Manufacturing leaders seem to have a sixth sense when it comes to an ever-evolving industry landscape — call it an innate understanding of how technology, trends, and the world’s macro issues converge to shape our world. In “The World According To…” — a new series premiering in 2023 on IMTS+ — AMT — The Association For Manufacturing Technology, connects with industry leaders and luminaries across the U.S. to pick their brains on the world of manufacturing through their eyes.
A new series is always a big undertaking, and who better to give us a worldview of manufacturing than Pat McGibbon. As chief knowledge officer at AMT, McGibbon has spent more than 40 years analyzing industry trends and technologies.
“We’re seeing technologies that we talked about being front and center 20 years ago finally making it to the main stage. I think it’s a signal that we’re going through a period of disruption and change that we haven’t seen since the mid-eighties,” he says.
Here’s a quick look at how Pat sees the future.
“We haven’t seen the increase in percentage of overall spending on automation level off,” McGibbon says. “That’s a sign that we’ve democratized automation. It’s simple and inexpensive enough so that small job shops can play the game.”
The auto industry will create a reduced reliance on certain technologies as other forms of energy are used. The “transmission transition” is happening from those for internal combustion engines to EVs.
“The same is true with electric cars and hydrogen fuel. There’s going to be millions of cars made. If you can enter the process of making something that goes into them, you will have a customer that’s going to provide a good portion of your revenue stream,” McGibbon says.
The aerospace industry and companies such as Boeing and Airbus are looking strong with 700 new planes being delivered in the next decade. In addition, new markets will open up.
“All those space launches have been profitable. They had experiments that paid for the payload,” McGibbon says. “And as we go into the harvesting of space trash, we're going see a lot more money going into that area. People will want to take satellites out of existing very profitable paths.”
The medical equipment industry represented less than 1% of all manufacturing technology orders in the 90s.
“Today medical is around 7%, which doesn’t sound like much until you consider the hundreds of industries providing technology,” McGibbon says. The increasing number of people over the age of 60 that will need joint replacements demonstrates a clear trend of how manufacturing technology serves an aging population.
McGibbon sees a manufacturing environment where we won’t see pieces built in huge volumes. When bespoke products (from custom knees to custom cars) grow, small job shops become a viable place to put capital equipment liability.
“Now you can focus on what you do best, whether in the automobile, aerospace or medical equipment industry, and that’s design tools and products that are better for your customers,” McGibbon says.
What else matters to Pat? Economic indexes, additive, robotic, and personal curiosity? Tune in to the series debut of “The World According To…” on IMTS+ and find out!