Manufacturing Jobs Outsourced to Space

Manufacturing Jobs Outsourced to Space

Jun 8, 2017

By Industrial Equipment News How it’s becoming cheaper and more efficient to manufacture 250 miles above the earth. Although it’s somewhat open for debate, the International Space Station is currently scheduled for retirement somewhere between 2024 and 2028. Shortly thereafter, Houston-based Axiom has big plans for the real estate it currently occupies. The firm’s overall plans for space are pretty aggressive, including an extension for the Space Station to accommodate tourists as soon as 2020. When the ISS runs its course, this module would be self-sufficient and open to expanded use for research and manufacturing. The company feels that by 2027 the ability to offer contract manufacturing, or at least lease the available space at their new outpost for production, will be a leading revenue source for the company. Axiom feels this will be made possible by advancements in 3D printing that would allow for manufacturing products like jet turbines, solar panels, satellites and optical fiber. There are two primary reasons for Axiom’s enthusiasm. First, costs for producing space station-like hubs are down nearly 90 percent since the ISS was made in 1998. This makes manufacturing in the microgravity environment of space, which is ideal for maintaining cleanroom-like conditions, more affordable to more countries and more companies. Lower-cost real estate in space also means specialized operations like repairing and deploying small satellites will be subject to greater competition because it could be done at a fraction of the current cost. Additionally, Axiom is looking to partner with California-based Made In Space, which built the 3D printers currently onboard the Space Station. Made In Space also developed the Archinaut – an advanced 3D printer with robotic assembly arms. Archinaut would allow for manufacturing larger pieces of equipment, as well as integrating electrical components. Combining these capabilities means supports for large telescopes, parts for spacecraft and other larger and more complex equipment could be made in space, instead of relying on spacecraft transport. This type of space-based manufacturing tech removes additional cost and takes the size of the spacecraft and its payload limitations completely out of the equation. There would essentially be no size limits when looking at what can be built in...

After-Tax U.S. Manufacturing Profits Up 19.9% from Q1 2016…

After-Tax U.S. Manufacturing Profits Up 19.9% from Q1 2016…

Jun 6, 2017

“After-Tax U.S. Manufacturing Profits Up 19.9% from Q1 2016 to Q1 2017” By Terence P. Jeffrey, CNSNews.com The after-tax profits of U.S. manufacturing corporations increased from $118,199,000,000 in the first quarter of 2016 to $141,672,000,000 in the first quarter of 2017, an increase of $23,473,000,000 of about 19.9 percent, according to data released today by the Census Bureau. According to the Census Bureau, this data only counts the after-tax profits on manufacturing done within the United States. It does not count the after-tax profits that a U.S.-based manufacturing corporation may earn from products it makes in foreign countries. After-tax profits of U.S. manufacturing also increased from $131,727,000,000 in the fourth quarter of 2016 to the $141,672,000,000 reported for the first quarter of this year—a climb of $9,945,000,000 or about 7.5 percent from one quarter to the next. “U.S. manufacturing corporations’ first quarter 2017 unadjusted after-tax profits totaled $141.7 billion, up $23.5 billion from the after-tax profits in the first quarter of 2016, and up $9.9 billion from the after-tax profits of $131.7 billion recorded in the fourth quarter of 2016,” the Census Bureau said in the press release for its Quarterly Financial Report on U.S. manufacturing, mining, wholesale trade and selected service industries. In addition to these “unadjusted” numbers, the Census Bureau also publishes “seasonally adjusted” numbers for quarterly manufacturing profits. In the seasonally adjusted numbers, after-tax profits for manufacturing corporations in the first quarter this year were up $24 billion from the first quarter last year, and up $3.5 billion from the fourth quarter of last year. “U.S. manufacturing corporations’ seasonally adjusted after-tax profits in the first quarter of 2017 totaled $146.5 billion, up $3.5 billion from the after-tax profits of $142.9 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016, and up $24.0 billion from the after-tax profits of $122.45 billion recorded in the first quarter of 2016.” Actual sales for U.S. manufacturing corporations were up $94.2 billion from the first quarter of last year, according to the Census—rising from $$1,4881.8 billion in the first quarter of 2016 to $1576.0 billion in the first quarter of 2017....

Manufacturing A Future For The Next Generation Workforce

Manufacturing A Future For The Next Generation Workforce

Jun 5, 2017

By Kylene Zenk, Manufacturing Business Technology Today, the U.S. manufacturing industry faces many challenges, yet perhaps the most significant is the current — and growing — skills gap with six out of ten production positions going unfilled due to a talent shortage. Closing the gap is a priority, but it’s challenging given the magnitude of the problem — according to research from Deloitte, nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will need to be filled in the next decade, and two million of those jobs are likely to go unfilled. What is causing this gap? The primary factor is the significant increase in baby boomer retirements, as an estimated 2.7 million jobs will open as boomers continue to exit the workplace. Economic expansion will also play a role as 700,000 jobs will be created due to natural business growth. Perception and Education Compound the Challenge As the manufacturing industry loses its experienced knowledgebase to retirement, one would expect the next generation to be prepared to step in — but unfortunately, for many companies, that isn’t the case. Manufacturing can present a great opportunity for younger generations — millennials and Gen Z especially — as open positions are more technical, specialized, and demanding. However, finding qualified talent is increasingly difficult and the lack of it currently in place is creating situations where the talent isn’t there to step in for retirees. Many candidates don’t have the required STEM skills (science, technology, engineering, and math), which may be attributed to the decline in the amount of technical education programs offered at high schools today. Perhaps the biggest obstacle in overcoming the skills gap, however, is the fact that many people have misconceptions or preconceived notions about what it’s like to work in manufacturing today. They picture an archaic industrial plant, complete with old-fashioned equipment or lines of manual laborers, and assume a manufacturing career isn’t right for them. If so, they’re not alone. According to a recent survey commissioned by Kronos Incorporated and conducted online by Harris Poll, more than 50 million Americans have limited to no knowledge about the modern manufacturing industry, and only 37 percent of respondents said they would encourage their children to pursue a career in manufacturing. As...

U.S. Reshored Jobs Rising — But What Will 2017 Bring?

U.S. Reshored Jobs Rising — But What Will 2017 Bring?

Jun 2, 2017

By Taras Berezowsky, Metal Miner Looks like the tide has finally turned. Extending that metaphor is easier now than it’s ever been for us writing on this topic: the reshoring of American manufacturing from abroad — and specifically, the net gains in jobs that we’ve been seeing in 2016 and early 2017 as compared with the trends in the early 2000s. (I envision the emigrating jobs huddled together for warmth on a seaworthy vessel, with Shanghai getting smaller in the distance as the Pacific waves toss the boat ever closer toward Long Beach… if only it were that poetic.) Back to reality. The Reshoring Initiative has just released its 2016 Data Report, and the numbers seem to tell a rosy story. According to the report press release, “in comparison to 2000-2003, when the United States lost, net, about 220,000 manufacturing jobs per year to offshoring, 2016 achieved a net gain of 27,000.” “The numbers demonstrate that reshoring and FDI are important contributing factors to the country’s rebounding manufacturing sector,” the release concluded. But of course, it’s not that easy. Major policy changes will have to be made or improved to continue the reshoring trend (which is still in its early stages), according to Harry Moser, founder of the Reshoring Initiative. In a way, the U.S. should aspire to host conditions like those in Germany, Moser told me, including a supportive government, VAT, low healthcare costs, and an appreciation of the benefit of local sourcing. “Germany has a huge trade surplus and manufacturing at about 20% of employment,” Moser said, “and [the U.S. has] a huge trade deficit and manufacturing at about 10%.” RELATED: We chatted with Moser in a video interview a few years ago when the latest results within the trend were gaining steam (below). The Good News for U.S. Metals Jobs According to the full report, in 2016, fabricated metals had a good showing with the fourth-most reshored jobs by industry category. Also, primary metals moved ahead of non-metallic minerals: Good to see that toys and hobbies industry jobs are coming back… but not nearly as quickly. The “Good/Bad/Who Knows” News for U.S. Metals Jobs One aspect of our new economy that’s...

Manufacturing Growth on Autopilot in May

Manufacturing Growth on Autopilot in May

Jun 1, 2017

By Bill Koenig, AdvancedManufacturing.org Manufacturing economic growth remained on autopilot in May,  the Institute for Supply Management (Tempe, AZ) said today. The institute’s PMI, which measures economic activity in manufacturing, was 54.9% last month, a tick up from April’s 54.8%, according to a monthly report. May was the ninth consecutive month of expansion in manufacturing. New orders, production and employment were all in positive territory last month, the group said. The PMI is “still a very strong number,” Timothy R. Fiore, the new chair of ISM’s Manufacturing Business Survey Committee, said on a conference call. Fifteen of 18 industries reported growth during the month, including machinery, primary metals, miscellaneous manufacturing, transportation equipment, fabricated metal products and petroleum and coal products. Two industries, apparel and textile mills, reported economic contraction. The ISM report is based on a survey of 350 purchasing and supply executives. A reading above 50% indicates expansion and below 50% contraction. The PMI has averaged 53.9% the past 12 months and 56.1% for the first five months of 2017. The index hasn’t been below 50% since August. ‘Turn of a Dime’ The group’s New Orders Index perked up to 59.5% in May from 57.5% the month before. Fourteen of 18 industries reported increases in orders, including primary metals, machinery, fabricated metal products, petroleum and coal products and transportation equipment. Only apparel reported a decline in orders. The institute’s Production Index cooled to 57.1% in May, down from 58.6% in April. Fourteen of 18 industries reported a boost in output, including primary metals, fabricated metal products, miscellaneous manufacturing, machinery and transportation equipment. ISM’s Employment Index advanced to 53.5% last month, up from 52% in April. Eleven of 18 industries reported job growth, including miscellaneous manufacturing, machinery and petroleum and coal products. Five industries reported job cuts, including fabricated metal products and transportation equipment. Fiore said the production and employment results may be tied together. Some manufacturers are have difficulty “finding qualified people on a turn of a dime,” he said. “Our ability to staff up is impacting the production...

Robots & Us: The Future of Work in the Age of AI

Robots & Us: The Future of Work in the Age of AI

May 30, 2017

By Wired Robot co-workers and artificial intelligence assistants are becoming more common in the workplace. Could they edge human employees out? What then? Check out video: https://www.wired.com/video/2017/05/robots-us-the-future-of-work-in-the-age-of-ai/ ...