Selecting the right wood floor can be one of the most
important decisions you make for your home, since it’s often the one piece that
ties a room together. Not all wood
floors are created equal and selecting the right wood floor isn’t just about
picking out the color. There are other
factors to consider that impact the aesthetics and performance.
Throughout the world, there are more than 50 domestic and imported species of wood to help create the look you want. Selecting the right wood floor depends on your lifestyle, budget, and personal preference, there is a wood out there for you. When selecting the right wood floor, the species of wood needs to be highly considered. Some species of hardwoods are harder than others and — depending on your lifestyle — is something to take into consideration. The hardness of solid wood is measured using a system called The Janka Scale. This scale will determine how well a species can withstand dents and dings by the amount of pound-force required to push a .444-inch steel ball halfway into the wood; the higher the number, the harder the wood. Other factors such as how wood is cut and what type of finish is applied to the wood can also affect the durability.
Below are various species that have been measured using The
There are two types of wood floorings to choose from when
making your flooring decision. The first to consider is an engineered wood
floor. Engineered wood floors consist of multiple layers of wood, with a top
layer made of high-quality wood. The
remaining layers are bonded together to prevent the floor from shifting during contraction
and expansion stages (depending on temperatures). Engineered wood is ideal for any room — including
basements — because these floors expand significantly less than solid wood
flooring. These types of floors can sometimes
be sanded and refinished depending on the thickness of the top layer. The second option is solid wood flooring which
is made of one piece of wood and can be sanded and refinished several times due
to its integrity.
Site-finished or pre-finished wood floors are options on how you can have your floors finished. A site-finished floor simply means that the finish is applied to your floor once it has been installed in your home. This offers the best customization and there is greater control over the stain and sheen applied. The disadvantage is that it does require longer drying times, meaning you cannot walk on the floors immediately. The other option is pre-finished wood flooring, where the finish is applied at the manufacturing plant and is ready to be walked on by the time it leaves the plant. Customers know that the wood color they selected is the one they will receive from the plant. Coatings and stains on wood floors are applied and cured using UV light, providing the manufacturer consistency in their finished products. UV curing also allows manufacturers to be more efficient and increase production output providing less chance for backorders. Customers will also see a benefit in pre-finished wood floors because UV curing the coatings and stains results in a more durable floor.
Selecting the right wood floor also involves deciding what
type of sheen you want. There are a few
different options to choose from. The
floor with the highest shine will be in the glossy group. Glossy finishes offer the most reflection,
although you will notice scratches much easier on this type of sheen. The next step down in gloss would be a
semi-gloss finish. This finish still
provides some shine but not as much as a glossy finish. A satin sheen is the next one in line. This
sheen provides a very low shine to the floor and reflects a small amount of
light; it’s a good medium for those who want just a bit of sheen mixed with a bit
of matte. The last sheen offered is a
matte finish. These types of finishes
offer an almost non-reflective finish and provide the best coverup for
scratches. In the end, the less sheen, the less scratches and wear that will be
Selecting a strip, plank, parquet, or end grain are all different styles of flooring to choose. Selecting the right wood floor involves one of these styles and will not restrict you on choosing the species of wood, color, or width. It comes down to your own personal preference. When selecting one of these styles, remember that strip flooring is approximately three inches wide, giving the illusion of more space. Plank flooring is three inches or wider, providing a more casual or luxurious look to your room. Generally, the wider the plank, the more expansive the floor. Parquet flooring can vary in sizes and creates a non-linear look to your room. It displays several square and rectangular patterns in distinctive geometric designs, suitable for formal spaces. Lastly, end grain allows you to see the wood grain along the top of the wood. It provides a very distinctive look and one of the most durable flooring materials on the market. It’s made by continuously cross cutting or slicing logs into blocks or rounds. The annual growth rings from the tree become exposed in all pieces. This type of floor is typically custom ordered and is a bit more complex to install.
Taking the time and selecting the right wood floor can help
ensure you end up with a floor that meets the aesthetics and performance you
desire. Taking these steps will lead you in the right direction:
Select the right location in
Establish a budget.
Review your lifestyle to
determine what type of floor and style would be best.
Find a professional that can
help order and install your wood floor.
Learn how to maintain your
Cited: National Wood
Flooring Association. “Real Wood Real Life.” The Homeowner’s Handbook to Real Wood Floors, February 2019
Capital equipment can be defined as equipment used for the manufacture of another set of products or components and depending on your industry can be valued anywhere between $5,000 to $2,000,000.
The purchase of capital equipment, is quite often an excellent indicator of the performance of our economy – often declining during signs of a recession and growing during recovery from one.
In the ever-changing global economy and marketplace, capital equipment purchasing can be a daunting task for any engineer, procurement manager, or business owner. In many industries, the sheer number of equipment suppliers, with varying levels of features, benefits, quality, performance, and aftermarket support is difficult enough.
Complex and Involved Decision:
The decision to pursue new equipment or machinery is generally made based on the need to replace aging equipment, develop new lines of business, or improve efficiency in cost and space used on the manufacturing floor. With a fluid economy, manufacturers also look for payback on their investment within two years or less.
Complex and detailed analysis must be done, to fully understand the impact on your business, and make the decision on what equipment to source. This is generally a long-term process as capital purchases always involve:
Technical complexity – understanding how one vendors equipment is better than the others
Commercial complexity – cost beyond equipment cost / features (warranty, installation, spare part costs)
Multiple internal decision makers – CEO, Production Manager, Maintenance Manager, Purchasing Manager, may all be stakeholders both resident at the factory level or corporate level.
With these factors involved, the engineer or manager being tasked with reviewing the case for purchase of new capital equipment, needs to take a disciplined approach understanding the upfront investment of the equipment and installation costs, and weighing them against the cost and benefits that result.
Payback / Return on Investment – Consider it All! –
It is not uncommon that in pursuing new equipment for replacement of existing machinery, short sightedness can prevail. Many people commonly investigate only the obvious cost factors – reductions in direct labor, energy cost savings, and raw material reduction, while other cost saving factors and benefits are overlooked.
It is important to review all factors that will either save cost OR generate income – stakeholders will be looking for it. Consider this list when doing so:
Direct Labor – Operation – many manufacturing operations are done manually, and can be automated, or perhaps with aged equipment involve multiple people, which can be streamlined.
Maintenance / Downtime Labor – with older equipment specifically, unscheduled downtime is never fun. Often, with such equipment, repairs, upgrades, and addressing issues comes at a price beyond lost production – it’s called overtime.
Energy Costs – newer, often called “State-Of-The Art” equipment, can often operate more efficiently, using less electrical power or compressed air, with improved designs compared to old equipment.
Raw Material – current technology may offer the benefit of reduced raw material cost. For example, a higher performing UV curing system versus a less efficient system may allow you to use a less costly coating or less coating all together.
Scrap Reduction – can a properly operating system, not prone to failures of your current equipment, prevent you from producing scrap product or reduce it dramatically?
Floor Space Reduction – as with everything when technology develops – things get smaller. Will the new equipment be more compact and take less valuable shop floor space?
Training Reduction – many updated technology / machines provide user friendly operator interfaces, software, or in some cases apps, that can reduce your long-term training costs for operators when turnover occurs on your plant floor.
Productivity / Line Speed – if you are buying capital equipment, you are planning to increase line speed – not maintain it or go slower. Understand the value of additional capacity created by your purchase.
Lead Time / Changeover Improvements – new equipment design and efficiencies can improve the versatility of your operation and grow your customer base. Perhaps you shield away from short run jobs due to changeover time, which new equipment may solve.
Tax Incentive / Deduction – Section 179 – as most look for short payback period, it is always nice to write off a significant amount of the investment. Investigate the tax benefit of what you are purchasing. Check out this calculator online:https://www.section179.org/section_179_calculator/
Market Share – does the piece of equipment you need to source offer you a competitive advantage over your competition, or allow you to diversify your product offering? For example, does a tighter tolerance system allow you to pursue aerospace markets you would have perhaps avoided?
Product Quality – does a newer machine, capable of improving part quality open new markets or change / improve upstream / downstream operations?
There are also a few intangibles that can be hard to measure the cost impact of. Nonetheless – they may be the deciding factor in gaining approval from your decisions makers to proceed or not proceed with purchase of the equipment. These include:
Safety Improvements – is current operation a safety concern? Can be hard to calculate cost savings unless someone is injured – then it’s easy!
Environmental – new equipment can be environmentally friendly or green (harmful emissions, dust generator, etc.).
Serviceability – ancient capital equipment and part availability can be frustrating (tired of scouring eBay or Craigslist for spare parts!). There is a cost associated with this with sourcing time and paying excessive prices for short supply parts. New equipment should not have this problem.
Sustainability – probably the most important factor – does your equipment being purchased require knowledge of one individual to run it, or can anyone be trained to operate it. Also, does the supplier offer a sustainable supply of spare parts and service for the long haul.
Improvements in Workplace Moral – we all know a happy employee, is generally a productive employee. An operator or maintenance person tending to an aged, failing system prone to issues, may be unproductive, or outright leave.
In the end, it’s a simple dollars and cents decision to determine what is best for your business in the long run and the financial benefits of investing in new capital equipment compared to the continuing with the existing production process which can be costing your company excessive financial losses.
Purchasing capital equipment requires a substantial amount of research and analysis which can often extend the procurement process. Don’t get frustrated. Taking the time up front to consider all of the points above will help ensure that you can reap the rewards of your hard work.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year across the globe. People from all over the world celebrate a Christmas tradition that you may not have ever heard of. For several weeks, people’s spirits seem to lift and fill the air with joy and laughter as a result of a tradition. As you read on, you will discover many Christmas traditions as well as Christmas fun facts you may not be aware of. So, let’s get started …
Philippines Giant Lantern Festival
This Christmas tradition is held every year on the Saturday before Christmas Eve in San Fernando. San Fernando is known as the “Christmas Capital of the Philippines.” Eleven villages participate and they all compete to see who can build the most elaborate lantern. Years ago, this traditional competition was pretty simple. Lanterns were small — about a meter in size — and were made from Japanese origami paper. Lanterns were then lit to show their beauty. Today, the competition is fierce. Lanterns are as big as six meters and made from a variety of materials. They also illuminate the lanterns with light bulbs that have kaleidoscope patterns, rather than a simple candle.
Kentucky Fried Chicken Dinner in Japan
Yes, that’s right, KFC for your Christmas Eve or Day feast! Japan has a relatively new Christmas tradition where the Colonel’s Kentucky Fried Chicken is the main course on Christmas Eve or Day. Families and friends gather around the table and enjoy some good-old chicken. It has become so popular that KFC will advertise a special menu soon on the company’s Japanese website. The menu will focus on Christmas-themed standard bucket as well as a premium roast bucket.
Germany’s Saint Nicholas’ Day
Don’t be confused, this is not Father Christmas, however this is Saint Nicholas. He travels by donkey on December 6 and leaves special treats inside the shoes of good boys and girls. Treats include things such as coins, toys, fruit, and of course, chocolate. In the Bavarian region of Germany, Saint Nicholas will also visit schools. He will give each child a small gift or sweet treat if they read a poem or sing a song to him; they can also draw a picture and present it to him if they prefer. During his visits, he likes to keep an eye on those children who misbehave. Saint Nicholas always brings Farmhand Rupert, the devil character dressed in dark clothes and covered in bells. He looks very dirty and will carry a stick or whip. This character is just a reminder to the children to behave …
The Cavalcade of Lights in Toronto, Canada
The Cavalcade of Lights is a Christmas tradition that took place for the first time in 1967 in Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square to illuminate the new City Hall. Since then, Phillips Square is illuminated with more than 525,000 glistening lights that stay on from morning dusk until 11PM every night approaching the New Year. During this time, the city has great firework shows and outdoor ice skating for those interested in wintry activities.
The Christmas Tree Tradition
Christmas trees have existed for as long as many of us have been around. The question, however, is for how long? The very first Christmas tree that was decorated and recognized as part of the Christmas tradition appeared in Alsace, France in the early 17th century. After 1750, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote a novel called The Suffering of Young Werther, in which he included a Christmas tree. The exposure of his novel resulted in people beginning to have Christmas trees all over Germany. As time progressed, Christmas trees expanded the globe. The first immigrants decorated Christmas trees in Pennsylvania in the 1820’s, and after Germany’s Prince Albert married Queen Victoria, he introduced the Christmas tree tradition to England. As 1848 arrived, the first American newspaper printed a picture of a Christmas tree, and it was at that point that the Christmas tree became a Christmas tradition, spreading across seemingly every home in just a few years.
We seem to have all seen or had those red, beautiful plants called Poinsettias during the holidays but where did they come from? Who claimed it to be the “Christmas Plant”? Back in 1828, the U.S. had an American minister named Joel R. Poinsett, who brought back one of these red and green plants from Mexico to America. Due to its deep, red beautiful colors, the American greenhouses began selling them to the public in the early 1830’s during Christmas. It was then when these plants were given the name Poinsettias after Mr. Poinsett. In 1870, the plant spread to New York. By 1900, the Poinsettia was a universal symbol of the Christmas holiday. A new Christmas tradition was born.
The Norway Broom Tradition
In Norway, people participate in a very old Christmas tradition on Christmas Eve with their brooms. People believe that Christmas Eve brings in the witches. To protect them from these witches, they hide their brooms all over the house so that they are not taken for a midnight ride. In addition, a bowl of porridge is left in people’s barns on Christmas Eve. The porridge is for the gnome who protects the farm.
The Ukraine Web
Once upon a time, a widow found a spider had spun a web around her Christmas tree. The web then turned into beautiful threads of silver and gold. Since then, the people of Ukraine hide a spider inside their Christmas tree. Whoever finds the spider in the tree is then said to have good luck.
Guinness for Santa in Ireland
You may hear kids chanting, “It’s time to leave milk and cookies for Santa,” on Christmas Eve, but not in Ireland, because Santa prefers a Guinness beer during his trip around the world on Christmas Eve. This Christmas tradition instructs the Irish to tell their children to leave out a pint of this beer, as well as mince pies for Ol’ Saint Nick.
Iceland Yule Lads
In Iceland, you will find folklore, with mythical trolls strolling the streets 13 nights leading up to Christmas. These strange-looking — but well-liked — trolls are also known as Yule Lads or Yulemen. They each have unique names, such as Stubby, Bowl-Licker, and Doorway-Sniffer just to name a few. They will leave children a small gift or a rather rotten potato depending on whether the child has been naughty or nice that past year.
Roller Skating in Venezuela
If you are in Caracas, Venezuela the morning of Christmas, don’t be surprised to see a strange site throughout the entire city. It’s customary for the entire city to roller skate to mass on Christmas morning. During this Christmas tradition, vehicles will block off many areas of the streets in the early morning hours to allow roller skaters to skate safely to church. Once they arrive at church, the roller skates are taken off prior to entering. There are, however, always one or two that enter the church and skate down the aisle. At the end of mass, many will go out to eat tostados and have a nice cup of coffee.
In the end, let this most wonderful time of the year bring you much joy with any Christmas tradition you like. There is no right or wrong tradition, it’s simply what lifts your spirits high and brings you joy and laughter.
10 Fun Facts:
“Jingle Bells” was initially written for Thanksgiving, not Christmas.
Rudolph was almost named Reginald when Montgomery Ward department store introduced him.
Coca-Cola was the first company that used Santa Claus during the winter season for promotion.
America’s first batch of egg nog was made in the Jamestown settlement in 1607.
Tinsel was invented in 1610 in Germany and was once made of real silver.
Brenda Lee recorded “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”when she was only 13 years old.
Nova Scotia is the world’s leading exporter of Christmas trees.
Almost 28 sets of LEGOS are sold every second during the Christmas season.
In the world, there are two islands that are named ‘Christmas’– one is in the Pacific Ocean and the other in the Indian Ocean.
In 1962, the U.S. issued the first Christmas postage stamp.
Recent news stated that the earth has between 2030 and 2052 before their are disastrous levels of global warming, unless you reduce your carbon footprint. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated the planet will reach the crucial threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels by as early as 2030. If our planet continues to get warmer, we will be at risk of extreme drought, wildfires, floods and as a result, food shortages. Since the late 1800’s, our planet has warmed itself up 1 degrees C. To avoid going any higher, it will require significant and immediate changes worldwide. Several countries have already begun making big changes. Now let’s take a look at how YOU can reduce your carbon footprint.
1. Eat Less Meat
Meat and climate change have a distinct connection. The meat industry accounts for almost 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Factory farms produce an estimated 500 million tons of manure each year, more than three times the sewage the entire U.S. produces. The manure enters our waterways by using it as fertilizer (manure is not treated in sewage plants like human waste). Manure is not used scarcely, and our land cannot absorb that much waste. The runoffs of manure are polluting both surface and groundwater! Furthermore, almost half of the water used in the U.S. is also used in raising animals for food. To produce 1 pound of beef, it takes 2,000 gallons of water. Producing plant-based foods takes less than 200 gallons per pound, a huge difference. The next time you think about having meat for your meal, pause for a moment and think about it.
2. Unplug Phone Chargers
Unplug your phone charger when it’s not in use. Many of us only charge our phones at night but leave the charger plugged in all day. Electricity is still being used when it’s plugged in, even though your phone is not being charged; this also goes for all appliances. Following this practice can save you on your electric bill.
3. Filter Your Own Water
Rather than buying packaged bottle water, consider filtering your own water to reduce your carbon footprint. Plastic bottles filled with water travel wide distances to reach their final destinations, such as grocery stores. You can purchase filtration water pitchers or install a reverse osmosis system under your sink.
UPS customers who participate in the program support emission reduction projects that help the impact on climate when they send out their shipments. UPS customers who participate in the program pay small incremental amounts when they ship to offset the impact on our climate. Other companies who participate in the Carbon Neutral Program include AVIS, Eden Springs, Microsoft, Scandinavian Airlines, and SKY.
6. Swap a Desktop Computer for a Laptop
Some of us have desktop computers as well as laptop computers. Laptops use 80 percent less power than desktop computers, so if you can use one over the other, use a laptop
Recycling can reduce your carbon footprint in many ways. You can set up recycling bins at home or work for paper, newspaper, magazine, books, drink cans, glass, printer cartridges, plastic, clothes, etc. Every time one of these gets recycled, it saves energy. There are also programs that allow you to ship recyclables to them for free and even earn points in exchange for various items.
8. Recycle Old Computers and Other Electronics
If you have an old computer around or even a cell phone, take them to be recycled. Rather than having sit around the house or office collecting dust, drop it off to get recycled. Places such as Best Buy and Staples offer recycling services.
9. Do Some Gardening
Planting a tree or other vegetation helps reduce your carbon footprint by filtering out harmful pollutants from our atmosphere. The vegetation will actually put more clean oxygen into our air. Leafy plants release the most amount of oxygen back into the air (about 5 milliliters per hour). A yard filled with leafy trees is a good thing! Indoors plants such as Heart-Leaf Philodendron, Peace Lily, or Bamboo Palm do a great job in improving your indoor air quality. In addition, the Areca Palm, Snake Plant, Money Plant, Gerber Daisey, and Chinese Evergreens are top ranked for the oxygen they put back into the air, whether it’s indoors or outdoors.
10. Use Rechargeable Batteries
Next time you need to buy batteries, opt for rechargeable batteries. This will help reduce your carbon footprint, especially in a company setting where batteries can be used in large quantities. Imagine the amount of batteries that get thrown in the trash each year. According to the EPA, Americans throw away more than three billion batteries per year, approximately 180,000 tons. If these batteries were placed end to end, they would circle the world at least six times. Only about 14,000 tons of rechargeable batteries are thrown away in the United States.
11. Use Hybrid/Electric Vehicles
If you are in the market for another vehicle, consider looking at a hybrid or electric vehicle. There are several manufacturers that offer these models in their lineup with very attractive lines. These vehicles run much cleaner than vehicles that run on gasoline.
12. Read Online
Rather than buying a printed newspaper or magazine, read your issues online. Printing costs are expensive and use a lot of energy to produce newspaper and magazines. Some of the largest online ebook/magazine stores include Kindle Store, Barnes & Noble Nook Books Store, and Kobo. So go and find a comfortable spot and start reading online!
13. Use a Ceiling Fan
Air conditioning units use a ton of electricity. Rather than cranking your air conditioning temperature down, why not turn your ceiling fan on high? You will be surprised by its ability to circulate and cool a room. This simple act will help save you money and help you reduce your carbon footprint.
14. Turning the Lights Out
This is a simple one: simply turn the lights off when you leave a room. Even if you think you will be returning to the room momentarily, that doesn’t always happen, or we simply forget. Remind others in your home to do the same. Come up with a catchy phrase as a reminder or say it in a different language (Turn out the lights=Apague as luzes-Portuguese).
15. Your Driving Cycle
Take the time to slow it down on the roads. Speeding and unnecessary acceleration can reduce your mileage up to 33 percent. Keeping your tires properly inflated can also help improve your gas mileage by up to 3 percent. Maintaining your car with regular services will also help keep it running efficiently.
16. Insulate Your Home
Reduce door and window drafts within your home by adding new caulk, insulation, and/or weather stripping. This will help maintain a constant temperature inside your home. For those who need a quicker solution, try closing your curtains to retain your heat or to keep the heat out. The thicker the curtain the better! You can also simply close-up unused rooms, especially those that are not conditioned. Keeping doors closed will prevent cold or hot air moving into the rest of the house.
17. Go Solar
There are many programs within each state that assist and incentivize home owners into using solar panels on the roof of their home . The upfront cost may be a bit more, but it pays off in the long run. Some states even have programs where you can eliminate your electric bill and earn money by selling your electricity back to the local grid.
18. Eat Locally-Produced Food
Eating food that is locally grown will help reduce your carbon footprint. It’s estimated that 13 percent of the U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are a result of food that is transported throughout the nation. Some foods are in season during certain times of year, while others are not. A seasonal produce guide will help you determine what grows, and when it grows.
19. Using a Clothes Line
The history of the clothes line dates back to the 1830s in Australia . Using a clothes line may not be the most aesthetically pleasing thing in your yard, but it does significantly reduce your carbon footprint. A dryer uses five times more electricity than a washing machine. By using a clothes line either indoor or out, you can save 1/3 of its carbon footprint. Running a dryer for one hour is equivalent to 225 light bulbs. So maybe it’s time to by some clothes pins and put them to work.
20. Use Less Water
Did you know that 71 percent of our earth is covered in water but 97 percent of that is salt water and not suitable for drinking? Three percent of the earth’s water is fresh and 1 percent is available for drinking. To top it off, 2 percent of that fresh water is locked in ice caps and glaciers. We need to preserve and conserve our water as much as possible. You can help reduce your carbon footprint by:
Turning off your water when you brush your teeth
Turning off the water when washing your hands
Fixing any leaky toilets, sinks, etc.
Re-using your pasta cooking water, drinking water left-over from dinner, and give it to your plants or pet (if it’s clean)
Taking shorter showers
Investing in low-flow toilets, efficient shower heads, and water sense appliances
Installing a rain barrel or bucket in your yard before it rains to collect water. Save the water to water your plants but be sure to monitor the water so that you don’t have a mosquito breeding ground. Covers are available for rain barrels or buckets to prevent this.
Watering your outdoor plants in the morning or evening. They require less water since the temperature are cooler at this time of the day.
21. UV Curing
If you are in the manufacturing industry and use conventional ovens to dry your inks, coatings, or stains, switching to UV curing will help reduce you carbon footprint. UV curing is a process where ultraviolet light and visible light is used to initiate a photochemical reaction that creates a series of polymers. Manufacturers use UV curing equipment to cure UV curable coatings on their substrates. For example, hardwood flooring manufacturers apply a coating to their wood flooring planks. The plank is then placed on a conveyor and travels under an UV light for a second or two. During that time, the coating is dried completely, and the planks are placed into their boxes to be shipped out. No additional drying time is needed. Unlike conventional drying ovens, this green method of manufacturing is free of VOCs, very energy efficient, and saves manufactures money.
Miltec UV is a global leader and manufacturer of both arc and microwave ultraviolet curing systems. Miltec UV offers a wide range of quality UV parts, standard equipment, and custom UV systems. Our systems serve a broad diversity of industry-specific applications and market segments including, but not limited to: optical fiber, metal decorating, hardwood flooring, luxury vinyl flooring, and automotive products.
Now it’s time for you to make a change! Choose at least one way you can reduce your carbon footprint and act today. Then take a moment to forward this blog onto someone else and ask them to do the same. The power of change lays in all of our hands, we all can make a difference.
Hands-on training in a Manufacturing environment is often the best method for measurable success, but what happens when reinforcement of said training must be made sustainable, accessible, and documented for posterity?
Enter Work Instructions.
If you’ve ever worked in manufacturing then you know the importance of work instructions. Within most manufacturing ecosystems lies the need to streamline training processes, be it something as basic as properly packing units for shipping, or advanced — and potentially hazardous — tasks such as testing equipment in a high-voltage capacity.
Beyond the initial training administered by supervisors, Work Instructions eternally bridge the gaps in information, close divides in knowledge from one employee to another, and serve as a handy-dandy guidebook for those looking to follow the path of highest — and documented — efficiency. Be it Work Instructions for manufacturing, administrative, operational, or even engineering wings of a company, the collaboration between a Technical Writing team and hands-on experts ensure that the day-to-day production processes flow naturally, so that the next step can progress without issues.
But there is an art form in crafting the Work Instructions, which sometimes straddle the predominantly gray area between not enough information or too much information; too rigid or too flexible; tried-and-true methods or dated methods; and most importantly: too complex or not technical enough.
It’s essential to strike a balance in each process or task, but at the same time strike the proper chord with end-users. So, let’s delve a bit further into the world of Work Instructions, specifically of the Manufacturing variety, and take a closer look some of the dos and don’ts of crafting these guidebooks.
The Benefits of Work Instructions
Streamline production processes:
It’s important that the work is completed
according to the scheduler, so that the overall process
may be handed off to the next step without roadblocks.
Standardize training and methods of production:
Knowledge within a Manufacturing environment should
be both uniform and accessible. It’s important to note
that employees will develop newer — and potentially
more efficient — methods to complete processes and
tasks, but a baseline must be established. Recognizing the
training and acknowledging the administration of the
training via documentation also creates accountability.
Reduce errors and scraps:
Streamlining the production processes and standardizing
training and methods means less mistakes, which in turn
limits scrap material. All of this adds up to greater all-around
efficiency, whether it is due to time saved on the assembly
floor or costs controlled via reducing scrap materials.
Outline clear and established safety protocols:
Safety is paramount in a Manufacturing environment. From
high-voltage fixtures, to forklifts, to pallet jacks, to even a
simple shop knife, understanding safe work methods and
operation of tools and equipment could be the difference
between a safe and hazardous work environment, and
possibly the difference between life and death.
Allow employees at all levels to aid in improvement of production processes and methods:
Manufacturing is a team activity: think of Work Instructions as a playbook, where the individual moving parts within a diagrammed maneuver ultimately lead to gains or losses. Work Instructions allow the players (supervisors, assemblers, etc.) involved in the playbook to pitch in suggestions, ideas, wrinkles, and changes to the product, just as an athlete would drop in their two cents on a scheme to potentially push his or her team to greater heights.
Work Instructions DOs and DON’Ts
Similar processes, part numbers, references, etc. should appear similarly within Work Instructions, and where possible, uniform throughout the entire catalogue of Work Instructions. Establishing benchmarks, such as color codes, bolds, italics, and underlines for fonts, font sizes, and proper alignments of texts, tabs, boxes, and pictures creates consistency — and, more importantly — familiarity for the end-user. Below, a series of key words and processes have been circled in red to demonstrate similarities and importance.
Mind proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation:
While an end-user with less than eagle-eyes may not catch seemingly mundane errors, a professional, well-written document will always stand out and be easier to edit down the road. In many Manufacturing environments, though the Work Instructions remain confidential and only for internal use, appearances are often the first impression, and professional polish on the documents further heightens the importance of the contents.
Partner with experts:
Engineers and Assemblers possess the depth of knowledge of the processes and methods to ensure just enough detail is included in the Work Instructions, not to mention proper tooling techniques, handling of delicate materials, and order of assembly, among many other variables. Partnering with experts ensures efficient processes and methods are being implemented.
Ensure end-user copies of Work Instructions are always the latest revision available:
Outdated and out-of-revision Work Instructions are about as good as the total absence of one. The onus of maintaining the printing and publication of the latest revisions of Work Instructions should ultimately lie with the Technical Writing team and or Manufacturing Supervisors. The end-user, however, should be checking for the latest revision before every use.
Centralize location of Work Instructions:
Be it a physical copy or digital file, Work Instructions should always be accessible when needed by end-users and editors.
Ensure changes are captured promptly:
Reconciliation of edits, or “red lines”, leads to the latest versions of Work Instructions being available for use. Typically, 30 days is the maximum a red line can appear in a Work Instruction before needing to change revision and once again become an official document.
Do not allow anyone other a supervisor to authorize changes and red lines:
The end-user is well within their rights — and responsibilities — to discuss and initiate changes, but a seasoned supervisor should have the final say in signing off on said changes.
Do not circulate multiple copies of printed Work Instructions:
At no time should more than one physical copy of any given Work Instruction be out in circulation. Following this practice eliminates the chances that an older and/or red-lined revision is not being utilized.
Do not misplace Work Instructions:
While this one can be difficult to enforce, it remains the responsibility of the end-user to ensure that physical copies of Work Instructions are never lost or misplaced. This ties in directly to having to print multiple physical copies of Work Instructions and everything that comes with the scenario.
While this is by no means an end-all, be-all, or extensive list of everything associated with Work Instructions, it sets many of the base guidelines and expectations regarding the crafting, editing, publishing, and maintenance of the documents. For more general information on Work Instructions, and their relationships to other critical documents, please visit the following websites:
Be warned, these are true encounters with spirits and ghosts. It’s up to you whether you choose to believe in the paranormal or not. For a fun Halloween blog, we decided to interview Miltec UV employees. We found many employees had a real-life ghost and spirit story to tell. Here are their true stories…
Real-life ghost and spirit story encounters
This first, real-life ghost and spirit story was told by a Miltec UV employee, who was visited by her father about 10 years after his death. The story began when she went to visit her mother. As the day ended, she headed off to bed and began her peaceful sleep. Sometime in the middle of the night, she was awakened by the voice of her father saying, “There’s something wrong in the living room”. She sat up in bed, and heard his voice again saying, “There’s something wrong in the living room”. She proceeded to get up and go downstairs to the living room. When she got downstairs, she discovered that a pipe had broken through the ceiling and was leaking water all over the furniture. She knows it was her father warning her about the broken pipe and will never forget that night!
The next, real-life ghost and spirit story comes from a Miltec UV employee who was personally visited by a spirit about 11 years ago. When she was pregnant, her brother-in-law, Michael, passed away. When her son was born, her sister-in-law gave her a rattle from Tiffany’s that came from Michael. (Michael always gave silver rattles to friends and relatives that had babies, and her sister-in-law gave her one on his behalf). She decided to keep the rattle in its box, on the second shelf of the bookcase in her son’s room.
One day when her son was a couple of months old, she set him on a blanket in his room with a few books. (She believes he was crawling at the time, but he was not able to walk). She was in the room next to his sitting on the floor, blow drying her hair, when she felt this presence pass by the door in the hallway. The feeling was so strong that she got up and went into her son’s room. There he was, sitting on the blanket playing with the silver Tiffany’s rattle. As of this day, she truly believes that her brother-in-law visited them and took the rattle from the box on the shelf and gave it to her son.
Actual photo of the rattle
With our next interview, we learned of a real-life ghost and spirit story that simply gave us the chills. Our Miltec UV employee had just had a very frustrating and upsetting day with one of her family members. She was so upset that she could not fall asleep. She laid there wide awake and listened to her husband snore next to her. Her “nanny” (dad’s mother) had been a big part of her entire life and was always there for her when she needed her. She had, however, since passed. She kept her dearly in her heart always. That night, she was praying and “talking” to her in her head. She wanted her to guide her and comfort her since she had such an upsetting day. Moments passed, and she asked her if she could just give her some sign that everything was going to be okay. Seconds later, she was tapped on her shoulder with one finger. She clearly felt the tap (which was not too light and not too hard). She looked over at the only other person in the house — her husband, who laid there sleeping and snoring.
This next Miltec UV employee told of his son’s real-life ghost and spirit story just one year ago. Our employee’s mother Amy passed away when his son was six months old. She met her grandson, but he was too young to remember her. Throughout his three-year life, the little boy had never been told his grandmother’s first name (Amy). One day at the age of 3, the little boy woke up and told his father that someone came to visit him while he was sleeping. The little boy said her name was Amy and she had come to say hi. Our employee was in shock when he told him her name was Amy.
As our interviews continued, we found this real-life ghost and spirit story spooky. Our Miltec UV employee was just a little girl when this happened to her. She loved to play with the toys she had in her bedroom. That night she left out her camper toy on the floor next to her bed. She was almost asleep when she saw the camper starting to move back and forth by itself. It would move a couple inches forward and then a couple inches backwards and would not stop. She told “it” to go away but “it” didn’t. She decided to cover herself up with her bed covers and remained there until morning. There was no one else in her room that evening.
The sixth real-life ghost and spirit story happened to a Miltec UV employee while she was touring St. Augustine, Florida in 2007, one of the most haunted cities in America. As she stood outside the local fort, she decided to take a photo because there were only a few people around and it would make a nice shot. She went ahead and took her photo and discovered a ghost/spirit had been caught in the photo. She clearly saw the two legs and feet of someone in tennis shoes in her photo. The actual photo taken is posted below.
This employee’s story does not end here though, she has had a few other encounters at the local firehouse where she volunteers. On random days, she has smelled cigar smoke in the firehouse, and has seen shadows go across the main hall. These are believed to be previous firehouse volunteers from the past. They have become frequent visitors and are greeted by name.
Actual photo showing the ghost’s legs and feet
Our next, real-life ghost and spirit story involves another Miltec UV employee and her son. The first incident occurred when one day her son came downstairs and said he could feel someone behind him every now and then inside the house. He said he felt like it was “nanny.” His mother asked why he thought that and he said because he could smell her near him. She always had on a specific perfume and that was what he would smell. The second incident, and ongoing as of today, involves Mrs. Stanley. Mrs. Stanley lived in their home a very, very long time ago and even passed away there. They seem to always feel her presence in the home, as does the cat. They will find their cat sitting at the bottom of the steps just looking up while the rest of the family hears footsteps upstairs. Their last incident occurred with their son again, except this time it was with Mrs. Ward. Mrs. Ward lived in one of the many slave homes next door a very, very long time ago. This location was considered a slave community in the past. As our employee’s son, who was 8 years old at the time, sat in his house staring out the window to Mrs. Wards’s house, he said she stared back at him from her window.
Actual photo of Mrs. Ward’s Home
As a bonus to this blog, an additional experience has been added, though it is one based on aliens, not ghosts and spirits. Our employee cannot say this actually happened to him, he considers it more of a waking dream sort of experience. We will let you decide:
“I watched too many scary movies as a child. As a result, I would sleep with my blanket covering up all parts of my body, because I was convinced a killer might come by and cut off anything that was exposed. So, I would wrap the blanket around my head, with only my mouth exposed. During this time, I had reoccurring experiences where an alien would visit me in my sleep. They were like waking dreams, occupying some strange space between reality and fiction. Sometimes, it would hover right next to my head. As mentioned, I covered my eyes when I slept, and so the only evidence I had for this was a sense of presence — perhaps, a sense of electromagnetism and heat from a nearby body. One night, I ‘woke up’ and saw it at the foot of my bed. Its fingers were placed on the end, pointed at me. They were long and spindly; their dexterity reminded me of surgical instruments. In that moment, I stared, incapable of moving. By some unnatural force, those fingers elongated, though the base of its hand remained at the foot of my bed. They stretched forward, past my feet and ankles. By the time they reached near my knees, I threw the blanket over my head. I heard and felt nothing more, and never was visited again.”
As our interviews come to an end, we are amazed at the number of incredible stories. We are thankful for our employees sharing their experiences and allowing us to share them with you. Whether or not you want to believe in ghosts or spirits, it’s a fact that all of the above encounters are true and DID happen to real people.
Written by Ana Hetzel and Beth Mosner, Miltec UV Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Miltec UV’s applications lab allows prospective customers to test drive Miltec’s equipment and products. Miltec makes premium UV Equipment and products with various options. The test drive helps clarify what options and upgrades are needed and which are not. It also helps the customer to fully integrate the equipment into their process.
What makes Miltec UV’s application lab special is its ability to tackle curing problems and simulate the customers process. The applications lab is not only staffed with knowledgeable PhD chemists, who are experienced in thousands of UV applications, but it is also equipped with a variety of application and testing equipment.
The various systems Miltec UV has available for customers to use when they visit the applications lab are listed below. Customers often visit the lab with their chemistry supplier so that they can work on solutions together and tweak the chemistry on the fly. The knowledgeable and experienced Miltec UV chemists, engineers and sales reps are also available to assist and offer advice.
HPI GLOSS CONTROL UV CURING SYSTEM
Our first workhorse curing unit in the application lab, the HPI Gloss Control UV Curing System, was developed for controlling gloss for the wood and vinyl flooring industries and is also used in the metal decorating industry.
This curing unit consists of three HPI (High Peak Irradiance) arc lamps that can be configured to run from 100-650 W/in and operated from -1 inch to 13 inches out of focus. Each lamp can be equipped with mercury, as well as a variety of specialty Miltec arc lamps. The reflector liners can be swapped between dichroic cold mirror liners — for heat sensitive substrates — and polished aluminum reflector liners in a matter of minutes. Each station can be equipped with quartz or cold mirror plates if needed for the application. The conveyor itself has the capability of running from 10-400 fpm and has a belt width of 20½ inches.
Gloss on the HPI Gloss Control UV Curing System in the Miltec applications lab is adjusted by the selection of lamps, power, and focus. Gloss swings of 20 gloss units is capable with these adjustments. We have an additional IR conveyor for additional gloss swings (up to 30 gloss units combined) or to maintain incoming product temperature (simulating plant conditions).
To fully show customers the capabilities of Miltec equipment requires simulating the customer’s process. The applications lab is equipped with both a roll coater and spray booth. The roll coater can run both in direct and reverse doctor roll modes and is capable of coating thin vinyl as well as 1-inch thick board.
PANEL CURE UV CURING CONVEYOR
Another option in the Miltec applications lab is to sync our Panel Cure UV Curing Conveyor to the HPI Gloss Control Conveyor. This allows us to UV cure objects such as kitchen cabinetry and wood molding using tilted lamps rather than without tilt. The tilted lamps are designed to cure the sides as well as the tops of objects such as these. Lamp height is adjustable to allow part clearances up to 13 inches and the belt width is 20½ inches wide.
The Panel Cure UV Conveyor has an additional top configuration: the Bulb Overlap Top. Applications requiring extremely wide webs (>80 inches) string multiple lamps across the web. This configuration allows the chemists and engineers to optimize the system to insure the cured coating has perfect uniformity across the web.
MILTEC MICROWAVE POWERED UV LAMPS
In addition to arc lamps, the applications lab is fully equipped to use microwave powered UV lamps. We have conveyors that can run microwave UV bulbs in multiple configurations (up to 2 lamps wide and 4 rows deep). It’s also possible to rotate the lamps 90 degrees towards the conveyor belt. These systems run from 12-900 fpm and have a part clearance of 17 x 19½ x 6½ inches (lxhxw). In addition, two rows of arc lamps can be run at the same time.
The applications lab is equipped with three web presses. These webs run with either slot-die or flexo. One of the webs can run in the nitrogen inerted mode and two of the webs have heating that allows them to run straight UV or water-based UV inks or coatings.
LABCURE MINI UV CONVEYOR
Finally, the applications lab is equipped with Miltec’s latest conveyor, the Labcure Mini Conveyor. This tabletop conveyor is used with chemistry formulators in their laboratories. It can be configured with Miltec HPI arc lamps or Miltec MPI microwave lamps. Microwave lamps can run parallel or perpendicular to the conveyor. The Labcure Mini speed is adjustable 1-300 fpm. This system is available to use in our applications UV lab.
APPLICATIONS LAB EXTRAS
Customers who take advantage of the Miltec UV’s applications lab will find it well-equipped with a range of extras including:
And here we are again … the dreaded annual performance review process! As a Human Resources professional with more than 20 years’ experience, I’ve been chasing down this process for far too many years. I should join my colleagues on the ledge, but to help them understand that the performance review process doesn’t need to be painful. Since the early 1950s, when performance ratings hit the scene, we’ve allowed the inertia of our past to carry us into today.
Here are some facts about the process: 30 percent of performance reviews end up decreasing employee performance; 2 out of 3 employees with the highest ratings aren’t actually the highest performers; 70 percent of managers think reviews take too much time; there is way too much focus on the past and not enough on the future; they are too subjective and too infrequent.
HR Bias Terminology
Let’s not forget about rater bias. The performance review process is fraught with bias, albeit probably unconscious. There is coined HR terminology for this bias. Let’s talk about some of these:
The Halo Effect: the tendency for a single, positive rating to cause other ratings to be inflated. After all, if you are good at this, you must be good at that too, right? Wrong.
The Horns Effect: the tendency for a single, negative attribute to cause raters to mark everything on the low end. Of course, the consequences can be detrimental and lead to unfair outcomes, including dismissal.
The Central Tendency Bias: I call this the path of least resistance. I’ll just rate everyone right in the middle — not great, not bad … this is the equivalent of a “C” grade.
The Leniency Bias and its evil brother, The Strictness Bias: These are self-explanatory — either a rater is too easy going or too harsh. How do these raters ever determine anyone’s strengths and weaknesses?
The Recency Bias: This creeps in when a recent event clouds the memory of previous performance — the “good streaks” and the “bad streaks”. Whatever the streak, this is an inaccurate way of rating.
The Similar to Me Bias: We see this in nature and in the Performance Review. After all, “birds of a feather flock together”. Isn’t it nice when everyone is perfect like us? After all, when you review Suzie and say, “She is a great communicator”, what you are really saying is, “Suzie is a great communicator, like me … hell, I taught her how to communicate well”. So, if you are rating someone on their height, whether you perceive them as short or tall depends on how short or tall you are.
The Adult Report Card
The performance review process has become a subjective adult report card! Maybe we should stop doing them all together — I know that’s what you are thinking. Or, maybe you just don’t do them at all until someone in HR threatens or bribes you, or kindly reminds you several times until you succumb. I heard an interesting quote the other day: “No one ever rises to low standards.” It’s simple, yet profound. Don’t we have an obligation to help our employees rise to standards that will move their careers forward? Won’t this level of performance also move our business forward if outcomes are correctly aligned?
Making a Change
Get off the ledge! The exodus is upon us. More and more companies are radically changing their performance review process and it is starting to look like this:
Regular check ins/fluid systems with feedback from manager and peers/conversations and coaching/no numbers or ratings/forward-looking goals/self-reflection and professional development.
You may be thinking more feedback, regular check-ins, employees participating in goal-development, and being accountable to report and update progress — this sounds like more work. Well, it is certainly different from the traditional performance review, but it is not more work. The time has come to simplify the process and get to the heart of what matters — strategic goal-setting and ensuring employee success.
Goal-setting is the pinnacle of the performance evaluation process. When you can measure a goal, you turn the subjective view into objective feedback. When employees participate in goal setting, they are more engaged and likely to accomplish the goal. When managers refine goals, ensuring the goals are SMART (specific, measurable, actionable, results-oriented and time-bound) and stretch employees, even ever so slightly, it serves as a motivator for ongoing development.
Linking goals to business objectives helps employees see how they individually contribute to the big picture. This is where the accountability enters the picture as employees grasp the direct impact of their performance, e.g. what they have accomplished and how it has helped the business move forward.
Where businesses and the legacy performance review processes fail are setting the goals and forgetting the goals — only visiting them once a year. Do a quick test with your employees: ask them very casually to tell you two to three of their annual goals. My guess is that most would struggle to remember even one. Or, someone may surprise you and say my goal is “XYZ”, but it is not relevant anymore because of “XYZ”. Everything changes — as external and internal situations happen (what I call reality), we don’t stop to re-visit and tweak the goals. Don’t get me wrong, a goal should not be a moving target; rather, it should be adaptable as the environment changes.
Keeping Goals Alive
Making goals visible and breaking them down into smaller tasks will keep employees engaged and focused and help them feel a sense of accomplishment. Talking about these small accomplishments on a regular basis keeps the goals alive and front and center, for both the manager and the employee. These are condensed conversations, quick and succinct, in other words, updates. How many of you have conversations on Monday morning about the Sunday football outcomes? Why not take the same approach with performance discussions?
Finally, having an integrated Human Resource Management system can assist in making this process less cumbersome, more meaningful, and keep everything in one place. When transforming your organization’s performance system, embrace a solution that provides the full array of tools to track performance, gather feedback easily, push out notifications and updates and keep the information accessible to employees and managers at any time in the cloud. The system should also provide you with information to analyze data and trends — from comparing retention metrics to understanding employee engagement.
Help your employees know where they stand, and, it shouldn’t be on the ledge when it’s time to discuss performance! Begin having regular conversations with your employees.
At Miltec UV, we utilize BambooHR as our Human Resource Management System. BambooHR is a user-friendly, cloud-based system offering mid-sized and growing companies employee and candidate automation tools including applicant tracking, employee on-boarding, document retention, benefit tracking and other features which manage all aspects of the employee lifecycle. We are currently reviewing Performance Management the Bamboo way.
I have been reading so much lately about metal cans that I wanted to share my real life “quick dinner” experience relying on the canned food in my pantry. This was my dilemma. I had about four packs of ground turkey in the freezer — most likely bought when they were on sale at the ACME one week — and I needed to figure out what to make for dinner. I love the idea of Taco Tuesday®, and I was into it for a while, but honestly, the novelty has worn off. How many tacos can a girl eat? I will admit that I always have a box of taco shells in the pantry along with other canned food, but this week, I felt like something different.
In addition to Taco shells, I also have several cans of tomatoes and lots and lots of beans in my pantry. You will also find other canned food such as corn, canned pumpkin (I just read canned pumpkin has even more nutritional value when it is canned) pineapple, canned tuna and salmon. I am making myself out to be a vision of health, which is not entirely true. We also have chips, goldfish, granola bars and OREO cookies. However, I do care about what I eat, what I feed my family and I also love to cook good food. I just believe that certain canned foods are acceptable, and others are not. I have always used and enjoyed canned tomatoes and beans, and they are probably the top “canned food” staples in my pantry. I used to buy canned broth, as well, but I have started buying the boxes because they’re larger.
I decided to make a black bean turkey chili with the boxed, jarred and canned food in my pantry. My family loves chili and I usually make it with canned kidney beans, but only had black beans available. So, I threw the following recipe together. Here it is:
Beth’s Black Bean Turkey Chili Recipe (almost organic)
1 onion cut up and sautéed in olive oil.
1 pound ground turkey – cooked (drain grease if there is any)
3 cans of Members Mark Organic Black Beans drained
Spices such as Smoked Paprika, Chipotle Chili, Chili Powder and Turmeric
Organic Beef Bone Broth – as much as you like depending on how thick you like your chili
Bring to a boil and simmer for an hour or so. You can also make it in the morning and put it in the crock pot on low for 8 hours.
Acceptable vs Unacceptable
This is my perception of canned vs. fresh vs. frozen vegetables. I always considered fresh the best, even if it was from across the country, followed by frozen and then canned food. Boy was I wrong! Even though I have been educated about canned food, there are still certain vegetables I would never buy in a can. Broccoli, spinach, asparagus, onions, potatoes, and carrots to name a few. For broccoli and spinach, I prefer frozen over canned. (I’m not even sure they sell broccoli in a can?).One of the problems I have with canned food is that I am concerned with the sodium content and the added ingredients. I was just reading two posts on the Refreshingly Real Facebook page @Refreshingly Real about canned food and I realize my perception is completely wrong.
Canned vegetables are picked at the peak of ripeness and usually canned within 4 to 12 hours! The fresh vegetables are steam heated and preserved in airtight cans. Most canned vegetables are NOT loaded with preservatives and salt and all you need to do is read the label if you are unsure. The post I just read said that canned tomatoes contain more lycopene than fresh and canned pumpkin has more vitamin A than fresh. Interesting facts for those that are skeptical. Cans are also lined to preserve the integrity of the can and its contents. The lining also protects the flavor of the canned food. I once ate tuna that tasted a lot like metal but in hindsight, that could have just been the mercury in the tuna and not the metal (Ugh! Note to self – only eat tuna once a month!)
Cans have been around longer than most people think. The history of the can began in 1795, when Napoleon offered a prize to the person who could invent a way to preserve food for his navy and army. Read about the History of the Can here. They are inexpensive, portable, sustainable, and recyclable. They are even selling canned wine now because it costs 40% less than bottled wine! Steel food cans are also 100% recycled! Here is a link to an interesting and entertaining video about cans produced in the 1950’s. I really find cans interesting, and the more I read about how fresh and nutritious canned foods are, the more excited I am to expand the canned food options in my pantry. Find out more about cans on the Can Manufacturers Institute website. Miltec UV supports the can and metal decorating industries by selling equipment that instantly cures (dries) the ink on flat metal sheets which are formed into cans.
Is your UV curing system performing as it should? Are you constantly replacing over-heated lamps? Maintaining a healthy UV curing system is crucial for obtaining successful results in curing and saving money. There are five main ingredients that make up a healthy UV system. These include proper cooling and airflow, power supply maintenance, light shielding, maintaining the reflector condition, and lamp maintenance. Paying close attention to each one of these will help solve or prevent any problems you may have with your UV curing.
Cooling and Airflow
Cooling and airflow are key to maintaining a healthy UV curing system. UV lamps are required to operate at very high temperatures (800°C / 1,500°F) to maintain the plasma state. Modern UV lamp systems require a cooling system that not only maintains the lamp stability in that range but also protects the integrity of the metal structure that supports the lamp.
Most modern UV lamps are controlled by variable power ballasts, which deliver anywhere from 20% to 100% power to the lamp. This means that the cooling system must adjust automatically to match the lamp power and heat load to maintain the stability of the lamp (not over-heat or over-cool). Lamps that operate in an “over-heated” condition will result in shortened lamp life and possible lamp swelling or other distortions, which adversely affects the UV output. Lamps that operate in an “over-cooled” condition will suffer from shortened lamp life as well as low UV output. When a lamp is over-cooling, it cannot develop the correct voltage and the current (amps) remain high, putting adverse wear on the electrodes over time. Only when a lamp is consistently operating within the correct cooling parameters will its lifespan be maximized.
A third way of maintaining a healthy UV curing system is by monitoring your reflector condition. Lamp reflectors are a critical part of the UV output and are responsible for about 65% of the UV energy, as seen by the substrate for most UV systems. Some UV systems use replaceable reflector liners, either a coated silver liners or cold mirror coated reflector material. Other systems use a polished aluminum shutter extrusion as the reflector. If you notice that your reflector doesn’t look shiny and has a dull presence, that’s an indication that it needs to be replaced. Measuring your UV output with a radiometer will also help diagnose reflector issues and whether or not you are achieving the UV output needed.
Microwave or arc Lamp maintenance is key to maintaining a healthy UV curing system. Most UV lamps operate in industrial environments, in less than ideal conditions. It is important to try and keep the lamp as clean as possible to prolong its useful life. Neglected lamps will age prematurely and suffer from low UV output. The simplest way to keep your UV bulbs clean is by cleaning them with a designated UV glass bulb cleaner. Some bulbs need to be cleaned often and others very seldom. The frequency of needing to clean the bulbs will vary depending on the environment.
Power Supply Maintenance
Power supply maintenance is another important part of maintaining a health UV System. The heart of any UV system is the expensive power supply which drives the UV lamp. Whether a conventional iron core ballast or a solid-state power unit is used, filtered cooling airflow is critical to the health of the power supply components. Power supplies operating in a dirty or over-heated environment will degenerate or fail, resulting low UV output or lost production. Making sure you have a clean air filter will ensure you have clean, filtered air which will help keep your power supplies clean. Air filters should be replaced as often as needed, depending on the environment.
The last ingredient for maintaining a healthy UV curing system is the light shielding. The primary purpose of light shielding is to protect personnel from any direct UV light exposure. Adequate light shielding in and around the UV housing, lamp module components and the associated production equipment is necessary to prevent any associated hardware from reaching unsafe temperatures or deterioration from direct UV exposure.
In the end, the key to maintaining a healthy UV curing system includes proper cooling and airflow, power supply maintenance, proper light shielding, maintaining the reflector condition, and lamp maintenance. For further assistance with solving your UV issues, please contact Miltec UV. The Miltec UV team is committed to helping you understand UV curing and address UV related questions and issues. Our service department plays an important role with our existing customers. We possess the expertise to answer questions and help solve problems. Furthermore, we offer customized UV system training for our customers and cover material required for a wide range of training goals, including basic to advanced UV curing equipment maintenance, UV measurement, and microwave and arc lamp technology.
Written by Bob Malone, Miltec UV Contact: email@example.com
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was established in 1970 “to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.” For OSHA to succeed in this mission, companies must be in compliance of its safety standards. Therefore, employers must have a comprehensive safety and health program that adheres to OSHA’s safety standards. When OSHA’s standards are not followed then violations occur in the workplace. Unfortunately, these violations often result in serious harm or even death to workers.
Each year OSHA records the top violations in chronological order. It is very interesting to see that each year the top ten violations reoccur relatively close to the same order they occurred in prior years. Below is a list of the top five top OSHA violations with tips on how to avoid them.
1. Lockout/Tagout – LOTO Safety Procedure
Lockout/Tagout refers to specific procedures to prevent injuries due to unexpected startup of machinery or release of hazardous energy during maintenance activities. Compliance with LOTO standard (29 CFR 1910.147: control of hazardous energy) prevents an estimated 120 fatalities and 50,000 injuries each year. Make sure your practices conform to the site lockout/tagout procedure to safeguard against injuries. All employees who work on machinery/equipment must be trained in lockout/tagout procedures. Perform internal safety audits to verify the LOTO procedures are properly followed.
Violations often lead to gruesome results. BLR’s computer-based training program, Interactive CD: Lockout Tagout, tells of a 17-year old student working a summer job managing a conveyor dropping waste cardboard into a baler. When the belt jammed, he sought to dislodge the jam by climbing down into the baler. The belt suddenly restarted and the youngster was drawn inside, losing both legs in the process.
If someone had simply turned off and locked out the power before the repair was attempted, the accident would never have happened.
2. Machine Guarding – Safety Practices
Machine guarding are the practices that preclude moving machine parts from causing severe workplace injuries (crushed fingers or hands, amputations, burns, blindness, or even death). Never bypass a moving equipment guard and always report damaged or missing guards. Damaged or missing guards need to be replaced immediately for everyone’s safety.
According to OSHA, workers who operate and maintain machinery suffer approximately 18,000 amputations, lacerations, crushing injuries, abrasions and more than 800 deaths per year.
3. Hazard Communication
Chemicals pose both health and physical hazards. OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) ensures the availability and dissemination of information about these hazards and associated protective measures. Employers should familiarize themselves with the SDS information of all chemicals that are in their workplace and make sure proper protective programs and training are in place.
Chemical manufacturers and importers must evaluate the hazards of the chemicals they use and prepare safety data sheets (SDSs) for employees and downstream customers.
4. Powered Industrial Trucks
Thousands of injuries related to powered industrial trucks or forklifts occur each year in the U.S,. and most also involve property damage. Unfortunately, most injuries and damages are due to a lack of safe operating procedures, deficient safety rule enforcement, and inadequate training. Employers must verify employees that operate PITs or forklifts are properly trained and follow correct operating procedures.
Forklifts cause roughly 100 fatalities and nearly 95,000 injuries each year, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) estimates. One in six workplace deaths in the U.S. involve a forklift, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
5. Flexible (extension) cord use
Before an extension cord is used, instruct all workers to inspect for external defects (loose parts, missing pins, damaged insulation) and evidence of internal damage (pinched or crushed outer jacket). Replace cords that power “fixed” equipment with appropriate permanent wiring. Also, practice running extension cords overhead or taping them down to prevent tripping.
Fact: About 4,000 extension cord-related injuries are treated in hospitals each year, about 50 of which result in death.
Now that we’ve discussed OSHA, the top 5 OSHA violations and how to prevent those violations, what else can employers do to ensure OSHA compliance? Having a comprehensive safety and health program are key to a safe and healthful work environment. These programs can substantially reduce the number and severity of workplace injuries and illnesses, while reducing costs to employers. Most successful safety and health programs are based on a common set of key elements. These include management leadership, worker participation, hazard identification, hazard prevention and control, education and training, and program evaluation and improvement. If assistance is needed, OSHA provides the web page. Please click here for the “Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs”.
Another means for employers to improve their health and safety program is to utilize OSHA’s on-site consultation program. This program offers free and confidential advice to small- and medium-sized businesses in all states across the country, with priority given to high-hazard work sites. The on-site consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations. Consultants from state agencies or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing safety and health management programs. More information can be found on the web at www.osha.gov/consultation.
Employers can also contact OSHA’s compliance assistance specialists for information about OSHA standards, short educational programs on specific hazards or OSHA rights and responsibilities.
Written by Randy Plunkett, Miltec UV contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Whoever thought that reading a magazine called CanTech International could be so interesting? The magazine includes articles about manufacturing metal cans and the metal decorating industry, which utilizes UV. UV systems, such as our HPI, cure the ink on flat sheets of metal that are then formed into metal cans.
Maybe I found this specific article interesting because I know more about the markets we sell into now that I have worked here for a while, or maybe it is because I know more about why our customers use UV. I suppose it doesn’t matter, but we can all relate to this article. “Has the bubble burst in soft drinks and can cans save the day?” This one article talks about something we all (well, most of us) drink — carbonated soft drinks (CSDs) in metal cans.
Industry experts report that there are predictions that CSD sales volume will fall by 1% between 2013 and 2017. That may not seem like a lot, but it also means sales are not rising. Beverage can manufacturers are coming up with innovative ideas to bring the market back! (Did I mention that our HPI system is used by several metal decorating companies?) The article states that “the soft drink industry needs to drive value to consumers by staying relevant to them and to find new ways of delivering value to keep costs down”.
The article proposes that innovations and new products may halt the decline the industry has experienced. Caroline Archer, the Crown Bevcan Europe Marketing and Key Account Director, has a positive outlook. She says attractive metal cans are an opportunity to add value and offer brands the ability to stay relevant in the market. They distinguish your product. The growing middle class makes decisions based on brands and their attraction to packaging designs. There is a promising future for premium beverage cans such as Starbucks. They offer premium beverage products, which is the fastest growing segment of the $140 billion dollar global carbonation industry. If you know the brand and you trust that they make a good product, why not try something else they offer? Everyone has heard of Starbucks and everyone likes to splurge on a designer drink occasionally.
Healthy Alternative Cans
Another new product, which I have never heard of (probably because it is not readily available, although you can get it on Amazon) is 2B Sparkling, a naturally sweetened sparkling drink. The beverage is sweetened by Purefruit, which originates from the monk fruit. The monk fruit is said to have naturally occurring antioxidants and is sweet without the calories. This healthier alternative to sugary sodas, nicknamed “Healthy Bubbles”, only has 8 grams of sugar, 30 calories per can and no artificial sweeteners. The beverage has been approved by the New York Department of Education and is currently being sold in 2,500 school vending machines in the state. Additionally, Rexam, the 12 oz. can manufacturer, believes that 2B also benefits from the inherent advantages of aluminum cans, which includes portability, durability, and sustainability. Did you know that aluminum cans are the most recycled beverage container in the world? It boasts a recycling rate of 67 percent in the U.S., more than double the rate of other beverage packages.
Interestingly, one online article I read on 2B Sparkling gave them a “boo” for can design — going back to the idea that many of us make decisions based on our attraction to the packaging design. She stated that the can looks generic and boring. The colors are drab and there is not much creativity in the design. I agree that this is not a can I would pick from the shelf and consider buying because it looks like a cheap, root beer knock off. However, I am attracted to the idea of a healthy alternative to soda, especially for children who seem to be pre-programmed to crave soft drinks. (Unfortunately, I still haven’t tried 2B Sparkling and I am not sure of the success of this soft drink, although it is available at Whole Foods Market online).
Brands are also looking to providers for innovative solutions to help adapt to market conditions. One new innovation is the XO Reclosable end – a solution to reclosing the can tab. I have never used one of these reclosable ends, so I am not confident that it will preserve my soda’s freshness and carbonation for future drinking pleasure. Still, it is a great idea and much better than stuffing crumpled up aluminum foil in the can top. The good news is that the beverage fillers are able to incorporate the reclosable end technology on their production lines without a significant investment.
Can these new products and innovative ideas save the CSD industry? John Hayes, CEO of Ball Packaging thinks not. He blames CSDs for softness in their liquid consumption business and questions whether new products and innovations can really arrest the declines in the industry.
Alternative Uses for Cans
I recently read an article on canned wine. That’s new to me! The success of wine in metal cans (which has grown over 50% in a year) is based on cost, portability, and recyclability. The idea is to make wine approachable. It doesn’t have to be as expensive if you are efficient in your processes and manufacturing. Canned wine costs 40% less to package than bottled wine, and the savings can be passed on to the consumer. Millennials are looking for high quality at an affordable price, and are willing to settle for alternative packaging. Why not buy decent wine in a can that is portable and recyclable?
Just today, I read about Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors supplying those impacted by Hurricane Florence with canned water. Metal cans are not as fragile as glass and not susceptible to heat like plastic. Even if Carbonated Soft Drinks are losing popularity, metal cans are always going to be popular because they are recyclable and durable.
If can manufacturers are skeptical, and don’t have faith in alternative uses or innovations in the can industry, maybe they should consider purchasing one of our UV systems to reduce their costs. Buying our system is a great solution to their problem! To find out more about our HPI system designed for the metal can industry, please visit our website.
Written by Beth Mosner, Miltec UV contact: email@example.com
Wafer Food Pantry is the largest pantry in Western Wisconsin, providing food for people in need. With a simple mission statement — “Responding to God’s love, WAFER provides food and works to eliminate hunger” — WAFER has helped to address food insecurity in the La Crosse, WI area for over 30 years. WAFER’s meager beginnings started near the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse campus. WAFER then moved to a local church basement and then on to its current location in the heart of La Crosse, and continues to be challenged for additional warehouse space to serve our clients. The current 13,000 square foot building is often bursting at the seams due to limited warehouse space.
Since 1986, WAFER has been fighting to eliminate hunger by providing food for people in need. Hunger does not discriminate. It affects people regardless of age, gender, race, family upbringing, or social status. WAFER clients come from all walks of life: single-parent households, the chronically disabled, homeless people, veterans, seniors, and two-parent, low-income families. WAFER is committed to providing food for people in need and addressing hunger-related issues in La Crosse County, while treating each person with personalized service and dignity. WAFER procures food, develops community resources, and collaborates with organizations and businesses to alleviate hunger and insecurity. Organizations like Walmart, Mayo Clinic Health Systems, and Channel One Food Bank (part of the national Feeding America Food Bank) donate and provide resources to WAFER.
WAFER served 40,000 people in 2017, and one in three was under the age of 18. This number included 1,500 families that received packages to support their needs for four to five days for each person. WAFER was utilized by 626 families last year, and distributes 1.6 million pounds of food each year. Local businesses and community donations account for over 1 million pounds of donations, and Channel One Food Bank and Government commodity programs contribute an additional 400,000 pounds. Through monetary donations and fundraising efforts, WAFER purchases over $100,000 in foodstuffs at reduced prices each year to distribute to our clients.
WAFER – Food for people in need – has many different programs to serve various at-risk groups.
Food Package Distribution
Food packages are the core of WAFER’s distribution. Clients receive four to five days of food one time per month. The packages consists of canned fruits and vegetables, pasta, beans, tuna, cereal, peanut butter, soup, tomato products, milk, yogurt, cheese, eggs, lettuce, onions, apples, bananas, melons, carrots, meat, and personal hygiene items.
This program provides WAFER’s normal food package to low-income senior citizens. Meals are pre-packaged according to dietary requirements and delivered to 16 senior meal sites, apartments complexes, and community sites.
In partnership with Channel One Food Bank, a local partner of Feeding America Food Bank, we offer one additional giveaway each month. Twenty-five to 35 pallets arrive and are lined up in the street for distribution to clients. Participants bring their own bags and collect about 50 pounds of goods. The options include meat, bakery items, canned goods, cereal, produce and crackers. In 2017, Channel One provided an extra 225,000 pounds of food to 5,000 households through this monthly fair.
Nutrition Education and Tools Program (NET Program)
Approximately three years ago, WAFER volunteers noticed that many of our clients did not know how to prepare what was available or did not have the appliances and cooking utensils needed for the preparation. WAFER reached out to the dietetics programs at local universities and medical facilities to create a cooking preparedness program. At least one time per month, cooking classes are conducted to educate our clients in cooking techniques. Each attendee learns how to prepare and cook specific meals. They also receive cooking equipment (crock pots, pans, utensils, etc.) to aid in their efforts to prepare healthy meals at home.
Student BackPack Program
Students in rural communities receive a backpack filled with food to bridge their needs over the weekend. Each Friday, these children receive the backpack to take home to their families to ensure they have meals to eat over the weekend. Parents and students alike are very grateful for this supplement.
WAFER’s latest accomplishment includes the purchase of a vehicle to create a “Mobile Food Pantry” to extend our service area to more distant and rural communities. The retrofitted mini-bus has been making two-hour stops on a regular schedule throughout the county to reach residents who struggle to get to WAFER. The handicapped accessible mobile pantry is stocked with healthy choices like pasta, canned fruits and vegetables, dairy, meat, bakery items, fresh fruits and vegetables, and some personal hygiene items. Suzi, one of our mobile pantry clients states, “I have not been able to get to WAFER for the past four years because my vehicle broke down, and taking the bus was so difficult due to my physical challenges. Thank you WAFER for helping me secure the food I need.” Many other clients have commented that they are thankful for the mobile pantry, as they cannot afford transportation to WAFER. The $120,000 investment in the WAFER mobile pantry is paying big dividends for the entire community, says Samantha, the Mobile Pantry manager. People are just so grateful and appreciative. Clients get to choose foods for their particular tastes, which makes it seem like regular grocery shopping, adding dignity to the entire procurement process.
WAFER is a United Way, non-profit organization, serving the La Crosse area. WAFER is holding an Open House in October to recognize and show appreciation for our local donors, benefactors, and volunteers. Music, food trucks, beverages and tours of the WAFER facility are planned.
WAFER volunteers donate over 12,000 hours per month to ensure that WAFER meets the needs of our community. They help sort, stock, clean and provide compassionate service to all of our clients. WAFER could not survive in its mission without these unselfish volunteers.
Miltec UV is preparing to provide food for people in need within our community by participating in a volunteer program called Feed A Family.
Manufacturing companies that invest in UV have many decisions to make along the way, whether they are changing a process from conventional drying to UV, or if they are simply upgrading an old UV finishing line with new and more powerful UV equipment. The decision of selecting UV equipment and which UV equipment manufacturer to work with, cannot be taken lightly. There are many UV equipment manufacturers available to choose from, with a wide variety of UV system designs, configurations, and options. Choosing Miltec UV is one of the best decisions you can make. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that all UV equipment is virtually the same and decide to purchase the least expensive one. Not all UV systems are created equal, therefore by choosing Miltec UV, manufacturers get what they pay for: a world-class UV system. A cheaply built UV system will cost you more money down the road in higher maintenance and upkeep costs, more downtime, and lost production. To maximize your profits, it is critical to choose the UV equipment manufacturer that will offer you the best opportunity for success. It should be a manufacturer that will guide you in the right direction in terms of specifying the correct UV system configuration for your production and process needs, and then building you a user-friendly, high powered UV system tailored to your exact specifications. More companies are choosing Miltec UV for their UV equipment because Miltec has become widely recognized as a company that builds relationships with their clients, provides high quality UV solutions. Additionally, Miltec continues to provide the before-and-after sales support necessary to ensure the customer is pleased with their return on investment and remains satisfied for years to come. Miltec UV has focused its attention in four areas to achieve this level of notoriety:
Providing personal attention to its customers
Manufacturing the highest output UV system in the industry
Manufacturing a user friendly and maintenance friendly UV system
Providing prompt and efficient technical support
It all starts when you make that first phone call to Miltec. Choosing Miltec UV means you will always be greeted by a person. Miltec does not believe in a “voicemail system.” When you call, you will be directed to the appropriate person who can assess your UV needs. Miltec UV is a company that has developed a reputation for having UV experts guide customers through the entire process of selecting the proper UV system for their production facility. From the initial idea or concept of adding UV, to the specification of UV system configuration, and throughout the engineering/manufacturing/installation. One crucial step in the process is determining the UV system configuration and lamp orientation required for a customer’s specific application. Miltec has a well-equipped UV lab along with a team of experts (including chemists, engineers, and application specialists) to perform UV cure testing with customer participation. The test results will then allow us to process a quotation for a customized UV system designed especially for that production process.
One of several UV conveyors in the Miltec UV lab
Proposed concept drawing of an 18-lamp UV system
Our quotations are comprehensive with photos, graphics, and specifications so that the customer has an accurate concept of the UV solution. Once the order is placed, our engineering team kicks off the project with direct involvement from the customer. Customer-site meetings and Webex meetings are held with the customer on Day 1 and throughout the engineering and manufacturing phases to ensure the customer is kept informed of: the design of the customized UV system, our project milestone dates, and tasks that the customer can perform to prepare for an efficient and proper installation. At the completion of the manufacturing phase, customers have the option to visit Miltec UV to see the system in operation prior to shipping. On-site start-up assistance and training is provided at every installation by Miltec’s team of service technicians. Follow up by sales and service is always provided periodically for years following the installation to ensure the equipment is performing well. The personal attention that Miltec provides its customers sets us apart from our competition and is another reason why more customers are choosing Miltec UV.
Highest Performing UV System in the Industry
When choosing Miltec UV, manufactures are offered two types of UV systems: arc lamps and microwave powered UV lamps. Miltec is the only UV equipment manufacturer in the world to manufacture both types of UV systems, each having its advantages. Miltec has the benefit of determining which type of UV system is best suited for the application. Regardless of the type of UV system, Miltec has designed both UV systems to produce the highest UV peak irradiance output in the UV industry. High peak irradiance is critical when curing optically thick coatings/inks (such as dark pigmented inks), or when curing heavy lay-downs of coatings. High peak irradiance can also be required to achieve specific surface cure properties, such as: surface hardness, scratch resistance, stain resistance, chemical resistance, and more. On several occasions when comparing the UV output of a Miltec UV system to a competitor’s UV system, we have seen peak irradiance ranges 3 to 10 times higher with a Miltec UV lamp system. A UV system that produces higher peak irradiance will cure more efficiently and typically result in fewer lamps required on the production line. Less number of lamps equals lower energy consumption costs, lower maintenance costs, and less down time, which ultimately equals higher profits.
Miltec’s HPI XR arc lamp UV system
Miltec’s Xtrema and Xtrema Plus microwave powered UV system
Peak Irradiance of Miltec’s HPI XR UV system vs. a competitor’s conventional arc lamp UV system running at same power level. Graph shows two different bulb types (Hg Lamp and V lamp)
User-Friendly and Maintenance-Friendly UV System
One of the key ingredients to making a customer happy with the UV equipment is designing the UV system to be easy and intuitive to operate and maintain. Miltec prides itself on doing an excellent job at this. For example, Miltec’s arc lamp UV systems are controlled by a PLC and touchscreen control system. Miltec’s engineering team pre-programs a series of different screens to allow the operators to navigate their way from operating the system to making system parameter adjustments, as well as easy-to-use, image-guided troubleshooting assistance. The operator screen displays all important operating parameters of the system. The lamp setup screen allows for quick and easy adjustments to lamp power, lamp height, conveyor speed, and more. The troubleshooting screens enable personnel (even those with limited technical experience) to resolve virtually any fault. This results in maximizing the run time and minimizing unplanned down-time for equipment repairs. We frequently receive positive feedback from our customers. Here is a testimonial from an Operations Manager, “I have been working with Miltec since 2001. Time and time again they have proved to have the knowledge, technical support, replacement parts, and UV systems we need to be successful. The purchase of our Miltec UV System has never been questioned. Changing lamps or cartridge components can be done in a snap with their quick-lock connectors. It’s reliable, low maintenance, and produces unparalleled peak irradiance. We trust Miltec!”
Troubleshooting assistance screens on Miltec’s touchscreen controller
Prompt and Efficient Technical Support
Miltec’s technical support team is the best in the industry. Miltec provides 24/7 technical support by phone or VPN for our customers. We can use the VPN connection interface from a remote location to access the PLC and touchscreen of a Miltec UV system at the customer site to assist with troubleshooting or repairs, download changes or upgrades to the software. We not only provide technical support and troubleshooting assistance for Miltec manufactured UV systems, but we also assist our customers who use competitive UV systems. We are here to help in any way we can, plain and simple. The manager of our customer service team has 35 years of experience designing, building, troubleshooting, and repairing UV systems, which provides him a wealth of knowledge and the ability to help Miltec customers in a fast and efficient manner. Most troubleshooting can be done over the phone or VPN, but we also send our expert technicians in the field to help resolve more advanced UV equipment problems.
Here is a recent comment from a customer about our technical service team, “Thanks Bob. Appreciate your team helping me get our unit back up and running so fast today! Fantastic support!”
Call Miltec UV Today
As the word spreads about why businesses are choosing Miltec UV for their equipment needs and customer support, we are proud to say that our business is growing fast, and we look forward to continuing on this path of success. To reach Miltec UV and receive a quotation on your custom UV system, call us at 410-604-2900 and ask for a member of the Sales team.
Written by Miltec SE Regional Sales Rep, John Phillips. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
The signs of history are visible throughout the great state of Maryland. But, one of the lesser known signs appears right as you cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and onto the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Kent Island, the third oldest English settlement and the first in the state of Maryland, is the home of Miltec UV’s headquarters in Stevensville, Maryland.
Jamestown, Virginia was settled in 1607, followed by Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620 and then Kent Island in 1631. It’s amazing that more emphasis is not placed on the fact that this tranquil and beautiful island is the third oldest English settlement in the history of the new colonies. Neglecting to promote the historical significance of Kent Island is seen as a failure by many historians. So, let’s delve into some of the interesting facts and dates regarding the settlement on Kent Island.
Early Settlement Dates
Kent Island is said to have been inhabited for 12,000 years prior to English Colonization.
1627 – William Claiborne, the Secretary of State for Virginia, is given permission by the governor to explore the Chesapeake.
1631 – Claiborne claims a large Island in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay and builds a trading post on the southern tip known as Fort Kent. Claiborne settles this land as part of Virginia.
1632 – King Charles I grants the Calvert family a charter to establish a colony in Maryland.
1633 – First formal complaint by Virginia against the Maryland Charter. The Maryland Charter said that Maryland was unsettled, when in fact it was settled by Claiborne of Virginia.
1634 – Claiborne builds a community on Kent island and a private residence, named Fort Crayford.
1635 – Series of Naval battles between Claiborne and Calvert take place. These were the first known naval battles on the Chesapeake.
1638 – Calvert apprehends the Island after years of legal battles, and it is settled it as part of Maryland
1642 – The only town on the Island is called Broad Creek. The town exists until the mid-1800s.
1649 – Annapolis settled at Greenbury Point; Cecil Calvert offers the Virginia Puritans land grants, trading privileges and — most importantly — freedom to worship, if they agree to move to the Western shore of Maryland.
1650 – Christ Church at Broad Creek, Kent Island built.
1658 – William Claiborne officially leaves Kent Island.
1706 – Kent Island becomes part of Queen Anne’s County as it is today.
1919 – First Ferry runs from Claiborne-Annapolis connecting the Eastern and Western shores.
1930 – Four, separate Matapeake to Annapolis ferries begin operating.
1952 – Original span of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge opens, officially named: Gov. William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial Bridge.
1989 – Miltec UV founded by Joseph Blandford, Jr.
Brief History of the Third Oldest Settlement and the Matapeake Indians
Kent Island was settled by Englishman William Claiborne in 1631. He named the location the Isle of Kent after the flat and marshy land of his home country. William Claiborne traded with the Matapeake Indians, of the Algonquin nation, that inhabited the land at that time. The Matapeake were a small, peaceful group of Indians that planted, hunted, and fished. They enjoyed bartering with the English settlers who provided beads in exchange for the pelts, which were taken back to England. The Matapeake Indians sold the Kent Island land to Claiborne for 12 pounds of “truck”, or trade goods.
William Claiborne settled on the land and built a fort on the tip of the island named Fort Kent, a trading post that was quickly destroyed by fire. By 1634, a community was formed on Kent Island that was surrounded by a wooden wall. The third oldest English settlement included a courthouse, grist mill, and a trading station. Claiborne also built a private residence that he named Fort Crayford. The Virginia settlement population grew to approximately 120 Englishmen by 1638.
Land records dating back to as early as 1640 reference two of the men that were with William Claiborne during the 1631 settlement. The names of the men were Thomas Yewell and William Medcalf. The land names referenced in the surveys were “Mattax Nech” and the “neck of land called Mattapax Neck”. Matapeake is the historical name of the Native Americans that lived on Kent Island in the Mattapax Neck area. It is believed that they lived on the southeastern side of the island, and then migrated north as settlers arrived. They moved to the Mattapax Neck area and ultimately settled in the Broad Creek area, which is near the current Matapeake ferry landing. This is also the future home of the new, state-of-the-art Miltec UV facility.
Not much is known about the Matapeake other than that they were a small tribe and fought with the larger-than-life sized Susquehannock tribe. The Susquehannocks were giant-sized and “well-versed in the ways of war”. They believed most of the land on the eastern and western side of the Chesapeake Bay to be theirs. They raided lands and set fires, displacing and killing other tribes and local wildlife. Disease brought by the white men also diminished the small population of the Matapeake. Upon his arrival to the region, William Claiborne recorded that there were approximately 100 remaining Matapeake. The tribe, however, completely disappeared by 1641.
The First Maryland Settlement
Lord Baltimore, George Calvert, was the owner of the Maryland grant. He previously settled Newfoundland, however the weather there was too harsh, so he petitioned the King to settle land north of Virginia. Unfortunately, he died in 1632 before King Charles I approved the charter named Maryland (“Terra Mariae”).
Cecil Calvert, the eldest son of George, took over the charter for his father. Cecil, the second Lord Baltimore, heard about the valuable land on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake and wanted it for Maryland. He had the Crown revise the Maryland land grant to include the Eastern Shore as far south as the Potomac River. The new dividing line between Maryland and Virginia was demarcated across from the Potomac River.
In 1638, seven years after Claiborne first settled on Kent Island, the Calvert family finally seized the land for Maryland. Cecil now had to establish and govern the new colony of Maryland, a refuge for the Roman Catholics of England. English law considered the Roman Catholic supremacy of the Pope treason to the King. The Calvert family persuaded new colonists by offering religious freedom and the promise of land. Cecil stayed in England to govern and protect the colony and sent his brother Leonard to Maryland and appointed him the first governor.
The legacy of the Matapeake is kept alive by the surrounding community and the Kent Island Heritage Society. The Matapeake name is perpetuated on Kent Island today with the naming of an elementary school, the Matapeake State Park, and Matapeake Beach. The recently renovated Matapeake Clubhouse at Matapeake Beach is the original location of the Matapeake-Annapolis ferry landing. Miltec UV has plans to building a new facility on the property adjacent to Matapeake Beach by the year 2020.
When you arrive in downtown Annapolis, it’s hard to not be struck by the sailboats and yachts. But, this is just one port of call. Annapolis, the sailing capital of the U.S., is filled with history and home to some very special landmarks. Boaters love anchoring down and exploring the history or attending the various annual events offered within the city. The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the U.S., and provides boaters easy access to downtown, Annapolis as well as calm inlets to explore. Transient slips are available with reservations, but if you prefer to drop anchor at a mooring ball right in front of the United States Naval Academy, the Annapolis Water Taxi can provide you a ride to the Annapolis City Dock. It’s here where you can visit local shops or sit down for some casual dining with a great view of Ego Alley. Ego Alley is a small, dead-end, water alley where boaters like to strut their boats. Here at Miltec UV we appreciate what we are surrounded by and the fact that Annapolis is less than 30 minutes away. Our employees have the opportunity to incorporate an abundance of history and the opportunity to attend many fun-filled events in Annapolis throughout the year.
THE SAILING CAPITAL OF THE U.S. EVENTS
Annapolis is home to three of the world’s largest in-water boat shows. These include the Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show, the U.S. Powerboat Show, and the U.S. Sailboat Show. The Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show showcases the latest sailboats on the market from around the world. This is held every April at the Annapolis City Dock. Annapolis has hosted the U.S. Sailboat and Powerboat shows since 1970. Each year, these shows bring in over 150,000 attendees from around the world. The shows feature the leading boat manufacturers and the latest in electronic equipment. The Sailboat Show is always held the first four days in October, followed by the Powerboat Show for an additional four days. The shows are held at the Annapolis City Dock, rain or shine.
Sailors love the Wednesday night weekly sailboat races that begin at the mouth of Spa Creek. Many spectators will watch by land or by boat, giving the finishers a crowd along various points within the Annapolis Harbor. The races have been known to include as many as 125 sailboats. Annapolis is also known for hosting the U.S. Sailing’s Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship in 2005, as well as being the U.S. Stopover in the 2005-2006 Volvo Ocean Race.
Annapolis is also ranked one of the best cities in America during the holidays, and one of the star attractions is the Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade. This winter event takes place in early December near the Annapolis City Dock. You will find boats from all sizes cruising Spa Creek with thousands of lights and designs on them, some choreographed to music. It provides a magical night for all ages.
NATIONAL SAILING HALL OF FAME
Annapolis is home to the National Sailing Hall of Fame (NSHOF), a non-profit educational organization located at the Annapolis City Dock. It is dedicated to preserving America’s sailing legacy and interacting with the next generation of sailors. The institution offers sailing classes and programs, exhibits, and special events. It also hosts sailboat races such as the Classic Wooden Sailboat Rendezvous and Race, where wooden boats of all sizes come together in casual competition. Boats arrive from all over the world to participate in the event.
UNITED STATES NAVAL ACADEMY
The United Stated Naval Academy, which occupies 200 acres on the banks of the Severn River is located in downtown Annapolis. This four-year, co-educational academy prides itself on being ranked as the top public school in the nation. The academy trains young men and women to be officers of the U.S. Navy or Marine Corps. On campus, you will find the beautiful Naval Academy Chapel, where the Father of the U.S. Navy John Paul Jones’ remains are buried. Guided walking tours are available of the United State Naval Academy.
PACA HOUSE AND GARDEN
In the historic district of Annapolis, you will also find the William Paca House and Garden. This was once the home of William Paca, the signer of the Declaration of Independence and a three-term governor of Maryland. The home consists of two acres of lush gardens, recreated just as they were in 1772. Historic Annapolis oversaw the restoration of the home in 1970 and has continued managing the property. The home is available for tours or as a special occasion rental.
MARYLAND STATE HOUSE
The Maryland State House is the oldest State House in the United States still in legislative use, dating back to 1772. It is known for its wooden dome that was constructed without nails, which today is the largest and the only one of its kind in the United States. Presently, the dome is held together by wooden pegs and reinforced by iron straps. The Maryland State House also contains a lightning rod, which was originally constructed and grounded using Benjamin Franklin’s specifications. Now over 225 years old, the original lighting rod remains intact and continues protecting the State House. The Maryland State House is also known as the location where George Washington resigned his commission as Commander-in-Chief of the Army and the Treaty of Paris. The State House is open to the public every day, except for certain holidays.
As I come to a close, I hope you have a more complete sense of what Annapolis has to offer. The great sailing capital of the U.S. not only offers historical value, but also many opportunities to attend events for all ages. From world-renowned boat shows to an abundance of calm inlets to explore by boat, Annapolis is a place for all ages and personalities. This also includes our furry visitors, of course — you will always find water bowls outside local shops or restaurants to welcome them.
You spend approximately 40% of your week at work. Wouldn’t you like to use that time and make a difference? One of the things our employees like the most working at Miltec UV is that they know that what we do makes a real difference every day, not just in our community, but around the world. The systems we build are used to make hundreds, if not thousands of products used every day (even products you don’t see like optical fiber cables and semiconductor parts) by means of a green technology.
Make a Difference With Miltec
As a family owned business making a difference comes naturally. Most of our employees are residents of Queen Anne’s County. Our employees are active in the local school systems and support local businesses. We are a company built around our community, by members of the community and for the world at large. As such, it is our goal to make a difference both locally and internationally.
OYSTER RECOVERY PARTNERSHIP
Miltec is located on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in the state of Maryland. Because we care about our environment we have recently become involved in the Oyster Recovery Partnership-Operation Build a Reef. As part of this project we have contributed 26,000 baby oysters. These baby oysters will help restore a 13-acre oyster sanctuary. When the oysters we have contributed become adults they will filter 1,3000,000 gallons of water each day.
The Oyster Recovery Partnership has also partnered with the Severn River Association. The ultimate goal is to plant over 50 million baby oysters. This partnership is a great opportunity to provide positive results on human lifestyle and health in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The restoration of the oyster sanctuary will help lower harmful nutrients in our waterways and improve our marine environment.
HAVEN MINISTRIES-RUN 4 SHELTER
For several years, Miltec has been involved with Haven Ministries, a non-profit organization that provides food and shelter for the homeless and less fortunate of Queen Anne’s County. Working with Haven Ministries is a great way for our company and our employees to give back. From their 5K run, to donating to their local thrift shop and volunteering to serve food at their homeless shelter, there are opportunities for our entire team to make a difference.
Within Miltec we have created a unique way to raise money for Haven Ministries. Miltec UV launched our First Annual Silent Auction in the Fall of 2015. Employees of Miltec not only enjoy donating a variety of home goods, jewelry and sporting goods but we also enjoy the competition of the bidding wars that ensue. We look forward to this year’s silent auction event where participants can bid online or in house.
Our involvement with the Oyster Recovery Partnership and Haven Ministries makes sense because our entire philosophy revolves around making a difference in the world. Our UV technology not only allows us to lessen our environmental footprint but also our customers’ footprint. By using UV curing our customers can manufacture products without harmful solvents. Using less energy and parts provides a positive impact on our environment and helps our customers’ save money. In addition, using UV technology reduces the amount of VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) released into the atmosphere.
Our environmental consciousness extends beyond our green technology into our internal green processes and procedures. Here at Miltec, we strive to recycle all that we can including paper, aluminum, parts, and energy! Our entire team works under the 5S organization method
Set in Order
The 5S method helps us to eliminate error and waste, saving time, energy, and money.
Miltec’s commitment to making a difference shows through everything we do, whether it’s helping local environmental programs, giving back within the Queen Anne’s community, or helping create a green earth for the future to come. Many of our employees chose to work at Miltec because of our philosophy of giving back and making a difference. We pride ourselves in helping others and our employees can say the same.
While many employees participate in the opportunities offered through Miltec, you will also find them volunteering outside of Miltec. Our employees run marathons for charity, participate in local beach clean ups, promote and participate in Earth Hour, distribute food to those in need, help restore our oyster population in the local waterways, mentor local students and much more.
If you want to make a difference where you work, contact us.
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