When the Levee Didn’t Break: Preventative Planning for Hurricane Isaac

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Everyone who watched on TV as Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans will have these images forever seared in their memory: polluted water overflowing the banks of levees, aerial shots of flooded residential districts, desperate reports of hospitals operating on emergency generators – the list goes on and on.  This summer, when Hurricane Isaac barreled its way into Louisiana, people were naturally worried that another disaster was in the making. Fortunately, this didn’t happen. The new $15B U.S. Army Corps of Engineers levee system, put into place post-Katrina, stood its ground. The levees didn’t break. New Orleans endured days of severe weather, but came out of them strong and intact.

It could have been a different story, of course. If emergency electrical generators hadn’t ensured that power and pumping stations stayed operational throughout the downpour and 80 mph winds, the waters could have done a lot more damage. A LOT more damage. Americans might have woken to a new natural disaster inflicted on a state that has already seen far too many.

Production Materials was part of the emergency effort to sustain New Orleans’ levee system during Hurricane Isaac. Time and again during the days-long storm, we delivered rush-job components for power generator sub-assemblies. Our timely delivery of components allowed for new generators to be built to meet the escalating demand. If we and other companies hadn’t put our collective shoulder to the wheel when it counted most, this might never have been the case…

Our fast turnaround time and our ability to stock critical components have proven their value yet again. We are proud to help out people in times of need: our work during Hurricane Isaac speaks for itself. Here’s hoping we never have to do it again.

Working to Help Build the Next Generation of Fuel-Efficient Tractors and Combines

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It is September already, which means that the bulk of America’s harvesting season is just about upon us. For some, the end of 2012 can’t come too soon. It’s been a rough ride this year for a lot of farmers and manufacturers who make their living off agriculture. As discussed in another blog, drought struck a slight majority of the nation’s counties – including many of its “breadbaskets” – causing irreparable harm to corn, wheat, and soy crops, along with many others.

But there’s a silver lining to the cloudlessness of 2012: namely, 2013. Tractor and combine harvester companies are re-tooling their platforms to reflect the new realities on the ground: the need for greater energy-efficiency and cost-cutting savings for farmers looking to buy their next agricultural vehicle. Gasoline certainly isn’t about to get any less expensive anytime soon, barring a miracle, which – coupled with lower profit margins than usual – has led to a demand from farmers for vehicles that perform all the tasks they’re already so good at – but with a higher ROI as far as long-term fuel savings.

The mixture of market realism and venture optimism can both be felt here at Production Materials, where we are heavily involved in supplying parts for the agriculture industry. We’re looking into ways of providing cost-savings to farm equipment manufacturers so that they have the necessary R & D funds to improve their overall performance efficiency. We’re helping companies reduce in number the varieties of metal and plastic nuts and bolts that go into making their machinery, thereby standardizing their production process and imparting it with maximum efficiency. In turn, we’ve seen major agricultural machine manufacturers bring their supply chains closer to home in order to scale back unforeseeable overseas costs. This, in turn, is definitely helping American manufacturing recover from its long decade of slump and outsourcing.

In short, it’s a mixed bag for a mixed year, with some parts of the economy hard-hit, and other sectors beginning to flourish for the first time in many years. Here’s to believing that 2013 will prove a beneficial year for all parties involved. Production Materials intends to play a key part in that!