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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. 

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Nanomanufacturing has Many Benefits that Enable New Manufacturing Processes

nanotechnology

Faster, stronger, lighter, cheaper and more durable are necessary attributes for the manufacturing industry. But what if one could also have: water-repellent, anti-reflective, self-cleaning, ultraviolet- or infrared resistant, anti-fog, antimicrobial, scratch-resistant and electrically conductive in the mix?

Small, but Mighty

Nanomanufacturing and nanotechnology using nanoscale materials promises just that, and its applications continue to grow. Using elements measured in nanometers or micros of 10-100 nanometers or less, nanomanufacturing is enhancing performance in the manufacturing industry by boosting the properties in high-performance, innovative, next-generation products.

Nanomanufacturing, defined as the production of nanoscale materials like powders or fluids, enables high-precision production through a “bottom up” or “top down” process.

Top-down fabrication – like whittling a large block down into another object, top down systematically reduces to a final nanoscale product

Bottom-up fabrication – builds up nanoscaled products from atomic- and molecular-scale components

Enabling New Manufacturing Processes

Attention for nanotechnology processes gained prominence in 2000 when the government established its National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). Created with a goal to make the U.S. a global leader in nanotechnology, the NNI and its related departments and independent agencies have provided research and instruction to multiple industries, sharing advances in nanotechnology that can reduce costs and improve capabilities along the way. NNI’s website Nano.gov offers resources and information about nanotechnology for the public and private sectors.

Successful innovations through NNI’s initiative include examples from higher-education institutions such as Purdue University, Northwestern University, Rice University and the University of Pennsylvania where researchers apply nanomanufacturing technologies.

Tools and Techniques

Laser shock imprinting – forms nanoscale metallic shapes for gears (Purdue)

Desktop nanofabrication tool – uses beam-pen lithography arrays to build nanoscale structures (Northwestern)

Nanoscale diamond tips – creation of longer-lasting AFM tips for etching or depositing material in nanomanufacturing processing (University of Pennsylvania)

These educational institutions are also joined by companies such as MesoCoat, ArcelorMital, IMEC and Nantero that are using nanotechnology to prevent oxidation, create lighter steel, reduce waste and produce lower-cost solar cells. Well-known names like Hewlett Packard and Intel are applying nanotechnology to create improved memory devices with more computing power and storage capacity.

New Processes Enabling Nanomanufacturing

Chemical vapor deposition – reacting chemicals produce pure, high-performance films

Molecular beam epitaxy – deposits highly controlled thin films

Atomic layer epitaxy – deposits one-atom-thick layers

Dip pen lithography – dipping the tip of an atomic-force microscope into a chemical fluid to “write” on a surface

Nanoimprint lithography – “stamping” or “printing” nanoscale features onto a surface

Roll-to-roll processing – producing nanoscale devices on ultrathin plastic or metal

Self-assembly – bringing a group of components together into an ordered structure without outside direction

Funding Initiatives

The future of nanomanufacturing is bright, but progress doesn’t come cheap. Resourceful R&D will need to rely on funding to further the potential of nanomanufacturing. Currently, there are more than 90 NNI-funded centers throughout the U.S. and $36.5 million of President Trump’s YF 2019 budget of close to $1.4 billion is earmarked for nanomanufacturing.

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!

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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!

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