As manufacturing changes ingenuity, skill are constant

My first trip to Europe three years ago included a visit to Florence. There have been few experiences in my life as awe-inspiring as seeing this great, historic city, largely unchanged in 600 years. I was privileged to walk the streets, stand in the city’s great piazza and view the renovated statue of Michaelangelo’s David.


My first trip to Europe three years ago included a visit to Florence. There have been few experiences in my life as awe-inspiring as seeing this great, historic city, largely unchanged in 600 years. I was privileged to walk the streets, stand in the city’s great piazza and view the renovated statue of Michaelangelo’s David.

One of the great sights was the marble cathedral, stretching to the sky. The steps have been worn away by the shoes of millions of travelers and residents over the years. It occurred to me that this cathedral was built without the benefit of cranes or earth-moving equipment, let alone CAD drawings. It stands, 600 years later, as a monument to ingenuity and skill.

In our obsession with the newest and latest today, we sometimes take for granted even as things change, all we’ve done is updated someone else’s great idea. There was portable music before iPods, there was television before HDTV and there were magazines before the Internet.

Having been at the helm for exactly 5% of PLANT ENGINEERING ’s storied 60-year history, I know I’m not the best person to talk about the history of this particular magazine. I have seen the evolution of how we communicate with each other of 35 years in this business, and I’m sure we communicate faster with each other today. I’m not always sure we do it better.

Emails have replaced a phone call. You can create a virtual network of people without ever leaving your computer screen. You can touch the whole world in the tap of a key %%MDASSML%% and the world can reach out to you. The world is small and flat and incredibly complex all at once.

If you look back at PLANT ENGINEERING ’s history, you see a printed page and pictures and advertising and you realize it was done without the high-tech computer system and digital imaging and lightning-fast printing. There was no Internet to post stories to. They were posted to a bulletin board.

How did they do it? The same way all great achievements in history have been accomplished. It is not the tools they worked with that brought this magazine to life, and helped it grow and prosper and succeed. It was the ingenuity and skill of the people involved.

Today PLANT ENGINEERING is so much more than just a printed monthly magazine. We reach out with Webcasts and Internet polls and blogs. We find new ways to connect to all of our audience, all over the world. From a simple magazine born 60 years ago this month, we have become this network of manufacturers and suppliers and leaders who make the things that make the world better.

There will be new challenges in manufacturing in the coming years. Technology alone will not make things better, or make better things. To do that, we rely on the ingenuity and skill of manufacturers.

Above all, that’s what we honor in this anniversary issue.

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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