The Steps of Progress
A patch to making things better.
It’s easy to argue that much progress has been made in the appliance industry and in the products it makes. We can see, hear, feel and experience the progress that has been made. However, it can be difficult to measure progress in other areas and progress in these areas has had a direct impact on the success of the appliance industry.
For instance, businesses measure their progress by the growth in the percentage of their profits year over year, or quarter over quarter. Progress in technology is often measured by how much easier something becomes for the average person to use and/or how it makes our lives easier.
Logistics plays a starring role in how economies grow and can be measured by improvements in the efficiency, ease and cost effectiveness of how we move products and resources across a global economy—making things cheaper, bolstering trade and relationships between nations, and allowing us to enjoy and benefit from things we otherwise could not.
Bring these things together with a few other key elements and they collectively become “the measure of a great society.” One of my favorite quotes on the subject is:
“There is a connection between progress of a society and progress in the arts. The age of Pericles (pronounced p?r-?-kl?z) was also the age of Phidias. The age of Lorenzo de Medici was also the age of Leonardo Da Vinci. The age of Elizabeth was the age of Shakespeare.”
And ultimately it is society that benefits from the progress made in its appliances. Better designs and improved technology allow us to wash our clothes and heat our homes while using fewer resources. Wi-Fi, smartphones, and the Internet of Things (and Internet of Everything) will allow us to better control our appliances to use (and not waste) even more of our resources. Improvements in products, as well as the processes used to manufacture them, are driving discussions on the progress we have made in the way we build things and how and what to invest in to make further improvements, including making plastics even more reliable and the use of in-mold labeling and decorating.
This year’s International Appliance Manufacturing (IAM) delves into all of these topics and more.
For better or worse, staying connected in today’s world is a necessity. See the impact the Internet of Things is having on smart homes and smart appliances in Bill Zalud’s article, “Beyond the Hype.”
Also, get the skinny on the latest discussions on manufacturing research and product development at the Purdue Conference on Refrigeration in Nigel Cotton, Bob Weed and Wenson Zheng’s article, “Smaller Diameter-Copper Tubes Support Manufacturing and Design.” Learn what’s being done to increase the confidence in our plastic parts with Jeff Jansen and Mike Garry’s article, “Identifying Failures and Ensuring Quality of Plastic Materials” and read “In-Mold Labeling and In-Mold Decorating” to discover the strengths and weaknesses of the process.
Enjoy and thanks for reading!