Job Shop Flexibility – Manufacturing Performance

We at EMIT Technologies tailor solutions to your application.  We have all read articles about companies being successful at offering job-shop flexibility with the performance and efficiency of manufacturing.  How is EMIT able to offer this same performance and what does that mean for you?

For starters, several of our solutions have been pre-engineered, encompassing thousands of configurations to choose from.  Likely, one of our pre-engineered solutions will fit you application, and we will be able to begin building you product quickly.  No need to worry if one of these solutions don’t fit exactly what you need.  These pre-engineered solutions give both you and us a framework to begin work, quickly getting to the specifics of your requirements and ultimately to a solution.  Pre-engineered solutions include exhaust piping, intake piping, silencing, ladders, stairs, and work platforms.

EMIT’s engineering staff works in-house which allows us to gain immediate insight into your requirements, working closely with your folks to understand your challenges.  Our engineers are familiar with our manufacturing processes which allows products to be designed with both your requirements and manufacturability in mind – delivering a faster solution.  Leveraging our quality management system, we perform design reviews with all jobs accomplishing three things: ensuring that both manufacturing and supply chain understand your requirements, identifying and mitigating potential risks, and ensuring that all your requirements are met.

EMIT leverages our CAD and ERP integration to pass your approved design directly from engineering into manufacturing, increasing our delivery speed and reducing potential risks from a “manual” hand-off.  Every project is driven through, and is uniquely identified in, our manufacturing process by our ERP system: instructing when each work center is to perform each task, ensuring that your product stays on time – meeting your required date.

EMIT’s manufacturing process also includes quality checks throughout our process.  At these stages in manufacturing, key characteristics are inspected for accuracy.  Detected non-conformances are identified, documented, and contained within manufacturing reducing the impact of disturbances in our work flow, again keeping your product on time.

Lastly, if an issue does arise, which we are embarrassed to say they do on occasion, our processes are designed to quickly address these issues.  Our first and highest priority is to ensure our customers can continue work on their project; which can include repair in the field, repair in our facility, or replacement.  However, we don’t stop there; we continue work to find the root cause of the issue and understand why the issue occurred.  A corrective action is put in place to address the root cause so that this issue will not occur again – always working to improve our processes.

These are a few of the steps we, at EMIT, take to maximize our flexibility in meeting your needs while at the same time fabricating a solution quickly so that you can continue to meet your customer’s demands.

Justin Carlson, Process Support Engineer        9/8/2016

A Need for SPEED!

At EMIT Technologies, the status quo is challenged every single day. The result? Innovation! In an industry where equipment dating back 20 years is not difficult to find, that’s a big deal.
Through the course of the last year EMIT has developed and released a complete line of engine speed control products, but why should you care? After all, your engines already have speed control, right? EMIT’s speed governors challenge the conventional ideology of mechanical speed governing: they feature a robust, integrated electronic throttle body, the ability to automatically adjust engine speed to account for changes in suction or discharge pressure, and a proprietary throttle control algorithm that responds quickly to changes in engine load without high frequency jitter that invokes excessive wear. That means better control, better fuel economy, better life, and far fewer trips on-site to make adjustments. Day in and day out, these are things that save EMIT’s customers time and money, but unfortunately, speed control can’t work unless the system is physically compatible with your engine.

EMIT’s list of speed control supported engines includes the CAT3300NA/TA both “A” and “B” models, CAT3406NA, CAT3408TA, Cummins G5.9, G8.3, KTA19, and Arrow VRG330/330CF. If you’re looking to get started, EMIT can have a complete control system for any of these engines on your door step in as little as two weeks. Don’t see your engine on the list? Pick up the phone! Speed control is an active development project which means the list of supported engines is only going to grow. Drop a hint and you’ll get a call back when EMIT supports speed control for your engine. Bear in mind; however, that speed control is only one of EMIT’s strong suits.

EMIT has historically been a leader in engine controls for stationary natural gas engines. Beginning with the EDGE air-fuel ratio controller, EMIT’s line of engine control modules has grown to include advanced, patented air-fuel ratio control technology in the AFRCA, complete data logging capability with the EMD, time saving speed control with GOV, consistent ignition control and extensive diagnostics in the ICM, and complete annunciator alarm coverage with ANN. The best part? Each module (AFRCA, EMD, GOV, etc.) can be used independently or in conjunction with any of the others. That means you can purchase only the modules you need with the option to expand at any time in the future. So, whatever your engine control needs, give EMIT Technologies the opportunity to earn your business. You won’t be disappointed.

Stephen Christensen, Mechanical Engineer, Product Development 8/15/16

Problem controller? We can help!

At EMIT Technologies we take pride in and stand behind our work, which is why we offer a one-year warranty on our electronic controls components. Even after the warranty has expired we offer repair services for your EMIT electronic controllers. Repair services are provided for the following units:

  • EDGE NG- Single and Dual Bank
  • EIM
  • AFRC: Lite and Advanced
  • Ignition Controls
  • Governor Controls
  • Annunciator Controls

We repair standard wear and tear items, and charge based on the nature of the repair. Typical repairs range from a replacement of a standard keypad all the way to a PCB. This service helps to extend the life of your controller, and allows you to maximize your investment.

We understand that getting units repaired and back into service is critical to our customer’s business. To help us speed up the Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) process, there are a few items that are critical for us to know:

  • Type of controller you have.
  • Serial number of the controller.
  • Summary of the issue you are encountering.
  • Purchase order, if you would like us to simply repair and return the unit.
  • Customer contact and return to ship address.

All RMAs require a reference number. These help us in tracking the unit through the repair process. To obtain an RMA reference number either email sales@emittechnologies.com or call 307-673-0883.

If you require expedited repair, please let us know and we can facilitate a quick turnaround to meet your needs. Our standard process for handling RMAs is to diagnose on Thursdays, and repair them on Tuesdays. The time gap allows for communication with customers on required repairs and to allow for authorization to repair.

At EMIT, we are always available if you have any questions about your existing controllers. If you are installing a unit and have a question, or need help trouble shooting an existing unit, we are just a phone call away. If you lost your controller manual and need a new one, we can email you one same day. EMIT enjoys interacting with our customers. It gives us a chance to understand what our customers experience in the field, which in turn allows us to improve the products that we are proud of!

For a full outline of our RMA process for repairing controllers please reference:  EMIT TECHNOLOGIES RMA PROCESS

Katie Schultz, SOP Manager     7/27/2016

CAD to Manufacturing Integration

At EMIT we take pride in our ability to design, engineer, manufacture, sell, install, and support our products – all using in-house resources.  On the engineering side, one major resource that we have chosen to utilize is SolidWorks 3D CAD modeling software.  SolidWorks is a very capable program that is not only used for mechanical design and modeling, but also offers a suite of peripheral products that go beyond just 3D modeling.  Using SolidWorks EMIT has the ability to perform finite element analysis (FEA) that allows the user to analyze their designs for stress, deflection, frequency (vibration), fatigue, thermal, and fluid dynamics (CFD).  We also use an electrical package that allows us to define electrical circuits and integrate them with the 3D mechanical world within SolidWorks by automatically routing wires through electrical enclosures (ie. annunciator panels).

All of these SolidWorks products are of great value to EMIT, but perhaps the most important part of the process is one that you don’t see – it all happens behind the scenes.  In a manufacturing environment like EMIT’s that uses automated scheduling and routing, workcenters with automatically generated reports of each component to be built at that workcenter, and who’s functionality hinges on its ERP system, it is critical that the designs that originate in SolidWorks get pushed into the ERP system that is the backbone of the manufacturing environment.

EMIT has chosen to accomplish this using two things; SolidWorks Enterprise PDM (Product Data Management) and a piece of software developed internally to integrate SolidWorks and EMIT’s ERP system.  Enterprise PDM (EPDM) is a data management software that maintains permissions to properly protect documents and also maintains versions and revisions of documents.  It also allows EMIT to create workflows for approval and change processes, and is even a platform for exporting and importing information into and out of the CAD environment.  The second tool is software that EMIT developed using software developers in-house that reads the data that is exported from EPDM and translates it into a language that the ERP system understands.  These two tools work together to allow EMIT products to be imported into the ERP system with bills of materials (BOMs) generated and workcenter routings created…all automatically.

Without integrating SolidWorks into the ERP system EMIT would not be able to offer the wide variety of products and the customizability with short lead times that it does today.

Tommy Stypula, Product Line Manager, Exhaust                6/30/2016

 

Maximizing Your Ignition System Performance

Introduction

On stationary natural gas engines, or any combustion engine for that matter, the ignition system is a critical part of engine operation. Slight issues with the ignition can have dramatic impacts on performance, emissions, and maintenance. For this reason, it is important to always make sure all parts of your ignition system are properly set up and maintained. Some of the important setup and maintenance concerns for different parts of the ignition system are discussed below.

Timing

The “Timing” of the ignition refers to when the spark plug fires for each cylinder. Timing is measured in degrees before top dead center (BTDC), which is when the cylinder volume is at its smallest. For example, if the timing is at 20 degrees, then every spark plug will fire when the crankshaft is 20 degrees before that cylinder is at full compression.

Having proper (or improper) timing can effect engine performance in many ways. As the timing is farther from the ideal point, energy and fuel will be wasted. Additionally, the emissions will suffer as the fuel is less fully burned. In some cases having the ignition too advanced will also cause engine knock, which is when multiple flame fronts exist in the cylinder at the same time, which can damage the engine over time. This and other timing issues can reduce the life of some engine components such as spark plugs and cylinder heads.

Timing on an engine might be fixed for all conditions for old ignitions, or might change with variations to speed and load. Some more advanced digital ignition systems, such as EMIT’s, will also change timing with elevation, fuel type, and other conditions. Having a timing map that best matches an engine’s operating conditions is ideal, because as conditions change compensations in timing will keep the fuel use more efficient and the emissions reduced.

Regardless of ignition type, it is a good idea to often check the timing of the engine with a timing light to make sure the actual timing matches what is expected. It only takes a few minutes and can prevent a lot of the shortfalls listed above associated with improper timing, so it is well worth the time.

Spark Plugs

Spark plugs obviously play an important role in ignition performance as well. The following items are worth some special attention.

  1. Resistor vs. non-resistor spark plugs– “Resistor” spark plugs, often marked with an “R” or “Q”, have an internal resistor that helps cut down on electrical noise. For any setup with digital electronics on the skid, resistor type spark plugs should always be used.
  2. Spark plug gap– Engine and ignition manufacturers will have a recommended gap for the spark plugs. The gap can be checked quickly and easily with a spark plug gap tool. It is important to always check the gaps of the plugs when installing new ones. If the gap is incorrect it will affect the spark energy needed to spark, which can cause misfires or poor ignition of the fuel mixture. If the gaps are not all the same, it will make the combustion on the cylinders uneven, which over time will affect wear on various components. It is well worth a few minutes to make sure the gaps are the same!
  3. Spark plug temperature­– Each plug should have a temperature rating which should match the engine manufacturer’s recommendations. If the plug runs too hot, it might auto-ignite the fuel which will be damaging to the engine. If it runs too cold, it might not combust the fuel mixture well.
  4. Tightening the plug– Using a torque wrench set to the proper torque for the plug will prevent over-tightening the plug during installation. If a plug is over-tightened it can break the plug seal and affect compression.
  5. Noting plug wear– When changing plugs, it is a good idea to look at the plugs being removed. They should all have a relatively similar amount of electrode worn away evenly. If there is any sign of physical damage or burn marks, it can signify detonation. If one plug is worn less than it should be, the cylinder might be misfiring outside the cylinder. If there are deposits on the plug, the engine might be running too rich or have poor quality fuel.

Wiring

There are two main types of ignition wiring – primary and secondary. “Primary” wiring is the wiring from the ignition module to the coil. “Secondary” wiring is from the coils (or distributor) to the spark plugs.

Primary Wiring

For the ignition primary wiring, it is important to make sure that all wires are well secured and insulated. Since a lot of electrical noise is emitted from the ignition wiring, it is best to route these wires away from other sensor wires to keep electrical noise out of other systems on the engine.

Secondary Wiring

Always inspect secondary wiring for any breaks or exposed wire. If wire is exposed, the high voltage of the spark could jump out of the secondary wiring to the engine block, instead of across the plug gap. Because of the high pressures in an engine cylinder, the amount of voltage needed to break a spark plug gap in the cylinder (called firing line voltage) is very high. Any possible alternate route for the voltage to escape to the engine block will be taken if it is possible, which is why the wiring insulation has to be in good shape.

Additionally, the plug boots on the secondary wiring should have dielectric grease applied, which will prevent sparks from escaping through the boot and also prevents corrosion.

Conclusion

By better understanding ignition fundamentals, properly following manufacturer recommendations, and using best practices for ignition operation and maintenance, you can save fuel cost, reduce emissions, and increase service life on your engine.

For help in maximizing your engine performance and emissions with the latest in engine controls, contact EMIT Technologies at 307-673-0883.

Thomas Peterson, Embedded Systems Engineer     6/14/2016

ISO and API Quality Certifications

Great quality systems are born from great processes.  EMIT has invested in the tools and systems that deliver work details for every work step, down to the hour.  This includes every action from drafting, material cutting, material processing, assembly steps, coating, and packaging.  Each step is defined per manufacturing order including key measurable quality checks with owners and documentation.  EMIT manufacturing processes include highly repeatable automated operations for plate steel handling, laser cutting, mitered band saw cutting, CNC rolling, breaking, and machining.  Every issue that arises from a missed quality check and/or missed communication of product details at any point in the manufacturing process is addressed.  They are documented and tracked until corrective and preventative actions have been taken and verified.  The process of root cause analysis and continuous improvement through strong quality processes gives EMIT the ability to deliver repeatable and on-time quality to our customers.

In February of 2016 EMIT earned quality management system certifications from ISO and API under ISO 9001:2008 (license ISO-2992), API Q1 (license Q1-2956), and API Monogram (license 12F-0123).  Recognizable quality systems are a testament to the continuous quality improvement that EMIT has made over the last 15 years.

Repeatable quality and delivery are an everyday value that EMIT delivers to customers.

Will Reedy, Director of Operations     5/25/2016

Safety Momentum

As of today, EMIT is 283 days without a recordable.  It’s something to be proud of, but by no means does it mean we have succeeded.  It’s a milestone to our focus and determination on creating a safety culture and the key now is to keep the momentum going.

How did we get to this point?

  • We revamped and implemented new policies and procedures making sure they were easily understandable. Policies and procedures are continually updated to meet the ever-changing demands of our industry and employee training is kept current.
  • We do job related pre-employment testing to ensure that new hires are fully capable of performing the physical requirements of his/her job.
  • New hires spend their first day in orientation and 70% of that day covers safety.
  • A Behavior-Based Safety Program was implemented that includes all employees from senior management to front-line workers.
  • We revamped our incident investigation process. It now includes multiple parties and Root Cause Analysis (RCA) methods.  If gaps exist in our current prevention and control systems, we are quick to correct them and communicate with everyone what has changed.
  • We requested a voluntary OSHA Consultation to help find potential hazards in our business and improve our safety and health management.

How do we keep the ball rolling?

  • Stick with change.  Change is hard, especially if past methods deemed unsafe were successful in accomplishing the tasks at hand.  We must remember the reasoning behind change and trust that the goal is far greater than us individually.
  • Employee engagement.  We must continue to drive participation in our Behavior-Based Safety Program.   Employee’s observations are invaluable in updating our current prevention and control systems.
  • The small things.  When it comes to safety, small things can become very large things in a matter of seconds.  We must keep the focus on disciplining ourselves to take care of the small things to prevent the large things.  It is everyone’s responsibility to prevent unsafe behaviors no matter how small or large.
  • Free flow of information.  Everyone communicates openly and candidly, both up, down and across the organization.
  • Focus on complacency.  Complacency affects anyone who’s environment and tasks don’t change from day-to-day.  It’s especially hard to reduce redundancy in tasks for a manufacturing environment that focuses on quality and reduction in variation.  Therefore, we must constantly challenge each other and ourselves in finding new techniques to diminish complacency.

I am honored to say we have 283 days without a recordable.   However, I am more excited about the forward momentum that we have created.  Our safety culture consists of shared beliefs, well founded practices, and positive attitudes that we all must continue to foster throughout the years.

ONE WAY TO KEEP MOMENTUM GOING IS TO HAVE CONSTANTLY GREATER GOALS.  – Michael Korda

Amy Sweckard, Director of HR & Safety     5/2/2016