Lou Kren Lou Kren
Senior Editor

The Genius of Forward Thinking

January 19, 2024

For everything Albert Einstein had right, he had one thing wrong.

“I never think of the future, it comes soon enough,” he reportedly once said. 

How unEinsteinian of us then to focus on the future in this issue of MetalForming. The truth is, success comes to those who see what’s coming and adapt accordingly. In that vein, we hope that our 2024 outlook for markets important to metal formers, beginning on p. 30, will prove helpful.

As the article notes, headwinds abound, including workforce challenges, fluctuating interest rates and the growing impact of reshoring/nearshoring. However, “manufacturers in transportation equipment, motor vehicles, aircraft, space vehicles, missiles and medical equipment will have a more secular boost going for them as they catch up on production and rebuild inventories hit during the supply chain crisis,” explains Oxford Economics’ Mark Killon, speaking at the AMT forecast conference late in 2023.

Forecasters see further adoption of smart manufacturing as key in taking advantage of market opportunities.

“Advances in artificial intelligence are enabling new levels of automation and data-driven decision-making,” says Steve Bieszczat, chief marketing officer at DelmiaWorks, as quoted in our article. “At the same time, the ready availability of cloud-based manufacturing solutions, with their scalability and computing power, are helping to level the playing field for small to medium manufacturers.”

Manufacturers sense the promise of such solutions. The 2024 Outlook Report for Manufacturers, published late in 2023 by A3 (Association for Advancing Automation), as cited in our article, finds that more than 70% of manufacturing executives surveyed plan Industry 4.0 investments in 2024. And, encouragingly, 88% expect to increase revenue in 2024.

Exciting news for sure, as is the news from MetalForming on our plans for 2024. Continuing our tradition of bringing readers a stellar lineup of expert columnists, we welcome the following new contributors this year:

  • Art Hedrick, owner and president of Dieology LLC and familiar to many as an expert contributor to Stamping Journal, joins MetalForming as author of the Science of Forming column.
  • Tom Vacca, director of engineering at Micro Co., parlaying his vast experience in tool building, engineering and stamping, along with years of contributing to Stamping Journal, teams with MetalForming to pen a new Ask the Expert column. 
  • Jim Finnerty, product manager at Wintriss Controls as well as a long-time PMA seminar speaker, provides his sensing expertise in a four-installment series: Die Protection Basics.

MetalForming is delighted to bring these gentlemen aboard, joining our existing lineup of top-notch columnists: Pete Ulintz, PMA technical director and author of Tooling By Design; Danny Schaeffler, PhD., founder and president of Engineering Quality Solutions, who pens Metal Matters (running as a three-part article series in 2024); Eren Billur, technical manager of Billur Makine and Billur Metal Form companies, authoring the quarterly Cutting Edge column; and Kate Bachman, MetalForming senior editor, who offers her unique industry perspective in Kate’s Journal, appearing monthly.

I’m sure I speak for my colleague, Brad Kuvin, MetalForming editorial director, in conveying what an honor it is to serve alongside these authors. It’s an honor, too, to chronicle the efforts and achievements of those in the metal forming industry who, day in and day out, prove the value of manufacturing to our economic health. To them, and to all our readers, best wishes on a healthy and prosperous 2024. 

And, regarding that Einstein quote, looking ahead proves valuable, and provides the map to success for those willing to learn, adapt and strive. Consider instead this quote from Abraham Lincoln:

“The best way to predict your future is to create it.”

Industry-Related Terms: Die, Edge, Form, Forming
View Glossary of Metalforming Terms

Technologies: Management


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