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How To Find a Short Circuit with a Multimeter

A short circuit occurs when an accidental connection is created between a neutral wire or the ground in a circuit. If you notice fuses being repeatedly blown or a circuit breaker trips frequently, it could be a sign of a short circuit. You may also hear loud, popping noises when the circuit is activated.

By resolving the short circuit as soon as possible, you’ll reduce the likelihood of deteriorating wire and its insulation, and prevent the breaker from causing a fire.

Below you’ll find the steps on how to find a short circuit with a multimeter.

The first thing you’ll need to do to find a short circuit is to look for physical signs. This may include visible burns or metal on wires, burning smells, or flickering lights. Once you’ve identified a potential short, use your multimeter to confirm the voltage by setting it to resistance or continuity setting.

If you notice a lower-than-expected resistance, then that’s a clear indication that current is being diverted away from the area, and there’s a short circuit.

Step 2. Test and Repair

After you’ve confirmed the source of the short circuit, make sure that you shut off the power to the electrical circuit by turning off the circuit breaker. You should then switch the multimeter from the resistance setting to AC volts and insert the metal probes into the problem receptacle or switch.

Your multimeter should show zero volts. That indicates that there’s no power running through the electrical circuit. If, for some reason, there is voltage present, you’ll have to find the right circuit breaker and repeat the procedure to verify that there isn’t any current in the electrical circuit.

Step 3. Check terminal boxes

Now that there’s no power in the electrical circuit, you can switch the multimeter to ohms and check the wires. If your multimeter shows infinite ohms or OL, then that means that the breaker could have deteriorated and tripped from a lower current flow. In this case, you need to access the main panel and replace it.

If the multimeter shows continuity, there is a short circuit. It could be caused by a faulty breaker, broken wire, or a faulty receptacle or switch. To resolve the short circuit, replace the defective receptacle or switch. If you still get a continuity reading on your multimeter, be sure to inspect all the wires to ensure none of them show bare copper that could touch somewhere and short out. If everything is okay, screw the cables back to their original terminal, and then reinstall them in the box with the wall plate.

Simutech Multimedia Training System

Fixing short circuits can be dangerous if you don’t follow the right procedures. Simutech Multimedia’s training system covers the best practices for troubleshooting a variety of electrical faults you may encounter in your manufacturing environment. You’ll learn how to find a short circuit with a multimeter in a completely safe, 3D environment. Book your demo today to get started!

Arc Flash Training: What Is An Arc Flash and How Can You Avoid It?

An arc flash is an electrical short circuit that starts from an exposed live conductor and then travels through the air until it reaches another conductor or the ground. When it occurs, the result is a bright light and intense heat.

According to a report published in Industrial Safety and Hygiene News, it’s estimated that, on average, there are 30,000 arc flash incidents every year. The report further shows that those incidents resulted in average annual totals of 7,000 burn injuries, 2,000 hospitalizations, and 400 fatalities per year.

In this post, we’ll cover the basics of arc flashes, explain how they are caused and what you can do to implement practical arch flash training in your organization.

Causes of arc flashes

An arch flash often occurs when equipment isn’t properly de-energized. In some cases, an arc flash may be caused when an employee bypasses safety procedures or by any of the reasons below:

• Carelessness
• Worn or brok­en conductor insulation
• Exposed live parts
• Loose wire connections
• Improperly maintained switches and circuit break­ers
• Obstructed disconnect panels
• Water or liquid near electrical equipment
• High voltage cables
• Static electricity
• Damaged tools and equipment

The intense heat from an arc flash causes a rapid expansion of material, which can lead to third-degree burns and potential death as well as other severe injuries such as blindness, hearing loss, nerve damage, and cardiac arrest.

Fatal burns from arc flashes can occur at a distance of just 10 feet and staged tests have shown temperatures greater than 437°F (225°C) on the neck and hands of a person standing close to an arc blast.

Also, because the droplets of molten metal travel at high speed, the pressure on the chest can be higher than 2000 lbs/sq. ft., resulting in clothing to be ignited.

Arc Flash Training Safety and Prevention

Arc flash training must be performed to avoid the potential of injury. Providing proper safety training will also ensure that your maintenance staff follows the right safety procedures at all times.

The Simutech Training System helps reduce the risk of arc flash injury by training staff to ﬁnd solutions to a variety of electrical problems. It also measures the performance of each employee as they use the system, assessing whether or not they are ready to troubleshoot in a live environment.

Top 10 Manufacturing Trade Shows to Attend In 2020

Manufacturing trade shows are ideal locations for meeting industry experts, enthusiasts, and potential customers. If you’re looking for new trade shows to attend in 2020, we’ve put together a list of 10 of the best manufacturing trade shows taking place this year. Read on to learn more.

RAPID + TCT

April 20-23, 2020: Anaheim, CA

RAPID + TCT is the biggest and most significant additive manufacturing event in North America. It features several hands-on exhibits, noteworthy product launches, and talks from some of the brightest minds in the industry.

Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM)

November 18-20, 2020: Napa, CA

AEM is an annual conference focused on connected manufacturing technologies and how to leverage them in your factory floors. Last year, this conference was held in Florida, but you can catch it in California this year.

International Conference of Manufacturing Technology (ICMT)

January 17-20, 2020: Seattle, WA

The goal of the ICMT 2020 conference is to showcase the latest manufacturing technology research. This conference gives you the opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences with other industry leaders. It’s also an excellent opportunity to build business relations and find global partners for your future projects.

ASQ Lean and Six Sigma Conference

February 23-25, 2020: Phoenix, Arizona

The ASQ Lean and Six Sigma conference covers all the different ways in which professionals can lead and help their companies achieve business process optimization through insightful, high-level idea-sharing.

Manufacturing Matters

February 26-27, 2020: Milwaukee, WI

The 2020 Manufacturing Matters conference held in Milwaukee, WI, is for manufacturers who want to expand their innovative capabilities and grow to achieve operational success. The conference covers six main topics: strategic growth, improving productivity, improving business performance, workforce excellence, leading for success, and Industry 4.0.

MODEX 2020

March 9-12, 2020: Atlanta, GA

As one of the fast-growing manufacturing trade shows, MODEX 2020 is the place you want to be if you’re interested in learning about key industry trends and innovations from the key industry experts. The conference features over 100 free education sessions and four keynotes.

March 22-26, 2020: Chicago, IL

Additive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG) covers all aspects of additive manufacturing technology. It brings together engineers, designers, and managers from around the world to share the latest developments in additive manufacturing.

American Manufacturing Summit

March 24-25, 2020: Chicago, IL

This leadership-focused manufacturing trade show is designed to improve operations on the plant floor using lean manufacturing, process improvement, workforce management, and automation. Speakers at this event come from various companies, including Nestle, Caterpillar, Inc., Kroger, Fender, GE, and LEGO.

North American Manufacturing Excellence Summit

April 7-8, 2020: Chicago, IL

North American Manufacturing Excellence Summit covers topics related to building competitive advantage, lean, OPEX, and CI programs, leadership as the engine of change, leveraging new technologies, supply chain strategies, and workforce development. Speakers come from leadership positions within Google, Ford Motor Company, Toyota, and Johnson & Johnson.

Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference and Expo (FA&M)

April 26-29, 2020: Miami, Florida

The Food Automation and Manufacturing Conference and Expo (FA&M) is specifically for food and beverage processors and suppliers. It’s a place where attendees can share valuable insight into the latest trends and technologies in manufacturing, automation, sustainability, and food safety.

So there you have it, a list of the top 10 manufacturing trade shows you should visit this year! Which one are you most excited to attend?

The Top Six Manufacturing Challenges Enterprises Will Face In 2020

As not only the year but the decade winds down to a close, manufacturers are looking ahead to the 2020’s, a new decade and a new era of manufacturing challenges.

Technology moves so fast now that it’s not really possible to say when the new era of manufacturing began, or even to say what the landscape will look like in ten years, but it’s safe to say that Industry 4.0 is here now, and rapidly evolving.

Every day, new technologies are presenting both incredible opportunities for unlocking hidden value in manufacturing processes and the inevitable hurdles along the way. Combined with ever-changing global political and social pressures, these forces present several major manufacturing challenges in the coming year.

Here’s our take on what the analysts and experts say the top six manufacturing challenges will be next year.

Top Six Manufacturing Challenges in 2020

1. The skills gap/labor shortage

As the experienced baby boom generation retires in droves, taking their knowledge with them, manufacturers will continue to struggle to attract and retain workers with the skills they need. According to Deloitte’s 2020 Manufacturing Industry Outlook report, manufacturers continue to report difficulty filling critical jobs. As an estimated 2 million skilled manufacturing jobs go unfilled by 2025 and competition for skilled workers intensifies, manufacturers will be forced to take skills training into their own hands. Since high school students are not graduating with the necessary STEM skills, manufacturers will have to partner with local educational institutions to support trade and technical educational programs and offer apprenticeships and internships. In order to create the workforce they need, they will also have to train their staff themselves. A number of trends in manufacturing training, including simulation-based training, will play an increasingly important role in manufacturer’s ability to maintain and expand production.

As wages in China climb, many manufacturers are also looking to establish a cheaper labor force in Vietnam or Bangladesh, but these new workers will still require ground-up training.

1. Supply chain collaboration

In the coming year, supply chain issues will continue to challenge manufacturers, but will also present an opportunity for proactive manufacturers to get ahead of the competition. Interestingly, good old human nature is at the bottom of two supply chain problems.

The first, lack of trust, is as old as the hills. Buyers and suppliers often have adversarial relationships, each suspecting the other of trying to gain an advantage over them. Recent research has found that trust in the supply chain leads to greater supply chain collaboration, which is in turn correlated to better corporate performance. Manufacturers that engage deeply in order to get to know their suppliers, and to encourage trust building among supply chain partners (as GM did with its 2016 Strategic Supplier Engagement initiative) by applying proven trust-building models can improve supply chain performance and make competitive gains.

The second problem is that supply chain partners aren’t going to embrace efficiency initiatives if they don’t see what’s in it for them. Many suppliers fear that savvy consumers will demand that cost savings be passed on to them, removing any incentive to change. All partners and manufacturers must feel confident that the newly found efficiencies will benefit them, or they won’t contribute.

1. Consumer expectations: the Amazon effect

Why’d Amazon have to go and spoil things for everyone else?? This is a question many a frustrated manufacturer is asking these days. Amazon’s ability to deliver a vast array of products in astonishingly short time frames has raised the consumer expectation bar very high. Manufacturers are going to have to become increasingly agile to please demanding customers who have been taught to expect Amazon-like efficiency and are cranky when they don’t get it.

1. Keeping up with new tech: robotics and automation, AI and machine learning

To stay competitive, manufacturers will be increasingly integrating robots, cobots, and other forms of automation and machine learning into their processes. This will no doubt result in the creation of many new types of jobs as humans and robots work together—jobs we don’t even know about yet—as well as require the development of new processes. Manufacturers need to stay on top of IoT, 5G connectivity, advances in sensors (including and how to repair them), and the need for data analysis.

Geopolitical pressures are always at work on manufacturers because raw materials and finished products are purchased and sold internationally. 2020 is an election year in the US, and uncertainty of the outcome and its effects on tariffs and trade flows may cause manufacturers to hold off on capital expenditures or hiring during the year until the dust settles.

1. Cybersecurity

Move over, ransomware. There are two new cyberthreats to worry about: banking trojans and cryptominers.

Banking trojans are malware that steal information, credentials or money, create botnets or inject malicious code into browsers. They initially targeted banks, but as banks hardened their security, the trojans found easier targets, including online advertisers, social media sites, and communication platforms to name but a few.

Cryptominers (short for “cryptocurrency miners”) are essentially malware that co-opts its unknowing victims’ computers into contributing their computational power to the vast task of making a profit by manipulating digital currencies (such as bitcoin). Remember the old adage “Many hands make light work”? Well, cryptominers want your computer’s hands—admittedly, not a perfect analogy!—plus as many others as they can get, to help them make money. It’s estimated that 42% of organizations around the world were already infected in 2018.

Manufacturers will have to be aware and take measures to protect themselves and their customers, or risk losing them.

2020: a continued risk for disruption

According to Deloitte, manufacturing is at “continued risk for disruption” in 2020. The industry seems to be sensing this on some level: the National Manufacturer’s Association’s 2019 3rd Quarter Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey found that only 67.9% of manufacturers surveyed are optimistic about the business outlook in 2020, down from the all-time high of 93.9% in 2018, and the lowest reading in three years.

While it may take a bit more effort to thrive and survive next year, manufacturers who proactively position themselves to tackle these manufacturing challenges are more likely to emerge at the head of the pack.

Gearing up for this year’s Manufacturing Day

This year’s Manufacturing Day is October 4, 2019. The event was created in 2012 by Founding Partners Fabricators and Manufacturers Association and has since gained presidential recognition.

Manufacturing Day is an opportunity to showcase the industry and offers companies a chance to change common misconceptions about manufacturing. In 2018, 275,000 people participated in 3,000 events across North America. If your company hasn’t started planning activities for this year yet, here are a few ideas.

Ways to Celebrate Manufacturing Day

1. Bridge the skills gap: American manufacturers are facing a worker shortage. According to the Manufacturing Institute, over the next decade, manufactures will have to fill 4.6 million jobs. Deloitte estimates that 2.4 million manufacturing positions could go unfulfilled between 2018 and 2028.

Manufacturing Day provides companies  an open-door platform that lets them talk about the job opportunities in the industry and within their workplaces.  It’s there to help manufacturers connect with the future workforce and display the high paying and high-tech careers available.

2. Promote the importance of the industry: Manufacturing is an integral part of the American economy. American manufacturing comprises  half of all US exports. It added \$2.33 trillion to the American gross domestic product of 2018, driving 11.6 percent of the American economic output that year. For every dollar spent into manufacturing, \$1.89 is added to business growth in other supporting sectors.

3. Dispel misperceptions: One-third of Americans wouldn’t encourage their children to pursue a career in manufacturing. Manufacturing Day is a chance to open some minds and change some opinions. Manufacturers have the chance to host students from all ages in their facilities. The Manufacturing Institute found that after last year’s event, 80 percent of attending students became more convinced that manufacturing offers an interesting and rewarding career.

Connecting with the Next Generation

Reconnecting with today’s youth, the future workers of America, is the goal of Manufacturing Day. To host an event, a company can host a tour of either a manufacturing facility, an office, an innovative center or any other site related to manufacturing. Alternatively, a company can also host an event at a manufacturing-support site, such as a software company or design office.

Companies can also participate by hosting a school event about manufacturing, running a manufacturing-related job fair, having a manufacturing-related career day or showcasing a manufacturing product expo. All events must be open to students, parents and/or educators.

Displaying Innovation in Manufacturing

Hosting a Manufacturing Day event can be a great way to talk about how your organization is using new technologies, such as incorporating 3D simulation software in your training program. It’s also a way to highlight manufacturing’s many different and rich career roles, such as an electrical maintenance professional.

From automation to the IIoT to gamified training software, the nature of manufacturing is changing. Manufacturing Day is an opportunity to demonstrate to a broader audience just how far the industry has come and how it will continue to evolve.

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Attracting younger workers to the manufacturing workforce

As the population ages, there is a growing need to replace retiring veteran workers with new employees. In the manufacturing industry alone, SME estimates that there could be up to 3.5 million jobs available in the next ten years. Of these positions, Deloitte reports that with the skills gap, 2.4 million positions could go unfilled between 2018 and 2028. Attracting a new era of workers into manufacturing needs to start when they are young and continue throughout the educational process.

Manufacturing is seen as an important part of the American economy. Eight in ten people believe it is important to maintain the country’s standard of living. But one-third of Americans say they wouldn’t encourage their children to pursue a manufacturing career. There are several misperceptions about manufacturing, which is hurting the potential talent pool.

Starting Them Young

It’s time to modernize how the American manufacturing workforce is developed. It’s also time to change the perceptions of manufacturing as being unsafe, low-skilled, and insecure. When young people and their parents aren’t exposed to the rewarding aspects of manufacturing at an early age, these misconceptions are more likely to persist into high school. Modern manufacturing jobs are safer, high-tech jobs that are well-paid and require more skill and competency.

Introducing manufacturing at a young age can help to build their interest in the career field. When these young students reach an age where they have to decide their future educational path, having a positive perspective on manufacturing can help. Organizing company “show and tells” and presentations at local elementary and high schools is one way in which a company can expose students to the benefits of a career in manufacturing.

Hosting Jobs Fairs and Networking Events

High school is a decisive time for many young people, where students determine their future path, whether that means going to community college, a university or heading straight to the job market. Manufacturers can promote their industry and company by hosting job fairs or networking events to help provide students with a clearer picture of career choices available.

Networking can help students by providing them the opportunity to talk to people in the industry, so they can understand more about the positives of the job. These events also help companies evaluate the talent pool and start recruitment early.

Also, participating in nationwide events like Manufacturing Day, held this year on October 4th, can be another way companies can promote the manufacturing industry to a younger base. The SME Education Foundation, for example, engages with regional manufacturers, local schools and other community representatives through the Partnership Response in Manufacturing Education initiative, or PRIME. PRIME is used as a platform for manufacturers to reach students and build awareness of the manufacturing career pathways that are available to them. The specially tailored advanced manufacturing education provides students with modern manufacturing skills and prepares them for a future manufacturing job upon high school graduation. There are 47 PRIME schools in 22 states.

Changing Perceptions of Manufacturing

With the growing trend of automation and the IoT software, more and more highly skilled workers are needed to maintain and upkeep systems. Automation is creating new types of jobs in manufacturing by phasing out positions that perform repetitive and mundane tasks . It’s also giving rise to the need for highly-trained electrical maintenance professionals.

The nature of manufacturing is changing and so is the nature of training. For example, serious games are becoming commonplace for training electrical maintenance professionals. Also, new training programs incorporating video game elements in their platforms, such as using 3D simulation, offers a safe, fun, and engaging environment in which a trainee can learn and make risk-free mistakes. Not only can this be an effective and efficient way to train new workers, but it also can be a great onboarding tool to engage new hires.