Thursday, November 28 2019
By Michael D. White, author and freelance writer
There is an old adage that nothing is really new. And, in fact, it really isn’t.
The screw, the wheel, the inclined plane, the stirrup, movable type, the assembly line were all lauded as “uses of innovative technology to improve products or processes.”
What were then seen as innovations, we see today as the cutting-edge integration of new technologies, processes and methods into the production and design of products in an effort to remain competitive and add value. We call it advanced manufacturing.
Generally speaking, organizations across a wide spectrum of industries are implementing advanced manufacturing processes into innovative, affordable, and reliable products with technologically complex levels of design.
Tuesday, November 20 2018
From rocket thrusters to shoe soles, additive technologies expand their sights
Since May 2015, in a portion of its WorldPort distribution center in Louisville, Kentucky, United Parcel Service has been operating a spare parts warehouse with no spare parts. Instead, the facility is stocked with ultrafast 3D printers that can build up almost any plastic part that’s required, layer by layer by layer—and have it ready for UPS to deliver anywhere in the United States by morning.
“It was a no-brainer,” says Alan Amling, UPS’s vice president for corporate strategy. Storing spare parts for quick delivery was already a big moneymaker for the company, he says. UPS operates more than a thousand field stocking locations worldwide—all full of items that somebody might need someday, maybe. The industrial customers who pay for that service have to keep the parts available because of warranty contracts, says Amling. But they hate it. “Inventory storage costs are massive,” he says. “So we started to see 3D printing as a solution.”
Wednesday, November 29 2017
By Amanda Taylor, Senior Consultant and Director of Research, and Kyle Neu, Consultant, McCallum Sweeney Consulting
There is renewed emphasis on manufacturing as the U.S. hinges its economic future on restoring robust and sustained economic growth. Economic developers at the local, regional, and state level know that impactful growth will come from the manufacturing industries engaged in innovative and technology-driven production, universally known as advanced manufacturing. An advanced manufacturing growth strategy is especially important for regions with tight labor markets since high-tech manufacturing operations generally require few workers while generating significant output. To build a sustainable advanced manufacturing growth strategy, regions can look to the metros with the largest advanced manufacturing gross domestic products (GDP), Houston and San Jose, and they will find that the most important elements of an advanced manufacturing strategy are continual innovation and diversification.
According to the Brookings Institute, there are 35 manufacturing industries that constitute the advanced manufacturing sector. These 35 industries, combined with 15 services and energy generation industries, make up the advanced industries sector, which Brooking’s refers to as the nation’s “linchpin industries”. These are the high-tech industries leading U.S. economic growth and tackling objectives of national and global importance.
Regional economic activity in advanced manufacturing is measured by evaluating the GDP, or value of goods, originating from industries located within a metropolitan area. Nationwide, the advanced manufacturing economy accounted for approximately $1.37 trillion in GDP in 2016, about 7.5 percent of total U.S. GDP, and most of this activity took place in metropolitan areas.
Tuesday, November 22 2016
By Kevin Hively and Ariana McBride, Ninigret Partners LLC
State of Manufacturing in the U.S.
However, manufacturing is not a monolithic economic sector. There is little similarity in making shoes compared to manufacturing biotherapeutics as an example. Accordingly, within manufacturing there can be wide variation in economic performance. Understanding the differences in sector activity is critical to explaining manufacturing’s economic performance.
Monday, November 30 2015
By Dawn Baetsen, president of D.E. Baetsen & Associates LLC
There is no argument-developments in advanced manufacturing positively impact manufacturing in many ways such as cost efficiencies, quality, consistency, and speed to market to name of few. Manufacturing still helps drive economies and advanced manufacturing in making developments happen at a rapid pace to fuel strategic growth and competition. According to the National Association of Manufacturers, for every dollar spent in manufacturing another $1.37 is added to the U.S. national economy, the largest of any industry. Manufacturing in the U.S. contributes over $2 trillion to the economy, provides good jobs and fuels the middle class. However, our economy is not out of the woods from the recession. Maintaining the momentum to keep manufacturing moving in the right direction and to exceed pre-recession levels will take considerable effort. Roadblocks remain in skilled labor, energy costs, location, innovation to commercialization, and the ability for the small to mid-size manufacturer to identify with the benefits of, and embrace, advanced manufacturing.
Since the recession, government initiatives in many countries identified the need to provide support to the manufacturing base in order to remain competitive, to support research and development and move it to the shop floor. The United States also moved in the same direction and answered with the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). The goal of NNMI is to work with newly-organized and monetarily-supported institutes to create a research-to-manufacturing infrastructure, which can be shared to support U.S. manufacturers and shift the competitive advantage back to the United States with advanced manufacturing as a critical tool. This new initiative recognizes the need for communities, educators, workers, businesses and government to work together to achieve these goals.