By Joe Feeley, editor in chief
Had you told me, not even two years ago, that Id spend the majority of my time at an event such as PackExpo making spotlight videos about the automation and controls installed on the machines on the show floor, Id have bet my 67 Red Sox cap that you were nuts. Id have lost that bet.
Weve been experimenting with video to see if we can make our case history approachabout the automation and controls choices an industrial OEM makesbetter with visuals. Itll take us a while to sort it out, because, just the way we make choices for the print product, we wont post anything on ControlDesign.com if we dont believe it has real value for you.
What would help us figure out how to provide that value, you ask? Thats easy. We need you to tell us what an eight or nine-minute video about an industrial machines control system really would need to show you to make it worth your attention.
Meanwhile, its already 2008, right? Youve been planning next years revenue goals and critical improvement projects for a few months now. Same here.
Give me a minute to highlight a few of our 08 cover stories, so you can plan how you might want to contribute your thoughts.
Were already underway with a January article that will look at how you deal with customer expectations, particularly when your ideas about machine controls dont line up with those of the customer. We want to pass along tips from those of you whove had some success there.
For February, well assemble your thoughts on the best way to build a controls engineer. Tell us what you need the engineering and technical schools to do better. Let us know what the first few years on the job should involve. What ongoing training is vital in order to have a seasoned employee with the right skill sets?
Some of you are telling us that lean manufacturing is the lynch pin of your companys operating approach now. In March, we want to explore how thats helping you reduce costs and stay at the forefront of machine technology.
Later in the year we want to test two machine automation design models. One is the modular build. Are you no longer building a self-contained machine, but now building roll-in/roll-out sub-assemblies that make your machines more flexible and easier to change over? How does the machine automation support that?
The other model is the commodity build. Have so many machine automation components become available via catalog or online with enough openness that you really can fill your shopping cart and build a complete machine control system that way?
Well also produce extensive coverage focused on machine safety, virtual design and prototyping, and ever-changing global competition challenges. We need you in the conversation. You only have to get in touch.