A trite-and-true method

At the risk of being trite (which in itself is a trite phrase) there are no losers in the annual PLANT ENGINEERING Product of the Year voting that begins this month. There are only great ideas waiting to be discovered. Sure, everyone likes to get the trophy, and those companies who have earned Product of the Year status in past years value their prize.


At the risk of being trite (which in itself is a trite phrase) there are no losers in the annual PLANT ENGINEERING Product of the Year voting that begins this month. There are only great ideas waiting to be discovered. Sure, everyone likes to get the trophy, and those companies who have earned Product of the Year status in past years value their prize. The real prize, though, is the increased productivity that will come from effectively using these new products. The 16 category winners are recognized by manufacturers everywhere as having come up with something pretty great.

We're happy to showcase these great ideas every November. We hope you take a close look at the 150 nominees this month and select those new products worthy of this award. More than that, though, we hope you USE these products.

This is not a beauty contest. This is a chance to analyze your productivity against the newest ideas in the marketplace that can improve that productivity. This is a chance to find solutions to the problems that have plagued your plant floor. This is a chance to find that tool that helps you manage your information, improve your maintenance and increase your safety. At a time when information management, maintenance and safety are three of the most crucial issues on the plant floor, this issue of PLANT ENGINEERING is a great research tool to help you improve in all these areas.

What the Product of the Year process reminds us is that innovation isn't just about a solution created out of inspiration alone. What this year's finalists demonstrate is that innovation is about understanding your customer and solving his problem. While some organizations cut back on research and development, the true leaders in our industry are out there building the next great idea.

The best research, of course, is that close-to-the-ground relationship with customers. Manufacturing innovation is the daily effort to see how customers can improve their bottom line. Earning Product of the Year status is an affirmation of a victory already won - a satisfied customer.

The suppliers who have passed muster with our distinguished panel of judges and made the cut to the final 150 are all looking to win the award. None created these innovations to win the award, though. They listened to you, their customers, and went about solving a problem or improving on an existing technology. The results are here for you to explore this month.

Vote. We value your feedback. The real value in this year's Product of the Year voting is to look at all 150 great ideas and find out how to incorporate them on your plant floor.

That will make everyone a winner. That may also be trite, but it's true.

Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America.
Product of the Year
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
System Integrator of the Year
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.
September 2018
2018 Engineering Leaders under 40, Women in Engineering, Six ways to reduce waste in manufacturing, and Four robot implementation challenges.
GAMS preview, 2018 Mid-Year Report, EAM and Safety
June 2018
2018 Lubrication Guide, Motor and maintenance management, Control system migration
August 2018
SCADA standardization, capital expenditures, data-driven drilling and execution
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, programming cavity pumps
April 2018
ROVs, rigs, and the real time; wellsite valve manifolds; AI on a chip; analytics use for pipelines
Spring 2018
Burners for heat-treating furnaces, CHP, dryers, gas humidification, and more
August 2018
Choosing an automation controller, Lean manufacturing
September 2018
Effective process analytics; Four reasons why LTE networks are not IIoT ready

Annual Salary Survey

After two years of economic concerns, manufacturing leaders once again have homed in on the single biggest issue facing their operations:

It's the workers—or more specifically, the lack of workers.

The 2017 Plant Engineering Salary Survey looks at not just what plant managers make, but what they think. As they look across their plants today, plant managers say they don’t have the operational depth to take on the new technologies and new challenges of global manufacturing.

Read more: 2017 Salary Survey

The Maintenance and Reliability Coach's blog
Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
One Voice for Manufacturing
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 Maintenance and Reliability Professionals Blog
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Machine Safety
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
Research Analyst Blog
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Marshall on Maintenance
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
Lachance on CMMS
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Material Handling
This digital report explains how everything from conveyors and robots to automatic picking systems and digital orders have evolved to keep pace with the speed of change in the supply chain.
Electrical Safety Update
This digital report explains how plant engineers need to take greater care when it comes to electrical safety incidents on the plant floor.
IIoT: Machines, Equipment, & Asset Management
Articles in this digital report highlight technologies that enable Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies.
Randy Steele
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Matthew J. Woo, PE, RCDD, LEED AP BD+C
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Randy Oliver
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
Design of Safe and Reliable Hydraulic Systems for Subsea Applications
This eGuide explains how the operation of hydraulic systems for subsea applications requires the user to consider additional aspects because of the unique conditions that apply to the setting
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