After Manufacturing Day: Let’s Keep it Going

For those of us who participated in Manufacturing Day on October 4, it was an invaluable opportunity to reach out to our communities and the younger generations, and tell the story of manufacturing. It was a day to celebrate this great industry, while focusing on its future.

One of the main purposes of Manufacturing Day was to get younger people—those entering the workforce as well as those still in school—interested in careers in manufacturing. As American manufacturing continues to gain momentum, we are facing a skilled labor shortage, and companies are continuously in need of qualified workers.

Here are just some statistics*:

  • More than 70% of Americans view manufacturing as the most important industry for a strong economy and national security, yet only 17% named manufacturing as among their top industry choices to begin a career, and only 30% of parents said they would encourage their children to pursue careers in manufacturing.
  • By 2030, there will be twice as many retirees as there are today, but only 18% more workers.
  • 83% of U.S. manufacturers surveyed in 2005 for the National Association of Manufacturer’s Skill Gap Report indicated a shortage of skilled manpower, already affecting their ability to serve customers.

So what is the solution? Of course, this is not easy. But one way to look at it is to make every day Manufacturing Day. To consistently reach out to customers, students, teachers, our children, our peers, and showcase the value of what we make, what we do, and why it keeps America running.

According to this article written by Douglas Woods of AMT, “It’s important that we’re finding ways to share that passion [for manufacturing] with a broader audience, especially the younger generation – those who will carry our industry forward in the years to come.” He suggests a 365 day/year effort, including “industry-related events, coalitions, forums” such as conferences, workshops, and more.

Tackling such an overwhelming challenge isn’t easy—but this is American manufacturing. We are up for the challenge.

*Source: http://www.nutsandboltsfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/EPK-Fact-Sheet-final.pdf

Robotics and Automation: The Next Big Industrial Revolution is Here and Now

Evans Arc Welding Robotic Assembly

It’s been 100 years since Henry Ford created the first manufacturing assembly line – he physically pulled a Model T on a rope! Ford’s assembly line helped to answer demand for the automobile, and it was one of the biggest breakthroughs in the industrial revolution, according to a recent article in the Detroit Free Press. The creation of assembly lines has had global ramifications over the past century, ramifications that have extended all the way to today.

robotThe article states, “When Ford pulled that first Model T on a rope, it was one of the biggest breakthroughs in America’s industrial revolution. Breaking down the Model T’s 3,000 parts into 84 distinct steps performed by groups of workers simplified and shortened the building of a car. Assembly time for a Model T went from 12 hours to about 90 minutes.” This assembly line was, literally, the grandfather of today’s manufacturing lines, and, just like that original assembly line, today’s automated manufacturing production lines offer a lot of advantages:

  • Simplification of an assembly/manufacturing process.
  • Higher production rates.
  • Time-savings.
  • Cost-savings, and more.

A recent article on USAToday.com says, “The savings achieved through the first assembly line enabled Ford to reduce the Model T price from $850 to less than $300, making it affordable for the masses. By 1927 Ford was able to build a Model T every 24 seconds and sold more than 15 million worldwide, accounting for half of all automobiles sold at the time.”

Today, automation, in various forms, is revolutionizing manufacturing in every sector. Manufacturing Engineering Media reports, “Although automation can and does take many forms, ranging from barfeeds and parts catchers to pick-and-place systems, and to floor, machine, or gantry-mounted robots, each type has its pros and cons.”

The pros of automation – such as filling the manufacturing skills gap, offering a high-level of accuracy, and taking humans out of dangerous environments and situations –definitely outweigh the cons. The same article states, “Small and midsized shops also have an opportunity to adopt automation as a ready-made and cost-effective solution to critical gaps in the availability of skilled workers for applications like welding, for instance.”

Fast-forward from 1913 to 2013, look at every manufacturing industry and you’ll see the legacy left behind by Henry Ford’s first assembly line. Today, however, you’ll find robotics and technology playing important roles on the assembly line. Automation is one of the keys to success – and to remaining competitive – in manufacturing on a global scale. Yes, we’ve come a long way from Ford’s days of pulling cars on ropes, and who knows where we’ll be 100 years from now!

What is New Manufacturing?

Manufacturing isn’t what it used to be. ‘New Manufacturing’ is much more advanced with highly trained technicians and engineers who are designing automated, robotic machinery instead of standing on assembly lines as they have done in the past. In addition to being more advanced, women are increasingly joining the manufacturing sector. Colleges that offer manufacturing coursework around the country are even being awarded grants in order to help boost manufacturing jobs in certain areas around the world.

Organizations like the National Science Foundation have awarded millions of dollars in grants to area colleges with the hopes of increasing enrollment in STEM related curriculums. A large part in gaining student interest in manufacturing is educating students on new manufacturing. Most view the industry as doing “dirty work”, when it has actually become a very skilled and high-tech career path with very educated people. Colleges and Universities around the United States are investing in new equipment and training labs for students in order to provide the best training and resources possible. Often times, professors have close ties with industry professionals, and are able to refer students to high-paying, big name organizations upon course completion.

The National Science Foundation gives educators and students a great opportunity to increase interests and learning capabilities that will essentially strengthen the manufacturing industry as a whole. As grants are awarded and new opportunities arise, there will be an increase in interest and job opportunities for manufacturing around the country.

American Manufacturing Keeps Moving Ahead

Metal Stamping in the USA

A recent survey on nearshoring showed that 18% more manufacturing executives would choose the US as their preferred location than only two years ago. The reasons for this are many, but one of the most attractive—and newsworthy—is that U.S. manufacturing costs are now equal to those of Mexico. Perhaps even more surprising and significant is that by 2015, U.S. manufacturing costs are predicted to be equal to China. These reports have a number of business owners asking, “why would I send my business overseas, when it costs the same to have it manufactured here at home?”

With these numbers coming in, the same survey revealed that in the next year, 84% of C-level executives will consider the decision to nearshore a major one. Furthermore, 58% of these surveyed executives stated that the business that they’ve already nearshored has saved them money.

These cost savings, or lack of savings by going overseas, are a part of what helped bring about America’s manufacturing renaissance. But that’s not all. Factors such as rising energy costs in other countries (while our energy costs are decreasing), increased focus on sustainability, higher logistics costs overseas, American technology innovations, and risks to the global supply chain have added to the return.

Five years ago it may have been hard for someone to believe that America would be as cost effective a place to manufacture as Mexico and China, but today, it’s reality. Add to that the fact that people are recognizing that American goods are higher quality, and it’s easy to see why this is the direction manufacturing has taken. It will be interesting to see where we are five years from now, won’t it?

Women in STEM Careers: Why the Disconnect?

STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education

With April being Mathematics Awareness Month—a celebration and appreciation of all things math—many people are focusing on it as a career path, and hoping this awareness will lead to young people pursuing careers in mathematics and science. Organizers are hoping they can place an emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education and get the workforce of the future interested.

Following Women’s History Month (this past March), many people are also questioning why less and less young women are choosing to pursue STEM careers. As universities and researchers are finding, it is not because women are less qualified, nor is it because women are simply not as good at math and science as men are.

Rather interestingly, they’re finding just the opposite. After studying 1,490 high school seniors, then following up with them 15 years later, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Michigan found that unlike many males, the females were equally good at both math and verbal skills, and were then choosing careers outside of STEM fields. This made them curious as to why, and what could be done to change that.

One idea was to refocus the perception and stereotypes associated with math. Changing the way of thinking that makes women think math-related fields are male dominated and not family-friendly. Showing young women the positive impact they can have on math and science, as well as the impact math and science can have on them. Providing them with positive female STEM role models and, in essence, shaking things up. They suggest that educators and employers can take part in this redirection and help bring more women into STEM roles, which would be mutually beneficial for both the women and the employers.

What do you think can be done?

Are you Ready for the ‘Manufacturing Homecoming’ That’s Happening in the U.S.? (We are!)

Recently, more and more companies across the nation are bringing their business back home to the U.S. instead of moving manufacturing jobs to international locales. We blogged about this “reshoring” trend last fall, and this year we’re seeing increased business directly related to the reshoring trend that’s continuing to happen.

According to recent reports, 2013 is being touted as the year where we can finally start celebrating the “manufacturing homecoming” that’s happening in the U.S. “The trend of companies relocating American manufacturing jobs to low-wage China has started to reverse,” says Hugh Welsh, DSM North America on BusinessInsider.com. The article outlines the key economic drivers that have contributed to this reversal, and that have created a competitive advantage for the U.S., including:

  • Cheap and abundant natural gas.
  • Innovation.
  • Rule of law.
  • Human capital.
  • De-complexity.
  • Public policy and abundance.

Credit, currency and the coming wave of mergers and acquisitions.
Welsh adds, “The new era of manufacturing in the U.S. to serve U.S. markets is at hand, along with the growing export market for specialized, high-margin finished goods… The world has changed. The U.S. has changed, and the pace of this change accelerates every year.”

Is your company ready for the increased business the manufacturing homecoming will continue to bring to the U.S.? At Evans, we are ready (and we’re already rolling ahead with some exciting, new opportunities). Since 1948, we have offered metal stampings and tools and dies – and everything is manufactured right here in the resurging Southeast of the U.S.A. We provide high-quality products and services, lower costs, faster turnaround times and excellent customer service – something that’s difficult to find – all together – anywhere else in the world!

Evans Metal Can Solve Your Metal Stamping Needs

Evans Metal Die Manufacturing Growth

When it comes to metal stamping, Evans Metal knows that you need a quality source to get the job done right. We stamp steel, aluminum, brass, copper and Inconel and include a great variety of features in all of our applications. Our engineers are highly-trained in tool and die stamping, and understand the process of building a die to manufacture a piece. Our custom tools and dies are capable of handling a production capacity of any size, at a quality that exceeds industry standards.

When it comes to stamping, everyone’s needs are different. We offer a variety of features that are cost-effective, and can handle a wide range of prototypes. Our stampings can be coated, countersunk, cruciform, embossed, or heat treated, and our heavy duty presses can handle 30 to 1,000 tons at high speeds (1,200 cycles per minute).

At Evans Metal, we use cutting-edge software technology including CAD, AutoCAD, Inventor and Solidworks. We also have two CAM machines for CNC mills, and three wire EDM machines that design solutions to problems. If there’s a part that’s not conforming correctly, our engineers and tool and die makers have extensive press equipment that can solve nearly anything. With more than 300 years of experience and over 65 punch presses to run the metal stamping, Evans Metal can take on any problem, and determine a solution.

For more information on metal stamping services that exceed industry standards, please contact Evans Metal Stamping today.

Evans Joins the “Reshoring” Trend

Metal Stamping in the USA

U.S. manufacturing. Reshoring. Made in the USA. Certainly, you have heard these terms thrown around recently when conversation has turned to industrial and manufacturing production in the United States. As manufacturing is beginning to become more expensive overseas, companies are now turning to another solution—bringing manufacturing back to the U.S., a term known as “reshoring.” At Evans, we are not joining the reshoring trend; as long as we have been in business, our manufacturing has solely been based in the U.S.

Industry Week recently published an article about reshoring, specifically in the San Diego area. Although we are located on the East Coast, we found some general points could apply to businesses like us. The article mentions that “just-in-time, product oversight, and cost efficiencies are bringing manufacturers back to the U.S.” Although Evans has always been a U.S. manufacturer, we do see the wide benefits of these three services, which have helped retain and service our customers. First, manufacturing onshore allows for a reduction in turnaround and JIT delivery, so that your products arrive at your facility precisely at the time they are needed. Product oversight greatly increases on the customer’s standpoint, for customers can more easily access manufacturing plant and oversee various points of the production process. Additionally, there is the location standpoint as well. Not only do we own our own property in the Southeast—which is now becoming a huge manufacturing hot spot—but we are also centrally located to the Atlanta transportation system and the Savannah and Charleston ports. Our prime location allows for shipping, receiving, and transportation advantages in the midst of this manufacturing resurgence.

When manufacturing first left the US, there wasn’t a lot of work left for tool and die makers. This allowed us to refine our niche in the US market, where we can service that industry. We have been able to provide lower costs, lower turnaround times, and higher quality in our facilities here. Now, everyone else is catching on!

Bringing Tool and Die Making Back to the U.S.

Metal Stamping Die Manufactured in the USA

Metal stampings. Tools and dies. Made in the USA. There is one stop for all three: Evans Metal Stamping.

Founded in 1948, our company has remained family-owned, and we have seen our facilities grow to include 66 presses, 20 of which are high speed presses. As our name implies, our strengths are in metal stamping and tool and die making. Although recent studies have shown a shortage of tool and die manufacturing, our business and our employees have not suffered from these fears.

It certainly hasn’t hurt that we have cornered the market on experienced tool and die makers. A number of factors have contributed to this. First, we are proud to be American made and operated, with all of our products being manufactured here in the United States. Although a great deal of manufacturing has gone overseas, we’ve had the ability to maintain our tool and die shop, as well as our metal stamping shop. Not only did this allow us to remain in business, but it allowed us to create a niche in the American tool and die market. On top of this, we run an extensive tool and die apprenticeship program. The program was revamped this past January, so that our tool and die makers could pass down valuable skills to the toolmakers of tomorrow. In short, our program allows employees to study under our seasoned tool and die makers (who collectively have 300+ years of experience at Evans). Who says there is a shortage in American tool and die makers? We are bringing these necessary skills back to the manufacturing industry.

Thank you for taking the time to get acquainted with Evans Metal! We encourage you to check back for monthly updates and to visit our website in the meantime!