Innovative Thinking

How Safe is Your Motor Control Center?

A Motor Control Center (MCC) is an integral part of a manufacturing plant, and its continuous operation is vital if the company wants to make a profit. The safety of Motor Control Centers is a hot-topic in modern equipment design due to the ensuing hazards, most notably arc flashes. The safety of both the MCC as well as the personnel who operate it should therefore be a priority and appropriate guards must be in place to tackle any emergency.

The Future of Industrial Robotics

Industrial Robotics is a well-established field within the manufacturing sector for the past thirty years, employed for a variety of tasks like stacking, sorting, casting, welding, etc. Robots are involved within industries as they are able to perform hazardous, repetitive tasks more accurately and economically than humans. But still, in reality robots have a long way to go before they can be assigned intelligent tasks that require reasoning.

How to Manage & Reduce Risk on Automation Projects


Some projects may appear to be simple in the beginning, however problems arise that might not have been considered, which can ultimately end up costing a large amount of precious time and money. Delays can be avoided by taking a few steps to minimize risk and increase productivity. We will explore how uncertainties can derail a project and how you can reduce damage to your company’s timeline and budget.

Improving Shutdown Process

Millions of dollars are wasted on shutdowns by companies who are not aware of the ways to develop their shutdown process.

If an employee is hurt on a machine, all of the machines must be shut down in your facility. Factory shutdowns are necessary in this case, but they are often done incorrectly. You can look at other companies having these problems and understand how to fix certain issues. The process of shutting down is a series of documents and meetings resulting in a final report that displays everything that was learned and what to do if this happens again.

The Rise of Industrial Robotics

While the Great Recession may have put a dent in several industries, it did push-start the rise of industrial robotics. The sudden spotlight drew attention from all corners and in 2013 more than 5000 patents were passed for robotic technologies. Plus, the annual order for robotics in North America surpassed its 20,000-unit threshold as a result of increased investment by several venture capitalists.

Five Factors of a Successful Launch of Your Lean Journey


Lean manufacturing can be a very worthwhile investment, as it can have a very significant effect on your productivity and profitability. But beginning your lean journey is a daunting task and a serious investment, involving a lot of effort and a bunch of money. If not managed properly, a launch into the lean is at risk for serious failure, so keep the following factors in mind to greatly increase your chances of a successful launch.

1. Rules of Engagement

First things first, it is important to set up some general rules for your managers and business executives in order to uphold your end goals and ensure proper team functionality. All too often, management engages in the poor practice of approving an idea because it came from a “smart” team member, allowing decisions to be based on what they think of a person instead of the integrity of the actual idea itself. In order to get the most meaningful contributions to the launch project, make sure your management is seeking to approve suggestions based on factual data. Also, it is important that your business execs remain on the exterior, allowing the regular functional staff to complete all their assigned work without impedance.

2. Ensure Your Support Will Last

The beginning of a launch into lean manufacturing is exciting, and a whole lot of people will line up to offer support. Many people don’t understand, however, that the launch into lean is a journey all of its own. In order to succeed, management needs to continuously promote the launch, evaluate its progress, and assess its condition. Supporters need to know from the start that the launch will be monitored in every way, and that those showing visionary skills in lean manufacturing will be called upon to work their hardest.

You can really help your staff stay attached to the launch by setting up some easy wins and some acceptable failures along the way. Doing this will not only allow the staff to feel some wins without the fear of making costly mistakes, but it also prepares your staff to handle mistakes that will inevitably occur along the way without pushing them off track, ensuring continued support and success.

3. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

There’s no question that Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are needed to help drive operational improvements and that they are essential for organizations to present performance information to all levels of the organization. A KPI is a metric with the key concept of driving strategic competitive advantage for the organization and successful KPIs will deliver a lot of long-term value. But if you want success with your KPIs, you need to focus on some things, like taking a few critical measurements instead of an unnecessary multitude of them. Also, make sure the KPIs you choose will push toward your actual goal, are applicable to the entire organization, and are easy to control and validate.

4. Give Your Supervisor's Attention

Suddenly changing your organization’s values to accommodate lean concepts without providing a proper transition for your supervisors can turn your efforts into a train wreck. Your supervisors are probably accustomed to some behaviors that don’t fit well with lean practices, based on results that you have rewarded them for in the past. Having been so acquainted with such practices can make it very hard for your supervisors to swap their tracks over to lean. To overcome their habits, you’ll need to ensure that they have something new and different to work on and that they can only approach it in new ways; force them to adapt.

5. Train!

One of the biggest mistakes you could make is to undertake a lean journey without the appropriate training. Management needs to deploy basic training at the beginning of the launch so that all staff has an understanding.

Continue the conversation with an expert! Contact Premier Automation today.

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Safety Beyond the Motor Control Center


Safety is a top priority for companies and facilities not only because it protects its workers but it can also protect its machinery.  When developing safety and control systems, facilities tend to focus on the machines and products inside the facility, but outside factors should not be forgotten.  Companies should look beyond what is controllable in their facility when setting up their motor control centers.

The Key Differences between AC and DC Drives

While AC and DC drives each have specific uses, which is best for your project? In order to make this decision, one must first understand the benefits of each type of drive. Today AC drives are used much more frequently because of the precision that can be obtained from driving motors with them. Should you be looking for raw power, DC is the best choice. Let's review the advantages and most common uses for each drive to understand how to identify drive solutions for your application.

Finding New Value in Automation: Redesigning Processes

Automation has been a driving force in production and manufacturing over the past few years.  Automation and control engineers are becoming more and more valuable as improvements in manufacturing become more necessary to keep up with technology.  Automation can bring great value to companies and improve production quality and efficiency.  Companies need to evaluate how automation can improve their business and give the company a step up in competing with other manufactures.

Modernizing HMIs with Remote Monitoring

As the manufacturing world rapidly modernizes, manufacturers must be at the top of their games from broad new strategies to fine-tuned details. Today, there are sensor products on the market that allow for remote monitoring f0r everything from home utilities and amenities such as a pool to security systems. Many set-ups are as simple as loading up an app on a tablet or smartphone.

While this is indeed a positive change, HMIs must link to remote access to evolve as a useful tool. Going beyond simple monitoring and interaction, HMIs create a hub of control that many pieces of technology, such as older sensor products and other systems, often lack. In addition, most of today’s HMI systems are web-based, meaning that open standards are beginning to become a relevant powerhouse in the industrial market once again.