graymont logo

Arc Flash Assessment Helps Achieve OSHA and NFPA Compliance

graymont value created

Graymont, a family owned company in operation for over 70 years, is a global leader in lime and limestone solutions. The company’s products address today’s environmental issues while supporting industrial processes and agricultural needs. Uses for Graymont’s products include the purification of air and water, and the production of essential items including steel, paper, and metals. The Genoa, Ohio Graymont location employs 48 and is primarily engaged in manufacturing quicklime, hydrated lime, and “dead-burned” dolomite from limestone, dolomite shells, or other substances.

In order to ensure their employees safety as well as to be compliant with OSHA, in cooperation with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) requirements, Graymont needed to conduct an Arc Flash Assessment. An Arc Flash Assessment is a study of the facility’s power system to determine the incident energy available at specific electrical devices that employees would be exposed to while “interacting with” the electrical equipment at the facility.

OSHA 1910.132 requires that employers identify and protect their workers from workplace hazards. Every industrial/commercial power system includes inherent risks – specifically electrical shock and Arc Flash, anytime employees are “interacting with” electrical equipment while energized. Interacting with electrical equipment includes operation of fully enclosed switches and power circuit breakers as well as any exposure to energized equipment or circuit parts, including all energized testing or troubleshooting activities.

NFPA 70E – Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, Section 110.1 – requires “the employer shall implement and document an overall electrical safety program that directs activity appropriate to the risk of electrical hazards. The electrical safety program shall be implemented as part of the employer’s overall occupational health and safety management system, when one exists.” The section specifically includes identifying and quantifying the risks of both shock and arc flash hazards, before work begins.

CIFT, the northwest Ohio MEP, coordinated an Arc Flash Assessment for Graymont using Matrix Technologies, a service provider with expertise in this field. The project consisted of a short-circuit analysis and an Arc Flash analysis, to meet OSHA and NFPA 70E compliance standards. The requirements for an Arc Flash study were met by Matrix, and included field verification and audit, software modeling and design, short-circuit analysis, protective device coordination, and Arc Flash analysis. The Arc Flash labels provided by Matrix Technologies defined the incident energy values for the proper level of personal protective equipment (PPE) the employees at Graymont wear.

OSHA and NFPA requirements were achieved as a result of this Arc Flash Assessment conducted for Graymont and coordinated by CIFT/Ohio MEP.

“Working with Ohio MEP was a seamless process. Ohio MEP did most of the heavy lifting on the project. They established excellent lines of communication throughout the project, frequent updates, and worked well with our contractors through completion. I highly recommend Ohio MEP as a valuable resource if you are looking to invest in your process or operation.” — Greg Jess, Maintenance & Kiln Operations Supervisor at Graymont

Manufacturing Resources

CIFT offers a variety of manufacturing services from lean implementation to DOD support. For a complete list of our manufacturing services, please visit our manufacturing webpage.

industry 4.0

What is Industry 4.0?

Are you confused about what Industry 4.0 is? Many people are because it seems to be so similar to Industry 3.0, or the 3rd Industrial Revolution, an era that just recently ended. So what’s the difference?

Here’s the simplest way to put it:

Industry 4.0 is in fact the practices of Industry 3.0, but with an added use of smart technology which produces connectivity. So, devices communicate with each other and are able to even make decisions.

So what’s that mean?
You’re familiar with Industry 3.0 practices. These are the traditional manufacturing practices like Lean, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and Automation, just to name a few. Now let’s add in the element of smart technology, or smart manufacturing. The entire production is connected and every single part, machine and employee are working in sync. Efficiencies are automatically captured and implemented. Inventory is always recorded which reduces waste. Because every machine or device is connected, real-time data is given which allows for data-based decision making on when to order materials, when to ship, when to reschedule a product and more. All this information makes it clear what the health of your organization is at any given moment. Information that is critical to the life and success of your company.

Endless possibilities with Industry 4.0

The potential and possibilities that come from implementing an Industry 4.0 production really are endless. If you free up workers in certain areas, they are then able to focus on new initiatives. If you reduce waste, you have new capital to use on new technology. Efficiencies open up the ability to expand and grow. And, let’s face it, you’ll have new leverage when it comes to recruiting new employees that want to be a part of smart technology.

If you’re interested in learning more about Industry 4.0, you can read more of our manufacturing blogs or visit our manufacturing services page.

Get to know our manufacturing team! Read about our Industrial 4.0 Project Manager, Joseph Schultz and our Business Development Specialist, Cathy Witte.


Getting to Know Cathy Witte, Business Development Specialist

We believe it’s important to know who you’re working with.

We’re continuing our Getting to Know CIFT series with our Business Development Specialist, Cathy Witte. Cathy has been with CIFT since 2014 and has been vital in strengthening and building relationships with manufacturers all across the state. We asked Cathy some questions to get a glimpse into her role and what motivates her.

What do you do at CIFT?
I reach out to manufacturers across our 18 county region to introduce CIFT/Ohio MEP and provide service and assistance to these companies.

What motivates you to wake up and go to work?
I enjoy talking to manufacturers in all types of industries, and learning about their business and how we can help.

What has been your favorite project so far?
I don’t have a specific favorite project per se, since I am more involved with starting the relationships, not managing the projects. But my favorite part of my job is when I connect with a manufacturer who really could use our assistance and expertise!

What’s one thing you want people to know about your role, service or CIFT?
Being a non-profit, we are really here to help our manufacturers in Ohio stay competitive, grow and also build relationships.

What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I was a ski racer back in the day! Still enjoy the sport every winter, but in a much more relaxed way!

Learn more about our manufacturing services and success stories through our different manufacturing blogs.

industrial revolution

What Industrial Revolution Are You In?

Are You Stuck In The Past?

The manufacturing industry has seen an immense amount of change throughout history. Technology has changed how we build products and how we work as a whole. There have been four industrial revolutions that have kept companies across the globe competitive and innovative. The transition into each revolution might come naturally for many, but not for all. However, transforming into new technology and practices is critical for continued success and relevance. Let’s take a look at how far the manufacturing industry has come. What industrial revolution are you in?

1st Industrial Revolution

Mid-1700s to 1830
Agricultural societies became more industrialized and urban. Water and steam power make mechanical production facilities possible. Society was forever changed by the spinning jenny, water wheel, steam engine, cotton gin, concrete, steam locomotive, modern roads and batteries.

2nd Industrial Revolution

Mid-1800s to mid-1900s
Also known as the Technological Revolution, mass production and standardization sparked with the help of the assembly line and electrical energy. Steel production advanced drastically which expanded the railroad system and more industrial machines were built. Some of the top inventions were plastics, lightbulb, telephone, automobile, typewriter and assembly-line manufacturing.

3rd Industrial Revolution

1960s to 2000s
Also known as the Digital Revolution, automation was enhanced through IT and electronic systems. Renewable energy is a key focus for companies. The internet changed the world forever as the term Internet of Things was established. Some of the top inventions were computer programming, machine automation, internet, nuclear energy and robotics.

4th Industrial Revolution

We are living in it, but are you practicing it? Also known as Industry 4.0, manufacturing is rapidly changing through the world of robotics, AI, smart and digital manufacturing, cloud computing and predictive programming. The need to be as efficient as possible is critical to production, which is made possible through lean principles. Cybersecurity is vital as everything is digital. 3D printing has brought ideas to life that were once thought as impossible. Every machine or device is connected and gives real-time data that allows for data-based decision making. According to the Manufacturing Data Summit, the number of connected devices per person is more than 1 for the first time in history, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has become mainstream and internet assistants now greet you in your home.

So which revolution is your company living in?

Unfortunately, many manufacturers are stuck in the past which will be costly as time goes on and prices of products and services increase. It’s time to embrace the future and start making the necessary changes to get to Industry 4.0. Good news is, progress can happen gradually and we have a team of Industrial Revolution, Industry 4.0 experts that will be with you each step of the way. Take that first step by contacting our manufacturing team for a no-strings-attached assessment.

We believe it’s important to know who you’re working with. Learn more about our Industrial 4.0 Project Manager in the blog Getting to Know Joseph Schultz, Industrial 4.0 Project Manager.

Learn more about our manufacturing services.


Getting to Know Joseph Schultz, Industrial 4.0 Project Manager

We believe it’s important to know who you’re working with.

We’re continuing our Getting To Know CIFT series with our Industrial 4.0 Project Manager, Joseph (Joe) Schultz. The Industrial 4.0 Project Manager job is a brand new position at CIFT and Joe joined the team almost two months ago, diving head first into the position and working directly with different manufacturers in Ohio. We asked Joe some questions to get a glimpse into his role and what motivates him.

What do you do at CIFT?
I am the Industrial 4.0 Project Manager. I work with manufactures to bring them into the Industrial Revolution 4.0. This includes Lean (implementation, training, assessments), Smart Manufacturing (Internet of Things (IOT), AI, preventive maintenance), Digital Manufacturing (ERP, digital thread, data capture), Cybersecurity (focus on CMMC), Automation (robotics, smart sensors) and Additive Manufacturing (3D printing, prototyping). Another aspect of my job is to build relationships with manufacturers and service providers in the Northwest Ohio Region to help them see and know CIFT as an available resource.

What motivates you to wake up and go to work?
The opportunity to change and improve Northwest Ohio manufactures and be a part of shaping the future. To help improve the quality of manufacturers in both product and improvement of their employees’ work.

What are you most looking forward to with this new role?
I am most looking forward to growing my skill and knowledge base, while leaving an impact on a better Ohio.

What’s one thing you want people to know about your role, service or CIFT?
I want people to know that Industry 4.0 is the future. If employers are facing workforce shortages, it is time to look into going Lean. If a task is dirty, dull or dangerous, there is a robotic solution. Companies need to evaluate their cybersecurity to protect their business, customers and, in some cases, continue to stay in business. Lastly, 3D printing can save companies time and money on reduced time to prototype and organic design.

I also want people to know CIFT is here to help and partner with them as their Ohio MEP (Manufacturing Extension Partnership).

What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I have a high desire to learn and as a result I am full of random information and facts. I love kayaking and spending time with my wife.

Learn more about our manufacturing services and success stories through our different manufacturing blogs.

5S of lean

Lean Benefit #2: Organization/Cleanliness

Lean manufacturing is getting your production to run as efficiently and effectively as possible. In order to do so, it is vital that all materials and employees have a place that is clean and organized. This is where the next lean terminology and methodology comes into play: The Five S’s (5S) of Lean .The 5S philosophy believes that when a workplace is clean, organized and safe, waste will be reduced and productivity will be optimized. 

The Five S’s of Lean

Naturally, The Five S’s all start with the letter “S” and they all derive from Japanese terminology. The Five S’s may seem straightforward and simple, but when implemented correctly they deliver massive value. 


When you begin the 5S of lean process the first step is sorting and organizing to determine what is actually needed vs what is not. Many times what you find in this process is not what you expected. This can apply to any materials or instructions that your organization is currently using. 

Set In Order

Set in order, also known as orderliness, means that everything has a place. This means optimizing part and tool use and when they should be stored after use. When everything has an order, parts and tools can be identified more quickly for the next use. 


Shine, aka cleanliness, involves the enhancing  of cleaning equipment and  materials. This value of a more sanitary work area cannot be overvalued. Employee productivity and morale are directly impacted by identifying areas for improvement in this area. 

Standardize and Sustain

These last two parts of the 5S of lean process are standardize and sustain. We group them together because they both represent the continuing actions and the culture change and mentality needed to implement and benefit fully from the 5S process. Building the “5S way of life” takes time and effort but can truly build a more productive and innovative environment for your company. 

Getting this five-step process implemented correctly is a challenge worth taking for any company who wants to grow and increase output while actually decreasing costs. Our team at CIFT has the resources and expertise to apply lean manufacturing to your production, big or small. Read more about our continuous improvement services here.

This article is a part of our ongoing series to help manufacturers in Northwest Ohio grow and innovate. Did you miss Lean Benefit #1? Read the article here. 

Continue reading our last blog of the series – Lean Benefit #3: Safety


Lean Benefit #1: Eliminating Wastes

The heart of lean is eliminating wastes in all aspects of manufacturing. In lean, waste is defined as anything that does not add value to your customers. When you dig into what waste actually is, you’ll find a common term used is the Seven Deadly Wastes.

Seven Deadly Wastes

The Seven Deadly Wastes are areas of your manufacturing process that can be explored to find opportunities for improvement. These seven areas may be costing your company unnecessary fees and might be worth looking into.

Overproduction means you are making something before it is actually needed. This can lead to some serious problems with inventory and issues with knowing your true supply and demand needs. Manufacturing overproduction typically happens when a ‘push production system’ is implemented rather than a ‘Just In Time’ philosophy. If you’re overproducing, you’re losing money in the end.

Countermeasures for Overproduction:
‘Takt Time’ — Paces production so the rate of manufacturing matches the rate of customer demand
‘Kanban’ — Pull system to control how much product is manufactured
Reduce setup times which will allow for small batches to be produced

Waiting refers to how much time is being held up getting to the next step in production. When your production has a high wait time, value is lost and business is not running as efficiently as possible. Waiting can be anything from waiting for materials to arrive to having equipment with insufficient capacity.

Countermeasures for Waiting:
Continuous Flow — Design process that has minimal buffers or downtime between production steps
Standardized Operating Procedures — Set of instructions for processes which ensures consistent work and consistent time

Waste in transport, or transportation, is when there is excessive movement of materials or people, this can include the movement of tools, equipment, etc. When this type of waste occurs, the likelihood of product damage increases. When this happens with employees, their time is not being used to its full potential.

Countermeasures for Transport:
Value Stream Mapping — Design a production line that allows flow between processes

Waste in motion includes unnecessary or repetitive movement in people, equipment or machinery. This includes walking, lifting, reaching, ect. Lean suggests that these tasks should be redesigned to enhance work and increase health and safety of employees. When a repetitive movement happens, no value is being added.

Countermeasures for Motion:
Create an environment that is organized and as efficient as possible for employees

When there is more work or effort being done than needed for processing, overprocessing is happening. Overprocessing can come in many forms. It can be having too high of technology for machines, running too many tests, having more functionalities than needed…just to name a few.

Countermeasures for Overprocessing:
Kaizen — Always have the customer in mind and compare their needs to the manufacturing process, while looking for ways to simplify

Inventory is usually looked at as a positive, but having more inventory than what is needed to sustain a steady workflow can be detrimental. When there is too much inventory, product defects can occur, money allocation gets uneven, and hidden problems can arise which will ultimately slow down production.

Countermeasures for Inventory:
‘Just In Time’ — Purchasing raw materials only when needed
Continuous Flow — Decrease buffers between production steps

When a product is not up to standards, it is considered a defect and needs additional attention to be reworked or needs scrapped completely. Both the rework and scrapping are wastes. Rework requires additional resources from both equipment and employees. Scrapping the product as a whole is a waste in product and time.

Countermeasures for Defects:
‘Poka-Yoke’ — Error proofing the design process which decreases the likelihood of defects
‘Jidoka’ — Design equipment to detect defects and stop production
Go back and look at defects and get to the root cause, then implement changes accordingly

There are many resources when it comes to eliminating wastes, which can become overwhelming on where to start. Our team can be your starting point to get you off in the right direction. Read more about our continuous improvement services here.

Read our next blog of the lean series – Lean Benefit #2: Organization/Cleanliness

Did you miss our last lean blog overview? Read the 3 Benefits of Implementing Lean into Your Manufacturing Production: A Blog Series.

3 Benefits of Implementing Lean into Your Manufacturing Production: A Blog Series

When you look up the definition of lean manufacturing, you’ll get a lot of results, but in summary the focus is on minimizing waste in order to maximize productivity. Now, more than ever, companies are in dire need to get the most bang out of their buck and run as efficiently as possible. With COVID-19, many companies are unfortunately struggling with employee shortages and are searching for a better way to run their production with fewer employees. By implementing a lean production, areas of waste can be diminished, allowing for better quality of work to get done, even while the worker shortage is upon us all.

Here’s an introduction of the three reasons why you should consider taking a deeper dive into the possibility of going lean.

Eliminate Waste

What is waste? Identifying it correctly is the key to eliminating it effectively. Waste is anything that does not add value to your customers. Our team will look for what we call the seven deadly types of waste: Overproduction, waiting, transport, motion, overprocessing, inventory and defects. By looking in the correct places we can highlight opportunities that can deliver bottom line impact. This includes optimizing your employee output by utilizing them in the most beneficial positions.


In order to run as efficiently and effectively as possible with the employees you have, everything needs to have a place that is clean and ready. This is where 5S comes into play with lean manufacturing. 5S stands for: Sort, set in order, shine, standardize and sustain. When you begin the 5S process, you first sort, or organize, and determine between what is actually needed and what is not. Set in order, or orderliness, means everything has a place and should be put away directly after use. Next, shine, or cleanliness, is keeping up with cleaning your equipment or materials. Finally, the last two, standardize and sustain, are the ongoing actions and mentality to continue doing the process and stick to the rules. When this five-step process is implemented correctly, it can improve the overall business by organizing, cleaning, developing and sustaining a productive work environment.


It’s clear to see that safety would also be an added benefit to lean manufacturing. When you’ve eliminated waste, put everything in order and used correctly, it is easier to understand all the processes and be safer as a whole. Kaizen is a lean idea that focuses on continuous improvement and empowering employees to make and suggest changes. Implementing kaizen mindsets and incentives in the workplace will lead to added safety measures for your business.

Lean can deliver these outcomes and many more when implemented with the correct procedures. Ohio MEP can provide the lean training to these concepts, delivering for you across all levels of your business. Read how CIFT helped Verhoff Machine and Welding get lean.

Read more on Lean Benefit #1: Eliminating Wastes.

Interested in learning more about our manufacturing services? Visit our website or contact us for more information.

Continuous Improvement Adds Huge Value

Rowmark value created

Rowmark is a leading manufacturer of engravable sheet plastic for the awards, engraving and signage markets and carries a complete line of products for sublimation and digital printing. Rowmark’s products are made in the United States and sold in more than 80 countries around the world. In order to grow the company and increase efficiencies, Rowmark wanted to assess and understand the product flow, material movement and volume profiles at their Findlay and Columbus, Ohio locations, while also understanding how those facilities interfaced with other facilities in the network and implementing a continuous improvement mindset throughout the company. To do so, Rowmark paired up with Ohio MEP.

Ohio MEP helped Rowmark by coordinating with St. Onge Company, a supply chain engineering and logistics-consulting firm. St. Onge Company provided Rowmark with a closer look at their supply chain and internal interfacing network. St. Onge Company also compiled a data review and a design principles document for assistance with continuous improvement.

The data and information gained from this project transformed Rowmark’s processes. The information fed Rowmark’s supply chain Kaizen event, operation reviews and discussions and enlistings of improvement opportunity scenarios. St. Onge Company then facilitated the Kaizen event which fosters continuous improvement and Lean principles for the company.

From this partnership and the supply chain knowledge gained, Rowmark saved over $1 Million, increased their investment by $1.2 Million and created five new jobs.

hidden energy costs

5 Hidden Energy Costs Driving Up Your Plant’s Energy Bill

Every plant manager wonders how they can bring down costs. Energy is one way that is always being looked at, but without some help, a lot of hidden costs and savings can be missed. Having spent many years working with and managing plants, as well as partnering with some of the best energy auditors in the business, I thought I’d share some of the most hidden energy costs that are driving up energy bills in manufacturing.

Power Factor

This one is one of the most overlooked ones I’ve ever found. The reason is that it is easy to miss and can be difficult to understand. Basically there are two types of billing; kilowatts (kW) and kilo-volt-amps (kVA). Most folks pay attention to the kilowatts as that is the easiest to understand. But inefficiency can lead to a a lopsided ratio between the two and add a lot to your energy bills.

Compressed Air

We all have used compressed air for a variety of tasks. It can be used quickly for cleaning, saving us a bit of time. But what a lot of people don’t realize is how it is used and maintained can have a big impact on your energy bill. A few simple changes in behavior and maintenance can deliver a lot of savings.


You may think this one isn’t so “hidden.” Just change your lighting to more energy efficient bulbs and you are finished, right? This helps, but it isn’t the end of the story. Lighting placement as well as timing and scheduling can have big impacts on your energy bottom line too.


Not all of us have to deal with issues of refrigeration, but for those of us who do, it can have a big impact on our monthly energy bills. Under utilizing the latest in what available in refrigeration tech can lead to an increase of anywhere between 15 and 30 percent on what you are paying for keeping those things cold. An update can pay for itself.


We have to pay to get water in our plant and we have to pay to get that same water out when we are done. This too can have a big influence on what we are paying in monthly energy costs. Because water costs are often assumed to just be “baked into the cake” many times efficiency improvements are overlooked. But in reality, making some basic changes can have an impact of anywhere 10 to 50 percent cost reductions in this area.

The truth is we often need to get some expert help to find out these areas where we can save on energy. I love connecting plant managers with people who help them find these savings. I also occasionally am able to help with funding to help conduct these audits.

The bottom line, though is almost all plants can find enough savings to justify at least taking a look at how they are using energy. I encourage you all to do so. Hope this helps you all get more efficient and save on your bottom line.

Troy Wildermuth

Director of Manufacturing, Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership