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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

How Lean Do You Really Want To Be?

January 24, 2014 9:16 am | by Tom McNamara and Erika Masillac

Just-in-time (JIT) deliveries, little to no inventory, outsourcing, sole sourcing — all of these “lean” concepts have been at the heart of operations management for years now. But more and more companies are starting to ask themselves a simple question; Just how lean do we really want to be?

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Tracking The ‘Manufacturing Jobs For America’ Campaign

January 24, 2014 9:09 am | by Joel Hans, Managing Editor, Manufacturing.net

The initiative, with 22 backers in the Senate, all Democrats, wants to bring new legislation to Congress and the President that will help American manufacturers grow and hire new employees, while also assisting in training a workforce capable of working those jobs.

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Next-Level 3D Printing With Metal

January 22, 2014 9:32 am | by Danielle M., Blogger & Business Student

3D printing took another leap forward when Michigan Technological University scientists invented a 3D metal printer available at a relatively affordable price. While the machine is still a work in progress, it opens up the possibility of 3D metal printing for medium and small businesses, and even dedicated hobbyists. Here are some possible pros and cons that result from affordable, open-source 3D metal printers.

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Achieving Net-Zero Use Of Grid Energy In Manufacturing

January 22, 2014 9:20 am | by Jim McMahon, sustainability and renewable energy writer

The rising cost of energy has forced many manufacturers to focus their sights on innovative ways to optimize energy consumption and improve operational efficiency in their manufacturing, product lines, distribution, and administrative operations. 

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Why 3D Printing Could Be A Manufacturing And Logistics Game Changer

January 21, 2014 9:56 am | by Danielle M., Blogger & Business Student

Could 3D printing revolutionize the production industry to the same extent as Ford's assembly line? When Michelangelo was asked how he sculpted the famous David statue, he's reported to have simply replied, "I just chipped away everything that didn't look like David." Three-dimensional printing takes the opposite approach. 

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Investments In MIS On The Rise

January 21, 2014 9:00 am | by John Tertin, Director of MIS, ESE, Inc.

Food safety. Quality standards. Yield management. Waste control. Cost containment. The list goes on. With so many competing requirements, manufacturers’ need for more timely and accurate process data is accelerating both the interest and demand for Manufacturing Information Systems.

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Next-Generation Manufacturers Are Saving Money On Energy

January 20, 2014 9:17 am | by Thomas McCann Mullooly and Kurt Rempe of Foley & Lardner

The modern energy marketplace is changing. Annual non-renewable energy expenditures for the industrial sector have been projected to grow from approximately $206 billion in 2010 to $584 billion in 2040. Thus manufacturers find themselves with increased bargaining power that can lead to larger savings.

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Manufacturing Needs More ‘Post-Mortems’

January 20, 2014 9:11 am | by Joel Hans, Managing Editor, Manufacturing.net

An in-depth post-mortem can actually increase confidence in a business and encourage more trust. Everyone and every business makes mistakes, and often, what separates a successful one from a failed one is the way in which they respond to the unexpected. Proving that your company can do just that should be a matter of pride, not shame.

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PwC 2014 Manufacturing Trends Predictions

January 17, 2014 9:04 am | by Tia Nowack, Associate Editor, IMPO

Every January, companies make predictions about the year ahead and what trends they should expect. Bobby Bono, the U.S. industrial manufacturing leader at PwC, has assembled a list of trends he is predicting for the manufacturing sector moving forward.

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Getting The Most Out Of Scarce Production Resources

January 17, 2014 8:33 am | by Hernan J. Clarke, president and CEO, 4Sight Technologies

Resource optimization software can not only help to adapt more efficiently to these resource constraints, but it can also minimize idle time, anticipate parts shortages, free up labor and equipment to be shifted among tasks, and otherwise get the most out of your labor and capital. 

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Accelerating Operational Excellence: Q&A With LNS’s Mark Davidson

January 15, 2014 9:30 am | by Greg Goodwin, Research Associate, LNS Research

When you consider some of the challenges that manufacturers face across industries today — they’re unprecedented. The pressures of global supply and demand dynamics, supply chain complexities, disparate production locations and systems, regulations, and other factors have forced manufacturers to reevaluate operations and optimize them everywhere possible in order to remain competitive and profitable.

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Harnessing Big Data With A Systems Thinking Approach

January 15, 2014 9:23 am | by Tom Kadala, Founder and CEO of Alternative Technology Corporation

With 90 percent of the world’s data created in the last two years, what can we expect our data vaults to hold two or even twenty years from now? Companies who are hiring data scientists with the hopes of harnessing big data and data analytics' mythical promises are potentially making a huge mistake.

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Q&A: element14 And Big Distributor Trends For 2014

January 14, 2014 9:37 am | by Joel Hans, Managing Editor, Manufacturing.net

In an electronics market that has seen relatively flat performance over the last several years, there continue to be a number of areas where distributors can differentiate and find growth. One of the ongoing challenges within the market is the rapidity of demand swings, increasing frequency of orders and diminishing average order sizes.

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Power Quality Problems Plague Manufacturing’s Push For Productivity

January 14, 2014 9:26 am | by Ben Grimes, Chief Technology Officer, Innovolt

Power is the lifeblood of manufacturing. However, the integration of sensitive electronics into most logic assemblies has made the circuitry (and therefore productivity) of the equipment that drives industrial automation much more susceptible to power quality fluctuations.

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The Evolution Of Private Equity & Why Supply Chains Take Center Stage

January 13, 2014 9:22 am | by Jim Tompkins, CEO of Tompkins International

The private equity game was once focused on buying and selling a company as quickly as possible. But the industry has evolved to focus more on engineering companies’ supply chains to build profit and value.             

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Ammunition Manufacturer Goes Lean

January 13, 2014 9:13 am | by Tia Nowack, Associate Editor, IMPO

Metalform manufactures American-made magazines for the 1911 pistol to brands like Colt, Smith & Wesson, and Kimber. Over the past few years the company has experienced amazing expansion, with forty percent growth in their business.     

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Best Logistics Advice For 2014: Dump Tribal Knowledge

January 10, 2014 9:27 am | by Tim Garcia, Apptricity Founder and CEO

Here's some food for thought when it comes to evaluating and improving logistics in your enterprise: Whatever else you do in 2014, make it a priority to dump the tribal knowledge you might be using to make mission-critical decisions. Instead, substitute the facts. 

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Is Chrysler An ‘American’ Automaker Any More?

January 10, 2014 8:53 am | by Joel Hans, Managing Editor, Manufacturing.net

Chrysler has technically been “foreign-owned” since July 2011, but the recent deal makes it all the more real: Chrysler might be an American-headquartered company, but it’s also a fully-owned subsidiary of an Italian company. That’s an important distinction, one that means Chrysler simply isn’t in the same playing field as Ford and GM, no matter each of their origins.

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Top 10 Biofuels & Biobased Predictions For 2014

January 8, 2014 8:57 am | by Biofuels Digest

As 2014 gets underway, The Biofuels Digest resists the first-of-year temptation to look back over the challenges and highlights of the year gone by, and instead lists the 10 Top Biofuels Predictions for 2014.            

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Shutting The Door On Shodan

January 8, 2014 8:36 am | by Alan Grau, Icon Labs

It is easy to look at Shodan as the problem — it provides easy access to the devices connected to the Internet. In reality, however, Shodan simply highlights the security vulnerabilities of many of the devices that comprise the Internet of Things (IoT). The real problem is not that Shodan finds insecure devices, but that so many devices lack real security.

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