Tag : manufacturing trends

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.

Manufacturing Facility

5 Tips for Staying Safe and Healthy in the Manufacturing Facility

Ranging from poorly maintained tools to fatigued workers, manufacturing setting is riddled with hazards, both out in the open and some hidden. If you do not know a place to start checking out, then such risks may lead to injuries and sometimes death. Below are five tips to help you stay safe and healthy in a manufacturing facility.

1. Ensure Proper Use and Maintenance of Machinery and Equipment

The first step to ensure everyone is safe in a manufacturing setting is to ensure machinery and equipment are properly maintained. Failure to constantly ensure the equipment works properly can pose risks to every employee in the facility.

It is important to know that even tools with fail-safes are prone to malfunction if you do not do regular check-ups. To ensure proper functioning, ensure that the equipment undergoes regular inspection. Your employees should know how to check whether the equipment works optimally. Contacting a professional to inspect your equipment can help.

Proper use of manufacturing equipment will ensure that the machinery works well without posing any danger to those around the manufacturing facility. You should, therefore, ensure that only those qualified to handle a certain equipment are the only employees who work on it and handle it with professionalism.

2. Permanent Hazards Need Special Consideration

Numerous equipment in a manufacturing facility poses a risk to anyone regardless of whether they are functioning as required. Chemicals, for instance, will remain dangerous to anyone even when regular inspections are done. However, you can minimize these risks by labeling, and give every employee the right protective gear when handling these chemicals.

It is important to also clean spills. This will ensure that there are no health risks that are exposed to employees. Carefully cleaning up spills will ensure there is no gas emitted into the atmosphere. Some gases may pose a health risk as well as act as a respiratory irritant.

Wearing safety equipment while in a manufacturing facility is crucial. This will prevent any visitor, employers, managers, subcontractors, and contractors from hazards. For instance, wearing an eye protection such as goggles will help you prevent metal or chemical splash into your eyes.

3. Employees Should Undergo Regular Training

It is said that your firm is as safe as those people who work in it. Every employee should undergo training regularly on every contact they will be handling. You should make sure that they can spot warning signs such as burning wire smells, scraping or grinding noises, abnormal wobbles, or anything that may sound abnormal. If you find out any machine that is unsafe, then shut it down.

4. Sufficient First Aid

In case of an emergency, you need to have easy access to a first aid kit. Your manufacturing facility should be stocked with medical equipment including first aid kits for general purposes as well as those customized to meet the specific needs of your working environment.

You need to ensure every employee undergoes training to have at least some level of knowledge on how to use a first aid kit. In some cases, you will need to have your staff members specially trained to offer CPR, first aid as well as conduct a confined-space rescue.

5. Wear Proper Clothing

Having a protective gear in a manufacturing facility may not be the only preventive measure available. In fact, you should always wear proper clothing, not loose clothing that may be caught in or on the machines. Wearing a closed shoe is also an important part of ensuring you remain safe while in a manufacturing plant.

If every employee follows these tips, then your manufacturing facility will be a safe place for both your employees and those visiting.

us manufacturing trends

5 Trends in US Manufacturing

The trends of US manufacturing are often discussed, but not always understood by the general public. With the changes in technology as well as executive attitudes, it can be difficult to keep up with it all. It’s time to learn more about what’s being taught today in mechanical engineering schools, and how the industry has responded to each new change in the market.

More Automation

The time-consuming and error-prone processes of the past are becoming automated. They allow companies to produce more without increasing their budget, and they give workers a chance to hone their skills rather than waste time on rote tasks. Every country has seen some rate of automation when it comes to their manufacturing, but it’s the US that has really embraced the technology. The effects are felt not just on the production floor, but also in administrative functions as well.

A Rise in Precision

Manufacturing today is all about precision. Considering even one mistake in a process can lead to disastrous results, companies are more focused than ever on ensuring everything is done correctly the first time. For example, CNC automation can use past commands and actions to ensure future accuracy and success. CNC machinery can work with practically any material to cut shapes and create the perfect dimensions for the right end result. US manufacturing schools are so obsessed with precision, they’ve taken to using just one digital representation of the product they’re designing. From the materials needed to the compliance regulations to the dimensions of the product, companies are looking to decrease error by narrowing down the scope of the product to a single image.

Sharper Focus

Manufacturing companies are always trying to get more out of the resources they have, but many are also reevaluating their resources so they concentrate on what they do best. Whether a company specializes in CNC manufacturing, mechanical engineering, or factory work, they’re looking to trim away any excesses so their focus in as singular as possible. This may mean anything from leasing their office to increasing their global presence. They may even choose to outsource work that’s not strictly related to manufacturing, such as HR, payroll, and benefits.

Global Options

The globalization of manufacturing has become an undeniable trend in US manufacturing, as companies form networks of support from all around the world. Now companies can easily find clients, communicate with them, and then transfer their products around the world. The more people connect from around the world, the more opportunities can be discovered about how to increase efficiency without sacrificing the quality of the goods. Manufacturing in the USA has certainly not been the only sector to profit from these changes, but it’s one sector that has really taken advantage of the opportunities.

Increased Support

The machinery used in the manufacturing industry has never been better than it is today, but that doesn’t mean that it’s infallible or everlasting. As automation continues, manufacturers will need to find the right tools and the right support team that can help them through all their questions and concerns. Ideally, manufacturers should be looking at forging a relationship with a company who understands a variety of industries as well as the full scope of current and future trends. This type of mutually beneficial relationship tends to bring out the best in manufacturers today.