Welcome to Manufacturing Day, October 2, 2015. The day comes at a time when everything is changing in manufacturing. The Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International (FMA) designated this day to encourage events that can teach and celebrate the value of manufacturing. FMA points to 2,004 events in all that are listed on an easy-to-use map.
To paraphrase a classic Yogi Berra quote, the future of manufacturing isn’t what it used to be. Profound changes have come to the craft and art of making things. This week at Pack Expo, the huge packaging industry trade show in Las Vegas, nearly everyone Design News spoke with expressed a view on the changing nature of manufacturing. Here are some of their insights.
1.) It’s Not All China Any Longer
The flight of manufacturing to China has subsided somewhat as brand owners seek manufacturing that better supports their customers. While tons of products bound for the US are still made in China, a new paradigm has taken hold for industrial goods and for high-mix, low-volume products – build it close to the customer. The goal is to provide greater customer service and the shipping control that comes from local production. We also noted a ring of pride when employees said their products are produced locally.
2.) Everything’s Connected…But for What?
For all the talk about Industry 4.0, it seems to remain in the realm of very large manufacturers. The technology is within the reach of small- and mid-size manufacturers as automation vendors make their technologies available to a wide spectrum of customers. But smaller manufacturers are not yet equipped to effectively utilize the data coming off their machines.
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