Is America in the Midst of a Manufacturing Renaissance?
As America begins to rebound from the recent economic recession, it’s not uncommon to hear people talk about a “manufacturing renaissance” in the United States. But what’s less common is to find any agreement on what the proposed renaissance really means for American manufacturing, or even whether there actually is any such renaissance at all.
Those who claim that the United States is approaching—or even in the midst of—a manufacturing renaissance cite several major factors. For the past 50 years, industrial production in the U.S. has grown at the same rate as—or even faster than—the economy as a whole. The United States has one of the world’s largest manufacturing sectors, and if U.S. manufacturing was its own country, it would still be the 8th largest economy in the world. The industry contributes more than 12% to the gross domestic product of the United States, and supports about one in every six private sector jobs.
From those facts, it seems easy enough to say that the industry is still a major economic player in the United States, but for the most part, all of that has been more or less true for decades.
According to analysts, we’re on the verge of major seismic changes. One of the key reasons for this is a revolution in technology, from robotics to 3D printing. Last year, Google acquired 8 different robotics companies, and has started working with Foxconn, the world’s largest electronics manufacturer. Their purpose? Developing new robotic technologies that would improve the speed and efficiency of manufacturing processes all over the globe. As manufacturing becomes increasingly reliant on advanced technology, many companies have already relocated major operations to be nearer to information technology hubs.
Technology isn’t the only factor contributing to these changes. Changes in the American energy sector thanks to things like new access to shale gas deposits have seen the energy costs of manufacturing in the United States getting cheaper, and a recent survey of manufacturers actually placed the United States as the primary choice for low-cost production, beating out the usual suspects like Mexico and China. The reasons for this ranged from high production quality to supply chain reliability and proximity to key markets.
The manufacturing landscape in the United States is definitely undergoing some exciting changes. As production continues to increase, manufacturers will need access to high quality deburring machinery, from a company that can understand and respond to evolving manufacturing challenges and needs.