Other Voices: Is the time right for reshoring?

Other Voices: Is the time right for reshoring?

Jul 16, 2018

By Harry Moser, Modern Materials Handling New research -as well as incentives like lower corporate tax rates – suggest that it is. It’s hard not to pick up a newspaper or listen to a news report without hearing that U.S. manufacturers are reshoring production, and jobs, back to the U.S. It’s a cause we have been dedicated to at the Reshoring Initiative. There are a number of reasons why we believe that 2018 is the right for companies to re-evaluate their offshoring decisions. Among them are the reduction in U.S. corporate tax rates and regulatory costs and the approximately nine percent decline in the USD from Jan. 2017 to Jan. 2018. Recent academic research provides useful detailed insight into how and why some organizations have reevaluated their offshoring decisions, leading to decisions to reshore. The results are generally consistent with the analyses of data collected by my organization, the Reshoring Initiative, based on a larger population of reshorers. In a recent article entitled “Why in the world did they reshore? Examining small to medium-sized manufacturer decisions,” John V. Gray, Gökçe Esenduran, M. Johnny Rungtusanatham, and Keith Skowronski looked at four small-to-medium-size enterprises, or SMEs, with headquarters and demand in the U.S., that had moved their manufacturing operations from low-cost locations in Asia back to high-cost countries. Two of the companies are located in the Midwest and two are in the West, with product categories ranging from power transmission equipment to measuring and controlling devices, to fabricated metal products to apparel. The authors found that these reshoring decisions are driven by factors beyond changing location-related costs. The Reshoring Initiative and John V. Gray, one of the co-authors and a professor at The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business, have discussed the reshoring phenomenon for years. This article is an effort to compare the results from the in-depth academic research of a small number of firms by Gray and his colleagues, and the larger-scale survey data collected by our organization. To differentiate between their work and ours, any numerical results related to the work of the Reshoring Initiative are italicized. Lessons Learned 1. Remedying the Unintended Consequences  SMEs are correcting the unintended consequences of initial offshoring decisions...

Boeing HorizonX Invests in 3D Printing Startup Morf3D

Boeing HorizonX Invests in 3D Printing Startup Morf3D

Jul 5, 2018

Featured in Design-2-Part Magazine Investment furthers Boeing’s commitment to a competitive ecosystem for aerospace-quality 3D-printed parts CHICAGO—Boeing announced its investment in Morf3D, an El Segundo, Calif.-based company specializing in metal-based additive engineering and manufacturing. Morf3D’s technology enables lighter and stronger 3D-printed parts for aerospace applications, Boeing said in a press release. Since Morf3D was established in late 2015, the company has produced 3D-printed titanium and aluminum components for Boeing satellites and helicopters. With this investment, Morf3D will collaborate with Boeing to further develop manufacturing processes and engineering capabilities. “Developing standard additive manufacturing processes for aerospace components benefits both companies and empowers us to fully unleash the value of this transformative technology,” said Kim Smith, vice president and general manager of fabrication for Boeing Commercial Airplanes and Boeing Additive Manufacturing leader, in the release. Morf3D’s metallurgy experts are using a new set of additive manufacturing design rules to advance the technology and accelerate 3D-printing capabilities for commercial use. The company uses state-of-the-art software, combined with engineering expertise, to significantly reduce mass and increase the performance and functionality of manufactured parts. “We are excited to be a distinguished and trusted partner of Boeing’s additive manufacturing supplier base, as we continue to industrialize our processes for the high-rate production of flight-worthy additively manufactured components,” said Ivan Madera, CEO of Morf3D, in the release. “This investment will enable us to increase our engineering staff and expand our technology footprint of EOS M400-4 DMLS systems to better serve the growing demands of our aerospace customers.” “As innovative companies continue to revolutionize technologies and methods, we are proud to invest in the rapidly growing and competitive additive manufacturing landscape,” said Steve Nordlund, vice president of Boeing HorizonX, in the release. Boeing HorizonX Ventures co-led this Series A funding round. The Boeing HorizonX Ventures investment portfolio is made up of companies specializing in technologies for aerospace and manufacturing innovations, including autonomous systems, energy storage, advanced materials, augmented reality systems and software, machine learning, hybrid-electric and hypersonic propulsion, and Internet of Things connectivity. In March 2018, Boeing and Norsk Titanium received the Aviation Week Laureate Award for Commercial Supplier Innovation for qualifying the first additively manufactured structural titanium parts on a commercial airplane. In February 2018,...

171,000 Jobs Come Home to USA in 2017

171,000 Jobs Come Home to USA in 2017

Jun 4, 2018

By Frank Spotorno with Dan Murphy, Yonkers Times A recent report by our friends at The Reshoring Initiative (reshorenow.org) found that last year, 2017, the USA saw an increase in manufacturing jobs coming back to this country, or reshoring, at a record pace: 171,000 jobs have returned as a result of reshoring or foreign investment. American companies are shifting their production of goods from outside the U.S. and bringing their jobs home. While the 171,000 jobs that returned last year is significant, projected figures from this year show that the trend toward making it in the USA is continuing. While some of the reasons for the return of manufacturing jobs to the USA can be attributed to President Donald Trump and his “Buy American, Hire American” initiative, other factors that add to the bottom line of U.S. companies include proximity to customers, government incentives, and the value of “Made in the USA” branding. Harry Mosher, president of the Reshoring Initiative, said that more jobs will continue to come back to the USA. “With 3 million to 4 million manufacturing jobs still offshore, as measured by our $500 billion-per-year trade deficit, there is potential for much more growth,” he said. “We call on the administration and Congress to enact policy changes to make the United States competitive again.” Mosher added that a strong dollar and a stronger skilled U.S. workforce helps continue the wave of jobs coming back home. The Reshoring Initiative has been calculating the cost of doing business for American companies overseas, and comparing it to making it in the USA for more than a decade. Every year the cost of building goods and products in China, in comparison to the USA, has narrowed and is now at the point where it makes real business sense to return manufacturing plants back to America. “We know where the imports are by country, and we know the price difference between the foreign price and the U.S price,” said Mosher. “The total cost of foreign-made goods delivered to the U.S. is a full 95 percent of the cost of U.S.-produced goods. We know how much you have to shift it to make the U.S. competitive with China.”...

How Factory Intelligence is Evolving

How Factory Intelligence is Evolving

May 23, 2018

By Larry Maggiano, Senior Systems Analyst, Mitutoyo America Corp. Featured on AdvancedManufacturing.org Intelligent factories have existed since manufacturing’s historical inception, but intelligence—defined as the acquisition and application of manufacturing knowledge—resided only with the factory’s staff. With the advent of numerical control (NC) and then computer numerical control (CNC) technologies, factory machines gained digital I/O capabilities but were still not smart. Digitally enabled machines, though increasingly productive, had no awareness of themselves, their environment, or the tasks being performed or to-be performed. In spite of these limitations, centralized factory intelligence has been achieved at modest scales through a deterministic low-level set of digital commands and responses. An experiment in large-scale centralized factory intelligence was General Motor’s 1982 Manufacturing Automation Protocol (MAP), operating over token bus network protocol (IEE 802.4). The MAP-enabled factory intelligence experiment ended in 2004 as it was difficult to maintain operational reliability. One of the most important reasons was a lack of system resiliency, a downside of required deterministic factory communication standards and protocols. Another reason was that the connected machines could not continue to operate at any level when instructions were not forthcoming from a central system. An analogy might be made to the mainframe-to-terminal infrastructure that became obsolete in the 1990s with the development of the PC and distributed computing. Several significant changes have enabled the development of smart machines for the intelligent factory. The first is the extension of IT’s ubiquitous Ethernet LAN infrastructure to the shop floor, enabling rapid 3D downloads of model-based definition (MBD), and uploads of process and product data. Secondly, today’s digital twins are smart in that they possess an awareness of not only their capabilities and operational status, but of work that can be performed on any particular MBD. In this manner, smart machines can bid on tasks, much like their human partners. A smart machine’s digital twin does not need deterministic low-level instructions, but instead responds to a submitted MBD, and, if selected, does real work with its physical counterpart. Lastly, three standardized core technologies–HTML, CSS and JavaScript—are recognized as enabling the widespread adoption of the Internet and the emergence of intelligent global systems. It is envisioned that similar standardized core technologies will enable...

A New Era of 3D Printing

A New Era of 3D Printing

May 16, 2018

By Mark Shortt, Design-2-Part Magazine Adaptive Corporation, Inc. strives to enable innovation by applying technology to streamline business processes, reduce costs, and improve efficiencies throughout the product development lifecycle. Adaptive is a reseller of Markforged 3D Printers, like the Onyx Seriesand Metal X, which are used to make carbon fiber composite and metal printed parts, respectively. Frank Thomas, a metrology and additive manufacturing specialist for Adaptive, has worked with a variety of manufacturing companies in the areas of engineering, metrology, and additive manufacturing, as both an implementation consultant and product specialist. Over the past 10 years, he has focused on connecting engineering and manufacturing, specifically around quality, and now additive manufacturing.  His goal is to help companies better connect the “virtual” to the “physical,” thereby improving their time to market and reducing cost. Thomas said that until fairly recently, additive manufacturing was used most often as a tool to create parts that you could hand to somebody so that they could see it, touch it, and provide some input as to what might need to be changed or modified. But that’s changed in recent years as new materials have been developed that enable printers to make stronger, more durable parts. “Metal printing has always been there, but that has an economic value proposition that’s a bit challenging for it,” he said in an interview. “The ABS and nylon and other plastic 3D printers, up until the last couple of years, weren’t necessarily dimensionally accurate, and then they had challenges creating a part that’s functional. That’s what I think is different about the market today, compared to just, really, a couple of years ago.” Adaptive markets 3D printers that feature dimensional accuracy and the ability to yield a part that is functional, depending on the application. Thomas said that he’s also seeing a lot of interest in metal 3D printing. “Where metal 3D printing comes from is the argon laser based systems,” he told D2P. “The companies that have had applications or use cases for them have made the investments, and they’ve been huge investments. They probably start at half a million dollars and go up, and that doesn’t even count the facility that’s required to be able to...