America's manufacturing base has made an incredible comeback since the Rustbelt days of the 1980s, when Japan was stealing market share in autos and other fields, causing plant closures throughout the Midwest and elsewhere. During the boom years of the 1990s, manufacturing slowed the decline as both domestic and foreign operations built new factories around the U.S.
This comeback was driven in part by the adoption of many forms of electronic technology, which improved productivity and quality. It might have seemed that once plant managers might have had time to breathe a sigh of relief once they finished adding robots, machine vision, improved programmable controllers and other gear.
But there won't be time to simply run in place, tweaking existing operations without making major changes. Those in charge of improving operations are facing increased competition from low wage regions, particularly China. To compete against low wage producers that are getting government support, U.S. manufacturers are going to have to do more than tweak.
They're going to have to keep pressing technology to push run rates up while they improve quality levels. Ethernet can be used to make a seamless link between the front office and the factory. Programmable Controllers can bring the fast-paced advances of Many types of sensors can be added throughout operations to spot deviations before they become real problems. The list goes on for many other products and concepts.
Throughout this site, you'll find discussions on the newest products and trends that can help keep a factory running at peak levels. There will be industry news and new products, as well as How To articles written by industry leaders.
We hope you'll make this one of your regular sites, and that you'll find our Forums a place to discuss some of the issues of the day. Thanks for take some time to check out the new Industrial Control DesignLine.