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Is Sustainable Manufacturing Important to Your Customers?

Joe FeeleyBy Joe Feeley, Editor in Chief

As you travel through this issue, you’ll find that our originally planned two-part article about higher-level programming languages will be expanded to include a third part in December to complement this month’s Part II ("Higher Level Languages (Part II)") and Part I in October ("Higher Ground—Part I").

We weren’t planning to do this, but in between parts I and II, we got a lot more of your input on the subject. Since machine builder and SI participation is solid-gold content, we were happy to add it to the mix.

Story reaction is hard to predict. There are some articles that I’ll be certain will generate a lot of audience reaction. The feedback can be a fraction of expectations. The opposite is true, too.

Now, in an unvarnished attempt to enlist more participation, I figure it’s a good time to let you know what some of the major story initiatives will be for 2009.

I’m unsure what we’ll get from you for our cover story on green manufacturing for machine builders in April. Sustainable manufacturing is a convenient word to collect all the energy and material saving initiatives that are applicable to manufacturing. Many of them already are routine as part of the mandate to build machines that are more efficient, more productive, and more flexible.

But thus far, it’s unclear what else is being practiced by machine builders. Can recyclable materials replace certain machine components, reclaimable at the end of machine life? Can you replace wire and cable with wireless alternatives? Is there a value proposition here for you?

If you can, even if you want to, is green manufacturing  important to customers? Do you think you have a role to advocate for greener machines?

To get a better handle on another hot button term, we’ll turn next October’s cover story over to a discussion of mechatronics and what it means to you as a builder. Have you found better internal collaborative tools? Do they make design better by tighltly integrating all the mechanical, electrical and support considerations along the same timeline?

One more. Next June, we’ll go beyond mechatronics and explore how much collaborative design you’re doing with your customers at that design stage. “Mass customization” isn’t a frivolous term. Your customers need more simultaneous flexibility and customization capability than ever before. Are you talking to each other?

One last thing. You’ve seen some of our more recent Market Intelligence Report videos that include participation from a machine control professional who comments on the report findings.

If you haven’t seen them, here’s a link to one we produced on electromechanical components (www.controldesign.com/mir). We’ll be doing more of these on aspects of motion control, operator interface, controller platforms, drives, motors and sensors. If you’d like to be part of one, just let me know. It’s easier than you think.

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