YourTube.com & 2008

What ongoing training is vital in order to have a seasoned employee with the right skill sets?

By Joe Feeley, editor in chief

Had you told me, not even two years ago, that I’d 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, I’d have bet my ’67 Red Sox cap that you were nuts. I’d have lost that bet.

We’ve been experimenting with video to see if we can make our case history approach—about the automation and controls choices an industrial OEM makes—better with visuals. It’ll take us a while to sort it out, because, just the way we make choices for the print product, we won’t post anything on ControlDesign.com if we don’t believe it has real value for you.

What would help us figure out how to provide that value, you ask? That’s easy. We need you to tell us what an eight or nine-minute video about an industrial machine’s control system really would need to show you to make it worth your attention.

Meanwhile, it’s already 2008, right? You’ve been planning next year’s 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.

We’re already underway with a January article that will look at how you deal with customer expectations, particularly when your ideas about machine controls don’t line up with those of the customer. We want to pass along tips from those of you who’ve had some success there.

For February, we’ll 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 company’s operating approach now. In March, we want to explore how that’s 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?

We’ll 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.

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