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The Value of Plant Maintenance

Gas Monitors - KC Supply Co.

Machines are what keep production going, and are the very beating heart of any production line, proving that plant maintenance should be one of the major concerns in a manufacturing plant. The machines that are tasked with creating products or items for a company are what keeps the entire enterprise going. If they are not carefully maintained or overseen on a day-to-day basis, there can be a huge chance for machine failure, with devastating results.

When purchasing a large production machine, the overall upkeep of this machine should be included in the considerations. Upgrades, costs, and most of all, maintenance need to be part of the plans. The upkeep of machines that are the essential part of the manufacturing processes, particularly large scale production, is tantamount to keeping everything running smoothly without a hitch.

What happens without plant maintenance?

Without a consistent plan of plant upkeep for all the production machines on the floor, there’s a chance that one of the vital technologies for production can fail. Sensitive sensors could stop working, limbs or machinery could drop–even just one device failure could mean a meltdown, causing thousands, or even millions of dollars lost in terms of sub-part production items, equipment repairs, and time lost. Time is always money in production. Each moment that one of the production machines, large scale or small, is down and unable to produce, means that profits are lost.

What could it cost a company?

Apart from the loss of the usage of a machine, a production line without proper plant maintenance would lose money from the products it would have been unable to complete. Losses are also incurred in the form of raw material or product that would not have been completed as a result of a faulty machine.

This is particularly important to remember for companies that manufacture or handle perishables or items that require a specific standard of quality control in order for a finished product to be sent out. Without regular upkeep, failures in the production line result in a product that doesn’t meet the standard. This could mean a sharp loss in stock, being unable to meet orders, and even bigger costs in fines if it puts the production at risk of health violations.

Ways to Avoid Losses

Draft up a regular plant maintenance plan that requires daily checks and upkeep of each machine on the production line. Consult with experts who will be able to give vital insight on ways to keep machines running, as well as important system upgrades that won’t just improve efficiency but also give the company the most production.

Learn more about large scale production and upkeep by consulting with the experts at KCSupply. Visit www.kcsupply.com to learn more.

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KC Supply Gives Critical Reminders on the Hazards of Manure Pits

Last year, three men in Ohio died after entering a manure pit. Even cattle aren’t immune, as a farm hand and six cattle perished at their manure pit in Wisconsin back in 2016.

Manure pits are crucial to everyday farm operations. They generate much-needed fertilizer and material needed for farmers to prepare their lands for the spring planting season, helping crops grow and thrive. However, despite its boons, manure pit is dangerous for the noxious gases they emit.

Dangerous Gases

Manure being processed in the pit goes through anaerobic digestive fermentation to become usable fertilizer. However, during this process, it starts to release and accumulate numerous toxic gases.

  • Methane – An odorless and flammable gas. The danger begins in concentrations of 15 to 30%. In this level of concentration, methane can displace oxygen. Personnel working in the manure pit may not even realize that they are being suffocated before it’s too late.
  • Hydrogen Sulfide – This gas has a characteristic “rotten egg” odor which can alert farm hands of danger, but this usually happens in low concentrations. High concentrations can lead to their sense of smell becoming paralyzed. This gas is also heavier than air, often settling around the bottom of the pit. Anyone working low on the manure pit may become suffocated.
  • Carbon Dioxide – While it’s a common gas in our atmosphere, high concentrations can also cause suffocation, leading to a distinct “cherry red” appearance in people who have been exposed to too much of it. It can lead to drowsiness, headaches, and nausea.
  • Ammonia – The sharp odor of ammonia will make it familiar to anyone who has done cleaning around the home. But the concentrated ammonia levels in a manure pit can lead to eye and nose irritation and may damage the lungs.

Not only are all these gases dangerous upon human inhalation, but in a confined space, the combination of gases can become explosive. Therefore, beyond just ensuring that all farm personnel working in and around the pit are wearing protective respiratory equipment, it’s also crucial to ensure that no flammable or incendiary items are anywhere near the pit to prevent an explosion.

KC Supply supports ensuring the safety and protection of all workers in the farming industry. Contact us today to learn about our full range of safety equipment and gear.

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KC Supply Co Answers Commonly Asked Questions on Grain Engulfment and Entrapment

To this day, grain engulfment and grain entrapment remain among the most significant dangers for workers on an industrial or farm area. Grain entrapment has become such a problem that dozens of farms and industrial workers die or are severely injured every year through improper handling or labor through grain silos and grain bins. 

Government entities as well as safety and law enforcement personnel do their best yearly to remind companies and organizations about grain bin safety and provide refresher courses on how to proceed safely when working in or around the grain bins. Here are some of these reminders:

Who are the most at-risk or susceptible to grain engulfment or entrapment?

Approximately 75% of all documented victims of entrapment or engulfment are farm workers, employees, and family members. It’s crucial to remember that anyone working or even near the grain bins are putting themselves at risk for entrapment regardless of whether or not they are wearing PPEs and safety equipment.

What type of grain can cause entrapment?

Some people may assume that it’s only the most dangerous at finer grains or milled products which have smaller particles and therefore can act more like quicksand. On the contrary—grain engulfment and entrapment can happen with anything that is filling the silo. A wide variety of grains have been documented to cause entrapment: flax, canola, soybeans, corn, and more. However, it is worth noting that corn is especially dangerous at 50% of all documented cases.

When is it most dangerous in the silo?

When the grain is flowing, so is danger. Perhaps a worker is inside trying to clear blockages or pipes; perhaps the grain is flowing into the silo. Moving grain is immediately one of the most dangerous instances when working around the silo. Even unloading grain is hazardous. Remember to never let anyone work inside the grain bin when grain is actively flowing.

The best way to prevent disaster is through prevention. Create a strict grain bin safety plan that is drilled into everyone working around the grain bin. Prepare safety equipment such as grain bin safety tubes. And most importantly, have everyone be aware of exactly what to do if and when disaster strikes.

KC Supply takes grain bin safety as the utmost priority in protecting workers, providing a range of safety equipment. Contact us today to learn more.

 

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KC Supply Co Introduces mPower Gas Monitors

In a previous blog, we talked about gas monitors and the importance of choosing the right one for your company. After all, having the right monitor can keep your employees safe and also prevent leaks and explosions.

While we already have a large array of gas monitors, today we have expanded our portfolio to include the esteemed mPower gas monitors. mPower Electronics is renowned as one of the most professional suppliers of alarm systems and gas detectors in the world.

Here are our new products:

  1. POLI Multi-Gas Detectors. This product comes in variations of 4- or 5-gas monitoring systems. It is certified by UL, ATEX, and CE, and could be used in various applications such as industrial hygiene, toxic twins detection, chemical, oil and gas, pharmaceutical, and telecommunications.
  2. UNI 321 Maintenance-Free Single Gas Detectors. Those who are looking for disposable gas monitors may have found the perfect one in this product, as it can detect carbon monoxide, oxygen, and hydrogen sulfide. It comes in various options for operating life, spanning from 12 months to 36 months. Furthermore, this disposable gas detector is comfortable and drop-resistant. It is a convenient product for emergency response situations, as well as environmental, industrial hygiene, fire service, and oil and gas applications.
  3. UNI MP100 Single Gas Detectors. Aside from the typical sensors, it can also detect less common compounds such as methyl mercaptan, ozone, phosphine, and hydrogen chloride, among many others. These gas monitors come with a large LCD so that the readings would be highly visible, and it is also designed for quick alarm notification. This is also perfect for emergency responses, as well as various applications in the field.

Aside from mPower Gas Monitors, we also offer other brands that may be more suited for your needs. Head over to our website today to learn more.

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Arc Flash Safety: Understanding an Arc Flash and How to Protect Against It

Arc flash safety is paramount when it comes to electrical work. It can cause external and internal burns, intoxication, sight and hearing damage, and blindness, among other life-threatening injuries. In some cases, it can even cause death. Here is everything you need to know about it. 

What is an arc flash?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines an arc flash as “a phenomenon where a flashover of electric current leaves its intended path and travels through the air from one conductor to another, or to ground.” If working on energized circuits is required, then OSHA mandates employers to develop and enforce safety practices to prevent injuries resulting from direct or indirect electrical contacts. 

An arc flash could be triggered by many things, including accidental touching, condensation, corrosion, dropping uninsulated tools, dust, faulty installation, and equipment failure, among others. Studies also show that low voltage is riskier than high voltage, as hazard severity is higher in low voltage scenarios in comparison with high voltage. 

How to protect against arc flash

There is no surefire way to prevent an arc flash, but employers can equip their employees with ample protection and knowledge to minimize the risk. For instance, providing awareness and training on how to use equipment or how to act when working live on damaged equipment could make the difference between an injury-free work zone and one at risk of electric flashes. 

Another way to keep employees safe is to give them arc flash safety gear. PPEs, insulated tools, insulating gloves, and other protective gear can help keep your employees safe. 

KC Supply Co, a leading provider when it comes to industrial and manufacturing safety equipment, provides a whole array of safety gear for employees. Contact us today to find out how you can keep your employees safe amid the growing safety concerns in the industry. 

 

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Smart Tips for Spare Parts Management

Spare parts management is integral to an organized, orderly, and efficient inventory system. Keeping a comprehensive catalog of the plant’s spare parts and tools enables personnel to locate the parts immediately and keep management aware of what needs to be added to the list for regular equipment maintenance or replacements.

Have an Operating Strategy

The most efficient way to good spare parts management is to have an operating strategy. This should be the first act in every inventory preparation. The system will ensure that a company or organization can appropriately dispense resources where they are needed to maintain the plant’s infrastructure. Having a roadmap or a plan for maintaining the equipment and its parts helps you determine which parts should have priority.

Standardize Your Work Orders

A work order process determines how parts are issued and ensures that all parts remain accounted for. It helps personnel decide which parts were used, when, and where. From here, the inventory can track which parts are running out and need replenishment. Spare parts management calls for monitoring hundreds, possibly thousands of parts. Standardizing the work order system ensures everything stays accurate.

Make Sure All Lead Times are Comfortable

One of the chief troubles of replacing spare parts is the lead time, especially for highly-specialized industrial machinery that requires custom parts. When replenishing parts supplies, make sure that the protocol calls for a comfortable lead time that guarantees you’ll always have the part on hand while the new components are on their way to you. This ensures that even during incidents of sudden machine failure, there will always be a part to use to fix it.

Use Reliable Suppliers

For organizations that heavily rely on specific machinery components, it’s crucial to get trustworthy, reliable spare parts suppliers that deliver on time. You don’t want to be caught relying on only one supplier who may not get the parts delivered on time. Have multiple options if you can, and leverage sales and maintenance records to determine if you can trust the supplier.

Having the right parts can mean the difference between plant operations going smoothly or many hours of productivity (and therefore thousands, even millions, of dollars) lost. Spare parts management keeps things working like a well-oiled machine.

KC Supply Co knows the importance of maintaining your industrial equipment. Visit KCSupply.com to find resources on maintenance, plant safety, and more.

 

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The Essential Plant Shutdown Checklist

A plant shutdown is more than simply flipping a switch to “off.” It also means shutting down a significant operation safely and with as little risk as possible to machinery and personnel. Before performing a plant shutdown, take note of this checklist that keeps everyone safe.

Check or Have a Shutdown Plan

As with any major operation, you need to have a plan. Your business or company should have a previously dictated protocol on what should be done in the event of a plant shutdown and who is responsible for checks and steps.

Arrange Barricades

Setting up barricades in high-danger or high-sensitivity areas should be prioritized. This ensures that employees, workers, and staff do not enter these areas before and during the plant shutdown. Barricading off these areas minimizes the risk of personnel getting into accidents.

Equipment Check

Before proceeding with the plant shutdown:

  1. Have a team check all electrical equipment to ensure that belts are not too worn or have tears.
  2. Look into any machinery to check for proper lubrication and that the bearings are in working order.
  3. Most importantly, check that the power connections are not loose and that any cooling fans are working. If needed, you also need to ensure that critical equipment and utilities are isolated during the shutdown.

Fire Security Check

The most important concern during a plant shutdown is ensuring that the building’s fire and safety protocols remain intact. The fire and security systems will be relied upon with the plant shutdown. Ensure that teams are patrolling the shutdown plant, any combustibles or flammables such as trash, gas, and other materials are isolated and ensure that all security systems and fire alarms are working. Check that the sprinkler and fire extinguishing systems are operational and conduct regular watch rounds.

Apart from other details depending on the plant’s purpose, all these should be a part of any good company’s plant shutdown checklist. The shutdown can proceed safely by ensuring equipment is operational, security and safety redundancies are functional, and all personnel knows their responsibilities and restrictions.

KC Supply emphasizes the importance of safety in all plant procedures, including shutdowns. Find more informative checklists and reminders at KCSupply.com.

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