Chromalox’s survey projects increasing production levels

Pittsburgh, PA—Plant engineers and operators responding to Chromalox’s recent market survey report that U.S. manufacturers are preparing for a strong 2004.

By Control Engineering Staff March 9, 2004

Pittsburgh, PA— Plant engineers and operators responding to Chromalox ’s recent market survey report that U.S. manufacturers are preparing for a strong 2004. The survey was conducted online in February 2004 by using a blind, e-mailed survey. Chromalox reports that it’s the world’s largest manufacturer of industrial heat and control products.

When asked about production for in their own facilities, 75% of the engineers and operators report that production volumes will increase in 2004, while only 8% anticipate a decrease. Of those expecting an increase, 71% report that it’s due to increased demand for their products; 35% attribute it to a new product line; and 25% say it’s because of plant expansion. These results add up to more than 100% because the survey allowed multiple responses.

However, even with these expected production increases, the respondents add there is still a lot of turmoil in their facilities. About 22% reported that staff cutbacks are still underway, while another 17% report their companies have changes in top management change to help improve competitiveness.

Despite these management and personnel moves, the respondents added that their firms appear to be investing in their facilities. About 50% reported installing “improved production technology” to improve plant competitiveness. This was the No. 1 response out of 14 different competitiveness improvement strategies listed in the survey. Respondents also ranked their plants’ effectiveness in employing “plant improvement technology” at just an average level, at 3.14 out of 5.0 in terms of effectiveness.

The respondents added that software integration and lack of time (45% each) were their biggest system integration challenges when installing new technology in their plants. Other barriers to system integration included hardware integration (34%); insufficient budget (31%); unclear OEM manuals/documentation (22%); and standards compatibility problems (20%).

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jim Montague, news editor