Maintenance on America is scheduled for Nov. 4

I have railed in the past about the “break-fix” mentality in manufacturing maintenance. The same holds true for the current federal plan, such as it is, to address manufacturing's challenges in the modern world. Break-fix doesn't work in Washington any better than it does on your plant floor.

10/15/2008


I have railed in the past about the “break-fix” mentality in manufacturing maintenance. The same holds true for the current federal plan, such as it is, to address manufacturing's challenges in the modern world. Break-fix doesn't work in Washington any better than it does on your plant floor. If you need proof, check out how the world has changed in the last few months.

What makes it harder is that there isn't one solution to the problem. If you look at one side, they want closed borders and protectionist trade rules. The other side wants more tax incentives for businesses and unfettered free trade. They don't talk much about education, innovation, training and energy modernization as it pertains to manufacturing %%MDASSML%% those issues are way too complex. You'd have to have an actual comprehensive plan to address all those issues at once, one that cut through the rhetoric and the partisan polarization that has gripped our country for the last eight years.

The last eight years are over, finally, and both of the major party candidates have scrambled to wear the mantle of change through the last month of the campaign. Change, it seems, is what we all agree is needed.

The only way to change %%MDASSML%% the way to break out of the break-fix mentality in Washington %%MDASSML%% is to cast a vote on Nov. 4. Failure to participate in this election is like failing to lubricate your bearings %%MDASSML%% you can't blame anyone but yourself when things go wrong. This is your four-year preventive maintenance check-up on the policies and programs that will shape our profession and the world our profession works in for the next four years. Not voting is a run-to-failure strategy, and that doesn't work.

If your vote is cast based on a candidate's race or gender or the number of houses they have or the number of times they've been accused of plagiarism (I think that covers everyone), that's like putting the wrong oil on those bearings. Now more than ever, this must be a reasoned, thoughtful vote.

To that end, we've pulled the candidates' positions on manufacturing issues from their Websites and put them in our Forum section this month for your review. Even that should only be the starting point. This is a time for citizens to look past superficial matters to focus on the essence of a candidate's position on key issues.

We get this chance once every four years, and we at least seem to be getting a little better at this idea of voting %%MDASSML%% but just a little. In 2004, more than 60% of registered Americans voted in the presidential election. That was the highest percentage since 1968, but it still means 40% of our residents sat out the 2004 election.

With less than a month to go before Nov. 4, there's still time to listen and think and talk and discuss and debate and decide. Maintaining democracy, like maintaining your plant, isn't easy. The best in our profession know it's the only way to ensure you get what you want out of your machine.

On Nov. 4, it's time to perform a little scheduled maintenance on America.





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.
February 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.
Jan/Feb 2018
Welding ergonomics, 2017 Salary Survey, and surge protection
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
April 2018
Implementing a DCS, stepper motors, intelligent motion control, remote monitoring of irrigation systems
February 2018
Setting internal automation standards
December 2017
PID controllers, Solar-powered SCADA, Using 80 GHz radar sensors

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

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