Innovation is an exciting concept. It conjures up visions of action, of progress, of achievement. Innovation in its purest form creates something new we never had imagined was possible.
As we present the Plant Engineering 2015 Product of the Year Finalists, we celebrate innovation at the product level. The 15 categories of new products we submit for your review and consideration celebrate innovation available to all corners of our manufacturing plants. They are created from all corners of the world. They all perform different functions, but they all derive from a common core: to make our manufacturing operations smarter, safer and more productive.
This year’s 111 new products present an opportunity for manufacturers to imagine their own innovative process. How does your plant get better? Continuous improvement is a great buzzword, but it remains just a platitude unless manufacturing leaders embrace the true meaning of continuous improvement and bring it to the floor and to the workers.
Combining innovative products with engaged and skilled workers always has moved manufacturing forward. The product designers and product managers who deliver this year’s roster of innovation are at the end of a long journey that began by listening to plant personnel, and by turning those ideas into products to improve the way we work.
Innovation is not easy. It is not just a ‘Eureka!’ moment, but also a process of trial and error, of failure and challenge, and then of success. To create new products for manufacturing is itself a manufacturing process, and so this year’s Finalists have a unique understanding of the challenges their ultimate customers face each day.
Plant Engineering offers these 2015 Product of the Year Finalists for your consideration, and your votes, as we have done for the past 27 years. We do this for two reasons: to highlight manufacturing’s best new ideas and to provide recognition for those people who worked long and hard to turn these ideas into solutions.
As always, we ask our readers to vote for the best of these new products (voting will conclude on Jan. 8, 2016). We also suggest that this is the time to evaluate innovation within your own plants, and to imagine the possibilities.
The 2015 Product of the Year award winners will be invited to CFE Media’s annual Engineering Awards in Manufacturing dinner in Chicago on March 21, 2016. Attendees of this event will meet the Product of the Year winners, the Control Engineering 2016 Engineers’ Choice Awards winners, the Plant Engineering 2015 Top Plant recipient, and the CFE Media 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40.