With September comes my favorite issue of the year: Our 10 Tips edition. As Process Heating marks its second decade of publication, I’d like to share some of the things I’ve learned from you.

  1. Whether measured, monitored or controlled — or not — temperature drives conditions in processing applications. Applying the proper amount of heat for the proper amount of time is critical for effecting the material changes sought at the root of many thermal processing applications.
  2. Before you look for a contractor or consultant to solve your problem, look at what you own already. For instance, the Advanced Manufacturing Office, part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, works with industry to develop and promote technologies and tools that industrial operators can use to satisfy energy and environmental performance goals. As a federally funded program, the programs, software and other resources developed by them belong to every U.S. manufacturer. Energy efficiency tools, energy assessments and more are available.
  3. It needn’t take an accident to adopt safer practices. The safest systems are those that eliminate hazards, of course, but in the process industries, heat and pressure are often a part of the manufacturing equation. To maximize plant safety, it is important to regularly evaluate processes and products to see whether another product, method or even temperature can deliver effective results more safety.
  4. Success isn’t a destination, it’s a life journey. Sometimes, companies and individuals can be caught in a downward spiral in which they repeatedly accept a lower standard of performance until that lower standard becomes the norm. Often, the acceptance of the lower standard occurs because the individual or team is under pressure — deadlines, budget, etc. — and believes it is too difficult to adhere to the original, higher standard. The individual or team accepts the lower standard due to these “extenuating circumstances” and intends to return to the higher standard when the pressure eases. But if the individual or team accepts the lower standard and “gets away with it,” it is likely they will revert to that lower standard when similar pressures occur again. Over time, the individual or team no longer sees the lower standard as deviant, and it becomes acceptable even when not under pressure.
  5. Innovation is essential to manufacturing success. Keeping your products in line with and even ahead of your competitors — and more importantly, your customers’ wants and needs — is a challenge, and not one that can be ignored. Unfortunately, innovation is not something that can be taught like mathematics or HTML coding. Instead, innovation grows from knowledge, inevitably needed yet fortuitous in form.

What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned from Process Heating?

Linda Becker, Associate Publisher & Editor,