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. 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
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    The Maintenance and Reliability Professionals Blog
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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.
    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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