Hass Racing Tour

At our April 10th SPE meeting we had the privilege for a behind the scenes tour of Stewart Haas Racing’s 200,000 sq. ft. facility located in Kannapolis, NC.   This is home to a title-winning NASCAR team co-owned by three-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Tony Stewart and Gene Haas, founder of Haas CNC machining centers. I would love to show you some pictures but it is a top-secret facility so no cameras were allowed.  We were able to see their advanced machining center with HAAS top of the line equipment used to make custom parts for the cars.  It was similar to seeing a world class injection molding tooling shop and it ran 7 days a week to keep up with demand.   Then we toured the area where cars come back from the race and were torn down completely, rebuilt from chassis up and then inspected with top of the line 3D laser scanning systems to insure quality control.

 It was interesting to learn that the cars exterior surfaces are held within .070″ to minimize aerodynamic advantages between teams.  They had an amazing 16 cars per driver that were specially engineered and drastically different depending on what track configuration they planned to run at.   Another learning was how much work is still farmed out to 3rd party manufactures in the local area.  Even the motors are leased from Roush-Yates in Mooresville who tears them completely down after every race and then delivers them back to the race shop.  Stewart Haas Racing spends $3 million dollars a year just on the lease program and never owns a motor!  Unfortunately, we were only allowed to get 16 SPE members into the facility and had to do it on a first come/first serve basis so keep your eyes open for our emails of special events like this.
Take Care,
Jim Brickley

About Plastics

Back in 2005, the U.S. petrochemical industry was saddled with the world’s highest production costs. There were dire predict

ions about the industry’s future, including talk about plastic imports coming to
the U.S. in bulk ships. Then along came the fracking revolution ‘
in North America. It unlocked plentiful supplies of natural gas, whose byproducts are the primary feedstocks for plastics production.
It also reduced producers’ energy costs. “The shale gas play has propelled the United States from one of the highest cost ethylene/polyethylene producers to one of the most cost-competitive producers anywhere in the world;’ John Barrett, general manager global supply chain for Chevron Phillips Chemical Co., said at the Rail Trends 2016 conference.

Now the North American petrochemical industry is in the midst of a building boom. In anticipation of exporting plastics to Asia, South America, and Europe, 21 new or expanded plastics plants are opening, under construction, or are planned. Polyethylene production is expected to jump 45 percent by 2019, Barrett says, with nearly all of it for export. That’s the equivalent
of 115,000 railcar shipments annually for North American railroads, says Richard Miller, BNSF Railway’s assistant vice president for chemicals and plastics. “It’s a very positive thing from a rail perspective;’ Miller says.

The bulk of the increased production – or roughly 75,000 railcar shipments annually is centered in the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana, an area served by B~SF Railway, Union Pacific, Canadian National, and Kansas City Southern. The Chevron Phillips USGC Petrochemicals Project, in Old Ocean and Cedar Bayou, Texas, will begin operations this summer. The $6 billion ethylene and polyethylene project, served by BNSF and UP, includes a 1,500-car storage yard with 40 miles of track. Chevron Phillips also purchased 2,750 hopper cars to handle the project’s output, Miller says.
Congestion and lack of empty containers
at Gulf Coast ports prompted Chevron Phillips to come up with more diverse and complex export logistics, Barrett says. Intermodal will play a key role in getting its plastics to ports on the U.S. West and East coasts, as well as the Mexican West Coast Port of Lazaro Cardenas. Other plastics producers have followed suit. · BNSF and UP both are expected to haul loaded hopper cars from the Gulf Coast to plastics packaging facilities in the DallasFort
Worth area. Once packaged, the plastics will be loaded onto international containers that will ride intermodal trains. BNSF will carry plastic loads to West Coast ports as well as to Chicago for inter- . change for East Coast ports. UP’s Dallas to Dock program envisions moving containers to West Coast ports, as well as back to Houston for export. A packaging plant adjacent to UP’s Dallas intermodal terminal is scheduled to open by the end
of the summer. BNSF began moving the first export test loads in fall2016 and production has been ramping up at a packing facility near its intermodal terminal in Alliance, Texas, Miller says. BNSF anticipates additional packaging facilities to be built in the area the year. The mopper cars will move between the Gulf Coast and Alliance in regular manifest service.

Miller credits Barrett with having the foresight to suggest using Dallas Fort Worth as a hub for export plastics packaging. The Dallas-Fort Worth area sees heavy inbound container traffic, Miller says,
but generates few outbound loads. There are nine times more containers available for plastics loads in Dallas-Fort Worth than in
Houston, UP notes. Plastics have long been hauled in covered
hoppers – and that won’t change anytime soon. But, Barrett says, “intermodal will continue to grow in importance in both domestic
and export movements as an alternative to long-haul truck shipments and congested highway systems:’ – Bill Stephens



Volunteerism: You often receive more than you give

April 21, 2016 By Harvey Mackay

Years ago, my father sat me down and gave me what was some of the best advice I have ever received. It had nothing to do with making money but everything to do with getting ahead in the world. It was self-help advice that really focused on helping others.

He told me I would never have any trouble finding opportunities. And he told me that 20-25 percent of my time should be devoted to this pursuit.

“Volunteer,” he said. Not exactly music to the ears of a broke, fresh out of college, aspiring millionaire. But as I have come to appreciate, he was dead-on right – AGAIN.

Volunteering has made my life so much better, and I suspect that anyone who has become passionate about a cause will tell you the same thing.

You often receive more than you give

Link to Volunteer

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