Even without a round number, 2007 can be a milestone year

At the end of the year, we spend a lot of time to take stock of what has been gained and lost in the preceding 12 months. In 2006, there has been much to tally up on both sides of that equation. Looking back is useful for historians – and in a way, magazine editors are historians. Looking back gives us perspective on where we've been, and a foundation to build for the future.


At the end of the year, we spend a lot of time to take stock of what has been gained and lost in the preceding 12 months. In 2006, there has been much to tally up on both sides of that equation.

Looking back is useful for historians %%MDASSML%% and in a way, magazine editors are historians. Looking back gives us perspective on where we've been, and a foundation to build for the future.

The truly optimistic among us %%MDASSML%% and magazine editors are also optimistic types %%MDASSML%% also like to look forward. Optimism gives us hope that however far we've come, however much progress we've made, there's always more wonders around the next corner.

When you look back, you gain perspective; when you look ahead, you gain hope. Plant Engineering will do both in 2007, as this magazine turns 60 years old.

For some reason, historians like round numbers. It may be because we have 10 fingers and 10 toes. Or maybe it's just because the math is easier. In any event, we treat decades of achievement %%MDASSML%% life, business, publishing %%MDASSML%% with a greater sense of awe. Having celebrated what I refer to as a 'round-numbered birthday' in 2006, I can also tell you it was treated with a certain sense of “Aw…” by my friends and relatives. As in, “Aw, he doesn't look SO bad…”

Plant Engineering looks great for 60 years old, and gets better each year. We will mark our 60th birthday with a series of stories and events that will put what has happened to the magazine, what has happened to this profession and what has happened to manufacturing into some kind of perspective. That's a useful exercise, because as we have already found in our research, so much has changed, and so very much has stayed the same.

I invite your participation in this celebration as well. One thing Plant Engineering has always been about is sharing ideas and suggestions on how to do the work a little better every day. Your thoughts on how this profession has changed and evolved over the years, and photographs of plants and people from the last 60 years will be part of that coverage in the coming 12 months. My e-mail box at BVavra@cfemedia.com is always open.

We also want to look ahead to the next 60 years. How will American manufacturing change? More important, how should it change? I welcome your thoughts on that as well. What challenges do we need to confront today so that when our grandchildren look back at this time, they will see that instead of the world changing us, we changed the world.

It's possible, you know. It was just 60 years ago that a group of intrepid people created Plant Engineering magazine. Look how far we've all come in such a short time. Even without a round number, 1947 was a milestone year in manufacturing.

As we turn the page toward 2007, we can resolve to make this another milestone year for manufacturing.

The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
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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.
A new approach to the Skills Gap; Community colleges may hold the key for manufacturing; 2017 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Doubling down on digital manufacturing; Data driving predictive maintenance; Electric motors and generators; Rewarding operational improvement
2017 Lubrication Guide; Software tools; Microgrids and energy strategies; Use robots effectively
The cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Power system design for high-performance buildings; mitigating arc flash hazards
Research team developing Tesla coil designs; Implementing wireless process sensing
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; Paralleling switchgear generator systems

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

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