Some assembly required

W. Conard Holton

Associate Publisher/Editor in Chief

cholton@pennwell.com

Like good products everywhere, this magazine is the result of production processes both manual and automated. For example, the editors rely on a mix of spell checking and document formatting programs to improve speed and efficiency. But they still need a skeptical eye and, in my case, a red pen to whip manuscripts into shape. Likewise, the talented artists that design and illustrate WDM Solutions often work with a pen to sketch out ideas before transforming the concepts into images on a computer screen-which is what they did with relish when I told them that the theme of this month`s issue was manufacturing. Lisa Riordan, our art director, conceived a cover design based on art from the Works Progress Administration of the 1930s. Our illustrator, Chris Hipp, then took the concept further, first sketching out and then creating on the computer the series of striking images evoking the processes used in manufacturing WDM components that appear on our cover.

As in magazine production, manual labor underlies most production processes, including WDM component manufacturing. But, as Polytec`s Scott Jordan points out in our first feature, the manufacturing process must become more rationalized and automated if the component industry is to grow in a stable manner. Stability and predictability are themes picked up in an article by Dave Cone at Camstar, who shows how management software can improve execution and yield. Kevin Davis at Efos, in his article on adhesives, adds that it can be the smallest detail that makes the difference in an assembly process, and often that detail depends on whether two parts stick together properly. Once the products are packaged, testing their wavelength stability and accuracy becomes a key-and sometimes painfully slow-process, and one which Ando`s Mike McArthur says can be speeded up by more rapid testing systems.

Getting the most from the shop floor is not the only theme of my "Talking Technology" interview with Mark Itzler, CTO of the JDS Uniphase division formerly known as Epitaxx. Yet implicit throughout the conversation is the idea that manufacturing efficiency is vital for a company to succeed. To me it`s clear we`ll see ever greater emphasis on automation and process control as the industry matures and strives to achieve efficiencies seen in the electronics world.

For the moment, I`ll remain grateful for some of the creative inefficiencies we have here and the need for my red pen.

Welcome to our new editor

You`ll soon be seeing a new face at shows and a new byline on these pages. This month John Grady joins the staff as senior editor of WDM Solutions, bringing many years of experience as a journalist and technical writer in the telecommunications industry. John will be contributing technical news articles, editing features, and working with the industry to continue growing our publication.

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