Isn't it dull to report on baseball? someone once asked Red Smith.
The legendary sportswriter dismantled the query with a comment both terse and deeply perceptive. His response has been repeated times past counting.
"Baseball," Smith replied, "is dull only to dull minds."
That sentiment transfers rather neatly to manufacturing, which even bright outsiders often view as a mundane mystery in life. A day rarely goes by when the Tooling & Production staff isn't marveling at the latest innovation in the business--which, along with mining the earth and growing food on it, is part of the age-old triumvirate of wealth creation in the world. What we report in T&P has as many long-term implications as most of the news Charlie Gibson reads to America at suppertime.
As the National Association of Manufacturers constantly reminds its members, "every $1 in manufactured goods generates an additional $1.43 worth of additional economic activity--more than any other economic sector. Manufacturers are responsible for almost two-thirds of all private sector R&D, which ultimately benefits other manufacturing and non-manufacturing activities."
Which brings me to IMTS 2006. If you'll allow me at least one more reference to baseball, IMTS is the biennial equivalent of the All-Star Game, at which the sharpest minds in metalworking showcase the most productive equipment and share their know-how about achieving tighter tolerances, increasing throughput, fashioning global alliances, and more.
Red Smith would probably agree with this sentiment, too. The good guys of manufacturing are the best part of the stories that editors Elizabeth Modic, Steve Rose, Richard Clark, Mark Stover, Mike Whitney, and I get to cover. Men and women make the chips fly and the medical parts, family cars, and fighter jets move off the assembly lines. As journalists, we never forget that. We can't. The good guys are as much of the...