Economics and the environment

The terms “environmentally responsible” and “financially rewarding” have not typically been associated. However, in today’s economic climate, operating your business in an environmentally responsible way is no longer an option, it’s a necessity. At the time this article was written, oil prices had blown through $107 per barrel, the cascading effect of which ...


The terms “environmentally responsible” and “financially rewarding” have not typically been associated. However, in today’s economic climate, operating your business in an environmentally responsible way is no longer an option, it’s a necessity.

At the time this article was written, oil prices had blown through $107 per barrel, the cascading effect of which will drive-up transportation, raw-material and energy costs for manufacturer and consumer alike. Furthermore, retail sales are down sharply, it seems we haven’t yet seen the bottom of the housing market decline, and the dollar has taken a beating. This all adds-up to a perfect storm of sorts. With profit margins already running at razor-thin levels and many organizations running as lean as possible, manufacturers have no choice but to seek ways to reduce consumption and operate more efficiency.

Another compelling reason for “going green” rests squarely on the shoulders of the demographic most directly responsible for the success or failure of your business: your customers. Whether your end user base is comprised of consumers, other businesses or a combination of the two, the ability to associate your brand with positive environmental practices can offer a much needed competitive advantage.

Many companies are already combining advanced automation technologies, strategic planning and good old-fashioned common sense to operate in a way that is cleaner and more profitable than ever before. Jeanine Katzel explores the nuances of the greening of global manufacturing, with a particular focus on the financial aspects, in an outstanding feature beginning on page 48. Be sure to check it out.

And now for something completely different…

It wasn’t so long ago that I first introduced myself and characterized my role with Control Engineering as a “dream job.” That sentiment hasn’t changed, but life has a funny way of throwing curveballs. Due to some unforeseen events (including a truly ugly real estate market), I will not be able to relocate from the Boston area and this is my final issue as part of the team. However, you’ll see a familiar face on this page next month as David Greenfield will once again assume the editorial director role. He’s a great friend and wonderful journalist, and I’ll look forward to reading his work and keeping up with the latest tech trends as a loyal subscriber. Thank you for your support, kind e-mails and active participation. It has been a pleasure.

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.
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 Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
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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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