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.

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.
Pipe fabrication and IIoT; 2017 Product of the Year finalists
The future of electrical safety; Four keys to RPM success; Picking the right weld fume option
A new approach to the Skills Gap; Community colleges may hold the key for manufacturing; 2017 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Control room technology innovation; Practical approaches to corrosion protection; Pipeline regulator revises quality programs
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
Power system design for high-performance buildings; mitigating arc flash hazards
VFDs improving motion control applications; Powering automation and IIoT wirelessly; Connecting the dots
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.
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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.
This digital report explains how plant engineers and subject matter experts (SME) need support for time series data and its many challenges.
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.
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