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Manufacturing Strategy, Technology

Here’s How American Manufacturers See The State Of Metalworking

February 3, 2017

Practical Machinist online community and industrial equipment supplier Grainger conducted a survey in early 2016 to find out how metalworking manufacturing is changing.

Not surprisingly, the number one concern expressed was the difficulty in finding and retaining capable employees. To address the problem, 70% have put in place in-house training and development programs, 36% set up apprenticeships and 52% instituted profit-sharing programs.

Information technology is also on their minds, with 61% of shops upgrading their IT structures and 46% adopting enterprise management software (ERP, MRP) systems. They’re also working to streamline processes, reorganize shop floors and set up more cells to reduce downtime. Many are using 3-D modeling off the factory floor to simplify jobs and reduce waste, then streaming the files to the work cells.

In terms of manufacturing technologies, automation is top-of-mind, with quick change tooling and CNC tool presetting most mentioned, followed by robotics and unattended operation.

CNC investment centers on multitasking and 5-axis machines, although there is concern about the cost of keeping up with machine tool advances and finding personnel capable of operating more sophisticated equipment.

You can view a summary of the survey results and download the complete report.

With more than 90 years of manufacturing experience and broad applications knowledge, the experts in your local Gosiger facility are your go-to sources for the latest in metalworking technology.