UK Skills Gap Widens Threatening Productivity Levels

01-Feb-2018 05:11:00

Festo Training & Consulting’s recently published research, ‘People & Productivity’, shows that over the past three years, skills shortages have increased in the UK industrial sector. 84% of businesses experienced skills shortage in 2016, compared to 75% several years ago.

Skills shortages predominantly affect businesses that are gearing up for growth. Figures from the Festo survey show that the lack of skills is a direct cause of downtime and reduced profitability for 23% of industrial and manufacturing organisations.

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Topics: News, Fluid Power, Transfer & Control, Pneumatics

Think Smart: Why Better Technology Won't Save a Broken System

30-Jan-2018 04:09:00

We’re lucky enough to live in an age that offers a gadget or gizmo for nearly every application we can imagine. That isn’t to say, however, that a smart device will make a poorly-designed system more efficient, any more than a smart phone will make Joe Public the next Albert Einstein. When it comes to improving your flow control system, we at ERIKS prefer to take a more holistic approach.

When a company decides to equip its rather antiquated and clunky system with the latest bells and whistles, we’re reminded of the rather botched restoration of the Jesus Christ fresco that was undertaken in a church near Zaragoza five years ago. Yes, you’ve filled in a few gaps and the paint certainly looks newer, but is it art?

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Topics: News, Best Practice, TCO, Flow Control

Safer Hoses, Longer Lives

25-Jan-2018 05:58:00

Think about possible causes of a fire or explosion, and a rubber hose probably won’t feature on your list. But using the wrong type of hose to convey certain materials can lead to static electricity. Static electricity can lead to a spark… and we all know what that can lead to.

A non-electrically-conductive rubber hose is effectively a spark waiting to happen. Use it to transport a whole range of materials, from cyclohexane to xylene – and including hydrochloric or nitric acid, mineral oil, paint, petroleum or steam – and you are creating the ideal conditions for a dangerous build-up of static electricity. Only grounding the hose to earth will prevent the problem, and this requires connection to a steel helix (which is itself not 100% safe) or using static wires.

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Topics: News, Best Practice, Fluid Power, Transfer & Control, Hose Technology

3,000,000 Reasons to Choose a Different Valve Actuator

23-Jan-2018 05:51:00

Three million operations, maintenance-free.

That’s six times more than the standard actuator you’re probably using. Until now, you’ve never had the chance to choose an actuator as long-lasting and reliable as this. But now that AMG actuators are available from ERIKS UK & Ireland you can choose to fit – and forget.

One of the leading names for pneumatic actuators in Germany, AMG designs and manufactures a complete range of pneumatic rack & pinion actuators, for operating all kinds of ball, plug, butterfly and multiport valves.

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Topics: News, Best Practice, Flow Control, Valves

Cutting-Edge Bandsaw

18-Jan-2018 04:01:00

Next time you need a bandsaw blade of almost any kind, no-one looks sharper than L. S. Starrett. As an ERIKS supplier and preferred partner, Starrett can have a new blade manufactured and delivered direct to your site in just 24-48 hours.

Having been manufacturing blades since 1880 Starrett offer a huge choice, ranging from bimetal, diamond grit, carbon and carbide-tipped, to blades for wood cutting and meat cutting, and band knives for foam, rubber, soft plastics, cardboard, paper and cork.

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Topics: News, Tools, Safety and Maintenance

Cups and Sourcers from Piab

16-Jan-2018 05:30:00

If you need to source suction cups for any application in any industry, you don’t need to look any further than Piab. From the smallest plastic parts to the largest sheets of metal, there’s almost certain to be a Piab suction cup to handle it.

And if there isn’t, the company’s expert design team will engineer one for the task.

You’ll find Piab suction cups in any industry where vacuum-based automation is part of the production process.

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Topics: News, Fluid Power, Transfer & Control, Pneumatics

Don't Let off Steam

12-Jan-2018 04:21:00

When you’re looking for ways to reduce energy consumption and costs, and to increase efficiency and productivity, you shouldn’t let steam off the hook. An efficient steam system is a perfect energy transporter. But a poorly-designed system, or one with leaks or condensate build-up, can waste thousand of pounds a year in energy costs.

If other systems in your production process were running inefficiently, you’d spot the issue and resolve it quickly. But the problem with a steam system is the slow rate of deterioration in efficiency and performance. In fact some systems which have gone without a survey for as long as 5 years have been shown to have up to 30% of their steam traps leaking or blocked. Yet the reductions in efficiency, increases in energy costs and CO2 emissions, and the changes in the speed or quality of production were so gradual, the problems had gone almost unnoticed and completely unresolved.

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Topics: News, Best Practice, Efficiency

Lubrication Maths with FAG Concept2

10-Jan-2018 05:23:00

Two into one does go. Or at least it does when you’re talking about combining two lubrication devices in one, for convenience and compactness.

That’s the idea behind the FAG Concept2 lubrication system: one of the innovative products in Schaeffler’s wide range of automatic lubricators.

Ideal for situations where machines or lubrication points are difficult to access, or where machines are critical to the production process, automatic lubricators have long been a simple solution. And the FAG Concept2 simplifies things even further by reducing the number of lubricators required.

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Topics: News, Innovation, Bearings & Lubrication

The Heat is On for Bearing Installation and Lubrication

08-Jan-2018 05:27:00

Heat, either directly applied or generated in service, plays a significant role in the life of a bearing, being both beneficial and potentially detrimental at different stages of its lifecycle. SKF's Phil Burge, Marketing and Communications Manager explains how heat can be used beneficially as an aid to bearing installation, and describes the negative effects that excessive heat will have on lubricants when the bearing is in service.

Heat is the inevitable result of friction in rotating machinery and bearings are in the front line where friction is concerned. Their role is to reduce it, thereby minimising internal temperature rises and their unwanted consequences such as lubricant deterioration and premature bearing failure. But heat has a very positive role to play at the earliest stage of the bearing’s lifecycle when it is prepared for installation on a shaft or within a housing.

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Topics: News, Best Practice, Bearings & Lubrication

The Dark Side of Lighting

04-Jan-2018 07:38:41

Working in the dark is dangerous. Tasks needs sufficient light on the subject for workers to be safe and to carry out the job in hand. But in an explosive atmosphere, the wrong light can be as dangerous as no light.

When flammable gases, mists, vapours or combustible dusts are present in the atmosphere, and mix with the oxygen in air, all that’s needed is a source of ignition to cause an explosion. And sometimes, even something as seemingly innocuous as a torch can be that source.

So if you work in an explosive atmosphere and need personal lighting, you need a torch that’s designed for use in ATEX zones.

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Topics: News, Health & Safety, PPE, Tools, Safety and Maintenance

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