IQS NEWSROOM

A source for industrial products & services news and events.
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The Benefits and Disadvantages of Outsource Manufacturing

Many companies worldwide, large and small, rely on a business model called contract manufacturing, better known as outsourcing. The concept is simple-two companies divide the manufacturing and sales/marketing aspects of a business. One is a hiring firm, who comes up with the product specifications and brand. They then sign a contract with a contract manufacturer, the firm that produces and packages the components and products. In short, it’s a business agreement made to save time and money, as well as streamline the manufacturing process and provide a better made product. Here’s an example: A soft drink company has come up with a new recipe. They have it made by an established soda processing plant, who deals with buying the ingredients and managing the labor while they focus on branding the soda and making commercials and ads to sell it.

Wire Rope: A Rock Climber’s Best Friend

For the past year, my younger brother has been backpacking around New Zealand, sleeping in a tent, working on farms and climbing mountains. From the pictures I’ve seen, it’s been an amazing adventure in one of the most naturally beautiful places on Earth. The older sister in me, though, is always a little bit worried. I imagine him scaling the sides of steep rock formations or climbing his way to the top of Mount Cook, and I realize how much more of a thrill seeker he is than me. While I would prefer he take up a more relaxing outdoor sport like fishing, the fact that he’s well equipped for belaying allows my mind to rest easy. Instead of relying on a good grip and foot holding, most rock climbers these days use an effective system consisting of a harness, pulley and belay loop, which are all attached to a sturdy climbing rope. Belaying ensures the climbers won’t fall very far in case they slip off a rock.

Graphite is More Than Just Pencil Lead

When asked about the mineral graphite, one image likely comes to mind: a pencil. This soft, dark grey, greasy material, also called black lead and plumbago, has been used to jot down notes and draw pictures for hundreds of years. Its name is even derived from the Latin term for ‘to draw/write.’ Graphite is only found in a handful of places around the world, including Africa, the British Isles and a couple of U.S. states-including my home state of Michigan. There are 3 main types of natural graphite that are all found in different types of ore deposit. Crystalline graphite is flat with hexagonal edges, amorphous graphite is very thin and flakey, and lump graphite is found in veins of fractures underground. The first pencil was composed of sticks of graphite tied together with string. As you can imagine, this early writing utensil wasn’t exactly user friendly, but it could easily be erased with rubber. It wasn’t until much later that the modern pencil-the wooden kind with a pink eraser top that we use today-became popular.

The Simple Design of Hydraulic Cylinders

Do you ever wonder how those heavy duty, high powered equipment vehicles work? I’m talking about tractors, bulldozers, cranes and trucks that lift, push, haul, dump, dig, crush and drill in countless large-scale applications. They harness enormous power to handle extremely heavy loads. You might be surprised, but the main part behind the power-hydraulic cylinders-are probably more simple than they seem, and they don’t require a lot of energy. They use the basic principle of fluid under pressure, and are featured in any system that needs multiple moving parts at once. These cylinders have been around for a while, since the 1970s, and haven’t changed much in design or function. Sure, their manufacturing processes are faster and the tolerances are tighter, but their classic construction still operates just as well with newer machinery as they do with old.

The Challenger Disaster of ’86 Prompted Current O-Ring Design and Safety

Many people remember 1986 by the neon colored leggings, popping Glass Tiger cassettes into new Walkmans and going to see Top Gun numerous times. But what sticks out in everyone’s mind about this year was the random disasters. 4 months in, the Chernobyl plant in the Ukraine exploded, creating the worst nuclear disaster of all time, and the US Challenger exploded a minute after take off. I was too young to remember any of this, being -8 months at the time, but the lasting effects of these accidents are still felt, even by those who weren’t around. While the Soviet Union was dealing with a catastrophic explosion and deadly radiation penetrating their cities, the United States was mourning the passing of seven fallen astronauts.

You Can Stop Pressure Vessel Failure!

A couple years ago, a high-pressure vessel containing water and air was operating on a much higher psi than its design allowed. After years of too much pressure, a small leak developed. It was caught and welded shut. But a month later, the welding job, which did not adhere with safety codes, failed, causing the vessel to rupture and explode. Pieces of shrapnel metal weighing over a thousand pounds traveled at extremely high speeds up to a half-mile before landing on nearby highways and railways. A large portion of the plant was destroyed, half the state was without phone or electricity, and 3 plant workers were killed. If the contents had been flammable, there would have been an explosion too, making the accident much more devastating. Pretty intense, huh? Unfortunately, pressure vessel incidents like this happen much more than they should.

Which Type of Industrial Dryer Best Fits your Needs?

When it comes to drying large amounts of raw material, there are a number of options for manufacturers to choose from, depending on their budget, space and properties of the material being dried. Industrial dryers are often used to remove moisture from materials such as powders, foods and chemicals for the pharmaceutical, paper, pollution control, food and agricultural industries. If your company is in the market for a new industrial dryer, there are 5 main types for different applications, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Dryers that pass material through a large, revolving metal drum and heated by gas, liquid or solid fuel are commonly used in the chemical, food and mineral industries. Rotary dryers have low maintenance costs and allow vast amounts of material with differing particle sizes to dry at one time. However, because these dryers are powered by gas, moisture control is difficult and they often create fire hazards as a result of drying flammable materials. Because the drum is often quite large, these dryers often require a lot of space.

A Primer on Dense Phase Pneumatic Conveying Systems

Dynamic Air Inc., a major leader in the dense phase pneumatic conveying industry, is a specialist in the pneumatic conveying of dry, bulk solids. Applications range from food to poison, from light fumed silica to heavy powdered metals. However, all of these applications have one thing in common, the necessity to control the conveying velocity in order to control particle degradation, conveying pipe wear, minimize air consumption, or eliminate pipe line plugging. What is Pneumatic Conveying? Pneumatic conveying is nothing more than creating a pressure differential along a pipeline and moving a bulk material along with the air as the air moves towards the area of lower pressure. This can be done with a vacuum inducer, or with compressed air being injected into one end of or along the pipeline. Dilute Phase vs. Dense Phase Pneumatic Conveying The two most distinct categories of pneumatic conveying can be described as either low pressure (dilute phase) or high pressure (dense phase) systems.

New Starch-Based Polymers Make Blow Molded Bio-Plastic Possible

This last April, British environmentalist and adventurer David de Rothschild set sail in a catamaran he had constructed entirely from recycled PET bottles. As a statement to the growing global problem of ocean pollution and the need for higher recycling standards, de Rothschild planned to sail to what Planet Green Bottle calls ‘Plastic Soup’, a floating mass of plastic waste nearly the size of Texas suspended in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. This British adventure-seeker may have found the most creative way yet to call attention to this pending environmental risk, but plastic engineers and manufacturers have been working towards a solution in more conventional ways for many years. Polyethylene terephthalate, or ‘PET’, is a petroleum-based resin and may be broken down and recycled almost indefinitely. The addition of dies, fiberglass and other composite materials reduce PET’s recyclability, but the majority of PET materials, such as the beverage bottles out of which Mr. de Rothschild constructed his boat, are recycled at a cost relative or lower than that of purchasing virgin materials. Still, many water bottles, soda bottles and other beverage containers never make it to the recycling bin, ending up in landfills, or worse: the Pacific’s Plastic Soup.

Expanded Metals vs. Perforated Metals – Costs, Benefits and Analysis

Architects and building contractors are often faced with many challenging decisions when choosing the right materials for a job. Different types of metals, materials and fabrication methods affect the performance of a structure or facility hugely, and structural sheet metal is no exception. While perforated metals and expanded metals are similar and have some overlapping applications, engineers understand that their capabilities are very different. Not only are perforated and expanded metals separated by their application industries, but by their fabrication methods and cost as well. Perforated metal seems to be the industry standard for architectural applications such as building facades, fences and partitions. Because perforated metals are punched and cut, dies can be designed to cut patterned shapes into sheet metal for a variety of purposes, both decorative and functional. The shape of metal perforations can determine a material’s usefulness for blocking microwaves, sound waves or light; perforated metals are used in all these industries. Next time you warm up some leftovers, take a look at your microwave door. See that filter in the glass? That’s a piece of perforated metal blocking microwaves from coming through the door.

Advantages of AC-DC ‘Brick’ Power Modules

Compact DC-DC converters have made their way into millions of electronic products and systems. The vast majority of these depend upon an AC-DC power supply (metal box or chassis-mount) to convert the AC into a DC voltage from which the converters can operate. In addition, regulations have mandated that these power supplies include Power Factor & Harmonic Correction (PFHC) to maximize the available power from the power grid. Add to this the need to be as small as possible and to operate with in harsh ambient temperatures and the designer is faced with a problem that is not easily solved.

Vacuum Forming: a Cost-effective, Versatile Plastic Molding Alternative

Vacuum forming is a simpler process than injection molding, involving less equipment for the production of parts and requiring less tooling. Vacuum forming companies offer services that are economical yet still give customers the desired design flexibility for a wide range of plastic products because of low-cost tooling modifications. If you are looking for a cost-effective process for creating three-dimensional plastic products with sharp, precise details plus the option for trim and other visually appealing decoration, vacuum forming might just be the ticket. Known as a thermoforming process because it utilizes heat to make the plastic sheet or film pliable enough to form over and around a mold, vacuum forming serves industries such as food, cosmetics, medical, electronics, consumer products, toys, athletic equipment, appliance, automotive, office supplies, etc. The packaging industry deserves a separate mention because it relies heavily on vacuum formed items such as blister packs, inserts, trays and clamshells, all of which act to hold products in place as part of overall packaging protection, plus offer aesthetic appeal.

The Plastic Pallet And Fire Protection

This paper attempts to identify some of the specifics of the process used to obtain approval for use of plastic pallets as equivalent to wood pallets for use in warehouse storage. This paper is written to look at the issue in general and is not intended to cover all storage situations. Your specific situation should be evaluated by a fire protection specialist. Most plastic pallets are molded out of polyolefin materials such as high density polyethylene or polypropylene. These materials are more flammable than the wood used to make pallets. Over the years the industry has argued with the fire protection establishment that plastic pallets, while they burn hotter than wood, are much more difficult to ignite. Fire protection people counter with the fact that most warehouse fires are arson and if an arsonist wants to start a fire they will do what ever they need to do to get a fire started.

7 Common Types of Industrial Mixers

In the process manufacturing community, the mixing experts are the mixing equipment manufacturers, and they understand how different blades, speeds, mixer configurations and bowl shapes interact with different types of substances during the mixing process. There are nearly as many different types of mixing as there are products to be mixed – from industrial slurry adhesives to milk homogenization to bologna meat mixing, industrial mixers work differently to achieve smooth blending…

Page Views, Impressions, Engagement and Understanding Site Metrics for B2B Websites

What’s the difference between a hit, an impression and a unique visitor? Aside from all sounding like activities that take place at a Saturday night college party, these terms explain different ways of measuring a website’s traffic and, subsequently, a website’s success. This process of formulating website tracking into quantifiable data is called ‘metrics’, and with everyone using the new Web 2.0, quantifying a website’s success is trickier than ever. How many visitors does your site have each day? Each month? How many page views? What is the average time each visitor spends per session? What’s your site’s click through rate (CTR)? Is anyone subscribing to your RSS feed? All these questions are pointing to one underlying concern: is my website doing what it is supposed to do? Obviously, website success looks much different to a blogger than it does to an industrial manufacturer. A professional blogger will put more weight in how much time each visitor spends reading content and how many RSS subscriptions she has, while a manufacturer wants to know how many online quotes are being submitted and how many unique visitors view his ‘Capabilities’ page. These qualitative methods of measurement are part of the industry’s shift towards ‘engagement metrics’. But before we get too deep into this new mind-bog of ‘squishy’ analytics, let’s iron out some definitions.

10 Steps to Plastic Bags

Plastic bags, also called ‘poly bags,’ are one of those modern conveniences we take for granted. But 60 years ago, no one ever considered the question, ‘Paper or plastic?’ Back then, people also managed to get by without Ziploc® bags or dry cleaner bags. This was because the technology for creating polyethylene film didn’t emerge until the 1940s during World War II. And the methods to create plastic bags from polyethylene film weren’t developed until the 1950s. The most common way to produce poly bags is by blown film extrusion, also called the ‘tubular film process.’ In a moment, you’ll see how it got this name. Plastic bags are made from polyethylene. During processing, the polyethylene might be treated with any number of additives, such as…

How to Write a Specification For and Evaluate a Design/Build Cleanroom Proposal

With the increasing emphasis on utilizing the design/build method of delivery in the construction industry, and the desire to evaluate proposals using that old adage of ‘apples to apples’, it becomes incumbent upon the owner to create a specification which will insure that contractors have the appropriate information to propose the facility accurately…

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