MTConnect® Technical Advisory Group re-established as Standards Committee
McLean, Va. …  The MTConnect Institute has been accepted as an accredited standards developer under ANSI. To better align MTConnect procedures with ANSI, the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) has been re-established as the "Standards Committee." The Standards Committee is responsible for developing and approving the MTConnect standard, a function previously performed by the TAG.
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Robots Dominate the Automation Space

When people talk about robots these days, so many different images come to mind. Hollywood has their vision of our robotic future — from Wall-e to Terminator, the future is full of robots. In industrial automation there are many options: six-axis robots, SCARA robots, mobile robots, Cartesians, Delta robots, wall mounted, rail mounted, inverted and the list goes on.  It is sometimes hard to know what makes sense.

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Another Level of Workholding: Zero-Point Clamping

What do you think of when you think workholding? A vise, hydraulic clamps, vacuum plates, toe clamps, magnets, glue? Absolutely, but this is only half of the equation. What about the interface between these components and the machine tool? This is equally important, if not more important because it dictates the time it takes to change your workholding, which in turn has a significant impact on your spindle up-time. By investing in a quick-change pallet system (aka zero-point clamping system), most companies report a return on their investment in only a few months! From then on, it is pure cost savings year over year.

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Commerce Requests Public Comments on Auto Imports Investigation
Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross initiated a 232 investigation to determine if automotive imports (including cars, SUVs, vans and light trucks, and automotive parts) negatively impact U.S. national security. This could lead to steep tariffs on imports of cars and car parts much like those levied on steel and aluminum imports. The Commerce Department will hold a public hearing on the investigation on July 19 and 20. The public comment period is open through July 6, 2018. Federal Register request for pubic comment and public comment form.   (more)
Networking tips for the networking phobic

We all know it’s important to build your personal network to develop and maintain professional relationships. We know it, and many of us set out to do it. But what if you’re the more reserved type? Do you identify with any of the following?

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AMT News - May 2018
-Robotic automation in the job shop
-The relevance of a strong team
-A historical perspective on hybrid machine tools
    ...and so much more.   (more)
“I can see clearly now” — Why networking matters

Looking back to the beginning of March and the recent MFG Meeting in Miami, an increased clarity came to me sometime during and right after the meeting.  The clarification was one for the question “WHY?”  Why be involved in an association?  Why spend the money to go to the MFG meeting?  Yes, Miami is great in early March.  Yes, the MFG Meeting speakers and sessions offer beneficial pieces of information for me to use.  Yes, the food and music at the closing event are great.  But there must be more to make the investment worth it.  The answer is yes there is.

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MTConnect® Institute Accredited by the American National Standards Institute

The MTConnect Institute has been approved as an American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-accredited Standards Developer, elevating MTConnect’s status in the national and international standards communities. The move comes in response to increased interest in the MTConnect standard from industry and significant growth in membership in the MTConnect Institute. This accreditation indicates that the Institute’s standard development procedures adhere to ANSI’s Essential Requirements for due process, which include openness, coordination and harmonization, and compliance with normative policies and procedures, among others.

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Smartforce Student Summit at IMTS 2018 #its a jungle out there...
The skills gap has presented quite the challenge in the manufacturing industry’s ability to hire  enough qualified candidates to fill our open positions. For many job functions, recruiting has been especially difficult because we’re in competition with many other industries for the same small pool of talent.  (more)
Are you setting yourself up for measurable success?
As we begin the new year, we often hear the question: What are your plans for 2018?

New Year's resolutions aside, as marketers, we are always looking ahead, thinking about projects, sales, the next big idea, the next breakthrough innovation, the next event. We’re thinking about our to-do lists, about the reports we have to provide, about our return on investment. The point is, we're always planning, but are we always planning well?

Your list of priorities might include:
• Increase sales.
• Grow market share.
• Raise awareness.
• Build my brand.
• Generate leads at IMTS.
• Be seen as a thought leader.

Sounds good, right? These bullet points make for great slides and make us feel warm and fuzzy in our executive meetings. If we accomplish these things by the end of 2018, we’ll all be delighted.

The real questions are how do we get there and how do we know if we did?

While the priorities listed above are all desirable outcomes for any business, they are not specific enough to be fully understood by your team, nor are they stated in such a way that they can be measured. They also reflect a mix of business goals and supporting objectives, which are very different things and should be treated as such. In the simplest terms, business goals are big, they affect the entire organization and its place in the market. Objectives are smaller (marketing, finance, human resources, sales, support, etc.), but nonetheless essential to the outcome - big picture goals cannot be met unless the supporting objectives are achieved.

Think of it this way:

Goal - Future state of being.
Objective - Measurable target for achievement and step toward achieving your goal.

Business is a multi-faceted enterprise and requires input and effort from everyone - from human resources, service and operations to marketing, sales and finance - it’s a team effort. Each team needs to clearly understand its role in the process. A 30,000-ft. view of key roles might look something like this:

Marketing communications - Create a favorable climate for sales and other business functions.
Sales - Sell and generate revenue for the company.
Finance - Enable sales.
Support - Enrich customer relationships, solve problems.
Human Resources - Assemble and maintain talent and cultivate culture.
Operations - Convert material and labor into goods and services.

Very different things, right? If you look at it this way, you can easily see why the initial list of priorities is utterly meaningless without context.

As you dig into 2018, think about setting measurable objectives for your teams. Endeavor to provide clarity on their purpose and the role they play in achieving your bigger picture business goals. After the dust from IMTS settles and you settle in to report progress on your plans for the year, you’ll be glad you did.

Stay tuned for my next installment where I’ll suggest ways to ensure that you’re writing measurable objectives.  (more)
AMTNEWS Apr - SMARTFORCE - Greg Jones
AMT News -- April 2018
SMARTFORCE - It's a jungle out there
Greg Jones, AMT Vice President - Smartforce Development

We also need to continue to change perceptions about careers in manufacturing. An excellent opportunity for that is coming at the Smartforce Student Summit at IMTS 2018,

 

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AMT News April 2018
Smartforce Student Summit at IMTS 2018 #LetsDoThis...
The Smartforce Student Summit at IMTS 2018 will be here before we know it. Plans are in place with MTConnect and our industry exhibit partners to introduce this next generation of young people to careers in smart manufacturing, in addition to their teachers, administrators, and parents.  (more)
AMT News February 2018

Find out more about Smartforce Student Summit, AutomationXchange, The MFG meeting 2018. This months article include:

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Trust, but verify

Years ago while traveling on a business trip with a company executive, we had a lot of driving time that we used to discuss various topics, including business. The executive said something that caught me by surprise. He used the phrase, “trust, but verify.” At the time, I wasn’t really sure what to make of it. It seemed like a contradiction to me. In the context of the discussion, it seemed analogous to “trust, no one.”

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AMT Opens New Shanghai Tech Center (STC)

AMT recently celebrated the grand opening of its new Shanghai Technology Center in the International Machine Tools Center, within the Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone in Shanghai, China.

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Adding focus to your PR and marketing efforts

It’s no secret that manufacturing struggles with its public image and perception. It’s one of the top reasons why the industry has a hard time attracting young people to its workforce. While solutions to the problem are multifacted and wide-ranging, one way that individual companies can work to improve the industry’s image is by brushing up their efforts in digital marketing and PR.

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AMT Members staying ahead of the technology curve

Money, time, training, risk of change, and lack of opportunity are all roadblocks that have historically stood in the way of advancement for machine shops of every size, shape, and certification level. It takes years for new tech to become widely adopted by the manufacturing industry.

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Can you cherry pick the data on workforce?

As more and more white papers are written these days about changes in workforce needs and the future of workforce development brought on by disruptions in technology (driven by Industry 4.0, smart manufacturing, etc.), we’re seeing more authors conclude that robotics and automation will be doing away with the majority of low-skilled jobs.

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WESTEC 2017 - Golden State’s premier advanced manufacturing event

Thousands of manufacturers looking for new ideas attended WESTEC 2017 in Los Angeles, where 538 companies exhibited advanced manufacturing and machine technologies. From the buzz on the show floor to the presentation Q & As, California’s local and state officials, public-private partnerships, and businesses are committed to the future and expansion of the manufacturing industry in the Golden State.

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EMO Hannover:European markets full of promise

The message from the September show in Hannover, EMO 2017, is clear: The European industrial scene is one of prosperity; the Eurozone has recovered and demonstrates a healthy growth; and overall, markets of the EU are again attractive for manufacturing technology suppliers. In fact, results of a survey conducted after the show predict an optimistic €20 billion (U.S. $23.4 billion) could be invested in new technology over the next 24 months.

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EMO Hannover reflections and a shared history with IMTS

A few weeks I returned from EMO in Hannover, Germany, and reflected on the very connected history between EMO and IMTS.

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AMT News November 2017
Find out more about the tax reform bill, the forecast for the manufacturing technology market, the long history behind EMO and IMTS.  This month's articles include: 
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It may be November, but business is blooming

Over the past eight weeks, AMT members have been very upbeat when sharing information about how the markets are doing here in North America and across the globe. While visiting members’ booths and attending market update conferences during EMO, the tone was clearly positive with expectations that business was trending up and would for the next several quarters.

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Will Congress deliver on tax reform?

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) finally introduced the Republican leadership’s long-awaited tax reform bill, entitled the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1). It is expected to cost about $1.5 trillion over the next decade. The President praised the bill as one that will stimulate the economy and create jobs. The Senate is expected to introduce its own version of tax reform soon. Enacting a bill before the end of the year is still a long shot, given the complicated budget process and the opposition of powerful constituencies. If legislation is eventually enacted, it may look very different from the current proposal.

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Inbound marketing: A perfect fit for manufacturers

This post was originally published by Equinet

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Why do advanced manufacturers want to attend SPACECOM 2017?

SPACECOM 2017 – the Space Commerce Conference and Exposition - will showcase space technologies and explore new business opportunities in outer space on December 5–7, 2017, in Houston, Texas, at the George R. Brown Convention Center.  

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Expect value from distributors before, during, and after the sale

The sales process for many products, including machine tools, has changed. Thanks to easy access to information, customers who want to purchase a new machine today can narrow their choices to a few machines that will meet their needs before ever speaking with an actual sales person. After just a few clicks on a computer mouse, these customers can quickly research and compare data and machine specifications from several builders. They can also easily find and read reviews or social media posts from other manufacturers who are already using the machines to learn more about the pros and cons of each.

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Tax reform next on the agenda

The winds have shifted in Washington since Congress returned from the month long summer break. There is a new sense of urgency to get something done from both sides of the aisle. It's true that it took an act of nature to bring the parties together, but it took an act of bipartisanship to enact a disaster relief package that included: a down payment for rebuilding after the hurricanes, a short-term spending deal to keep the government open through December, and a three-month increase in the debt ceiling necessary to fund the spending.

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What can we do to save a workforce in decline?

“What we want to call ‘blue-collar jobs’ are on the way out," said Kipp Glenn, a worker at Carrier’s factory in Indianapolis, in a recent article from the Washington Post.

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Don’t underestimate workholding’s impact

In today’s ultra-competitive manufacturing industry, planning workholding in conjunction with a machine tool purchase has become more important than ever. Gone are the days of ordering a machine, having it installed, and then mounting whatever workholding is laying around the shop on the machine.

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Updates on the Auto and Mining, Off-road & Construction Industries

Is the auto industry forecast closer to a sci-fi or horror film for advanced manufacturers?  Why is there optimism for mining, off-road & construction (MOC) industry?

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AMT’s Shanghai Tech Center is moving

AMT will soon have a new address for our Shanghai Tech Center (STC) in China. In 2004, AMT opened its first foreign Technology and Service Center in Shanghai’s Waigaoqiao Pilot Free Trade Zone. For more than a decade, AMT’s Shanghai Tech Center has helped more than 100 AMT member companies increase their sales and distribution in China. 

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AMT News - Sept./Oct. 2017
Find out the forecast for the manufacturing technology market, workforce solutions, tax reform and more.
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At the center of the Google memo

By now, you are probably familiar with the former Google employee James Damore’s memo on diversity in the workforce and the fallout of what was meant to be an internal Google document.

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Summer winds blew in warmer order levels

Market growth continues to pick up the pace according to both members and the USMTO numbers posted at the beginning of August. Members shared that the rate of change has picked up but that it is still not evenly spaced across customer markets by industry.

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Get Ready for #MFGDay17 - October 6

MFG Day is a great opportunity to showcase your modern manufacturing workplace and enhance the image of manufacturing to your community, customers and future workforce. Check out the graphic below, which highlights stats on how MFG Day has changed student perceptions of the industry and more.

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Using HPC to solve manufacturing challenges

The Department of Energy's Advanced Manufacturing Office is offering funds for projects that would allow manufacturers to use DoE's high-performance computer resources. Specifically, they are seeking projects that would have a potential impact on improving energy efficiency or clean energy technologies. The deadline to apply is December 29, 2018.

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AMT News – July/August 2017 interactive pdf
- Why industrial IoT needs a systems approach
- NAFTA revisited
- Executive order on apprenticeships
- Tips for successful marketing
- Creative minds, creative times drive the American manufacturing revolution
- Innovation culture
       ...and much more.  (more)
New Infographic Promotes Careers in Manufacturing

As manufacturing evolves with the digital world and skilled workers retire, a shortage of two million workers in the next 10 years is anticipated by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute studies.

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NIST infographic shows economic value of manufacturing

We love this NIST graphic, which shows specific facts on the importance of manufacturing in the United States.

 

 

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) works with small- and mid-sized U.S. manufacturers to help them create and retain jobs and increase profits. MEP works with partners at the state and federal levels on programs that help manufacturers develop new customers, expand into new markets and create new products.

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AMT elects 2017-2018 officers and directors
At the AMT Annual Business Session during The MFG Meeting, the association elected its 2017-2018 officers and directors. The board year began April 1, 2017.  (more)