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Archive for March, 2010

Material tracking is important.  We all know that.  This part of internal logistics is key when quoting jobs but is essential when working the job.  Nobody wants to be the reason for lost time, and if the reason is they can’t find the material, that is unforgivable.  Ensure you know what material you have and where to find it when it is needed.

While material tracking is important, of growing concern is the proper identification of the material.  PMI (Positive Material Identification) and  MTR’s (Material Test Requirements) are becoming necessities from companies to be part of the job package to properly identify the materials used for the job.  PMI uses a tool shaped like a gun and when aimed at any material, the trigger is pulled and the screen on the gun tells what material it is.  Simple?  Not hardly as training is required before you can use it.  Cost effective?  Possibly.  That depends on the size of your company and how much material goes through it’s doors.  The PMI tool costs upwards of $50,000, so this is not for the small business that is trying to get by in this economy.  The more cost effective method of material identification is the utilization of MTR’s.  MTR’s are copies of the paperwork telling where material comes from, it’s heat number, chemical composition, physical dimensions, and other details.  You can have your material supplier provide this paperwork when you order your material.  When you receive your material, be sure to verify the heat numbers on the material with the heat numbers on the MTR’s.   It doesn’t help to have an MTR if it does not match the material you have.  While not as quick as using the PMI tool, MTR’s will do the trick as long as you use some diligence, keep your paperwork up to date and ensure the heat number is prominent on material, even after it is cut.

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As an ASME code shop it has been very beneficial to our business having the added segment of renewable energy projects.  Throughout our 30 year history as a company most of our success and failure has coincided with the success and failures of the oil and gas industry.  As it stands today we are still very dependent on our traditional energy clients and their projects, as this makes up at least half of our overall business each year.  However, it is great to have another segment that is not dependent on the price of oil and gas to keep our fabrication shop afloat while gas and oil prices are down.  Last year the lions share of our work was in alternative fuels, clean energy, and clean-tech segments.  Not having this industry 10 years ago (not to say it didn’t exist it just wasn’t as lucrative at that time) this recession would have been much worse than it is even now. During the downturn we saw big decreases in our back log but we were able to secure and build several projects and skidded packages for clients that are trying to bring new clean technologies to market.  Some of these technologies improve pollution and energy consumption while others aim and finding a competitive replacement to petroleum products.

As we look to the future in this new energy economy Precision Pipe is excited to be at the cross roads.  We are very optimistic about the continued and successful use of fossil fuels and their associated projects and we are thrill to see these projects getting back on their feet again.  All the while we are also embracing new companies that are developing technology to change the way the world uses energy and fuels itself.  In the near future we hope to be building NGL refrigeration plants and gas separators alongside catalyst beds and gasification plants to power our nation and world.  As it is clearly a new world for fabrication, Precision Pipe  is well positioned as a leader in developing new technologies.  We strive to help our clients build prototypes of their own proprietary technologies for this new segment of the US economy in addition to building components for established petrochemical processes.

http://www.Precision-Pipe.com

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Welding Safety

A safe working environment does not always make for the easiest positions or circumstance when it comes to welding. Take grinder guards as an example. In the 10+ years of working with welders I have yet to meet one who appreciates the safety a grinder guard brings to the workplace. In fact it has been quite the opposite! Most welders resist being required to keep a guard on the grinder they are using. This would seem to be counter intuitive as the very piece of equipment they are using could seriously injure (and disable) a welder in less than a second. I have seen grinding wheels explode and do serious damage to both the un-experienced and the welding veteran. So what is that makes safety such an adverse topic in the workplace? Is it the fact that people as a whole do not like being told what to do? Is it simply that no one thinks accidents will happen to them? I’ll leave that for the psychologists to figure out. What I get to figure out is how to help the employees in our shop understand that the safety requirements that we have either chose to implement or have been mandated to implement by the governing authority is for their safety. We attempt to keep safety at the fore front of our employee’s daily routine by having weekly safety meetings that typically relate to a hazard that has been noticed the prior week. In fact, as I write this I am waiting for the 9:00 meeting to begin where today we will be covering the health hazards of Hexavalent Chrome. Something relatively new to the industry (in the last 10 years or so) but still very important to discuss. We will cover some basic welding safety including keeping your head out of the welding plume, proper ventilation, and other welding hazards. Hopefully we can keep the training fresh and interesting and not become a shop that does “safety” because we have to but because a safe workplace promotes good moral and a high quality product.

http://www.Precision-Pipe.com

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