WVMEP Newsletter - February 2017 - Issue 3
Industrial Building Lit Up At Night

I am sure all of you are looking at the calendar and wondering what happened to January. The year is off to a fast start for the WVMEP and we have been busy delivering employee training services and implementing in-plant projects to many of our clients in the areas of ISO quality programs, health and safety topics, energy conservation and continuous improvement. If we have not worked with you this year, give us a call; visit our website or talk to one of our consultants to see how we can help. This is going to be a year of change in West Virginia and the country and the WVMEP stands ready to help you address new problems and opportunities.

In this issue we provide safety and energy tips that will benefit your organization. Included is information on the Small Business Innovation Research, or SBIR, program from the federal government and how it can help fund and drive innovation in your products. We also provide information on the intern program from the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources and how to utilize student engineers to help your business. And as always, we highlight another unique 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.

Gerald Biser, Director, WVMEP

Man wearing hearing protection while working
Did YOU know?

Exposure to excessively high levels of industrial noise can cause permanent hearing loss. In fact, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health estimates that there are between five and 30 million workers in the U.S. who are exposed to noise levels at work that put them at risk of hearing loss.

Noise levels and worker exposures vary depending on the work environment and duration of operation. Generally speaking, if you cannot conduct a normal conversation two to three feet away or if you have to shout to be heard from another worker, then the ambient noise levels may be greater than OSHA’s action level standard of 85 decibels, A-weighted and hearing protection is required.

If information indicates that noise levels may be above OSHA’s standards, employers are required to evaluate their workplace using instruments specifically designed to measure noise levels and noise exposures—sound level meter, dosimeter and octave band analyzer. Employers must provide workers exposed to excessive noise appropriate hearing protection (i.e., ear plugs, muffs or both) when engineering or administrative controls do not reduce noise exposure below occupational exposure limits.

West Virginia manufacturers can contact WVU’s Department of Mining and Industrial Extension for assistance on measuring noise levels and implementing controls. In addition, if levels are above OSHA requirements, the employer must provide training and hearing exams, as well as implement feasible engineering and administrative controls to further reduce noise levels.

For more information or to ask a question related to safety and health, please contact John A. Frazer, Ph.D., CSP, at 304-303-3110.

Service Trends: SBIR

Are you an entrepreneur with a potential research project but you need help to establish its technical merit and demonstrate its feasibility and commercial potential?

The Small Business Innovation Research program is a highly competitive program that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in federal research/research and development that has the potential for commercialization. Through a competitive awards-based program, SBIR enables small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its commercialization.

SBIR funds the critical startup and development stages and it encourages the commercialization of the technology, product or service. Since its enactment in 1982, the SBIR program has helped thousands of small businesses to compete for federal R&D awards.

The WVMEP will be holding introduction workshops this spring for those who want to learn more about the SBIR process. The WVMEP can also assist qualified small businesses in competing for federal SBIR/Small Business Technology Transfer grants to support research and innovation. We will provide a no-cost consultation of your project after which our team can help you succeed in winning grant funding through affordable services to:

Review your research idea and assess its potential for funding

  • Identify an appropriate federal agency and funding opportunity
  • Review proposals
  • Assist in finding research partners

Complete details of the SBIR/STTR program can be found online.
For more information on this topic, please contact Ed Crowe.

Working with pressure gauge
Energy Tip

Tips for Reducing Compressed Air Costs

Compressed air generation is one of the most expensive auxiliary processes for an industrial facility. Only 10-20 percent of the electric energy input reaches the point of end-use in a compressed air system. Below are a few “best practices” that can reduce compressed air costs.

• Repair Leaks. Leaks in an industrial compressed air system can account for as much as 20-30 percent of the compressor output. Detection and repair can reduce leaks to less than 10 percent. The most common problem areas are couplings, pressure regulators, condensate traps, shut-off valves and pipe joints.

• Reduce System Pressure. Many plant air compressors operate above pressure required by the equipment being serviced. The actual pressure requirements of machinery and tools are often 80-90 pounds per square inch gage or lower. Reducing system pressure can reduce energy consumption. For systems in the 100 psig range, every two pounds per-square-inch decrease in discharge pressure will decrease energy consumption by about one percent at full load.

• Use an Outside Air Intake when Outside Air is Cooler than Inside Air. Compressor work increases proportionally as inlet air temperature increases. A lower inlet air temperature will result in less compressor work.

• Recover Waste Heat. Common applications include supplemental space heating, industrial process heating, water heating, makeup air heating and boiler makeup water preheating. While most compressed air systems do not take advantage of heat recovery, the paybacks can be less than one year.

NOTE: This information was adapted from the “Best Practices for Compressed Air Systems,” 2003.

To learn more about how energy efficiency can reduce your costs, contact Ed Crowe.

Talking with recruiters at the Spring Career Fair
Resource Solutions

The Corporate Relations and Career Assistance Program in WVU’s Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources provides students with opportunities for practical, real-world experience through several different programs, and helps them find great jobs after graduation. The Program also assists employers in finding talented students for internships, co-ops and permanent positions, and hosts an annual engineering and computer science career fair that draws hundreds of employers and thousands of students.

Cooperative Education Program

The co-op program allows students to apply what they learn in the classroom to career-related employment by alternating periods of full-time study with paid full-time employment.

In a co-op, students will:

  • Participate in alternating work and school semesters
  • Work with the same employer each rotation
  • Experience increasing technical involvement each rotation


Internships allow students to observe and participate in their field in an actual professional setting. In an internship, a student will often:

  • Shadow a professional to experience what engineers do first hand
  • Put their classroom skills to work in a professional environment
  • Learn new skills and techniques

If you would be interested in participating in either program, please contact Lloyd Ford, program coordinator, at 304-293-4370.

Man's hands working on mechanical gears

Located in Keyser, Criterion has been repairing residential and commercial outdoor furniture since 1980. Criterion provides a variety of services including sandblasting, powder coating, acrylic enamel wet painting, antiquing, frame repair, welding, strap replacement, cushion and sling fabrication and installation. Currently, they can successfully repair and restore wrought iron, cast iron, extruded aluminum, cast aluminum and stainless steel. WVMEP has worked with Criterion on various projects throughout the years and continues to assist as they experience additional growth.

"I have been in business for more than 30 years in a niche service capacity to the outdoor casual furniture industry. Our services include sandblasting and powdercoating operations, which enable us to provide to customers outside our niche base. Over the years Jerry Biser, representing WVMEP, has sought out ways to be of assistance to the growth and management of our company.

"A couple of years ago Gerry Biser and his knowledgeable team provided Criterion with a major advantage over our competition. Value Stream Mapping Solutions identified areas of loss within our operation enabling us to be more efficient. We also implemented a safety program and instilled new practices based upon the guidance offered by WVMEP to insure a safer, healthier work environment for our employees.

"Most recently, WVMEP has undertaken a major job assessment project observing our day-to-day operations to detail job descriptions and provide recommendations for lean manufacturing advancement.  Criterion is blessed to have taken part in multiple project opportunities over the years with WVMEP and we look forward to future endeavors to better our company and community."

Jim Kaufman

March 9
Nicholas County Wood Products Roundtable
Summersville, WV
April 26
Mercer County Manufacturer's Roundtable
Princeton, WV
April 27
Raleigh County Airport Industrial Park Roundtable
Beaver, WV
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

© 2017 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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