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Top 5 Manufacturing States Fueled By High-Tech Innovation

Mon, 09/09/2013 - 10:50am
R. Lockard

The most recent report of Manufacturing’s Share of Gross State Product across the U.S., compiled by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, offers a quick but informative glance into individual states and their corresponding economies. Included with each synopsis is emerging technology that is driving innovation within the given field(s).

Here are the top five states, in terms of their manufacturing output relative to total gross state product: 

1.) Oregon - 28.7 Percent

Main Industry: Computer and electronic manufacturing

Total Manufacturing Output: $56 billion

As computer and electronic integration continues to grow and permeate every level of daily life, Oregon reigns supreme in its enterprise. Each new year ushers in another level of computing power and technical innovation, fueling continual research and innovation in a highly competitive market.

Driving Innovation: Integration

While an overtly simple answer, the implications of integration are widespread. Across every industry’s horizon lays deeper and more sophisticated computer and electronic implementation — self-driving cars, biometric clothing and apparel, “smart” homes, production tracking software and devices and so on.

Every facet of life is finding a new place for computer and electronic integration, and all this integration and innovation is showing no sign of slowing down anytime soon.

2.) Indiana - 26.7 Percent

Main Industries: Chemical manufacturing, auto part manufacturing

Total Manufacturing Output: $74.1 billion

Aided by abundant coal markets and lower relative energy costs, Indiana’s biggest two manufacturing industries cross at common intersections, where petro-based chemical production feeds into automotive part creation.

While the Midwest has a long history of manufacturing and small businesses, natural growing pains have arisen where modernity and tradition meet, but the current growth of Indiana’s manufacturing exports (more than 110 percent from 2000-2011) offer clear indicators of successfully advancing operations.

Driving Innovation: Automation

Robotic assembly lines are working every hour of every day. Software-monitored systems regulate certifications, thresholds, and even production outputs. Greater automation requires sometimes difficult transitions of old manual processes, but it opens doors for greater efficiency and dependability.

Running parallel to automation is the growing emphasis on “green” products and services, which in turn has generated industry innovations of streamlined manufacturing processes and energy expenditures.

3.) Louisiana - 25.4 Percent

Main Industries: Petroleum and coal manufacturing, chemical manufacturing

Total Manufacturing Output: $63 billion

Taking advantage of effective exporting capacity and long established shipping infrastructure, Louisiana has long stood at the forefront of oil and chemical manufacturing, relying on the strong symbiosis between its forefront industries.

Despite several economic blows, because of forces both natural and manmade, the manufacturing industries of Louisiana stood stalwart as the backbone of the state’s economy, by both providing employment and generating consistent export revenues.

Driving Innovation: Analytics

Utilizing finely calibrated machines, software, and metrics (such as process analytical technology. chemometric instruments, and production control tools), engineers and programmers are deriving more information, from smaller sample sizes, faster.

Included with the means and knowledge derived from analytics are the tools of information automation: technology that aids in faster material requisition, massive inventory tracking abilities, and complete asset management. Accessing and understanding the large volume of data has become critical to the manufacturing industry.

4.) Wisconsin - 19.6 Percent

Main Industries: Machinery and metal fabrication, food and beverage and tobacco

Total Manufacturing Output: $50.1 billion

Not content to be known as the “Cheese State,” Wisconsin employs more than 16 percent of the workforce across industrial and food-based manufacturing. With a heavy education emphasis from state funding (Wisconsin is ranked No. 1 in high school graduation rates in the country), Wisconsin continues to provide greater input and innovation across the industry.

Wisconsin is also home to a variety of large production plants and businesses whose products are found in your local grocery stores.

Driving Innovation: 3D printing

Also known as “additive manufacturing,” 3D printing continues to grow in popularity among businesses and consumers alike. Rapidly advancing 3D printers, along with diminishing costs, is creating a revolution in manufacturing like never before. Prototypes can find realization or refinement within days, even hours, drastically cutting development time and costs. Usable material lists grow and span a wide range from pliable to rigid, workable to specific.

Rapid flexibility provides immediate response, but it will also require new mindsets and approaches. While the implications of 3D printing have become a hot topic, harnessing its advantages will likely become a key factor in a manufacturer’s business strategy.

5.) Iowa - 18.6 Percent

Main Industries: Machinery manufacturing, food and beverage, tobacco manufacturing, chemical manufacturing

Total Manufacturing Output: $27.6 billion

At the intersection where crops utilization, manufacturing and science meet sits the state of Iowa, where corn is king, along with a bevy of corn-related products: ethanol, pharmaceutical products, food additives, beer, tires, porcelain, paper products and even glue. Many products in your day-to-day life make use of corn or corn byproducts in their creation.

Driving Innovation: Invention

Due to the versatility of corn’s molecular structure, manufacturers and innovators alike continue to advance the food’s potential applications. Ever-advancing research and development of corn- and soy-based commodities generates new products each year, form liquid bandages to ceiling tiles, providing increased supply to feed demand across multiple industries.

Final Thoughts

The manufacturing industry as a whole continues to find new avenues of efficiency and product development. With increased implementation of better tools, advancing software, energy conservation, and production automation, the manufacturing industry is providing a greater variety of products with greater efficiency.


R. Lockard is a writer for Fishbowl Inventory – manufacturing software that integrates with Quickbooks.

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