Carefully specified universal joints not only ensure proper fit and function but can prevent scores of machinery problems further down the road. Joint selection should start with assessing the operating conditions, with all relevant factors communicated to your sales representative. Environmental exposure to fluids, abrasives, extreme temperatures or pressure, for example, may necessitate special materials, finishes or design modifications.
It reminds me a little of the old “Summer of Love” in the Haight-Ashbury section of San Francisco when I was a kid, or maybe the grunge music scene in Seattle in the early 90s; two hot, trendy and uber-newsworthy movements that, by the time the academics had gotten around to naming them, by the time the media had begun covering them, and by the time they’d wormed their way into mainstream consciousness, those at their epicenter had long-since moved on to the next big thing.
It’s referred to as Manufacturing 4.0, the latest in a long line of wrinkles in our ever-changing world of heavy and light industry, a seismic marriage of technology, automation and computerization that is causing more and more manufacturing functions once done by human hands to be performed by sophisticated machines.
I will write more about Manufacturing 4.0 in the weeks ahead, especially from a human perspective. But today I’d like to offer one quick take on the concept as a whole. And to do that, let me first take you back a few decades.
We’ve heard the horror stories. Manufacturing 4.0 will be a nightmare. It will destroy everything good about American industry (if not our country itself and our vibrant working class), all in the name of progress. And it will be an industrialized version of some creepy Orwellian place where workers are rendered unneeded by an army of heartless and soulless (but not mindless) robots, and where – fueled by increased production and slashed costs – both unemployment and corporate profits suddenly rocket skyward.
It’s not like Tim Cook is running Apple into the ground. For the time being anyway, the company is more than holding its own. But let’s never forget, Tim Cook remains a classic right brainer. Tim Cook is not a creator, or a visionary, or much of a dreamer. As he’s proven time and time again since the death of his almost mythic predecessor, Tim Cook is one who likes to color within the lines, and Tim Cook is a man who focuses on things he can see, touch and, in particular, tally.
Fifty years ago, in the movie The Graduate, a recent college grad named Benjamin Braddock is wallowing in uncertainty and unsure what to do with his life, when a family friend comes up and offers him a word of advice. “Plastics,” the middle aged man confides to the young one with a mix of smugness and middle-aged certainty. Mike Nichols, the director, and Buck Henry, the screenwriter, meant the moment as one of irony at both the meaninglessness of many adult pursuits and the wide gap between the priorities of the two generations.
There may be no American presidency in my lifetime more polarizing than that of the Oval Office’s current resident, Donald J. Trump. Similarly, no sitting president has ever demanded so much of his people, or challenged or demeaned their most hallowed institutions, to the extent he has. That’s why, like it or not, even for those who remain patently dumbstruck by some of the crude and hateful things our sitting president continues to say and do, we will likely all owe Mr. Trump a huge debt of thanks at some point in the not too distant future.