About this time each year, we in the magazine publishing business start thinking seriously about the next year. We think about the topics we might cover, the types of articles we might approach differently, technologies that we’ve not visited in a while and emerging technologies we’ve not visited at all, as well as the challenges our readers face that we can help them solve.
All of HPC’s editors and contributors are a part of this process, collecting story ideas throughout the year. When it comes time to plan for the new year, we meet, unearth these ideas, mull them over and discuss them. Story ideas can come from almost anywhere — a trade show, a paper presentation, a composites fabricator (like you), an article in the popular press, a plant visit, an article from an ancillary industry, a press release, a source from another story, hallway conversation at a conference, etc. Some ideas survive the winnowing process and appear in HPC the following year. Some do not. Last year, HPC’s writers and editors sifted through more than 50 story ideas, and you’re now seeing the fruit of that labor. For 2009, I’d like at least some of these ideas to come from you — you are, after all, the reason we publish HPC, so it seems only right that you provide some of the fodder for the topics about which we write.
One aspect of composites fabrication that we’ve not heavily covered is process engineering and process management — that is, the hands-on, day-to-day challenge of managing and working with a molding process and machinery to make sure it’s doing everything it should be, and doing it well. I’d like us to consider covering such stories more, and that’s where you come in.
As we get ready for 2009, I’d like to know more about some of the on-the-floor molding process and engineering challenges you face that you think deserve attention in the pages of HPC. Is there some aspect of your carbon fiber layup process that is always a problem and you’d like to hear how others solve? When you troubleshoot a process (infusion, autoclave, moldmaking), what kinds of challenges do you chronically encounter? Is cutting cycle time your biggest challenge and do you have a hard time meeting it? Do you have a machine or piece of equipment that is difficult to manage and operate? Is design-for-manufacturing so foreign in your shop that you have to “engineer” around designs? Are there tooling challenges that you think should be explored in HPC? How do you cope with scrap and rework? If a part is rejected, is there a common cause that you can’t identify or fix? Where and how do you spend most of your troubleshooting time?
This is your chance to be heard, and just as there are no dumb questions, in the magazine business there are no dumb ideas. I’m taking any and all comers, and I’ll take them however you want to send them. All of my contact information is below and I strongly encourage you to send me your shop-floor thoughts, ideas, frustrations, challenges, solutions, complaints, worries, concerns, wishes and cogitations. Vote early and vote often, and I hope to hear from you soon.