Three Key Words Define Manufacturing 2015February 1, 2015
Read all about it: U.S. manufacturing continues to build “momentum.” In 2015, the United States will experience a “boom” in manufacturing. Big data, the industrial Internet, reshoring and other trends have fueled a manufacturing “renaissance.”
Better yet, consider that through the end of the decade, the growth of manufacturing production is predicted to outpace GDP (gross domestic product) growth. That according to the latest economic forecast from the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI) and the MAPI Foundation, whose 5-yr. forecast predicts an average growth in manufacturing production of 3.26 percent and an average GDP growth rate of 2.8.
Other indicators from the forecast look even better—growth of (inflation-adjusted) capital-equipment investment by 6.9 percent in 2015 and 7.3 percent in 2016.
On the metalforming front, we see very clearly the quickening pace of innovation, investment in new manufacturing technology and the adoption of big data. The reliance on new, all-reaching and powerful ERP software systems, new sensors and controls, automation and other breakthrough technologies make the use of the word “renaissance” appropriate in what was, not long ago, thought to be a dinosaur industry.
Speaking of dinosaur industries and a renaissance, those who, like me, work in the publishing industry know well the fear of becoming obsolete and extinct. However, evolution, rather than extinction, is what defines today’s media, including MetalForming. Yes, we continue to evolve. For example, since 2010 we’ve launched four live events (three of them annual, one bi-annual), four e-newsletters and a completely new publication (Fabricating Product News) and accompanying website.
New in 2015 for MetalForming: a quarterly department dedicated to Additive Manufacturing (AM), which debuts with this issue. Metalformers simply cannot afford to ignore the rapid adoption of 3D printing throughout most if not all sectors of manufacturing. One recent survey, from Tech Pro research, finds that while only 12 percent of manufacturers currently use 3D printing, another 19 percent “have plans to implement 3D printing within the next 12 months,” and another 29 percent are “evaluating the technology.”
The survey provides a snapshot of where AM finds use in manufacturing operations:
• 73 percent use AM to test new ideas and concepts
• 67 percent develop prototypes with their 3D printers