The way forward
After a year of political and social upheaval, the prevailing question as we sit on the cusp of 2017 is, "What’s next?" For manufacturing, that question will be answered in changes to both the way countries invest and interact, as well as seeing how new strategies that emerged in 2016 will expand and grow in the new year. Plant Engineering asked the members of its Editorial Advisory Board to offer their views on a variety of topics-from Brexit to standards, and from IIoT to global manufacturing.
Here are their thoughts on how manufacturing will be impacted in the coming year:
Larry Turner, CEO and president of Hannover Fairs USA
Plant Engineering: As part of a global company, what do you see as the key issues facing manufacturing as we head into 2017? How will those issues impact U.S. manufacturers?
Larry Turner: The workforce gap continues to be one of the largest issues facing manufacturers not only in the United States but also in Europe. On the bright side, in the U.S. rapid advances in robotics continue to take over more mundane tasks such as assembly, grinding and deburring. By taking advantage of these robotics advancements to manage mundane tasks, manufacturers gain the benefit of motivating employees with more interesting responsibilities with the hope of attracting new employees with more varied and value-added jobs.
Manufacturers around the world continue to actively consider what needs to happen to stay globally competitive. In the U.S., manufacturers are questioning how to properly digitize their facilities in the next year to ensure stronger networks and infrastructure security. As they look to implement IIoT solutions, we are offering them via our global portfolio of industrial technology events the best platform to source the latest solutions. We understand that our U.S. manufacturing clients are deciding where to apply analytics on the factory floor to capture and evaluate data. Our global events, such as next April’s Hannover Messe, make sure that they have immediate access to the best integrated technologies to improve their operations in the most efficient manner without causing problems in the future. Finally, the challenge to adopt cutting-edge technologies and solutions on the factory floor is not so daunting anymore. We see a continued upswing in advanced manufacturing in the U.S. because solutions providers are more quickly moving from prototyping to production.
Dave Reiber, CRL/CMRP
Senior Reliability Leader at Reliabilityweb
Plant Engineering: We’ve seen a greater emphasis on the value of maintenance as part of the discussions around the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Do manufacturing leaders finally understand the idea of "Maintenance as a Profit Center"? How will IIoT impact maintenance in the coming year?
Dave Reiber: I am so glad to answer this question. I have been involved with spreading the news about the Industrial Internet of Things for about six years now, and it seems like just recently, manufacturing is coming to the table.
This is not a new strategy. We know strategic data gathering and analytics has been going on in health systems, banking systems, warranty systems and other industries for several years, but the expensive assets that keep our manufacturing backbone alive have been largely overlooked. We would see good predictive maintenance programs, good asset condition monitoring programs in places but not all-encompassing system data gathering.
I see that changing very quickly. We are seeing a run toward getting all the data, aggregating it live, trending, patterning, and developing formulas for throughput, safety, and quality. There are new startups, every day, looking to get in on this movement. When your competition does something that will surely give them an advantage, it doesn’t take long for everyone to get onboard. I think that 2017 will see a huge step toward Maintenance as a Profit Center.
Senior research manager, IHS Markit Technology
Plant Engineering: After Brexit and the U.S. election, what’s the mood in Europe right now, and how will this affect global manufacturing in the coming year?
Mark Watson: Suppliers are commenting that 2016 has been a difficult year; sales have been down by between 6% and 10%. The 2017 outlook is for flat sales. If there is any growth, it will be limited.
The overall sentiment is that we’re at the bottom (or very close to it); the only way for the market to go is up, but we’re unlikely to see much evidence until 2018 at the earliest.
With the U.S. election, it’s a "wait and see" attitude. It’s a bit too soon to know what the impact will be and if the Trump Administration will go through with rhetoric [that] Brexit will have no real impact on the EU market next year; the U.K is not seen as important enough to make a big difference to overall regional performance. There are potentially some negative tax implications for U.K. manufacturers.
If the U.S. and Brexit decisions are impacting at all right now, it’s with smaller companies. Larger players look confident enough to continue with planned investments; smaller companies seem more nervous about the implications of the changes in the U.K., and U.S. investments may be postponed.
Lanny Floyd, PE, CSP, CESCP, CMRP, CRL, Life Fellow IEEE
Principal consultant, Electrical Safety Group Inc.
Plant Engineering: Electrical safety continues to be a hot topic in manufacturing. What are the standards groups (IEEE and NEC, in particular) looking to discuss in 2017? What should manufacturers be focused on?
Lanny Floyd: Recent research comparing occupational fatality rates in the U.S. and the United Kingdom shows the fatality rate from electrical energy in the U.K. is approximately 1/3 that of the U.S. One of the major factors impacting this difference is regulatory policy on risk assessment and risk mitigation during design of electrical products, equipment, tools and facilities.
For more than 30 years, regulations, codes and standards in the U.K. have helped instill a safety culture based on risk assessment. During this same period, regulations, codes and standards in the U.S have been more focused on safe work practices and use of personal protective equipment.
In recent years safety management standards and electrical safety standards in the U.S. have been evolving to incorporate or expand application of risk assessment methodology. This includes the following standards:
- ANSI Standard Z10 – 2005, Standard for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems, first published in 2005 and revised in 2012
- ANSI Standard Z590.3 – 2011, Standard for Prevention through Design Guidelines for Addressing Occupational Hazards and Risks in Design and Redesign Processes
- NFPA 70E-2012, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace expanded guidance to facilitate risk assessment in selecting safe work practices and PPE. The 2015 and 2018 editions continued to expand this guidance.
- IEEE 1683-2014, IEEE Guide for Motor Control Centers Rated up to and including 600 V AC or 1000 V DC with Recommendations Intended to Help Reduce Electrical Hazards
- IEEE P1814 (under development), Recommended Practice for Electrical System Design Techniques to Improve Electrical Safety.
These and other standards are bringing awareness and action to enable standards developers, manufacturers, designers and end users to adopt more robust and comprehensive application of risk assessment methodologies to further reduce risk of electrical injuries and fatalities.
Shon Isenhour, CMRP CAMA
Partner, Eduditio LLC
Plant Engineering: We’ve seen a shift from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance and now to prescriptive maintenance. Talk about how you see reliability and maintenance strategies evolving. And what’s the next step?
Shon Isenhour: The shift from traditional preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance has been ongoing with more success in some industries than others. I am sure this will continue, but the prospects of prescriptive maintenance really excite me. It is the next step.
For the companies that are embracing the concept, it is leading to a step change in up time performance. It is a world of not just data collection and trending but algorithms and correlations. We are finally seeing the marrying of all different types of data from multiple sources, and it is giving us an unprecedented look into the health of not just our assets but also our manufacturing systems.
This is going to allow a whole new level of root-cause analysis of abnormalities well before they become failures. It will move us well up the P-F curve into a realm of truly proactive maintenance. The critical piece will be retaining the right kind of talent that understands both the algorithm creation and the relationships that they represent to the maintenance world. This is not a skill that is common in maintenance today but will be critical for competitiveness in the near future.