When a system, process, or institution experiences change so profound that it completely alters how it operates and how people think about it, we call it a revolution. Since the mid-1700’s, technological revolutions have changed industry, manufacturing, and the nature of work significantly three times:
Engineers have technical knowledge and an eye for detail, especially when it comes to improving a system or process. If you’ve determined that automation equipment can benefit your facility, it’s probably very clear to you how and why it’s a worthwhile investment. But the benefits and outcomes may not be as obvious to decision makers and management – the very people who approve the purchase. Because you’re the one who sees the full picture of what an automation project can accomplish, your task is much like making a sales pitch, convincing management to buy in to your solution.
The skills gap is a hot topic in many industries, especially manufacturing. It’s created when the number of open jobs grows but there aren’t enough job seekers with the right skills to fill them. Research by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute says “the number of new jobs in manufacturing [will]
For small to medium manufacturers seeking to boost production, create lean facilities, and stay competitive in their markets, automation is an increasingly viable option. Falling equipment prices, small and flexible cobots, and advancing technology are bringing automated manufacturing equipment into smaller facilities. What’s more, “factories that automate boring, low-paying jobs with high turnover not only stay competitive but can elevate workers to more interesting, better-paying jobs,” according to Cutting Tool Engineering.
“Even though manufacturing is one of the most highly automated industries globally, there is still significant automation potential within the four walls of manufacturing sites, as well as in related functional areas such as supply chain and procurement,” according to research by McKinsey. In fact, their research found that, globally, 64 percent of working hours spent on manufacturing-related activities are automatable.
The Research and Development Tax Credit was implemented in 1981 and in 2015 it became a permanent part of the US tax code when the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act was signed into law. Greg Knarr, writing in Industry Week, calls it “our government’s primary incentive to reward businesses for driving industry progress and for keeping technical jobs on U.S. shores.”
This year’s International Manufacturing Technology Show, September 10-15 in Chicago, was the largest yet, with 2,563 exhibiting companies and 129,415 people registered. We enjoyed this fun opportunity to talk with exhibitors, watch demonstrations, and learn about trends to watch in manufacturing and automation.
Purchasing custom automation equipment is unlike most other capital equipment expenditures. Capital equipment purchases are often standard “catalog” items that have been researched, developed, optimized and sold over a long period of time. These off-the-shelf products are typically designed to accommodate a wide variety of customers. The purchase experience is predictable: buy, receive, plug in, and use for the lifetime of the equipment.
When you think of robots, you might picture a vaguely human-like machine marching around in a futuristic setting or perhaps you think of a massive arm swirling around objects on an assembly line. A new generation of robots has come on the scene and is growing in numbers and capabilities. First developed by General Motors in the mid-1990’s, collaborative robots, also called
Manufacturing is an integral part of the American story. We love to hear about the hard-working, proud craftsman of the past who stretched the boundaries of what was thought possible. We see the things they built and are amazed. We appreciate how American manufacturing has evolved over the last century as new opportunities and challenges have come along. And we like to imagine where it will go in the future.