Positive signs for manufacturing continue

Positive economic signs for manufacturing continue, according to NEMA, Rockwell Automation, Valve Manufacturers Association, and IEEE.


Numbers from NEMA, along with hopeful signs from Rockwell Automation, valve manufacturers, and IEEE, are among recent news giving manufacturers positive economic hope. Links to related Control Engineering coverage follow at bottom.

Expansion and positive outlook : The NEMA Electroindustry Business Confidence Index (EBCI) for current North American conditions increased for a third straight month - and topped the 50-point threshold indicative of expansion for a second straight month - in September. The index rose 5.3 points to 58.6, its highest reading since April 2006 and more than 50 points above its cyclical low of 8 in December 2008. The EBCI for future North American conditions also climbed in September, reaching its highest level - 69.0 - since August 2005, NEMA said in its Sept. 30 findings.

Economic recovery has begun, the Valve Manufacturers Association said on Sept. 15, reporting that speakers at the recent annual VMA Market Outlook Workshop had many positive views . Though it make awhile to get up to speed, recovery is underway, VMA said, after it heard from 13 economic and industry experts about the near- and long-term future of various end-user industries served by valve and actuator manufacturers.

Real hiring : In a Sept. 12 New York Times article, "In Wisconsin, Hopeful Signs for Factories ," Rockwell Automation says it hired a dozen workers, and resumed third-shift at its Mequon, WI, plant. While that's a small part of a 3% layoff of Rockwell Automation's workforce of more than 20,000, the article noted, it is a step in the right direction, and hopeful for manufacturing overall. In a Sept. 16 statement, Rockwell Automation's Keith Nosbusch, chairman and CEO reaffirmed "that the company expects full-year fiscal 2009 diluted earnings per share to be $1.40 to $1.70, excluding any restructuring charges related to actions that the company may take in the fiscal fourth quarter."

Investments in engineering innovation : IEEE-USA President Gordon Day Sept. 22 said today that he strongly endorses the "Strategy for American Innovation" released by the White House and discussed by President Barack Obama in a speech on Sept. 21 at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, N.Y. "IEEE-USA recognizes the vital role that science and technology research and development plays in ensuring U.S. competitiveness, energy independence and national security," Day said.

"We are very encouraged by the president's commitment to catalyze breakthroughs in cutting-edge technologies such as clean energy, advanced vehicle technology and information technology for use in health care. Investments in these critical areas will create jobs, spur U.S. prosperity, help reduce greenhouse gases, enhance national security and save lives," Day added. The White House U.S. Innovation Strategy whitepaper focuses on three major areas: investing in the building blocks of American innovation; promoting competitive markets that spur productive entrepreneurship; and catalyzing breakthroughs for national priorities, IEEE said.

Separately, IEEE-USA and IEEE Computer Society will collaborate to develop professional exam for software engineering , the organizations announced on Sept. 10.

Also see from Control Engineering :
- Manufacturing technology producers support S. 1677, the Defense Production Act ;

- Manufacturers call for federal strategy to transform factories ; and

- ABB Robotics: 10 reasons to buy a robot now; see photos, videos .

- Compiled by Mark T. Hoske, editor in chief Control Engineering www.controleng.com

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