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Design for Reliability: Facility Upgrades

This year we are seeing big changes in industrial manufacturing due to new advances in technology and automation, and we are all trying to keep up. Many companies are investing in large-scale facility upgrades to incorporate these new technologies and keep up with demand. From their experiences, we are learning about benefits, challenges, and effects on processes that facility upgrades can bring. A focus on designing for reliability will be essential in planning these upgrades. 

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sheep solar farm maintenance
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Landscape to Lambscape: How Sheep are Reshaping Solar Farm Maintenance

When you think about solar farm maintenance, sheep may be the last workers you think of hiring. But, they come with a host of benefits. Solar installations require extensive maintenance efforts to control vegetation and sheep grazing provides a new cost-effective solution. This innovative practice allows solar farms to maintain ground cover, control vegetation, reduce fire risk, and lower O&M expenditures.

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3D printed spare parts - 3D printer
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Revolutionizing Train Maintenance: 3D Printing Redefines Spare Parts Procurement

Running low on spare parts? Just pop into the warehouse and fire up the printer. That’s what one company, Deutsche Bahn (DB) is doing, and the results are nothing short of extraordinary. With the power of 3D printing, DB has successfully produced a total of 100,000 spare parts ushering in a new era of efficiency, cost savings, and resource optimization in train maintenance operations. 

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Ohio foundry steam explosion
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Why did the Ohio Foundry Explosion Happen?

An investigation has uncovered the reasons the Ohio foundry steam explosion occurred. In late February at a metals plant in Ohio, a steam explosion caused 1 fatality and sent 15 other crew members to the hospital, 2 in critical condition at the time. This is an update to the article posted 2/22/23.

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palmer chocolate factory explosion
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NTSB Report Points to Natural Gas Leak as Catalyst in Chocolate Factory Explosion

On March 24, 2023, a deadly explosion erupted at a chocolate factory in West Reading, Pennsylvania. The explosion at the R.M. Palmer Co. plant occurred around 4:55 pm, flattening one building and damaging several structures nearby. As a result of the incident 7 people lost their lives, 11 were injured, and 3 families were displaced from their homes. The National Transportation and Safety Board’s (NTSB) most recent report concluded a natural gas leak may have contributed to the chocolate factory explosion.

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Fury 325 image courtesy NPR
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Condition Monitoring Matters: Lessons Learned from Fury 325

In late June, a crack in a column of the Fury 325, a 95 mph “giga coaster” threatened the safety of passengers at Carowinds Amusement Park in Charlotte, North Carolina. The crack was likely apparent for a week before a now viral video posted by a park patron encouraged the park to shut down the ride. 

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superior refinery explosion
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Superior Refinery Wisconsin to Reopen in 2023

In 2018 an explosion at Wisconsin’s only oil refinery injured dozens and caused thousands to evacuate. Five years later, the refinery is set to reopen following a $1.2 billion rebuild and multiple safety recommendations from federal agencies. In March 2023 the refinery, now owned by Cenovus Energy, began introducing crude oil aiming to resume full operations by the end of June.

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