- 53 percent indicated that they will spend less on safety programs and related products in 2009. Last year, most respondents spent less than $10,000 in the category.
- Correspondingly, 53 percent of respondents said that they will not invest as much this year on automation equipment as they did in 2008. Last year, 26 percent spent more than $100,000 in this category.
- Looking at overall capital equipment expenditures, 32 percent of respondents said that they spent more than $750,000 last year, and 42 percent said that they will spend the same or more in 2009.
- 37 percent said that energy conservation initiatives have offset price hikes in keeping costs even.
- 26 percent said that costs are down due to internal energy conservation practices and lower oil prices.
- The remainder indicated that they continue to deal with rising energy costs.
- 83 percent have started to do simpler things like shutting off lights, and relying less prominently on heating and air-conditioning services to help control costs.
- 72 percent have implemented new, more efficient lighting products.
- 61 percent said that they have purchased new, more efficient equipment.
- 50 percent also added instrumentation that allows for better equipment monitoring and control in maximizing energy usage.
- 39 percent cited machinery overhauls and increasing preventive maintenance practices as a way to reduce the amount of energy needed to power their older equipment.
- 37 percent identified improving usage patterns.
- The remaining were split between facility improvements and individual equipment upgrades.
- The feedstocks that they are most familiar with, in order of precedence, are biomass, plant by-products and agricultural by-products.
- The most prominently used of the newer feedstock types is plant by-products.
- The feedstock that respondents feel has the most promise moving forward is algae.
- The biggest obstacle readers see with the integration of these non-fossil fuel sources is the lack of an established infrastructure in dealing with these new feedstocks.
- The most important software functionality cited was inventory management (47 percent), followed by maintenance scheduling (21 percent).
- The greatest realized gains from software investments were operational efficiencies (47 percent) and quality control (16 percent).
- Looking ahead, respondents' greatest needs are inventory management and maintenance scheduling.
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As could be expected with a general grouping like this, which includes a wider range of facilities with varying production focuses, responses show some interesting ranges.