 1949. And it has been successfully executed by S&C's plant and facilities engineering function ever since.

By Richard L. Dunn, Editor, Plant Engineering magazine
Workforce Development December 10, 2004

Book reviews: A look inside

Guidelines for protecting ac motors AC Motor Protection develops the electrical, mechanical, and thermal models that determine motor characteristics and that lead to optimum thermal and fault protection. Written for anyone who specifies or sets motor protective relays, this 90-p illustrated reference explains why understanding the relationship among motor horsepower, speed, locked rotor torque...

By Staff
Workforce Development November 10, 2004

Software and computers – 2004-11-10

HMI growth predicted The human-machine interface (HMI) software market, which totaled nearly $439 million in 2003, will exceed $559 million in 2008, outperforming the industrial automation market and growing at a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 5% over the next 5 yr, according to a study by the ARC Advisory Group. HMI and related control software applications remain integral parts of the process, hybrid, and discrete industries for the access, presentation, and exchange of information for managing plant floor production processes. Manufacturers are looking to HMI software systems for a plant-wide information collection and integration tool. HMI software using flexible, multifunctional, and interoperable platforms that provide peer-to-peer interfaces with other platforms is driving factory visibility and intelligence as well as playing a major role in providing plantwide connectivity. That is why HMI software is sometimes referred to as visualization software.

By Staff
Workforce Development November 10, 2004

Power Transmission – 2004-11-10

Linear speed adjusts mechanically Uhing rolling ring linear drives with the H-lever option provide accurate slow down and ramp-up to linear speed independently of drive motor speed. For applications requiring deceleration prior to reversal followed by gradual acceleration, the lever is an inexpensive alternative to clutches, cams, and gears. Instead of adjusting linearly with electronic controls and programming, it is done mechanically. Amacoil, Inc.

By Staff
Workforce Development November 10, 2004

Maintenance Products – 2004-11-10

Handy wiper contains lubricant Wipe-On Lubricant is a non-woven, 8-in. x 11-in., presaturated wipe that is easy to carry and store. The lubricant is a greaseless film that provides lubrication and short-term corrosion protection.

By Staff
Workforce Development October 10, 2004

Human side – 2004-10-10

Anti-company behavior Don't sit for it When Electrician Grade II George Miller was bypassed once again for promotion by Foreman Al Clement, he went ranting and raving all over the place. "I got the seniority," he groused, "and I got the experience. It's a clear case of prejudice." "Against what?" a coworker asked him. "You're 35 years old, and you're not a minority member." "He's prejudiced against me.

By Raymond Dreyfack, Contributing Editor
Workforce Development September 10, 2004

Human Side – 2004-09-10

Question: If Martin follows through on a lawsuit, do you think he will win? Gershon's opinion: "Martin's chances are nonexistent or slim," Plant Engineer Vincent Gershon told the supervisor. "For one thing, he knew what he was getting into when he accepted the transfer. For another, he will have to prove that management knew that the transfer was hazardous to his health, was in a position to co...

By Raymond Dreyfack, Contributing Editor
Workforce Development September 10, 2004

Margins reach lowest point since tracking began

The PLANT ENGINEERING factory equipment and tools price index increased just 2.7% from June 2003 to June 2004. Over the same time period, we estimate the costs of manufacturing among these factory tools and equipment producers jumped a collective 8.3%. This spells inflation troubles ahead for buyers of equipment and tools.

By Staff
Workforce Development August 9, 2004

Mobile technology cuts paper; improves asset management

Knowledge-driven maintenance is the cornerstone of successful asset performance management (APM). Doing more with less, cutting costs, and increasing asset reliability are some of the challenges plants face today. Companies are turning to their maintenance teams for answers. The reason is simple — technician productivity affects maintenance costs.

By Richard Padula, President, Syclo, Barrington, IL
Workforce Development August 9, 2004

Prices climb for 14 industries

The PLANT ENGINEERING construction and maintenance price and cost indexes, up 4.1% and 4.9% respectively, moved practically in tandem during the 12-month period ending May 2004. On the price front, 14 industries registered price increases, while six out of 20 pushed average product prices down during the June 2003 to May 2004 period.

By Staff
Workforce Development August 9, 2004

Human side – 2004-08-09

Labor management committee Define its power In the interest of labor-management cooperation and goodwill, the general manager decided to establish a joint committee that would hopefully create improved understanding and efficiency. The committee was composed of six members, three selected by management and three from the bargaining unit. The purpose of the committee as defined in the company's policy manual was to: Discuss work areas where modifications designed to improve operations might be made. Consider ideas designed to favorably alter communication and working conditions. Come up with ways to improve productivity, conserve materials, or introduce other economies. The joint committee functioned harmoniously for six months. Then at one meeting a proposed change involving the introduction of automated equipment was revealed by a member of management.

By Raymond Dreyfack, Contributing Editor
Workforce Development July 8, 2004

Human side – 2004-07-08

Employee's life is made miserable Is company liable? Jessica Kelly was a clerical employee in the maintenance department. Her life was made so miserable by John Brandon, her supervisor, that she had fainting spells, suffered a nervous disorder, and had to undergo medical treatment. Both her family doctor and a psychologist recommended Jessica quit her job.

By Raymond Dreyfack, Contributing Editor
Workforce Development July 8, 2004

Optimizing total cost of ownership

When total cost of ownership (TCO) is applied broadly, the tools and concepts enable users to make a measurable impact in plant operating costs and margins. Their value comes from refocusing decision-making processes based on price and purchase cost to consider all financial impacts associated with a decision.

By Jim Humphries and Brad McCaleb
Workforce Development May 10, 2004

Human side – 2004-05-10

Accommodating disabilities Can demands be unreasonable? Bert Kriegman, a service mechanic with a badly crippled leg incurred in an automobile accident a year before, complained that the company was not doing enough to accommodate his disability. He contended that as a long-time employee he deserved more consideration. Maintenance Supervisor Max Redlich sympathized with Kriegman's problem, but disagreed with his contention. "I've been bending over backward to make life as easy for you as possible." "If that's true," Kriegman replied, "you would have constructed those two ramps I requested a few months ago." "I looked into that," Redlich said, "but it would have been prohibitively expensive to build those ramps." Redlich pointed out as he had in the past that he went out of his way to assign the mechanic jobs that were as conveniently accessible as possible, and to avoid assignments where Kriegman would have to climb steps.

By Raymond Dreyfack, Contributing Editor
Workforce Development April 8, 2004

Inflation expected for operating materials and supplies

Plant engineers can expect a steady dose of inflation for operating materials and supplies in 2003. Upward price pressures are strong for 13 industries. The key to the price outlook lies in our understanding of the underlying cost and margin challenges that manufacturers face. In 2003, the PLANT ENGINEERING operating materials and supplies price index rose 1.

By Staff
Workforce Development March 10, 2004

Human side – 2004-03-10 – 2004-03-10

Beware of e-mail It can be used against you Maria Sanchez was stunned when informed by Maintenance Department Foreman Pete Carlson that she was being downgraded to Administrative Assistant Class II and assigned to another section. Ann Kramer, as spelled out in the same directive, was being upgraded from Class II to Class I and assigned to take over her job. A glaring example of race discrimination as Sanchez viewed the situation.

By Raymond Dreyfack, Contributing Editor
Workforce Development February 25, 2004

Performance contracts reduce abatement costs

Attention is typically given to regenerative thermal oxidizer (RTO) performance only when a specific problem or fault shuts down the system or when the system is out of compliance.

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development February 10, 2004

Human Side – 2004-02-10 – 2004-02-10

Smoke-free policy: How far can you go? Long-time maintenance department Supply Room Attendant Rose Krause's eyes were tearing, her nose and throat were becoming irritated, and she was getting a headache again. There was no doubt in Krause's mind regarding the cause. Cigarette smoke. Sure enough, two employees were working on an electrical line no more than 30 feet away, both puffing away like smokestacks. She called out, "Please, put out those cigarettes.

By Raymond Dreyfack, Contributing Editor
Workforce Development February 10, 2004

IR thermography on the spot

IR thermography is used widely in predictive maintenance and numerous engineering applications. Plant engineers use it to detect leaks, electrical faults, and moisture concentrations in building materials before they become serious and expensive to repair.

By Leonard A. Phillips and Gary L. Orlove, PE, Infrared Training Center, FLIR Systems, North Billerica, MA
Workforce Development February 10, 2004

Software & Computers – 2004-02-10

DAQ software instruNet World Plus is a data acquisition (DAQ) software program for Windows 95/98/NT/2000/XP that enables users to digitize, plot, control, analyze, and save to disk A/D, D/A, and digital I/O data from instruNet hardware. Software enables users to customize instrument front panels with buttons, popup menus, edit fields, dynamic text, text editor regions, and waveform graphs. Tasks such as PID or on/off control loops, multiwaveform signal generation, and mathematical calculations can be updated in real time. Omega Engineering, Inc.

By Staff
Workforce Development December 10, 2003

Forum – 2003-12-10

Solutions In reading the Solutions in the October 2003 issue, I found that the first solution for sharp edges on wire ties was written correctly, but was shown incorrectly. There is no cutting performed in this solution, only twisting. The best device to use is side-cutting pliers known as railroad pliers.

By Staff
Workforce Development December 9, 2003

Vacuum conveying system integral to growth

Automated material handling, including vacuum conveyor system, is the key toPiasa reaching twenty-fold growth.  

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development November 18, 2003

Integrated control houses

From motor control centers in bustling industrial centers to remote communications equipment on mountaintops, integrated control houses are popping up just about everywhere.

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development November 1, 2003

Electrical – 2003-11-01

Study targets UPS products A multivolume study, titled "The 2002 Power Protection Market Intelligence Program: Vols. I-III," concludes that the market for uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs) under 5 kVA is poised for extensive transition during the next 5 yr. The analysis, conducted by Venture Development Corp.

By Staff
Workforce Development November 1, 2003

General and Maintenance Software – 2003-11-01

Asset software monitors usage Datastream 7i Analytics , a new version of asset performance management software, provides analytical technology that enables users to derive valuable intelligence from their existing asset data to make better business decisions. Features include asset hierarchy management, audit trail, messenger, multiple-organization security, preventive maintenance flexibility, usage monitoring, key performance indicators, and workload inbox. Datastream Systems, Inc. : , TO VOTE, WRITE 28 ON BALLOT For more information, write 28 on card CMMS accessible anywhere Maintenance Connection web-based computerized maintenance management software (CMMS) includes asset management, work order tracking, preventive and predictive maintenance, labor scheduling, online service requests, spare parts inventory, procedure library and reporting capabilities.

By Staff
Workforce Development October 10, 2003

Human Side – 2003-10-10 – 2003-10-10

The 90-day seniority rule Is it in effect in your plant? If there's one thing you can count on in this messed up universe, it is the inevitability of change. The economic climate changes, product design and content changes, customer demands change, methodology changes, and in manufacturing plants from coast to coast manpower requirements change in response to changing conditions. A good test of an effective executive is his or her ability to predict and plan for change. But however skilled a manager may be, the unexpected occurs.

By Raymond Dreyfack, Contributing Editor
Workforce Development September 17, 2003

Closed pneumatic conveyor system eliminates dust and downtime

While the screw-type mechanical conveyor has its place in industry, when it comes to handling dry materials that must be kept free of contaminants, and environments where dust-free conditions are important, these conveyors systems are often problematic.

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development September 12, 2003

Integrated systems for industrial substations

Click here to read the Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories case study.

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development September 10, 2003

Instrument prices could decrease

Plant engineers who are stocking up on factory equipment and tools have some good bargaining opportunities and a handful of potential pitfalls. You can see the pitfalls clearly enough by looking at the two industries with an F- margin grade. Manufacturers of motors (SIC 3621) and transformers (SIC 3612) have seen their direct manufacturing costs soar to record highs.

By Staff
Workforce Development September 10, 2003

Collaborative maintenance: A strategy to help manufacturers become lean, mean, and agile

Increased globalization, greater competition, price pressures, and erosion of margins are placing enormous pressure on manufacturers to re-evaluate how they produce products and generate profits. Today's successful companies are not necessarily among those with the best manufacturing capabilities, but rather the best manufacturing processes.

By Mike Laszkiewicz, Vice President and General Manager, Asset Management, Rockwell Automation
Workforce Development September 10, 2003

Human Side – 2003-09-10 – 2003-09-10

Recovering alcoholic How far backward must you bend? Utility Man Gerald Shea had been given one break too many, in Maintenance Supervisor Arthur Jolson's view. Shea's performance was only marginally acceptable when he was sober. After hitting the bottle, it was anything but. Jolson couldn't recall how many times he had been on the verge of firing the guy.

By Raymond Dreyfack, Contributing Editor
Workforce Development September 10, 2003

Reader Feedback – 2003-09-10 – 2003-09-10

Shortage of skilled workers I agree with Brian Varley on his comments regarding the state of manufacturing. I dare to guess that Brian is a 20-plus year veteran of American manufacturing like myself. He is dead-on when he talks about the manufacturing sector not wanting to pay for the skills they require.

By Staff
Workforce Development August 6, 2003

In waiting mode for high demand

The economic uncertainty that existed prior to the U.S. bombing of Iraq has dissipated. Yet, an unleashing of pent-up demand has not occurred as some pundits expected. Indeed, more than half of the industries in our construction supplies index actually faced shrinking end markets in May 2003. Moreover, all but one industry (flat glass) sport end-market growth rates that fall short of the averag...

By Staff
Workforce Development August 6, 2003

Reader Feedback – 2003-08-06 – 2003-08-06

Employment paradox I just finished reading your article (in the June issue) titled 'Employment Paradox' and am concerned that there may be more to this problem than available, skilled, warm bodies. I am employed by a large international company with many manufacturing units across the globe. I have been employed by this company for almost 10 years.

By Staff
Workforce Development July 14, 2003

Cost savings difficult to find

Trying to find ways to save money in your budget for operating materials and supplies may be like searching for a needle in a haystack. A look at the latest round of price and cost data for the industries that make factory supplies shows margin conditions deteriorated among 10 of 19 industries. Now, 13 industries show direct manufacturing margins at record or near-record lows (see industries wi...

By Staff
Workforce Development June 27, 2003

Vacuum cleaning system eliminates dangers of combustion

Proper vacuum cleaning of powder paint booths crucial to safety, throughput, and profit

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development May 6, 2003

Human Side – 2003-05-06

Safety violation: Withdraw the suspension? More often than not, discipline stands up when a safety rule is violated. Rightly so. Safety rules are set up and enforced to avoid employee injury and the loss of corporate assets.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
Workforce Development April 28, 2003

Human Side – 2003-04-28

Undermining associates: Can he be fired? If a plant popularity contest were held, Maintenance Planner John Tyler wouldn't have wound up at the bottom of the barrel. He would have been underneath it. The word most often used by Tyler's associates to describe him was "obnoxious." Tyler regarded himself as a superior human being and wasn't hesitant to make known not only his brilliance, but his coworkers' inferiority as well, regardless of their feelings. He was always certain what had to be done, and knew he could do it better than anyone else. Tyler was seemingly oblivious to others' response to his denigrating remarks.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
Workforce Development March 15, 2003

Human Side – 2003-03-15

Employee illness: Full recovery disputed After a tough bout with pneumonia, and following nine days in the hospital, Welder Grade I Tony Molinaro telephoned his boss that he was ready to return to work. "That's good news," Maintenance Foreman Al Comanche replied. "Did you get a green light from your doctor?" "No problem. The doc says I'm fit as a fiddle and ready for action.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
Workforce Development February 15, 2003

Inflation mismatch could lead to higher prices

In November 2002, prices for plant construction and maintenance supplies fell 0.1%, while costs to manufacture those supplies rose 0.7%. This inflation mismatch means suppliers are facing tighter margins now and buyers could face higher prices ahead. Consider the sheet metal work (SIC 3444) industry.

By Staff
Workforce Development January 15, 2003

MRO e-procurement: Where is it now?

I first became enamored with the proposition of purchasing maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) parts over the internet at a trade show five years ago. Here was a technology that could make a significant impact on both purchasing and maintenance management. It promised to reduce MRO procurement costs, order lead times, inventory stock levels, maverick purchasing, and maintenance time spent...

By Tom Singer Contributing Editor, Principal Tompkins Associates, Oak Brook, IL
Workforce Development November 15, 2002

ERP solutions: Are they right for maintenance management?

Since its inception, "best-of-breed" software vendors specializing primarily in maintenance solutions have dominated the computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) marketplace. As the complexity of the marketplace and customer needs grew, top-tiered CMMS solutions evolved into enterprise asset management (EAM) systems.

By Tom Singer Contributing Editor, Principal, Tompkins Associates, Oak Brook, IL
Workforce Development November 15, 2002

Human Side – 2002-11-15

Money matters: Can a new hire be paid more than a veteran? When Electrician Andy Russo learned how much Electrician Joe Fallon was being paid, he all but blew a fuse. More to the point, he demanded a raise. "No way," Maintenance Supervisor Alex Dworkin replied. "Your performance doesn't merit it." "Playing favorites is unfair," Russo protested. "That remark isn't justified.

By Raymond Dreyfack, Contributing Editor
Workforce Development October 15, 2002

Steam trap monitoring: Early warning defense system

Plant engineers know that their first line of defense in the battle to conserve steam energy is a properly functioning steam trap. Each failed steam trap can be costly, and in larger systems, where there may be hundreds of traps, the cost skyrockets. Regardless of system size, the impact is felt all the way to the profit line of the financial statement.

By Scott A. French, PE, Manager, Application Engineering, Armstrong International Inc., Three Rivers, MI
Workforce Development October 15, 2002

Plant floor optimization — Asset management in the new economy

From all indicators, it looks like the end of the current economic downturn may be within sight. This is good news for the manufacturing industry, which began to feel the first effects of the economic downturn more than 18 months ago. The sudden shift from a boom economy to a recession has caused a dramatic change in direction of how business leaders are driving their individual manufacturing f...

By Mike Laszkiewicz, Vice President, Asset Management, Rockwell Automation
Workforce Development September 15, 2002


Many top-tier CMMS/EAM packages proclaim workflow functionality. But they usually do so in a secondary manner with words deeply embedded in their promotional literature. They also tend to do so in a way that doesn't quite fully explain what it is and what it can do for maintenance and the rest of the enterprise.

By Tom Singer Contributing Editor, Principal, Tompkins Associates, Oak Brook, IL
Workforce Development September 15, 2002

Instruments and Controls – 2002-09-15

Modular system The Entek XM series has been introduced to help manufacturers improve uptime of rotating equipment. Consisting of a network of intelligent modules, the series continuously monitors and protects plant floor machinery simultaneously. Until now, equipment monitoring and protection had to be accomplished by more than one system.

By Staff
Workforce Development August 8, 2002

Voltage sags and what to do about them

Voltage sags are the most common events that affect power quality. They are also the most costly. Equipment used in modern industrial plants, such as process controllers, PLCs, adjustable speed drives, and robots, becomes more sensitive to voltage sags as the complexity of the equipment increases. Relays and contactors in motor starters are sensitive to voltage sags, resulting in downtime when ...

By Jack Smith, Senior Editor, Plant Engineering Magazine
Workforce Development August 8, 2002

Reader Forum – 2002-08-08 – 2002-08-08

Be clear and consistent with theft policy This is in regards to the Human Side of Engineering story in the June issue "Are stealing and petty theft synonymous?" There are some serious implications. First of all, of course, that was first time caught, not the first time stealing. How much do you think was taken over a year? Be sure to include indirect costs, such as shipping, labor to stock, ...

By Staff
Workforce Development August 8, 2002

Human Side of Engineering – 2002-08-08 – 2002-08-08

How old must one be to claim age discrimination? Utility Man Grade II Bernie Ratner was assigned to a group of employees who worked the day shift in Warehouse B. His performance rating was "Satisfactory." The way he felt about his job, however, and the way he was treated by his boss and coworkers was, in his opinion, far from satisfactory. Other workers in the five-member crew had nothing to do with him. They had lunch and snacked during break periods at a table in the employee cafeteria where Ratner was made to feel unwelcome.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
Workforce Development July 15, 2002

Take a bow

U.S. productivity increased during the recent downturn (I hesitate to call it a recession) more than anyone anticipated. A headline in the March 18 issue of Fortune magazine announced "The productivity miracle is for real," and the article predicted that the growth in productivity "will almost certainly be a bonanza for the economy.

By Richard L. Dunn Editor
Workforce Development June 15, 2002

Product Intros – 2002-06-15

Kit converts dock levelers to air power Air Technology Conversion (ATC) kit converts existing mechanical dock levelers to safe and simple air bag operation. The kit includes a reinforced, PVC-coated, polyester-fiber lifting module, a rust-inhibiting steel support pan, a lip extension mechanism to prevent lip damage, and a NEMA 4 pushbutton control system for fingertip leveler control. APS Resource Write 371 on PE card Manipulator is mobile Mini-Articularm transporter is a hybrid device that provides the ultimate flexibility in the most unusual and challenging process of lifting, handling, positioning, transporting, assembling, stacking, loading, and unloading operations. Mobility and articulation are controlled via corded pushbutton remote control or wireless radio frequency controller. Omnics International Corp.

By Staff
Workforce Development June 15, 2002

Maintenance leadership requirements

EDITOR'S NOTE: This column is the fourth in a series of columns based on the book, Future Capable Company: What Manufacturing Leaders Need To Do Today To Succeed Tomorrow, by Dr. Tompkins. These excerpts are provided through special arrangement with the publisher, Tompkins Press. Copyright © 2001 Tompkins Press.

By James A. Tompkins, Ph.D., President, Tompkins Associates, Raleigh, NC
Workforce Development June 15, 2002

Manifolds simplify fluid power systems

Integrated valve manifolds provide many benefits, including the enhancement of system integrity and reliability, when employed in pneumatic and hydraulic systems. In addition, the reduction in the amount of piping and fittings results in low pressure drop and efficient operation. Early pneumatic and hydraulic control systems utilized valves that were individually mounted in or around the machin...

By Don Caputo, Parker Hannifin Corp., Elyria, OH
Workforce Development May 13, 2002

Human Side of Engineering – 2002-05-13

Company takeover: Are employees entitled to severance pay? In this era of mergers and acquisitions employee fears range from job termination to loss of benefits. When a manufacturing company lost its bid to a major supplier, it agreed to sell out to the competitor. The departing owner agreed to stay on six months as a consultant. He distributed termination checks containing wages and sick benefits due, along with vacation pay entitlements.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
Workforce Development May 13, 2002

Basics of electrical switches

A switch is an electromechanical device that completes or breaks a current path within a circuit, or sends current over a different path. Despite the many switch types, they have basic components in common. The operator initiates switch operation. The low-resistance metal contacts make or break the electrical circuit.

By PLANT ENGINEERING Jack Smith, Senior Editor, magazine
Workforce Development April 15, 2002

Contracting for maintenance excellence

When AK Steel built a new greenfield plant at Rockport, IN, it was faced with a daunting challenge: Establish and continue the highest possible levels of plant maintenance from day one. The solution was innovative: Build a top-flight maintenance organization quickly by contracting for maintenance services, and base the contract on performance.

By Richard L. Dunn, Editor, Plant Engineering magazine
Workforce Development March 11, 2002

EAM/ERP integration

Most top-tier EAM/CMMS vendors offer integration products, services, and tool kits that link their products to ERP packages and other business systems. These interface solutions play a prominent role in their marketing literature, web sites, and sales pitches. Many companies start their EAM/CMMS selection process with the intent of tightly integrating their new maintenance package with ex...

By Tom Singer Contributing Editor, Principal, Tompkins Associates, Oak Brook, IL
Workforce Development March 11, 2002

Analyzing and quantifying the effects of electric power quality

With the increased use of electronic switching devices in modern manufacturing facilities, there is a need to introduce new industrial standards for electrical system power quality. These new standards should establish requirements to exceed the "IEEE recommended practices for harmonic control in electrical power systems" (IEEE Std 519-1992).

By Christopher Flanigan, Reliability Technician, M&M/Mars, Burr Ridge, IL
Workforce Development March 11, 2002

Human Side of Engineering – 2002-03-11

Lost tools: Must employee pay? The plant was well protected, and there was a guard at the gate. Maintenance Mechanic Grade II Bill Cullen couldn't remember the last time a theft had occurred. So, as he did every day, he went out to lunch without locking his tool box in his locker.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
Workforce Development February 15, 2002

Human Side of Engineering – 2002-02-15

Don't compare apples with oranges Electrician Grade II George Raven was more than mildly perturbed. His boss, Maintenance Foreman Pete Schiffo, was on his back again. "Get a move on, you should've finished this job an hour ago." "What are you trying to do, imitate a caterpillar?" "You're bringing down the level of productivity." "You're being paid to work, not dawdle." George was sick and tired of the abuse and decided to complain to Ed Feely, the unit's labor rep. "What's the beef?" Feely said, "Time study is a part of the labor agreement." "Maybe so, but I'm not the slowest guy in the unit, and I resent being treated like I am." "So what do you want me to do about it?" Feely asked. "If my production's going to be timed, I want to be timed fairly. I want it compared with a typical electrician, not the fastest guy in the department." "Like who?" "Like Fred Turner, for example." Feely looked skeptical, but said, "Okay, let's talk to Pete about it." When Schiffo heard Raven's demand to time his work against Turner's, he scoffed at the idea. "You have got to be kidding.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
Workforce Development November 2, 2001

Compressed air controls: Developing an action plan (Part 2 of 3)

Implementing an action plan to improve compressor controls means getting everyone involved. R. Scot Foss of Plant Air Technology explains how to get project approval, define what is expected to be achieved, set realistic cost objectives, and examine the existing system throughly to understand the problem causes.

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development October 1, 2001

Advantages and challenges of implementing ASPs

The advocates of application service providers have been outspoken, while the detractors have remained relatively silent.To provide a balanced approach, PLANT ENGINEERING presents thistwo-part article on the pros and cons. The advantages are presented by James Rogers of Aliso Viejo, CA-based Fluor Corp.

By James Rogers, Fluor Corp, Jack Smith, Senior Editor, Plant Engineering Magazine
Workforce Development October 1, 2001

Human Side of Engineering – 2001-10-01

How Open is Your Bulletin Board? The company had a longstanding reputation for freedom of speech. In fact, in the interests of good employee relations, management encouraged workers to speak their mind to get either helpful suggestions or gripes off their chest. With this goal in mind, the company bulletin board in the cafeteria was a primary source of communication. Bernie Altsheimer, 48, was a chronic complainer.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
Workforce Development August 1, 2001

Are your dock doors hindering plant productivity?

Advancements in material handling technology have translated into significant cost savings and efficiency for manufacturing plants and distribution centers. These developments work together to make it easier to load/unload trucks and sort, pick, store, and move increasing volumes of product more accurately and efficiently.

By Bob Hare, Dock Products/TKO Doors, Germantown, WI
Workforce Development August 1, 2001

Assessing your maintenance training needs

How do you know where to start with maintenance skills training? For many of us, that's the million-dollar question. That training is needed is usually self evident. But what kind of training, in which areas, and how much training are questions not easily answered. That's what needs assessments are about.

By Ricky Smith, Senior Vice President, Life Cycle Engineering, Inc., North Charleston, SC
Workforce Development July 6, 2001

Lamp and ballast guide

Industrial lighting varies widely by environment and application. From control room to laboratory to warehouse, each has its own lighting requirements. This article describes lamp types and uses, ballast data, and how to specify the proper lighting for industrial areas.

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development July 6, 2001

Using plastic for compressed air piping

Contaminant-free compressed air piping systems continue to become increasingly important with the advent of industrial automation. This article discusses the benefits to using plastic piping, the limitations of certain plastics, the do's and don'ts of installation, joint drying times for 100 percent pressure testing, provides a sizing guide for main air lines and more.

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development July 1, 2001

Pursuing the elusive promise of e-procurement

With the '' bust and a slowing economy I suspect that some of the bloom has faded from the blossoming maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) e-procurement business. The promise of the e-commerce revolution that last year seemed so vivid for both MRO supply buyers and sellers, now probably appears less clear and certain for many.

By Tom Singer Contributing Editor, Principal, Tompkins Associates, Oak Brook, IL
Workforce Development July 1, 2001

Human Side of Engineering – 2001-07-01

A dollar buys more than status I remember it well. Early on in my career, in my twenties, I was approached by my boss. He complimented me on my work, told me how vital I was to the department, and offered to make me a supervisor. I turned him down. The "career boost" would have qualified me as an exempt employee.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
Workforce Development July 1, 2001

Suggestions & Solutions – 2001-07-01

Duct liner stays dry ToughGard R with enhanced surface is a rotary-based, glass HVAC duct liner that has a moisture-resistant airstream surface. A brochure describes the liner and includes charts of available sizes, physical properties, thermal and acoustical performance, and air friction, in addition to a standards reference chart.

By Staff
Workforce Development June 25, 2001

Exploring switchgear maintenance options

There are many alternatives for maintaining electrical switchgear -- reconditioning, converting, replacing or retrofilling. This article discusses the pros and cons, and costs, of each option.

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development June 1, 2001

Human Side of Engineering – 2001-06-01

When can you hire an outside contractor? The labor agreement specified that existing employees be given preference to perform work assignments if they were qualified or, within a "reasonable period of time, could be taught to qualify for the work involved." The roofing repair job in question was complex.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
Workforce Development June 1, 2001

Using information technology to optimize maintenance operations

Last month's Management Side of Engineering column looked at important information to consider when preparing to improve the company's maintenance operations. The discussion concludes this month as the author examines maintenance optimization, the role of information technology, and value-based asset management.

By Robert L. Matusheski, Senior Consultant, Meridium, Inc., Roanoke, VA
Workforce Development June 1, 2001

Reader Forum – 2001-06-01

Outsourcing the maintenance function I am concerned about the shift from inhouse maintenance staffing to outsourcing of the required services. Outsourcing supporters claim that it results in maximum uptime and I have no doubt this is true. Yet I take exception that higher reliability is produced by the act of outsourcing.

By Staff
Workforce Development May 1, 2001

Product Intros – 2001-05-01

Band saw uses clamp-on-vise AirBand portable, pneumatic band saw has a clamp-on-vise that is easily installed. The clamp quickly secures to rounds up to 43/4-in. OD, as well as squares and angles up to 3 in. 3 3 in. The product eliminates hazards posed by electric saws used in potentially explosive or wet environments.

By Staff
Workforce Development May 1, 2001

Human Side of Engineering – 2001-05-01

Does excused absence invalidate holiday pay? President's Day fell on a Monday. During that weekend, Milton Resnick's uncle Harry passed away. The funeral was on Tuesday and Resnick called his boss, Maintenance Supervisor Tom Lincoln, and asked permission to take the day off. "No problem," Lincoln replied and expressed condolences for Resnick's loss.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
Workforce Development March 1, 2001

2000 Product of the Year Winners

The 46 winners in the 2000 "Product of the Year" contest combine necessity, technology, and simple ideas. These concepts, teamed with innovation, embody the winners in this year's contest.

By Staff
Workforce Development March 1, 2001

2000 maintenance tips & tricks winners

Ralph Dewey of Solvay Polymers in Deer Park, Texas, won the 2000 "Maintenance tip of the year" for his suggestion on how to quickly find leaks in gas service piping flanges.

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development March 1, 2001

Benchmarking maintenance

When you start feeling good about yourself, it's time to benchmark." That's a rule of thumb from Bob Schmalbach, chairman of the Foundation for Industrial Maintenance Excellence and a retired plant engineering consultant for Dupont.

By Richard L. Dunn, Editor, Plant Engineering magazine
Workforce Development March 1, 2001

Human Side of Engineering – 2001-03-01

In this issue, Human Side of Engineering offers another case of "The Uncommon Side." This feature presents incidents drawn from actual situations faced by plant engineers that are of a special or unusual nature.

By Raymond Dreyfack, Contributing Editor
Workforce Development March 1, 2001

Instructional balance: The Yin and Yang of today’s quality management system

Implementing the proper ISO 9000 compliant quality management system requires the preparation, issuance, and control of immense quantities of command media, including procedures, work instructions, and checklists.

By Lee C. Bravener, Vice President, NQA, USA, Acton, MA
Workforce Development February 1, 2001

The failure dilemma: How to move towards proaction when working in a reactive environment

Consultants have the opportunity to visit many different plants across various industries. This perspective provides a unique viewpoint, especially when compared to an individual who may have worked in one plant or industry his entire career.

By Robert J. Latino, Senior Vice President, Strategic Development and Operational Integrity, Reliability Center, Inc., Hopewell, VA
Workforce Development December 1, 2000

Human Side of Engineering – 2000-12-01

Tightening up on gun control With public concern over firearm-related violence mounting, companies are tightening up on enforcement of gun- toting rules.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
Workforce Development November 1, 2000

Developing an E-Commerce Strategy

Scott Haraburda, PE, Chemical Demilitarization, US Army, Newport, IN The internet offers all businesses-large and small-a powerful tool for marketing, selling, and buying products or services. This system is commonly referred to as e-commerce.

By Edited by Rick Dunn
Workforce Development November 1, 2000

Negotiate harder against higher prices

Now may be the time for plant engineers to take a firmer stand against rising prices among providers of construction supplies. Consider, for example, the millwork (SIC 2431) industry.

By Staff
Workforce Development November 1, 2000

Maintenance Products – 2000-11-01

Training helps solve chronic problems Problem Solving Methodology is designed by and for mechanics, operators, and supervisors.

By Staff
Workforce Development October 1, 2000

Inflation in operating supplies widens

Price inflation for factory operating materials and supplies is starting to heat up across a wider variety of products. In the 12-mo ending July 2000, average prices for products sold by the copper rolling and drawing industry rose 7.2%.

By Staff
Workforce Development October 1, 2000

Human Side of Engineering – 2000-10-01 – 2000-10-01

In this issue, Human Side of Engineering offers another case of "The Uncommon Side." This feature presents incidents drawn from actual situations faced by plant engineers that are of a special or unusual nature.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
Workforce Development September 1, 2000

Preparing a respiratory protection program for an OSHA inspection

Key concepts OSHA usually does not visit a plant solely to evaluate a respiratory program. However, a review of a company's program may be included within the scope of any OSHA inspection.

By Larry Janssen, Technical Service Specialist, 3M Occupational Health and Environmental Safety Div., St. Paul, MN
Workforce Development August 1, 2000

Inside the price outlook for wood

Plant engineers were whipsawed in early 1999 by rising wood prices. But now costs for hardwood and softwood are on the decline. Unfortunately, buyers of plywood still need to be on guard.

By Staff
Workforce Development August 1, 2000

When a pump goes down, should you fix it, upgrade it, or replace it?

Key concepts: Pump maintenance is an opportunity to improve its performance. All economic factors must be weighed when repairing a pump.

By Arthur H. Evans, III, Consultant on rotating equipment, Waterloo, NY
Workforce Development August 1, 2000

Maintenance Tips & tricks – 2000 – #15

Pumping pinsProblem: A pin has seized in a flywheel and no amount of work will pull it out. How do I remove the pin? Solution: Drill a #3 hole from the opposite side of the flywheel and tap 1/4-28 thd. Insert a grease zerk and "pump" the pin out safely and quickly.

By Plant Engineering Staff
Workforce Development July 1, 2000

Copper & lubricating oil prices jump

While economists are busy revising their inflation forecasts upward, plant managers are already living under the strain of today's new inflationary environment.

By Staff
Workforce Development July 1, 2000

The wheels are coming loose

Five years ago, I asked, "When will the wheels fall off?" Well, they haven't fallen off, but they are getting loose-and for different reasons than I anticipated.

By Richard L. Dunn, Editor
Workforce Development June 1, 2000

Inside the profit margin picture

Over the past year, manufacturers have faced some significant inflation challenges, such as sharp price hikes in aluminum, copper, and energy costs.

By Staff
Workforce Development May 1, 2000

Comparing roofing options

Roofs protect the plant, occupants, and contents from the elements. However, performing this seemingly simple task is made quite complicated by changing cycles of rain, heat, cold, wind, and UV radiation that continually attack the roof membrane.

By Ron Holzhauer , Managing Editor, Plant Engineering magazine
Workforce Development May 1, 2000

Construction prices soar

Plant managers who have been overseeing construction repairs have probably noticed that it has been tough to hold their projects on budget. In the 12-mo period ending February 2000, average prices for gypsum products soared 18.

By Staff
Workforce Development April 1, 2000

Bearings negotiations toughe

Prices for ball and roller bearings (SIC 3562) rose sharply in January, up 0.36%. ICE model data suggest the bulk of this increase went toward improving SIC 3562's bottom line. With the cost of making a typical unit of industry output rising just 0.

By Staff
Workforce Development April 1, 2000

Web Update

New...and improved? On an almost daily basis, you're likely to see or hear a company raving about its new and improved product or service.

By Len O'Neal, Web Editor
Workforce Development April 1, 2000

Human Side of Engineering – 2000-04-01 – 2000-04-01

In this issue, Human Side of Engineering offers another case of "The Uncommon Side." This feature presents incidents drawn from actual situations faced by plant engineers that are of a special or unusual nature. Each presentation is in two parts.

By Raymond Dreyfack Contributing Editor
Workforce Development April 1, 2000

Evaluating electric lift trucks

Electric rider counterbalanced lift trucks (Class I) have accounted for 15-20% of the industrial truck market for over 10 yr.

By Ron Holzhauer , Managing Editor, Plant Engineering magazine
Workforce Development March 1, 2000

Overhead lift

Navi~Gator portable lift maneuvers through standard doorways, reduces labor hours to complete a project, and uses two deep-cycle, 12-V batteries. LPI Lift

By Staff
Workforce Development March 1, 2000

Checking in on reference checking

I would like to comment on the "Human Side of Engineering" case, "Reference checking? Get the full story" (PE, January 2000, p 28).

By Staff
Workforce Development March 1, 2000

Comprehensive safety and health manual

Every company needs to have a safety plan of varying degrees of detail. If your company is just starting to put a safety and health program together, this book is for you. In fact, this book calls itself Your Company Safety and Health Manual.

By Cheryl M. Firestone
Workforce Development March 1, 2000

Breaking down boundaries: Time to integrate plant engineering into the supply chain

What does supply chain management (SCM) mean? If you direct this question to someone in the corporate boardroom, manufacturing, distribution or information technology, the answer would sound something like this: "It is about the seamless flow of goods from supplier to customer. It includes all business entities or links in the production and distribution of goods. It seeks to optimize the flow of goods in the supply chain by fostering collaboration and integration between each link in the chain." If you ask plant engineering the same question, you might get a similar answer.

By Tom Singer
Workforce Development March 1, 2000

EAM software

MIMS Open Enterprise is a highly scalable, multitier, client-server product that delivers complete functionality for all enterprise asset management (EAM) needs.

By Staff
Workforce Development March 1, 2000

Maintenance management software

MOCA Soli is a multi-user maintenance management software system designed for use with 5-50 users. The software runs on multiple platforms, multiple databases, and is available in 20 languages.

By Staff
Workforce Development March 1, 2000

Maintenance planning handbook filled with data to boost plant productivity

New handbook is a ready-to-use, nuts-and-bolts guide to planning and scheduling plant maintenance effectively. The book goes beyond theory, demonstrating how planning fits into maintenance, what principles make it work, and exactly how planning is done.

By Jeanine Katzel
Workforce Development February 1, 2000

Focus on employee needs to minimize outsourcing anxiety

As manufacturers increasingly choose to outsource maintenance tasks, managers must take into account the impact these decisions have on current employees.

By Linda Burton
Workforce Development February 1, 2000

Air pollution control

New 8-p brochure describes products and capabilities for air pollution control. The literature explains customer service programs, R&D and engineering support, and laboratory assessment capabilities. Farr Co. www.farrco.

By Staff
Workforce Development January 1, 2000

Trends in cooling towers

Cooling towers are one of industry's primary ways of conserving water and dissipating heat. They are not new technology.

By Jeanine Katzel
Workforce Development January 1, 2000

How clean is your oil?

A custom analysis service for monitoring fluid cleanliness combines a state-of-the-art laboratory with trending capabilities in an effort to avert potential contamination problems and increase machine uptime.

By Staff
Workforce Development December 1, 1999

Repairing shafts scored by seals

The seal has failed! That's the first assumption many maintenance technicians make when they spot a telltale oil film, or worse, dripping oil around a shaft seal location. Frequently, that's not the case.

By Glenn E. Gabryel
Workforce Development December 1, 1999

Pigtail connector saves wiring time

Term-a-Nut combines a twist-on connector with a precrimped pigtail to facilitate the pigtailing of hot, neutral, or ground connectors in wiring device installations.

By Staff
Workforce Development December 1, 1999

Lube prevents rust

SiliKroil is formulated with silicone for maximum penetration and lubrication, and dissolves rust by breaking down crystals of iron oxide, which allows corroded parts to loosen easily.

By Staff
Workforce Development December 1, 1999

Can you eliminate personnel to cut costs?

A team of carpenters on special projects in the maintenance department was composed of two senior men and a helper. The helper's job consisted largely of lifting components, fetching materials from the supply room, and making minor adjustments.

By Raymond Dreyfack
Workforce Development November 1, 1999

Asked to start his shift early: Is he entitled to call-in pay?

The terms of the labor agreement specified that employees entitled to call-in time would be paid for a minimum of 4 hr at time-and-a-half.

By Raymond Dreyfack
Workforce Development November 1, 1999

Encourage your children

In the October 1999 Forum letter, "Shortage of skilled workers," Thomas Haldi asks the question, "Why would you encourage your children to join the skilled workforce?" There are any number of valid reasons to encourage your children to enter the skilled trades, none of which have anything to do with making the pay scale for brain surgeons equal to that of a screw machine operator. Here are a few. 1. Not every child has the ability to be a brain surgeon or engineer.

By Staff
Workforce Development November 1, 1999

No-skive coupling reduces assembly time

GlobalSpiral hydraulic coupling does not require skiving of high pressure, spiral wire hose, which reduces assembly time, labor, fabrication errors, and contamination of the fluid power system.

By Staff
Workforce Development November 1, 1999

Mobile computing enters maintenance mainstream

Computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) and enterprise asset management systems (EAMS) are marvelous tools. They provide a wealth of information to maintenance departments to better manage and execute mission-critical activities.

By Tom Singer
Workforce Development October 1, 1999

Shortage of skilled workers

After reading your July editorial addressing a "Shortage in the Skilled Workforce" and editorials in other publications, I thought someone might get a clue on what is really happening. I am a career craftsperson who has raised two children.

By Staff
Workforce Development September 1, 1999

Knowledge management systems: Maintenance on the front lines

Reducing repair and maintenance costs is important to improving productivity and a constant goal for all manufacturing operations that use complex equipment.

By Lyle C. Emmott
Workforce Development September 1, 1999

Conveyor sortation systems

The conveyor industry has entered the "blur stage" as cartons are sorted so fast that it is impossible for a person to visually count them.

By Mark Vaughan
Workforce Development August 1, 1999

Comparing fabric filter dust collectors

Capturing nuisance and process dusts is a major concern for all plant engineers. Nuisance dusts could create operational problems, and are definitely health and safety concerns for the employees.

By Ron Holzhauer
Workforce Development August 1, 1999

Should emergency leave be granted for union meeting?

Maintenance Department Carpenter Grade I Harold Newsome approached his supervisor's desk. "What's on your mind, Newsome?" "I'd like to request authorization for an emergency leave so that I can attend the union meeting tomorrow.

By Raymond Dreyfack
Workforce Development August 1, 1999

Specifying motors for hazardous locations

Failure to select the proper motor for use in a hazardous location can have serious consequences -- lost production, extensive property damage, and even loss of life.

By Edward Cowern
Workforce Development August 1, 1999

Uncommon side: Disloyal assistant — Part II

A flood of responses via e-mail, fax, and snail mail was unanimous in the opinion that if anyone should have been called on the carpet, demoted, dismissed, or otherwise castigated, that person was Chief Engineer Joel Chase. As respondent George L.

By Raymond Dreyfack
Workforce Development July 1, 1999

Replacement refrigerants for DX chillers

HCFC-22 is the world's most widely used refrigerant. The product is used for unitary cooling, central chilled water systems, and refrigeration applications.

By Steve Remington
Workforce Development July 1, 1999

Is a merit pay increase always discretionary?

When Mechanic Grade B Tom Pffeifer was rejected for a merit increase, he carried his gripe to Plant Steward Andrew Brookshire. "There was nothing wrong with my performance on the job," Pffeifer groused. "I'm entitled to the increase.

By Raymond Dreyfack
Workforce Development July 1, 1999

Best of breed, best of enterprise: Integrating CMMS and ERP

Implementing a "best of breed" solution that integrates a CMMS with enterprise resource planning (ERP) functions is a complex, multifaceted task.

By Tom Singer
Workforce Development May 1, 1999

Is an arbitrator’s decision sacrosanct?

Business had been in the doldrums for months. When an announcement appeared on the bulletin board in December that Christmas bonuses would be discontinued this year, the workforce was up in arms.

By Raymond Dreyfack
Workforce Development April 1, 1999

Spoon-feed radical change

Industrialist Charles Kettering said, "The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress." Sometimes, to temper the anxiety and apprehension associated with change, it must be carefully and tactfully motivated.

By Raymond Dreyfack
Workforce Development March 1, 1999

Exploring outsourcing

Every plant engineer has to deal with outsourcing sooner or later. By some estimates, more than 90% of businesses currently outsource one or more activities.

By Richard L. Dunn
Workforce Development March 1, 1999

Modular wiring system

SpartanFlex modular wiring system is an easy-to-install, cost-effective alternative to hard-wiring. Depending on labor costs, the system can save 27%-56% on installation costs.C.E.W. Lighting, Inc.B

By Staff
Workforce Development March 1, 1999

Where there’s smoke…

I think that your final answer to the Human Side of Engineering case, "Must you provide a smoke-free work environment?" (PE, November 1998, p 32) is a little short-sighted.

By Staff
Workforce Development March 1, 1999

Alternative solutions

All of your responses to the cases presented in the Human Side of Engineering seem to lack suggestions for one of the most fundamental remedies to overcome place conflicts.

By Staff
Workforce Development March 1, 1999

Information sources

Plant Engineering appreciates the information provided for this article by the following firms and individuals. - Everest Software Corp. 12700 Preston Rd, Suite 200 Dallas, TX 75230-1869 www.outsourcing-mgmt.

By Staff
Workforce Development February 1, 1999

What’s new in low-voltage power circuit breakers

The trend toward higher reliability requirements in plant electric power systems is raising demand for economical and effective protection for those systems.

By Charles J. Nochumson
Workforce Development February 1, 1999

Survey targets key issues in MRO purchasing and management

WW. Grainger, Inc., recently conducted its third annual survey to identify issues of importance to the purchasing decision makers of maintenance, repair, and operating (MRO) products.

By Staff
Workforce Development February 1, 1999

Are gay couples entitled to the same benefits as straight couples?

What constitutes a family? Couples these days are breaking ground for all kinds of new definitions. Some companies go along when the issue of family benefits is involved; others are reluctant to do so. The same thing goes for communities.

By Raymond Dreyfack
Workforce Development January 1, 1999

10 key indicators of maintenance performance

- Mechanical availability (asset utilization) The "business contribution" of maintaining personnel is to provide highly reliable equipment at the lowest possible cost.

By Edwin K. Jones
Workforce Development January 1, 1999

Managing energy in a deregulated environment: Opportunity or chaos?

Be careful what you wish for. You just may get it! A choice when your plant buys power. A single energy bill from a single source. The potential to reduce energy costs significantly.

By Jeanine Katzel
Workforce Development January 1, 1999

Does management have an unlimited right to select supervisors?

Most arbitrators rule that management has the right to promote workers to supervisory jobs without interference from the union, unless wording in the labor agreement specifies otherwise.

By Raymond Dreyfack
Workforce Development January 1, 1999

Costs rise moderately at end of 1998

The Plant Engineering Cost Index (PECI) moved up a moderate 0.

By Staff
Workforce Development January 1, 1999

Is an employee on layoff entitled to funeral pay?

The plant was slow. Frank Eckert and two other maintenance department employees were told they could come to work Monday and Tuesday, would be on layoff the rest of the week, and could return to work the following Monday.

By Raymond Dreyfack
Workforce Development January 1, 1999

Basic guide to maintenance benchmarking

Benchmarking has become a common practice in all kinds of businesses, but nowhere is it more prevalent than in manufacturing.

By Richard L. Dunn
Workforce Development January 1, 1999

Composite maintenance benchmark metrics

Representative Representative GENERAL COST RATIOS best practice range Mtce cost/ERV Process 2.3% 2% - 5% Discrete 2.0% 2.0% - 5.0% Total mtce cost/total sales Process 3.4% 1.5% - 5% Discrete 0.

By Richard L. Dunn
Workforce Development December 1, 1998

Industrial prices remain soft

Although the overall finished goods producer price index (PPI) moved up 0.2% during October, prices for most items used at the manufacturing shop level showed little or no increase.

By Staff
Workforce Development December 1, 1998

Fire protection

Special hazards fire protection products are the subject of a 16-p brochure. The products featured protect areas, processes, equipment, or structures that normal sprinkler systems can't.

By Staff
Workforce Development December 1, 1998

Can you change a work category on the basis of confidentiality?

Ellen Marshall had been Plant Engineer Jeff Cochrane's secretary for almost 4 yr. As his circumstances changed, Cochrane increasingly became privy to confidential information of a sensitive nature, particularly in regard to union and personnel issues.

By Raymond Dreyfack
Workforce Development November 1, 1998

Cutting fluid and paste lubricate metalworking operations

Tapmatic TriCut cutting fluid and paste are designed for severe metalworking operations. The two products are suitable for most metals, extend tool life, reduce friction and production costs, and improve surface finish.

By Staff
Workforce Development November 1, 1998

Must you tell a probationary employee why you fired him?

Midway through Jose Pele's 60-day probationary period, it was apparent to Maintenance Foreman Gary Wellman that the electrician wasn't going to make it.

By Raymond Dreyfack
Workforce Development September 1, 1998

Heat recovery

A series of industrial air-to-air heat recovery systems is presented in an 8-p brochure. The literature explains flow paths and a unique design that enables effective recovery for processes with particulate-laden exhausts.

By Staff
Workforce Development September 1, 1998

Power pusher moves loads easily

Easy Mover ARL1200 pushes, pulls, steers, and maneuvers loads requiring an applied force up to 1980 lb. This portable pusher and roller helps prevent injuries and reduces labor costs; and moves loads mounted on swiveling wheels or casters.

By Staff
Workforce Development September 1, 1998

Inflation stays low

In the overall economy, there is no evidence of inflationary pressures bubbling to the surface, despite recent reports of a pick-up in the growth rate of wages and salaries in the U.S. The GDP inflation measure declined 0.

By Staff
Workforce Development August 1, 1998

Are laid-off workers entitled to holiday pay?

If the labor agreement lists no restrictions, does holiday pay accrue to everyone, laid-off workers included? Many arbitrators affirm that "employee status" isn't altered by layoff if the employee is eligible to recall.

By Raymond Dreyfack
Workforce Development August 1, 1998

Saturday holiday: Do you have to pay?

The plant was located in an area where competent help was in short supply. In an effort to recruit good people, it was decided to include employee birthdays in the paid holidays package. When the union was voted out the birthday holidays policy continued.

By Raymond Dreyfack
Workforce Development July 1, 1998

Remember the wolf pack

Real progress comes from inside the plant. The more I witness real success stories in industry, the more convinced I am that real progress is nearly always internally generated and driven.

By Richard L. Dunn
Workforce Development June 1, 1998

Do vacation benefits accrue during layoff?

Does your labor agreement clearly answer this question? It's easy to get into semantic disagreements when vacation eligibility is based on "employment.

By Raymond Dreyfack
Workforce Development June 1, 1998

Is shaming a worker the best way to ; boost productivity?

Concerned about declining productivity in the maintenance department, Foreman Vincent Aurellio decided to crack down on offenders.

By Raymond Dreyfack
Workforce Development June 1, 1998

Bomb scare: What constitutes proper notification?

Terrorist incidents had increased in the area. When the president of ABZ Co. received a bomb threat at 5:39 a.m. one morning, Plant Engineer Murray Friedman took it seriously.

By Raymond Dreyfack
Workforce Development May 1, 1998

Fume hood fans

Adjustable drive fans designed for exhausting corrosive fumes from industrial laboratory hoods are the subject of a 10-p catalog. The publication lists electrical and mechanical specifications, option information, performance charts, and photographs.

By Staff
Workforce Development May 1, 1998

When is is right to deny an employee’s vacation preference?

Some labor agreements grant workers the vacation of their choice provided the company doesn't have a valid reason for denying it.

By Raymond Dreyfack
Workforce Development April 1, 1998

Getting rid of a dud? Take care

Not only is it sometimes difficult to fire an employee who doesn't live up to the mark, it can be costly as well, if the current trend continues.

By Raymond Dreyfack
Workforce Development April 1, 1998

Quits due to plant closing: Does he get severance pay?

Although it was no big surprise, the announcement of management's decision to shut down the plant 3-mo hence was a hard dish for employees to swallow.

By Raymond Dreyfack
Workforce Development March 1, 1998

Labor market strength continues to confound and astound

The nation's unemployment rate remained at 4.7% in January, and job growth far exceeded expectations.

By Staff
Workforce Development March 1, 1998

Is overtime work a time-honored precedent?

When a consultant's Productivity and Cost Effectiveness Audit Report for ABC Co. included a suggestion calling for split lunch periods, the crew was up in arms.

By Raymond Dreyfack
Workforce Development February 1, 1998

Using Ultrasonic Instrumentation To Enhance Plant Maintenance

Ultrasonic technology's primary function -- to detect air and gas leaks -- plays a significant role in reducing plant energy costs and is an important part of any plant maintenance program.

By Howard Malm
Workforce Development January 1, 1998

Got a sticky problem?

More Solutions To Sticky Problems, a free 30-p booklet, is a library of information about the science of viscosity and its technical applications.

By Staff
Workforce Development January 1, 1998

Penetrating oil lasts longer

Aerokroil penetrating oil is available in a 13-oz aerosol can that fits conveniently in a tool box.

By Staff
Workforce Development January 1, 1998

Coping With Proliferating Electronic Cabling

Heavy reliance on electronic communications and a need for flexibility are hallmarks of today's industrial facilities. As a result, engineers must pay careful attention to how electronic communications cabling is routed throughout their plants.

By Janet Stanley; Tim Hill; John Hoffman

A Letter From The Editor

Since 1947, plant engineers, plant managers, maintenance supervisors and manufacturing leaders have turned to Plant Engineering for the information they needed to run their plants smarter, safer, faster and better. Plant Engineering's editors stay on top of the latest trends in manufacturing at every corner of the plant floor. The major content areas include electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, automation engineering and maintenance and management.

Amara Rozgus - Plant Engineering