Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Reducing Downtime in Packaging Automation

You know that feeling when you're driving through the backroads, trying to get around freeway rush hour, only to hit every single red light? Like, Every. Single. Stop. Lost time and frustration fulminate into road rage and you wonder why you didn't just take the train.

In factory automation, machinery upgrades are a lot like those stop lights—slowing you down from your all-important destination. Every time a manufacturer has to replace a field component, production halts. Obviously, that lost time translates to higher purchasing costs and concerns about product quality and consistency. 

Not long ago, we worked with an international multimillion-dollar food service packaging corporation with exactly that problem. Higher-than-expected field component replacements on machinery in multiple field offices made production a frustrating pace of stop-and-go. Bearings had to be switched out far earlier and more often than they expected.

Bishop-Wisecarver engineers worked closely with this packaging corporation to pinpoint the problem: the bearings weren't being installed properly. Botched installation caused premature failures and required all too many emergency replacements. 

So our engineers figured out how to maximize product life by producing a training video specific to the installation issue. In the video, the engineers explain how to install and adjust the v-rollers. They also show how to calculate the proper preload. 

The video was a hit. The packaging company played it in various production facilities, which cleared up the problems almost immediately. That simple fix and multimedia outreach saved the entire corporation a fortune—some $50,000 to $75,000 a year—by reducing maintenance and machinery downtime. 

By the way, we upload product videos on our YouTube channel for anyone to watch. Check it out

Friday, June 12, 2015

Guided Motion Solutions for the Prefab Home Industry

What comes to mind when you think of prefabricated homes? A mobile home park? Vinyl siding, steel roofs, monotonous rows of trailers or lackluster bungalows? 

Thanks to an unprecedented global uptake of prefabricated housing, the variety and quality of manufactured homes has expanded to include everything from the luxurious to low cost, from the aesthetically stunning to the spartan and practical. 

A high-end prefabricated home. (Image via iDesignArch)
Driven by a burgeoning interest in sustainable designs and a need for more affordable housing as real estate markets drive up the cost of living in most metropolitan job centers, prefabricated and modular homes are gaining renewed interest from consumers. In fact, prefab homes are becoming the most sought-after types of affordable housing, with cost savings realized through efficiencies in the manufacturing process instead of public subsidies. 

Japan and several northern European countries are leading the trend in off-site manufactured dwellings. In Sweden, some 84 percent of standalone homes use prefab wood elements, according to the Global Construction Review

Since 1976, KSM Log Homes has manufactured log home kits that are both aesthetically stunning and surprisingly cost-effective, given that the company is the mill, manufacturer, designer and shipper. Just take a look at the photos of KSM homes to see what we're talking about.

Some years ago, Bishop-Wisecarver Group came up with a custom solution to streamline mill operations at KSM. 

As part of an effort to improve automation, the log homes manufacturer developed and designed a machine that automatically mills notches in heavy logs used in prefab log homes. 

The machine needed to run up to 10 hours a day for five days a week. It needed bearings and tracks that could withstand being constantly bombarded with wood chips and sawdust. 

The answer? DualVee and Hepco assemblies. The unique vee-edge design of DualVee double-row angular contact ball bearings, which fling off debris, eliminated the need to cover the guidance system. DualVee bearings, one of our signature designs, not only withstand dirty and harsh industrial environments, they last for years without maintenance because of their self-cleaning design.

We love sharing application examples, to show how our guided motion solutions work for a diverse cross-section of industries, from heavy duty industrial plants to exacting medical and cleanroom settings. 

If you'd like to learn more about a specific product, let us know and we'll make it the subject of a blog post. Meanwhile, feel free to peruse our ever-growing library of application stories