Archive for the ‘Manufacturing’ Category

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Manufacturing and Innovation

October 28, 2016

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

Guest blog post by Laura Taylor-Kale, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing, International Trade Administration

As October winds down, I say farewell to Manufacturing Day and what has turned into a celebration of manufacturing and innovation this entire month. Over the last few weeks, I have had the privilege of participating in events in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Tennessee to raise awareness about the importance of U.S. manufacturing and the critical role it plays in our economy. The factories and labs that I visited are bringing incredible ideas to the marketplace and beyond. The innovation happening in the manufacturing sector is inspiring – and so are the career opportunities!

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Deputy Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing Laura Taylor-Kale Participates in a Manufacturing Day Event at Phononic in Durham, N.C.

Witness the creativity and expansion of ideas generated by employees in both small and large manufacturing companies as well as at Manufacturing USA institutes  around the country.  Innovation and manufacturing are truly inextricably linked.

As President Obama stated in his 2015 State of the Union Address, “Twenty-first century businesses will rely on American science and technology, research and development. I want Americans to win the race for the kinds of discoveries that unleash new jobs.”

In Knoxville, Tennessee last week, I visited Local Motors, an auto manufacturer using 3D printing to make electric vehicles; the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory; and the Institute for Advanced Composite Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI), one of the Manufacturing USA institutes. Local Motors’ innovative technologies used in design and processing builds on scientific research in advanced composites and additive manufacturing at IACMI – and these are exactly the kinds of synergies that the Administration is working to strengthen.

In addition, U.S. automakers and suppliers are investing heavily in new electric technologies and models. Electric vehicle sales continue to grow around the globe and are expected to be 35% of global new car sales by 2040. Since the Chevy Volt, Ford Focus Electric, Tesla, and Nissan Leaf all have assembly, research and development, and inventory processing in the U.S., sales of these vehicles will support the U.S. economy and job creation.

As the White House noted in the Administration’s Strategy for American Innovation last year, “Facilitating exports by innovative U.S. companies means giving them the tools to navigate foreign markets effectively.”  We in ITA’s Industry and Analysis unit help innovators become exporters by offering the Top Market Reports, a set of comprehensive, sector-specific market studies to help firms identify the best markets in which to grow their business. But we don’t stop there. We are proactively moving a trade agenda that advances market conditions to enable U.S. innovators to commercialize products, services, ideas, and business models on an international stage. They will be able to derive full benefit from an equal international playing field and utilize a competitive advantage earned through investments, ingenuity, hard work and sweat.

For instance, we are leading technical coordination to support harmonized standards and regulatory approaches in Asia, a key region of the world for both electric vehicle and auto parts exports, and an area to which we’ll be able to better export under high-standard trade agreements like TPP.

These and other efforts will help ensure that growing foreign markets stay open, thereby helping to ensure the global competitiveness of U.S. automotive and technology companies and to support the growth of manufacturing and innovation at home.  We are proud to support the manufacturing innovators who are shaping the world we live in today and the stronger one we will live in tomorrow.

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Where were you on Manufacturing Day?

October 27, 2016

As we close out Manufacturing Month, SelectUSA is featuring a two-part guest blog from members of the Federal Interagency Investment Working Group (IIWG).  The IIWG is responsible for coordinating activities across federal agencies that promote investment.

Mark Schmit is National Accounts Manager for the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership. 

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker was in Portland, Oregon at a Makers Gone Pro Event. Secretary Pritzker spoke to recent high school graduates pursuing technical careers and joined 100 students at the Lam Research Facility, the world’s second-largest semiconductor equipment manufacturer, emphasizing that by 2024, America’s economy will need to fill 2.2 million openings for production workers; half a million openings for engineers; and an untold number of openings for jobs in new, emerging occupations

I was fortunate to be invited to attend How Manufacturing Drives the Economy, an event hosted by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International (FMA) in Rockford, Illinois. Expert panelists highlighted the significant role manufacturing plays in bolstering America’s economy and the critical need to ensure that the sector remains a positive force.

Each panelist asserted that Manufacturing Day (MFG Day) – the 5th iteration was held on October 7th – exemplifies the importance of manufacturing.  Thousands of manufacturers hosted students, teachers, parents, job seekers and community leaders at open houses, plant tours and educational sessions to showcase modern manufacturing technology and the attractive jobs that are available. It was (and still is) a chance for students to see innovative, impactful, durable and diverse career options. MFG Day can also help current students understand how to apply their studies in math and science to those careers. It dispels old, negative myths and stereotypes about manufacturing through highlighting the shift from a labor-intense environment to one of high-tech robotics and computers.

Stephen Gold, President and CEO of the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation, explained that the manufacturing value chain is far bigger than we think, since official government statistics only measure the value of the upstream supply chain and only include goods sold to final demand.  But the downstream chain, from sales to transport to aftermarket services – significantly multiplies this impact.

Kenneth Voytek, Chief Economist for the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership program (MEP), shined a spotlight on the metalworking cluster in the upper Midwest. Via the U.S. Cluster Mapping tool, Voytek demonstrated that approximately 70% of the metalworking cluster is agglomerated in the Great Lakes region – no more than a day’s drive from Rockford, where the event took place. Citing MEP data, Voytek noted that workforce development will be the metalworking industry’s greatest challenges for the next three years – from recruitment to growth and continuous improvement. These were more acute challenges for firms this sector when compared to all other MEP clients – but clustering is expected to play a key role in attracting a wider pool of talent.

Scott Mayer, Chairman and CEO of QPS Employment Group, noted that baby boomers are retiring at a high rate, and a new generation of manufacturing workers is needed. However, filling this gap continues to be a challenge, due in part to the fact that there is not enough recognition that the sector supports many good, well-paid, middle-class jobs. Mayer pointed to a need for more “grassroots” efforts involving parents and educators alike to make sure high school students know they have choices beyond traditional four-year degrees. Indeed, many young people may be better suited to skilled trades.

Dr. Chris Kuehl, managing partner at Armada Corporate Intelligence and FMA economic analyst, looked at the significance of U.S. manufacturing from a global perspective. “The manufacturing sector is the dominant player in U.S. exports, particularly with heavy machinery and other capital goods,” he said, “and the U.S. is more export dependent than people realize; it accounts for 14 percent of GDP, almost matching export-driven Japan at its 14.7 percent of GDP. What most people don’t recognize is that the U.S. accounts for 30 percent of all global manufacturing by value. China accounts for only 10 percent.”

The event was, for me, eye-opening and inspirational.  On the return trip to O’Hare International Airport I had time to reflect on all that I heard and how it all fits together.  Resting my head against the window as we rolled east on I-90, I saw the many of the metal working companies that Kenneth Voytek talked about earlier. Many of those companies had an American flag outside their facilities, but it was also obvious that some of those companies represented vital international investment in our country: Amada in Schaumburg, IL is a Japanese company; Bystronic in Elgin, IL is Swiss-owned company; Mazak also in Elgin, IL is Japanese; and Trumpf in Hoffman Estates, IL, is German.

The metal cluster along I-90 in Illinois is grand on an international scale, and manufacturing companies from all over the world want to establish a presence there. They want to be part of the local manufacturing ecosystem and do business in the United States.  Which all begs the question . . .

Where were you on Manufacturing Day 2016?  And even more importantly – where will you be next year?

Follow SelectUSA and MEP on Twitter and join the conversation at #MFGmonth.

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Celebrating Manufacturing Day in Pella, Iowa

October 12, 2016
Jason Andringa, President & CEO at Vermeer Corporation

Jason Andringa, President & CEO at Vermeer Corporation

Guest blog post by Jason Andringa, President & CEO at Vermeer Corporation

Throughout the year nearly 3,000 Vermeer team members work diligently to build impressive equipment that serves ten different markets. Our engineering team works hard to concept and design equipment; our manufacturing team machines, welds, paints and assembles the tough equipment we sell. Our support teams procure parts, integrate technology solutions, market the equipment and build relationships with customers and dealers on six continents. In order to experience ongoing success as a growing global company, we must continue to recruit, develop and build teams that can keep pace with our customer needs.

Numbers prove that a STEM-skilled workforce is essential to the future of manufacturing and our world. Every dollar spent in manufacturing adds $1.37 to the US economy, and every 100 jobs in a manufacturing facility create an additional 250 jobs in other sectors. Yet 80 percent of manufacturers report difficulty in finding skilled workers. Manufacturing clearly has an impact on the nation’s economy. So the skills gap we are facing in our industry has to be addressed in order to achieve a healthy workforce, and is sure to be reflective of the significant need throughout the nation.

Our annual Manufacturing Day event at the Vermeer headquarters in Pella, Iowa has proven to have some of the most positive, immediate results in shifting the manufacturing perception. We invite local middle and high school students inside our doors and break down the myth that manufacturing means a dirty job.

Through hands-on activities and plant tours, students get to dig into all the facets of manufacturing. Paint and weld simulators offer an opportunity to try it out. 3D printing, digital assembly and robotics activities show students manufacturing isn’t an outdated assembly line, but rather a smartly progressive field maximizing science and technology. Finance and marketing activities have students calculate exchange rates and see that manufacturing isn’t limited to a factory, but instead is connected around the globe.

We’re once again preparing to give students an up-close look at what manufacturing is all about. Why? Students, and their influencers, want it. An Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council survey shows that 94 percent of Iowans think STEM education should be a priority in their local school districts. Our Manufacturing Day experience reflects that. Attendance jumped from 100 students to 700+ in just three years.

We also make it a point to survey the students before and after their visit, and are very motivated by the results: The percentage of students who felt they understood what manufacturing is, jumped from 57 percent before Manufacturing Day to 97 percent after, and those who want to work in manufacturing someday jumped from 34 percent to 69 percent. With the majority of students saying that personal experience directs them down a particular career path, we want Manufacturing Day to be one experience that launches them on a STEM journey toward manufacturing!

The future is bright for Vermeer, and when we open on our doors on October 14 for Manufacturing Day, we stand with pride to be a manufacturer and future employer to some of these students who will leave inspired to pursue a career in manufacturing.

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Manufacturing Day 2016: A Resounding Success

October 11, 2016

Evan Caplan is the Deputy Director for Public Affairs.

Along with thousands of businesses, schools, students, educators, and parents the International Trade Administration (ITA) celebrated the fifth annual Manufacturing Day on Friday, October 7. Across the country, events showcased how manufacturing has become innovative, inventive, and exciting, and the incredible potential in the future of manufacturing. Manufacturing Day, which the Department of Commerce leads, is an annual national event executed at the local level and supported by thousands of manufacturers as they host open houses, plant tours, and presentations designed to display modern manufacturing technology and careers to students and future employees.

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing, Laura Taylor-Kale, visited Wolfspeed for Manufacturing Day.

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing, Laura Taylor-Kale, visited Wolfspeed for Manufacturing Day.

On Thursday and Friday, the Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker was in Portland, Oregon at a Makers Gone Pro Event, where she spoke to recent high school graduates pursuing technical careers, and joined 100 students at the Lam Research Facility, the world’s second largest semiconductor equipment manufacturer.

Around the country, other Commerce leaders toured some of America’s most innovative manufacturing facilities.

Acting Assistant Secretary for Industry and Analysis at ITA Ted Dean went to Chicago to visit the Freedman Seating Company, which creates seating and other products for bus, rail, marine, delivery truck, specialty and commercial vehicles. He received a tour and spoke with students and young professionals from the Young Manufacturers Association. He then went to Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute, or DMDII. There, he participated in a roundtable discussion with local and community leaders focusing on workforce development and the growing digitization of manufacturing.

“Seven years ago, nobody could have predicted the manufacturing resurgence we have seen” he said. “The job numbers alone speak volumes.  There are 828,000 more Americans working in manufacturing than there were 6 years ago.”

Regarding digital technologies, he said that “they now drive at least 5 percent of our national GDP, and the Internet’s impact extends far beyond our borders. In the developed markets of the G-20, the digital economy is projected to grow at an annual rate of 8 percent over the next five years – outpacing just about every other traditional sector.”

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Textiles, Consumer Goods, and Materials Felicia Pullam visited RMI’s On the Road to Manufacturing 4.0 and Beyond Under Armour Lighthouse, a brand-new space in Baltimore making innovative advances in athletic products.

ITA Deputy Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing Laura Taylor-Kale visited PowerAmerica, which creates energy-efficient power devices for a range of industries, like electric vehicles, industrial motors, solar and wind farms, and data centers. She toured the Wolfspeed Semiconductor Foundry, the Phononic Manufacturing Line, and the Windlift Production Facility. At each of these, she spoke to industry partners about the importance of their work. Later, she also spoke on a roundtable with students on the sustainability of manufacturing. The day ended at a Research Triangle CleanTech Cluster event with PowerAmerica, where she was a featured guest in the proceedings. “I am proud to be part of this incredible event,” she said. “Manufacturing Day is a great occasion to celebrate local industry and stoke community pride.”

Executive Director of SelectUSA, Vinai Thummalapally, visited K-Form and Nova Labs for Manufacturing day 2016.

Executive Director of SelectUSA, Vinai Thummalapally, visited K-Form and Nova Labs for Manufacturing Day 2016! #MFGDAY2016

SelectUSA Executive Director Vinay Thummalapally visited K-Form, which develops and manufactures technical products specializing in high-performance enclosures, and Nova Labs, an innovative, membership-driven, all-volunteer makerspace based in Reston, Virginia that was founded in 2011 with the purpose of empowering everyone to “Rediscover the Joy of Making Things!” They hosted local schools, educators, and community members.

Through initiatives like Manufacturing Day and others, the Department of Commerce helps create the conditions for a skilled workforce, opens new markets for American goods, and drives innovation which ultimately keeps America  Open for Business.

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Help us Celebrate Manufacturing Day!

September 29, 2016

 Laura Taylor-Kale is the International Trade Administration’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing 

Next Friday, October 7, manufacturers from across the country will open their doors to showcase exciting careers possibilities as part of this year’s Manufacturing Day (MFG DAY). The Department of Commerce and our partners at the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International, the Manufacturing Institute, and the National Association of Manufacturers have seen tremendous excitement and growth since the first celebration in 2012. Last year, more than 400,000 people attended 2,400 events nationwide.  Many of these events give students an opportunity to take a practical (and fun!) first step toward manufacturing careers and to see what modern manufacturing looks like.

As ITA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing, I know that U.S. manufacturers are key contributors to the U.S. economy at home and abroad. A recent ITA report showed that total U.S. exports support more than a quarter of U.S. manufacturing industry employment and that the industries with the highest share of employment supported by exports are all manufacturing industries.  The International Trade Administration helps U.S. companies take advantage of export opportunities by providing timely market intelligence, such as our Top Markets Report Series, and access to a broad spectrum of federal programs that can help manufacturers succeed in the international marketplace. Information on these programs can be found on our websites www.trade.gov and www.export.gov.

So join me, my ITA colleagues, and our industry partners on October 7 to celebrate American manufacturing and its impact on our local communities and the global economy.  We encourage you to spread the message about Manufacturing Day and join the conversation on social media using #MFGDay16.  We hope you will join us in this effort!

 

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Participation in Hannover Messe is Critical to Team South Carolina

April 6, 2016

W. Ford Graham is Director of the Department of Commerce’s Division of International Strategy and Trade  in South Carolina

While South Carolina boasts a rich history in manufacturing, its position as a leader in the manufacturing renaissance can really be attributed to a significant transformation of the state’s economy. At one time, South Carolina was known primarily as a textile state. While a thriving textile industry still exists, the manufacturing of advanced products and materials has shifted South Carolina’s economy into high gear.

Illustrating this is the state’s rapid manufacturing job growth. In fact, since 2010, manufacturing employment has increased by more than 13 percent in the Palmetto State, a figure which leads the Southeast. And, last year alone, more than 9,680 new manufacturing jobs were recruited to South Carolina, accounting for more than half of all new jobs brought to the state.

As a result of this manufacturing success, South Carolina continues to set records with its annual export sales totals. In 2015, the state’s total export sales topped $30 billion, setting a record for the sixth consecutive year. Fueling this international trade growth are South Carolina’s burgeoning aerospace and automotive industry sectors. Last year, the Palmetto State enjoyed a more than 176 percent increase in the export sales of aircraft, while also remaining the nation’s top exporter of both completed passenger motor vehicles and tires.

To build on this economic momentum, Team South Carolina recognizes the importance of further developing relationships with industry leaders from all corners of the globe. In fact, the state’s economic development strategy is similar to that of any good sales organization. We go where the customers are and build relationships to do what we do – which is sell South Carolina.

That’s why participation in Hannover Messe is so critical to the Palmetto State. More than just a spectacle for the planet’s top names in manufacturing, the five-day exhibition provides a great setting for economic developers from all over the world to meet and strengthen relationships with a variety of industry leaders.

In addition to promoting our state for foreign investment projects and helping South Carolina businesses reach international markets, the event also allows our delegation to learn about the latest innovations within industry. As a state that aims to be on the cutting edge, the ability to provide our firms exposure to the latest and greatest is paramount.

As Team South Carolina continues to strengthen relationships with global industry leaders, the Palmetto State’s reputation as a state that’s ‘Just right’ for business will continue to advance around the world, resulting in a prosperous, high-flying economy for many years to come.

 

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Building the Next Generation Manufacturers

April 4, 2016

By Dana Smith, U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel assigned to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of the Secretary and is serving as the Senior Policy Advisor for National Manufacturing Policy

A few weeks ago, the Catalyst Connection, a Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, hosted an event at Heinz Field with manufacturers, industry leaders, students, teachers, and parents to announce the winners of its annual Explore the New Manufacturing Student Video Contest.

The Explore the New Manufacturing Program is an opportunity for young students to explore exciting career opportunities in the manufacturing industry. The program addresses the need for a skilled workforce within the industry while engaging local manufacturing companies with education.

Like many of the other student video contests conducted by the MEP Centers and the Dream It. Do It. networks in other states, the video contest paired student teams from 10 middle schools with local manufacturers. Each team was asked to tell the story “what makes manufacturing cool?” and the teams did not disappoint, as you can see from the winners.

Award winners were as follows: Best Manufacturing Message; Avonworth & ARDEX Engineered Cements, Most Creative; Burrell & TMG Electronics, People’s Choice; Avonworth & ARDEX Engineered Cements, and Best Marketing Plan; Mount Lebanon & Caterpillar

Beyond the student’s enthusiasm for the contest, it was great to see manufacturers working together with educators to address their future workforce challenges. According to the Manufacturing Institute, the manufacturing sector’s consistent expansion and aging demographic will lead to 3.4 million available manufacturing jobs by 2025, but only 1.4 million will be filled. That’s a lot of opportunities for those that seek out advanced manufacturing careers!

The challenge is obvious: there is a prevailing perception outside the manufacturing sector that manufacturing jobs are dirty, dangerous, low paying, and best left to someone else. Events like this competition and National Manufacturing Day are changing that perception across the country. The reality is manufacturing in the United States is evolving from the manufacturing jobs of yesterday into the manufacturing careers of tomorrow. Innovation is driving this change and manufacturers are continuously seeking out people with ever increasing technical skills to solve difficult and challenging manufacturing problems.

The proof that these perceptions are changing was easy to identify on the faces of the middle school students participating in the competition. They have now been to the factory floor, experienced firsthand what manufacturing is really like, and discovered it was nothing like what they imagined. They were beaming with excitement as they realized the potential of an advanced manufacturing career.  Manufacturing Day’s inaugural perception study conducted by Deloitte also confirms the power of firsthand experience in changing parents, educators, and students minds about manufacturing and the rewarding careers available.

The Manufacturing Institute did a good job quantifying the challenge facing manufacturers, but it is up to local communities to do something about it. Manufacturers have to communicate their future skills requirements to educators; educators have to build curriculums and recruit students; and students have to have an interest and positive perception about the opportunity. Communities like Pittsburgh that can coalesce around this simple concept will be ready for 2025.

The year 2025 seems distant and way too far in the future for today’s middle school students to contemplate. They may not fully realize it yet, but they are literally the new employees of the 2025 workforce. And there will be millions of jobs available to them in manufacturing. Now is the time to engage their perceptions so they can make informed decisions about their future. Take part in this year’s 5th Annual Manufacturing Day on October 7 and learn more on how to get involved here.