The Great Analog-Digital Debate

Analog is OK. There, I said it. We write often about the latest digital application that improves both costs and quality, and we sometimes mistakenly assume that just because a new technology is better and available, then of course companies will purchase and implement it. It's the fallacy of the "better mousetrap." Just because you build it, that doesn't mean anybody's coming. At least not right away. New technology requires the innovators and early adopters who will incur the expense and blaze that trail without trepidation. But not all OEMs are equipped to make major overhauls to their systems or to the machines they build. As with switching from mechanical speed control of motors to linear or servo motors and drives, the decision to go digital is typically a financially based one. Companies using analog systems are not going to scrap everything just so they can update to the latest digital technology. No matter how alluring the technology smells and how attractive it looks"”no matter how much more cost efficiently it will make the manufacturing process"”the original investment in the analog equipment and the value of its remaining useful life is too high to warrant replacement by the new kid in town. So adoption is slow, but steady. Similarly, our own digital edition of Control Design has gained momentum since we first introduced it. The electronic version has all the same great features, but it's available anywhere you have access to a computer, so you don't even need to remember to take it with you from the office. And best of all, switching from the analog print version to the digital subscription costs you absolutely nothing. And subscribing is easy. In fact, you can do it right here. Go ahead. Taste the technology.