The monthly roundup from Editor-in-Chief Susan Sutton.
While standing in a steady rain watching my
six-year-old niece’s first-ever soccer game over the weekend, I had an epiphany
of sorts. But first, a little background: The game was played at a large soccer
complex, so the sizes of the fields went from tiny to enormous, and the ages
and experience levels of the players varied a great deal as well.
Everyone was stuck in the same lousy climate, though, and it was interesting to
watch how they handled it. The older, typically better-skilled players tended
to take the weather in stride. They’d played in the rain before, and they knew
that they most certainly would again. They slipped and even fell a bit, but
they didn’t seem overly bothered by it all. The younger players, like those on
my niece’s team, were an altogether different story. First of all, they were
mystified that they were even allowed
to play outside in the rain. They were as
unsure of the environment as they were of the game (which is to say, very). To
call them disorganized does not do justice to the term. It was a free-for-all.
So, round about halftime, it occurred to me that the whole
playing-soccer-in-the-rain scenario closely resembled today’s ceramic industry
landscape. The climate was awful, everyone was operating under less-than-ideal
conditions, and how they dealt with the difficulties depended largely on how
much experience and patience they either had or lacked.
Our editorial in the October issue features many forward-looking technologies
to help manufacturers weather the current storm. For example, as semiconductor
and aeronautical designs are beginning to increase in size, technology has been
developed that enables industrial sapphire plates and windows to be created
from 15-in. sapphire crystals (see “Window of Opportunity” ).
Sustainability is increasingly important in today’s society, and industry
efforts to increase environmental responsibility are becoming more widespread.
Glass offers a variety of sustainability opportunities for both consumers and
the manufacturing sector. In his new Glass Works
column, debuting in this
issue, Glass Packaging Institute President Joe Cattaneo will highlight the many
benefits that glass can provide. His first installment, “The Ultimate in
Sustainable Packaging,” can be found in this issue.
Companies that use aluminum oxide in their
processes might benefit from a recycling program that eliminates the costs and
hassles inherent when dealing with landfills. A process has been developed that
enables spent aluminum oxide grit to be processed and used as an ingredient in
the manufacture of pure aluminum oxide. “Recycling Spent Aluminum Oxide”
details the 100% closed-loop solution.
The most important realization that resulted from my Saturday afternoon at the
soccer fields was that none of the players quit, despite the fact that they
were soaking wet, muddy and on a struggling team. They listened to their
coaches, smiled and waved to their supporters, and played their hearts out. And
really, that’s the most we can ask of anyone.