Has Tesla Found a Better Way to Test and Validate Vehicles?

Has Tesla Found a Better Way to Test and Validate Vehicles?

Mar 24, 2017

By Charles Murray, DesignNews Electric carmaker might shorten the beta test phase of its forthcoming Tesla Model 3 vehicle. A recent statement by Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk has auto insiders wondering if the electric car maker has found a better way to test and validate vehicles, or if it is embarking on a risky new course. In the statement made on an exclusive investor-only call last week, Musk reportedly suggested that the beta test phase of the company’s moderately-priced Model 3 EV is being shortened, and that its “early release candidates” are already being built on production tooling. According to various electric car websites, such as Elektrek, Tesla engineers used sophisticated design-for-manufacturability analytics, enabling them to limit the number of pre-production iterations of the vehicle. The result is that the quality of the so-called “release candidates” is higher than it was for the company’s earlier products, the Model S and Model X, reports said. “The most plausible interpretation of this statement about release candidates is that (Musk) has opted to short-cut development testing of prototype vehicles,” noted Sam Abuelsamid, senior reach analyst for Navigant Research , in an e-mail to Design News. “In all likelihood, he is assuming that they can get by with more simulation testing and less testing of physical prototypes.” If that is indeed Musk’s plan, it would be a departure from the way automobiles have traditionally been tested, validated and manufactured. In common practice, beta testing involves months and tens of thousands of testing miles on vehicles built on pre-production tooling. In the case of the Model 3 (photo, left), that phase may have been short-circuited, but it’s difficult to know definitively because Musk often uses different terms than other automakers when describing the process. Tesla did not respond to an e-mail from Design News asking for clarification. Automotive experts said the industry will watch carefully to see if the Silicon Valley carmaker’s software-centric approach is successful, but many were skeptical. “Everybody is trying to accelerate the process of launch,” noted David Cole, chairman emeritus of the Center for Automotive Research . “But if you say you’re going to skip part of the normal process in validating your tooling,...

“Eliminate the Trade Deficit” Resonates in Halls of Congress

“Eliminate the Trade Deficit” Resonates in Halls of Congress

Mar 22, 2017

By Michele Nash-Hoff, Savingusmanufacturing.com  “You were ahead of the curve on trade.” This was the common refrain heard last week by members of the Coalition for a Prosperous America who attended our annual fly-in to Washington, D. C. We had eight teams of members visiting Congressional Representatives and Senators on March 14th and 15th. As Chair of our developing California chapter, it was my fifth year attending the CPA fly-in, and our simple message of eliminating the trade deficit resonated well in the halls of Congress. No one could deny that we have a huge deficit as shown on the chart below: The annual trade deficit has reduced our U. S. GDP by some 3% to 5.5% each year, and those reductions compound over time. There is no historical record of any other country in history running 41 years of consecutive trade deficits. Why is this important? Because every billion dollars of net imports costs 4,500 American jobs according to conservative estimates. So last year’s $502 billion deficit equates to 2.25 million jobs lost. As a result, our Labor Force Participation is in serious decline. The U. S. is the only G7 nation with a DECLINE in LFPR since 1998 for workers ages 15-64. It peaked at 77.4% in 1998 and dropped down five points to 72.6% in 2015, meaning that over 7 million people dropped out of labor force since 1998. The remedy recommended by the Coalition for a Prosperous America is simple:  Congress should establish a national goal to eliminate the trade deficit. Balanced trade over time is the goal of free trade and of fair trade. Balanced trade will re-industrialize our country, enable massive job creation, grow our wealth and effectively neutralize foreign mercantilism. Trade policy must address true drivers of deficit, these countries and their practices. Many of these countries have export-oriented growth strategies in which they rely upon the US market to consume their exports rather than increasing their internal consumption. China, Germany, Japan and other countries pursue net exports through strategic mercantilism, not free trade. Currency manipulation, value added taxes, state influenced enterprises, and other tactics are used. The following top 10 countries account for 90% of America’s...

Why one CT producer is investing time, millions to reshore

Why one CT producer is investing time, millions to reshore

Mar 16, 2017

By Gregory Seay, Hartford Business Journal Cromwell factory owner Jack Carey saw the threat looming several years ago, and began steps to protect his product source, employees and the future of family-run Carey Manufacturing Inc. Well before this sitting president’s “America First” campaign and mounting public support for boosting jobs at home, Carey, whose company supplies metal latches, catches and handles to commercial, industrial and military customers, sought to end its reliance on heavily subsidized Chinese raw materials and manufacturers of hardware found on everything from office desks to missile containers. So by early 2018, Carey says his $8 million company will have invested $2.5 million in Connecticut-sourced laser cutters, a new quality-inspection station and up to eight new jobs, to produce in-house the more than 300 varieties of latches and handles listed in its catalog. Chinese suppliers’ unpredictable pricing and uneven quality were Carey’s principal reasons for home-shoring his hardware production. “We’re trying to compete in a world where … we’re competing against governments that give things away. It’s tough,” said Carey, a former Pratt & Whitney Co. machinist who launched his company in 1998. His move, one of Connecticut’s and the nation’s growing examples of the “reshoring” trend to bring certain manufacturing and technology back to America, offers plenty of benefits, including a secure, stable supply of product and more production overtime for his shop-floor workers, Carey says. But even more important, says Carey, is that America can recapture production of some obscure but vital components such as the metal missile-case fasteners Carey supplies to the U.S. military. According to industry observers, reshoring of manufacturing and related technology to America has been underway since the Great Recession but is still in its infancy. The trend dipped in 2015 due to the strong dollar and rising oil prices, which favored overseas production, according to the Reshoring Initiative, a Midwest nonprofit advocate of restoring well-paying manufacturing jobs and vital goods production to the U.S. From 2010 to 2015, it’s estimated that Connecticut added 575 new jobs and eight new companies as a result of reshoring and foreign direct investment, according to the Reshoring Initiative. Many of the jobs are coming back to America from...

We just got more proof that American manufacturing…

We just got more proof that American manufacturing…

Mar 7, 2017

“We just got more proof that American manufacturing is making a comeback” By Lucia Mutikani, Reuters New orders for U.S.-made goods increased for a second straight month in January, suggesting the manufacturing sector recovery was gaining momentum as rising prices for commodities spur demand for machinery. Factory goods orders rose 1.2 percent, the Commerce Department said on Monday after an unrevised 1.3 percent jump in December. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast factory orders advancing 1.0 percent in January. Factory orders were up 5.5 percent from a year ago. Total shipments of manufactured goods increased 0.2 percent after surging 2.5 percent in December. Manufacturing, which accounts for about 12 percent of the U.S. economy, is regaining its footing after being buffeted by lower oil prices, a strong dollar and an inventory overhang. The nascent recovery was underscored by a survey last week showing a gauge of national factory activity jumped to a 2-1/2-year high in February. The Commerce Department also said orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft – seen as a measure of business confidence and spending plans – slipped 0.1 percent in January instead of the 0.4 percent drop reported last month. Shipments of these so-called core capital goods, which are used to calculate business equipment spending in the gross domestic product report, fell 0.4 percent in January. They were previously reported to have declined 0.6 percent. The weakness in shipments points to continued sluggish growth in business spending on equipment, which increased at a 1.9 percent annualized rate in the fourth quarter. That was the first rise in over a year. In January, orders for transportation equipment accelerated 6.2 percent, reflecting a 62.2 percent surge in defense aircraft orders. There was also a 69.8 percent jump in orders for civilian aircraft. Outside transportation, orders for machinery increased 0.9 percent. Orders for computers and electronic products fell 1.9 percent and bookings for electrical equipment, appliances and components declined 2.6 percent. Orders for fabricated metal product rose 2.3 percent. (Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Paul Simao)...

Here are the cities where manufacturing hiring is strongest

Here are the cities where manufacturing hiring is strongest

Feb 27, 2017

By Craig M. Douglas and Joe Martin, Houston Business Journal The manufacturing industry made headlines recently following a Feb. 23 meeting between President Donald Trump and some of the country’s largest manufacturing CEOs. Whether any policy changes will emerge from the discussion remains to be seen, but the best strategy — in terms of fostering growth throughout the U.S. manufacturing sector — may be simply to do nothing. That’s because U.S. manufacturing jobs have been on the increase for the better part of five years. Manufacturing jobs declined by around 1 million positions throughout the nation’s 107 largest metros between 2006 and 2016, with some areas losing more than a quarter of their workforces. Meanwhile, between 2011 and 2016, those same 107 areas saw a 4 percent increase in manufacturing hiring. The uptick equated to a net increase of roughly 280,000 jobs, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Houston saw a slightly different trajectory. Between 2006 and 2016, the Houston area added 5,600 manufacturing jobs, however, between 2011 and 2016 Houston saw a net decrease of 900 jobs as the energy industry went through a downturn, according to the data. Two-thirds of Houston’s manufacturing jobs are related to durable goods, or items with a useful life of three or more years, including oil field equipment, steel and computers, according to the Greater Houston Partnership. And while Houston saw a slight decrease between 2011 and 2016 — an atypical trend for the 107 cities surveyed — the GHP says the manufacturing sector is expected to increase in 2017.   The gains reported between 2011 and 2016 were spread throughout the country. Top among all metros was Louisville, Kentucky, where makers of everything from cars to guns to bourbon boosted hiring by 27.2 percent. Further south in Nashville, Tennessee, hiring spiked 27 percent, while in the Daytona Beach area of Florida it increased by 25.3 percent. In terms of actual jobs created, Detroit reported the biggest gains with some 37,500 new manufacturing jobs added between 2011 and 2016. Nearby, Grand Rapids, Michigan, ranked second, with a net of 21,000 new jobs, while Nashville was third at 18,300, according to the BLS data. The nation’s three-largest cities...