1. Information vs. Communication
As a guy who has spent his life in the communications industry, I can promise you there’s a difference between information and communication. The information exists as it is. It could be a set of requirements, a set of industry standards or the temperature reading on a motor. Delivering that information is the nature of my business, but the question is, is it the nature of your business?
That idea came to mind when I read a new Machine Design article that quoted maxon inside sales engineer Jake Gelinas. He talked about how customers can turn the information he has into a finished motor solution. The key, he said, is communication.
“We rely on the customer to tell us their requirements,” said Gelinas. “What’s your torque? What’s your speed? What’s your voltage? Those are the three key areas for us. And then we just tailor the solution from there.”
In the design process, there is a lot of knowledge and a lot of information available from both the design engineer and the operations team. Bridging that knowledge is the essence of communication, and it’s often the area that needs the most work.
2. More on Communication
At Hannover Messe in April, Editor-in-Chief Rehana Begg sat for an exclusive interview with igus CEO Frank Blase, and he said the value of the face-to-face meetings with customers represents a better understanding of that bridge between information and communication.
“Whether it was [a customer query about] a plastic gear with a super tight precision or a customer interested in joining us in the iguverse to rent real estate, everything was on topic,” said Blase. “I’m very happy with the depth and width, and that our innovations have found conversation.”
Those conversations also extend to the internal teams as well. Members of the igus event team told Machine Design that colleagues arrived a month in advance of Hannover Messe to help set up the igus booth. Designed around the theme “Enjoyneering,” the booth was configured to inspire creativity and demonstrate how the company pushes boundaries with cutting-edge solutions, while bringing ease-of-use to product design.
In that process of booth set-up, old acquaintances were rekindled and new ideas were shared in a different way. In this disjointed world, communication is more important than ever, and if we can’t always be together, we still can keep those lines of communication open. To that end, my email is [email protected]. Communicate with me at any time.
3. Subtraction by Addition
The use of CAD drawings as the foundation for 3D printing has been well-established. So is the need to do some machining work on the parts once they are printed. In a newly-updated Machine Design article, we talk about that process from the perspective of the machinist, offering ways in the design and printing process to improve the connection between the design engineer and the finishing process. A recent Design Tip from Protolabs offers a similar perspective.
4. IDEA Awards Deadline Extended
The submission deadline for the 2023 IDEA Awards has been extended to June 30. This will give companies with great product innovations in manufacturing more time to enter in one of 13 categories. Because our readers do all the voting for these awards, they reflect what engineers want and need in new product development. Voting begins July 10, and we’ll announce the 2023 IDEA Award winners on Sept. 22
5. Hail, and Farewell
Steve Mraz retired this week after 36 years at Machine Design, and as we bid adieu to our friend and colleague, we are grateful for his service to this title and to this industry. Through all of Machine Design’s various ownership, editorship and stylistic changes over the years—as well as the technological upheaval of the past three decades—Steve has been the North Star.
For me, Steve has provided the institutional knowledge that has helped us stay on course, and his skill and knowledge as a writer and editor has been evident in his countless content contributions over the decades. Even as manufacturing changed in many ways, it has stayed the same in many others, and Steve’s wisdom to help connect the past and the present keeps us moving to a brighter future.
His service extended beyond Machine Design. Lt. Steve Mraz also is a Navy veteran, and that service is every bit as admirable. Thanks, Steve. We’ll carry on from here.