The second edition of Mechanical Fastening, Joining, and Assembly is presented as a guide and reference to all who engage in the mechanical arts. A decade and a half have passed since the preface to the first edition was written. This passage of time has affirmed many of the ideas expressed in that first edition. Time has also witnessed the development of some interesting, and for our purposes, intellectually important, technical progress in the assembly of products and in the design, manufacturing, and installation of fastener products and procedures. Time has not been idle even during periods when worldwide economic engines were moving at less than full throttle. Ranging from the interest children exhibit in building things with toys such as interlocking blocks, rods, and connecting components to the advanced and sometimes strident adult voices and viewpoints expressed in the media, in academic institutions, and in political and public discourse around the world, a panoramic view of the subject of fastening and its foundational technologies, from the basics to the advanced is timely.
Research of technical education itself is undergoing at present a profound, and critically necessary, evaluation. And in the manufacture of products ranging from orthopedic hardware to aerospace, automotive, transportation, and defense products, the need to assemble and fasten components efficiently, and well into functional products of value, continues. In fact, as I write, the early reemergence of a growing U.S. manufacturing base can be witnessed in shops and manufacturing plants in large cities and small towns. We are making things! Knowledge and ideas build best when started from a solid foundation. What appears to me to be coming into focus is that manufacturing is a significant component of a nation’s economy. From a strategic viewpoint, reliance on other industrialized economies for manufactured goods leads to dependence and potential weak points in an economy’s self-reliance, even in a globally connected economy with many of today’s economies. Manufacturing prowess provides strength and options not otherwise always available. A common issue I hear frequently in my business travels is the constraint of trained, young manufacturing employees. As those of us who are older reduce our hours of participation in manufacturing enterprises and begin to age and retire, a new workforce will be required. There is no doubt that this younger workforce has world-class computer and telecommunication skills. It is hoped that this will be matched by innovation in the expansion and growth of engineering skills to transform tomorrow’s ideas and raw materials into value-producing, lifestyle-enhancing fastened products. I am optimistic.
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