Spanning the globe, and finding our common ground

The completion of the Games of the XXIX Olympiad proved once again that the people of the world can come together peacefully in pursuit of a common goal. In the Olympics, it's sport. It's not always perfect, but sport doesn't demand perfection; only the effort toward perfection. In that effort, we find the best of who we are.


The completion of the Games of the XXIX Olympiad proved once again that the people of the world can come together peacefully in pursuit of a common goal. In the Olympics, it's sport. It's not always perfect, but sport doesn't demand perfection; only the effort toward perfection. In that effort, we find the best of who we are.

However we are ultimately measured against others is of secondary importance if we have achieved that first standard. We don't give our medals for effort, but the Olympics are more than just medals. We celebrate those special athletes from more than 200 nations who come together to make the effort at excellence.

Manufacturing, as I've noted before, isn't a game, yet we still keep score a lot. The scoreboards and dashboards that permeate our plants these days look an awful lot like the agate section of your daily newspaper. We measure ourselves, and make adjustments, and strive to do better.

And it's not just happening in the U.S. There is a global effort to make things better and faster and safer and smarter. The equipment to make these efforts possible is available around the world as well. A pump is a pump. A sensor is a sensor. A CNC machine will operate no matter if it's installed in Boston or Bangalore or Bahrain. The skill to operate the machine and to see its possibilities is what separates the great manufacturers from those who finish behind.

As it was in the Olympics, Plant Engineering is reaching out with a global effort to understand the common issues and celebrate the unique challenges. In partnership with Hannover Messe, the global edition of Plant Engineering will debut as an e-book in November, and it's easily the most exciting project I've been involved with in 35 years in publishing. We will connect our great manufacturing leaders around the globe in a common effort to understand how to make everything we make a little better. In that common understanding, we improve global economies, improve global workers' standards of living and make the world a better place.

That's the ideal, at least. We cannot overlook the challenges and the failures we face each day. Our leaders, our criminals and our imperfect world conspire to keep us from that ideal. But we still must strive for it.

In that effort, there is greatness, and even more greatness in succeeding. Slowly, and against loud and misguided opposition from those who don't understand the world we now live in, we find ourselves globally connected in every possible way. Some days, we can reach across the miles on the Internet. Some days, when we come together with a common purpose such as the Olympics, the world is literally at our fingertips.

In the world of manufacturing, Plant Engineering will deliver both. The world of the Internet is at our fingertips, and through that, the manufacturing leaders of the world can come together to share ideals and reach for ideals.

And we won't have to wait four years to do it.

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

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