Really, manufacturing does come down to control. No matter what equipment, or system, or service end-users put into their operation, the ultimate goal is better control for a better product at less cost.
Everyone wants to control their reject rate, control energy use, control waste, control production costs, control efficiency, control the process and control the bottom line. Control is the be all and end all in most every operation. It's the Holy Grail of manufacturing.
In pursuit of control to protect his company's fruit drinks and cranberry sauce, which he calls “red gold,” Tom DeThomas, director of engineering at Clement Pappas notes in a case history that a single drum of the juice is worth thousands of dollars. “Chilling Juice with Propylene Glycol” examines the Seabrook, N.J. firm's 400,000 ft2 plant, which churns out millions of gallons of juice each year. The location is not only a processing plant but also a cold storage and bottling facility, and throughout the process, precise temperature control is essential to production. Better control with a customized propylene glycol process chiller would let the company increase both process control and efficiency.
For Daniel M. Cicero, senior product manager at Nalco Co., Naperville, Ill., it's control over cooling water that's important to him. He discusses industrial water systems that operate under stress, thereby causing scale, corrosion and microbial fouling. Even water under low stress may have its problems such as wasting water and chemicals. Proper control ensures cooling system efficiency and asset reliability, he says in “Automatic Cooling Water Control.” The article shows how a water treatment technology provides real-time, online monitoring and control to save water and energy.
Proper control extends to controls themselves, usually housed in enclosures, which are the front line in keeping damaging heat, dust and debris at bay. Compact, multi-function electronic controls, variable-speed drives, servos and PLCs are extremely sensitive to heat and contamination; therefore, controlling and maintaining an optimum level of heat is crucial to a process. By using an internal vortex tube to convert factory compressed air into a low-pressure cold-air stream distributed throughout the cabinet, these coolers provide enclosure protection from heat- and dirt-related problems, says Steve Broeman, engineering manager at Vortec-ITW Air Management, Cincinnati, in “Protecting Electrical Enclosures.”
Operators in applications relying on pumps to control process machinery shouldn't miss reading “Reliable Pumping” by Joe James, manager of product and market training at Goulds Pumps in Seneca Falls, N.Y. Equipment reliability begins at the time the decision is made to purchase the pump, and it continues throughout the machine's life cycle, James says. To operate and maintain a centrifugal pump successfully, personnel should be familiar with not only the operation of the pump, but also its design, installation and preventive maintenance requirements.
And finally, if you don't want to watch a compressor failure control your production line into extended downtime, take a look at “Make Your Compressor Last 100,000 Hours” by John Ansbro, director of marketing and business development at York Refrigeration/Frick, A Johnson Controls Co., Waynesboro, Pa. Ansbro outlines some basic maintenance tips that can help you maintain your screw compressor at peak performance for 100,000 hours before having to consider an overhaul or replacement.
The next time you whisper to a colleague about someone being a “control freak,” think how much in demand they would be on the process line.
Commentary: Control, Control, Control
September 1, 2006