Ford cancels Mexico plant, expands U.S. factory and…

Ford cancels Mexico plant, expands U.S. factory and…

Apr 23, 2019

“Ford cancels Mexico plant, expands U.S. factory and adds 700 jobs” By Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY Ford Motor announced Tuesday that it would cancel plans for a $1.6 billion Mexico plant and launch a Michigan expansion in a move that may be viewed as a capitulation to Donald Trump. Ford CEO Mark Fields said the company would spend $700 million and add 700 jobs to “transform and expand” its Flat Rock, Mich. manufacturing plant to make autonomous and electric vehicles. “Make no mistake about it — Ford is a global automaker but our home is right here in the United States,” Fields said at a press conference. The move marks a sharp reversal for Ford, which has defended its production in Mexico even as Trump has assailed the company for expanding there. “This is a vote of confidence for President-elect Trump and some of the policies he may be pursuing,” Fields said. To be sure, Ford acknowledged that it would still move production of the next-generation Focus sedan to Mexico, as previously announced. But it will be built at an existing plant in Hermosillo, Mexico, not at a new facility. President-elect Donald Trump is going after General Motors giving them an ultimatum when it comes to manufacturing across the border. Veuer’s Nick Cardona tells us what the President-elect had to say. Buzz60 The United Auto Workers hailed the decision. “We’ve seen our jobs go overseas,” UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles said. “It’s evident today that Ford is rewarding us for our hard work.” Others will view the move as a bid to satisfy Trump, who has cited Ford’s Mexico expansion as a key example of how the North American Free Trade Agreement has weakened American manufacturing. Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford called Trump this morning to inform the president-elect of the decision, and Fields called incoming Vice President Mike Pence. “Automakers are facing a situation where they have to consider the political consequences” of all their decisions, AutoTrader.com analyst Michelle Krebs said. Ford’s expansion will convert 700 temporary jobs at the Michigan plant into permanent positions, adding to an existing hourly staff of about 3,600. Fields said the automaker will add about 200 jobs at its plant in Hermosillo, Mexico,...

CNC Machine Shop Boosts Efficiency with Aid of…

CNC Machine Shop Boosts Efficiency with Aid of…

Jan 7, 2019

“CNC Machine Shop Boosts Efficiency with Aid of Collaborative Robot” Featured in Design-2-Part Magazine BOSTON—Fitzpatrick Manufacturing, a CNC machine shop and custom manufacturer founded in 1952, regularly brings new technology into its factory to increase speed, improve efficiency, and remain competitive. The company recently deployed Rethink Robotics’ Sawyer™ collaborative robot at its Sterling Heights, Michigan, facility to increase operational efficiency and to counterbalance a tight labor market. “We were very deliberate about finding the right job for Sawyer,” said Kevin LaComb, co-president at Fitzpatrick Manufacturing, in a press release. “This is the first time we’ve deployed advanced automation. In job shops, it’s hard to predict what project will come in. With Sawyer’s adaptability, we can automate the repetitive, mundane jobs and free up human workers for more skilled, higher value tasks.” Fitzpatrick Manufacturing supplies parts to more than a dozen sectors, including aerospace, automotive, medical equipment, and oil and gas. The company is using Sawyer to help hone parts that become components for the motion control industry–work that requires precise tolerance and repetitive action. Sawyer identifies which part to run first—short versus long—and loads it into the honing machine. When the first part is finished, Sawyer removes it, loads a second part into the machine, and places the first part in the wash station. From there, Sawyer dries the part at the air blow station before packaging it in a box for shipment. With 400 spots on the pin board to be processed, Sawyer can package between 280 and 300 before a human worker needs to intervene. This process could take five to eight hours, which allows Sawyer to run overnight, lights out, and have all the parts ready to go when workers arrive back at the facility. Sawyer is one of two collaborative robots manufactured by Rethink Robotics—the other is Baxter®—that are designed to work safely alongside people.  The cobots are powered by the Intera software platform and can be trained and on the job in a matter of hours, according to the manufacturer. The majority of Fitzpatrick’s employees have been around for years, and introducing Sawyer was initially met with uncertainty on the floor. However, once the team saw the cobot’s versatility, and...

Trump hypes jobs relocating back to the US. Are they?

Trump hypes jobs relocating back to the US. Are they?

Jan 4, 2019

By Jason Margolis, Public Radio International (PRI) President Donald Trump once named his style of elocution “truthful hyperbole” — what he described as a form of promotion to get people excited. One area the president currently likes to pump up is foreign jobs coming back to the United States. “We have literally hundreds of companies moving back,” President Trump said in November, repeating a statement that’s become a major talking point.   But is this another instance of truthful hyperbole? Are hundreds of companies indeed shifting production back to the US? “I’d say 300, 400, at least, announced in 2017,” said Harry Moser, president of the Reshoring Initiative, a nonprofit that tracks jobs coming back to the US.  OK, score one for the president.  But is a few hundred companies significant? “I would call this movement right now a trickle,” said Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing. There’s considerable debate over how to measure any reshoring trends and very little data available. It’s often not as simple as a company closing a factory in China and reopening it in Ohio. Moser, for example, includes “partial shifts” of jobs, whereas some other research only includes shifts of entire businesses, and thus, have reached less optimistic conclusions about reshoring trends. What is clear, however, said Paul, is that the US is seeing more companies that rely on cheap energy — now in abundance in the US — coming back. “That includes some types of chemical processing, some types of plastics,” said Paul. “I’ve also seen jobs come back in everything from auto parts to textiles in jeans.” Paul said this trend began about a decade ago. Moser, who also assists companies with information about the benefits of shifting work to the US, said President Barack Obama got the ball rolling. “He [President Obama] used to call it ‘insourcing,’” said Moser. “He started a program of increasing our skilled workforce of apprenticeship programs and certificates. He did many useful things.” According to Moser’s research, things have picked up under Trump, with work largely shifting away mostly from China and other parts of Asia. “In 2017, companies announced 170,000 manufacturing jobs coming back from offshore, up 50 percent from 2016.” (This includes both reshoring and foreign direct investment jobs.)  So, what’s driving this? Let’s...

MFG Day Motivates Youth to Pursue a Career in…

MFG Day Motivates Youth to Pursue a Career in…

Oct 24, 2018

“MFG Day Motivates Youth to Pursue a Career in Manufacturing” By Michele Nash-Hoff, Saving U.S. Manufacturing Since 2012, thousands of manufacturers around the country open their doors to inspire and recruit the next generation of manufacturers on Manufacturing Day (MFG Day), which was held this year on Friday, October 5th.    MFG Day is produced by the National Association of Manufacturers and the Manufacturing Institute. MFG DAY had ambitious goals: “to change public perception of manufacturing, inspire students to pursue manufacturing careers, and strengthen the future of manufacturing by avoiding the talent shortage on the horizon.” According to the MFG Day website, “We wanted to correct the idea that manufacturing involved repetitive, unskilled tasks that happened in dark, dirty factories — a ridiculous idea to anyone who has actually worked in manufacturing — and show people what manufacturing really looks like.”   Those of us in the industry know that today’s manufacturing jobs are high skilled, and take place in clean, well-lit, technologically advanced facilities. The problem was that there was no way to know whether perceptions were changing until Deloitte became a sponsor of MFG DAY in 2015 and conducted surveys of attendees.    The results of the survey of 2015 showed: 81% of students emerged “more convinced that manufacturing provides careers that are interesting and rewarding.” 62% of students were “more motivated to pursue a career in manufacturing”  The 2016 survey results showed that the percentages rose to 84% and 64% respectively.   The 2016 Deloitte report said, “Projections indicate that roughly 600,000 people attended MFG DAY events in 2016 and that 267,000 of them were students. That means that nearly 225,000 students walked away from their MFG DAY 2016 event with a more positive perception of manufacturing, according to Deloitte’s findings…. Based on the 267,000-student attendance figure, that’s potentially 171,000 new members of a next-generation manufacturing workforce.”   The Deloitte surveys showed that “71 percent of student attendees both years said that they “were more likely to tell friends, family, parents, or colleagues about manufacturing after attending an event,” meaning that they weren’t just convinced — they were inspired.”   This year, the MFG Day website listed 2,739 events planned across the...

Mobile Computing – The Eyes That Empower People on the…

Mobile Computing – The Eyes That Empower People on the…

Aug 29, 2018

“Mobile Computing – The Eyes That Empower People on the Plant Floor” By Chris Ealahan, Sales Manager at Teguar Corporation Featured on Manufacturing.net The robots are taking over! Not so fast. In the real world of manufacturing, there is no man vs. machine terminator war when it comes to getting jobs done. Rather, there are functions that both sides do better than the other. A lot of these activities have to be done using on-the-spot deductive reasoning that, people, for the most part, are endowed with. The most successful manufacturing operations must have capable employees, but they must also be empowered to do their jobs. Just sending them out on the plant floor with a clipboard is not the way to do it. These technicians need ways to gather information and intervene when necessary that are as advanced as the systems they are interfacing. Mobile computing devices play a big role in enabling plant workers to stay on top of the operation as they traverse the vast expanse of the plant floor. People As Part of the System Just about all plants, regardless of size, are being managed with the help of Enterprise Resource Planning Software (ERP), such as Warehouse Management Systems. Enabling control and getting operational information to the ERP happens by the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), an array of connected electronics, site software, sensors, actuators, and connectors that make up its nerve system. The challenge has been getting sufficient visibility into the job at hand for the most efficient results. Advancements in cloud technology, independent of location, are providing real-time, contextual data directly to technicians’ devices. As a result, IIoT connected processes enable information-sharing and increase collaboration, along with helping technicians understand cause and effect. The job experience changes from simply receiving and completing tasks, to demonstrating increased levels of responsibility and increased comprehension of the system as a whole. Mobile Computing: the Tool for Accessing the ERP System Not too long ago, workers were discouraged from bringing cell phones and tablets into the work place, over a concern about distractions. A growing number of employees are being wired. Management is beginning to relent on the device ban and is slowly coming to...