Welcome to another edition of Plant Engineering magazine’s Software Update . Once again, we are pleased to bring you a variety of material on software and software-related topics designed to help plant engineers both understand and perform their jobs better.
If there is one area of technology that has pervaded — some would say invaded — plant engineering and management today, it is information technology. Software… hardware… bits… bytes… zip… jazz. Not too many years ago these words were unfamiliar, even unknown, to many plant engineers. Today, they are as commonplace (well, almost) as pumps, valves, motors, and hoists, in the plant engineering environment. Computer software and hardware are integral to almost every plant system today, immersing plant engineers in computers and information technology in ways their predecessors never could have imagined.
In response to these trends, Plant Engineering magazine is launching a new department to provide its readers with expanded coverage of these critical topics. Information Engineering will debut in January 1999 and will feature a wide range of material, including information on new products and services, educational materials, suggestions and solutions, case studies, and regular contributions from Tom Singer of Tompkins Associates. Singer is a veteran project manager experienced in identifying and developing plant and facilities computer-based maintenance management solutions.
To this department, as well as to our other editorial efforts in these areas, we encourage your input. We need to know what kind of information you want, what you like, and what you don’t like. We’ll continue to respond to your requests and meet your needs as best as we can. Contact us in any of several ways: by phone at 847-635-8800; by fax at 847-390-2656, or by regular mail at Plant Engineering magazine, 1350 E. Touhy Ave., Des Plaines, IL 60018. If you prefer e-mail, our addresses are listed below.
— Richard L. Dunn, Editor
Jeanine Katzel, Software Editor
Among the hot buttons in the software world today are enterprise resource planning systems. Tom Singer will be looking at their impact on CMMSs in a column early next year. These systems have also been the focus of numerous articles and presentations (see PE, April 1998, p 43, File 9020). In the July/August 1998 issue of the Harvard Business Review, Thomas H. Davenport of the Boston University School of Management examines the advantages of and problems associated with enterprise systems.
He cites the efficiencies companies can achieve by replacing incompatible information systems with a single, integrated package. He also warns of the risks, including costs and implementation difficulties. Using examples of successful and unsuccessful projects, Davenport cautions against shifting responsibility for such a system to technologists. He says, “Only a general manager will be able to mediate between the imperatives of the system and the imperatives of the business.”
From Automation Research Corp. comes a new market analysis and forecast that reveal leading edge manufacturing companies implementing enterprise asset management (EAM) software solutions are driving the evolutionary process of elevating traditional CMMSs into corporate prominence. EAM/CMMS solutions are on the verge of breaking the billion dollar barrier in 1998, according to ARC. The study sets the 1997 market at $903 million and forecasts it will exceed a billion dollars in 1998 and approach $1.9 billion in 2002. For more information about the study, contact ARC at Three Allied Dr., Dedham, MA 02026; voice: 781-461-9100; fax: 781-461-9101; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; web site: www. arcweb.com.
On the web…
A new motor calculator web page from Square D provides real-time information for plant engineers who specify motor controls. The Java-based tool lets users enter desired motor horsepower and voltage, then immediately view properly sized conductors, short-circuit protection devices, and IEC-style motor controls. The site is www.squared.com/motodata/calcmotor.html.