As the year draws to a close, we’re looking back at 2013. We are reminded of the activities and accomplishments that have happened here at Beka-Max of America, Inc. and the positive news we’ve heard from the companies and industries we serve in North America. In previous blog posts published over the past year, we’ve talked about a lot of this industry news. As a reminder, here are some highlights:
- We reviewed how automatic lubrication systems for equipment and machinery used in the agriculture industry help the industry, overall, by reducing downtime and guaranteeing safety.
- We discussed the importance of automatic lubrication systems for construction equipment, including cranes and booms.
Yes, there was a substantial amount of positive news and excitement to report in 2013, and now we’re looking forward to more growth and positivity in the coming months and years. Stay tuned and thank you for reading our blog. Happy New Year from Beka-Max America, Inc.!
Ski lifts are operating earlier than usual this year: Thanks to early snowfalls, the ski season has started early, with many ski lifts around the world opening for business days – and weeks – ahead of schedule. An article in the UK’s Telegraph recently reported, “One half of North America’s largest ski area [Canada’s Whistler Mountain] will open this weekend, 13 days ahead of schedule…” The article quotes a representative from Whistler Mountain who credits “oodles of snow” for the early opening.
In the U.S., many ski resorts are also opening earlier than usual for the 2013-14 ski season. This month, Boyne Mountain Resort in Michigan saw its earliest opening in two decades. In one news report, the president and CEO of the ski resort says, “This opening comes a few weeks earlier than we’re all used to, which is a bonus.”
Luckily, many of the resorts are ready for their “bonus” this year: In anticipation of a busy ski season every year, many ski resorts have preventative maintenance programs in place, and they’re maintaining their lifts and equipment using automatic lubrication systems. Ski resorts using automatic lubrication systems are ready to take advantage of an early or extended ski season, in addition to being able to offer off-season activities at their mountain resorts. The automatic lubrication systems keep ski resort lifts and operations running smoothly and ready for service at any time throughout the year. Visitors can enjoy the mountain experience year-round.
But, looking at this year’s ski season alone, if the weather predictions are right, more snow is on the way. Snow lovers, skiers, and ski resorts – especially those with automatic lubrication systems for their lifts – are all saying, “Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!”
Don’t ignore the new communication technology behind industrial equipment being manufactured today. Instead, we all should be taking advantage of this advanced technology and the many advantages it offers. We’re talking about “telematics,” the term used to describe the merging of communication technology and computer information systems. Telematics became available to the equipment manufacturing industry only within the last decade, but now is the perfect time to embrace it.
When telematics is applied to industrial machinery, manufacturers in just about every industry are able to use data and information recorded by the machinery to do the following:
- Gain detailed insight into equipment usage.
- Provide customers with a heightened level of service.
- Customize and maintain equipment for optimum performance for each customer.
- Save time and money on manufacturing operations expenses.
- Protect your business’ investment in the equipment and machinery, which is often your largest expense.
Today, through telematics, industrial equipment literally has the ability to “talk” to us using communication technology that can tell us exactly how machinery is being used, when and where it’s being used, and so on. What’s also interesting is that telematics can be monitored from remote locations, saving businesses the expense of traveling to job sites and customer locations around the world.
A lot of it may seem like science fiction from yesterday that’s coming alive today! What was once considered “futuristic” capabilities of machinery has now become a reality. But, more businesses need to start taking advantage of telematics.
A recent article on EquipmentWorld.com asks, “As the economy slowly grinds into second gear, wouldn’t it make sense to make sure you’re getting full utilization out of every machine? It would be a critical slice of data, for instance, in determining what you needed to rent and what you needed to buy.” Yes. We agree that this makes a lot of sense – and we don’t know anyone who wouldn’t want to get more value out of their equipment investment.
The same article also states, “With all that information there for the taking in later model machines, there’s a decided insanity in ignoring telematics data capabilities and its potential impact on one of your largest business expenses.”
You can avoid the “insanity” by embracing telematics in an economical way. Here are some suggested steps to take:
- Start small and only monitor and track a few core pieces of information on just a machine or two, at first.
- Take your time getting comfortable with the data you receive. If you want to learn more information from your equipment, add more telematics capabilities. But do it slowly, one addition and one step at a time.
- When it comes to telematics, everyone on your team should share and share alike! Share all the information that your machinery offers with your managers and cohorts, and find out what that information reveals to them. Everyone’s perspective is different – and valuable.
As the saying goes, “Knowledge is power.” The more you know about your machinery and equipment – and the information telematics can offer – the better off your business will be.
If you work with cranes and similar machinery, you might know that the booms attached to them must be maintained and greased, or else they cease to work properly. The boom is an important part of the machine, and its functioning is crucial.
While many people will use a paint brush or something similar to smother the boom with grease, we now offer three lines of professional-grade pneumatic spray grease guns that easily do the job for you. These offer service technicians a much more effective and efficient way of properly lubricating telescoping booms, as well as other large or chain-type surfaces.
The three lines we offer are the LubeJet-eco system, the pneuMATO55-static, and the pneuMATO55-mobile. They were each carefully designed to lubricate large surfaces, both in-shop or in the field. So what makes them right for you?
- The LubeJet-eco system is a portable lubrication option, ideal for field service, that keeps reloads simple, quick, and clean. According to Jacquie McDougall, President of Beka-Max of America Inc., “Initial reports from the field have indicated that the service techs have found it to be ideal for all types of applications that used to take a lot of time and energy and when it is time to reload, just like the Lube Shuttle, they simply remove the cartridge cover, unscrew the cartridge, install a new one and replace the cover and begin spraying again.”
- The pneuMATO55-static and -mobile systems utilize a grease gun that connects to a unique sheath wrapped “Twin Hose” that manages both the grease and the high-pressure air supply. These are an economical and efficient choice for in-shop applications, and are ideal for large surfaces.
The pneumatically powered LubeJet-eco system and the pneuMATO55-static and -mobile systems all deliver a fine spray and are easily controlled by fingertip, while the flow of grease and air are regulated for easy, smooth application, which can be adjusted from round to oblong.
With these innovate, efficient systems, boom maintenance will be easier than ever.
Heavy machinery plays a big role in increasing efficiency in the manufacturing, construction, and agricultural industries, but it can also pose a hazard if it is used without precaution. Every year, thousands of workers are injured or killed while working with heavy equipment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, contact with equipment caused 15% of fatal occupational injuries in 2011.
Here are some tips on how to operate heavy machinery safely:
1. Always park your equipment on level ground so your heavy machinery does not roll and crash.
2. Make sure your equipment has proper safety features such as seatbelts, backup alarms, flood lights, and rollover protection structures.
3. Have your equipment inspected regularly to make sure your machines are running properly.
4. Observe the area you are operating in and look out for potential hazards such as pedestrians crossing in front of your equipment and broken power lines.
5. Always wear hard hats, gloves, protective footwear and eye protection.
6. Post signs to warn pedestrians that construction is taking place in the area.
7. Inspect your tools, including ladders and electrical equipment to make sure they are not bent or broken.
8. Make sure that all employees that work with heavy equipment have the skills required to operate the machinery properly.
Following these simple steps can help save lives and prevent injuries. It is important to consider these best practices the next time you operate heavy equipment.
Lubrication systems are used in many industries and applications. One of the areas where this is especially true is for agricultural equipment.
There are many lubrication points on agricultural machines. Depending on the machine some of these points may be difficult to reach especially when the machine is hot as it is with a forage harvester. At the end of the day, the last thing the operator wants to do is have to worry about manually lubricating the machines. Some equipment have cutting blades; lubrication system increase safety as the operator does not have to manually access lubrication points associated with the cutting too.
So what exactly makes the systems so beneficial to agricultural equipment? With this system, the machine is lubricated while it’s working, so it does not have to get lubricated after it’s been used and is hot. Furthermore, in peak season, when the equipment is needed to function optimally and constantly, downtime is not an option. With automatic lubrication, the chance of downtime is reduced while safety is assured.
Some agricultural equipment will require chain and bearing lubrication. These machines can benefit to have 2 systems, an oil and a grease system installed. Lubrication products are designed to ensure they will be ideal for harsh, agricultural environments. When work needs to be done quickly, safely, and consistently, they provide assurance that this is always the case. The agricultural industry depends on the ease, convenience, and consistent benefits provided by these progressive central lubrication systems.
Fracking is a method of accessing hard to access areas or pockets of oil and gas. These pockets can yield supplies of energy via traditional types of drilling, but its’ slow. To increase the flow of the gas or petroleum, the shale rocks have to be broken or fractured. Only recently has newer technology enabled drilling companies to drill horizontal wells, which can increase the ability to get at the pockets. As well, with the use of high pressure water mixed with chemical additives, the drilling becomes more efficient and produces more volume of gas and oil.
There are pros and cons to fracking – some of the pros being measurable benefits in domestic energy production, and a reduction in carbon emissions. While the cons being that the chemicals used in the process possibly could contaminate drinking water.
Increase in Domestic Energy Production
According to the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), “In 1990, the USA produced in total 70.706 quadrillion Btu of energy, a number which remained fairly steady through 2006, when total production was 69.443 quadrillion Btu. After that year, however, as fracking, in combination with horizontal drilling and other new technologies in energy production became more widely spread, total production of the energy sector eventually reached 74.812 quadrillion Btu in 2010, accelerating even faster to 78.091 in 2011. A large part of that was an increase in domestic production of natural gas and crude oil.”
Reduction in Carbon Emissions
According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, “Carbon-dioxide emissions in the United States have dropped to their lowest level in 20 years.” And the agency estimates that based on their data, CO2 emissions for 2012 dropped by more than 800 million tons, or 14 percent from the 2007 peak. The main reason has been a big switch by energy companies to the use of natural gas. It’s been noted that natural gas emits 45 percent less carbon per energy unit than coal.
Research conducted at Duke University found that methane concentrations were six times higher and ethane concentrations were 26 times higher at homes that were within a kilometer from a shale gas well. Other surveys conducted by the US Geological Survey Scientist found no evidence that drinking water was contaminated from shale gas production. A solution to the problem is to safely and effectively manage and minimize risks – as steps are being taken to do.
Windmills have been a part of our cultural and economic landscape for centuries. And today, many states and cities are gearing to either add to existing wind farms or to build new ones. The untapped resources of the wind seem to be a focus of home owners, business owners, farmers, government, and even corporations.
Once a wind turbine has been erected, it still must be maintained. One of the crucial elements is the need for constant lubrication of the turbine and the gears associated with it. The constant movement and exposure to the elements requires lubrication in order to maintain functionality and performance.
With wind turbines reaching heights of 80 meters (262 feet), it becomes time consuming, dangerous, and expensive to stop the turbine in order for workers to reach the areas that need to be lubricated. Having an automatic lubrication system is the key to reduce labor, down time, and other costly aspects of continual lubrication.
Companies like Beka Max have come up with a useful solution that will:
- Continuously lubricate during running time of the turbine – reducing wear on bearing raceways and gear;
- Apply the exact amount of lubricant the right area;
- Provide grease collecting bottles to collect lubricant waste;
- Eliminate the need to mix lubricants, and;
- Lubricate automatically, even in bad weather conditions.
As cities like New York City focus attention on creating large wind farms to create sustainable energy from the wind, other factors such as ongoing maintenance will also need to be factored into the overall cost of establishing these farms. Finding ways to reduce costs (such as automatic lubrication systems) at the outset will be the key to realizing both energy savings, but also wind turbine system savings. Also, finding ways to retrofit older turbines with automatic lubrication systems will help to keep them operational and less costly for a substantial amount of time in the future.
One thing Beka-Max of America knows for certain is that greasing equipment regularly is important. Oftentimes, many people and companies think is that because they are paying someone to do their lubrication manually, they don’t need an automatic system. This is not the case. Lubricating regularly is imperative, and it needs to be done right.
When selecting a lubrication system, there are many factors to consider. Consider the types of grease, benefits of static vs. dynamic lubrication, and number of grease points. For instance, if your mechanic does the lubricating, you’re getting static lubrication, while an automatic machine is lubricating in motion, providing for more thorough lubrication. Additionally, many machines can have up to 50 grease points, and some have more. This means an operator has to reach the points 50 times manually, many of them being located underneath the machine. Automatic systems are built to reach where humans can’t.
Our experience has taught us that once you choose an automatic system, you’ll never want to go back. You will get a return on your initial investment in as little as one to two years. You will also increase the resale value of your equipment, as well as uptime and operation time.
While automatic lubrication systems beat manual work, they are not all created equal. Keep in mind system reliability, installer’s experience, thorough after-sales support, and value. As a company who has been in business for over 20 years, with countless customers relying on our quality, service, and support, we not only know the importance of an automatic system, but what it takes to make it superior.
In recent months, the construction industry has been steadily growing, and according to the U.S. Labor Department more than 48,000 jobs were added in February alone. That’s the highest statistics since 2009, and 2.5% higher than this time last year. There’s been an immediate rise in workloads – but as a result, companies are dealing with more work, less staff, and less time to complete the work.
Great things are happening for the industry! But in order to keep it where it needs to be, organizational changes and strategies need to be implemented in order to better manage your upcoming projects.
- It’s important to determine what’s urgent, and what’s not. Taking on a project that needs immediate attention, and placing another on hold is not always a bad thing. Use a spreadsheet or a matrix to help manage and prioritize projects in the order of importance. Visuals can help in determining which projects should take precedence over others.
- Organization counts
- Being organized can save countless hours per week. It increases productivity and adds a streamlined flow to your workday. There isn’t any one way to stay organized – but repetition is key. For example, putting the keys to your machine back in the same place every day eliminates times wasted on searching for them the next day when you get into work. It’s that simple!
- Be a good delegator
- Delegating work is a necessity – it frees up time, gives employees responsibility for work, and makes sure it gets done. Things that you can delegate to others include tasks that you’ve already mastered (giving someone else an opportunity might bring new ideas that you would never think of), projects that will help your employees advance (help them develop skills that will bring them to the next level in their careers), and things you’re not good at (why spend extra time working on something that someone else can do better?)
Is your company ready to embrace all of the positive changes in the construction industry? Contact Beka-Max of America today! We build several types of construction lubrication systems to keep your machinery up and running, and we’re here to accommodate all of your custom manufacturing needs. Visit us at www.beka-lube.com or give us a call at 1-888-862-7461