Making the connection

We live in a plug-and-play world. That world has moved to the plant floor, where it's plug-and-work. This month's cover story begins a three-month journey through the world of Ethernet — its history, its uses, its potential to connect the plant floor in new ways, as well as its challenges. It is appropriate — and not at all accidental — that the topic of Ethernet is the cover ...


We live in a plug-and-play world. That world has moved to the plant floor, where it's plug-and-work. This month's cover story begins a three-month journey through the world of Ethernet — its history, its uses, its potential to connect the plant floor in new ways, as well as its challenges. It is appropriate — and not at all accidental — that the topic of Ethernet is the cover piece for the newly designed PLANT ENGINEERING .

As with so many manufacturing facilities, we are expanding and growing, changing and evolving, but our fundamental footprint remains the same. We have re-engineered from the inside out.

To do that, we've listened to a lot of readers over the past months telling us what's important to their work today, and what will be important in the future. To meet those needs, we've expanded our coverage of automation and maintenance to include a dedicated feature section and regular columns on both topics each month.

Our three new columns — Automation Connection, Maintenance Connection and Electrical Connection — all have two things in common. First, they aggregate the best minds in our industry to talk about the trends in these important areas. Second, they all include the word 'Connection'. That isn't a coincidence, either.

The new manufacturing world we work in requires connection to survive and grow. Our effort is to connect workers with the knowledge they need to be productive, connecting thought leaders with our readers in print and on the Web, and connecting the world to bring about a true global revolution in manufacturing — a revolution in which American workers will lead the way.

PLANT ENGINEERING has been that connection for almost 60 years. We are building off of that strong foundation. In an exciting and challenging time in manufacturing, we are part of the revolution as well.

This issue is just the first step in that effort. I invite your comments on how we can be more relevant to your future. This is, after all, your magazine. We welcome the opportunity to make that connection with our readers, every day in every way.

I spent a night last September standing on Canal Street in downtown New Orleans, waiting for a hurricane that never arrived. A year later, I see what might have been, and I'm grateful to have avoided that kind of trauma.

Our friends and colleagues in the Gulf Coast have been devastated by Hurricane Katrina, and the recovery will be slow and painful. We can do what we can to speed that recovery, and there are several channels available to help. The American Red Cross and the Salvation Army welcome donations at this time for hurricane relief, and the National Association of Manufacturers is working with the Department of Homeland Security to send non-perishables to the stricken region.

Helping out can mean more than food and clothing. If you know of manufacturers in the Gulf Coast region, give them a call to see how to help them get back on line and back to work. Being able to return to manufacturing as quickly as is possible will provide income and hope for those devastated by this catastrophe.

At a time of disaster, hope is hard to manufacture. Working together, though, we can do it.

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.
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