Just Two Words: “Industrial Ethernet”

August 19th, 2013 by

By Brian Carter
VP, Strategic Communications

There’s a memorable scene from the 1967 movie “The Graduate,” in which the angst-ridden graduate Benjamin Braddock, played by Dustin Hoffman, is pulled aside by a stereotypical business type for some career advice:

Mr. McGuire: I just want to say one word to you. Just one word.

Benjamin: Yes, sir.

Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?

Benjamin: Yes, I am.

Mr. McGuire: Plastics.

Benjamin: Exactly how do you mean?

Mr. McGuire: There’s a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?

OK, it was only a movie, but it was sage advice. Just beginning to accelerate in 1967, the U.S. plastics industry today accounts for $380 billion dollars in annual shipments.

I was thinking about “Mr. McGuire’s” one-word counsel while reading through a timely bi-partisan (believe it or not) bill filed this month in both the U.S. House and Senate that is aimed at the much-needed revitalization of American manufacturing.

The legislation would create a network of regional institutes across the country, each focused on a unique technology, material, or process relevant to advanced manufacturing.

The bills’ long list of lofty goals (it’s a Congressional bill after all) includes:

  • improving the competitiveness of  U.S. manufacturing and increasing domestic production;
  • stimulating U.S. leadership in advanced manufacturing research, innovation, and technology;
  • facilitating the transition of innovative technologies into scalable, cost-effective and high-performing manufacturing capabilities.

There is an innovative and disruptive technology available today that is a key to achieving all three goals. So, if I could pull aside the bills’ sponsors – U.S. Reps. Joseph Kennedy (D-MA) and Tom Reed (R-NY) along with U.S. Sens. Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) – for a bit of Mr. McGuire-like advice, my two words would be “Industrial Ethernet.”

Cutting-edge factories need to be smarter – monitoring production in real time and providing instantaneous feedback is critical; accelerating reductions in cycle times and costs while increasing competitiveness and margins is vital to “re-shoring jobs.”

This sort of manufacturing transformation will be driven by improved data-capture functionality and timely action on the data analysis findings.

The good news is that large-scale, real-time data capture capability is available thanks to Industrial Ethernet, which is increasingly replacing fieldbus technologies that cannot keep pace with the changes going on all around it.

If there is really going to be the revitalization of American manufacturing and innovation that the House/Senate bill envisions, there must be rapid adoption of Industrial Ethernet.

There’s a great future in Industrial Ethernet.

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