Obama's 2016 Budget Request For National Network For Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) Reaches Beyond $600 Million

The Obama administration is seeking a substantial increase in funding for the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI), which has suddenly become a very large government-wide manufacturing program. In adding up the budget requests for NNMI centers that have been or will be created in 2016, the total amount for NNMI comes to $608 million. The large-scale "Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation" will be funded by the Departments of Defense, Energy, Commerce and Agriculture.

Ford accelerates carbon fibre research for innovation in manufacturing technology

Ford has announced a significant new collaboration to develop manufacturing innovations in automotive-grade carbon fiber. Ford and DowAksa will be part of the U.S. Government-created Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation. The innovation enables acceleration of Ford research and development of low-cost, high-volume carbon fiber; could reduce vehicle weight, increase fuel efficiency without sacrificing strength.

Lockheed says technology investments cut cost of F-35 jets

Lockheed Martin Corp said a series of manufacturing changes and technology investments were already driving down the cost of the F-35 fighter jet, and the savings were set to triple in the ninth batch of jets to be produced. Lockheed is working closely with the U.S. government to lower the $400 billion projected cost for developing and building three models of the stealth fighter jet.

Factories Adding Robots at a Faster Pace

U.S. factories are among the top adopters of robotic technologies along with factories in China, Japan, Canada, Russia and the U.K. Factories in the U.S. and around the world are adding robots to their workforce at a faster pace. That pace is expected to pick up even more over the next decade.

Aerospace Manufacturing Picks Up in the US

The consulting firm ICF International released its study analyzing more than 2,000 investment transactions. It showed production jobs and manufacturing work that had been moving to China and other markets, have been moving to the U.S. over the last three years.

GM confirms it will build Bolt electric car

General Motors will produce an electric vehicle based on the Chevrolet Bolt concept that will be sold in all 50 states and will be built at the Orion (Mich.) Assembly plant, Alan Batey, president of GM North America, announced Thursday in the keynote speech to open the 2015 Chicago Auto Show.

Renaissance in American Manufacturing? Not So Fast

At the end of 2013, there were still 2 million fewer manufacturing jobs and 15,000 fewer manufacturing establishments than in 2007, the year before the Great Recession, and inflation-adjusted manufacturing output (value-added) was still 3.2% below 2007 levels. While the U.S. manufacturing sector has grown since 2010, resulting in 520,000 new jobs and 2.4% real value added growth, almost all of this growth has been cyclical in nature, driven by just a few industries that contracted sharply during the recession.

Manufacturing Shouldn’t Be A Dirty Word For Today’s STEM Talent

Thanks to massive advancements in automation technology and analytics software, the American manufacturing industry of today is a far cry from the assembly lines and manual labor of the past. Manufacturing in the 21st century is a high-tech fusion of software and mechanical engineering, automated processes and complex production equipment, 3D CAD models and on-demand parts. The fortunate result of this modern-day industrial revolution is an expanding demand for highly skilled STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)-related positions.

China’s robots will double by 2017 to overtake the US

The number of industrial robots in use in China will more than double over the next two years ­– from 182,000 today to 428,000 by 2017 – thus overtaking the robot populations of either North America or the EU’s five largest economies.

3D Printers To Make Human Body Parts?

While the parts printed for humans so far have been fashioned from plastic, metal and other inorganic materials, researchers in California and elsewhere also have begun printing living tissue, with the goal of eventually employing these "bioprinters" to create customized kidneys, livers and other organs for people needing transplants. What's particularly attractive about the technology, according to its proponents, is that 3D printers can produce body parts much quicker and cheaper than other methods.

An Overview of All 25 Parts NASA & Made In Space Have 3D Printed in Space

In an incredible statement for the strength and capability of the printer, every 3D print was successful. As for whether the actual quality of each 3D print is up to par, considering they were produced in space, that will be left up to researchers and scientists to decide upon the astronauts’ return, as they bring the 3D printed items back for further inspection.

‘Cobots’ enhance robotic manufacturing

Manufacturers have begun experimenting with a new generation of “cobots” (collaborative robots) designed to work side-by-side with humans. But how do you integrate them with humans in a manufacturing plant (and overcome negative Hollywood stereotypes)?

After 13 Years Of Losing Factories, U.S. Starts To Gain Them

The number of factories in the United States is starting to grow after more than a decade of decline. After reaching an all-time low in 2013 since the Bureau of Labor Statistics started counting the number of factories in 2001, the number of manufacturing facilities started to increase in the first half of 2014, reaching 338,304 factories, up 1.4 percent from the low reached in 2013 of 333,565.

The number of factories in the United States declined by 59,248 from 2001 (when there were 397,552 factories) to 2014, a 17.5 percent drop. Since reaching a nadir in 2012, there has been little growth in the number of very large factories that employ more than 1,000 workers, according to “establishment data” for the manufacturing sector gathered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages division.

There were only 911 large manufacturing plants in the United States in 2014, up by one from 2013 and down by two in 2012 when there were 913. The number of large factories is down by 38 percent since 2001, a drop of 568, from 1,479 to 911. Factories with between 500 and 999 employees have been growing modestly since bottoming out in 2010 at 1,800. In 2014, there were 2,025 factories of that size in the United States, up 2.8 percent from 1,967 in 2013 and 1,913 in 2012. Since 2001, the number of factories with between 500 and 999 employees has fallen from 3,198 to 2,025, a decline of 37 percent (1,173 lost factories).

Factories with between 100 and 249 employees have also been growing at a modest rate since reaching a nadir in 2010, when there were 15,696 such factories. In 2014, that number had increased by 1,149 to 16,845, an increase of 7 percent. From 2013 to 2014, the number of plants of this size increased by 220, or 1.3 percent. Since 2001, when there were 22,490 plants with between 100 and 249 workers, the total number is down by 33.5 percent.

The next category of plants — with between 50 and 99 employees — has grown from a low of 21,540 in 2010 to 22,327 in 2014, a growth of 787 factories (3.5 percent growth). Since 2001, when there were 28,633 factories of this size, the decline has been 6,306 factories, or 22 percent. Factories with between 20 and 49 employees rose to 47,380 in 2014, up from 46,946 in 2013 and from a low of 46,313 in 2011. The number is still down 19 percent from a high of 58,942 in 2001.

The number of factories with between five and nine employees continues to decline. In 2014, there were 55,380 factories of this size, the lowest level since 2001, and down from 55,617 in 2013. The number of factories of this size has fallen every year since 2001, save for in 2007 when there was no change, and is down by 12,130 or 18 percent since 2001. The number of micro-factories, with fewer than five employees, grew by 1.7 percent between 2003 and 2014 — from 135,133 in 2013 (the lowest level since 2001), to 137,475 (or a gain in the year of 2,342 plants). Since 2001, the country has lost 11,207 of plants employing less than five people, down 7.5 percent.


Ford Accelerates Carbon Fiber Research to Drive Innovation in Manufacturing Technology

Ford and DowAksa are accelerating joint research to develop high-volume manufacturing techniques for automotive-grade carbon fiber – aiming to make vehicles lighter for greater fuel efficiency, performance and capability. Carbon fiber composites have been used in aircraft and racing cars for decades because they provide high strength with extremely low weight.

The Myth of America’s Manufacturing Renaissance: The Real State of U.S. Manufacturing

Higher foreign labor costs, cheap oil and gas here at home and automation are combining to make America the new global manufacturing hub: at least according the now dominant narrative. Indeed, the term “manufacturing renaissance” is used to describe this new state of affairs. However, as a new ITIF report shows, the data do not support such a rosy scenario.


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