Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Fike's DuraQuench - Versatile, Affordable Water Mist Fire Suppression



Fike’s DuraQuench pumped water mist system brings the benefits of water mist fire suppression within reach of most budgets and over the widest possible range of applications.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Solutions for Your Toughest Engineering Challenges


Do you need experts who can help revolutionize your business with:

• automation & control technologies
• renewable energy upgrades
• disaster recovery
• communications and power distribution

As a full service engineering firm, a software systems integrator, a licensed electrical contractor and a UL 508A certified industrial controls manufacturer our team provides you engineering solutions for Industrial, Manufacturing and Transportation applications.We are a single source solution for complete preventive maintenance, technical support and engineering services 24/7/365.

You can feel confident selecting Frontline Technologies for your engineering services needs we are .....
Highly rated at 97.96 by Prime Buyers Reports in ongoing customer satisfaction research, credentials and business practices.

Let us earn your confidence by delivering professional services that meet or exceed expectations.

Call us now for a consultation or to schedule an assessment at 707-747- 6251 or send an email to contact@frontlineworldwide.com

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Frontline Environmental - Our Vision


Since the founding of our company, our vision has been to form long lasting ongoing business relationships with customers by providing the highest degree of value and professionalism in the services we offer. Our vision is to provide our client a single source for specialized engineering and technical services that deliver innovative solutions, real value, expertise and continuity to their project or operation.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Fire and Explosion Caused by Human Error and Equipment Failure



I’ve spent much of my 40+ year career in the petroleum and chemical industries. One might say I’ve pretty much seen it all when it comes to accidents. Unfortunately, I’ve have firsthand experience with the loss of good friends and coworkers due to what I call the human factor.

The human factor is at work every second of every day in every type of business and personal setting. It’s when hard working, good people get careless while performing routine everyday tasks. For whatever reason, a procedure intended to protect personnel is intentionally bypassed or carelessly forgotten and in most instances it involves only one or two steps being bypassed or forgotten that allows all of the stars to line up, and then tragedy strikes without warning which in most cases lead to serious injury and sometimes death.

I’ve spent much of my career using technology to create iron clad solutions that overcome human error and equipment failure in hazardous types of operations found in every day businesses that we are all familiar with. One such business is the loading of fuel onto large tanker trucks that take fuel to the local gas station that all of us pump into our cars. One such iron clad solution developed by Frontline Environmental addresses the more than 1500 spills that happen every day throughout the United States in truck, marine and aviation fuel loading facilities. The GuardDog™ is a patented technology designed to overcome human error and equipment failure during the loading of fuel at high transfer rates of more than 10 gallons per second. In “real-time” GuardDog™ continuously monitors the fuel delivery equipment to determine if it is performing properly or not. If not, the GuardDog™ will take a preemptive action to prevent the spill accident within 750 milliseconds. The Department of Defense and the USAF determined GuardDog™ to be 100% effective in eliminating spills over a 12 month period during a case study and real world test conducted at Travis Air Force Base. Due to its success Travis AFB has since standardized on GuardDog™ and is protected 24/7 365 days a year from spills.

For more on GuardDog™ and other bullet proof solutions that protect life, the environment and assets give me a call at 707-331-3503. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Good Reasons for Robotics and Manufacturing Automation


Good reasons for the use of robotics and manufacturing automation come as both positive increases of assets and capabilities and reductions to costs and efforts in the production process. Couple these together and there are very strong arguments for the implementation of robotics and manufacturing automation in any business that has any kind of production as part of its operations. Once a business looks in detail at all the increases and reductions involved here, it is very hard to argue against the use of robotics and manufacturing automation to make a manufacturer efficient.

On the reduction side, robotics and manufacturing automation can reduce overall operating costs in a plant. Such a cut in expenditures will make a business much more competitive in any market where it competes. Along side the reduction in short-term expenditures, a business that implements robotics and manufacturing automation will have reductions in its outlay for inventories. There can be a distinct reduction in inventory in progress and cuts in allocations for long-term inventories. The accuracy of robotics and manufacturing automation can also reduce the amount of waste that is generated in production, thus further cutting costs for inventory. There can be reduction in manual labor and the associated cost for accidents, sickness, and insurance.

Robotic automation can cut the turnover rate for highly skilled workers by replacing a lot of the tasks that these workers perform with automation that is very efficient. There should be a complimentary reduction in the amount of effort and expense that is incurred in the recruitment of skilled workers with robotic automation as a part of overall operations.

As for the increases that robots and manufacturing automation give to a business, there can be a definite increase in the quality of the environment where workers are required to put in their time. Robotics automation must work effectively in harsh and hazardous conditions so that employees do not have to. Robotics gives the company an increase in the compliance to safety rules and the overall health of employees. Employees are kept out of those areas that are not healthy or could cause injury or lost time.

Production rates are increased by manufacturing automation with robotics. Human operators do not have the consistent, overall high quality performance on the production line that robotics can offer. Output levels can be increased because the robotics can work continually day and night without a break, if automation is configured correctly. An increase in the accuracy of meeting the deadlines that are required by customers is achieved by the robotics in manufacturing.

Overall product quality that comes off the production line is increased by robotic automation. Tiredness, boredom, laziness, inconsistent work, and the effects of tediousness does not factor into the production that is done by robotics. Manufactured product quality is kept high and very consistent. The flexibility of manufacturing is increased with the advent of automation robotics. When the programs that control automation devices have been optimized, it is very easy to move the concentration of robotics from the production of one product to another simply by changing the program in the controller.

Automation gives a business an increase in the utilization of space required for manufacturing. The devices that are placed to do the production work on an automated line take up less space that what would have to be allocated for manual production operations. The way that the automation system is designed can squeeze a lot of work into a small space. Robotics can be mounted on the wall, on the ceiling in a multitude of ways to get the most from the space that is available for manufacturing. Confined spaces become very productive when robotics are assigned to them. As production begins every inch of the manufacturing floor space can yield some profitability.

There are just to many positive effects from the implementation and utilization of robotic automation in any manufacturing process to ignore. The costs of gaining all these capabilities has been falling over the last several years. The competitive nature that is in the market that supplies the automation devices has pushed the prices down considerably. Technology continues to drive the ability of machines higher and higher, so it would be the best consideration for manufacturers of all sizes to find the area of automation that will work best for their operation and implement automation to realize the positives for their business.

John Mitchell is President of Provision, Inc, an online publisher of information about the application of automation in business. Mitchell has years of experience in the management of manufacturing, warehousing, and transportation. The company website, http://www.provinc.net, assists companies in the evaluation of the benefits and capabilities of production automation. Thoughts on how to evaluate automation for a business are presented, and ways to begin the automation process are discussed. Insights into the use of vision systems, RFID and other topics in automation are covered. Requests for quotations and questions about automation can be submitted to the consulting engineers of leading automation companies.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=John_F_Mitchell,_Jr

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Friday, December 11, 2015

Dust Collection Equipment Allows for Efficient Functioning of Your Plant


Presence of dust at an industrial facility can be extremely dangerous for not only carrying out the different operations but at the same time can also have adverse affect on the health of the persons working there. There are great many hazards associated with combustible dust, which cannot be overlooked. To overcome this situation, there are industrial dust collection equipments designed to keep your factory environment free from dust and fumes. Apart from this, a properly designed dust collection system can greatly contribute in the efficient functioning and sustainability of your plant.

Ergonomic design helps achieve environmental compliance: The equipment can be friendly in multiple of ways. In most cases, it is made up of environmentally friendly components and materials. The machine comes equipped with life-long filters and features a system that allows for recirculation of the air throughout the plant.

Properly Sized Dust Collector: The dust collector must be properly to run efficiently at the requisite airflow. If the collector is undersized, a number of problems can come into existence like rapid dropping of the operating pressure, overloading of the filters & as such frequent change out, maintenance problems and such. If any of this occurs than the operating expenditure and energy usage increases.

High pressure rating collector: Vessel strength is an important factor in the determining of explosion-protection technology and what should be the size of the equipment. A heavy-duty collector, made of thick-gauge metal and with high pressure rating, might enable you to use simple and less costly explosion-protection systems that comply with NFPA standards. Such collectors are known to survive a combustible dust explosion.

Reliable filters minimize change out frequency: No matter how high quality the equipment is, sooner or later it needs repair and servicing. Extended-life cartridge filters reduce the number of frequency required for change out. This minimizes the exposure of employees to dust saves on maintenance and disposal costs & reduces landfill impact. Many filters have media packed so tightly into the cartridge that most it are not available for filtering.

The new open-pleat design of collectors allows for optimum utilization of the media and even improves the airflow through the filter. The improved design help reduce pressure drop and at the same time allows for energy saving.

Variable frequency drive to control fan speed: There is a common misconception that a mechanical fan damper reduces collectors energy consumption. However, this is not true the variable frequency drive (VFD) controls fan speed rather more effectively. The electrical control is highly efficient in maintaining the desired airflow through the collector. The VFD not only helps reduce the utility rate but as well as the overall energy consumption.

Premium efficiency fans for additional energy savings: Wastage of energy from industrial electric motors is a common problem. The premium quality efficiency fan motors are designed to improve the energy performance of the equipment. Many electric utilities offer rebates and perks that can add extra to the savings.

Such features of dust collection equipment not only provides a clean and healthy environment for the employees but at the same time boost the productivity of your plant by manifolds.

Jennifer Mitchell is a professional writter and Editor of Aegis Engineering. She enjoys writing on various topics like Dust Collection Equipment, Dust Control Equipment & other Bulk Handling Equipments that helps improve the productivity by manifold.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Jennifer_D_Mitchell/1694070

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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Performing a Vanishing Act With Dust Control Systems


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a useful resource on controlling dust. In Chapter 3 of the OSHA handbook, it explains why dust should be controlled, the various forms of dust control systems that are available, and how to select the correct one, and how to design a water spray system to limit the spread of dust.

Some reasons why dust should be controlled are to reduce and prevent the chance of dust explosions and fires. Also the reduction of accidents is greater with better visibility of the workplace. Reducing dust will also decrease the wear and tear on equipment and minimize the need for maintenance. For employees, less dust will require less protective gear that is needed as well as reduce the possibility of foul odors, which can have a negative effect on productivity.

There are three basic types of dust control systems that are being utilized today that companies can select from. There are systems that operate using a ventilation system in a building to remove or capture dust particles. There are also wet dust suppression systems at the ground level that use water to dampen the soil or other small particles that make them too heavy to become airborne. Airborne dust can also be thwarted with a water system where a spray can join with the particles causing them to fall to the ground.

There are four major parts to most industrial dust control systems. There is a capturing apparatus at the source of the dust. This is usually an exhaust hood. Attached to this hood is duct work that carries the dust to a dust collector. At the collector, the dust is taken from the air. At the end of the duct work, after the dust is removed from the air, is the fan and motor which is the power behind the airflow.

The main parts of a water spray system include the spray nozzle, a hose that supplies the water, and, of course, the water source. The most important part is the spray nozzle. This is where the spray pattern and velocity of the spray are regulated for a water spray dust control system.

Additional information can be found regarding how erosion control plants [http://www.duststopzone.com/a-natural-defense-found-in-erosion-control-plants/] can be used to keep dust contained, especially in construction areas where dust is most prevalent. Check out the Dust Stop Zone [http://www.duststopzone.com] for more Free information.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Mark_D_Sierra/311478

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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Energy Update: Infrastructure



Improving America’s energy infrastructure could pump more than a trillion dollars into our economy.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!



"Give thanks for a little and you will find a lot

Wishing You and Your Family a Very Safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Friday, November 20, 2015

GuardDog™ Stops Fuel and Chemical Spills In Their Tracks



Independent Secondary Shutoff Control System® - Spill Prevention Technology

With the environment, life safety and product security in mind, we developed the proprietary patented GuardDog to continuously monitor from 1 to 2 sets of Overfill Detection and Static Ground units, from 1 to 8 individual product meter pulses, up to two vapor recovery hose pressure transducers, and from 1 to 8 individual preset pump commands per unit.

Under normal conditions the GuardDog is silent, until its predictive intelligence predicts valve failure within 750 msec of a wet probe event. Upon the predicted valve failure, it immediately leaps into action to shutdown pumps, close storage tank base valves and lock out the loading operation. It alerts management personnel of the problem and provides an opportunity for investigation. The GuardDog gives management control by not allowing loading to continue or resume until management determines that it is safe to load again by initiating a keyed system reset switch.

Not only does the GuardDog stop potential spills in their tracks, but it also sniffs out potential leaks, prevents over pressurization of cargo tank and attempted sabotage and product theft. It prevents catastrophic events while maximizing performance and minimizing false positives. The GuardDog gives management significant improvement in facility safety, security and control.

See more about this product at http://www.sgtinc.com/guarddog.html

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

ProInert Inert Gas Fire Suppression System



Fike's innovative ProInert® is one of the best performing, most cost-effective, and environmentally friendly inert gas fire extinguishing systems available. ProInert offers all the benefits of other inert gas systems with several significant design improvements - enhancements that not only mean a superior fire extinguishing product, but savings to your bottom line! And because the inert gas blend in ProInert is naturally occurring, it has zero ozone depletion and zero global warming potential.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Energy Update: Clean Fuels



America’s oil refineries and natural gas plants are helping cars and trucks generate 99% fewer emissions since the 1970s.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Fike Featured on Manufacturing Marvels



On January 6, 2012, Fike Corporation was showcased in a nationally syndicated film series called "Manufacturing Marvels". Manufacturing Marvels airs on The Fox Business Network at 8:35pm EST, and is produced by award winning producers Bob and Jerry May. The 2-minute profiles spotlight selected American manufacturers, their products, and the company's manufacturing and testing processes.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Fike Fire Suppression Solutions



Known for quality, dependable fire protection systems, Fike continues to look for ways to improve the effectiveness of all its safety products. This video features Fike's fire suppression valve technologies: the Impulse Valve for superior performance in clean agent fire suppression systems; and the unique ProInert valve for the safest, most economical inert gas fire protection system available.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Fike Presents FAAST



Fike's FAAST Detector featuring the latest in fire alarm air aspiration sensing technology, provides very early warning fire detection.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Different Types of Fire Alarm Systems For Your Business


There are many different fire alarm systems to choose from when it comes to protecting your business and valuable assets in the event of a fire. Not all are created equal and depending on the nature of your business there are many considerations when choosing a system that is right for you.

For most office buildings, the standard fire alarm system is adequate protection in the event of a fire and usually involves a centrally located panel that controls the system. Utilizing sprinklers to put out the fire, the sprinklers are activated when a fire is detected through the use of a smoke or heat detector. Since most smaller office buildings don't use chemicals to suffocate or smother the fire, this is usually the least expensive and cost effective solution.

For larger companies with varied work environments, the fire alarm system must be more sophisticated and designed with diversity in mind to protect not only the structure itself, but also the equipment and data it contains. In the case of a datacenter, standard sprinklers would cause significant damage to computer systems so many companies use a fire suppression system that removes oxygen from the room, effectively starving the fire. This method leaves both the equipment and data in tact and in most cases only leaves a fine powder to clean up after deployment. Since this particular method deprives the area of oxygen, there would need to be some sort of warning mechanism in place so that employees would have time to evacuate the area before deployment.

For businesses dealing with hazardous chemicals such as in the case of manufacturing, there are fire alarm systems that are specialized to effectively suppress fire that involves toxic chemicals. Understandably, there are tighter laws governing the use of these chemicals and the fire suppression technology needed to insure that any fire in this environment poses a minimal risk to employees and the public in general. Many of these chemicals can be explosive in nature when on fire and it is essential that all safety precautions possible be utilized when providing protection for the business.

Obviously the larger the business, the more complex the fire alarm system would be. Often, the system is set up to monitor and deploy only for specific zones. This way, if there were a fire in one side of the building, the sprinklers or fire suppression chemicals would only be deployed to that portion of the building. This minimizes damage to valuable equipment and furniture by fire retardant or water in locations that are untouched by the fire.

An important aspect to any fire alarm system is the human element involved. Yes, you want to make sure that assets are protected as much as possible, but you also need to consider the impact of any fire suppression deployment on anyone who might be in the location at the time of deployment. Obviously water is the safest for human exposure in the event of a fire, but safety becomes even more paramount when using chemicals. Additionally, there should be visual indicators of fire in addition to audible alarms. This way, those who are hearing or vision impaired will be notified of the fire and know that they need to evacuate the building. Most fire alarms involve the use of audible sirens or bells, but having visual indicators such as flashing lights assists those who may be hearing impaired.

Completing a careful analysis of what has higher priority in terms of needing protection in the event of a fire will help you determine which of the fire alarm systems will provide you with the protection you need while keeping your costs at a minimum. Keeping the company's essential data protected should be a high priority as equipment and furniture can be replaced but customer lists, accounting data or inventory numbers can be impossible to replace. Fire alarm systems are an essential and often legally required way to protect both your business and the people who work there in the event of a fire.

I suggest you take the time to visit the website of Steve Mike levy at http://www.SecuritySystemsNetwork.com and learn more about the changing world of Fire Alarm Systems If your looking to purchase a Fire Alarm System you may also receive access to instant price quotes at: http://www.securitysystemsnetwork.com/fire_protection_systems.php
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Steve_Mike_Levy/1117836

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

3 Kinds Of Reasons To Do Fire Risk Management - Business Fire Safety Training


Fire risk management is often considered the best starting point when trying to prevent fires. There are several reasons for carrying out fire risk management and some of the reasons can be categorized in the following 3 ways:

Moral

Moral considerations should be the prime reason for managing risk. Persons should not be exposed to intolerable risk while resorting to premises or in the employ of others. A moral code exists in most countries; therefore we expect employers or other responsible persons to treat the health and safety of occupiers of the premises as being of greater importance than financial profit.
Moral considerations are based on the concept of the 'Responsible Person' owing a duty of reasonable care to relevant 'Persons'. A person does not expect to risk life or serious injury as a condition of resorting to a premises or whilst in employment.

Economic/Financial

Where a business is unfortunate enough to suffer a fire, there is a very strong possibility that it may never resume. Even a small fire can cause severe disruption. Apart from the physical and costly effects of smoke and heat, fire may also cause costly and lengthy interference to services such as electrical, telecommunications, heating etc. leading to a temporary shutdown of the facility and an immediate loss in revenue.

When a business is part of a supply chain, the loss of that particular business can have a knock on effect on other businesses reliant on the supply of products, leading to a wide spread financial loss. Even if a business is brought back into operation, it is quite conceivable that customers have moved their buying power to other suppliers. Unless the down time caused by a fire is minimal, skilled staff are quite likely to move to new positions elsewhere therefore leading to a skills\shortage on re-start.

The loss of a major employer can have a detrimental financial impact on the local community. The impact on an individual will be devastating, however the knock on effect caused by the loss of the individuals spending power will also affect other local businesses and services that in turn may have to downsize or could close altogether. This can lead to an economic downward spiral plunging an area in to social deprivation. In certain circumstances, the stigma associated with a fire ravaged premises can mean that it never fully recovers even after being rebuilt. There could be a strong negative effect on revenue when prospective clients would learn about a previous fire in a care home for example.

When a building suffers from a fire, it is almost guaranteed that insurance companies will increase insurance premiums and any excess on the policy. Additional safeguards will also be expected to avoid repetition.

Social

When an establishment provides a unique or vital service, the loss of that provision can have a severe detrimental effect on the local community or in some cases a much wider area. The disruption caused to the public or service continuity when a hospital or a school is closed down for a few weeks can have severe consequences on the society's health and wellbeing, both physical and mental stress. These events can lead to a lack of confidence in the society's ability to manage itself, which would also have a negative effect on the society's economic climate if people become more reluctant to use the services provided locally and travel elsewhere to fulfill their needs.

For FREE hassle-free quick reference health and safety information in small easy to understand bite size chunks, go to http://www.myfiresafetytraining.com/business-fire-safety-training/ To learn more about fire risk management go to http://myfiresafetytraining.com/fire-risk-assessment/.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/S_Davis/1012462

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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Fike Impulse Valve



IMPULSE Technology -- Efficient and Cost Effective

As with previous Fike systems, the Impulse Valve Technology continues to allow for a flexible, modular design -- not available with traditional solenoid-activated systems. Our systems can be configured to match specific application needs, while using less piping and check valves ... saving installation time and costs. The simplicity of the valve means fewer parts to maintain and greater reliability. And as a result of Fike's advanced rupture disc technology, there is less agent loss. That efficiency translates into a fire protection system with longer pipe run capability and flexible installation options.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Combustible Dust: Solutions Delayed



CSB safety video about a fatal combustible dust explosion at the AL Solutions metal recycling facility in New Cumberland, West Virginia. The December 9, 2010 accident at the facility that milled and processed scrap titanium and zirconium metal killed three employees and injured a contractor.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Fike Explosion Protection Solutions



As part of a complete line of explosion protection products, Fike's proven explosion isolation systems prevent the propagation of flame from one part of the process to another through the use of fast-acting explosion isolation valves and/or chemical barriers. This video features Fike's newest addition to the mechanical explosion isolation product group -- the Explosion Isolation Pinch Valve (EIPV).

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Dust Deflagration Hazards in Pharmaceutical OSD Facilities and the Requirements of the New NFPA 652


Many of the powders that are used in the production of pharmaceutical oral solid dosage (OSD) formulations are combustible, and since most operations in pharmaceutical facilities can create explosible atmospheres, dust cloud explosion hazards should be expected. 


Explosion hazards associated with powders will influence the specification of operating procedures, process equipment, HVAC systems, electrical area classification, and room construction. It is therefore necessary for OSD manufacturers to clearly understand the deflagration hazards presented by the powders utilized in their processes and be able to assess the level of deflagration risk that their operations may present.

Deflagration is a term describing subsonic combustion propagating through heat transfer (i.e., hot burning material heating the next layer of cold material and igniting it).

It is the expectation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that employers maintain a workplace free of hazards that are likely to cause injury or death to employees, including combustible dust deflagration hazards.

In addition, OSHA expects employers to assess dust explosion hazards and apply appropriate safeguards in keeping with current codes, standards, and best practices to prevent injuries. One new standard that is applicable to all powder handling/processing operations, including pharmaceutical solid formulation operations, is NFPA 652—Standard on Fundamentals of Combustible Dusts, 2016 Edition (Ref. 1), which states that the facility, processes, and equipment shall be designed, constructed, equipped, and maintained. And management systems shall be implemented to:

  1. Reasonably protect occupants not in the immediate proximity of the ignition from the effects of fire for the time needed to evacuate, relocate, or take refuge.
  2. Prevent serious injury from flash fires and explosions.
  3. Ensure the ongoing production/operating capability of the facility.

Dust Cloud Deflagration Hazards

When finely divided combustible powder particles are suspended in air in sufficient concentration and ignited by a sufficiently energetic ignition source, a combustion reaction can propagate through the dust cloud. If the speed of the flame-front through the unreacted medium is less than the speed of sound, the event is, by definition, a deflagration.

These rapid combustion processes create extreme temperatures (and possibly combustion gases) which cause a pressure wave to precede the flame-front. The pressure wave moves through the unburned dust cloud at the speed of sound. This pressure wave and the resulting fireball can cause significant damage and severe injury to personnel.

The new NFPA 652 requires the owner/operator of a facility with potentially combustible dusts to determine whether the materials that they are handling/processing are combustible or explosible and, if so, to characterize their ignition sensitivity and explosion severity properties, as required to support the dust hazard assessment (DHA).

NFPA 652 further states that the evaluation of the hazard of a combustible dust should be determined by the means of actual test data. Where dusts are determined to be combustible or explosible, additional testing shall be performed to acquire the data necessary to support the compliance requirements of this standard.

The testing requirements will vary depending upon the process operations, but relevant data typically includes the Deflagration Index (Kst), Minimum Ignition Energy (MIE), Minimum Ignition Temperature (MIT), Minimum Explosible Concentration (MEC), and Limiting Oxygen Concentration (LOC).


If the material is determined to be sensitive to ignition from electrostatic sources (i.e., typically having an MIE of less than 25 mJ), electrostatic properties, such as the Volume Resistivity and Chargeability (mass charge density) of the powder, should also be considered.

NFPA 652 allows the use of historical facility data or published data only if it is deemed to be representative of current materials and process conditions. However, as these properties are strongly dependent upon specific parameters, such as particle size, moisture content, oxidant concentration, and the presence of flammable vapors, caution should be exercised in its use.

Specific particle shape and size distribution will vary from operation to operation and can make a significant difference in explosion properties. If a deflagration hazard is suspected, it is recommended that a qualified laboratory determine these explosion properties via experiments, using site-specific samples.  

Dust Deflagration Hazards in OSD Operations

When handling combustible solid materials, a deflagration hazard is present whenever fine powder particles (dust) become suspended in air. This may be intentional, for example during fluidized bed drying, or unintentional, such as powder transfer to vessels or powder blending. NFPA 562 requires that the safety of the occupants, facility, processes, and equipment shall be achieved by either a prescriptive approach or a performance-based design approach.

The prescriptive approach involves:

  • Determination of the combustibility/explosibility characteristics of process dusts and powders.
  • Performing a Dust Hazard Analysis (DHA).
  • Conducting a documented risk assessment to determine the level of building design and protection features needed.
  • Establishing a written management systems and procedures for operating the facility and equipment to prevent or mitigate fires, deflagrations, and explosions from combustible particulate solids.

Dust Hazard Analysis (DHA) is a systematic review to identify and evaluate the potential fire, flash fire, and explosion hazards associated with the presence of combustible particulate solids in a process or facility, and to determine what safeguards could be implemented to prevent or mitigate the hazards.  DHA must be conducted by someone who, by education, certificate, professional standing, or skill and who, by knowledge, training, and experience, has demonstrated the ability to deal with problems related to processing and managing combustible particulate solids.

A DHA does not need to comply with the Process Hazards Analysis (PHA) requirements of the OSHA regulation, 29 CFR 1910.119 (e). NFPA 652 requires that for existing processes that are not undergoing material modification, exceeding 25 percent of the original cost, the owner/operator shall schedule and complete dust hazards analyses (DHA) within a three-year period of the effective date of the standard.

Additionally, the DHA should be periodically reviewed and updated to reflect changes to the process, the equipment, and process materials, as well as any new learnings related to operational safety to ensure that the DHA continues to be an accurate and up-to-date reference for continued safe operation of the process. The review and update could be conducted on a repeat frequency of five to seven years.

If the prescriptive method proves to be impractical for some reason, NFPA 652 permits the use of a performance-based alternative design approach for a process, or part of a process, specific material, or piece of equipment in lieu of the prescriptive requirements of the standard. The performance-based design shall be based on the appropriate combustibility/explosibility characteristics of the dusts and be prepared by a person with qualifications acceptable to the owner/operator.

Additionally, all calculations, references, assumptions, and sources from which material characteristics and other data have been obtained, or on which the designer has relied for some material aspect of the design, shall be documented in accordance with the requirements of this standard.

Operations where dust deflagration hazards must be considered during the design of an OSD facility will typically include:

  • Powder transfer operations
  • Blending
  • Granulation
  • Drying
  • Milling
  • Sieving
  • Compression/coating
  • Packaging
  • Dust collection 
During the design (or review) of the process(s), Basis of Safety needs to be defined and documented for each unit operation. A basis of safety is the logic, systems, and procedures (safeguards) in place to ensure that an ignitable atmosphere does not occur, or if it cannot be avoided, that an effective ignition source is not present.
Beyond prevention, protection features may also need to be considered to mitigate the effects of ignition. The selected basis of safe operation will be a function of the type of operation, potential ignition sources, the flammability properties of the materials being handled, and the tolerable risk level. Typical bases of safety used in the pharmaceutical industry are shown in Table 1.

When selecting a Basis of Safety, consideration should be given to the effectiveness of each method, reliability of the system, and the personnel hazards inherent in each method. Further guidance on the applicability and design of such systems can be found in Industry or commodity-specific NFPA standards and guidelines such as:

  • NFPA 68 Guide for Venting of Deflagrations
  • NFPA 69 Standard on Explosion Prevention Systems
  • NFPA 70 National Electric Code
  • NFPA 77 Recommended Practice on Static Electricity
  • NFPA 499 Recommended Practice for the Classification of Combustible Dusts and of Hazardous (Classified) Locations for Electrical Installations in Chemical Process Areas
  • NFPA 652 Standard on Fundamentals of Combustible Dusts
  • NFPA 654 Standard for the Prevention of Fire and Dust Explosions from the Manufacturing, Processing and Handling of Combustible Particulate Solids

Other Facility Design Considerations

The processing of combustible materials can also require modifications to the design of the facility. In areas of the facility where dust deflagration hazards can exist, external to processing equipment, the NFPA standards require the process room to be provided with explosion venting and damage-limiting wall construction, which could prove to be costly and difficult to achieve. Recognizing the potential for deflagration hazards early and improving process containment during the design may avoid this situation.

In summary, key measures for deflagration hazard control associated with operations and processes where potentially combustible/explosible powders are present include:

  • Investigation of the validity of any available laboratory data to support the compliance requirements of NFPA 652.
  • Identification of any gaps that might exist in the required laboratory data.
  • Identification of the dust sample(s) that need to be tested and performance of the necessary laboratory tests.
  • Conducting a Dust Hazard Analysis (DHA).
  • Identification of the gaps in the dust fire, explosion prevention and protection requirements.
  • Identification of the gaps in the dust hazard management systems.
  • Implementing effective measures for ensuring safety of personnel, operations, facility and the community, and assurance of compliance with the requirements of applicable codes and standards.

By applying the above measures, the deflagration hazard associated with the manufacture of pharmaceutical OSD forms can be effectively controlled and risk minimized.

Reference

  1. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 1 Batterymarch Park, Quincy, MA 02169-7471
Dr. Vahid Ebadat Ph.D., M.Inst.P, MIEE, C.Eng., C.Phys. is the Chief Technical Officer of Chilworth and CEO of Chilworth Asia Pacific. He has worked extensively as a process and operational hazards consultant for the chemical, pharmaceutical and food industries. Dr. Ebadat is a member of NFPA 77 Technical Committee on Static Electricity, NFPA 654 Standard for the Prevention of Fire and Dust Explosions from the Manufacturing, Processing, and Handling of Combustible Particular Solids and ASTM E27 Committee on Hazard Potential of Chemicals.

Click here to read the September edition of Pharmaceutical Processing

Article Source: http://www.pharmpro.com/articles/2015/09/dust-deflagration-hazards-pharmaceutical-osd-facilities-and-requirements-new-nfpa-652?et_cid=4842850&et_rid=650442893&type=cta

Monday, September 28, 2015

Fire and Explosion Caused by Human Error and Equipment Failure



I’ve spent much of my 40+ year career in the petroleum and chemical industries. One might say I’ve pretty much seen it all when it comes to accidents. Unfortunately, I’ve have firsthand experience with the loss of good friends and coworkers due to what I call the human factor.

The human factor is at work every second of every day in every type of business and personal setting. It’s when hard working, good people get careless while performing routine everyday tasks. For whatever reason, a procedure intended to protect personnel is intentionally bypassed or carelessly forgotten and in most instances it involves only one or two steps being bypassed or forgotten that allows all of the stars to line up, and then tragedy strikes without warning which in most cases lead to serious injury and sometimes death.

I’ve spent much of my career using technology to create iron clad solutions that overcome human error and equipment failure in hazardous types of operations found in every day businesses that we are all familiar with. One such business is the loading of fuel onto large tanker trucks that take fuel to the local gas station that all of us pump into our cars. One such iron clad solution developed by Frontline Environmental addresses the more than 1500 spills that happen every day throughout the United States in truck, marine and aviation fuel loading facilities. The GuardDog™ is a patented technology designed to overcome human error and equipment failure during the loading of fuel at high transfer rates of more than 10 gallons per second. In “real-time” GuardDog™ continuously monitors the fuel delivery equipment to determine if it is performing properly or not. If not, the GuardDog™ will take a preemptive action to prevent the spill accident within 750 milliseconds. The Department of Defense and the USAF determined GuardDog™ to be 100% effective in eliminating spills over a 12 month period during a case study and real world test conducted at Travis Air Force Base. Due to its success Travis AFB has since standardized on GuardDog™ and is protected 24/7 365 days a year from spills.

For more on GuardDog™ and other bullet proof solutions that protect life, the environment and assets give me a call at 707-331-3503. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Groundwater Remediation, A Pressing Need in Today's Times


Water pollution today has reached alarming levels in most parts of the world. Surface freshwater bodies like ponds, lakes, streams and rivers have become increasingly polluted. This has resulted in groundwater becoming an important source of drinking water in many countries. In the U.S alone over half the population depends on groundwater supply for daily water needs. Groundwater is today used for a variety of purposes from agriculture to industrial, to irrigate large farms as well as in the production of goods.

Groundwater pollution causes

Increased human activities like construction and mining have resulted in pollution percolating into natural groundwater reservoirs. Some of the causes of groundwater pollution also include stagnant storm and rain water as well as surface water runoffs containing high amount of chemicals and organic waste like sewage. This results in large scale contamination of groundwater resources rendering it unfit for human use.

Groundwater remediation

Along with waste water treatment plants which seek to use recycled water, groundwater remediation has also become an important initiative to provide safe and clean water for human use as well as conserve the environment. Groundwater remediation involves specialized equipment and experience to conduct the various purification operations. Groundwater filtration involves removal of solid and dissolved impurities which includes organic material, chemical substances as well as gaseous elements.

Different remediation techniques

There are different techniques used to purify groundwater. An effective method involves use of vacuum machinery to pump out groundwater for treatment as well as extraction of gaseous vapors from ground water and soil. The method known as dual phase extraction makes use of carbon adsorption process by way of granular activated carbon filters and portable water filtration units.
Most groundwater remediation techniques use a combination of different methods for water purification depending upon the requirements. For example if the groundwater contains a high concentration of heavy metals then chemical precipitation reaction is used to ensure conversion of the metal ions into insoluble compounds. These particles are then removed by way of simple filtration or by way of settling chambers.

Activated carbon particles

Activated carbon is an important part of the purification process owing to its high surface area which causes organic impurities to chemically bind to the carbon particles. This process is known as adsorption and is highly efficient in removing dissolved organic impurities which even boiling the water does not render harmless. Active carbon is used in the form of fine granules spread out over a wire mesh to further increase their surface area for maximum effectiveness.

Groundwater remediation is an important aspect of maintaining public health and as such should be conducted at regular intervals by the concerned health authorities.

Ashley writes for Pureeffect.com about the various ways in which the effects of pollution can be remedied. For more information about environmental solution visit our site.
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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

What is the SCADA System?


A SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) system is a system that consists of a number of remote terminal units (RTU) that collect the field data and connected back to the station master through the communication system.

Accurate and timely data (usually a real-time) provide optimization of the operation of the plant and process. Another advantage is more efficient, more reliable and more important, safe operation. All this results in the operating cost is lower compared with the previous non-automated systems.

There is a reasonable level of confusion between the definition of SCADA systems and process control systems. SCADA have additional remote control or remote operation. The question is not how 'far' - that usually means more of a distance so that the distance between the location and control of the location controlled very large direct-wire control is not useful (for example, a communication link important component of the system).

SCADA successful installation depends on using proven and reliable technology, with comprehensive and adequate training of staff in the operating system. There is a history of failed SCADA systems - factors that contribute to this system, including inadequate integration of the various components of the system.

Today hardware reliability is less of a problem, but the increasing software complexity is producing new challenges. It should be noted in passing that many operators judge a SCADA system not only by the smooth performance of the RTUs, communication links and the master station (all falling under the umbrella of SCADA system) but also the field devices (both transducers and control devices).

Richard Binder, SCADA Security Specialist. Visit my website about SCADA at http://www.controlscada.com
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Saturday, September 19, 2015

A Guide to Finding the Right Engineering Company


If you have been trying to seek out a really good engineering company for a very long time already then it is clear that there are quite a few things you should go out of your way to take into careful consideration before you make the choice to hire any one company in particular, and the reason to do all of this is so that the company you eventually end up hiring for the project is going to be a company that will be the best of what you can afford. It can take time to find the right engineering consultants out there but at the same time it is always a good idea to take as much time as you feel you may need, since you really want to be able to say that the engineers you ended up hiring were the ones that were best for the job. Along the way it could be really helpful if you spent a bit of additional time trying to find out more about engineering companies in general, so that you would immediately know what to expect if you were offered any good deals in the future.

Remember that it is likely you will find a lot of different engineering companies out there, so at the end of the day a big part of what makes a good deal lies in being able to choose a proper company that can offer you a very high standard of service but that at the same time is going to be able to get you what you want for a lower price. This is important because depending on the size of your project and how much work needs to be done, you may end up spending a very large amount of money on engineering services, and this cost can go a long way towards ending your budget. It would therefore make sense to go out of your way to compare offers and try to see if there is any possible way that you would be able to get a special offer for services of this sort, which are certainly in very high demand in this day and age.

The very best way to make it easier for you to find a really good engineering company would be to go online and do a bit of your own research on the topic, with the intentions of learning as much as you can about engineers and what services they offer to people like yourself. This will help you a lot because you will then be able to make a selection based on a good understanding of what engineering is all about, and this can help you to make a good deal and save some money.

As you can see, it is clear that there are a great deal of things to keep in mind when you are out there on the hunt for a really good engineering company to assist you with your new project in the future.

So are you searching for the finest engineering consultants Perth has to offer? E-Tec Consultants is the right place to be. Check out their website etec.com.au for more information.
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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Our Commitment to Our Customers


Frontline Environmental are automation and control systems specialists with heavy "hands on" experience. Our emphasis is providing the customer with a single source for engineering and services related to automation, control systems, and communication technologies. Our commitment to the customer has been the cornerstone of our success. We consistently provide a broad range of clients with reliable services designed to bring in projects on time and on budget. We supply on-going technical support and instrumentation components and equipment required to maintain customer's facilities in the day to day operation. Our commitment means that we provide 24 hour emergency response service 365 days a year.

Periodically, we offer a free technical training workshop to our customers. The workshops are held at our office in Benicia, California. We provide one or more technical personnel from an equipment manufacturer and an environment for a concentrated education on a particular product or system. We have found that the workshops are well received, and provide a forum for both social and technical exchange.

As a further commitment to our customers, we offer 24 hour "Emergency Response"services 365 days a year, and routinely travel throughout the continental US, Alaska and Hawaii. Our field engineering experience and technical trouble-shooting expertise saves our customers valuable time and money by evaluating and eliminating improperly designed or tuned control schemes which can be the primary source of nuisance interruptions in the production or facility process operation.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Energy 101: Wind Turbines - Update



See how wind turbines generate clean electricity from the power of wind. The video highlights the basic principles at work in wind turbines, and illustrates how the various components work to capture and convert wind energy to electricity. This updated version also includes information on the Energy Department's efforts to advance offshore wind power. Offshore wind energy footage courtesy of Vestas.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Finding Big Data Opportunities in Industrial Automation


Here we are in the world of Big Data and all of its possibilities. Just look at all the data we have available to us: production, maintenance, distribution, personnel, finances - real-time, historical and predictive. There is more data being collected more quickly and from more sources than ever before. We are swimming in it.

So, now what? Now that we've gathered all of this data, what does it mean to us? Personally, having reams of integers, floats, strings and timestamps in my hands doesn't make me feel any smarter. As the old adage goes: Data is not information. Data without context offers no insight. Data without structure reveals no opportunities. How do we get from data to information? How do we get from information to knowledge? And how do we get from knowledge to action?

Finding the Anomalies

The US Department of Defense employs a process known as Activity-Based Intelligence (ABI) to find useful details in large sets of data. For example, in 2013, when two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, investigators immediately had at their disposal hundreds of hours of surveillance footage, cell phone photos, and time-stamped video from dozens of angles. To manually review all of this media would require thousands of man-hours - time that is obviously not available in a situation like this.

To make use of this constellation of data, investigators were forced to find a way of automating the investigation. They decided to establish a specific set of details they wanted to locate in all of these photos and videos. Namely, they were looking for any individuals at the scene of the bombing who were not running away or looked unafraid. The behavior recognition technology existed, so it was a simple matter to enter a set of variables into a program and to let the software review the footage in an effort to find the activity that matched these variables. Soon, two suspects were revealed.

While it would have been nearly impossible for human analysts to review all of this footage in a timely fashion, investigators discovered that Big Data could in fact be very useful if combined with a mechanism to compare and contrast the thousands of data points being reviewed.

A similar technique is now being employed in cancer research. A so-called "Big Mechanism" has been created to review the vast and complex medical records of cancer patients that have been established over the years to find overlapping patterns or consistencies that can lead to a new understanding of root causes or precipitating circumstances. By automating the research, we are now able to analyze data sets of much greater size and complexity than would be possible using only human analysts.

Can Similar Techniques be Employed in Industrial Automation?

Today's industrial enterprises find themselves in a situation similar to those described above. Huge amounts of data are being recorded and opportunities for improvement are known to exist, but how do we know what to look for and how do we find it? The same sort of ABI employed by the DoD may well have a place in the commercial world.

If we can review our historical process data to define the circumstances surrounding certain conditions (unplanned downtime, spikes in energy consumption, etc.), we may be able to recognize repeated patterns or anomalous activity related to these specific circumstances, thereby enabling us to take action to correct the situation before it happens again. By finding the data that stands out from the rest, detailing the characteristics of that data, and looking for those characteristics elsewhere, we may be able to pinpoint causal relationships that were previously obscure or misleading.

On the flipside, the same techniques can be employed to define the circumstances surrounding periods of extended productivity or energy efficiency. The same techniques used to discern the cause of deficiencies can be used to optimize asset performance and improve the quality and efficiency of our processes.

By creating analytic mechanisms aligned with the principles of ABI, we are able to create a safer, more efficient, more productive work environment. Of course, some of this runs counter to the way most of us are programmed to think. We tend to put more stock in consistent, reliable information, while discounting the anomalies. ABI encourages us to find the anomalies and focus on them.

The key to navigating the world of Big Data may not lie in the massive set of data, but in the tiny subset of data that teaches us about the abnormalities or anomalies we find. Look for the data points that stand out from the rest and ask yourself why. Consider the circumstances surrounding the collection of that data; can we map certain plant floor conditions to specific results?

Thus far, the Big Data movement has been a combination of hype and optimism, with very little practical value in daily operations. Some companies are finding ways to take advantage of the opportunities, while others have fallen behind.

Can you find the opportunities?

If you are serious about finding new opportunities and increasing productivity in your process control environment, it begins with having access to the right tools. Learn more at http://scada.com.
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Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Differences Between Software Development and Software Engineering


Software development and software engineering go hand in hand when it comes to the implementation of software. Software development deals more with the creation of the software and when this is complete, software engineering takes over with the creation of software systems. Both of these disciplines are at times interchangeable and without much difference to the layman. If you just want to have one specific piece of software designed, such as database software that will keep track of your bird watching hobby, then you'll just need software development. If, however, you want your bird watching database to be able to support multiple functions, such as delivering a report with statistics and results, then you'll more likely need the expertise of software engineering.

Software engineers will implement and design software applications through the use of many mediums. These software applications will then be used for a variety of purposes that include business practices to entertainment purposes. It is these software applications that allow users to make their time on the computer as functional and productive as possible. Types of software applications include language applications, office applications, entertainment packages, and applications for education.

The cost of hiring a software developer will be significantly less than hiring a software engineer. Before you make your final decision about what you want the software to do you need to plan you budget, your timeline, and determine what you want the end result to be. The industry of software development continues to grow each year as more and more businesses are having their own software developed for them that is specific to what they do and what they want the software to do. Most companies will already be using some type of software application, such as Office Suite, and most likely won't need another application developed for them. For most intents and purposes you'll be fine hiring a software developer for you and your business needs.

James Hunt has spent 15 years as a professional writer and researcher covering stories that cover a whole spectrum of interest. Read more at [http://www.software-development-center.com]
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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Building Automation Systems Design and Engineering


Effective building automation systems design can offer a number of distinct advantages for building owners, occupants and facilities managers. The most common type of automation applications maintain lighting and comfortable temperature levels while reducing energy costs, but automation and controls can handle many other sophisticated tasks as well. Building control systems are only as effective as their design, however, so it's important to identify and engage a knowledgeable and competent engineering consultant early in the planning stages of the project.

The Advantages of Building Automation Technology

The power of building automation systems (BAS) is such that the technology has become almost ubiquitous today for medium-to-large commercial facilities. From an economic perspective, BAS can significantly reduce power use and the associated costs. Ecologically, building controls have been proven to decrease the environmental footprint of those companies that implement them - significantly in many cases. The frequency of replacing costly HVAC and electrical equipment is reduced as BAS curtails wear and tear and alerts you early to any potential problems. Automation systems free up key facilities personnel, allowing them to turn their attention to less mundane tasks. Finally, building occupants enjoy a more secure environment and an increased level of comfort, even while usage, costs and downtime drop. Today's BAS interfaces are easy to use. Whether you have a single building or an enterprise-level portfolio of properties, you can view status and control systems remotely, using a desktop, laptop, tablet or even a smartphone.

A Powerful Scope of Automation Services

Typically, BAS services control some or all aspects of the facility's mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. On the mechanical side, this may include boilers, chillers, air handlers, fans and heat pumps. Electrical aspects may include security systems, lighting, CCTV, fire alarms or building access. BAS can even monitor and control plumbing systems and the water resources used in the facility's central plant (chilled, hot or condensed water). Services can also be expanded to incorporate many types of specialized technology, including communications systems, servers and clean rooms.

Effective BAS Design for Achieving Desired Outcomes

Although new technology has transformed automation from the complex, difficult-to-understand behemoths of the past, today's user-friendly systems are more challenging than ever to design and plan. For any customer considering or planning a remodel or new facility construction project, a qualified BAS engineer is critical for even the earliest phases of the project. Involving your engineer in the early stages of design can greatly improve the cost of the project. This proactive approach can also cut time from the schedule and, perhaps most importantly, ensure that all aspects of the system meet your needs. Consider using the design-build approach with your engineer, which delivers the most benefit to the client while reducing the project cost and time to completion. Your BAS engineering consultant can assist with drafting construction plans and specifications and help your general contractor select and manage those vendors and subcontractors necessary to handle the installation and programming.

When selecting a mechanical, electrical or automation systems engineer, look for a professional firm that is responsive and seeks above all to understand your needs and goals. Conducting research to find the right engineer prior to launching your project will help ensure a successful building automation systems design.

Jillynn Stevens is a writer and researcher. She is the Director of Digital Content Marketing for Be Locally SEO where she enjoys helping clients expand and improve their businesses through articles, blogs, website content and more. DesignTek Consulting Group's electrical engineering team consists of engineers and experienced technicians trained in automation systems in Salt Lake City, Utah.
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Monday, August 31, 2015

Engineering Firms: How to Hire Qualified Engineering Services


Have you ever had to hire an engineering firm? If you have you know it is often a tedious process with many variables. Engineering firms come in many sizes from one consultant to firms that have consultants from all different disciplines within engineering. How do you find the right consultant for your job big or small?

There are several different types of engineers. There are primarily four main fields of engineering including civil engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and chemical engineering. Most every other type of engineering can be included in a subcategory linked to one of the main fields of engineering. Believe it or not each subcategory can easily be broken down further. This is why hiring an engineering firm is so complicated.

There are five main objectives that need to be looked at when hiring an engineering firm for your next project. Follow these tips when hiring an engineering firm to help when your manpower and expertise is not enough.

Qualifications: Ask yourself when you start looking for engineering firms what are the requirements for the project. This will make it far easier to narrow down which firm's offer services that will help you lead to the project's completion. Look into several firms qualifications and immediately eliminate any firm who you don't think will be able to fulfill the requirements set forth in the project.

Statement of Qualifications: What do you have to do when you are interviewing for a new position? You have to send a resume in attached with a cover letter proving yourself, right? Have the firms you are interested in do the same for you. Write with them giving them a short description of the project you wish to hire them for to inquire about the firm's interest and qualifications. Give them a specific date to send their interest, qualifications and references into you by.

References: Before you actually hire the firm is when you need to check around and see work that has been completed by them. Word of mouth is a valuable tool to use in hiring anyone for any project. The same holds true for engineering firms. If someone has recently had a good or bad experience with a firm they are likely to share that information with you on your quest to find an engineering firm to work with.

Spreadsheet: Once you have an established list of firms you are serious about hiring you will want to make a spreadsheet to compare the firms based on a few different areas. Some things you might consider comparing are the firm's reputation, their location in comparison to the job, experience with a project similar to yours, how they are compensated, availability of qualified personal, their schedule in comparison to your time line and other important aspects to you.

Selection: When the selections process is coming to a closed you will find that these steps have narrowed your choice down to the most appropriate firm to work on your upcoming project. You will come to a mutual agreement on the scope of the services they will provide to the project and write up a contract based on those items that have been agreed upon.

The selection of an engineering firm is never an easy task. Reward often comes with hard work and I believe this is true when hiring any individual or corporation to work with. Engineering firms should have to work hard to gain your business just as you would when looking to be hired.

If you have enjoyed this article from Kevin Germain at CPS please visit our website today at http://www.monumentengineering.com. You will find useful information on engineering firms.
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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Industrial Automation - Help your Robotic Project Succeed


Investing in robotic equipment can be a big leap for a small business. Industrial robots have been automating tasks since 1961. The first industrial robot, the Unimate, worked with the die casting machines at a General Motors plant. In the last decade there has been a surge of robots being integrated into mid-sized and smaller companies. One reason is the growth and affordability of the used robot market. With the leaps made in controls technology, companies are upgrading robots before the current model has finished its life-span. However, the overall functionality of the six-axis articulated arm has not changed in the last decade. As companies consolidate and reorganize, the factory surplus is sold.

Automation benefits include saving money and reducing production time. Automation also leads to an increase in part quality and reliability. These are some tips to help you get started implementing automation onto your factory floor.
  1. Involve the Shop Floor Workers Consulting the workers that currently produce the part is a good starting point. This is the person who has the experience to know what works and what had not worked in the past. They often have helpful insight into the process that you can not gain by simply watching. Requesting their participation in the robotic welding project will help it be more successful. The workers who manually perform the process can provide advice on the configuration and specifications of the equipment up front, avoiding the possibility that the equipment is not as ergonomically friendly or productive as it could be. Failure to involve them disregards the insight they have gained though experience with the process.
  2.   Choose your Robot Operators and Robotic Programmers Carefully Most industrial robots are controlled by the use of teach pendants. Several of these pendants now are programmed with an interface that resembles a personal computer. An individual that is computer-literate will have less trouble learning how to instruct the robot and moving it to accomplish the desired tasks such as welding or material handling. For instance, the challenge of transforming a manual welding process to a robotic welding process is best handled by someone with a solid background in manual welding. This would be an ideal person to select for programming or operating the robotic welder. When choosing robot operators, programmers, and technicians, special consideration should be given to motivated employees that are willing to learn and advance their skills.
  3. Make Training a Priority It is important when purchasing a robot integrator to choose one that provides training on the robotic system. This allows your company to be able to fully utilize the robot and minimize later down-time due to mechanical problems. Ideally the person chosen to receive the training should be the future programmer or operator. With the proper training, the programmer should be able to reliably produce efficient and effective robot programs. Basic groundwork training is a minimum, with the real learning happening on the shop floor. Generally your robotic integrator will program your robotic system to interact with your current equipment and leave you with a turnkey solution that requires only a push of a button. It is still ideal to have trained personnel on hand should a future problem arise. Routine maintenance, such as an annual grease replenishment and battery replacement, is also an issue that you will want a trained individual to perform. Many robotic systems have been destroyed by well-meaning maintenance by individuals that do not understand the complex nature of the robotic system.
  4. Watch Part Fit-Up and Repeatability The most problematical issue with welding robots is part quality. Robotic systems are designed to repeat the same sequence of events. If the robot system has been damaged, repeatability can become an issue. Robotics systems sold feature a repeatability measurement and that should be taken into account along with payload and reach requirements. Used robots should be tested for accuracy and repeatability during the reconditioning process. When performing properly, robotic systems are more reliable and produce parts far superior in quality than manually welded parts. Touch sensing and seam tracking can be used to compensate for weld joints that are not static, but robots are limited by the laws of physics. The use of quality equipment in conjunction with robots improves the part fit-up. Attention should be paid to lasers, welding and cutting torches, welding power supplies, raw consumables, and other variables that could lead to a loss of quality in the finished product.
  5. Calculate Estimated ROI There has been a steady growth in the robot industry over the past decade. Experts predict that this growth trend will continue in future years. Welding robots are still the majority of the market, but many applications can be handled by robots. The general rule-of-thumb is that a robotic welder can do the work of four manual welders. Therefore when production is increasing, the choice to add robotic welders is easily justified. It will also improve efficiency, productivity, and part quality. Higher quality leads to a greater demand for your product. Improved efficiency will enable you to be more competitive in your market. The improved productivity will allow you to meet your production demands without a larger workforce.
RobotWorx is an industrial robot integrator that specializes in new and refurbished robotic equipment. As industrial automation experts, they can help you achieve your robotic ROI goals. They integrate robots from popular manufacturers such as Motoman, Fanuc, Panasonic, ABB, and others.
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