Any company wondering how to compete globally can learn a lot from NMB
Corp. and its Japanese parent, Minebea Co., Ltd. The well-known manufacturer of
high-precision mechanical and electromechanical components, with facilities on
three continents, offers a great example of how concern for employees and the
environment can lead to high-quality products, healthy sales, and a loyal work
force. For example, here are just a few of the innovations at the Minebea
operations in Thailand, where NMB produces bearings, motors, disc drives, and
Vertical integration. The company manufactures almost all of its own parts in house at various factories in Thailand. But, it also buys many parts from local subcontractors, helping to build up businesses in Thailand.
Extensive employee training programs--conducted in the many languages spoken by its diverse work force. The emphasis is on long-term training.
A free employee commuter service, which includes one helicopter and 292 buses that travel among the firm's seven Thai locations.
Employee housing, with air conditioning and maid service, for visiting employees.
Totally "green" manufacturing practices. The company has made a major investment in waste-water treatment, building four separate waste-water treatment plants.
The vertical integration cuts man- ufacturing costs and delivery times, while the green manufacturing practices not only help improve quality of life for the company's neighbors, but also ensure clean water for washing the bearings that roll off the assembly lines. Further, both Thailand and Singapore have local-citizen factory managers and local citizens on their boards.
The payback is impressive. The ISO 9002-certified bearings operation, for example, is currently shipping about 120 million bearings a month.
Underlying this success is a simple tenet NMB and Minebea hold dear: cause no disturbance to the environment and contribute to the development of Thai society. "You are on someone else's soil," says Sarah deRosier, marketing administrator for NMB. Adds Chuck Carlson, marketing/administrative manager, "you have to keep asking yourself what you are doing for the people."
No rocket science there, just plain old common sense and good citizenship. It pays off handsomely for NMB Corp., and can for all manufacturing companies.
Truchard will be presented the award at the 2014 Golden Mousetrap Awards ceremony during the co-located events Pacific Design & Manufacturing, MD&M West, WestPack, PLASTEC West, Electronics West, ATX West, and AeroCon.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
The IEEE Computer Society has named the top 10 trends for 2014. You can expect the convergence of cloud computing and mobile devices, advances in health care data and devices, as well as privacy issues in social media to make the headlines. And 3D printing came out of nowhere to make a big splash.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.