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7 Ways 3D Printing Is Making Manufacturing More Competitive

7 Ways 3D Printing Is Making Manufacturing More Competitive

Apr 26, 2016

By Louis Columbus, Forbes 71.1% of manufacturers have currently adopted 3D Printing. 52% of manufacturers expect 3D Printing will be used for high-volume production in the next 3-5 years. 22% of manufacturers predict 3D Printing will have a disruptive effect on supply chains. Global spending on printers was predicted to reach $11B in 2015 and forecast to reach about $27B by 2019. These and many other insights are from the Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) and Manufacturing Institute report published this month 3D Printing comes of age in US industrial manufacturing.  You can download the report here (10 pp., PDF).  Manufacturing CEO: “We Are Going To Disrupt Ourselves Before The Market Does By Relying On Advanced Technologies Including 3D Printing.” During a recent conversation with the CEO of one of the leading industrial equipment manufacturers in the Midwest, she told me that her company sees disruption as key to their survival and growth. “We are doing to disrupt ourselves before the market does by relying on advanced technologies including 3D Printing,” she told me. This CEO successfully has turned around a series of product lines that had flat sales growth, using a combination of cloud platforms, analytics, mobile and rapid prototyping including 3D printing. She says that by putting the customer at the center of these initiatives unifies them and makes their impact on sales and customer satisfaction immediately measurable. 7 Ways 3D Printing Makes Manufacturers More Competitive 71.1% of manufacturers are now using 3D Printing for prototyping and final products.PwC found that more manufacturers are using 3D Printing for prototyping and final products compared to two years ago (35%). Time-to-market and increasingly unique customer requirements are driving up adoption of 3D Printing in product development and production workflows across global manufacturing today. 52% of manufacturers expect 3D Printing will be used for high-volume production in the next 3-5 years. Manufacturers are looking more to 3D Printing than ever before for high-volume production, with just over half (52%) evaluating it compared to 38% just two years ago. 22% of manufacturers predict 3D Printing will have a disruptive effect on supply chains in the next 3 – 5 years. An additional 18% believe 3D Printing is a...

Manufacturers bringing the most jobs back to America

Manufacturers bringing the most jobs back to America

Apr 25, 2016

By Michael B. Sauter and Samuel Stebbins, USA Today The loss of American manufacturing jobs to foreign labor has been a central theme of several presidential candidates’ campaigns. However, the trend of offshoring may be slowing, according to one organization. According to non-profit advocacy group the Reshoring Initiative, offshoring resulted in a net loss of approximately 220,000 manufacturing jobs from 2000 to 2003. However, according to the group, the country added roughly as many jobs due to foreign investment and reshoring as it lost to offshoring last year. Some of the largest U.S.-based companies, likely for both public relations and practical reasons, have begun building factories domestically for operations that would likely have gone overseas a few years ago. Offshoring, or shifting production from U.S. plants to foreign facilities, is a relatively recent phenomenon that has taken a considerable toll on the U.S. economy. In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., Harry Moser, founder and president of the Reshoring Initiative, explained that recent developments have made the prospect of manufacturing domestically much more feasible. Moser cited economic troubles and rising wages in China as one of the primary drivers of this recent trend. ndeed, lower labor costs and fewer regulations in countries such as China have created an incentive for U.S. companies to relocate production there. Consequently, U.S. manufacturing has taken a major hit. A study by the Economic Policy Institutefound that the U.S. lost roughly 2.4 million manufacturing jobs to China alone from 2001 to 2013. However, the same market forces that have pushed American jobs overseas are now bringing some of those jobs back. Recently, labor costs in places such as China have been rising, and when paired with high international shipping costs, offshore production presents less of a discount than it once did. Recently, General Electricshifted production of a water heater from China to a plant in Louisville, Kentucky. The move brought hundreds of manufacturing and engineering jobs back to the U.S. While the reshoring phenomenon is primarily a byproduct of expensive labor abroad and high shipping costs, bringing manufacturing jobs back to the United States is often beneficial to a company’s image. For example, Walmart contracted General Electric to manufacture...

Preparing for the Factory of the Future

Preparing for the Factory of the Future

Apr 25, 2016

By Larry Korak, Industry Week The signposts are pointing the way: The Factory of the Future, where information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) converge, is straight ahead and the road leading to it is a superhighway of technology, innovation, and advanced capabilities. This four-part series examines the definition of the Factory of the Future, common characteristics, benefits, and how to get started. Defining the Factory of the Future The Factory of the Future has an evolving definition, even different names. Some call it Smart Manufacturing, Industry 4.0 or the Digital Enterprise. While the terms vary, some elements are always in common. The Factory of the Future is the product of fast-changing disruptive technologies hitting manufacturing like a cyclone.  Information technology and operational technology are both seeing drastic innovations. The convergence of these two forces is creating a paradigm shift. Manufacturing is experiencing the fourth industrial revolution. We are already seeing results: According to a report from SCM World, 40% of manufacturers they surveyed say that smart manufacturing along with its foundational technology—the Internet of Things—is within reach, and it’s the right time to invest. Huffington Post reports that early adopters who have at least partially implemented smart manufacturing initiatives have documented measurable results: 82% reported increased efficiency 49% reported fewer product defects 45% reported customer satisfaction gains The impact promises to grow and be even more substantial as manufacturers and their suppliers deploy and integrate more technologies across the entire manufacturing landscape. Greater speed, value, innovation, and closer alignment with demanding customers will be the new normal. Analysts often cite the year 2020 as the next milestone moment. Some point to 2030 or 2050 as being the thresholds. No matter which date you want to target, it is clear that substantial change is coming and coming fast. That future looks promising.  Perhaps manufacturing will at last be able to leave behind the public impressions of labor-intensive, dirty and dangerous worksites, and bury once and for all the memories of plant closings and shipping jobs to low-cost countries, leaving communities devastated. Manufacturing will be new again. We are on the way. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, nearly 900,000 new manufacturing jobs have been created since...

This US manufacturing sector is booming

This US manufacturing sector is booming

Apr 21, 2016

By Jake Novak, CNBC Cheer up, Donald Trump fans! It turns out there is an American manufacturing industry that is not only booming, but it’s running a massive trade surplus of more than $100 billion per year. And it’s chock full of factories and jobs that can never be moved overseas. I’m hoping that most of you know I’m talking about aviation and defense… or the aerospace and defense industry as it’s officially called. A new report from Deloitte says the sector’s gross exports grew a healthy 3.6 percent to a whopping $143.3 billion in 2015. And the export part of the business has grown an incredible 59 percent just since 2010. Again, that’s just exports, not the revenues received from contracts exclusive to the U.S. government. It gets better because remember that unlike much of the tech and all of the financial services sectors, the weapons and aerospace business is very manufacturing intensive and national security rules keep those factories on U.S. soil. And here’s the icing on the cake: Our No.1 foreign customer pushing up its massive trade deficit with the U.S. in this industry with virtually every purchase is none other than China. And 2016 is starting to look pretty good now that the U.S. government is reportedly close to approving the sale of a total of 60 F-15 and F/A-18E/F fighter jets to Qatar and Kuwait. That sale is worth $7 billion toBoeing, which makes those jets mostly at factories in good old St. Louis, Missouri. That deal would be the best sign in years that the defense part of this sector is set to soar again. And it could make it easier for Lockheed Martin to complete its many sales of its new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to foreign allies. Deloitte projected 3.2 percent growth for the sector this year, and that was before this news about the Kuwait and Qatar sales broke. Not bad in an overall economy that’s growing at or a bit below 1 percent. But why isn’t this something the Obama administration, pro-labor groups, and everyone else in America is shouting about? You’d think an uniquely American industry doing so well and keeping jobs in the USA would be a primary bragging point...

Making a Place for Everything

Making a Place for Everything

Apr 20, 2016

By Alan R. Earls, Design-2-Part Magazine Sheet metal, wire, tubing, and even non-metallics are part of the rack and enclosure solutions developed and manufactured for OEMs by Bull Metal Products. A new consumer product must be displayed appealingly, yet protected from rough handling. A tech manufacturer needs a rugged enclosure to encase circuits and power supplies. Or a tool manufacturer wants a small, custom box to go with its products. All these tasks are the kinds of challenges handled daily by Bull Metal Products, where a focus on quality products and excellent customer service has been the key to a loyal customer base built over more than 60 years. Bull Metal Products is a manufacturer of sheet metal, rigid wire, and tubing products that thinks both globally (about the complex challenges it must solve for customers) and locally in terms of how it particularly targets the needs of customers in the Northeast and east of the Mississippi. The company is based in a 40,000 square foot facility in Middletown, Connecticut, considered the southernmost city in the busy Hartford-Springfield Knowledge Corridor, which features a combined metro population of 1.9 million. This region is itself in the heart of the Northeast Corridor and is located minutes from Interstate 95 and other major transportation facilities. Now a second generation family business, the company was founded by New Jersey-raised Cliff E. Bull, a 1948 graduate of Wesleyan College in Middletown, Connecticut. Bull had earned a business degree and recorded a remarkable athletic career on both the football and baseball teams. In fact, Bull went on to pitch for the local Middletown Giants and then the Washington Senators baseball teams before going to work for a local sheet metal manufacturing company as a salesman. A few years later, after spending a short time with another Connecticut-based sheet metal fabricator, he decided to strike out on his own with a high school friend, David W. Reier, as his partner. Initially the company operated out of a barn and shop in nearby Higganum, Connecticut. In the early 1960s, the company relocated to Middletown, where the company has been ever since. Its current location has been enlarged three times over the years to accommodate...

Chicago Leads in 3-D Manufacturing Tech

Chicago Leads in 3-D Manufacturing Tech

Apr 18, 2016

By Eddie Arruza, Chicago Tonight Over the last 35 years, manufacturing jobs in the United States have dropped by more than 40 percent as companies move production to countries with cheaper costs. In recent years there’s been a modest resurgence in America’s manufacturing sector but some economists believe the U.S. will never again be the manufacturing powerhouse it once was. However, new technologies, especially 3-D printing, are what some say will transform American industry and Chicago is getting on board. TRANSCRIPT Eddie Arruza: In the South Loop it’s a small 3-D carving machine appropriately called Carvey that’s on the cutting-edge of so-called subtractive manufacturing. On the city’s Southwest Side it’s a 3-D printer producing large scale metal parts through additive manufacturing that’s drawing the attention of aerospace companies. Whether it’s additive or subtractive, the digital technology that’s creating a range of new products is what industry experts say is the brave new world of manufacturing. Zach Kaplan, founder of Inventables: I think that we are in the infancy of this industry and so you’re going to see an explosion of these kinds of tools and people participating in digital manufacturing over the next couple of decades. Arruza: 36-year-old Zach Kaplan graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a degree in engineering. But he says while he was a student 15 years ago, the digital manufacturing program was still in its infancy and took a long time to create a finished product. But a lot has changed in the digital world since then and Kaplan is now a digital manufacturing pioneer. Kaplan: A few years ago we decided, “wow wouldn’t it be great if you could use a 3-D carving machine as easily as you could use a tool like PowerPoint,” and so that was where the inspiration for Carvey came. Arruza: Among the Chicago products being produced by Carvey are eyeglasses, office supplies, and toys and games. Kaplan’s Carvey is not the first 3-D subtractive machine but he touts it as the easiest to use, and there are an increasing number of 3-D printers hitting the market. At the consumer level, you can buy a 3-D printer for making pancakes of your own design. At...