Redefining what 'better' means in manufacturing

There are two fundamental principles guiding manufacturing at the plant level today. They are reflected in the technology PLANT ENGINEERING celebrated March 20 at the 2005 Product of the Year dinner. You can see this year's winners starting on page 70. One major effort is innovation. Innovation led the United States through the Industrial Revolution, through the Depression, through World War II...

04/01/2006


There are two fundamental principles guiding manufacturing at the plant level today. They are reflected in the technology PLANT ENGINEERING celebrated March 20 at the 2005 Product of the Year dinner. You can see this year's winners starting on page 70. One major effort is innovation. Innovation led the United States through the Industrial Revolution, through the Depression, through World War II, through the Space Age and into the Modern Age - though I think at every one of those milestones, there was some editor getting up and declaring THAT was the "modern age."

Innovation has been getting a lot of attention lately in the United States. It has gotten attention from manufacturing leaders, from the White House, from the education community. Part of that discussion includes whether the U.S. has lost its edge in innovation. We have discussed in these pages at length what innovation means in the emerging global economy. What we do not hear enough about is that the true innovation of ideas and execution will occur on the plant floor.

I have heard the same message from every system integrator and software manufacturer -- the age of "intelligent manufacturing" has arrived. What they really are talking about is giving the plant floor manager and the plant floor workers the information, in real time, to actually make things better - and as a result, to make better things. It is quantifiable data and it makes sense to the people charged with delivering productivity, delivering on the promise of all that technology. That is true intelligence, and it is better.

Our of reach of the plant engineer for too long, that information now migrates to the plant floor to be used in driving productivity, raising quality and getting products to market faster - all the areas in which American manufacturing workers are still the envy of the world.

We believe the people who affect change each day in manufacturing are not in corner offices but on plant floors. They will find ways to innovate, and will take the innovations of others and bring them to life and to market. We invite our readers to use this form, as they have for almost 60 years, to continue the discussion of how to make manufacturing better.

PLANT ENGINEERING puts its trust in manufacturing's revival in America in the hands and hearts and minds of these plant floor manufacturing leaders. Given the right resources, these plant managers and plant engineers will redefine what "better" means in American manufacturing.





No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Learn how to create value with re-use; gain productivity with lean automation and connectivity, and optimize panel design and construction.
Go deep: Automation tackles offshore oil challenges; Ethernet advice; Wireless robotics; Product exclusives; Digital edition exclusives
Lost in the gray scale? How to get effective HMIs; Best practices: Integrate old and new wireless systems; Smart software, networks; Service provider certifications
Fixing PID: Part 2: Tweaking controller strategy; Machine safety networks; Salary survey and career advice; Smart I/O architecture; Product exclusives
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Look at the basics of industrial wireless technologies, wireless concepts, wireless standards, and wireless best practices with Daniel E. Capano of Diversified Technical Services Inc.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Control Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.