News from Plant Engineering: Week of Dec. 12

12/14/2005


Manufacturing growth strong, but slowing

The manufacturing expansion should continue, but decelerate, through 2007, according to the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI Quarterly Industrial Outlook, a report that analyzes 27 major industries.

The Alliance expects some deceleration in manufacturing industrial production, retrenching somewhat from 4.8% growth in 2004 and an anticipated 3.4% in 2005.

“A high level of energy and commodity prices increases costs in the industrial sector and hurts U.S. competitiveness.%% ability to tap their home equity and continue driving growth in big-ticket consumer items like houses and motor vehicles.  Most industries—consumer, equipment, materials and construction—will experience slower growth but the weight of these factors are not enough to slow growth, only the pace of growth.”

“Energy, medical, and high-tech industries are leading growth this year,” Meckstroth added. “The capital equipment markets are generally strong but decelerating.”

The report also offers economic forecasts for 24 of the 27 industries for 2006 and 2007, and a longer term forecast through 2010 for these same industries.

Two industries are expected to enjoy double-digit growth in 2006 -- mining and oil and gas field machinery should rise 49% with a profit incentive to expand due in part to the high levels of petroleum and metal prices and computer equipment by 13%. Similar growth in both industries is expected for 2007.

Register now for Electrical Efficiency Webcast

You can also register now at www.plantengineering.com for the new Webcast, Electrical efficiency, which will air Feb. 23, 2006. Electrical efficiency is a nice buzzword, but when it comes to electric power in plants, what does it really mean? Top industry experts will offer views on how to quantify electrical efficiency, and how to use this knowledge to increase the bottom line without hampering productivity.

If you missed PLANT ENGINEERING’s important Webcast on Power Quality on Nov. 15, the archived version is now available on the Web at www.plantengineering.com. The Webcast featured a discussion of what plant engineers and managers can do to ensure the quality of power in their plants, how they can recognize and measure the source of the problems and how they can protect their plant from power quality interruption. Hundreds of viewers saw it live, and the event attracted viewership from as far away as Central and South America.

Machine tool consumption continues rise

October U.S. machine tool consumption totaled $277.53 million, according to the Association For Manufacturing Technology, and the American Machine Tool Distributors’ Association. This total was down 5.2% from September but up 25.4% from the total of $221.31 million reported for October 2004. With a year-to-date total of $2,549.50 million, 2005 is up 11.3% compared with 2004.

The United States Machine Tool Consumption report, jointly compiled by the two trade associations representing the production and distribution of manufacturing technology, provides regional and national U.S. consumption data of domestic and imported machine tools and related equipment. These numbers and all data in this report are based on the totals of actual data reported by companies participating in the USMTC program.

“The significant increase in October durable goods orders reported by the U.S. Commerce Dept. supports the continued strong demand in manufacturing technology,” said John B. Byrd III, AMT President. “This also reflects the need for U.S. manufacturing to modernize their facilities to better compete in the global marketplace.”

Sustainable design on ASHRAE agenda

Several sessions relating to integrated or sustainable design will be presented at the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers’ 2006 Winter Meeting, Jan. 21-25, at Chicago’s Palmer House Hilton. There will be 104 sessions presented as part of the technical program.

Registration for the 2006 ASHRAE Winter Meeting is $635 ($375, ASHRAE member) prior to Dec. 2. After Dec. 2, the registration fee will be $750 ($490, ASHRAE member). For more information or to register, visit www.ashrae.org/chicago .

Accelerate innovation, Engler tells summit

Speaking at a National Summit on Competitiveness at the Commerce Department, NAM president John Engler told the group the U.S. must continue to encourage education and innovation to remain competitive in a global manufacturing economy. “It is vividly clear that America's economy must accelerate innovation and the development and utilization of technology if it is to compete successfully in the 21st century,” Engler told the group.

More than 55 corporate CEOs, university presidents and scientists from across the country participated in the day-long summit during which they pressed cabinet secretaries and members of Congress for more research and development funding; a greater emphasis on science, math and engineering education; and immigration reform for highly educated, high-skill foreign nationals as means to keeping the U.S. economy globally competitive.

Referencing the 2005 Skills Gap Report recently released by the NAM, the Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte Consulting, Engler said, "Increasingly, U.S. companies are unable to find the skills and talent they need while some developing nations now turn out more engineers than we do each year. China and India are racing to climb the technology ladder," he added. "We must recognize that we're in that race, too, and we have to run smarter if we are to maintain our high standard of living and our global leadership."

Bentley acquires software supplier RAM

Bentley Systems, Incorporated has acquired RAM International, LLC, a leading provider of structural engineering software for building structures made from all major materials, including steel and concrete.

RAM offerings include products for engineering modeling, analysis, and design. This acquisition follows Bentley’s acquisition last month of the STAAD product line, a global leader also in structural design and analysis.

“We are eager to advance RAM’s entire product line, providing users with increasing capabilities,” said Buddy Cleveland, senior vice president, Bentley Software. “But most exciting is the common vision that Bentley, RAM, and STAAD developers share %%MDASSML%% leveraging the power of analysis throughout the workflows of building, civil, and plant lifecycles. We are convinced that our results will be game-changing.”

Energy cost savings drive AC drive market growth

Strong global economic growth and consumer demand contributed to robust growth of the high power AC drive market.years, according to a new ARC Advisory Group study, “High Power AC Drive Worldwide Outlook.” ( www.arcweb.com/res/hpacww )

The escalating energy costs experienced in recent years has forced manufacturers to focus on energy conservation measures.al expenditures on AC drives," according to Senior Analyst Himanshu Shah, co-author of the study. 

Several factors are expected to contribute to robust growth of the high power AC drive market including manufacturer energy saving and reliability initiatives, incorporation of more user-friendly features, and new solution-based drive systems.

Positive economic developments in emerging markets such as Asia also contributed to market growth.

Register for NA 2006

Both registration and booth space are filling quickly for NA 2006, sponsored by the Material Handling Industry of America. The event is slated for March 27 through March 30 at the I-X Center in Cleveland.

NA 2006 focuses on the productivity solutions provided by material handling and logistics. The four-day event is designed to offer productivity solutions and information by showcasing the products and services of over 400 material handling and logistics providers.

Industry professionals from the United States, Canada, Mexico and around the world are expected to attend. More than 400 exhibitors from industry, commerce and government will display their productivity solutions on the 150,000 square foot show floor. The newly designed NA 2006 Education Conferences offer focused, half-hour seminars in specially designed "theaters" constructed right on the trade show floor.

For registration information, go to www.na2006.org .





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