Category Archives: Global Manufacturing

The Manufacturing Industry has Reason to be Optimistic in the New Year

manufacturing new yearThe manufacturing industry is kicking off the New Year with cautious optimism. The GDP is expected to remain within the 2 to 3 percent range with a 2.5 percent increase in 2019 and 2.6 percent industry growth. 2019 is also the ninth year of economic expansion, the second longest in U.S. history, according to William Strauss, senior economist and economic adviser for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

The pace predicted for the manufacturing industry in 2019 is somewhat faster than that of other segments in the general economy with sales and revenue expected to grow. Part of this increase can be attributed to the health of the industry and an improving competitive position for the U.S. in the global manufacturing market, according to FABTECH, an exhibiting company that showcases what’s new in metal forming, welding, finishing and fabricating.

Not surprisingly, the industry’s top priorities haven’t deviated much from those of the past five years. Industry leaders, tasked with orders from boards and shareholders, will continue to look for ways to grow sales, cut costs and address talent gaps. What is new is a greater emphasis on the use of digital technologies to improve business and a changing focus on teaming artificial intelligence (AI) and the human element of business. Leaders surveyed in KPMG’s 8th edition of the Global Manufacturing Outlook report stressed the importance of looking at AI as a partnership with human intelligence. The blend of AI and the human element will put an increased focus on the need for extensive retraining and educating workers on new roles.

Impact of AI on Workforce

64% say it will create more jobs than it eliminates

36% say it will eliminate more jobs than it creates

Building Partnerships

Such an approach will require new partnerships that extend inside and outside the industry. Manufacturers will need to continue to look for ways to build up a pipeline for new workers. This will be necessary as more Baby Boomers retire from the industry, leaving an information drain that could be difficult to replace.

Companies will also need to build and maintain strong supply chain partnerships on more than a handshake and prior contracts. KPMG stressed that with the threat of cyber security it will be more important for a business to know who they are considering a partnership with. The safety of a company’s data will only be as secure as those connected to the data throughout the supply chain. This includes the use of intrusion detection and a firewall to protect the perimeter from outside attack, secure communications through a VPN or SSL, increased securing measures using intrusion-detection software and network elements and upgraded monitoring systems.

Other Possible Obstacles to Growth

Higher inflation

More stringent immigration policies

Tariffs impacting trade protectionism

NAFTA uncertainty

Rising borrowing costs

By applying a mindset of digital and embracing the human element of business, the manufacturing industry can continue to adapt to customer needs in a changing competitor landscape.

This article is brought to you by The Cleveland Deburring Machine Company. CDMC can provide a deburring solution for gears, sprockets, aerospace and defense, automotive deburring, power transmission, powdered metals, fluid power and custom deburring applications. 

Continue reading »

Augmented Reality or A/R Will Greatly Enhance Manufacturing Industries

augmented reality

Augmented Reality or A/R may feel like something out of a science fiction movie or a concept belonging to the future, but we already interact with A/R more often than we know. One recent example is the Pokémon Go craze that applied A/R to locate, capture, battle and train Pokemon creatures. Smartphone users of all ages used A/R to superimpose Pokémon’s computer-generated images to views of the real world.

Blending the Virtual and Real

Different than the computer-generated environment of virtual reality, Augmented Reality superimposes sounds, images and text on the world we see. The composite view produced through A/R can enhance the world and offer numerous applications for enjoyment and work. Prominent examples of applications abound in the aerospace, military and automobile industries. These companies use A/R to solve key operational issues and are introducing ways a workforce can more easily perform repetitive tasks in a more efficient manner.

It can also enhance remote work and improve collaboration. For example, applications can free users from the need to refer to a laptop for instructions or the need to be in a set location to call up videos. Users can leave notes, issue voice commands and call up information from colleagues literally before their eyes.

Manufacturing Industry Applications

But beyond demonstrations on a trade show floor or flashy examples from high-end companies with deep pockets, how will it be used in the so-called real world? A 2017 article from engineering.com profiled five possible uses of Augmented Reality in the manufacturing industry.

Complex Assembly – Instead of referring to work instructions on static documents that could be out of date, A/R can make the instructions changeable and easy to update. The technology can include technical drawings, video and comments from the last person on the job. Workers no longer need to leave a task to check a work station for information.

Maintenance – Support for maintenance-related tasks can become easier with A/R. Augmented models allow workers to confirm and record inspection orders and results using voice technology. This method allows workers to ditch cumbersome manuals while streamlining and speeding up the inspection process.

Expert Support – Traveling to a site to perform maintenance is expensive, but the telepresence provided could improve the process. Augmented Reality can allow a technician located anywhere in the world to see through the eyes of an on-site technician performing the work, offering the ability to provide real-time Q&A and support.

Quality Assurance – Manual inspections can also be enhanced through A/R. Inspectors take photos of parts or assemblies under inspection and compare those to an augmented reality overlay. As a result, out-of-spec features become easier to spot and report, potentially speeding up and enhancing the effectiveness of the inspection process.

Automation – Although some associate A/R with the use of robots with subsequent loss of jobs, others see it as supplementation and collaboration, ultimately improving working efficiency. Augmented Reality has the potential to read the environment and then “feed” that information to workers.

This article is brought to you by The Cleveland Deburring Machine Company. CDMC can provide a deburring solution for gears, sprockets, aerospace and defense, automotive deburring, power transmission, powdered metals, fluid power and custom deburring applications. Our no-charge application evaluation includes a detailed report and process description in as little as 3 to 5 business days. Contact CDMC today and speak with one of our experts!

Continue reading »

The Increasing Importance of Cybersecurity in Manufacturing

cybersecurity

The topic of cybersecurity in manufacturing is something most companies only give thought to when an issue arises. Experience shows, many of these attacks happened to large retail organizations that process millions of financial transactions. For business owners within the industrial and manufacturing industries this preference has offered a measure of assurance, if not security. The reason being, many hackers had little interest in tampering with the systems used in these industries.

This is now a false sense of security. A report from Kaspersky Labs, a global cybersecurity company, said that manufacturing companies account for one-third of all attacks. Kaspersky Labs cited an uptick in invasions of Operational Technology (OT), including industrial control systems (ICS) and supervisory control and data acquisition programs (SCADA). OT systems control the management of production lines, monitoring of gas and oil, and the control of other operations. During 2017, Kaspersky Labs cited attacks on ICS and SCADA, including some 18,000 different modifications of malware, according to a report in Tech Republic.

Changing Focus

Kaspersky Labs, which protects corporate systems, data and processes in public sector organizations and smaller businesses, said hackers are switching their focus. These changes could include anything from ransomware to the theft of intellectual property (IP) and most recently crypto mining, which creates a slow, yet steady, stream of stolen funds.

Hackers are constantly shifting their focus, looking for organizations with vulnerabilities such as recent targets in the industries of defense and finance as well as academia. In 2017, energy and industrial firms, petrochemical companies and manufacturing were also targets. In these cases, they chose IP theft as their weapon of choice, using the theft to gain copies of successful products or to gain competitive advantage in the marketplace. IP theft negates the valuable time and money spent on R&D, cutting into margins and competitive advantage.

Damage Control

With cyberattacks becoming an increasingly real issue, it’s critical for manufacturers to look for ways to improve all levels of security within the business. Now more than ever, manufacturers need to apply ICS and SCADA to protect systems against intentional or accidental security threats coming from inside or outside the organization.

To create a more secure environment, it’s suggested that manufacturers assess their current OT and IT processes and determine where upgrades need to be made. This will likely include adding layers of additional security throughout the organization. Ongoing and frequent assessments will help determine if a company can evolve and survive the newest hacking targets.

Secure Steps to Consider

Use intrusion detection and a firewall help protect the perimeter from an outside attack.

Secure communications through a virtual private network (VPN) and/or use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).

Increase security by installing antivirus and host-based intrusion detection software.

Control security by limiting access to network elements and applications.

Protect the physical surroundings using locks and alarm monitoring systems.

 

This article is brought to you by The Cleveland Deburring Machine Company. CDMC can provide a deburring for gears, sprockets, aerospace and defense, automotive deburring, power transmission, powdered metals, fluid power and custom deburring applications. Our no-charge application evaluation includes a detailed report and process description in as little as 3 to 5 business days. Contact CDMC today and speak with one of our experts!

Continue reading »