New manufacturing process cuts lithium-ion battery cost in half

Researchers at MIT and spinoff company 24M have developed an advanced manufacturing approach for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. The researchers claim the new process could cut the manufacturing and materials cost in half compared to existing lithium-ion batteries, while also improving their performance, making them easier to recycle as well as flexible and resistant to damage.

Rockwell CEO: Manufacturing needs to teach and reach younger students

Manufacturers and educators need to focus on students in elementary schools to develop the pool of innovators who will carry U.S. businesses through an era of disruptive change, the chairman and CEO of Rockwell Automation Inc. told business leaders Monday. Programs like the FIRST Lego League and the FIRST Robotics Competition, both supported by Rockwell, are the pathways to attract youths to manufacturing...

Why Manufacturing Is Vital To Engineering Education

Even if a U.S. company outsources production, it still needs highly skilled professionals who understand the manufacturing process. Yet colleges and universities are not educating enough students to fill even the current available positions in manufacturing. According to the Society for Manufacturing Engineers (SME), there is a serious skill gap in the U.S. manufacturing workforce—from technician to engineer to manager.

Manufacturing opportunities for Women

Taken from a survey published by the Women in Manufacturing community, "more than 80 percent of women in manufacturing reported that their work was interesting and challenging. Half of the women said that compensation is the most significant benefit of the sector and 74 percent of women working in manufacturing agreed that the industry offered multiple job roles for women."

The case against needing a degree to get a good job

It's long been a given in America that higher education is the path to career success. And it still may be, but more questions are arising about exactly what type of education people should get. Some evidence suggests that forgoing a traditional four-year college and focusing on trade or cutting-edge factory skills might make more sense, leading to a good-paying job and with far less debt to manage.

U.S. Military Enters A New Era Defined By Globalization Of Its Technology Supply Chain

Gone are the days when the Department of Defense could depend on American industry to provide it with high-tech components used in advanced weapons systems. Gone too are the well-funded defense R&D enterprises responsible for the creation of entire industries such as the Internet, high-performance computing and the global position system. The Department of Defense and its major contractors are now dependent on foreign manufacturers for many of the military's most advanced weapons systems.

How Cloud Apps Are Driving Manufacturing Innovation

Manufacturers aren't just embracing cloud apps, they're proactively implementing procedures designed to optimize employees' technology use. 64 percent of manufacturers enforce cloud app policies and more than half of manufacturing employees report that their IT departments are responsive to requests for new tools. This IT savvy has not only helped firms overcome legacy challenges like supply chain management and employee performance, but also bodes well for the industry's future.

Where Will 3D Technology Take Us Next?

This week I had the privilege of attending RAPID 2015 in Long Beach, California. The conference and exposition has presented the latest and greatest in 3D technology for the past 25 years, and this year was no exception. From TE Connectivity’s unveiling of a fully functional 3D printed motorcycle to Forecast 3D’s reveal of a race car with more than 70 3D printed parts, the show floor was alive with innovation and ingenuity.

Driverless cars may cut U.S. sales by 40%, Barclays says

U.S. auto sales may drop about 40 percent in the next 25 years because of shared driverless cars, forcing mass-market producers such as General Motors and Ford Motor Co. to slash output, a Barclays Plc analyst said. Vehicle ownership rates may fall by almost half as families move to having just one car, according to a report published today by the analyst, Brian Johnson. Driverless cars will travel twice as many miles as current autos because they will transport each family member during the day, he wrote.

NASA Challenges Designers to Construct Habitat for Deep Space Exploration

NASA and the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, known as America Makes, are holding a new $2.25 million competition to design and build a 3-D printed habitat for deep space exploration, including the agency’s journey to Mars. "The future possibilities for 3-D printing are inspiring, and the technology is extremely important to deep space exploration," said Sam Ortega, Centennial Challenges program manager.

NIST, NSF to set manufacturing research priorities

The U.S. Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) will establish a consortium to provide private-sector input on national advanced manufacturing research and development priorities. NSF has released a solicitation, calling for applications from organizations to administer the consortium through a cooperative agreement.

Closing the Skills Gap in Automation: A Call for Action

Manufacturers are adopting more automation than ever before. For many, it’s no longer a question of whether to automate, only when and to what extent. With wages offshore rising, robot prices down and performance up, robot sales are at an all all-time high. Meanwhile, an aging workforce moves closer to retirement. Misconceptions of manufacturing as crude and demoralizing persist. Women and other minorities are still underrepresented. The skills gap is growing. Demand for automation talent outweighs supply.

Why America Has a Shortage of Skilled Workers

It has been at least 25 years since the alarm was sounded on skills shortages in manufacturing and the threat of retiring baby boomers. Just about everyone who follows manufacturing has known about this problem for a long time. So the question is: Why didn’t we invest in advanced skill training before it became a serious problem? The answer is money and the avoidance of training investment.

Why Solving Poverty through "Higher Education" Is a Mistake

These are jobs that can pay decently and that go begging. For example, according to Deloitte, there will be 2 million manufacturing jobs that go wanting over the next decade. The reason? Companies can’t find people with the skills needed to work in new high-tech factories and to run equipment. Then there are occupations like electricians, plumbers, and robotics technicians that don’t have enough workers because kids are taught to be interested in only a handful of more glamorous or socially-acceptable occupations.

Hey, Kid: Want to Build Cars When You Grow Up? Another Push for Manufacturing Skills

Honda is best known as a car maker, but it is also doing some interesting things to drive the American economy in the right direction, as we've been reporting lately. A case in point: Honda recently announced a new, $1 million investment in Ohio-based workforce development for an innovative program called EPIC, which will focus on creating more interest in manufacturing careers and bolstering education and training for the high-tech manufacturing jobs of the future.


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