Manufacturing Day brings manufacturing to the community

Held annually on the first Friday in October, MFG Day took place on Oct. 4 throughout North America. It is designed to show students, educators, job seekers, elected officials, community leaders, and others the current state of manufacturing processes, as well as showcase potential careers and opportunities by encouraging thousands of companies and educational institutions around the nation to open their doors for plant tours and educational sessions. Companies that were unable to hold an event on Oct. 4 have the opportunity to hold it another day during the month because October is also Manufacturing Month.

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Government relations update

September was a busy month for Congress after their month-long recess. Below is a snapshot of activity relevant to the manufacturing industry.

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Your exhibitions team’s summer activities update

This fall, as students returned to school, I’m sure many were asked to write an essay or present on the topic “What did you do this summer?” In that same spirit, I thought it would be fun to recap what your AMT Exhibitions department did this summer. It’s a tale of exploring what ifs, forming partnerships, being creative, furthering ideas, traveling, and some good old-fashioned fun.

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Branding your company and products

You may not give much thought to your company or products’ “brand” or image in the market. You may still be using the same marketing messages about your products that you developed several years ago. But has the market or competitive landscape changed since then? If so, it is probably time to revisit those marketing messages. While it is difficult to change certain marketing messages about your products—after all, specs are specs—what you communicate about the benefits and value of your products, product line, and your company itself are important in creating your image or brand in the market.

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A tale of two salesmen, or the grasshopper and the ant

Once upon a time, there were two machine tool salesmen. To protect the innocent, we’ll call them the Ant and the Grasshopper. They each worked for a distributor that had an impressive product line. They both were very, very good salesmen. They always made quota, excelled financially, and were usually the guys awarded as the Top Performers during their respective OEM’s annual meetings. In their territories, they both had several very large customers who bought lots of machines and required a good amount of hand-holding to keep them happy and to make sure nothing fell through the cracks. Their customers loved them for that. For several years, things were good, and both the Ant and the Grasshopper were very happy salesmen.

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MPETAC October update

On Aug. 20, 2019, the Materials Processing Equipment Technical Advisory Committee (MPETAC) met to discuss the latest matters in export control. The purpose of this committee is to advise the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Export Administration on technical questions that affect the level of export controls applicable to materials processing equipment and related technology. MPETAC covers articles, materials, and suppliers of metalworking equipment, numerically controlled machine tools, and robots. One of the committee’s ongoing goals is to integrate the control definitions between the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).

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Production-quality additive manufacturing faces growing pains

In the past several years, additive manufacturing (AM) has unquestionably moved from polymer-based prototypes to production-quality metals, but the industry is in the midst of some major growing pains, specifically in the areas of industry standards, quality assurance (QA) and realizing business ROI. In this article, we take a look at these challenges, and in the next issue, we’ll look at AM opportunities.

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Die Welt ist Gut

The two best places to build a deep understanding of the manufacturing technology eco-system are IMTS and EMO. These past couple weeks, EMO has been the center of the manufacturing world as innovators, builders, customers, investors, and enthusiasts converged on Hannover. The mood was one of concern and astonishment. The concern stemmed from the numerous challenges there are to growth. The trade wars—particularly the China-U.S. issue, where the ongoing institution of tariffs have prevailed for more than a year—have led to some multi-national companies changing their international strategies. The Brexit situation was almost as common an issue as the trade wars. Billions of dollars of investments will be impacted as EU and non-EU companies’ strategies for supplying EU demand are turned on their heads.

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Education and workforce development in additive manufacturing

Additive Manufacturing (AM) has been advancing at such a rapid pace in the last few years that the ecosystem of schools that teach AM programs and grant individual students AM credentials, certificates, and degrees has been in catch-up mode. It’s imperative that industry drives the direction of the education market.

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AMT News - October, 2019
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AMT News - September 2019
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Field report on data-driven manufacturing: Where are you on the digital journey?

Data-driven manufacturing, Industry 4.0, and IIoT are discussed widely these days, and the hype is creating some confusion and misrepresentations in the market. Often discussed in all-or-nothing terms, and replete with generalizations, many companies are not clear about the value that digitalization will bring to their operations. Since every manufacturing company has different equipment, processes, and day-to-day challenges, some of the promises are difficult to evaluate. An investment in digital technology without a clear path to ROI is not strategic, and it is critical that you know what you are going to do with the data you collect before you start a project.

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After month-long recess, Congress gets back to work

While members of Congress were back home meeting with constituents last month, their staffs were busy in Washington working on a path to fund the government in FY20. Now, with fewer than 40 days left in the 2019 session, how will Congress spend the remaining limited time on Capitol Hill?

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Back to school

IMTS COMMITTED TO SUPPORTING MANUFACTURERS OF THE FUTURE

With the back-to-school buzz of the past few weeks, I am reminded that IMTS has been fostering positive perceptions about careers in manufacturing to students for many years. From the early years as more of a science fair than trade show, to the renewed emphasis on education that began with the first Smartforce Student Summit in 1998, IMTS champions our industry to the next generations.

IMTS continues to look for new ways to encourage students to become the manufacturers of the future. Here are three new ways IMTS positively impacts students’ interest, academic growth, and skills in manufacturing technology.

 

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Should our company be marketing on the internet?

It is important for manufacturing technology companies of all sizes to have a marketing presence on the internet and social media. We all do the bulk of our research online, read about our industry, conduct personal business, and read and post on social media. And our customers are doing the same thing.

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Unpacking: yes or no?

Until recently, unpacking my clothes on a business trip was something I never thought about. Not long ago, a few of us weary travelers were at a bar, (of course), waiting out a flight delay (again, of course) talking about how we do everything in our power to make sure everything we pack fits in our carry-on. One of my colleagues brought up the Three Night Rule for unpacking. I said, “The Three Night Rule—what’s that?” He replied that on any trip of three nights or less, he does not unpack his clothes. “Why?” I asked. He explained that it was a waste of time to unpack and repack his clothes for such a short trip. Huh. Not unpacking clothes? Who knew? I’ve read lots of articles about the art of packing for a trip, but never about unpacking.

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Third National Metalworking Reshoring Award — Submission Entry
The Reshoring Initiative*, in conjunction with the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA)*, the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT), and the National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA), is looking to recognize companies for successful reshoring projects. *Inaugural sponsors
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AMT News - July/Aug 2019
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USMTO graduates to a new face at 21
In 1996, AMT and AMTDA agreed in principal to build an industry-wide market data program, with both suppliers and distributors reporting their order activity. Two years later and after thousands of hours of development and testing, USMTO posted its first data sets in January 1998. The program has had rebuilds, additions, adjustments, and updates during the past 21 years but nothing like what is occurring now. Earlier this year, the Economics & Statistics Committee initiated two significant changes. The first was the introduction of new product classifications in the lathe and machining center categories. The second is a complete rebuild of the USMTO website, from user-interface through reports, to be introduced later this fall.

 

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Russia revisited and open for business

The Russia Market

AMT’s Hubert Sawicki was recently in Moscow for the Metalloobrabotka show, which is Russia’s primary machine tool exhibition. After a five-year hiatus from AMT participation in the show, it was time to revisit the market and lend support to the more-than-a-dozen AMT members exhibiting their wares. His impressions were somewhat surprising and generally positive.

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Announcing a Department of Commerce Additive Manufacturing Trade Mission for AMT Members

November Trade Mission to Europe includes Visit to Formnext AM Show in Frankfurt

The U.S. Commercial Service, the trade promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, is organizing an Additive Manufacturing (AM)-focused trade mission to France, Germany, and Poland, November 18–22. The German stop of the Trade Mission includes activities at Formnext in Frankfurt, the world’s largest global AM exhibition and conference. AMT and IMTS strongly support the trade mission and will be exhibiting in the U.S. Pavilion at Formnext.

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Visualizing the future with MTForecast

Market forecasts and tools for data analysis offer something for everyone

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WESTEC 2019 New Location: Long Beach, Calif.

With more than 36,000 manufacturing firms employing 1.3 million people, California is among the fastest-growing manufacturing regions in the United States. Los Angeles has been home to WESTEC for the past few decades.

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Stress and the salesperson

If you’re like me or any other salesperson, waiting in a lobby to see a customer, waiting to board a plane, or even just standing in line to order a Chick-fil-A, we fidget.

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Philanthropy alone can’t fix student loans

By now, I’m sure that everyone has heard about the billionaire philanthropist Robert Smith, who pledged, during his commencement speech, to erase the student loan debt of the 2019 graduating class of Morehead State University. A noble and jaw-dropping gesture as far as the graduates were concerned.

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Tech Trends Bits

On May 14, 2019, the Materials Processing Equipment Technical Advisory Committee (MPETAC) met to discuss the latest matters in export control. The purpose of this committee is to advise the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Export Administration on technical questions that affect the level of export controls applicable to materials processing equipment and related technology. MPETAC covers articles, materials, and suppliers of metal-working equipment, numerically controlled machine tools, and robots. One of the committee’s ongoing goals is to integrate the control definitions between the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).

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Where are the economy and the MT market going?

To quote AMT’s Chief Knowledge Officer, Pat McGibbon, “The U.S. manufacturing landscape continues to grow, albeit at a slower pace. This development, in conjunction with concerns about trade policy impacts on exports, points to a decline in manufacturing technology orders in 2019 over 2018.”

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Be a manufacturing advocate

Use your voice this August recess to support your company and your industry.

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Minding the gap: how hiring veterans combats the technical skills shortage

The global talent crunch is becoming more evident than ever in the manufacturing industry. A recent report reveals that the U.S. manufacturing industry may reach a shortfall of 2.4 million workers by 2028. For the United States, the report attributes much of the labor shortage of skilled workers to an aging population. Trade schools are also producing fewer graduates annually.

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From emerging technology at IMTS to main street, Olli rolls into the D.C. region

Our IMTS emerging technology partner, Local Motors by LM Industries, known for 3D-printed mobility solutions, continues to make strides around the world.

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AMT News - June 2019
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Defining a project

In February 2018, Tim Shinbara, vice president of Technology at AMT, invited me to attend a meeting with him at the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, Industrial Base Analysis & Sustainment (OSD IBAS). The team at OSD IBAS was working on a new skills competition designed to change perceptions about careers in manufacturing and elevate the level of technology currently taught in schools in CNC machining and welding classes.

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IMTS 2020 - off to a flying start!

With 95 percent of the floor space sold, IMTS 2020 is making great strides. In May, we unveiled the initial IMTS 2020 floor plan and contacted exhibitors with their booth assignments.

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MTCouncil insights: digital transformation

While Jeffrey Immelt’s reputation has been somewhat tarnished by GE’s recent financial struggles, there’s no doubt that the industrial giant’s former CEO made remarkable progress during his tenure in embracing the concept of digital transformation in capturing the power of emerging technologies to create new business opportunities. GE is in the midst of some difficult changes today, but its commitment to digital is a critical success factor for GE moving forward in this rapidly evolving manufacturing world. Manufacturing Tech Council members saw clear evidence of this in the April webinar as a top GE researcher outlined how digital twins are improving product reliability, redefining manufacturing, and creating new revenue streams. These digital representations of physical assets like jet engines and wind turbines are a vital element of GE’s Digital Thread and its Industry 4.0 strategy.

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Export controls: MPETAC update

On May 14, 2019, the Materials Processing Equipment Technical Advisory Committee (MPETAC) met to discuss the latest matters in export control. The purpose of this committee is to advise the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Export Administration on technical questions that affect the level of export controls applicable to materials processing equipment and related technology. MPETAC covers articles, materials, and suppliers of metal-working equipment, numerically controlled machine tools, and robots. One of the committee’s ongoing goals is to integrate the control definitions between the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).

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International collaboration highlights smart manufacturing at EXPOMAFE 2019 in Brazil

I have been doing business in Brazil for more than 50 years. I lived and went to school there and still visit at least twice every year. Every time I go back, Brazil surprises me. No matter how much I follow the news or talk with my contacts over the phone, once I am there, I realize I have missed something by looking at it from a distance.

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The smartphone the best sales tool ever!! But don't forget it's a phone.

Social selling! It’s all the rage, especially with the new crop of younger people entering the world of sales. The younger generation uses social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. Older folks like me try our best on those platforms, but do we really get it?

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Six personality tests to help with hiring

Whether you are looking to hire a summer intern to help with social media or are one of many members looking for skilled workers, this article is for you.

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USTR increases Section 301 tariffs on Chinese imports; proposes new tariffs

Since my last report, the U.S.-China trade negotiations that were widely expected to move forward suffered a serious setback. President Trump, unhappy with the progress, directed the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to increase tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on products covered by the September 2018 action resulting from current 301 investigation into China’s unfair trade practices. He also proposed a new round of tariffs if China refuses to honor commitments made over the course of the negotiations. 

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What’s happening in the manufacturing technology market—globally?

Elsewhere in this edition of AMT News, there are summaries and articles on my outlook presented to IMTS exhibitors, Alan Beaulieu’s outlook presented at EASTEC, and Bill Strauss’s update presented to the MTForecast community. It really doesn’t make sense to give a fourth dose of the same news. The U.S. manufacturing landscape continues to grow, albeit at a slower pace. This development, in conjunction with concerns about trade policy impacts on exports, points to a decline in manufacturing technology orders in 2019 over 2018. 

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The future of distribution HAS ARRIVED.

Distributors are not immune to all the new technology buzzwords that are floating around business conversations these days—big data, robotics, AI, the cloud—and, like everyone else, they are wondering how their roles and jobs might be affected.

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AMT News - May 2019
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U.S. agency releases report assessing the impact of NAFTA 2.0

Last month, the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) released its report assessing the likely impact of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). It found that two pieces of the agreement would yield the most significant effects on the U.S. economy: (1) provisions that reduce policy uncertainty about digital trade and (2) certain new rules of origin applicable to the automotive sector.

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It’s open house season!

AMT can help – let me count the ways:

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Marketing & social media tips from your Exhibitions department

Exhibitions staff attended the Social Media Marketing World (SMMW) conference in San Diego, Calif., March 20-22. They gained insight into the latest marketing strategies, communication trends, and social media tips. Here are some takeaways:

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NIST model-based enterprise summit 2019

The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) 10th Model-Based Enterprise Summit was held April 1-4. The theme of the summit was Democratizing the Implementation of MBE. If you’re unfamiliar with the acronym, Model-Based Enterprise (MBE) is a holistic look at information related to a designed part. All related analyses, simulations, CAM, and end-uses are derived and connected to the single truth of a model.

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Digital twins in manufacturing

Digital twins, our Manufacturing Tech Council spotlight, provides virtual representations of real-world physical assets, manufacturing processes, finished products, etc. The twins are the offspring of digital enablers like artificial intelligence, machine learning, increasingly smart sensors, IoT, as well as new networking and data handling capabilities. They enable new ways of looking at everything we do and everything we work with, and promise vast opportunities for optimizing, streamlining, and cutting costs.

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CIMT 2019 Show exceeds expectations!

Bold new brand gives starring role to AMT/USA Pavilion

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The manufacturing technology world is in a pretty good place

The China International Machine Tool Show (CIMT) is complete. The show was huge and the attendee numbers were unbelievable.

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Jolted by JOLTS

Following the financial meltdown in 2010, it was widely reported that there were 600,000 job openings unfilled in our industry as a result of the skills gap. That number, repeated again and again by news sources, was a static look at an extremely fluid number, which varies month-to-month. It’s derived from the monthly JOLTS report.

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