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Innovative Thinking

Michelle Szemanski

Recent Posts

3 Factors in a Successful System Integration Project

System integration — a sometimes daunting but valuable project that coordinates the manufacturing process into a seamless whole. Integrated systems have evolved over time, but an experienced System Integrator can still make or break your integration project. What 3 factors should you consider when choosing an integration partner?

Drive Solutions: Preventative Maintenance for Variable Frequency Drives

Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) can extend the life of your motors, but how can you extend the life of your VFD? The most expertly specified VFD is only as useful as its operational reliability. This guide reviews variable frequency drives basics of care to ensure long-term productivity and cost-effectiveness.

Automation Solutions: Effective Alarm Management


How many blinking lights register as background noise for the operator on your plant floor?

In the design or planning phase of a project, alarms may be touted as central to the safety and efficiency of a process. But without considering the realistic use for an alarm and taking steps to ensure truly effective reactions, alarms may do more harm than good.

The real danger is that important alarms will get lost in the static. Known as "alarm fatigue," it can dull an operator's sensitivity to alarms when a dangerous or costly situation occurs. 

Automation Solutions: Eliminating EMI

“Please turn off all personal electronic devices, including laptops and cell phones. Thank you!”

Many of us who have boarded a commercial flight are familiar with this quirk of air travel. If you own a smartphone, it likely features a toggle called “Airplane Mode” somewhere in your settings. Why? And what does it have to do with manufacturing?

The answer is Electromagnetic Interference, or EMI.

Historically, cell phones are considered a culprit of EMI, which can impact the performance of navigation instruments in a plane. In manufacturing, EMI plays an even bigger role in producing “dirty power” that can pollute an electrical system.

This could be a major factor behind your factory’s unplanned downtime when equipment falters or the entire system shuts down.

The 3 Quiet Problems Behind the Skilled Manufacturing Shortage

A recent study by Deloitte revealed that the industry will face a shortfall of almost 2 million skilled manufacturing workers in the next decade. That’s a lot of shoes to fill. Unfortunately, manufacturers often aren't sure how to prepare for the gap, especially in a challenging global market. Three recurring problems have been shadowing the industry for a long time, contributing to the shortage companies see today.

Automation Solutions: Six Sigma and Quality Control

If you trace the demand for automation solutions back to the source, you’ll find the same pressures and economic pitfalls that affect manufacturing across diverse industries. The difference? How companies adapt and grow in response to a challenging market.

Premier Automation Achieves ISNetworld Certification

PITTSBURGH, February 17, 2016 - Premier Automation is proud to announce ISNetworld certification. While many companies promise a seamless partnership, fewer businesses back up these claims with the documentation clients really need. ISNetworld (ISN) provides a portal for companies and clients to pool safety, insurance, quality and regulatory documentation to streamline projects, saving money and time for both parties. The ISN system standardizes project management to decrease incident rates and increase compliance rates.

Premier Automation Named 2015 Best Places to Work

PITTSBURGH, February 2, 2016 - The Pittsburgh Business Times named Premier Automation one of Pittsburgh’s Best Places to Work in 2015. Premier Automation ranked in the Large Company category with nearly 100 employees, 8 of whom have been with the company since its foundation.

The Pittsburgh Business Times selects the Best Places to Work by surveying companies across four metrics:

Industrial Solutions in the Age of Service

In an uncertain global market, manufacturers are facing disruptions and revolutions in the way things are made. Digitalization in manufacturing—the Internet of Things (IoT), analytics, and cloud computing—buzzes in the industrial community’s collective thoughts. It provides a glimpse into the future of manufacturing and the industrial solutions that future will need.

But technology never solves broad and complex problems without structural changes to support it. Just as the tools we use to manufacture evolve, so do the business models.

Premier Automation Joins the Pittsburgh Business Times Book of Lists

PITTSBURGH, January 18, 2016 - The Pittsburgh Business Times ranked Premier Automation the 18th Largest Engineering Firm in Western Pennsylvania for 2015. With nearly 100 employees and over 20 full-time engineers on staff, Premier Automation has the capacity to take on projects of any size and complexity.