Bio: Robert Schoenberger has been writing about manufacturing technology in one form or another since the late 1990s. He began his career in newspapers in South Texas and has worked for The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi; The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky; and The Plain Dealer in Cleveland where he spent more than six years as the automotive reporter. In 2013, he launched Today's Motor Vehicles, a magazine focusing on design and manufacturing topics within the automotive and commercial truck worlds. He joined IndustryWeek in late 2021.
Editorial mission statement: Manufacturing is an endlessly fascinating world. Nearly every object that we touch or use daily came out of a factory and is the result of design, engineering, procurement, supply chain, inventory control and management processes. My goal is to keep leaders in the $42 trillion manufacturing world up to date on developments in their industry in ways that inform and entertain them without wasting their time.
Why I find manufacturing interesting: Several years ago, I visited a plant in Pennsylvania that used laser equipment to etch fine lines in large plastic injection molds used to create dashboards on cars. The laser-etched lines created the faux-leather pattern on the dashboard, a vast improvement of the photo-chemical process that automotive suppliers had used for decades to create the illusion of natural products. The idea that designers had crafted the faux-leather patterns, that engineers had developed machines that could generate the fine lines needed, that machine shops could cut the complex shape of the dashboard into the mold shape—all for an aesthetic feature in a car that most drivers would never consciously notice (but the car would feel odd in its absence)—drove home the massive amount of human effort that goes into everything produced with modern machinery.