It's a good time to be in the quality business. Besides longtime quality professionals having bigger budgets and new projects, others in manufacturing industries are taking an interest in quality. Many manufacturing engineers, corporate managers and production line people have quality responsibilities.

Those with a limited quality background often need to come up to speed with quality technology and techniques, and long-time quality professionals need better solutions. Quality Magazine is providing a venue where the latest in quality, as well as the benefits quality practices lend to an actual manufacturing environment, can be learned. The Manufacturing & Measurement Conference & Workshop (MMCW) 2006, Nashville, TN, April 24 to 28, is the place for an in-depth look at the latest in measurement technology and techniques, as well as its benefits and implementation on the shop floor.

On page 64 of this issue are some of the speakers who will be at MMCW 2006. Companies such as Honda Motor, Ford Motor Co. and Caterpillar will be lending their insight and expertise. These companies will talk about how to get better surface finishes on parts, how to better predict processes using statistical process control, and how measurement is used in industrial manufacturing today and in the future. Brewer Automotive will talk about how it reduced scrap on one of the parts it makes.

One of the important aspects of these sessions will be the emphasis on the practical implementation of measurement techniques and technology. QualityMagazine emphasizes information that helps improve the manufacturing process and MMCW 2006 will do the same. You can't get much more practical than "The Quality Game," from Dr. John Ryan of Ryan Systems Inc. MMCW 2006 features a double session where a 12-department manufacturing operation is the setting and participants will use quality in cost-effective means to prevent problems. This simulation gives manufacturing and quality engineers a chance to improve manufacturing processes before spending money and resources. Dr. Henrik Nielsen also will share how to make the correct measurements at the correct points in your manufacturing processes.

For those who have more established backgrounds in quality, topics in measurement uncertainty, laboratory accreditation and the latest in measurement technologies will be discussed. As parts get smaller, measuring them becomes more critical, and Oelof Kruger of South Africa will talk about micro CMMs, Dave Harris of Glastonbury Southern Gage will talk about thread gaging and Dan Sawyer of NIST will explain about standards and testing of laser trackers.

There is far too much offered at MMCW 2006 to discuss here. I encourage you to visit to get all the details and to register. Why emphasize the practical along with the leading edge? A quality manager I met recently put it best: "I go [to quality conferences] all the time and get a lot from them. But, the people I really need there are my boss, who has to understand why I need the equipment or changes I request, and my colleagues in manufacturing, so that they know I'm trying to help us make a better product."