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.
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
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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