Monthly Archives: April 2020

A Passionate Affair

Paperweights debuted in 1845, and became a successful fad because of the many changes that occurred in the economic and social conditions of the time. In the mid 1800s, Europe and America were undergoing the Industrial Revolution. It resulted in an emerging “middle-class”, along with a strong demand for colorful and showy decorative arts.

Developing industrial technology and the improved transportation network resulted in lower costs of manufacturing. One of the products to benefit was paper, which we consider insignificant today. However, prior to the 19th century, paper was very expensive, and affordable only to the affluent. In the early 19th century, manufacturing improvements resulted in a significant reduction in the production cost of paper, which in turn, fueled an expansion of printing newspapers and books.

Public literacy blossomed as education became more accepted for the emerging middle-class. Paper products such as envelope and stationery became affordable, and postal service had just begun in many countries. These factors combined to make writing to family, friends and loved ones a very fashionable pastime. A strong market developed for desk sets of writing equipment, accessories, and associated novelties, such as paperweights.

This was also a time of extreme sentimentality. Paperweights became a popular gift item to be given to loved ones as a symbol of affection. They were considered to be more charming than valuable, and were prized more for their sentimental symbolism than their cost.

Although many of the techniques for making paperweights were known by the Egyptians since about 100 B.C., no one had considered the placing of a millefiori design in heavy glass hemispheric dome until a paperweight was needed to help control the increasing volume of paper and letters. The first paperweights were made in Europe by Venetians in 1845, but the finest were by the famous French glass houses of Baccarat, Clichy and Saint Louis. Fine paperweights were also made in Bohemia, Britain and Belgium. Production of paperweights peaked in Europe about 1851, and then sharply declined from 1855 – 1860. During the 10 years of the so-called “Classic Period” (1845-55), it is estimated that only about 50,000 fine paperweights were made in Europe. This is a difficult number to confirm, since production figures were not retained.

America typically trailed Europe in commerce and consumer goods during the 19th century by at least a decade, and paperweights were no exception. Paperweights were made in America as early as 1852, but in 1853 they became better known because of the Clichy exhibit at the New York Crystal Palace Exhibition that year.

Nevertheless, American paperweights became commonplace during the 1860’s when the American market for them was strong. Most of the American glassworkers were European immigrants already skilled in the art, which explains why early American weights are imitative of the European style. The better American weights were made from 1852 to 1890, primarily by the New England Glass Company and the Boston & Sandwich Company, with limited production by Gillinder & Sons and Mount Washington Glass Co. In the later years of the period, paperweights were made by Dorflinger Glass Works and the Whitall Tatum Company.

Industrial Microwave and RF Heating is Green Technology

Industrial Microwave heating and Industrial Radio Frequency heating are well established technologies for industrial process heating. They have typically been used in applications with demanding requirements such as close temperature tolerances or processing in specialized environments. Traditional process heating has relied on natural gas or steam derived from oil or coal fired boilers. In the past, these have been the most economical methods with conventional electric heat being considerably more expensive. Environmental regulations are forcing a shift in this paradigm. The cost per BTU of heat will continue to rise as fuel prices increase.

However, what fuel is used, how efficiently it is applied and the amount of carbon released at the user determine the ultimate cost. Microwave or RF heating offers the user a multitude of advantages in the changing world of process heating. Microwave and RF heating are efficient. Unlike other methods (including electric) the heat required for the process is developed within the processed materials themselves. The losses incurred in transferring the energy into the product are very low. Microwave and RF energy are capable of penetrating materials of poor thermal conductivity. Instead of prolonged heating in a conventional system waiting for external heat to “soak” into the product, heating begins immediately through the entire product as soon as power is applied. This dramatically reduces energy usage by shortening process times and eliminating the need to keep the energy input to the system at process levels when not needed.

Virtually no warm-up is required. In many applications Microwave and RF energy can be targeted at a specific component or material within a product producing heat only where it is needed through a process known as selective heating. Industrial Microwave and Industrial Radio Frequency equipment emit no greenhouse gasses whereby eliminating the need for air quality monitoring, fines and penalties from outdated or malfunctioning combustion systems. Not all industrial heating applications are suitable for Industrial Microwave or Radio Frequency technology, but for many, it offers more heat on target, faster and with less energy usage than any other method.

Vibration Testing Technology

To the savvy maintenance professional, industrial machinery almost “talks” to reveal its condition. The key to success is in understanding what the machine is saying. To detect problems, the professional “listens” in many ways: With eyes and ears, to see and hear conditions that may indicate problems and…

• With thermometers and thermal imagers, to detect overheating, poor electrical connections or failing bearings

• With digital multimeters and power analyzers, to diagnose electrical problems

• Using techniques like lubricant analysis, to gauge machine condition over time

And now new vibration testing tools provide the maintenance professional with a valuable new way not just to listen, but to find mechanical problems and fixes: these new troubleshooting tools are engineered to detect and evaluate machine vibration immediately and recommend any needed repairs.

A new kind of troubleshooting tool

Many industrial maintenance teams today work under severe restrictions on money and time. They may not have the resources to train for and implement the typical long-term vibration analysis program. Further, many professionals may think there are only two options for vibration testing; high-end vibration analyzers that are expensive and difficult to use, and low-end vibration pens, which aren’t particularly accurate.

Fortunately, a new breed of vibration-testing tool fills the middle of the category, combining the diagnostic capability of a trained vibration analyzer with the speed and convenience of lower-end testers, at a reasonable price. This type of tool is designed to be not merely a vibration detector, but a complete diagnostic and problem-solving solution, and targeted specifically for maintenance professionals who need to troubleshoot mechanical problems and quickly understand the root cause of equipment condition.

These tools are designed and programmed to diagnose the most common mechanical problems of unbalance, looseness, misalignment and bearing failures in a wide variety of mechanical equipment, including motors, fans, blowers, belts and chain drives, gearboxes, couplings, pumps, compressors, closed coupled machines and spindles.

Not just data, but actionable results

When these new testers detect a fault, they identify the problem, its location and severity on a multi-level scale to help the maintenance professional prioritize maintenance tasks. They may also recommend repairs.

Mechanical diagnosis can begin with the user placing the device’s accelerometer on the machine under test. The accelerometer may have a magnetic mount or can be installed using adhesive. As the machine under test operates, the accelerometer detects its vibration along three planes of movement (vertical, horizontal and axial) and transmits that information to the tester. Using a set of advanced algorithms, the tester then provides a plain-text diagnosis of the machine with a recommended solution.

No training? No problem

Mechanical equipment is typically evaluated by comparing its condition over time to an established baseline condition. Vibration analyzers used in condition-based monitoring programs rely upon these baseline conditions to evaluate machine condition and estimate remaining operating life. System operators must have considerable training and experience before they can determine the meaning and significance of the vibration spectra they detect.

But what about the maintenance pro who isn’t trained in vibration analysis? How do you tell the difference between acceptable vibration, and the kind of vibration that demands immediate attention to service or replace troubled equipment?

Fortunately, extensive experience with mechanical vibration, what it means and how to fix it is built into the advanced algorithms of today’s testers. Now the maintenance professional can quickly and reliably determine the cause of the machine vibration, learn the severity and location of the problem and receive recommendations for repair. It’s all done with the intelligence built into the tester, without the extensive training, monitoring and recording required for typical vibration monitoring programs.

These testers deliver plain language recommendations about what to do next. For equipment maintenance teams hard pressed and on the go, these precise directions are what they need to take action now, maintain mechanical equipment in top shape, and keep facilities productive. One example of this type of tool is the handheld Fluke 810 Vibration Tester (For more information on the Fluke 810, visit http://www.fluke.com/machinehealth).

Automation Technologies And Manufacturing Safety

As a business leader, you have to continually search out ways to increase operational efficiency and throughput, and lower manufacturing costs. Besides improving the productivity and streamlining production processes, the working environment is something that demands special attention from business leaders. It is crucial to ensure safe working conditions and reduce incident rates. This can be a challenge to maintain a balance especially when production and safety are in a constant battle with each other.

Fortunately, industrial automation and safety systems have made major advancements in the past decade. Sophisticated automated machines and control systems have bridged the gap between production and safety. Your job is to make sure that your engineering staff is implementing new technologies correctly.

It is a necessity to have a corporate safety plan focusing on the implementation of plant safety technologies. We need to dig a little deeper in order to understand how an integrated production system can contribute to a company’s overall success. Safety management is supposed to provide a safe workplace for employees, whereas, engineering department is tasked with improving the manufacturing process. We cannot separate these disciplines as they are interconnected.

Most of the traditional machine guarding systems are simple in design and do not require an engineering background to implement or understand them. However, traditional machine safeguarding techniques are limited in scope. Modern automation and engineering safety controls are intelligent enough to automatically change the safeguarding methods depending on current hazards.

What if the safety system at your production facility were intelligent enough to allow safe human interaction for tasks that are repetitive, routine, and integral? An intelligent safety mechanism can help you improve the productivity of workers and lower the injury risks. It can have a big impact on your bottom line. The advanced industrial technology offers capabilities necessary to develop an integrated manufacturing process where manufacturers can maintain a balance between safety and production.

The advanced integrated technologies are more complicated than traditional safeguarding devices. The use of safety-rated devices can unknowingly create an unsafe environment where safety is nothing but an illusion. Even the advanced safeguarding solutions come with the risk of creating a dangerous work environment. Therefore, it is important to have skilled engineers who can implement and maintain modern machine safeguarding systems.

If you are not satisfied with the current safety conditions at your production plant, consult an engineering company that can design a better safety plan for your manufacturing unit.