With a year behind us, get ready for PMM 2.0

Nov. 17, 2015

This issue marks the end of our first full year of publishing Plastics Machinery Magazine and journalists never miss an opportunity to look back at the year that has been and to offer some ideas on what's to come.

PMM has evolved. The bedrock features in this issue — Product Innovations, On the Factory Floor, In Other Words and a special report — have been around for a year and will continue.

The format for Product Innovations has proved to be useful to readers. We answer these questions for every new product: What is it? What's new? What are the benefits? Where do I go to get more information? Recently, we have increased the number of Product Innovations published each month and moved that section nearer to the front of the magazine. These are subtle, evolutionary steps designed to highlight the importance of this content for readers.

Our articles, which we label as "Technology" on the website, have gotten shorter. We think shorter articles are more appealing to busy readers. This also opens up space for more articles every month.

We also are working hard to develop in-depth special reports, which will be an emphasis in the coming year.

The PMM editorial staff also is evolving. We have added one full-time designer and one full-time copy editor since launching in November 2014. Look for additional staff growth in 2016.

So what's ahead for 2016? There are two ways to answer that question.

For PMM, we expect every monthly issue to be better than the last. More Product Innovations, more technology stories, easier-to-use design. Our pages are a great way for a machinery or auxiliary equipment manufacturer to get new products and technology in front of processors. We will work hard to make that happen in 2016.

We are launching another magazine in 2016 — Plastics Recycling, published jointly with Recycling Today magazine. The magazine will be published two times next year, in April and October. It will cover the entire plastics recovery, reprocessing and manufacturing value chain.

In November, we will publish our K Show supplement, filled with new products that visitors to the K Show will see firsthand. The K Show supplement will bring product information to subscribers who will not be making the trip to Germany.

The second way to answer what's next deals with the subjects you can expect to see in 2016.

At Fakuma last month, John Gallagher, Milacron's COO for melt delivery, control systems and fluid technologies, said that Milacron has launched more new products during the past two years than it launched in the entire previous 10 years.

That's a clear example of the pace of technology today. It's great for processors because better, more efficient ways to manufacture are coming fast. It just means they need to pay close attention to the cascade of new technology. That's where we can help.

There are some broad subjects that will appear on our pages during the coming months. Here are a few:

• Smart factories: Industry 4.0, which stands for the fourth industrial revolution, is the buzzword and machinery manufacturers are jumping on board. At Fakuma, several companies adopted their own versions of Industry 4.0: Wittmann Battenfeld ("Wittmann 4.0"), Engel ("Inject 4.0"), KraussMaffei ("Plastics 4.0"), Arburg ("Industrie 4.0 — powered by Arburg") and Haitian, which just calls it "Industry 4.0." Some domestic manufacturers, such as Milacron and Novatec, showed elements of smart factory technology at NPE, but outside the U.S., this is a bigger deal.

• Energy recovery and re-use: Some very smart engineers and inventors are busy working on reducing the energy used by their equipment. Most of the energy is lost after it is used once. Multiply that by millions of cycles in a processing plant, and it is clear that manufacturers could do a better job. Steve Maguire, one of our industry's most prolific inventors, has said he is working on it. Haitian, the world's biggest injection molding machine manufacturer, is working on it. We are going to see breakthroughs soon that will lower manufacturing costs.

• Additive manufacturing: 3-D printing is hot! Everybody is talking about it, but only a few have tried it out. Shortly, we will see an explosion of applications that pertain directly to your business and we should all be paying close attention. PMM will help you navigate this emerging technology. Additive manufacturing also has the potential to help with another one of your pressing problems — filling the manufacturing pipeline with bright, young employees. Do you think high school students will pay attention when someone turns on the 3-D printer and they see how it fits in the larger scheme of manufacturing? We do.

If you build machinery and auxiliary equipment, keep sending information about your new products and upgrades to existing products to [email protected]. If you are a processor, your monthly copy of PMM should be an even more useful tool to keep up with technology.

Ron Shinn, editor

[email protected]

About the Author

Ron Shinn | Editor

Editor Ron Shinn is a co-founder of Plastics Machinery & Manufacturing and has been covering the plastics industry for more than 35 years. He leads the editorial team, directs coverage and sets the editorial calendar. He also writes features, including the Talking Points column and On the Factory Floor, and covers recycling and sustainability for PMM and Plastics Recycling.