Manufacturers are on the cusp of a major generational shift. Baby Boomers are preparing to retire out of the workforce, and Gen Y is poised to replace them. However, several obstacles are preventing a seamless transition of Gen Y-ers into these soon-to-be vacant roles.
Ergonomics can be thought of as much like a dinner table setting: Everything should be in easy reach and no one should have to reach too far or stretch into an unnatural position to get at what they need, says Ed Metzger, president of BioFit. “By ensuring that workers have the freedom to move comfortably and naturally, companies can prevent many of the musculoskeletal injuries and fatigue that leads to lost time and productivity.”
Manufacturing in America isn’t as simple as just setting up shop and producing a product. Nowadays, a globally networking economy means competition has taken on more nuance: labor rates are eroded by low cost countries, which results in lower cost imported goods and an ever-sloping playing field.
Many don’t think of Toshiba as an American-made brand, especially when it comes to the U.S. automotive market. And for quite some time, that was true. Since 2003, Toshiba had manufactured HEV motors for Ford Motor Company at its Japan facility. But in 2011, under the weight of supply chain pressures and growing currency risks, Toshiba Industrial Corporation began manufacturing motors for Ford’s hybrid vehicles in Houston, TX.
Lear Corporation’s 94,000-square-foot, four assembly line seating plant in Montgomery, AL is one of the most modern and efficient facilities of its kind. At peak production, Lear builds approximately 1,000 seat sets per day or 73 sets per hour in 56 distinct combinations of colors and options for the Hyundai Sonata sedan and Santa Fe SUV built at Hyundai’s Alabama plant.
Sometimes the most experienced technicians or skilled toolmakers need to look to specialists outside when it comes to solving critical service problems. Such was the case when a legendary helicopter company was confronted with a worldwide problem in cleaning scale from a small, outsourced part that was preventing it from proceeding with production of its helicopters all over the world.
Located in the heart of Coppell, Texas, just outside of Dallas, Stone Panels Incorporated manufactures one of a kind, light-weight stone veneer panels used in new construction and renovations across the globe. The facility does not have a centralized air-conditioning system and working in close quarters in a humid, and often times dusty facility can lead to uncomfortable employees and a drop in productivity.
Although the company operates a diverse collection of business units in 190 countries, German-based Siemens also employs more than 60,000 people in 130 U.S. manufacturing facilities. So with this in mind, we recently sat down with Helmuth Ludwig, the CEO of Siemens’ Industry Sector in North America.
In this issue, check out the 2013 Jobs Report, which feature's American-made Toshiba HEV engines, veterans in today's skilled labor jobs, the latest industry numbers, how manufacturers can take back American-made, and more.
Attention shoppers: Southeast Asia is the emerging hotspot for apparel manufacturing, with cost and safety concerns driving global brands to shift sourcing from stalwarts China and Bangladesh. Today, countries including Vietnam, Cambodia, and Indonesia are making clothing for some big brands.
Boeing has received a $4 billion, multi-year contract from the Army for 177 CH-47F Chinook helicopters. The Army has options to buy up to an additional 38 helicopters. Deliveries are expected to start in 2015. The order will bring the Army's CH-47F inventory close to its goal of 464 aircraft, including 24 for replacements.
A Georgia-based company that manufactures cedar shingles is planning to locate a manufacturing plant in northern Maine that will create 78 new jobs. Gov. Paul LePage and Bryan Kirkey, CEO of Ecoshel, announced Tuesday that the shingle plant will be located at the former Levesque sawmill in Ashland.
Chevron CEO John Watson discusses energy production in the wake of BP's massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Watson says energy companies are taking a more proactive approach to safety, securing their systems, and operations before government regulators come knocking.
Communities investing in manufacturing and economic development apply the same techniques as Iron Man, working in a region, scanning the environment and applying resources (tax incentives, workforce development and infrastructure upgrades instead of repulsor rays) to come out on top with robust economic growth.
The deposition of material on heat transfer surfaces is called fouling which significantly impacts the thermal and mechanical performance of heat exchangers. Fouling increases the overall thermal resistance and lowers the overall heat transfer coefficient of heat exchangers as well as impeding fluid flow, accelerating corrosion and increasing pressure drop across the heat exchanger.
The world of manufacturing and the soldier seem very far apart at first glance, but they both operate in uncertain and rapidly changing environments. The workforce goes to work, while the military goes to war. Thankfully, in the work environment, people do not often die, but companies can fail and people’s livelihoods can be destroyed through bad decisions.
A fire breaks out in a Chinese factory, and panicked workers discover one exit after another is locked. That describes not only the poultry plant fire that killed 119 people Monday, but a toy-factory blaze that left 87 workers dead 20 years earlier. The similarities between the two worst factory fires in China's history suggest that little has changed for industrial workers even as the country has transformed its economy.
Davis Aircraft Products said Monday it expects to hire 100 people to work in the new $5.5 million plant when it opens next spring in Andrews, S.C. The company will make tubing for airplanes at the new plant. Davis Aircraft Products CEO Bruce Davis says he appreciated the support he got from state and local officials as he decided where to put his new manufacturing plant.
Connected to a laptop I can’t afford, on the far end of a tangle of cords, is an exposed circuit board peppered with objects I can name — resistors, diodes — but not explain. The computer itself is running software that I’m not capable of programming myself. But none of that matters, and, in fact, is part of an educational plan from National Instruments’ Academic Program.
It costs U.S. industry billions of dollars a year to control and remove the limescale that builds up in industrial equipment such a heat exchangers, evaporative coolers, boilers, chillers and other water fed equipment. Limescale not only increases downtime, maintenance costs and causes the early renewal of capital equipment but also increases energy usage.
Inside a sealed building in Boeing's Everett widebody-jet assembly plant, two robotic machines glide along tracks on either side of a 106-foot 777 wing laid flat, their heads reaching out like animatronic dinosaurs nibbling at the giant wing.
Cellphone pioneer Motorola says it's opening a manufacturing facility that will produce the first smartphone ever assembled in the U.S. — its new flagship device, Moto X. The Texas site was once used by fellow phone manufacturer Nokia, meaning it was designed to produce mobile devices, said Will Moss, a spokesman for Motorola Mobility, which is owned by Google.
Omron Corp., an industrial automation equipment maker, said Tuesday it will start selling in June power-saving solutions for precision machinery factories challenged by airborne dust and other problems, based on techniques employed at one of its factories.
Here’s a test. Go into your parts storeroom and try to find a part that you can’t match to any piece of equipment in your plant. It’s a very rare plant that doesn’t have a box of parts that no one is quite sure exactly where they go, but the storeroom is keeping, “just in case.”
The manufacturing world is constantly looking for processes that can accelerate production while lowering unit costs and improving product reliability. Each innovation must mesh with the overall production process to achieve high output levels.