WVMEP Newsletter - December 2016 - Issue 2
Industrial Building Lit Up At Night
2017 looks like it is going to be a year of new challenges, but also one of many new opportunities. As we have for the past 19 years, the WVMEP will help your company work through those challenges and identify new opportunities. We will continue to provide all the best-in-class support services that you expect from our organization such as safety, quality and process optimization, while launching services such as Small Business Innovation Research assistance, energy and business sustainability, manufacturing roundtables, export and market improvement services and others designed to tackle these challenges and take advantage of these opportunities.

In this issue we provide safety, energy and lean tips that will benefit your organization along with other useful information. We also highlight the WVU Industrial Assessment Center, a valuable no-cost resource available from WVU that can reduce your energy use and cost. We also highlight another West Virginia company that has taken advantage of multiple WVMEP services through the years and has benefited greatly as a result.

If you would like information on any of our current or new services please contact the WVMEP. Contact information is provided in the newsletter.

Gerald Biser, Director, WVMEP

Man in hardhat moving large bags
Did YOU know?

Conducting an ergonomic risk assessment is a basic element of an ergonomic management system. Your ergonomic improvement efforts will never get off the ground without being able to effectively assess job tasks in your workplace for work-related musculoskeletal disorder or WMSD risk factors. WMSDs affect the muscles, nerves, blood vessels, ligaments and tendons. Workers in many different industries and occupations can be exposed to risk factors, such as lifting heavy items, bending, reaching overhead, pushing and pulling heavy loads, working in awkward body postures and performing the same or similar tasks repetitively. Exposure to these known risk factors for WMSDs increases a worker's risk of injury.

Work-related MSDs can be prevented. Ergonomics, i.e., fitting a job to a person, helps lessen muscle fatigue, increases productivity and reduces the number and severity of work-related MSDs. Systematically conducting ergonomic risk assessments (i.e., Rapid Entire Body Assessment, Rapid Upper Limb Assessment, National Institute of Occupation Safety and Health Recommended Weight Limit) gives you a clear view of the risks present in your workplace. This will allow you to effectively communicate, prioritize and implement workplace improvements. Because ergonomic risk assessments are the backbone of the ergonomics improvement process, it’s important to be effective and efficient with your assessments.

For more information on this topic or to ask a question related to safety and health, please contact John A. Frazer, Ph.D., CSP.

Industrial aisle with dividing line
Service Trends: 5S Training and Facilitation

How many times have you walked into the shop or into your office to do something, only to realize you can’t find what you need? Completing a task, no matter how big or how small, becomes much more time consuming and frustrating when you are missing the necessary tools and materials. 5S—sort, systematize, sweep, standardize and self-discipline—is a lean methodology that can help create and maintain the organization necessary to remain streamlined and focus time and energy on the process at hand.

One of the bigger misconceptions about 5S is that is simply a “housekeeping” tool. While housekeeping and workplace practices are the foundation of 5S, the bigger picture is focused on developing and maintaining the standards and discipline necessary to manage your company. The WVU industrial engineering/MEP team will work alongside you to conduct a 5S event in each area of your plant, teaching you the basics of 5S, how to implement 5S principles in your plant, how to use visual management to motivate and maintain the work completed during each 5S event and how to leverage the success of standardization found in 5S to other areas of your company. As 5S events are conducted throughout your plant, you will begin to see noticeable improvements in productivity, quality and morale, all of which have a direct effect on the bottom line. You will also begin to notice reductions in waste, and improved safety throughout. To learn more about 5S and how it can help you, contact David Carrick.

Chemical Plant with Pipe
Energy Tip

Did you know that periodic checking and adjustment of a burner’s air-fuel ratio is one of the simplest ways to get maximum efficiency out of fuel-fired process heating equipment? Most high-temperature, direct-fired furnaces, radiant tubes and boilers operate with about 10-20 percent excess combustion air to prevent the formation of dangerous carbon monoxide and soot deposits on heat transfer surfaces and inside radiant tubes. Process heating efficiency is reduced considerably if the combustion air supply is significantly higher or lower. Measurement of oxygen and combustibles such as carbon monoxide in flue gases can be used to monitor changes in excess air levels. For most systems, two-three percent of oxygen in the flue gas represents ideal operating conditions.

To calculate potential savings, you will need to know:

  • The temperature of the flue gas
  • The percentage of excess oxygen in flue gases, at which the furnace now operates
  • The percentage of excess oxygen in flue gases, at which the furnace could operate.

The percent fuel savings can be readily calculated with the Process Heating Assessment and Survey Tool software published by the U.S. Department of Energy and is available for download at no charge.

The WV MEP has access to analyzers to measure the temperature and excess oxygen content of flue gas and can help with the measurement and analysis. Contact Ed Crowe for more information.

Center Spotlight Image
Resource Solutions

The Industrial Assessment Center at WVU is one of many centers around the country funded by the U.S. Department of Energy to provide no-cost energy, waste, water, cyber security and smart manufacturing assessments to small and mid-sized manufacturers. A team of students and professors obtain the engineering measurements by auditing how each facility utilizes energy and resources. They then identify opportunities to save energy, reduce waste and improve productivity.

The WVU-IAC team performs detailed process analysis to generate specific recommendations with cost and resource savings, implementation cost and payback on investment. Within 60 days, the plant receives a confidential report detailing the analysis, findings and recommendations. Small and medium-sized manufacturers may be eligible to receive the assessment at no cost.

As a result of performing these assessments, upper class and graduate engineering students receive unique hands-on assessment training and gain knowledge of industrial process systems, plant systems and energy systems making them highly attractive to employers. An important objective of the WVU-IAC is to train and educate energy engineers of the future. Contact Bhaskaran Gopalakrishnan for more information.

Man's hands working on mechanical gears
C.U.E. of West Virginia

C.U.E. of West Virginia, LLC, is a manufacturer and supplier of specialty urethane parts, components and subassemblies. Located at a retired coal mine site in Mt. Hope, the manufacturing facility has been in business since 1949. C.U.E., Inc. acquired the plant in 2000 to provide a natural extension to their high-quality product line. C.U.E.'s mission is to provide high-quality urethane products and service, a safe work environment for its employees and to protect the environment.

“C.U.E. of West Virginia is ISO 9001, ISO 14000 and ISO/TS16949 certified. We received SHARP accreditation in 2015. With a work force of fewer than 14 employees, none of these certifications could have been accomplished without the help and expertise of WVMEP personnel. They have provided resources, training and hands-on support to CUE for over 15 years. This has been an outstanding partnership with WVMEP and we plan to utilize them to help grow our business in 2017.

—Vicki Sumpter

In the News
Department of Mining and Industrial Extension
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
West Virginia University
P.O. Box 6070, Morgantown, WV 26506-6070

Phone: 304.293.4211

© 2016 West Virginia University.
WVU is an EEO/Affirmative Action employer — Minority/Female/Disability/Veteran

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Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, West Virginia University · P.O. Box 6070 · Morgantown, WV 26506 · USA

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