Tag : future of manufacturing

Manufacturing Sector

Is US Manufacturing Making a Profit?

Many people view the manufacturing industry in the US as one that is untouched by technological changes. This skepticism has led to some questioning whether the manufacturing industry is making a profit in this era.

Addressing concerns on the decline of the manufacturing industry in the US

The manufacturing industry experienced a major hitch during the recession, with more than 5.8 million workers losing their jobs between the years 2000 and 2010. While the 2007-08 recession played a major role, many attributed this to the automation and the introduction of robotics in the manufacturing industry, some thought that this was a sign of the slow growth of the US economy and that the US was losing its grip to support its population.

According to the IMF, the decline does not necessarily indicate a shift in the industry’s size. Instead, sector inequality is what is bringing about this concern. In a recent IMF report, Bertrand Gruss stated that “the decline in manufacturing need not be a source of concern as long as the policy mix is right.”

Though the industry has gone through dark times in the recent past, data from the US Census Bureau shows that it is making profits, with the first quarter of 2018 having a $154 billion, up from the $117.6 billion that had been realized in the last quarter of 2017.

Manufacturing trends behind the industry’s current profits

Labor automation
The use of CNC manufacturing has played a major role in the success of this industry. While this is no magic wand, it has made manufacturing companies more competitive. Automation of processes and the use of digital machines has led to increased productivity as tasks that were done manually at higher costs, and less accuracy are now automated. This has led to a significant drop in manufacturing jobs, but its benefits far outweighs the challenges. Through an efficient production process manufacturers realize an increased output which ultimately leads to increased profits.

Machine outsourcing and leasing
Automation has not come without its fair share of challenges. These human-capacity-saving machinery in most cases have extremely high upfront costs. However, any company can now walk into an Original Equipment Manufacturer and lease any machine. This, coupled with the many financing options has given the industry a major boost. Finance companies are offering to settle not only the machine’s cost but other soft costs such as its installation and freight.

Rising demand
The US remains to be a lucrative market for manufactured items. This has continued to lure both local and international manufacturers to open companies in the US. The streamlining of global logistics has opened up this industry to the world. Technological innovations have made the moving of products and services faster, cheaper, and easier. As such, manufacturers have increased their visibility to potential clients not only in the US but all over the globe. This has seen the demand soar especially in emerging economies. With the increased demand, manufacturers have doubled their output capacity, which explains their profit story over the last few years.

Further, the rise in global demand has led to US manufacturers seeking international allies. In most instances, the US manufacturer works on the design and the products’ functionality while the international partner manages distribution in the country they are in. This has also enabled the manufacturers to widen their global reach and maximize their revenues.

The rise in industry technologies
Manufacturers can now efficiently source for raw materials or deliver their finished products anywhere in the world. They can now have multiple facilities all over the globe, as opposed to the past where facilities were set up depending on the raw materials’ proximity. Through cloud connectivity, such facilities can sync data which is accessed by each facility in real-time.

Evolution in the precision manufacturing sector has made manufacturers maximize their production output, increase the machine’s running times, and reduce downtimes. Through design and simulation tools, manufacturers can validate the products’ design before the final production. This results in the production of perfect products and reduced design time.

Increased diversification to service provision
The integration of automated systems in the production process has necessitated that there be a constant support for optimal efficiency. Case in point is IBM, which actually sells more services than goods. Many Denver manufacturing shops also offer services that are meant to help companies maintain and upgrade their machines. This has led to diversification and eventual realization of profits.

The future of the manufacturing industry in the US

Concerns on whether the US will be able to recoup its position as a leader in the manufacturing industry continue to be a significant bone of contention. The US population is also waiting to see whether the current administration will deliver its promise, that is, ensure that the low and middle-class workers get their manufacturing jobs back. Besides, everyone wonders what impact increased manufacturing automation have on the workforce in the long run.

All indicators show that the manufacturing industry is experiencing a resurgence, and focus is shifting to policies that will accelerate this growth.  Policies such fewer government regulations and investment in infrastructure geared towards enhancing manufacturing are expected.

While manufacturing jobs are returning to the US, it will be necessary for any machine shop Denver, to employ the same skills that were applicable a few years ago. As a result, we will see more efforts from government agencies and corporates to bridge the skills gap. The curriculum also has to be adjusted and relevant programs introduced to ensure more skilled labor is available.

Also, no CNC machinist is going out of business as technological innovations lead to production efficiency and the production of high-quality products. Undeniably, we can only expect more automated processes. This will further be influenced by the evolution of the Internet of Things. We can expect advancement in M2M applications, 3-D printing, and AI equipment. It is hard to find a custom machine shop that is not making use of such technological innovations for products with multiple customization options and fewer flaws.

The manufacturing industry plays a major role in the US economy. Increase in efficiency due to automation will ultimately lead to increased production, time-saving, reduced downtimes due to the use of smart machines will all lead to higher profit amounts and a healthier economy. While these changes are welcome, they will lead to changes in the workforce and better products.

Metal Wheel Concept

Improving CNC Machine Shop Efficiency and Productivity

As manufacturing continues to evolve, CNC machinists find themselves in stressful situations since the skills gap is diminishing with time. It has become very difficult to find experienced CNC manufacturing machinists in this industry. The level of competition is up which requires high CNC automation of machine tools to provide stiff competition to other CNC machine providers.

The high demand for quality parts means that mechanical engineering and milling processes must put more emphasis on increased productivity and manufacturing. Today, modern valuable CNC machining tools have made it possible for most shops to modernize their operations. To remain competitive, CNC machinists must find viable ways of increasing their output and maintain reliable, quality and exceptional customer care services.

Time is an important aspect in CNC manufacturing and each machine shop owner wish to make their shops more productive and efficient. Here are three main tips for improving your CNC machine shop efficiency and productivity.

Prolonging the Life of the Tool

Consider having a high-pressure coolant system or increase the concentration of the existing one. It is advisable to examine your tool holder and the inserts from time to time to enhance its lifespan. This simple process helps you to prevent any disastrous failures. You should also record the number of materials that are being removed. Mechanical engineering schools put a lot of emphasis on avoiding extreme contact time with the new materials.

During this process, it’s advisable to go for harder insert grades of your choice which will service you for long. To maintain your tool holder for a long time, some specific coatings like aluminum oxide will help you to reduce the cycle while increasing the lifespan of your tool, feed rates and cutting speeds. Alternatively, you may consider investing in a cryogenic machine.

Improve the Organization

Lack of proper organization may lead to loss of money and significant manpower. There is need to maintain a properly arranged workplace for your business especially if it’s a machine tool. You have to organize things and put them in place when you are done with your work.

You should make sure you invest in quality shadow boards, and tool draws such as those used at US manufacturing schools. You should also improve the labeling system of your arrangements to prevent confusions. Cleanliness of your equipment and shop floor should be maintained since it’s beneficial to your health and business.

Equipment Management System

It is profitable to keep your tool cost as low as possible and invest in US manufacturing tool management system while setting your time down. A good and reliable tool management system will help you to manage and track your inventory. This will enable you to reduce the cost of overstocking or understocking of the tool supply.

The manufacturing in USA enables you to find useful software that will help you control performance, tool usage and procurement in your CNC machine shop. The software also provides crucial purchase notifications to help you avoid costly downtimes. You need to understand that your production quantity isn’t the only factor that drives business growth. You need to thoroughly evaluate the kind of services you are providing to your clients and streamline your overall business processes.

CNC Automation Trends

Machining Technology Trends 2018

2018 is already off to an exciting start when it comes to CNC manufacturing and CNC automation. The US economy is improving, jobs and growth are projecting higher for US manufacturing for the coming years, and new technologies are emerging in CNC automation. Here’s a look at some of the top machining technology trends for the coming year (and beyond).

1. Demand for Machine-Tooled Products Is Increasing
Consumer confidence is on the rise and the US economy is ramping up after a slowdown of many years. This means the demand for machine-tooled products will be on the rise as well. New changes to US tax laws and trade policies are increasing the demand for domestic manufacturing. This will also make it easier for new CNC manufacturing startups to get off the ground, because they can be more competitive with established overseas machining operations.

2. CNC Growth Projections Are High
CNC manufacturing is projected to grow in demand across nearly every sector this year. Take a look at the estimated 2018 growth in CNC industries from an analysis by Gardner Business International:

Medical Devices & Instruments: 5.1 percent increase
Surgical Instruments: 3.1 percent increase
Automotive Manufacturing: 2 percent increase
Aerospace Parts & Engines: 3 percent increase

3. Demand for CNC Manufacturing Jobs Projecting Upward
This is actually a “good news and bad news” trend for the moment, with the bad news coming first. The CNC manufacturing sector overall was not ready for the increased demand for precision machined products. In the short term, the skilled labor gap is going to get worse than it already is. Mechanical engineering schools don’t have a lot of new slots opening up, while the industry needs skilled and trained workers for CNC automation and machining. Bottom line: There aren’t enough workers to keep up with demand in the short term. However, that is good news in the long run. The job outlook for the CNC Manufacturing sector looks better and better through 2018 and beyond.

4. More Touchscreen Controls
Companies that make precision CNC machining equipment are rapidly implementing more touchscreen controls. The controls make it easier and faster to pre-program machinery and tools for 3D cutting tasks. Program navigation, editing, creation and verification are all made easier by implement touchscreen controls with manual keypads. CAD/CAM programming and USB communication with interfaces allow even more options, versatility and ease-of-use on the machining shop floor. The implementation of touchscreen controls has added more speed to the CNC machining process, which is great when manufacturers want to quickly push more product out the door.

5. Robotics & Regulations
As the CNC manufacturing sector continues to expand, human engineers are increasingly working in proximity to robots. State and federal government will eventually step in with new regulations related to functional safety. While it hasn’t happened yet (beyond regulations that are already in place under OSHA), the industry is holding its breath for when that day comes. When it does happen, it will likely have a ripple across the domestic CNC manufacturing industry which will increase product costs for consumers.

ISO 9001

What is ISO and What are the Steps to Becoming ISO Certified?

ISO 9001 originated from the conglomeration of two different organizations namely United Nations Standard Coordinating Committee (UNSCC) and International Federation of the National Standardizing Associations (IFNSA) in 1946 when over 25 nations convened at the Institute of Civil Engineers in central London.

ISO (International Organization for Standardization) creates all the essential documents that provide specific guidelines, requirements, specifications, or characteristics that are used to ensure that materials, processes, products, and services are highly fit for their purpose. The body has published over 22025 International standards which can be purchased from the ISO store. The standards cover all sectors including manufacturing in USA, mechanical engineering schools, and even CNC automation.

The ISO 9001 standards bring real and more measurable benefits in various sectors since the standards underpin the technology most industries rely on and ensures quality is adhered to in every stage of CNC machining and CNC manufacturing. Some of the benefits of being ISO 9001 certified include improved efficiency and cost savings, widened market potential, higher level of client service which leads to higher customer satisfaction, and compliance with procurement tenders.

What Are the Steps to Becoming ISO 9001 Certified?

Obtaining an ISO certification for US manufacturing schools or any other industry player requires a significant investment of time, effort, and money. This is a process that will take some time to complete. Below are the essential steps to be followed while seeking ISO certification.

Select a Credible Certification Body

The journey towards being ISO certified starts with identifying a qualified certification body to help you in the process. Since most of the ISO 9001 standards for mechanical engineering are based on a three-year cycle, most of the certification parties will expect the company to sign up a minimum three-year agreement to be considered. Some of the certification bodies will insist on visiting your company several times a year to assess the progress, but a single visit is usually enough to establish the milestones achieved towards the certification.

Develop a Management System

Developing a Management System is an essential part of achieving ISO certification standards. There is the Quality Management System for ISO 9001 standard and the Environmental Management System for the ISO 14001 standard. The core components of the quality management system include analysis and improvement, provision of resources, processes of management activities, and product realization. Once you’ve developed your management system, you’ll be required to fully implement the system, verify if it’s effective, and register it.

Stage 1 Audit

Once you have the quality management system in place, a thorough audit of company activities is what follows. An auditor evaluates your existing systems and provides a well-analysed report identifying suitable actions that need to be undertaken to meet the specific standard. Stage 1 audit is mainly used as a roadmap to the next phase of auditing, so there is no need to worry if you feel like the company is underprepared.

Stage 2 Audit

Stage 2 audit involves fixing all the problems that were identified in stage 1 audit. Once you’ve implemented in the recommendations put forward in the report of stage one audit, an auditor will come in again to complete stage two audit. The purpose of stage two audit is to determine the effectiveness and efficiency of your management system and to establish whether it meets all the requirement of the ISO 9001 standards that you want. If the system is good and it meets all the requirements, then the company will be recommended for ISO certification.

manufacturing marketing

5 Valuable Online Resources for Marketing Your Manufacturing Business

In a short period, the marketing landscape has changed dramatically. The internet, social media, and inbound marketing capabilities have assured that manufacturing competition is now global. Staying ahead of trends and having a substantial online presence bolstered by quality content is now mandatory. The reality is that your manufacturing marketing, and or, salespeople probably need some guidance to compete at this relatively new game. Here we will highlight five quality online resources that provide insights and instruction for marketers in the manufacturing sector.

Hubspot
Personalized advice & resources for your inbound business Hubspot is a fantastic resource if you or your marketing department are new to, or struggling with inbound marketing efforts. They offer different levels of service, tailored to your specific needs and allow you to upgrade the services as your marketing efforts grow. To start, Hubspot provides a vast array of services that you or your team can use to learn more about, and engage the inbound marketing approach. The free tools and courses alone, available for both sales and marketing teams, will get your manufacturing business up to date with the current trends of effective online and content marketing.

Content Marketing Institute

Leading global content marketing education and training organization Content Marketing Institute was founded by author and content marketing guru Joe Pulizzi, as part of an on-going effort to educate the masses about the present and future of marketing. CMI has an impressive list of companies with which they have worked. In addition to direct consulting services, CMI offers workshops, podcasts, events, a digital magazine, blog posts and an online University to provide you with the resources that you will need to expand your inbound manufacturing marketing strategy.

Thomas Marketing
With Thomas Marketing you will find a group that focused marketing strategy that is specific to manufacturing and industrial industry. According to their website, as many as 57% of business purchasing decisions are made before the first personal contact. These decisions are made solely on the content that you provide. At Thomas, they understand the importance of a robust inbound marketing strategy and where it fits into your industry. The Thomas Network allows you to list your business, with a limited amount of information for free, and Thomas Insights offers white pages, case studies, and articles so that you can stay up to date and get inspired.

Advantage Business Media
Having developed from a company focused on publishing to offering full-service marketing solutions, Advantage Business Media as an advantage over others concerning content creation. They create high-quality content in-house, and regularly collect and utilize data to ensure that they are targeting your ideal audience, and justifying ROI. The Blog and Playbooks, on their website, offer valuable free information and insights into inbound strategy and marketing efforts.

Marketing Profs
A massive platform offering information for manufacturing marketing individuals and teams, Marketing Profs is a go-to source for informative articles, podcasts, courses and interactive workshops.There is an abundance of helpful info available with their free membership. However, for a small membership fee, three members of your marketing team can access significantly more tips, tools, and discounted courses. Although not a manufacturing industry specific site it will be an excellent match for a manufacturing company with an established marketing team in place that could use help with the newest B2B marketing trends.

Manufacturing Shop

Tips for starting your own CNC machine business

Just like any business, starting your CNC manufacturing shop can be challenging. However, often are the times when CNC machining and CNC automation operators ask themselves whether it is time to start their own machining business or offer their labor to other companies.

If you feel that it is time for you to own your own machine shop, it is best that you do it. Nevertheless, no matter the motivation, it is not always easy to start your own business especially one dealing with us manufacturing products. A manufacturing shop requires a lot of capital and therefore, you need to have a lot of savings and if not, you need to have the credit worthiness to obtain a loan .You need money, resources and most of all you need to find customers which is the most challenging part.

In this article, we take it upon ourselves to educate you on the most essential tips needed to own your CNC manufacturing shop.

Be aware of the risks

Before you get into any business, you need to identify the risks associated. You need to know whether you have what it takes to mitigate those risks or to survive the perils. You probably know of the statistics that most businesses fail in their first year of operation. More so, manufacturing in the US is not such an easy industry to penetrate due to the competition. So, before you venture into this business analyze the risks.

Prepare your business plan

Once you have established the risks, write a business plan and make sure it incorporates all the risks. In your business plan, focus on the factors likely to affect your business such as competition among other threats. Also, plan on your sales and marketing strategies. At the same time, determine the rate in the market so you can know how to price your products.

Start small

Once you have your business plan and everything under control, start small. It is normal to want to have a large shop because you think people are more attracted to businesses that look established. However, it is not advisable to do that since you have no idea how the market is. First, test the market and your team by starting small. Have some few machines and from there build capital.

If need be, first start your business with a used machine before buying a new one. In that way, you will know how to use the tool efficiently before you buy a new one. However, it is not a must you buy a used one especially if you already know how to use the machines. But, don’t rush to expand without understanding the market.

Develop partnerships

When starting a new business, it can be very tricky finding customers. However, that depends whether you are starting from scratch or if you are buying an existing business. If it is an existing business, it is good you learn to maintain the customers and if it is new, learn how to get them. So, it is very important to create connections whether by having your friends help get clients or by partnering with other business. Make sure you have good relationships and nurture them even after your shop expands.

Research shows that the type of manufacturing shop or what you looking to produce plays a major role in obtaining customers. Therefore, you can create partners by targeting segments in your marketplace. For example, develop connections with people who buy your products at a good rate or those who are in most need of your products.

Structure your business

Starting a business can be costly and so, it is expected that you will try to cut cost as much as possible. However, as much as you want to cut cost, remember that you cannot work by yourself. You cannot control sales, control finance and at the same time produce goods. So, structure your business in a way that you have the best team needed to steer a machining shop.

With the above tips, you can relax knowing you are headed for success. All the best as you start your Manufacturing Shop.

manufacturing future

Is there a future for the manufacturing industry in the US?

When you think of the manufacturing industry, what comes to mind? For most people, the term manufacturing brings a picture of reserved and dirty workers with different machines. That is not the case anymore, thanks to manufacturing technology. It is now a high tech industry which produces products such as iPhones, prototypes and vacuum cleaners among more.

Though the manufacturing industry is not a solution to all our economic problems, it is very important when it comes to creating job opportunities. It contributes to economic growth, and at the same time, it raises technological skills in the world. In most countries including the US, it is the backbone of industrialization, and so, the state of manufacturing should be a priority for any nation.

Over time, the manufacturing industry has evolved bringing both challenges and opportunities. There have been changes in the economies of production, nature of products, consumer demand as well as supply chain which has made companies change their way of doing business. That means, for any company to survive in the industry, they have to embrace change otherwise they will be forced out of the market.

As manufacturing technology evolves and develops, barriers to entry are eroded, and that means new markets can be developed. That creates competition and even if the vast CNC manufacturing companies still dominate the market, more innovative models are developed which make the manufacturing industry to continue growing. Therefore, as long as any US Manufacturing companies take advantage of these new opportunities, there will be a future for this sector.

Mechanical engineering schools and US Manufacturing schools should embrace the changes in manufacturing technology and educate the students on how to produce products that have a future despite the various changes. In that way, the manufacturing industries will keep growing since new and innovative CNC machining, and CNC automation models will be developed.

In the meantime, as the country waits to see how the NAFTA agreement will turn out, the manufacturing industries can only hope that it is not signed. In that way, there will be an increase in employment, stabilized trade and satisfactory wages for the people of US. However, as per now, there is pressure on the manufacturing industries given that the margin separating the manufacturers and the product sellers is slowly fading away. Most manufacturers are forced to build or create on order.

Looking at all the above factors, is there a future for the manufacturing industry? Is there a future for the mechanical engineering schools? Do the students focusing on manufacturing have a place to be in future? That will only be determined by the manufacturers. Are they creative and innovative enough to create a market even where there is no demand?

Manufacturers will need to understand the forces driving their industry. By doing that, it will be easy to leverage the skills and convey a structural advantage as they restructure their business models. As a manufacturer, you need to define your success by embracing the new manufacturing techniques.

So, is there a future for the manufacturing industry? Yes, there is as long as the companies consider factors such as product size and complexity, laws and regulations and level of technology or digitalization. Every business has to act smart and also, US manufacturing schools need to research ways of keeping the manufacturing industry. After all, it is the backbone of most economies.