After Hannover, the quest for improvement must continue


Bob Vavra, content manager, CFE Media.The idea of continuous improvement is that your current state of operations should be better than it was yesterday and not quite as good as it could be tomorrow. It requires not settling for steady state; it is about trying to continue to evolve and find improvement.

The attendance at Hannover Messe 2016 from American-based companies, state, and regional economic development groups grew exponentially in 2016. Most of that growth revolved around the Partner Country status of the United States. The influence of the Partner Country opportunity delivered not only the highest-ever U.S. attendance at the world's largest industrial trade show, it also was the largest contingent from any Partner Country in the show's history.

These are all great achievements, and our partners at the U.S. Department of Commerce, which helped organize the wildly successful "Select USA" theme of the show should take today and celebrate. The companies , and the political and business leaders who came away impressed and even awed by the opportunities at Hannover Messe, have declared the experience a valuable week of time and money spent.

Which brings up the crucial next question: what happens next?

It's not just about Hannover Messe in 2017, although this year's event should crystallize for American manufacturing what we have touted for years-that this show is a vital resource for manufacturers. The important change that must continue to take place is to view manufacturing in the lens of global competition. American manufacturers must compete globally, even if they do not globally export their products. If an imported product can provide equal quality at a lower price, consumers will purchase it. That's how the economy works.

The emphasis around Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)—what the Germans call Industrie 4.0—was in every corner of the 30-plus halls at Hannover Messe this year. It was at the forefront of every panel presentation and every business discussion. There is a genuine excitement about IIoT, and a genuine apprehension. There needs to be a discussion on how to move forward.

It requires all of us to get out from behind our desks and get more information. It requires us to ask questions and find ways to get those questions answered. It requires us to examine our operations fully to understand where we are, and to anticipate where we could go. It is in that possibility for real fundamental change in manufacturing where the promise of IIoT lives each day.

Change is scary, and it may be expensive, but I am convinced the cost of not changing will be far greater. The difference between those manufacturers who find a way to adopt IIoT strategies and those who do not will determine which companies will be around in the future.

The journey at Hannover Messe takes about 15,000 steps a day to continue to learn about the companies and technologies available to bring IIoT to manufacturing. There is no shortage of information out there on this topic. There is no shortage of ideas.

Before you can take those 15,000 steps in Germany, you have to take the first step wherever you are. The first step is embracing the future, and continuing every day to prepare for the day to follow.

The next step will be to join CFE Media at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago on Sept. 12-16, where the U.S. will showcase its solutions for IIoT. We will be part of the Industrial Automation North America pavilion at IMTS, along with our partners at Hannover Fairs USA, and we will present the third Global Automation and Manufacturing Summit on Sept. 14 starting at noon.

Between now and then, it is worth a little time every day to get ready for change. Adopt the attitude of continuous improvement in the ways you learn and begin to implement IIoT in your plants. The U.S. gained enormous momentum from this year's Hannover Messe. To let it end when the last American visitors leaves the fairgrounds will be to have lost the opportunity for continuous improvement.

Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2017 Top Plant.
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.
May 2018
Electrical standards, robots and Lean manufacturing, and how an aluminum packaging plant is helping community growth.
April 2018
2017 Product of the Year winners, retrofitting a press, IMTS and Hannover Messe preview, natural refrigerants, testing steam traps
March 2018
SCCR, 2018 Maintenance study, and VFDs in a washdown environment.
April 2018
ROVs, rigs, and the real time; wellsite valve manifolds; AI on a chip; analytics use for pipelines
February 2018
Focus on power systems, process safety, electrical and power systems, edge computing in the oil & gas industry
December 2017
Product of the Year winners, Pattern recognition, Engineering analytics, Revitalize older pump installations
Spring 2018
Burners for heat-treating furnaces, CHP, dryers, gas humidification, and more
April 2018
Implementing a DCS, stepper motors, intelligent motion control, remote monitoring of irrigation systems
February 2018
Setting internal automation standards

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

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.
Maintenance & Safety
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
Industrial Analytics
This digital report explains how plant engineers and subject matter experts (SME) need support for time series data and its many challenges.
IIoT: Operations & IT
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
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.
click me