Articles

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  • Outsourcing moves up the maintenance ladder

    Outsourcing of non-core operations within a company, large or small, is now a well established corporate strategy. By entrusting services such as IT support, accounting, human resources and other “back office” activities to specialist firms prepared to do the job at an acceptable price, chemical companies can concentrate on their main business — where they are the specialists. That's the theory, at least.

    Mike Spear, editor at large
    05/29/2006
  • Better Design Is No Pipe Dream

    The benefits of using pipeline simulation tools at the piping and instrumentation diagram (P&ID) level, rather than running simulations just on the process flow diagram, can often be overlooked.

    Mike Spear, editor at large
    07/17/2006
  • Try before you buy

    There is another side to toll processing. It involves the companies that arguably have the best possible know-how and hardware — for the simple reason that they are the equipment manufacturers themselves, offering toll processing services that utilize their own products.

    Mike Spear, editor at large
    07/24/2006
  • Keeping safety on the right track

    The chemical industry has, in general, an amazingly good track record on safety. Outside of those plants, however, can be another story.

    Mike Spear, editor at large
    08/17/2006
  • Can we keep pace with computers?

    The roll-out of 64-bit operating systems may necessitate taking stock of what we have.

    Mike Spear, editor at large
    08/18/2006
  • The Ch in ChE stands for “Changing”

    Chemical engineers know all about the laws of supply and demand. After all, the chemical industry, which historically has employed the bulk of chemical engineers, is cyclical.

    Mike Spear, editor at large
    08/28/2006
  • Can technologists make it to the top?

    Having a background in engineering or science means you are more likely to want an executive with the same, according to Chemical Processing's Mike Spear.

    Mike Spear, editor at large
    09/13/2006
  • R&D takes the fast track

    High throughput methods are boosting productivity. A survey of member companies by the American Chemical Council (ACC), Arlington, Va., showed that this year the U.S. chemical industry would be spending around 3% more on research and development than it did in 2005.

    Mike Spear, editor at large
    09/21/2006
  • Intellectual property issues limit university research

    Colleges must slake their thirst for royalties as intellectual property issues limit industry-backed university research, according to Chemical Processing's Editor at Large Mike Spear.

    Mike Spear, editor at large
    09/21/2006
  • Rise to the challenge of global legislation

    Despite having a parliament that regularly shuttles itself, lock, stock and ballot box, for four days each month between Brussels, Belgium, and Strasbourg, France, the European Union (EU) still manages to put out an amazing amount of legislation.

    Mike Spear, editor at large
    10/24/2006
  • Industry tackles a grave issue

    End-of-life and other product stewardship initiatives will impact chemical plants. An agreement to lessen the environmental impact of chemicals production will have global ramifications. Meanwhile, European end-of-life directives on electrical and electronic equipment already are having a worldwide effect.

    Mike Spear, editor at large
    10/24/2006
  • Industry can do well by doing good

    Ignoring climate change could eventually damage economic growth, according to an authoritative report, says Mike Spear, editor at large, in this month's End Point column. Read more on the economics of climate change.

    Mike Spear, editor at large
    11/29/2006
  • Chemical industry sees green

    Developments target economics, not just environmental benefits. While pollution prevention was the original goal of green chemistry, today’s efforts promise to have a substantial economic impact.

    Mike Spear, editor at large
    01/03/2007
  • Vehicle emissions case promises broad impact

    A Supreme Court ruling could affect voluntary efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to Mike Spear, editor at large, in his monthly End Point column.

    Mike Spear, editor at large
    01/08/2007
  • Where is wireless going?

    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.

    Mike Spear, editor at large
    01/11/2007
  • Energy Savings Pick up Steam

    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.

    Mike Spear, editor at large
    01/30/2007
  • Plants get help in boosting reliability

    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.

    Mike Spear, editor at large
    02/26/2007
  • Remember the basics of maintenance

    Despite the “buzz” about asset management systems don’t forget the “oilers”, advises Mike Spear, in this month's End Point column.

    Mike Spear, editor at large
    03/01/2007
  • What’s in the air for continuous emissions monitoring?

    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.

    Mike Spear, editor at large
    04/13/2007
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