Energizing an industry

The economic theory of supply and demand developed by Alfred Marshall suggests that prices increase in response to tight supplies and increasing demand. Marshall died in 1924, so he missed two of the better examples of his theory at work — Prohibition, and today's energy supply crisis. It is the latter event that drives many managers to the point where they are at least grateful the forme...


The economic theory of supply and demand developed by Alfred Marshall suggests that prices increase in response to tight supplies and increasing demand. Marshall died in 1924, so he missed two of the better examples of his theory at work — Prohibition, and today's energy supply crisis. It is the latter event that drives many managers to the point where they are at least grateful the former was repealed.

One expert we interviewed for our May cover story on energy efficiency contends we are "in a new energy world." We tended to view energy consumption as a domestic issue, but we no longer have that luxury. The world wants what we want, and with the same intensity we want it. Demand is growing, and supply hasn't kept up.

So if lower demand isn't going to happen, what's left as we seek to grow business? Making better use of our supply.

Energy powers every machine and lights every room in our manufacturing facilities. It keeps us cool, or warm. It keeps us productive. Energy consumption will also power profitability this summer, and for the summers and winters to come. It must be viewed as a manageable cost center that can influence whether a company survives or fails.

It is time to get serious about energy efficiency. PLANT ENGINEERING is leading that effort this month with a comprehensive look at how some of our best companies — large and small — have tackled the issue aggressively. They have made energy efficiency a core value, and have allowed their people to champion its proliferation throughout their organizations.

Beyond just writing about energy efficiency, however, we're taking one more unprecedented step this month. We're putting the tools of energy efficiency and the knowledge of successful companies in your hands.

This month, every PLANT ENGINEERING subscriber with an email address will receive links to two new reports on energy efficiency: The National Association of Manufacturers' Energy Efficiency, Water, and Waste-Reduction Guidebook for Manufacturers and Energy Management Pathfinding, published by the Alliance to Save Energy. These links will be distributed through PlantMail! our electronic newsletter.

More than telling us what the problem is, these books offer excellent, on-the-ground ways to improve energy efficiency, with some of America's best companies as examples. We believe these guidebooks are outstanding resources to address this problem. We appreciate the support of both agencies for this email effort — perhaps the largest of its kind ever undertaken in this industry.

The guidebooks and the case studies offer solutions, but plant leaders must take them to heart, and to their boardroom. You power machines, but you empower people. That energy source, I am happy to report, is in ample supply. The demand for a nation of empowered people, however, has never been higher.

Alfred Marshall's theory of supply and demand covers goods and services, not the movement of human capital. In the summer of 2005, the demand for energy will tax our human and business capital like never before. How we meet this challenge will shape our present, and our future.

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.
October 2018
Tools vs. sensors, functional safety, compressor rental, an operational network of maintenance and safety
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
October 2018
2018 Product of the Year; Subsurface data methodologies; Digital twins; Well lifecycle data
August 2018
SCADA standardization, capital expenditures, data-driven drilling and execution
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, programming cavity pumps
Spring 2018
Burners for heat-treating furnaces, CHP, dryers, gas humidification, and more
October 2018
Complex upgrades for system integrators; Process control safety and compliance
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
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Machine Safety
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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
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Safety First: Arc Flash 101
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Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
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