Manufacturing needs our support

I'd be willing to bet that as a youngster you spent many happy hours building things. Whether it was an Erector set, Legos, plastic models, or sand castles, you probably — like me — took great pride and satisfaction in the things you made. I'm equally sure that you didn't know at the time you were developing some of the interests and skills that would lead you to a career in manufa...


I'd be willing to bet that as a youngster you spent many happy hours building things. Whether it was an Erector set, Legos, plastic models, or sand castles, you probably — like me — took great pride and satisfaction in the things you made.

I'm equally sure that you didn't know at the time you were developing some of the interests and skills that would lead you to a career in manufacturing. The urge to build, to assemble, to produce some kind of product is a lifelong addiction for millions of us.

Thanks to people like you the U.S. is the world's leading producer of manufactured goods. Standing alone, the U.S. manufacturing sector would represent the fifth-largest economy in the world. The sector continues to account for 14% of U.S. GDP and 11% of total U.S. employment.

But those figures are trending down, and complete recovery to higher levels is anything but certain. We are now watching the manufacturing sector of our economy wane in the face of tremendous pressures both domestically and globally. We must not allow this trend to continue.

On January 16, 2004, the U.S. Dept. of Commerce released a landmark report: Manufacturing in America: A Comprehensive Strategy to Address the Challenges to U.S. Manufacturers (read it at ). The report identifies six key areas that manufacturers say require immediate attention:

  • Enhancing government's focus on manufacturing competitiveness

  • Creating conditions for economic growth and manufacturing effectiveness

  • Lowering the cost of manufacturing in the U.S.

  • Investing in innovation

  • Strengthening education, retraining, and economic diversification

  • Promoting open markets and a level playing field.

    • The report also offers a number of specific actions to address these issues. Among the more publicized are the creation of an Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Manufacturing and Services and the creation of a new U.S. Office of Industry Analysis.

      All of this creates a unique opportunity for us to influence activities and policies that can make a difference in our professional lives. May I suggest, therefore, some ways you can make a difference.

      • Keep yourself and your employees informed on these important matters

      • Communicate your views to your elected officials

      • Encourage the manufacturing-oriented associations to which you belong to become active participants.

    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.
    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
    June 2018
    2018 Lubrication Guide, Motor and maintenance management, Control system migration
    August 2018
    SCADA standardization, capital expenditures, data-driven drilling and execution
    June 2018
    Machine learning, produced water benefits, programming cavity pumps
    April 2018
    ROVs, rigs, and the real time; wellsite valve manifolds; AI on a chip; analytics use for pipelines
    Spring 2018
    Burners for heat-treating furnaces, CHP, dryers, gas humidification, and more
    August 2018
    Choosing an automation controller, Lean manufacturing
    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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