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  • Our Creative Director Was Featured in RI Local Magazine!

    by [user not found] | Oct 31, 2014

    Halloween is a holiday saved for candy, monsters and spooks and surprises. But here at VIBCO, we had a little surprise of our own. 

    Our creative director, Ed, comes into the office with a copy of the November issue of RI Local Magazine. He flipped open the magazine, turned the magazine around so it was facing all of us in the office and revealed a single page. It was a feature piece done on Ed's sketches of scenery around Rhode Island.

    The full story is below. Click it to get the full sized scanned version of the story.

    ed huff in rhode island local magazine

    Also, check out Ed's blog, Rhody360, for more great sketches from all around Rhode Island.

    Go comment!
  • Where Is Your True North?

    by Linda Kleineberg | Oct 24, 2014


    Does your organization have a True North?

    Probably not… at least not one that is a living, breathing, guiding force for focused and strategic decision-making.  You may be thinking, "I don't know what a True North is, but we sure do have a terrific Mission Statement." 

    Do you really? Does it drive your organization toward its goals? 

    Your True North answers two key questions for every member of your team…

    • What do I work on first? Second? Never?
    • Will this work add value to our customers?

    What is a True North?Decision-Making Cartoon

    True North is a decision making tool. It is a clear statement that helps the people in your organization  emotionally connect with how you add value to your customers and build prosperity. It must be clear, simple, directly related to your core brand promise, and absolutely free of jargon and "business-ese".

    Here are some TERRIBLE examples from our friends at Inc. - "The 9 Worst Mission Statements of All Time" or better yet… have a little fun and make up a terrible one yourself with this "Mission Statement Generator"

    Why you REALLY need a True North… Right Now.

    The people inside your organization are making decisions all day every day. Many decisions are made without any real consideration at all. Think about how many activities you and your colleagues do because "that's the way it's always been done" or because someone doesn't see the downstream or upstream impact. Even worse - they just guess and move on.

    A solid True North cuts through these routines, patterns, and narrow fields of view to provide your team members with a persistent question - is this work going to help us get closer to our True North?   If the answer is yes, great! If the answer is no, then move on to something else.

    But they're just WORDS, right?Sir Winston Churchill

    "We shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender”  - Winston Churchill, Speech in the House of Commons (4 June 1940)

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable Rights; that among these, are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” - Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence 1776

    "…And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.  My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man." - John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address 1961

    Did those leaders just speak words? Or did something about those words resonate so deeply with their audience that entire nations were moved to action? 

    The power of words to unite is the stuff of legends. Great leaders find WORDS to inspire emotional connections that guide, motivate and sustain the march toward a goal - no matter how difficult. A True North does the same for your organization.  

    Our True North Guides Us Every Day 

    VIBCO's True North is SAME DAY, NEXT DAY for our customers. It's everywhere. It pervades everything we do. It guides our improvement activities. It shows us where we excel, and frankly… where we still have a long way to go. In recent months, we've discovered that as we grow, Same Day Next Day for our customers means we need to strive for Same Minute, Next Minute within our four walls.

    You can learn more about VIBCO's True North at www.vibco.com/about/true-north

    The Bottom Line on True North

    If your organization makes decisions, then you need a True North.

    A clear and connected True North drives the thinking, innovation, values and beliefs of your organization - it becomes your DNA. Lean and Operational Excellence are not sustainable without a shared set of core beliefs that guide, drive and motivate. Your True North is the "burning platform", it's the reason why your team shows up to work each day energized to pursue excellence.

    Developing your True North is an exercise in deep thinking. The task of finding words that capture your strategic vision is no small task - AND those words need to inspire your team to have an emotional connection to how THEY add value to your customers . It's not something you can read in a book or learn in business school. It comes through intimacy, authenticity and understanding who your business actually is today, what your customers need it to be tomorrow, and how you're going to get there.

    The most important thing is to get started... Here is a collection of articles to help:

    http://theleanthinker.com/2012/12/01/true-north-explicit-or-intrinsic/

    http://www.aleanjourney.com/2014/01/what-do-we-mean-by-true-north.html

    http://blog.leansystems.org/2011/09/purpose-of-true-north.html

    http://www.industryweek.com/companies-amp-executives/getting-lean-right-lessons-learned-lifetime-lean

     

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  • Dust Explosion Prevention and Protection: What You Need to Know

    by [user not found] | Oct 08, 2014


    Dust is deadly.

    Since 1980, there have been more than 350 dust explosions that have killed more than 130 people in the United States alone.

    Even the most safety-conscious operations can experience a dust explosion event. Grain milling and processing operations are at risk, as are food, wood and chemical processing plants.

    Dust explosion prevention is a high priority. The National Fire Protection Agency publishes an annual guide to Combustible Dust that is an essential resource for all at-risk processing operations.

    VIBCO Vibrators can be part of the solution. We offer ATEX and Explosion-Proof electric vibrators, as well as a full range of pneumatic and hydraulic vibrators for combustible dust environments.

    Some key points to understand about combustible dust:

    1. What are dust explosions, and when do they occur?
    2. How to recognize dust hazards, and have good preparation and training in place, should an event occur.
    3. Where to find additional resources to help create a safer workplace.

    What Are Dust Explosions? When Do They Occur?

    Dust_Explosion_Pentagon

    A dust explosion is the rapid combustion of fine dust particles suspended in the air in an enclosed location.

    The fine material can be any kind of material. Grain mill dust, saw dust, food ingredients including flour and powdered milk and even mined materials including coal and magnesium all have extensive records associated with workplace explosions.

    The explosions are often very large, occur quickly and can be very destructive. In order for an explosion to occur, these 5 conditions must be met:

    • fuel
    • An ignition source and
    • Oxygen
    • Dispersion and
    • A confined, closed off space

    Industry experts have called these 5 components together the Explosion Pentagon (right)

    Why and how is dust combustible? Some key characteristics are:

    • Combustible by nature
    • Dry - less than 25% moisture content
    • Fine enough to go airborne
    • Suspended in the air in an explosive concentration
    • Contained or enclosed in a confined area

    Dust explosions are unique in that they can occur in 2 phases, a primary and a secondary and spread quickly. The primary event is triggered when dust that has been settling on a surface for a prolonged period of time is suddenly disturbed. The dust becomes airborne in the confined space. When exposed to an ignition source - something as small as a spark discharged from a piece of clothing - the dust will ignite causing the primary explosion. The secondary explosion is often larger and more dangerous. The primary explosion can become an ignition source for a larger neighboring area, resulting in a much larger explosion.

    primary and secondary grain explosion graphic

    Ignition sources are many and varied - some obvious, some not. The Forest Industry Task Force found that mechanical sparks are the leading ignition source of dust explosions. After that, the second most common cause is 'unknown', a statistical slice that can range from random chance to a cause that was unseen or unnoticed. Beyond those two cases, everything from static electricity to friction to fire to hot surfaces are potential ignition sources.

    Recognizing Dust Hazards, Preparation and Training

    aerodyne dangers of dust and dust explosion prevention infographic

    Grain Operations Safety is an important issue, and combustible dust explosions are a key part of that. Thousands of VIBCO vibrator users work in the feed and grain industry. We work to provide the best solutions for feed and grain to provide reliable, predictable and SAFE material flow and management.

    All workers who are involved with milling and grain processing should be trained to identify risk-factors, mitigation procedures, and prevention/response to dust explosions.

    Dust-heavy areas should have a ventilation system installed such as wall or ceiling fans that can provide additional air circulation and assist dust control and movement.

    Hot Work Programs are special programs where work that generates heat or sparks are located in a designated area far away from floating dust or areas prone to explosion.

    OSHA provides an comprehensive guide on how train your workforce to prevent dust explosions around grain.

    Here are some of the points. Download the complete guide 

    • Maintain a rigorous housekeeping and sanitation program inside the grain elevator structure. Keep grain dust cleaned up in all working areas of the elevator
    • Implement a weekly or bi-weekly bearing lubrication program based on the manufacturer's specifications
    • Use a food grade mineral oil spray system on grain during transfer and load out
    • Install bearing temperature monitors on leg boot, head and knee pulley shafts, on horizontal drag head and boot bearings and on belt conveyor drive and idler bearings
    • Install belt rub sensors inside bucket elevator leg castings to detect belt misalignment to
    •  prevent friction heating.

    Additionally, identify areas that produce dust and look for ways to isolate and/or contain that area from the rest of the working environment. This is especially crucial if this particular area is difficult to clean.

    BE PREPARED!  Make sure all your facilities are equipped with a fire extinguisher and other fire suppressing equipment.  

    Below are a few additional resources to consider:


    Go comment!
  • Read These 7 Lean Books Now

    by [user not found] | Sep 18, 2014


    You've heard about Lean. You're curious. You've even talked to a couple of consultants who seemed knowledgeable.

    But you're not sure. You don't really know enough to know whether it's a strategy that makes sense for your business.

    We understand. So here's a perfect reading list to help you figure it out.

    Read these first, then come to VIBCO for a tour, then call in professional help.

    7 Fantastic Lean Books to Read Right Now

    creating a kaizen culture

    Creating a Kaizen Culture
     Jon Miller, Mike Wrobleski and Jaime Villafuerte


    Creating a Kaizen Culture
    is a fantastic book that features the combined experiences and insights from experts who have successfully used
    kaizen - continuous improvement.

    In addition to providing actionable insights about how to create a kaizen culture, the book provides a detailed look into how kaizen is implemented, maintained and encouraged in a number of well-known organizations including Toyota, Zappos, and Wiremold






     The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
    Malcolm Gladwell

    Gladwell's first book, The Tipping Point, is a research-based look into the power of ideas. Filled with case studies and academic research, the book documents how ideas, movements and trends brake through into our mainstream consciousness.

    A snippet of the book from Gladwell's site summarizes the premise of the book best:

    "Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate."

    When developing a Lean culture in the workplace, ideas and understanding the weight that they carry is key. Gladwell provides tremendous insight into the 'DNA of ideas' and gives the reader a firm stepping stone on how ideas morph, change and catch on.

    the toyota way front cover

    The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World's Greatest Manufacturer
    Jeffrey Liker

    There are loads of books about the Toyota Production System... but few capture the true essence as well as Jeff Liker.

    The Toyota Way is the first book for a general audience that explains the management principles and business philosophy behind Toyota's reputation for quality and reliability. It captures insights of senior management in a very concise way.  

    The book also explains to managers of just about every industry how to build sustainable processes through: elimination and identification of waste; producing small quantities of goods and eliminating over production; and empowering all employees to be active participants in sustaining systems, identifying waste and improving quality.

    Lean for Dummies
    Natalie J. Sayer and Bruce Williams

    Are you new to Lean and have absolutely no idea where to start? Start here.

    Lean for Dummies is a go-to quick reference on all things Lean. In simple terms, the book explains lean terms, concepts and ideas in a way that the Lean Newbie can understand.


    Real Lean Volume 1
    Bob Emiliani

    Now here's a book for managers!

    In Real Lean Volume 1, author Bob Emiliani provides an analysis into lean management and the role managers play in developing a Lean culture.

    Emiliani explains the purposes, advantages, myths, and misinformation surrounding Lean management - the application of Lean principles to those management and leadership positions. In a lively and engaging style, he answers the key questions that leaders of organizations have about Lean management.

    At just over 150 pages long - a perfect read for the executive on the go - Real Lean is a practical guide to Lean management, complete with interesting and informative linkages to historical events and long-forgotten perspectives in Lean.

    Readers will learn how the two principles of Lean management, Continuous Improvement and Respect for People, work in tandem, with emphasis on Respect for People the principle that is often missing from the practice of Lean management.

    Learning to See: Value Stream Mapping to Add Value and Eliminate MUDA
    Mike Rother, John Shook, Jim Womack and Dan Jones

    The art of identifying and eliminating waste is a cornerstone of Lean. Waste is defined as any activity does not directly produce value to the customer. With the right training and set of eyes, managers and workers alike will quickly realize how much waste is staring them in the face with this book.

    Learning to See is a equal parts How-To book and detailed analysis. The book walks the reader through the concept of value stream mapping - actually drawing out the steps that take place during a process. The goal of value stream mapping into a comprehensive visual in order to identify waste and areas of improvement.

    Ideas are Free: How the Idea Revolution is Liberating People and Transforming Organizations
    Alan G. Robinson and Dean M. Schroeder

    The art of identifying and eliminating waste is a cornerstone of Lean.

    ideas are free front cover dean schroederBecause they're doing the day-to-day work, front-line employees see many problems and opportunities their managers don't. But most organizations fail to realize this potentially extraordinary source of revenue-enhancing ideas. 

    The authors of Ideas Are Free use real-world examples from their work with hundreds of organizations to show how to exploit the virtually free, perpetually renewable resource of employee ideas. 

    The book explains how sustainable competitive advantages in areas ranging from productivity and responsiveness to cost reduction and quality assurance are only possible with the attention to detail that comes from getting and implementing large numbers of ideas from employees. 

    Subjects include how to make ideas part of everyone's job, how to set up and run an effective process for handling ideas, how to help people come up with more and better ideas, and how a strong flow of ideas can have a profound impact on an organization's culture.

    -----

    Want even more? We have loads of recommendations in the VIBCO bookstore

    Have a lean story to share? Contact us so we can share the news!

    Go comment!
  • Concrete Vibrators In Stock Now!

    by [user not found] | Sep 12, 2014


    Rumors have been circulating around the Concrete Industry water cooler that the Wacker ARFU26 electric vibrator might be out of stock in the domestic USA, without a lot of guidance on when it might be available again..

    We have good news!  VIBCO offers high frequency electric concrete form vibrators… and ours are read to ship. The VIBCO US-900 high frequency electric vibrator is an excellent option instead of the Wacker ARFU26.

    vibco us 900 high frequency electric vibratorSome of our competitors take months (months!) to deliver a vibrator to the end user. Others encounter production problems including a lack of materials and ineffective use of factory work force labor.

    Not with VIBCO.

    With a VIBCO product, you can rest easy knowing  that the products including our all American-made US-900 high frequency electric vibrator.

    Just what kind of vibrator is this? Well, the US-900…

    • 900 lbs of force
    • Easy to power -  115 AC-DC Volts
    • High Frequency - 10,000 VPM at 1 Phase

    Is the VIBCO US 900 versatile? Yes it is.

    Come equipped with standard voltage? You betcha.

    Can you connect it to a single phase current? Absolutely.

    Is it totally enclosed? High impact resistant AND light weight? Yes, yes and yes again.

    So how can we have stock when so many others are struggling to keep up with high demand?

    At VIBCO, we have created a world-class lean manufacturing culture that means…

    1. We are agile and flexible to manufacture the concrete vibrator products that you want, when you want them, with the performance and quality you expect;
    2. Our concrete vibrators are ready to ship - lead times as short as "same day, next day" available on most products
    3. Our Made in the USA vibrators are manufactured here… we're never waiting on containers coming from overseas suppliers.

    Same day, next day. That's our True North and that's what we stick to. (link)

    VIBCO makes versatile, durable and effective concrete vibrators with styles and brackets to fit every form type. Consult with our Expert Concrete Vibrator Guys™ for advise on how you can produce perfectly consolidated concrete with a beautifully smooth finish.

    Make VIBCO your go to solution for high frequency vibration for your job site. Whether it's being mounted on wood or steel, give us a call today and we'll get you equipped with the best.

    Go comment!
  • Top 5 Reasons to Contact VIBCO Technical Support

    by Linda Kleineberg | Sep 10, 2014

    1. You're Not Sure Which Vibrator Will Work For You.

    With so many options, it can be difficult to select the right vibrator. Power supply, force, frequency, style and operating environment all factor into the selection process - you can use our easy online form to provide us with your needs. Our technical support team has decades of experience making recommendations. They will make sure that you get the right vibrator for your application.

    vibco world trade center
    VIBCO Vibrators in use at One World Trade in NYC

    2. You Are a Concrete Contractor and Need Help Sizing, Selecting, Placing and Operating your VIBCO External Concrete Vibrators.

    Excellent consolidation and finish quality matter. You need the right vibrators, mounted with the right brackets, placed in the right locations, and run for the right amount of time. In other words, you need VIBCO. We're the Concrete Vibrator Guys™ and we have decades of experience to bring to the table. From our work on the World Trade Center (photo above), to the Eastside Access Project (360° Panorama Photo)  to the Yale Ice Rink (video below)... we have the expertise to help.



    Get More Information on Using VIBCO Concrete Form Vibrators

    3.  You Want to Replace Existing Vibration Equipment

    Whether you want to replace a competitive unit with a VIBCO Vibrator, change your power supply, or upgrade to a maintenance-free model, VIBCO's technical support team has your answer. We have an extensive cross-over database so we can quickly and accurately suggest replacement equipment AND we'll even provide a FREE adapter plate if we don't have a direct bolt match available. Contact VIBCO right now for help.

    4. You Have a New Application or Idea for Using Vibrators

    It's amazing. We've seen thousands of vibrator applications, yet every day we hear about something new. Whether  you have a new application in mind for your material flow system or a new idea for a product or type of equipment, VIBCO technical support can help make sure that you get results you want. Our engineers are truly the Expert Vibrator Guys™ and are always ready to help.

    5. You're Unsure About the Best Way to Install or Mount Your Vibration Equipment

    Correct mounting and installation is critical to vibrator performance. VIBCO provides detailed instruction manuals with every unit and offers even more information online. Reading these instructions BEFORE you begin the installation process is critical to proper safety and operation of the unit. However, if you have any questions or need more help, VIBCO technical support is ready to assist you. We offer 'Virtual Van Visits' where you send us a photo of your application and we will mark the photo to show you exactly her and how to install your equipment.

    Go comment!
  • VIBCO Meets the Sons of Liberty

    by [user not found] | Aug 19, 2014

    When you think of Rhode Island, you probably think of lobster, beaches, Buddy Cianci, squid, Water Fire, Brown University, and the Rhode Island School of Art and Design.

    Probably not craft whiskey.  But you should.

    sons-of-liberty-spirits logoThe Sons of Liberty Spirits Co., is making a splash in the whiskey business. The company was started in 2009 by Mike Reppucci and manufactures in the Peacedale Mill Complex in beautiful (and quiet) Peacedale, RI.

    If the notion of craft whiskey in a small town in the smallest state in the union didn't capture your attention, try reading their website. Sons of Liberty hits hard with a company message that speaks strongly towards their mission of innovation in whiskey and spirits:

    "We started with a couple questions: "Why is no one distilling single malt whiskies from the beers we love?" and "Why are there so many seasonal beers, but no seasonal whiskies?" With a spirit for innovation, we set out to create a line of whiskies the world had never seen."

    Quite a mission!

    Now, if that didn't grab you, check out the long list of accolades that Sons of Liberty has racked up in a very short time. The team has been featured in countless news publications all over Rhode Island and New England and taken home prestigious awards including a "World's Best" award this past March for their pumpkin flavored whiskey, presented by Whiskey Magazine.

    With a great product and excellent recognition, Sons of Liberty is on a rapid upswing. Managing growth is a "great problem to have", but it also means that processes and systems that  worked when the company was starting out aren't sufficient to meet today and tomorrow's production demands.

    "The Big Order" was in, and Sons of Liberty was in a jam to fulfill it on deadline.

    So what did they do? The whiskey guys called the VIBCO Vibrator Guys.

    Did they need vibrators? Nope.

    Did they have a big budget to bring in consultants? Nope.

    They needed a favor.  Fast.

    Mike Reppucci and his team heard that VIBCO is a leader in manufacturing and process excellence and that we regularly open our doors to help others learn.

    The challenge - Sons of Liberty needed(s) to operationalize many of the companies' day to day functions so they can shorten lead times while increasing capacity.

    Could VIBCO help Sons of Liberty? Would we?

    Of course we would. That's what good neighbors do… they help each other.  (And the whiskey is a pretty good incentive!)

    Just a couple of days after an initial conversation, a team of VIBCO workers including VIBCO President, Karl Wadensten, traveled a few miles down the road to the Sons of Liberty factory for a Gemba walk and fact finding tour. Bruce Hamilton from GBMP (and host of the famous Toast Kaizen lean training video) accompanied the team on the walk.

    vibco at sons of liberty spirits coThe VIBCO Team and Bruce Hamilton made it a priority to contextualize Lean concepts and tools to create a more complete picture of what it means to implement and maintain Lean. We emphasized that Lean is not just a set of tools but a mindset and a culture and that the tools shouldn't be used for the sake of using another tool to fix a problem. Lean is about active problem solving and developing a culture that exercises continuous, rational problem solving… and that many of these changes start from the ground up and are culturally rooted. If the culture of the organization doesn't allow for these kinds of continuous improvements, then the company cannot successfully use Lean to its full potential.

    Last week, Sons of Liberty hosted the Rhode Island gubernatorial town hall debate for this past week. They were kind enough to extend an invitation to the VIBCO team. When we arrived, Mike and Bruce and the whole Sons of Liberty Team excitedly shared that they had made huge gains based on the ideas generated during our visit there… and that fulfilling "The Big Order" was achievable - thanks to our help.

    Neighbors helping neighbors to create opportunity for all… we love that.

    A Bit of Rhode Island Politics for You

    The topic of the Gubernatorial Town Hall was the food and beverage industry in Rhode Island. Each of the candidates running for governor of the state of Rhode Island, Mr. Angel Taveras (D), Mr. Clay Pell (D), Mr. Todd Giroux (D), Ms. Gina Riamondo (D), Mr. Ken Block (R) and Mr. Allan Fung (R) participated.

    Here are the candidates moments before the town hall began:

    rhode island gubernatorial candidates town hall sons of liberty 2014

    The room was packed full of Rhode Island food and beverage business owners - from catering companies to bistros, sandwich shops to local small farm owners and local produce growers. All eager to hear from candidates on the topic of food and commerce in Rhode Island.

    As we sat and listened to each candidate's plans and ideas, we looked around and couldn’t imagine a better place to hold a town hall debate about food and drink than at the Sons of Liberty distillery. With the flood of press and achievements surrounding Sons of Liberty lately, the distillery is quickly becoming a major player in the Rhode Island food and beverage industry. Big things are happening with this small team of people through ingenuity, creativity and hard work.

    The Sons of Liberty story - from humble but dream-filled beginnings, through a challenging start-up, through early success and now the challenges of managing growth - is indicative of the path traveled by many food and beverage companies. It's one that candidates and elected officials should understand and follow.

    Rhode Island is uniquely positioned to leverage its strengths in this industry - a cultural culinary tradition, incredible talent, education partners like JWU, unique growing conditions, ample seafood resources, etc. - and creating job growth and opportunity via food and beverage is a key economic development opportunity.

    The whole VIBCO "Vibration Nation" looks forward to doing more work with Sons of Liberty, and will continue our commitment to sharing and learning with our neighbors to make Rhode Island Number One.

    Go comment!
  • Grain Bin Safety: 7 Tips to Ensure Safety Around the Bin

    by [user not found] | Aug 11, 2014


    Here are 7 tips for helping to promote and enforce a safer workplace in the feed, grain and agriculture industry.

    An Unlikely Appearance on the 'Most Dangerous Workplaces' List

    In a 2012 article, Yahoo listed the Most Dangerous Workplaces and Industries in the US. The list was based on an analysis to determine which industries had the most "fatal occupational injuries" in the United States. Not surprisingly, Fishing, Mining, Roofing, and Law Enforcement were on the list. The one that struck us was the inclusion of Farming and Agriculture.

    Farming brings to mindo images of the American family and the heartland of the United States. We envision "amber waves of grain" and Chevy Trucks, of people rolling up their sleeves and working an honest day's work for an honest day's pay.

    The reality however isn't always so rosy. Farming involves using heavy machinery, transporting and storing massive amounts of corn, grain, feed, etc., working in and around silos, elevators, railcars, livestock and other hazards.

    One of the leading causes of death particularly in feed and grain is death by suffocation. According to OSHA:


    "Suffocation is a leading cause of death in grain storage bins. In 2010, 51 workers were engulfed by grain stored in bins, and 26 died-the highest number on record, according to a report issued by Purdue University (PDF). Suffocation can occur when a worker becomes buried (engulfed) by grain as they walk on moving grain or attempt to clear grain built up on the inside of a bin. Moving grain acts like "quicksand" and can bury a worker in seconds. "Bridged" grain and vertical piles of stored grain can also collapse unexpectedly if a worker stands on or near it. The behavior and weight of the grain make it extremely difficult for a worker to get out of it without assistance.

    Grain bin safety is the subject of extensive measures and safety bulletins from a number of industry leaders, influencers, and outside groups including NationWide Insurance. Industry publications including Corn and Soybean Digest published 7 Tips for Grain Bin Safety and The National Grain and Feed Association even hold their own conferences focused entirely on safety in grain manufacturing and how to combat preventable, accidental deaths. Even entire websites including SafeGrain.com exist for the sole purpose of promoting awareness for this problem. More resources and organizations are listed below.

    Here's a curated list on Grain Bin Safety: 7 Tips for a Safer Workplace

    Grain Bin Safety: 7 Tips for a Safer Workplace

    1. Manage grain to prevent spoilage 

    spoiled grainPreventing conditions that would result in engulfment and suffocation is not difficult. In fact, many of prevention strategies are rooted in common sense and clear procedures.

    Key reasons why workers enter grain bins include cleaning out a grain bin, or addressing an issue with the grain itself. Issues include  spoiled grain (above) or clogged grain. Spoiled grain can take on many different forms.  The grain can form solid masses or crusts on top of or around the interior walls of the bin. Fixing these types of problems usually requires unloading the bin.

    Entering a grain bin is a dangerous condition!

    In the case of spoiled grain, grain can crust over and solidify forming vertical walls of grain (below) that are extremely fragile. Once the mass is disrupted, the grain can collapse on workers, engulfing them. Additionally, spoiled grain can plug augers and conveyors leading in and out of the bin. Assessing this kind of issue is just as important as dealing with spoiled grain and risks are no fewer.

    To reduce the likelihood of grain molding, spoiling and clogging up grain bin hardware:

    1. Make a point to check, maintain and clean up aeration equipment and generally keep it in optimal working order.
    2. Check the roof of the bin for leaks. Water plus a cool, damp environment is asking for mold generation.
    3. Be sure to keep grain at the correct moisture content and temperature.
    4. Aerate to cool grain quickly at the time of storage, remove the core of fines that is most prone to spoilage, and monitor for pests, off-odors, hot spots, and moisture content to help prevent spoilage. 

    2. Always have an outside observer with a quick method to contact emergency responders if necessary.

    A better solution is to work from outside the bin whenever possible. If there is a problem with the bin or grain with clumps or crusting over, use a pole or another device to poke and fix the problem rather than climb inside of the bin.

    The best solution is to prevent the conditions that would require someone to enter the bin or silo. VIBCO produces a number of products including the Air Cannon, large electric vibrator and a high frequency electric vibrator that solve most bin clog issues.

    3. Ensure that there’s adequate lighting inside of the area you're working in and have a written plan for training and rescue

    Lighting is key when working inside of this kind of environment. As small slips can quickly turn into a life or death situation, it's smart to make sure that the area you're working in is well lit and any areas where there is a chance to misstep or be caught off guard are in plain, unobstructed sight.

    4. There are 3 major ways to get trapped in a grain bin

    bridged grain graphicWhile suffocation by being overtaken by moving grain is certainly the way that makes the news the most often, there are in fact two other ways where workers can get trapped in a grain bin.

    The second way is the collapse of bridged grain. Bridged grain is when a layer of grain forms over a pocket of air. When enough weight is applied to the bridge, it will collapse and the worker will immediately be engulfed in grain. 

    The third way is by a collapse of a vertical wall of grain. When workers are cleaning out a bin, a vertical wall is likely to emerge.

    In all of these instances, the risk is that a large volume of grain will move suddenly. The best offense is a good defense. Make sure that your facility has a training guide and routinely reviews proper procedures and protocols for working around grain.vertical grain wall

    http://farmsafety.mo.gov/grain-bin-safety/

    5.  Never enter a grain bin alone – always have an outside observer who can see you and hear you clearly

    Remember the buddy system that was used so much during elementary school field trips? Well, the same principle applies here as an adult working in agriculture. When working in a hazardous environment, working alone can easily be the biggest danger of all and certainly the most preventable.

    6. Label and lock your grain bins

    grain bin stop signThere is always the risk of someone wandering into your grain bin who is unaware of the hazardous conditions. Therefore, it's critical for the safety of others - friends, loved ones, other farmers, business people, etc. to know that grain bins are dangerous environments.

    Take steps to create a very eye grabbing, visual sign that explicitly states the hazards of the grain bin.

    Moreover, when the grain bin is not being used, lock access to the space up as to prevent unauthorized persons, bystanders and children from entering.

    7. Evaluate the atmosphere of the bin regularly and before entry

    Grain bins can accumulate toxic gases if not checked and aerated regularly.

    Use a gas meter or another properly calibrated and approved air quality indication tool specifically for the purpose of measuring the oxygen to other gas ratio in a given area. Carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and fumigants are some of the most common silent killers quietly accumulating in grain bins.

    Above all else, trust your nose and your gut judgment when assessing the air and oxygen quality in a grain bin. If the bin smells moldy or not 'fresh', assume that the bin needs to be aerated. Moreover, if the smell of mold is present, this is also a good indicator that there are likely to be grain verticals accumulating along the walls waiting to fall over and trap a worker.

    Here's a handy chart courtesy of the Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health to refer to when checking air quality:

     

    Do not enter if:

    Oxygen level

    < 19.5% or > 23.5%

    Carbon monoxide

    > 25 ppm

    Toxic gases:

    Hydrogen sulfide

    Phosphine

     

    > 10 ppm

    > 0.3 ppm

    Odors

    spoiled grain, chemicals, or smoldering, burning odors are detected

    Dust

    Vision is obscured to < 5 feet

    Additional Power Players in Grain Safety

    You can never be too safe.

    Here are some additional resources and organizations that are making safety in the agricultural workplace their top priority. Each of these organizations also provides some helpful downloads, links and PDFs to walk away with:

    1. Occupational Safety & Health Administration

    2. Feed and Grain Associates of Illinois

    3. University of Illinois Agriculture Safety nad Health

    4. AgChat Foundation

    5. Farm Safety for Kids

    6. 15 Safety Tips from Ag Chat


    Go comment!
  • 8 Surprising Facts About American Manufacturing

    by [user not found] | Jul 28, 2014

    1. Manufacturing Jobs Are Returning to the United States

    Contrary to widely held beliefs that "We don't make anything here anymore", manufacturing is actually returning to the United States. Not only do we make things here, we are making more and more things here every day.

    In the last few years, many companies including Walmart, Apple, Motorola, General Electric, Ford and many more, have begun moving manufacturing facilities out of China and re-establishing them in the United States. If you haven't visited www.reshorenow.org, you should check it out.

    One New York Times piece summarized what the most common answers from 200 decision makers across varying industries chose to come back to the United States. The answers were "competitive labor rates, proximity to customers, product quality, skilled labor and transportation costs".

    Moreover, China is no longer looking like an attractive place for manufacturers to set up shop. One Forbes article found that the main reasons China is losing its attractiveness is that "oil prices are three times what they were in 2000. Natural gas in the US is a quarter of what it is in Asia. Chinese wages are five times what they were in 2000. And labor is a steadily decreasing percentage of the cost manufacturing."

    number of jobs in manufacturing graph 2014

    2. The First Factory Established in the United States was Slater's Mill in Pawtucket, Rhode Island (Go Rhody!)

    When people imagine the Industrial Revolution, contraptions including Eli Whitney's cotton gin, James Watt's steam engine or Samuel Morse's telegraph. But few would think cotton mill in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

    Samuel Slater, an English-American industrialist, was the first man to use manufacturing machinery in the United States. Slater, who worked from apprenticeship to owner and superintendent of a cotton spinning mill in Derbyshire, England, developed a strong familiarity and knowledge of cotton spinning technology developed by British inventor Richard Arkwright. In 1789, Slater emigrated to the United States, leaving his work in England behind with ambitions of wealth in the budding America.

    slater mill rhode island drawing

    Slater however needed to work covertly to establish what would be his legacy as an industrialist in America. British textile law forbade textile workers from sharing technological information or leaving the country.

    Upon landing in Rhode Island, Slater (with the help of Rhode Island merchant Moses Brown) built America's first water powered cotton spinning mill in Pawtucket, Rhode Island along the Blackstone River. The factory thrived for many decades and by 1803 the mill town of Slatersville was established to house and support the families that worked in Slater's mills.

    3.  U.S. Manufacturing is the World's Eighth Largest Economy

    us manufacturing is the eighth largest economy graph 2012

    In 2012, American manufacturers generated $2.03 trillion in revenue. The U.S. manufacturing sector is so huge that if it were its own country, it would rank as the eighth-largest world economy.  The United States produces the most goods and services overall as measured by gross domestic product (GDP), and is far ahead of second-place China.  

    Between 1992 and 2012, American manufacturing output increased more than 83 percent. 

    4. The United States is the 4th Easiest Country to do business with

    Each year, the World Bank performs a comprehensive analysis of structural costs to start and conduct business in virtually every country in the world.  Typically, advanced economies tend to receive higher rankings while less developed countries tend to receive lower rankings.

    While the United States is and has ranked among the top 5 easiest countries to do business with, it is not number one. Currently, the U.S. ranks fourth in terms of the ease of doing business, and Singapore, Hong Kong, and New Zealand are ahead of us. There's a great opportunity to improve to become the #1 manufacturing economy that is also the easiest to do business with.

    5. Food Manufacturing is the United States Largest Manufacturing Sector

    While many might think that automotive is the leading manufacturing sub sector for employment, food and beverage is actually at the top of the list by considerable margin.

    food and beverage are leading manufacturing in united states

    With almost 13.9 million employed in food, beverage and tobacco manufacturing, this industry leads the pack in American manufacturing. Within this industry, meat and poultry take the lead at 32% of the total industry breakdown according to a 2011 analysis by the USDA Economic Research Service.

    6. Manufacturing job gains are the largest in Wyoming; lowest in Washington D.C.

    With American manufacturing jobs on the rebound, growth is progressing at a steady, consistent rate, with the Midwest and Northwest out performing other regions.

     manufacturing gains largest in northwest united states graph

    While many states have lost their manufacturing sectors relatively quickly, others have retained them and even strengthened them. According to a new survey put out by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, States as of March 2014, states that have added additional manufacturing jobs and sit well above the national average in manufacturing employment, Wyoming has gained 11% additional jobs in manufacturing. Washington state and Oregon follow close behind with 12% and 10% respectfully.

    Conversely, there are states that have lost considerable portions of their manufacturing industries and fall well below the national average. Washington D.C. is well below the national average at -25%. Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and much of New England have fallen considerably below the national average for manufacturing jobs posting numbers including -10%, and -4%.

    On average, the Northwest and Midwest states have experienced above average increases in manufacturing employment while states in the East and Southwest are recovering at a slower pace.

    7. Oregon's manufacturing sector makes up 58% of its state economy

    manufacturing makes positive contribution to oregon economy

    No that's not a typo.

    Oregon has developed a tremendous manufacturing sector in recent years. The state's output has increased 8 times since 1997 and reaps a 75 billion dollar per year reward.

    Bear in mind: Oregon is not a large state. The jump in manufacturing output is so significant it now trumps former manufacturing power houses including Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

    What's the root cause? Technology.

    Electronic circuit boards, processors and controllers were the state's largest exports in 2012. Intel, whose home headquarters resides in Santa Clara, California, controls 6 manufacturing facilities in Oregon which employ over 17,000 workers making it one of Oregon's largest private employers.

    8. Industrial manufacturing leads in renewable energy use

    Renewable energy is a very hot topic these days and whether or not corporations should take responsibility and do their part in halting climate change.

    Fortunately, many industries have taken steps to do their part and the industrial manufacturing sector has been leading the pack among other manufacturing subsectors. Manufacturing leads the charge in adopting renewable energy with 2,269 trillion BTUs of renewable energy compared to other sectors including transportation with 1,158 trillion, residential with 652 trillion and commercial 132 trillion BTUs.

    Go comment!
  • Top 5 Ways to Get the Most From Your Air Vibrator

    by [user not found] | Jul 22, 2014

    1. Follow VIBCO's Vibrator Mounting Instructions

    Make sure to follow all of the mounting and installation steps exactly as they are provided in the manual. One of the ways you can ensure a good mount is to select the correct mounting plate and channel for your bin. The following charts are a good 'rule of thumb' guides.  Read More about selecting the right channel/plate combination

    2. Use the right air line and make sure it's maintained

    Kinks, holes, and leaks in your air line will hurt the performance of all pneumatic equipment - including vibrators. Regularly inspect your air

    vibco bolting procedure

     lines as part of your normal maintenance and quickly address any issues.

    Do not use "T" style junctions with your VIBCO Pneumatic Vibrators. Best practice is to run separate, correctly-sized air lines for each unit in operation. Your instruction manual contains further information on air supply.

    3. Have enough air (CFM) at the right pressure (PSI)

    Make sure that you are providing your VIBCO air vibrators with correct PSI and CFM. The recommended PSI and CFM for your vibrator is indicated on the housing or on the shipping box. A general rule of thumb is that VIBCO units are intended for 40-80 PSI. Consult your manual for proper CFM. 

    Running pneumatic vibrators at high pressure can damage the unit. 

    Never hook your vibrators directly up to plant air.  VIBCO offers filter/regulators and other accessories to help you.

    vibco air-line-specs

    4. Check your vibrator mount

    vibco safety-cableMost VIBCO Air Vibrators are virtually maintenance free. Keep your vibrators running smoothly and extend their life by regularly inspecting your vibrator installation.

    1. Check that all mounting bolts are properly tightened, retighten as necessary
    2. Inspect mounting plate and channel welds for fatigue, cracks
    3. Inspect your safety cable to ensure that it is secured to the vibrator and to a secondary location

    5. Lubricate your ball vibrators and piston vibrators

    If you use piston and ball vibrators, then you MUST lubricate them. If maintaining good lubrication is a problem, consider using a VIBCO Turbine Vibrator instead.

    Make sure that your lubricator is functioning and is no more than 5 feet away from the vibrator. For best results, VIBCO recommends using the air oil tool. You may also use SAE 10 or lighter machine tool oil, Marvel Mystery oil or automatic transmission oil.

    - - - 

    Follow these simple rules to get years and years of top performance from your VIBCO Air Vibrators. Call us at 800-633-0032 to get help for your specific needs or use our Technical Support Request Form.

    Go comment!
  • 4 Ways Industrial Vibrators Save You Money

    by [user not found] | Jul 16, 2014

    1. Reduce Product Loss, Increase Efficiency, Improve Material Flow

    sam vibco mascot 1

    Vibrators promote efficient and consistent material flow. That's what they do. Vibration breaks the friction between material and container walls. This aids gravity and allows material to flow.

    Your ROI is extremely quick as you reduce product loss caused by material left in hopper, you reduce stops, skips and flow problems caused by blockages, and you eliminate overspill and other material flow problems.

    Read Vibrator Case Studies Now


     2. Improve Safety

    sam vibco mascot 2

    Most VIBCO Turbine Vibrators are virtually silent - under 65 decibels. Ball and piston-style vibrators commonly exceed 80 decibels, which is loud enough to require the use of expensive hearing conservation programs.

    Additionally, as you eliminate the clogs, you also eliminate the need for team members to engage in risky behaviors to clear these clogs. (i.e. swinging a sledge hammer, climbing up onto or into bins for clean out, etc.)

    See how one VIBCO user solved a dangerous problem


    3. Pack and Ship More Efficiently

    Whether you bag or box material, vibration will help you to fit more material into a smaller container - that means that you will ship less air.

     Vibration compacts material in boxes and drums, and will compact bagged material to produce a flatter, more uniform and more easily shipped package.

    Watch this "oldie but goodie" video of a kitty litter filling station (originally posted to YouTube in 2007!)


    4. Free Up Resources for More Valuable Work - Labor, Equipment and Maintenance

    Any time spent clearing clogs, cleaning overspill, using a sledgehammer on  bin or correcting inaccurately weighed batched is wasted labor hours. Get those hours back by installing a vibrator!

    sam vibco mascot 3

    Many of the traditional improvised methods to clear clogs - like using a sledgehammer - can lead to equipment fatigue and damage. Hammer rash, bin cracks and dents only make sticking and clogging problems worse and require even more maintenance.

    Talk to one of our application engineers today, or start the process now by completing an Online Product Selection Request

    Go comment!
  • Happy to Do It??? Absolutely!

    by [user not found] | Jul 15, 2014
    Intern Courtney


    I was driving in my car, heading to the first day of my very first internship. I didn’t know what to expect. So I thought to myself, “Just keep an open mind and see what happens.”

    Let me tell you, it’s a good thing I did keep an open mind, because I walked in and everyone was stretching! Yes, stretching - doing toe touches (attempting to anyway), finger fans, arm across chest – like you’d do before a workout.   

    When I accepted the internship at VIBCO, I knew that I’d be learning about manufacturing; I knew that I’d be learning about customer service; but I never could have guessed that I’d be learning how to make every day better for the rest of my life.  

    A little bit of back story – this internship started as one of my high school graduation requirements.  To be honest, I wasn’t particularly excited about the requirement. However, after spending two months with VIBCO, I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity. I think back to last fall when I didn’t understand why my teacher seemed so excited for me do to my internship at VIBCO.  But now I do, and here’s why.posters-stretch-safety

    As you may have gathered based on what I said about our morning stretch, VIBCO is very different than most companies.  Innovative things happen every day.  For example, Jackie - a coworker of mine (who was a college intern, now full-time employee) - implemented an Idea Board where manufacturing team members can contribute improvement ideas.  Read more about the story behind the Idea Board 

    The first day the board was up and available for use, Jackie announced over the loud speaker whenever someone put an idea on the board. “We have a new idea! We’re moving in the right direction! Thanks so much everyone!”  It can be hard to find people with this level of enthusiasm for what they do, but at VIBCO, this kind of passion is the norm.

    And I love it.

    Whether it be helping a customer, or helping a VIBCO team member accomplish something, every person at VIBCO really is happy and willing to do whatever it takes. You can’t find that just anywhere. 

    picture of vibco idea board

    This positive energy is infectious and it’s definitely infected me!  When two of our primary customer service members were away on the same day, I had to step up to the plate and provide customer support.  I was a bit nervous about talking to customers on my own, but I’d observed countless calls, and my supervisor seemed to have faith that I could do it.

    So, despite the nerves, the positivity won out. Why wouldn’t I be happy to help? The simple answer is there was no reason for me not to be. So I was! At the end of that day, I realized that the message we send to customers with our willingness to help makes the interaction way better for us and the customer. Why hadn’t I realized this simple notion earlier on?

    Due to every person on the VIBCO team’s positive attitude, my experience thus far has not only been highly educational, but it has been incredibly enjoyable. Being around people who are so passionate and enthusiastic about what they do (tackling problems included) inspires me to carry myself the same way.

    So here’s a challenge: no matter what’s going on, be optimistic and pleasant.  You’ll be shocked with how much better it makes every situation. And don’t forget, if you ever need assistance with our vibrators, don’t hesitate to call. It will be your most pleasant interaction of the day because we really are happy to do it! 

    Go comment!
  • Ideas Are Free: VIBCO Takes a Gemba Walk of Gemline Corporation in Massachusetts

    by [user not found] | Jun 23, 2014

    I say "Gemba", you say, "What?"
    "Gemba!"
    "What?"
    "Gemba!"
    "What?"

    Gemba is a word that is unknown to the vast majority of Americans. Unless you're among Lean folks, mention the word and you're going to be met with a blank stare or a confused look.

    Fundamentally speaking, the Gemba is the place that matters most. It's the place where value is created for the customer and it's the heart of any business. For some it's the sales department, for others it's the delivery team. For many companies that embrace Lean management and manufacturing's best practice and philosophies, the Gemba is the factory floor.

    This past week, a small team of VIBCO employees from production and sales area had a chance to participate in a Gemba Walk - a personal observation of work where the work actually happens through unbiased eyes - at Gemline Corporation in Lawrence, Massachusetts. 

    gemline logo

    The Gemba walk isn't just a guided promotional tour through a factory. No window dressing, no hiding problems - it's a real look at the real work being done. It is not about showing off the highlights of the factory or reciting this quarter's and this year's achievements and accomplishments, nor is it a time to find fault in others while they're being observed.

    Gemba is all about ideas.

    A Gemba walk is where direct observation is an improvement idea bonanza. It means to actually go to the Gemba location and see where and how the work is happening. A Gemba walk focuses on:

    1. Observation: in person observation or actually going out and seeing the Gemba for yourself
    2. Value: Seeing where the work is being done as opposed to discussing a warehouse problem in a conference room
    3. Teaming or interacting with the people and process in the spirit of Kaizen or "change for the better"

    Gemba walks are active learning experiences where each person on the walk is encouraged to ask questions, and wonder why things are happening the way they are… all with the specific goal of learning, and developing ideas for change and continuous improvement.

    The VIBCO's teams Gemba at Gemline put the power of Ideas into sharp perspective.

    Ideas are Free

    ideas are free front cover dean schroeder

    Before we visited Gemline's factory floor, we visited Gemline's business floor. The business floor is on the 2nd story and is the main location for Gemline sales, marketing and design. As we walked in, we saw loads of tables with Gemline representatives sharing their company's achievements with other people interested in seeing and learning from them.

    Each division of Gemline had a table. There was the marketing table, the IT table, the human resources table, accounts receivable, continuous improvement and many other sections - each with their own decorated tri-fold presentation board full of charts, tables, pictures and visuals highlighting their divisions accomplishments and achievements. Gemline team members were proud to share how much they had improved from year to year, but they became kids on Christmas morning when talking about how ideas are transforming their company.

    Every single department shared how ideas and an ideation culture is accelerating the growth of their company (ten-fold!!!) and introducing unimaginable levels of improvement. Moreover, every Gemline division had a high level of idea success and implementation - over 70% for each division!

    "How the heck is Gemline doing it?" we wondered.

    The answer? Idea Boards, Leadership Commitment to Operator-Led Idea Implementation, and Discipline.

    Idea Boards are large bulletin boards placed in each department. Employees with ideas write down the idea and tack it to their board. Every week, each department gets together, discusses the ideas on the board and determines a plan of action.  They do this based on a number of parameters including urgency, do-ability and impact.

    According to just about everyone we talked to at Gemline, Ideas are the reason they are successful. Ideas replace legacy systems with modern ones. Ideas unify their factory workforce and create a culture that is empowered to enact change. Ideas are shaping the future of Gemline.

    For the VIBCO team, the notion of Ideas resonated… big time. Our pencils couldn't scribble notes down fast enough and we all took a ton of pictures. At Gemline, Ideas aren't dying by committee, they aren't hiding behind job titles and responsibilities. They are out in the open for all to see and get involved in implementation. The passion at Gemline is clear. We could feel their belief in the power of ideas and we were incredibly impressed with their systematic, democratic and transparent process to impact the company's direction, mission and goals.

    The Walk

    After the office floor "show and tell", we headed down to the factory floor for a tour of Gemline's production operations.

    The sheer size and scale of the factory was staggering. The factory extended far out in all directions with stations and machinery aligned to promote the flow and movement of product and raw material throughout the plant. Each station features visual aids to support standard work.

    We saw Gemline production lines, we reviewed samples from recently completed orders, and we observed different signals and systems that have been developed over the years to help solve problems and reduce waste.

    Then our host took us over to the factory floor's idea board. Their idea board was similar to those we had seen in the marketing and IT department. A long white board chuck full of Ideas Cards with suggestion and input from workers all around the factory!

    idea board

    Here's how the board works:

    • Someone has an idea.
    • They write the idea on an orange idea card and put it on the board.
    • Every Monday, the factory team gets together and reviews the submitted ideas.
    • The team votes on the priority and discusses how the ideas can be implemented.
    • Ideas that don't have a high priority still remain on the board for later votes.
    • All ideas are reviewed and all ideas get attention.

    The ideas that get top priority go to the top of the board. At that point, a team member volunteers to work on the idea. They block a section of time out of that week's work schedule and are expected to report back on progress the following week.

    If an idea hasn't been implemented within two months, it moves down the board to another quadrant. It doesn't disappear. It's just set aside into another section of the board denoting that this idea is older than 2 months. It's still free for anyone to pick up and work on.

    What about the ideas that no one volunteers to implement? They stay on the board for 6 months and then either drop off or are elevated for additional resources and support.

    To us, the system seemed fluid, self-regulating and the results spoke for themselves.

    It is clear that, at Gemline, Ideas are a primary driver and goal for every single employee. Leadership has provided a structure to capture ideas, managers have standard work to review ideas, and operators have standard work to IMPLEMENT ideas.  The system works.

    What We Learned

    After returning to VIBCO the next day, our team of five shared what we learned from the Gemline Gemba walk.

    We shared our excitement about Gemline's Idea Boards with our VIBCO team members. VIBCO has tried a few different approaches to Ideas…  with some good success as evidenced by the massive number of operator-led improvements all over VIBCO.  But what we haven't done well is to provide a concrete structure to those ideas with standard work for the review and implementation process.

    Our visit to Gemline provided inspiration and a template…  now we have to go put it to work!

    UPDATE! As of last week, we finally put together our first Idea Board here at VIBCO and within minutes, it was already being populated with ideas!

    vibco idea board

    idea board


    Go comment!
  • Salt Supplies Are Dangerously Low

    by Linda Kleineberg | Feb 18, 2014

    An extremely active winter storm season has created widespread road salt supply problems. VIBCO has a product that can provide more efficient use of precious supplies.

    Cities and states are scrambling to arrange for deliveries in anticipation of more winter weather and everybody is looking for ways to stretch current supplies.  LISTEN TO THIS STORY FROM NPR RADIO ON THE SALT SUPPLY PROBLEM  full story at http://www.wbur.org/npr/275899324/got-road-salt-cities-across-the-country-are-running-out-of-it


    VIBCO SandBuster™ Vibrators Provide More Efficient Use of Road Salt Supplies

    Our SandBuster™ 12 Volt and 24 Volt Spreader Hopper Vibrators are mounted to spreader hoppers to promote steady, predictable flow of the salt and sand mix.

    We have all vibrator sizes available for immediate shipment to help with this season's salt shortages. We have customer service agents standing by at  800-633-0032 to help refer DOT, Public Works, and Owner/Operators to a dealer who can help. If your local dealer is out of stock, due to high demand, tell them that VIBCO has units available for same-day shipping

    First-time SandBuster Vibrator users should plan to take advantage of VIBCO's Virtual Van Visit program so that we can show you exactly how and where to install the vibrator on your truck.

    Go comment!
  • Congratulations 2013 VIBCO Team Award Winners

    by Linda Kleineberg | Dec 17, 2013
    2013 VIBCO Awards

    VIBCO Vibrators is a special company because we have talented, engaged, thoughtful and dedicated employees - all working toward our True North of Same Day, Next Day for our customers.


    Each year we take the opportunity to recognize a few individuals who exemplify our VIBCO Values, who lead by example, and who dedicate themselves to the service of our customers.

    Congatulations to the winners for 2013!

    LEAN INNOVATOR
    Giovanni Luzzi

    for demonstrating Innovation and Continuous Improvement

    GIT 'R DONE
    Tim Knapton       

    for commitment to Quality, Follow-Through, Responsibility and Dedication

    HAPPY TO DO IT
    Jim Avizinis

    for working with Honesty, Passion, Respect and Communication

    EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR
    John Ludwig

    for exemplifying all of the VIBCO Values on a consistent basis, encouraging others to embrace VIBCO Values, and leading by example with Innovation, Continuous Improvement, Honesty, Respect, Passion, Communication, Quality, Responsibility, Follow Through, and Dedication.

    Go comment!
  • VIBCO Xmas Carols are Back!

    by Linda Kleineberg | Dec 09, 2013

    Decorations are up, there is a chill in the air, and the first flakes of snow have fallen. That means it's VIBCO Christmas Carol time!

    Break out the egg nog, gather your coworkers around your desk, and take a few minutes to celebrate the holiday season... VIBCO style.

    And just so you know... the lyrics to all of these songs were written by the amazing, talented and very funny VIBCO Team during the 2011 VIBCO Christmas Party...  

    Listen Now!

     We're Shakin Up Your Concrete

     The VIBCO Team

     Let it Shake! Let it Shake! Let it Shake!

     It's VIBCO! It's VIBCO! It's VIBCO!

     Frosty the Millwright

      VIBCO Vibration Nation


    ©VIBCO Vibrators 2011
    All VIBCO Xmas Carol Lyrics written onsite by VIBCO Employees, Recorded by Ron Hayden, Warwick, RI  

    All rights reserved. 

  • Improving Everyday at VIBCO

    by Linda Kleineberg | Nov 22, 2013

    Lean / Continuous Improvement Projects Underway at VIBCO

    Here are some photos of some very cool improvement projects underway at VIBCO Headquarters... The incredible VIBCO team keeps thinking, keeps trying, and keeps working to add value, remove waste and deliver to the pull of our customers.

    Suzy Achieves Her One-Piece-Flow Goal!

    Sue H. has been working toward her one-piece-flow assembly goal for VIBCO switch boxes for years - improving a little bit each day... it has been a true continuous improvement project. Congratulations to her on meeting this high goal. 

    Happy to Do It One Piece Flow


    Getting Visual on the Factory Floor

    (Gwendolyn Galsworth will be so delighted!)

    Keep Aisle Clear Lean Floor VIBCO Lean Floor Marking

    VIBCO Visual Floor Cardboard Crate VIBCO Visual Floor WIP GR-3200

    VIBCO Visual Floor Caution Weld Area VIBCO Visual Floor Barrel Truck Parking

    Whiteboard Training and Implementation Underway

    Management Whiteboard Training is one of the key elements of VIBCO's Encumbent Worker Training Grant from the Rhode Island Governor's Workforce Board. Tom Pesaturo of Exceeda Consulting is facilitated the training leading to management whiteboards in assembly.

    Assembly Management Whiteboards


  • How to Select the Right Mounting Plate and Length of Channel Iron for Your Vibrator Installation

    by Linda Kleineberg | Jun 24, 2013
    Virtual Van Visit

    There are a number of factors to consider when selecting a mounting plate and channel iron combination for your vibrator installation. Refer to your vibrator model's Quick Reference Guide for complete installation information.

    1. Understand Your Installation and Application Requirements

    Vibrators are used on bins, hoppers, chutes, conveyors, dump trucks, screens, concrete forms, silos, feeders, etc. Be sure to examine your particular application for any obstacles in the target installation zone. VIBCO Technical Support is always available for a consultation - add a photo to your inquiry to receive our most accurate recommendation with the VIBCO's Virtual Van Visit.

    2. Use the Guide Below to Determine The Right Channel Length

    The two most critical factors in your selection will be the force output of the vibrator and the thickness of the structure (i.e. bin wall, chute wall, dump bed construction, etc.). To use the guide below 1) Determine your score Factor A based on the force output of your vibrator (refer to our in-depth product pages for model-specific information on force output); 2) Determine your score for Factor B based on the thickness of the wall; and 3) Add Factor A + Factor B to determine your recommended length of channel iron.

    Selection Guide for VIBCO Vibrator mounting plate and channel iron

    3. Select the Correct Mounting Plate Thickness and Channel Width

    Use the guide below to select the correct mounting plate thickness and channel width based on the force output of your vibrator. Refer to our in-depth product pages for model-specific information on force output.

    Recommended Plate Thickness and Channel Length for Vibrator

    The above are general guides are provided for your reference. For help with your specific vibrator installation, please contact VIBCO Technical Support.


    Go comment!
  • Dutch Docs Visit VIBCO to see Lean Culture

    by Linda Kleineberg | Jun 06, 2013
    Dutch visitors speak with VIBCO reception

    Forty health care professionals from the Netherlands visited VIBCO Vibrators on Tuesday, June 5 to study how Lean Manufacturing and VIBCO's Lean Organizational Culture operates at VIBCO. The visit was sponsored by ACHMEA , the largest insurance company in the Netherlands.

    Karl Wadensten with Dutch visitors

    Teams from nine Netherlands health care organizations, consisting of senior physicians, nursing and administrative leaders, toured VIBCO's end-to-end lean operation.

    Governor Chafee enjoys his visit at VIBCO

    The Dutch participants engaged with VIBCO employees in reception, marketing, sales and technical support, production planning, production assembly, machining, and shipping. Through those interactions, the healthcare professionals were able to make connections between manufacturing and healthcare processes including after-care, leadership, employee engagement, innovation, and material and information flow.

    The visit was highlighted by a visit by Rhode Island Governor Lincoln D. Chafee and a full assembly of VIBCO employees. The Governor treated the group to a short history lesson about Rhode Island's beginnings as a "lively experiment". 

    The Governor then spoke about how Rhode Island is focusing on "Meds and Eds" as part of the state's growth strategy. Governor Chafee shared his vision to build upon Rhode Island's strengths - our exceptional colleges, universities, and hospitals.

    Immediately following Governor Chafee's remarks, the Dutch visitors, VIBCO staff and the governor had some informal conversations, and engaged in some additional "show-and-tell" visits around the factory.  

    Here are some of the comments shared by the teams from the Netherlands following the tour:


    While visiting the U.S., the Netherlands teams will also attend the Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit in Orlando, FL, and visit other organizations including Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Accurounds.

    The trip is organized by the Dutch “Lean in Healthcare” Network, a non-profit foundation.


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  • Top 5 Things to Know About External Concrete Vibrators

    by Linda Kleineberg | May 31, 2013

    Concrete must be consolidated properly to achieve a high-quality end product - strength, durability, uniformity, and beauty are all affected by the consolidation process. Vibration is the most common method used to consolidate concrete. (Guide for Consolidation of Concrete, ACI-309R-96, Section 3.2)

    Vibration consists of subjecting freshly placed concrete to rapid vibratory impulses which liquefy the mortar and drastically reduce the internal friction between aggregate particles. While in this condition, concrete settles under the action of gravity (sometimes aided by other forces). When vibration is discontinued, friction is reestablished. (ACI-309-R-96, Section 4)

    Concrete workers - Contractors, Precasters, Concrete Countertop Artisans, Ornamental Concrete Artisans, etc. - call VIBCO for assistance with the selection and placement/lay-out of their external concrete vibrators. During VIBCO's 50 years in business, we've had the opportunity to see thousands of concrete projects.  See VIBCO Concrete Vibrator Application Stories Now

    5 Things to Know About External Concrete Vibrators

    1. The position and layout of external concrete vibrators is critical. External concrete vibrators have radii of influence that is a hemisphere extending out from the vibrator location. You should plan your vibrator placement accordingly and consult with a VIBCO Vibrators concrete expert. 

    Factors to Consider When Mounting External Concrete Vibrators

    2. Deciding how you will mount your vibrators is an important first step in creating your vibration plan. There are several important factors to consider when choosing whether to use portable mounts or permanently mount your external concrete vibrators including vibration transfer, maintenance, labor, versatility, cost, and product life. Read VIBCO's  Concrete Vibrators Handbook and Catalog for more detailed information.

    3. Proper vibration of fresh concrete is the best way to prevent cold joints, bugholes, and honeycombing. Proper external vibration of concrete helps to mitigate these common defects. When using external concrete vibrators, it is important to rest the concrete forms on wood beams or rubber mats to prevent the form from vibrating against the floor and surrounding forms. It is equally important to "stiffen up" or reinforce forms in order to provide uniform vibration transfer and prevent leaks. 

    4. External concrete vibrators can enhance predictability and repeatability in your quality. There are many variables that contribute to concrete quality. One key variable can be the skill and craftsmanship of an internal vibrator operator(s). Many European countries require a vibrator operator to complete a 10-year apprenticeship and be licensed, whereas in the United States, no license or formal training is required. ("Internal or External Vibration", Concrete Construction) The variability in technique, equipment, skill, and attention of an internal vibrator operator can have a dramatic impact on finish quality. Using external vibrators provides a known variable that can be fine-tuned and adjusted in predictable, repeatable ways.

    5. Best practice is to plan ahead for your external vibration needs and to have spares on hand. Good planning will make your entire concrete operation run more smoothly - this includes the use of external concrete vibrators. Pre-installing brackets, having a clear pattern for placement and movement of portable vibrators, ensuring adequate air supply for pneumatic vibrators, tightening/reinforcing formwork if necessary, and having an organized, ready work-site will help to ensure a great finished product. Repairing or redoing concrete because of defects and poor quality is a time-consuming and expensive process. Planning ahead and having a solid understanding of vibration technique can help to eliminate the costs associated with defects.

    Contact VIBCO today for assistance with external concrete vibrators. 


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