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Time to check your curing temps 

Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner and will usher in barbecues, summer vacations and warmer weather. With warmer weather coming, please remember to take the time to check your temperature setting on your curing systems. More often than not, producers will run winter and summer settings on their systems, and if they’re not managed, there is potential for shocking your units and ending a production run. For more information, contact Production Specialist Mike Maroney.

Block machine height gauges 

Ben Franklin once stated that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I’d add that there is nothing in a block operation that is so insignificant that it would be excluded; take for instance wet side height gauges. We’ve all seen them on the manufacturing line, thin flat rectangular sheets of metal with a handle in the center with the machine operator deftly moving it around the perimeter of the machine pallet checking the cycle height. It’s a simple tool that provides a level of comfort that heights have been maintained during the wet side production. They are a quick indicator, which can be used without stopping the line. Contrary to belief, the gauges can get worn down, and the units may need to be built back up to the necessary height. Set an easy to remember time to pull all the gauges to verify that they’re reading the correct height, like when you’re having your scales calibrated or during your monthly block machine preventative maintenance routine. For more information contact NCMA Production Specialist Mike Maroney.

Earth Day yard clean-up 

Maintaining your equipment is paramount to profitability and market success. Maintaining your production team is just as necessary. Earlier this week was Earth Day, a prime opportunity to build the team in a group exercise to have everyone get together for a yard walk and clean up. We’re hitting the season where customers will be coming in and appearance is important. But it’s not only about appearance; it’s also about taking pride in your workplace. If you put enough folks on it, one hour can make a difference for your customers and your team.

Knowing why

Go out on the floor and ask your production personnel what ASTM International C90-14 is or ASTM International C1372-11. Depending on the size of your operation and the number of products that you produce, it can be assumed that you’re not going to have 100 percent recognition of these standards by your employees. Set up a meeting, incorporate a discussion on ASTM International Standards into your toolbox talks, do anything and everything to get your staff up to speed with the minimum requirements of products that they produce on a daily basis. For more information or help incorporating this into your toolbox talks, contact Production Specialist Mike Maroney. 

Stealing success

We’ve all seen that medical drama about the diagnostician with the gruff demeanor, who along with his subordinates tackles obscure life and death medical conditions on a daily basis. It’s a great show, but an even better example of using differential diagnosis in solving problems. Define the symptoms, come up with potential causes, and then rule out those causes till you have a single, offending cause. I submit to you that the same methodology can be used in our manufacturing processes. For example, a bad split on an architectural unit can be the result of several mechanical, curing, or material related causes. Is it happening on every split? Is it repeating every so many units? Or is it occurring randomly? The more questions you ask and answer, the quicker you’ll narrow down the culprit. For more information, contact Production Specialist Mike Maroney. 

Time to check your water meters 

We all know April 1 is April Fools’ Day. I would propose that since it’s such an easy day to remember, why not build it into a set day to check your water meters going into the mixer. Every operation has their own unique plumbing situation, but as a whole we generally monitor the amount of water based on an indicator or display on the batching system. Chances are you’re putting in what the systems says, but knowing is much better than assuming. For more information or help with approaching and verifying your water dosage, contact Mike Maroney