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Departments: First Word

  

Spring Forward

Change is hard but almost always good.

by Dirk Dusharme

 

 

Ah, Spring. Along with the blooming almond trees, steadily increasing pollen index and bloodshot eyes come personnel changes. Our favorite assistant editor, news writer, author and cookie maker, Laura Smith, is moving on to greener pastures. For the past three years Laura has diligently written hundreds of news stories and features for Quality Digest. Her articles on food safety, standards, Six Sigma in government, offshoring and the decline of the Detroit Three have earned her great reviews from readers. Her editorial voice was a breath of fresh air, and we are sad to see her go. Laura will be moving to past Quality Digest publisher Scott Paton's publishing and training firm, where she will continue editing for the quality industry. We wish her well.

Laura's departure gave us an opportunity to do a little Spring rearranging. New to the staff at Quality Digest is Carey Wilson, who will pick up where Laura left off. Carey has eight years in the news industry as an editor, columnist and graphic designer for a local weekly newspaper. He looks a little dazed at the moment, having moved from covering city council meetings, pot-farm raids and mosquito abatement to writing about Six Sigma, ISO 9001, lean and coordinate measuring machines. We promised him that this job would be much more interesting, which only goes to prove that P.T. Barnum was right. Fortunately we have a great Borg-like indoctrination program at Quality Digest. Carey will be assimilated and become a quality nerd in no time.

We're also happy to announce a promotion that has been a long time coming. Laurel Thoennes is now an assistant editor and will be taking on editing duties along with the hundred other tasks that she does each day. Laurel is a stickler for detail and has already showed her worth as an editor.

Also added to the Quality Digest staff is Sean Yoder. Sean is a new sales representative currently introducing himself to Quality Digest advertisers and the products and services that they sell.

Change, while difficult, is almost always good. As in the past, a new set of eyes helps us identify new opportunities and points out areas for improvement.

A new approach to a well-established process is also the theme for this month's cover story. When most people think of steelmaking, they probably think of molten slabs of metal rumbling their way through house-sized pieces of casting equipment. Precision most likely doesn't come to mind. However, to reduce waste and improve the quality of finished product, thousands of tons of huge steel-casting equipment must be aligned to within thousandths of an inch, in an environment that undergoes huge environmental swings.

Laser trackers fit the bill for this type of alignment task. Not only do they do the job more accurately than previous optical alignment methods, they do it 10 times more quickly, helping to mitigate the problems associated with measurements that span several days. Or, as Mike Falk, CEO of Falk Engineering, puts it, laser trackers add a fourth dimension to 3-D coordinate measurement—time. You can read all about it in "Speed Is of the Essence," beginning on page 22.

Laser trackers are just one type of 3-D measurement equipment being highlighted at this year's Coordinate Metrology System Conference, July 16–20 in Reno, Nevada. Quality Digest is proud to be a sponsor of this one-of-a-kind show that features cutting-edge, large-scale, 3-D metrology hardware and software. Visit www.cmsc.org for conference information or to register for the show.