According to the National Bureau of Statistics NBS , the Nigerian manufacturing sector is dominated by the production of food, beverages and tobacco, with sugar and bread products generating the greatest value of output. To encourage more output in these and other sectors, the government has been making it cheaper for consumers to purchase locally manufactured goods by making the smuggled foreign alternatives prohibitively expensive or totally unavailable through prohibitions. Most recently, the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN announced plans to facilitate the issuance of single-digit interest rate loans to firms operating in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors. Port reforms and other ease of doing business initiatives by the government are also helping to make the manufacture of goods easier in the country; relatively, at least. The Nigerian manufacturing sector has been performing well in recent years.
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How to plan for the challenges of bringing a facility into routine operation. The transition from construction to operation is the commissioning and startup. Processing plant commissioning embraces activities such as cleaning, flushing, verifications, leak tests, performance evaluation and functional tests essential for bringing a newly installed plant or facility into routine operation.
The commissioning expertise is a specialized branch of engineering equivalent to the related skills of design, construction and operation. Correct commissioning is vital to the satisfactory operation of any plant or facility and it is essential that sufficient time and resources be allocated to different stages of the commissioning and startup.
Since commissioning is the last major phase before operation, there is a risk that commissioning will take place under great time-pressure or even some delayed commissioning activities may continue after the initial operation of the plant. Special efforts are needed to ensure safety and reliability at commissioning. Since commissioning, startup and shutdown activities have been responsible for many accidents, failures and other issues, these activities merit special attention.
This article discusses commissioning, including pre-commissioning, core commissioning, startup and post-commissioning. Common difficulties and challenges during commissioning and startup are described. Before a plant or facility is handed over for normal operation, it should be inspected, checked, cleaned, flushed, verified and tested.
This process is called commissioning and involves both the contractor and operator of a facility. Overall commissioning includes mechanical completion, leak tests, cleaning, flushing, provisional acceptance, pre-commissioning, first startup and post-commissioning. Careful planning is necessary for commissioning and startup.
Integration of different systems, particularly control systems with others, has to be seamless. This mandates a wide range of verifications, checks and tests under realistic conditions. Economies of scale have led to a rapid increase in output of processing plants, which has resulted in an increase in the number of items and auxiliaries per plant.
Complex automatic control schemes are being installed to reduce the likelihood of mal-operation and consequent damage to plants and facilities. Added to this, is vast and complicated condition monitoring systems, which are extensively used in modern processing plants. Commissioning of technologically advanced and computer-controlled plants and facilities usually requires a radical and advanced approach, and highly competent teams. The high performance modern plants and units leaves smaller margins for error in design, construction operation and commissioning.
It makes the plant more sensitive to unforeseen phenomena or mistakes. This shows itself in many operational incidences, bringing heavy financial loss to operation companies.
In many modern processing plants, there is practically no margin for error or fault in different stages of commissioning. At this stage, the actions of all controllers and motorized valves should be checked. All valves including relief valves should be tested and verified. Major equipment should also be thoroughly inspected, monitored, and finally closed in the presence of the commissioning team.
Initial measurements of critical clearances should be taken for later comparison and control. For the inspection of equipment, it is useful to ask maintenance engineer s to attend the activities or even participate in the commissioning for inspection and testing of all equipment and rotating machinery including electrical or mechanical machines.
After all, maintenance staff should take care of these machines and equipment during operation and the commissioning stage is the best opportunity to start this task.
The commissioning phase includes day-to-day involvement in making important decisions on-site. There are significant challenges and elaborations in this daily involvement as it relates to risk-taking, deviations accepted, financial control and changes in the plant. For each medium-sized area of a plant, a team of three to five is necessary for the core commissioning phase to be able to provide continuous cover for a period of core commissioning and startup duration.
The staff engineers previously in residence in the plant, for the construction or pre-commissioning, may form part of this core team. At least half of the team, say two or three, should have good operational experience.
Additionally, the team should contain specialist competence in design, maintenance and operational analysis. It is difficult to spare team members with operational experience from their normal operational team — everything should be done to make their stay as short as possible. The team should be led by a senior executive commissioning area manager , who is able to advise on modifications and operational decisions in a situation where the line of management and authority may be much more complex than in normal settings.
Commissioning is a high-risk enterprise putting personnel, facilities, the plant and materials at risk of hazard. Responsibility and authority of engineers and experts involved in the commissioning should be clear. There should be no doubt about where the responsibility lies.
The correctness of important decisions and their speed of implementation profoundly affect further progress. The overall situation and commissioning effort are often bound to interact. Sometimes it takes place in an atmosphere of commercial ease; therefore, there is no rush and activities are progressed in a normal sequence. However, this is not usually the case.
For many plants and facilities, considerable time is wasted during design and initial phases of construction whereas the output of the plant is committed by an absolute deadline. In this situation, the installation and construction is rushed, supervision stretched by excessive labor build-up, and startup may take place while part of the plant is still being completed. The result is a commissioning atmosphere with a limited measure of time and financial freedom, combined with substantial technical difficulties, many deviations waiting for decisions and elements of calculated risk-taking.
Most equipment and items are first subjected to their designed operating conditions at the startup when the unit or plant is initially operated. Failures of equipment, components or facility at this time can impose heavy revenue losses on the operator, and it is therefore advisable to subject components to their designed operating conditions with great care.
A correct startup sequence and procedure are needed and should be followed with utmost care and diligence. For any machinery or equipment, a specific set of spare parts is needed for the commissioning and startup.
Generous quantities of spare parts should be provided for this phase so commissioning and startup are not delayed because of lack of spare parts or tools. Too often, the consumption of spare parts is abnormally high during startup because of rapid deterioration of inadequate equipment or items, abnormal loads on equipment because of shortcomings in design, and faulty operation due to many different reasons. Shortcomings in basic design contribute less to commissioning difficulties than errors in detail design and construction.
The reason is the fundamental concepts have generally been the most researched, examined and evaluated by senior technical staff. Also shortcomings in basic designs are usually discovered and mitigated in the detail design. On the other hand, in the areas of detail design, installation and construction, surprises are not uncommon.
Faulty or absent venting arrangements occur frequently. For example, if vessel vents are too close to the inlet nozzles, feed materials might be vented unintentionally. Gas locking may occur of pumps protected by non-return valves without vents on the upstream side. Errors are often made in gas-phase balancing, leading to flow and level difficulties, particularly with systems under vacuum or slightly positive pressure. A pump set up with insufficient suction head to meet NPSHR has been reported during commissioning of many plants.
The situation may be worsened by partial suction restriction due to the plugging of a temporary strainer or similar condition. The results, in terms of cavitation, could be problematic and damaging. Lack of detailed assessments where a flow is split often leads to unsatisfactory results. Examples are a sampling stream in parallel with the main flow and a level control maintained by recirculation as well as outflow, with a control valve on one flow only.
In general, such a problem can happen in any place where the flow is split. When a control valve on a line is actuated, the flow of both lines would be affected and accurate control of these flows is not usually possible by only one valve. Sometimes a dedicated control valve is needed on each line to properly control flow of each line. In many operations such as different process units, reactors, separation units, recovery systems, liquid-liquid separation, liquid-solid separation, screening, size reduction machinery mills, etc.
A wise design should assume imperfection and make contingency plans. Extensive simulations as part of pre-commissioning have proven to be worthwhile, leading on occasion to some changes and provisions prior to commissioning. The automatic control is another hot topic in the commissioning. Whereas realistic simulation exercises attempt to test control performance as much as possible, there have been severe limitations to do so in the absence of job fluids and normal operating conditions.
Commissioning plans should therefore be viable on the assumption that some control devices will not operate when needed and alternative means of operation and control should be included. Difficulties have been experienced in nonlinear control functions and control systems with large lags. Systems involving large lags between action and detection have been the source of issues. Controls based on detection of physical variables other than temperature, pressure, flow and level — for instance, those based on electrical or thermal conductivity, radiation absorption effects, etc.
These control systems have not been commonly used and there is a wide range of problems associated with them. Complex programming controls can also cause trouble. Sudden major leaks from piping or equipment after pressure testing have been reported in some occasions; but such leaks are relatively uncommon if the piping and facilities are properly fabricated, inspected and tested. However, other types of disfunctional pressurization and leaks have been common in the commissioning.
There have been dangerous incidents where fluid from a high-pressure circuit leaked into an ancillary low-pressure circuit through a faulty item such as defective equipment, tube or valve. This resulted in release of a large quantity of pressurized material and even high-pressure flammable material.
Careful attention should be given to all systems including low-pressure auxiliary and ancillary systems and their potential interfaces and exposures to other process or high-pressure circuits. For instance, there was a case that high pressure gas in a compressor pressurized the lubrication oil system because of a faulty internal part inside the machinery which caused extensive damages.
Vacuum leaks are a common problem during commissioning of vacuum systems, particularly air leaks into a vacuum system. There have been many reported cases of air leaks into barometric legs, the drain connection and piping connected to the condenser drain as a tail leg, vulnerable to air leak. Less obvious is the leakage of air through safety valves provided for relief of pressure operation in the same equipment.
The need for relocation of machinery an equipment can also slow things down during commissioning. For instance, there were positive-displacement pumps that were located high in a structure that demonstrated high vibrations.
Many of them were relocated on the ground floor. As such, if a relocation needs new base, piping, etc. Many problems and errors can arise with many different types of mechanical handling equipment and machines, even apparently simple ones. Cranes, hoists, belt conveyors, overhead cranes, powder sifters, filling machines and material handling machinery manufactured by many different vendors — even well-known suppliers — have created many problems and difficulties.
For instance, in some cases, overhead cranes cannot provide the coverage required; the laydown area does not exist or it is not sufficient for a normal operation. Wrong or imperfect application of materials of construction have been widely reported as serious problems in commissioning.
Two examples are wrong initial material selection and, secondly, errors in manufacturing, fabrication and welding.
Oct 13, by Fritz Seager, Operations Manager. Numerous factors come in to play when a company tries to maximize the productivity and profitability of their manufacturing process. Capital investments, training of personnel and raw material purchases are only a few of the areas that require both careful planning and continual oversight to ensure that the company can remain competitive and profitable. Unfortunately, there is another important facet of production that often seems to be overlooked: maintaining an adequate spare parts inventory. The importance of a well thought out spare parts system in the production environment can't be overstated.
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Companies with centralized manufacturing have a single facility to produce and distribute their products or a central factory with multiple distribution points in their supply chain. Click here to read the complete illustrated article as originally published or scroll down to read the text article. A decentralized manufacturing company has multiple facilities that cover large areas, allowing products to be manufactured and distributed close to customers. In the highly competitive global market of today, the need to provide highly customized products is causing companies to rethink their manufacturing strategies. With the emergence of new manufacturing technology, companies of all sizes can adapt in order to succeed and the decision for some to migrate from centralized manufacturing to decentralized plants is critical to that success. Regardless of how companies grow and adapt their supply chain, cloud-based ERP systems are there to facilitate the transition. Centralized Manufacturing A single factory can dramatically reduce per unit production costs by using the same equipment to produce different products, allowing the company to achieve economies of scale. Research from the nonprofit organization APQC shows that centralized organizations have manufacturing costs that are about 3 percent lower than decentralized companies. Centralized manufacturing can also enable better forecasting, more local jobs, consistent production and more effective use of limited resources. The cost of materials may also be lower for centralized manufacturing sites that are located near the source of those materials. In spite of these advantages, centralized manufacturing tends to be inflexible because of the cost of customization.
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The Importance of a Spare Parts System in Manufacturing
In , a total of Each of these vehicles requires a vast number of parts to function and operate. With over 30, parts found in a single car, motor vehicle manufacturers rely on key suppliers to assist in bringing these parts to market and to manufacturing assembly lines. The automotive parts manufacturing industry includes those companies primarily engaged in manufacturing motor vehicle parts. Parts manufacturing is the largest sector of the entire automotive industry. Original equipment manufacturers OEM supply parts for the production of new vehicles. Parts are continually arriving to the motor vehicle assembly line for new car production. The right parts have to be in the right place at the right time for the assembly line to continue operating efficiently. Replacement parts are made by the same manufacturer as the new car parts.
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How to plan for the challenges of bringing a facility into routine operation. The transition from construction to operation is the commissioning and startup.
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