The basic principles of Lean Manufacturing date back at least to the 18th century. In Poor Richard's Almanack, Benjamin Franklin wrote, He that idly loses 5s. [shillings] worth of time, loses 5s., and might as prudently throw 5s. into the river. He that loses 5s not only loses that sum, but all the other advantages that might be made by turning it in dealing, which, by the time a young man becomes old, amounts to a comfortable bag of money.
Many companies decide not to build up certain capabilities in-house mainly because they dont have sufficient regular demand for them. Gamma scanning of distillation columns is a case in point, but on-site scanning specialists may be the wave of the future.
With increasing energy prices and public sensitivity to energy consumption, many plants are paying more attention to optimizing distillation. Simple and low-risk operational changes often can provide substantial savings.
More attention to mercury and increased acceptance of predictive approaches is emerging. Such monitoring not only can keep plants on the right side of regulators but also can help provide insights for optimizing operation of equipment.
There are two main drivers for partial stroking of valves in safety systems: the desire to extend manual test intervals to as long as possible; and to reduce the amount of redundant hardware required for higher safety integrity levels. Like most things in life, it all boils down to one thing: trying to save money.
More and more companies are placing greater emphasis on maintenance and seeking help from vendors to boost the effectiveness of their efforts, as some recent major investment decisions demonstrate. Many automation companies now are benefiting by building up asset management services alongside process control capabilities.
More attention to steam systems and trap monitoring provides big benefits. At most chemical plants, plant management and operators face increasing pressures to improve the energy efficiency of their processes, so they should see how they can save on steam.
Increasing interest will translate into far more monitoring applications. The worldwide market for wireless technology will grow 26% annually over the next few years, forecasts the ARC Advisory Group. Vendors are responding and key concerns are being addressed.
Last months ISA Expo in Houston clearly showed how much attention wireless technology is attracting. However, concern about the reliability and life of batteries remains an issue. Thats why harvested or scavenged power is attracting interest.
Theres more to boiler level control than measuring level and adjusting a feedwater valve. Improved measurements and inverse response are just a few of the influences on operating boilers in a reliable manner.
The compressed air industry is taking a step that will clear the air about the performance of its equipment. For the first time, many compressed air equipment manufacturers will submit their 50 hp to 200 hp lubricated rotary-screw compressors and 200 cfm to 1,000 cfm refrigerated air dryers to an independent laboratory for performance testing.
The new market realities of higher and rising energy costs as well as global pressures to reduce fossil fuel intensity have made energy management tracking much more valuable. Learn how to keep energy productivity programs from running out of gas in Peter Garforth's latest Energy Expert column.