ROI&1 year; gravy after that

Pick one: A or B. A. "Those people in our control engineering department are geniuses. They recommended and installed new sensors, networks, logic, actuators, and other hardware and software for monitoring and controlling our processes. I even can see on a browser the resulting economic benefits, not in engineering terms, but quantified in ways that mean something for our businesses.


Pick one: A or B

A.'Those people in our control engineering department are geniuses . They recommended and installed new sensors, networks, logic, actuators, and other hardware and software for monitoring and controlling our processes. I even can see on a browser the resulting economic benefits, not in engineering terms, but quantified in ways that mean something for our businesses. We need to fund more of their ideas—this is like printing money.'

B. 'I just saw preliminary first-quarter results... and we didn't make our numbers... again . Where are we going to cut this time to make up the difference? How about engineering? All those people do is ask for money. Who knows where it goes! Maybe with fewer people and a smaller budget, they'll be forced to work smarter. If we don't improve the bottom line more quickly, our parent company's going to shutter this place. That message needs to get through.'

So is A or B closer to what your top management is saying? What are you doing to stay educated, apply your knowledge, and enable real-time communications about the value you provide to the organization, as described in A? And of course you know that even if you do everything in A, but don't effectively communicate the message, scenario B may be what's said and done.

Engineers are often so busy they may not consider their worth. With more real-time information capabilities, the value created in manufacturing can automatically feed other areas of the corporation, including upper management. Do the math and let everyone know that the next project can deliver return on investment in less than a year, and that it's all gravy after that.

Recently I saw two positive examples of nearly identical implementations at different automobile manufacturers. Both were great applications and advances in technologies; one leaps a generation over the other.

One automaker was very pleased about installation of modular, electronic-based pneumatics, which significantly reduces complexity and increases speed of an ergonomic lift device. The hard-fought upgrade was deemed a major success. The other automaker took an even greater leap, having the floor-space and political capital to install robotics to perform nearly the same function—higher initial cost, but with greater safety, throughput, and savings over the technology lifecycle.

Get smarter about applying automation technologies and touting benefits. It's like printing money.

Mark T. Hoske, Editor-in-Chief

The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
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.
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
Prescriptive maintenance; Hannover Messe 2017 recap; Reduce welding errors
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
Research team developing Tesla coil designs; Implementing wireless process sensing
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; Paralleling switchgear generator systems
Natural gas engines; New applications for fuel cells; Large engines become more efficient; Extending boiler life

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

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
Featured articles highlight technologies that enable the Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies to get data more easily to the user.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me