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The Future of American Manufacturing

June 2, 2014

Ever since the new year turned over, and 2014 got its start. There have been a lot of hot button topics and buzzwords in the manufacturing sector, such as onshoring, reshoring, resurgence and even renaissance. American Flag

There are endless opinions and analysis regarding the topic of American manufacturing and of course, we are hopeful just like everyone else that things will continue to look up.  Here at Hypercat ACP, we have seen a small uptick in our business and since we were down a bit the end of last year, we are extremely happy to see the progress.

As is stated in this article from ibitimes.com, there are many reasons why we are seeing more and more companies reshoring. A few principal reasons are that energy costs in America have gone down and our labor productivity has gone up. On top of that, the cost of international shipping can easily gnaw away at a budget.

With those things in mind, it would certainly make sense for companies to continue to bring their products back to the states to manufacture. While we are not comfortable saying that there will be a “renaissance” this year, we are hopeful and interested in what is yet to come.

What are your thoughts on the subject? What types of things have you been seeing in your businesses?

 

How Emissions May be the End for a Famous Condiment

May 14, 2014

There is a very serious lesson to be learned from the Sriracha plant in Southern California: Harmful emissions of any type need to be taken seriously. Due to what seems to be a lack of communication and perhaps not having the proper filters in their plant, the famous Sriracha hot sauce made by Huy Fong Foods, is in danger of being shut down.

Back in November, owner David Tran was ordered to cease emissions of what have been described as spicy fumes. What the Los Angeles County Superior Court judge did not specify however, was what Tran should do about the smell.  Tran has stated that 90% of the odor produced in the factory is blocked by rooftop vent filters.

On May 14th, the city council will decide whether or not to declare the factory a public nuisance. If that were to happen, the city of Los Angeles would be able to act on its own to correct the fumes that people have been saying cause eyes to burn.  Huy Fong would, at that point be responsible for any abatement costs.

Being sure to take the proper steps to ensure that your plant is not emitting harmful smells or gasses, etc is paramount to running a good business.  Workers numbering up to 200, are now waiting to see if they will lose their jobs, or have to move if the plant is relocated. This is a problem that could have been solved before the government became involved.

We All Need to Do Our Part in Protecting the Environment

May 2, 2014

As most of you know, most of the emissions that we deal with at Hypercat are engine/motor and industrial emissions. Although carbon emissions are a function of the fuel, we are all concerned about the environment and air pollution in general. Because of that, we wanted to take this month’s blog to talk a bit about carbon emissions, in an effort to be sure that we are all educated on the topic.green photo

Luckily, there has been a bit of good news regarding this topic lately. From 2005 to 2012, greenhouse gas emissions fell by about 10%, which is a large step toward reaching the countries 2020 target of lowering emissions by 17%. At this moment, carbon dioxide emissions in America are the lowest that they have been in 20 years.

One of the main reasons we have seen these numbers decrease, is the fairly new and much increased availability of natural gas from shale.  As is stated in an article from CNS News, “Responsible development of natural gas is an important part of our work to curb climate change and support a robust clean energy market at home”.

All of this good news however, does not mean that there is not still work to be done. A recent report from the United Nations shows that in order to keep global warning under control we will need to do more than just shift from fossil fuels to low-carbon energy as that change would only take about 0.06% off per year in terms of economic growth, globally.

So, while we still have work to do, we do what we can to help the environment and want to be sure that our clients, employees and readers of this blog do as well.

Looking Forward 2014 with Hypercat

March 10, 2014

As 2013 came to end, there were signs that 2014 might be another good year for America’s manufacturing sector. In December, there were a number of different positive indicators released worth mentioning including:

  • 9K net new manufacturing workers in December, fifth straight month of gains
  • Narrowing of the trade deficit which included a 2% jump in manufactured goods exported for the first 11th months of 2013

Though these are only a few of the many positive statistics from 2013, they are a good representation of what we are hoping to expect from 2014.

As far as trends Hypercat is watching for 2014, perhaps the most important is an even brighter spotlight on reshoring. According to labor stats, America has added 550K new manufacturing jobs since 2011. Combined with rising costs of doing business overseas (including higher salary demands and shipping costs), it is our hope that more companies see the wisdom in embracing the “Made in USA”. While we do purchase and sell on a global level, we also understand and support the Made in America movement.  It is a positive sign that the manufacturing of products rarely made in U.S., like cell phones and other electronics, are shifting to American soil.

Everyone at Hypercat is optimistic for 2014. As the year goes on, we will keep you informed on the progress of manufacturing in the U.S. so please check back every month!

Small Spark-Ignited (SI) Engines: Catalyst Applications

November 29, 2013

At Hypercat ACP, we loosely categorize small spark-ignited (SI) engines as those being 25 hp, or less.  Examples of such engines include, but are not limited to those found in miscellaneous lawn equipment, hand-held devices, outdoor generators, snow-blowers, certain marine applications, and motorized scooters.  The US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) formally classifies “Small SI Engines” as follows:

• Nonroad – Primarily used in lawn & garden applications

  • Power ratings ≤ 19 kW

• Non-Handheld

  • Class I = >80 cc and <225 cc [engine displacement]
  • Class II = ≥225 cc

• Handheld – Carried during operation

  • Class III = <20 cc
  • Class IV = ≥20 cc and <50 cc
  • Class V = ≥50 cc

 

As for an appreciation of the scale of the number of Small SI Engines available throughout the world, according to USEPA statistics, for Model Year (MY) 2011, total production in the US alone was an estimated 27 million engines.  Furthermore, for MY 2011, this quantity represented approximately 25% of the total number of comparably classified engines produced worldwide for that particular Model Year.

 

Contrary to the belief of some, USEPA regulations do exist for Small SI Engines.  Phase 1 regulations became effective with Model Year 1997.  Phase 2 regulations were phased in between MY 2001 and MY 2007.  Phase 3 regulations began in 2009, and were fully implemented in MY 2012.  Phase 1 & 2 were applicable only to the exhaust, while Phase 3 regulations included both exhaust and fuel evaporative guidance.  Phase 3 Exhaust Standards are listed below:

 

Small SI Engine USEPA Phase 3 Exhaust Standards

Engine Class

HC + NOx (g/kW-hr)

CO (g/kW-hr)

Effective Date

Class I

10.0

610

MY 2012

Class II

8.0

610

MY 2011

Class III

50

805

MY 2010

Class IV

50

805

MY 2010

Class V

72

603

MY 2010

 

Here at Hypercat ACP, we manufacture Three-Way catalysts that meet emissions requirements for Hydrocarbon (HC), Carbon Monoxide (CO) and Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) for Small SI Engines and conform to the high expectations of our customers.

Automotive Emissions – Regulations and Aftermarket Catalysts

October 18, 2013

Aftermarket catalytic converters have been federally regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) since 1986.  Although California followed suit in 1988, today the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) performance standards are more stringent than the EPA’s in accordance with its well-publicized and successful campaign against air pollution and its effect on public health.  The requirements for HC/CO/NOx conversion efficiencies and mileage limits for original equipment as well as California and Federal aftermarket converters are shown below:

Original equipment                                       97/85/97*                          100-120,000 miles

CARB (OBD) – aftermarket                          96/83/96*                           50,000 miles

CARB (non-OBD) – aftermarket                  70/70/60*                           50,000 miles

EPA – aftermarket                                           70/70/50*                           25,000 miles

* Percent Conversion of HC/CO/NOx
OBD – On-Board Diagnostics

The CARB warranty is 50,000 miles while the EPA’s 25,000-mile warranty boasts a substantial cost savings to the consumer.  The State of New York is the only other state that has adopted the CARB standards for new aftermarket catalytic converters, but has delayed enforcement until January 1, 2014.  Other states, like Maine, has also announced plans to also adopt the CARB catalytic converter regulations, but has delayed implementation to June 1, 2015.

Here at Hypercat ACP, we manufacture Three-Way aftermarket catalysts that meet emissions requirements for Hydrocarbon (HC), Carbon Monoxide (CO) and Nitrogen Oxide (NOx).  Automotive manufacturing standards are exacting and all of our catalysts are built to meet these high standards and conform to the high expectations of our customers.

STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics] – Not just an acronym, but also an accurate metaphor

October 8, 2013

Here at Hypercat Advanced Catalyst Products (Hypercat ACP), we are a relative newcomer to the blogging community.  For the past 14 months, we have published blogs about the manufacturing, selection, deactivation, cleaning and recycling of catalysts used in the universe of emissions control.  We have also blogged about air emissions regulations.  We have even introduced in a blog our suggestions for procuring funding for catalyst upgrades when planning capital improvement projects.

Recently, when batting around ideas for future blog topics, it became quite clear to us that we are so much more than a for-profit business.  We are a corporate citizen providing air pollution control equipment to a network of various industry types who, not only must comply with applicable air emission regulations, but who also have their own sense of environmental stewardship.  Furthermore, we here at Hypercat ACP are an eclectic group of technical, scientific and managerial persons, and as part of our individual backgrounds we each share varying degrees of science, engineering and mathematics education and experience.  Realizing that we share our technical credentials with those persons employed in the various industries that we serve and also with those who create the regulations that guide us, we thought it a worthwhile blog topic to pause and reflect upon our math and science educational experiences which are largely responsible for our career growth…….our metaphorical ‘stems’.

Rightfully so we think, there increasingly is a push from society, the business community, educators and government officials to promote the attraction and success of our schools’ Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs.  Virtually every business within just about every industry has benefited from advancements associated with modern applications of math and the various science disciplines.  There is no reason to not only think that this trend is going to continue, but that it will increase with intensity and speed.  Much has been publicized about businesses clamoring about the shortage of a technically advanced workforce.  Furthermore, there is a growing camp of individuals and groups who see those students who succeed in STEM studies as being the catalyst (pun intended!) to revamping local, regional and national economies, and being a part of securing prosperity for those countries whose educational systems excel with their implementation of STEM agendas.

For our part, we want to pause and appreciate STEM initiatives, and acknowledge the national attention being applied towards STEM programs.  We commit to helping our children with their STEM studies and assignments.  We thank those educators – past, present and future – who dedicate themselves to the advancement of STEM curricula.  We applaud those corporations and organizations – and there are many – who donate time, resources and funds for the support, sustainment and promotion of STEM activities.  Individually, we volunteer our time in our communities with groups and events that make STEM-related activities visible.  For multiple summers, Hypercat ACP has employed college engineering and science students as part of the Co-Op program that we participate with in association with regional Universities.  There are ample opportunities for STEM support on a corporate and personal basis.

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