Remaining Relevant

Over the past couple of months, the magazine has received a torrent of news releases, web conference and event invitations, as well as product announcements from the Big Three of GE, Siemens and MHPS. Initially, the plan was to write something expressing surprise at the volume coming from these sources. After all, about half the Product and News sections is taken up by their content, and this represents a tiny fraction (not to mention a severe edit) of the material they have unveiled since our last issue. But at least these companies are communicating, are engaged heavily in product development and are scouring the world to fill their order books.

One wonders if the same can be said for many of the others in the industry. If three companies can generate as much news as the rest of the turbomachinery field combined, two factors could possibly be at play: the Big Three have far superior marketing departments; and the rest of the turbomachinery marketplace is not investing enough in the future.

The worrying part of this is that there are several major players in our industry who almost never put out a news story, release new products or generate much interest via the press. Getting contributed articles, interviews or announcements out of some of these firms is harder than getting a hole in one on a par 5. Are they simply resting on their laurels, content to get by based on past product development and reputation? If so, they are likely to become fodder for the insatiable appetites of the Big Three. Don’t they have enough money to invest in development due to the tight economy? It’s no different for the big boys and yet they manage to keep their product roadmaps rolling. And in any case, any firm that fails to gain attention is not long for this world.

Just as a point of reference, GE held three web conferences a couple of weeks back, put on the Minds & Machines event (p.32) and has arranged a press roundtable during the first day of the upcoming PowerGen show. Siemens has invited us to several plant openings in recent months and also has an event arranged for PowerGen. And hardly a week goes by without a press release from MHPS about new orders or technology. It is very clear that the rest of the industry is getting outgunned on the media relations front.

This is not, however, a license to inundate us with meaningless press announcements. From our perspective, minor personnel changes, a new brochure or a better website are not going to make it onto our pages. What is required is tangible turbomachinery news, a brand new product, an upgrade or the latest orders. Much of it will be whittled down to the concise format our readers prefer. But at least it gets your name out there.

Bottom line: if you have something to say, go ahead and send it in. If you don’t have anything to say or are too busy to say it, recognize that as a red flag, and get busy on all fronts, particularly on product development. We need new equipment from a wide range of suppliers to maintain the vibrancy of the industry.

Otherwise, we have a fine issue for you, anchored by a cover story from the Turbomachinery Symposium. That piece, and the many others inside, encompass a diverse range of topics as you can see from the Table of Contents.

We hope to see some of you in Vegas at PowerGen.