Better on a Global Scale

Do Builders Produce a Global Machine? Was It Once a Local Machine in a Global Market?

By Joe Feeley

Our cover story topic this month is the global machine market. Over the many years that we've covered its progression, we've framed the issue in several shades of powder-coated gray. Do builders produce a global machine? Was it once a local machine in a global market? There are plenty of accompanying corollary questions.

I think we can agree that the major issues that impact a global machine market and its builders, global economy ups and downs aside, have become more clear as time has gone by.

SEE ALSO: Handle Global Markets With Care

The second-ever issue of Control Design in 1997, explored the impending perils that might face North American machine builders as the Low Voltage Directive — the third piece of the Conformité Européene (CE Mark) requirements, which had been percolating along since 1992 — became law that year.

Our story was less about whether the CE Mark and other European-authored standards were blatant trade-barrier policy toward non-European Union countries, and far more about what the requirements indicated, and that it was high time for machine OEMs to get to know standards such as EN954-1 and EN 60204-1 if they hadn't yet done so. It looked like the methods and requirements for conducting risk assessments could lead to some real benefits at the end of an admittedly long and sometimes bewildering path to compliance.

But, the harder reality was that if you wanted to compete abroad — and who could ignore emerging, growing markets — you'd better learn the rules of the game and learn to play the game well. The builders on other continents were quite used to standards.

More than a decade and a half later, there's still wailing and the gnashing of teeth over trade policies and conformance issues, but the global machine builder industry has evolved, and machine design, machine performance and machine safety have benefited or begun to benefit builder and user alike.

Toot. No, that's not what you think. It's the sound of our own horn. We're tooting it because in July ASBPE — up until recently known as the American Society of Business Publication Editors — named ControlDesign.com one the 10 Best business-to-business web sites in the country, and finalist for its web site of the year honors.

Naturally, we're pretty pleased. ASBPE says its judging evaluates factors that include the quality of writing, reporting and editing; value and usefulness to readers; interactivity and community; use of web technologies and graphic design to support and add usefulness to editorial; clear distinctions between editorial and advertising; and several others.

This is testimony to the very hard work that the staff, particularly digital editors Katherine Bonfante and Sarah Cechowski, puts into building and maintaining a high-quality product. It fits in nicely with the Top 3 and Top 10 B2B magazine awards that we won in prior years. Toot.

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