A technology boom for manufacturing

Hannover Fairs’ Larry Turner looks at how automation is driving global change, and global growth
By Larry Turner, President and CEO Hannover Fairs USA, Inc. August 30, 2014

We are in the midst of an industrial technology and energy systems convergence that is driving a change in Larry Turner. Courtesy: Hannovermanufacturing the world over. In the past six years, the pace of innovation and development in the industrial automation sector has moved into overdrive. In North America, manufacturers are adopting digitized systems and secure connectivity across the factory floor and are taking advantage of reliable and cost-effective technologies for energy savings. As a result, U.S.-based companies are starting to re-shore manufacturing operations to U.S. soil from other parts of the globe. Outside of North America, global manufacturers are investing or looking to invest in U.S. operations to take advantage of the high productivity of our manufacturing workforce and our competitive energy environment.

Industrial automation and motion control innovations, such as digitized automation controls, robotics, hydraulics and pneumatics, new software applications for data collection and analytics, as well as mobile devices and applications for tracking and monitoring production systems are transforming how manufacturers operate. In the U.S., the challenges and opportunities we face for improving manufacturing are twofold. One is the need to continue to expand our skilled factory floor workforce. The other is to maintain a robust, next-generation technology pipeline for the factories of the future.

According to AMT president and CEO Doug Woods, a shortage of skilled workers is currently one of the greatest hindrances to U.S. manufacturing competitiveness. He said, "This issue is so critical to the future of our industry that we have made ‘smartforce development’ one of our top priorities. As our workforce continues to retire, AMT is active at the federal, state, and local community levels to assure the availability of good STEM education and training programs for the next generation of engineers, designers, technicians, machinists, etc."

To show its dedication to this initiative, AMT is making its largest investment ever in the Smartforce Student Summit at IMTS 2014. Once again, thousands of students, educators, and parents will get a first-hand, interactive experience with the latest innovations in manufacturing technology. AMT wants all of them to see that today’s manufacturing industry is advanced and high-tech and that there is a tremendous demand and opportunity for workers with the right talent and skills.

Courtesy: IMTSAs for increasing our manufacturing technology pipeline, the U.S. government is addressing the innovation channel by creating technology-specific manufacturing hubs such as the recently announced digital manufacturing and design hub in Chicago. Taking a cue from Germany’s Fraunhofer institute, a network of 67 applied research institutes that have helped Germany maintain its manufacturing stronghold, the U.S. recognizes that for re-shoring to succeed, we need to grow the next generation of industrial automation technologies and boost our production right here in North America.

Demonstrating such technological innovation is exactly what Deutsche Messe’s global portfolio of industrial automation and motion control shows and conferences are all about. Events such as Hannover Messe, the world’s largest business-to-business manufacturing show held annually in April in Hannover, Germany; the Industrial Automation North America exhibition launched at IMTS 2012; and this year’s inaugural Motion, Drive & Automation North America trade show demonstrate the most comprehensive computing and digital technologies for the manufacturers of the future.

I want to take this opportunity to invite you to join us for Industrial Automation North America 2014 and Motion, Drive & Automation North America 2014 from September 8-13 in Chicago. These two events will feature more than 170 industrial technology exhibitors from 16 countries, including the United States, China, Germany, Italy, and Taiwan. I promise you an exciting exploration and better understanding of the future of manufacturing.

CFE Media will sponsor the 2014 Global Automation and Manufacturing Summit on Sept. 10 starting at 8:15 a.m. in Room W190 in the West Wing of McCormick Place.

Click here to register for the summit or for IANA.

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