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Manufacturing

The New Deal for Manufacturing

By Nick Wright

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At The Big M, Commerce Secretary Pritzker champions new technology to keep U.S. industry alive

June 10, 2014 - For the first time in 10 years, manufacturing output and employment are growing steadily. That’s what Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said to a packed ballroom at Detroit’s Cobo Center on Tuesday during her keynote at The Big M, a manufacturing technology conference in its inaugural year and hosted by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.

The renaissance of U.S. manufacturing is happening. The manufacturing community has a window of opportunity right now to build on progress made with employment, investment and training in recent years.

She said the government is knocking down barriers between public and private partnerships in an effort to invigorate U.S. manufacturing. Her speech particularly resonates with metro Detroit, an area that is emblematic of the sustained loss of post-recession manufacturing activity. But it has rebounded significantly. In fact, Michigan and Detroit boast about half of the nation’s reclaimed manufacturing jobs since the Great Recession.

“America cannot afford to be left behind,” she said. “We have to do better and we have to do more.”

If the technology at The Big M conference is any indication, the U.S. is poised to nurture its manufacturing renaissance. Companies are showcasing 3-D printers and services along with advanced additive manufacturing materials. During her talk, Pritzker outlined federal programs with which public-private manufacturing research can thrive. Examples of this include four new manufacturing hubs under the federally-funded National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI)--located in Chicago, Raleigh, North Carolina; Canton, Michigan; and Youngstown, Ohio (which is already operational). With these research hubs, the Commerce Department is building momentum to reinvigorate manufacturing, Pritzker said.

The Commerce Department’s plan to boost manufacturing also includes making the U.S. an attractive place to invest for both foreign and domestic companies and ensuring training and job placement for workers. It’s no surprise that a handful of exhibitors and attendees at The Big M are from overseas.

The Big M is co-located with Rapid, a conference focusing on 3-D printing and scanning, and much of the technology on display is split between metals and plastics. 

What does this all hold for fabricators? For OEMs with deep pockets, such as Boeing or Airbus, they can invest in machines that will both prototype and produce parts. For manufacturers and fabricators, it lets them prototype components for customers quickly. Once approved, they can be produced using traditional means. For the smaller job-shops who can afford metal 3-D printers, just about anything is possible with the right software and training. The burgeoning 3-D printing world doesn’t look like it will replace traditional fabricating methods—rather, complement them. But new workers will need training, as well as the industry’s old dogs who will need to learn new tricks.

For communities in the U.S. with strong manufacturing bases, there’s Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership network (IMCP), a federal economic development program that awarded 12 regions grants to grow manufacturing activity. The IMCP program emphasizes worker training, which a fabricator or manufacturer of any size might need to harness new technology like metal 3-D printing. That’s just one aspect of the bigger picture painted at The Big M and Rapid--to strengthen the U.S. manufacturing economy.

“For America to compete, it is all of our responsibility to educate and train the workforce,” Pritzker said. Having new manufacturing technology for a new workforce is the best way to give the U.S. an edge.

 

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Company Profiles

AIR FILTRATION

IRONWORKERS

NESTING SOFTWARE

SERVICE CENTERS

Camfil APC - Equipment Trilogy Machinery Inc. Metamation Inc. Admiral Steel
Camfil APC - Replacement Filters

LASER TECHNOLOGY

PLASMA TECHNOLOGY

Alliance Steel
Donaldson Company Inc. AMADA AMERICA, INC. Messer Cutting Systems Inc.

SOFTWARE

BENDING/FOLDING

Mazak Optonics Corp.

PLATE

Enmark Systems Inc.
MetalForming Inc. MC Machinery Systems Inc. Peddinghaus Lantek Systems Inc.
RAS Systems LLC Murata Machinery, USA, Inc.

PLATE & ANGLE ROLLS

SecturaSOFT

BEVELING

TRUMPF Inc. Davi Inc. SigmaTEK Systems LLC
Steelmax Tools LLC

LINEAR POSITION SENSORS

Trilogy Machinery Inc. Striker Systems

COIL PROCESSING

MTS Sensors

PRESS BRAKE TOOLING

STAMPING/PRESSES

Bradbury Group

MATERIAL HANDLING

Mate Precision Tooling AIDA-America Corp.
Burghardt + Schmidt Group EMH Crane Rolleri USA Nidec Press & Automation
Butech Bliss Fehr Warehouse Solutions Inc.

PRESS BRAKES

STEEL

Red Bud Industries UFP Industrial AMADA AMERICA, INC. Alliance Steel
Tishken

MEASUREMENT & QUALITY CONTROL

Automec Inc.

TUBE & PIPE

CONVEYOR SYSTEMS

Advanced Gauging Technologies MC Machinery Systems Inc. BLM Group
Mayfran International

METAL FABRICATION MACHINERY

SafanDarley HGG Profiling Equipment Inc.

DEBURRING/FINISHING

Cincinnati Inc.

PUNCHING

Prudential Stainless & Alloys
ATI Industrial Automation LVD Strippit Hougen Manufacturing

WATERJET

Lissmac Corp. Scotchman Industries Inc.

SAWING

Barton International
Osborn Trilogy Machinery Inc. Behringer Saws Inc. Jet Edge Waterjet Systems
SuperMax Tools

METAL FORMING

Cosen Saws Omax Corp.
Timesavers FAGOR Arrasate USA Inc. DoALL Sawing

WELDING

HYDRAULIC PRESSES

MetalForming Inc. HE&M Saw American Weldquip
Beckwood Press Co.

MICROFINISHING TOOLS

Savage Saws Strong Hand Tools
Triform Titan Tool Supply Inc.

 

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