3D Printing Stars in Fed-Sponsored Manufacturing Initiative
The first of 15 centers of excellence aimed at revitalizing US manufacturing will be dedicated to additive manufacturing, which can produce complex, difficult, multi-part shapes such as hollow part molds for this intake manifold, created using Stratasys' Fused Deposition Modeling process. (Source: Champion Motorsport)
Ann, I generally suppor this type of effort. One thing I have a problem with, though, is the statement on keeping jobs. The bulk of manufacturing jobs in high tech are the assembly jobs. You may have heard about the problems at the Foxconn. What is striking is the number of workers at these facilities. You hear numbers like 75,000 at one plant. They have over 1M employees. We really need jobs that are medium or low skilled. All this high tech manufacturing in the US employs fewer and fewer jobs. We are good at that stuff. The problem is that the companies that have the largest numbers of employees are companies like Walmart. I don't know what the answer is, but we need to address that issue as well.
I've been reading much about a resurgence in American manufacturing and so glad to see 3D printing and additive manufacturing being positioned at the forefront of that resurgence. Naperlou: Your point about the skill level for these new manufacturing jobs is well taken, but I'm not sure we're heading back to a wealth of less technical labor any time soon (just consider all the robotics innovations that will take on more of the menial work). That said, reskilling and training of the American workforce has to be a priority in all of these initatives in order for the labor market to benefit in any signficant way.
Beth, I think from what you and I have been reporting on 3D printing and AM--and how much the technologies have been breaking barriers, and pushing the edges of what's possible in process and materials--that this initiative is a logical next step. I was glad to see that the promise of 3D printing and AM finally reached the notice of people who can make these changes happen.
@naperlou: Even if we could bring low-paid, low-skill jobs back to the U.S., they wouldn't be able to support our standard of living. On the other hand, skilled manufacturing jobs can form a sound basis for a national economy -- look at Germany, for example. The key is ensuring that our workforce has the skills for these jobs. Public-private partnerships like this can help in that regard.
Lorrain County Community College, which is one of the member organizations of this new partnership, has been involved in additive manufacturing for several years. Community colleges can play a big role in educating our workforce for a skilled manufacturing resurgence.
Dave, you are right on. We tend to compare our K-12 education system to, say Europe, while they have a completely different system. In Germany there are three levels of education. Almost all of our schools are college prep. In Germany, a minority of students go to Gymnasium, their equivalent of the college prepatory school. They have other levels of school that provide what we might call vocational education. You may have noticed in the news lately companies complaining about not being able to get enough skilled craftsmen (a typical skill at issue is welding).
While you say the low skill jobs will not come back or support our way of life, how do you exaplain the in-migration of low skilled labor? Even in China the wages are going up steeply for the types of jobs Foxconn has. The increase in the last year was almost 20%. That rate is not slowing down.
Dave, thanks for the info about the community college. I agree about the necessity of the partnerships between higher education and industry. In fact, this entire cluster of efforts seems kind of late in coming to help US manufacturing.
Lou, I'm inclined to agree with Dave. For one thing, those low-paid low skilled jobs in large numbers we used to have are in part the heritage of the industrial revolution with its focus on mass production done primarily by people. In smaller post-industrial countries like German and other European nations, I think what Dave says is accurate. Their situation--and history--is very different from China, both in terms of scale and in terms of existing institutions in place--and absent--due to historical precedents. And we're yet different also--much bigger than a European nation, and much more diverse, yet smaller than China. But our history, and existing institutions and economic structure, is in most ways more like Germany than China. It's apples and bananas.
I have to agree with Dave as well. It's the skilled manufacturing jobs that are the key to revitalizing U.S. manufacturing. Even technologies like 3D printing and AM require a certain level of expertise--knowledge of 3D modeling, materials, tolerances, etc. Promoting a secondary educational path towards vocational schools is definitely one important way to solve the problem as it incorporating some of the basic technologies in K-12 schools so younger students can be exposed to the potential and let their own interests guide them on course.
Our standard of living is going to keep going down, we are 16 trillion in debt, this means we are living way over our head, we are going in debt to keep up this lifestyle .. so more jobs is a joke until we fix the foundation of what is wrong .. and now Helicopter Ben is printing out of freakin thin air 40 billion a month to bail out the banksters again .. and no one questions the freaking foundation, people drone on about this additive jobs funded by our government who is so far in debt it is funny .. It makes me laugh
Instead of sifting through huge amounts of technical data looking for answers to assembly problems, engineers can now benefit from 3M's new initiative -- 3M Assembly Solutions. The company has organized its wealth of adhesive and tape solutions into six typical application areas, making it easier to find the best products to solve their real-world assembly and bonding problems.
Many of the materials in this slideshow are resins or elastomers, plus reinforced materials, styrenics, and PLA masterbatches. Applications range from automotive and aerospace to industrial, consumer electronics and wearables, consumer goods, medical and healthcare, as well as sporting goods, and materials for protecting food and beverages.
Engineers trying to keep track of the ever-ballooning number of materials and machines for additive manufacturing and 3D printing now have some relief: a free searchable database with more than 350 machines and 450 different materials.
At JEC Europe Dow Automotive introduced a new ultra-fast, under-60-second molding cycle time for its commercial-grade VORAFORCE 5300 epoxy resin matrix for carbon composites. It's aimed at high-volume automotive manufacturing.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.