Ceramic Industry

Inside CI: Striving for Progress

September 4, 2012

Our annual modern manufacturing issue always gets me thinking about progress. Today’s manufacturers have access to technologies that previous generations could literally not have dreamed of. Imagine what the Wright brothers could have achieved with access to a CAD system!

I feel overwhelming gratitude for the generations of innovators who worked tirelessly with limited resources to elevate manufacturing to its current state of the art. They could have just decided to sit back and relax, avoiding the stress and turmoil associated with the challenges they had to face in order to advance their chosen field. We all benefit from their pragmatism and willingness to take risks in the pursuit of progress.

While prior development work has led to leaps in technology, productivity and quality, there’s always room for improvement. As Ceram’s Tony Kinsella writes in this issue, “Lightweighting—making a product lighter by using less material or different materials, without compromising performance—is one area that ceramic producers can look into in their efforts to curb costs and emissions.” Learn more about this concept in Lightweighting: Untapped Opportunities in Ceramics.

This issue also includes our pre-event guide for Tecnargilla 2012, which will be held September 24-28 at the Rimini Expo Center in Italy. With the theme of “The Future of Ceramics,” this event will provide manufacturers from various sectors of the industry with multiple opportunities to learn about new products and processes that they can use to improve their companies’ own offerings.

Let’s continue this path of constant innovation and improvement, despite the inherent risks. What technological breakthroughs could be made in the coming year if we approach the development process with thoughtful bravado? As chemist and past president of Harvard University James Bryant Conant once quipped, “Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out.”