Thriving through innovation

As I write this article, a host of negative economic data is streaming in and the major markets appear to be in a state of freefall. Transcending the subprime mortgage debacle, which has devastated the housing and financial markets, today’s economic woes seem to have a grip on virtually every industry—including manufacturing.

02/01/2008


As I write this article, a host of negative economic data is streaming in and the major markets appear to be in a state of freefall. Transcending the subprime mortgage debacle, which has devastated the housing and financial markets, today’s economic woes seem to have a grip on virtually every industry—including manufacturing. Consumer confidence is down, raw material and fuel prices are up, and the Labor Department reports that inflation hit a 17-year high in 2007. In short, the “r-word” ( a.k.a. “recession”) now appears to be a disappointingly appropriate categorization of where recent events are leading. So what’s a manufacturer to do?

The answer is simple: do what you do best. Innovate.

The resiliency of the U.S. economy is rooted in the manufacturing sector’s innate ability to transform adversity into opportunity. We develop new technologies. We streamline and improve processes. We build a better mousetrap. This issue is dedicated to the indomitable spirit of industrial innovation which, despite challenging economic conditions, is always in great supply.

If you’re looking for evidence of this truth, look no further than the 2007 Control Engineering Engineers’ Choice Awards supplement. This year’s Engineers’ Choice coverage highlights more than 150 products, spanning 21 categories and reflects the votes of more than 870 engineers who completed ballots. From components and connectors to enterprise connectivity applications, there were a host of new solutions designed to help industrial organizations become more efficient, more effective, and more secure.

The pharmaceutical sector also presents an interesting case study in transforming challenges into opportunities. Despite conducting business in an industry ruled by tight regulatory controls where production errors are literally life-and-death matters, pharmaceutical manufacturers continue to thrive. When faced with FDA mandates like 21 CFR Part 11, for example, progressive manufacturers responded by using the regulation as a catalyst for changing the way electronic batch records are reviewed and approved, yielding greater visibility and improved communication between the plant floor and the enterprise. (You can find more examples of innovations in this sector beginning after page 64 or online.)

Are today’s economic conditions a speedbump on the road to brighter days or a bona-fide downturn? Only time will tell. Regardless, relentless pursuit of innovation will always yield the greatest chance for success.

marc.moschetto@reedbusiness.com





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The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering subscribers.
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Engineers' Choice Awards
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering subscribers.
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The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
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Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
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Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
Human Factors and the Impact on Plant Safety
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Ladder logic best practices and object-oriented programming, safety instrumented systems, enclosure design issues and challenges, process control advice
June 2018
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Edge Computing
This article collection contains several articles on how today's technologies heap benefits onto an edge-computing architecture such as faster computing, better networking, more memory, smarter analytics, cloud-based intelligence, and lower costs.
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Data centers, data closets, edge and cloud computing, co-location facilities, and similar topics are among the fastest-changing in the industry.
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Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, progressive cavity pumps
April 2018
ROVs, rigs, and the real time; wellsite valve manifolds; AI on a chip; analytics use for pipelines
February 2018
Focus on power systems, process safety, electrical and power systems, edge computing in the oil & gas industry
John O. Ayuk, PE, CFSE, PMP, CAP
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
Doug Baker
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
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This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
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The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering subscribers.
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The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
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This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Wireless Reliability in Harsh Environments
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
Human Factors and the Impact on Plant Safety
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
July 2018
Ladder logic best practices and object-oriented programming, safety instrumented systems, enclosure design issues and challenges, process control advice
June 2018
Discrete and process sensor fundamentals, autotuning controls, system integrator roundtable
May 2018
Salary and Career Survey, IT and OT convergence, robotic standards and safety, secure circuit protection
Edge Computing
This article collection contains several articles on how today's technologies heap benefits onto an edge-computing architecture such as faster computing, better networking, more memory, smarter analytics, cloud-based intelligence, and lower costs.
Data Center Design
Data centers, data closets, edge and cloud computing, co-location facilities, and similar topics are among the fastest-changing in the industry.
PLCs
Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) represent the logic (decision) part of the control loop of sense, decide, and actuate. Featured articles in this digital report compare PLCs and programmable automation controllers (PACs), industrial PCs, and robotic controllers.
SIDB

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

June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, progressive cavity pumps
April 2018
ROVs, rigs, and the real time; wellsite valve manifolds; AI on a chip; analytics use for pipelines
February 2018
Focus on power systems, process safety, electrical and power systems, edge computing in the oil & gas industry
John O. Ayuk, PE, CFSE, PMP, CAP
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
Doug Baker
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
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