As the economy recovers in the manufacturing sector, editor Linda Becker says you should ask yourself: Is your plant prepared to ramp up production yet continue to turn out high quality product?
According to our lead news story, “Manufacturing Index Reaches Near-20-Year High,” the manufacturing sector should end 2003 on a positive note, and all of the indexes support continued strength in 2004. As the economic recovery picks up steam in the manufacturing sector, certainly, there's cause to rejoice. But take a moment and ask yourself: Is your plant prepared to ramp up production yet continue to turn out high quality product? If you had to double your production run tomorrow, what would happen to your reject and scrap rate? If those thoughts give you pause, we've prepared a lineup of articles that will help you keep critical heating processes in spec.
In “Tackling the Tough Processes,” Bill Barron Jr. of Williamson Corp., Concord, Mass., notes that temperature is by far the most commonly measured industrial process parameter. Most temperature measurements are made using thermocouples or RTDs; however, for applications involving a moving or batch-heated product, these contact devices provide only an indirect measure of temperature. Infrared thermometers are able to provide a direct measurement of product temperature, but they can be difficult to apply without significant measurement errors. Barron describes recent developments in infrared thermometer technology that have eliminated many of the obstacles to accurate temperature measurement for this type of challenging application.