US manufacturing at highest level in more than 14 years

US manufacturing at highest level in more than 14 years

Sep 4, 2018

By Leia Klingel, Fox Business Trump: We’ve added over 400,000 new manufacturing jobs President Donald Trump touts U.S. job growth during a Make America Great Again Rally in Charleston, West Virginia.       Watch the latest video at foxbusiness.com The latest reading on America’s manufacturing activity has provided yet another piece of evidence that the U.S. economy is firing on all cylinders. In August, economic activity in the U.S. manufacturing sector hit its highest level since May 2004, according to the Institute of Supply Management (ISM). The ISM’s August manufacturing index was 61.3, above the 57.7 economists were expecting, and also above July’s 58.1 reading. According to ISM, sales of factory-made products, output and employment all increased in August, while inflation slowed. Recent tax cuts and strong consumer sentiment are positives for the U.S. economy, but manufacturers have expressed concerns about cost pressures due rising employee wages and supply chain inefficiencies. Additionally, survey participants voiced anxieties about how reciprocal tariffs will impact company revenue and current manufacturing locations. Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 16 reported growth in...

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...

Taking IIoT to the Edge

Taking IIoT to the Edge

Jul 25, 2018

By Jeff Reinke, Industrial Equipment News (IEN) Edge computing’s ability to supply real-time, plant-floor data will continue to drive it forward. The Industrial Internet of Things has unlocked a number of opportunities that the manufacturing sector can now leverage in streamlining operations, improving quality and cutting costs. However, perhaps the most unique benefit of the IIoT has been the ability to customize the application of these technologies according to the needs and preferences of a specific enterprise – even as the number of solutions falling under the scope of IIoT continues to expand. To discuss one such example, IEN recently sat down with John Fryer, senior director of industry solutions at Stratus, to discuss best practices for leveraging IIoT capabilities with Edge Computing strategies.  Jeff Reinke, IEN Editorial Director: The concept of a connected enterprise has been around for a while, but what do you think were the driving factors that brought the term “Internet of Things” into manufacturing’s lexicon? John Fryer, Senior Director of Industry Solutions, Status: Firstly, we should not forget that “connectivity” and “analytics” have been key components of industrial automation implementations since the first uses of digital controls over 40 years ago. PLC’s have been used to control plant floor activities in many industries, but often in isolated silos. The key elements of the “Internet of Things” are ubiquitous connectivity, almost unlimited computing power and advanced analytics, often using machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies. The advent of the Internet has driven exponential growth in digital connectivity, primarily in human to machine interaction. In recent years, this has been extended to machine-to-machine interaction and the introduction of machine learning to enable automated control of “things”. Perhaps the best examples are self-learning thermostats in homes, which can also be connected to safety systems, such as fire alarms.  Providing plant-wide connectivity with standard technologies, such as Ethernet (or variants) and using the Internet Protocols (IP) enables interconnection of disparate systems, both within the plant, and between plants and Enterprise systems. This makes it easier to deploy additional computing power at the Edge, within a plant, or in the Cloud, and to apply analytic and machine learning technologies to improve a whole range of production and business processes....

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,...