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Today in Manufacturing

Daily news and top headlines for manufacturing professionals

A Headless Chicken Leading The Blind

January 13, 2014 8:43 am | by Alan Nicol, Executive Member, AlanNicolSolutions | Comments

Generally speaking, the real challenge is not solving the problem. The real challenge is managing the chaos. Everyone is so busy being busy for the sake of appearing like they are solving the problem, that no one can invest the time and attention for critical thought.

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How Lean Do You Really Want To Be?

January 9, 2014 1:41 pm | by Tom McNamara and Erika Masillac | Comments

A key lean trend is consolidating suppliers and doing away with redundancies. Although this certainly creates cost efficiencies, the main suppliers who are left quite often end up providing needed parts to many companies in the same industry. And if these companies are all depending on the same supplier, or only a few suppliers, unforeseen production problems or sudden shifts in demand can easily send ripples throughout multiple systems.

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Is Chrysler An ‘American’ Automaker Any More?

January 8, 2014 9:07 am | by Joel Hans, Managing Editor, Manufacturing.net | Comments

Chrysler has technically been “foreign-owned” since July 2011, but the recent deal makes it all the more real: might be an American-headquartered company, but it’s also a fully-owned subsidiary of an Italian company. That’s an important distinction, one that means Chrysler simply isn’t in the same playing field as Ford and GM, no matter each of their origins.

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Would You Mortgage Your Home For A TV?

January 8, 2014 8:46 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor, ECN | Comments

No 105-inch TV will ever be affordable for anyone who doesn’t own a private jet — not till the tech is long past its prime, anyway. And these gargantuan show-stoppers were never really intended for (general) public consumption. CES is all about the glitz and glam, after all, and a 105-inch toy makes for great PR.

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Next-Level 3D Printing With Metal

January 3, 2014 1:15 pm | by Danielle M., Blogger & Business Student | Comments

3-D printing took another leap forward when Michigan Technological University scientists invented a 3-D metal printer available at a relatively affordable price — around $1,500. Oh, and they made the instructions for building the machine, as well as the operating software and firmware, available online for anyone to download.

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The Race Is On And The U.S. Is Losing

January 2, 2014 2:09 pm | by Chris Fox, Managing Editor, Product Design & Development | Comments

Have you heard about the space race? It’s not what you think. Similar to the space race that the U.S. participated in back in the 60s, China and India are vying to get to… the moon. This surge of interstellar interest seems to be in conjunction with NASA’s Curiosity rover cruising around Mars. The question is: why all the sudden interest in space exploration?

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Protecting Advancements: Critical For Next-Generation Manufacturers

December 17, 2013 9:52 am | by Mark A. Aiello and Nick E. Kyriakopoulos, Foley & Lardner LLP | Comments

Next-generation manufacturers are particularly vulnerable when supplying other manufacturers who purchase their goods. If the buyer has the right to inspect the seller’s manufacturing technologies or otherwise has access to the seller’s manufacturing processes, innovative technologies and proprietary advancements, the rights to protect such intellectual assets may be compromised.

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Is This The End Of Moore’s Law?

December 11, 2013 9:29 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor, PD&D | Comments

Researchers are concerned that the unsustainability of Moore’s law might mean the end, or at least the abrupt slowing down, of electronic development at the height of the digital era. That could herald a very dangerous time for U.S. manufacturing and consumers.

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Engineers Don’t Use Facebook

December 6, 2013 4:05 pm | by Chris Fox, Managing Editor, PD&D | Comments

As with any publishing company, we have expanded our social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn (I’m still holding out on Google+), but we often find it difficult to reach new readers in an engineering audience via these outlets     

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Give New Life To Old Lessons

December 2, 2013 8:36 am | by Alan Nicol, Executive Member, AlanNicolSolutions | Comments

Perhaps the best idea that is most frequently abandoned across almost every industry is that of capturing lessons for posterity and for sharing to other teams and people, and also using those captured lessons to effectively educate or successfully learn from others’ mistakes.

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Are There Spiders Lurking In Your Food?

November 25, 2013 8:24 am | by Lindsey Jahn, Associate Editor, Food Manufacturing | Comments

Occurrences of shoppers discovering spiders lurking in grocery-store grapes have been reported throughout the Midwest over the past month — and the issue isn’t limited to one retail chain. Budget supermarket chain Aldi pulled all grapes from its Milwaukee locations after a consumer found a black widow spider in a package of grapes from an Aldi store in Wauwatosa, Wis.

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Innovation Goes Viral

November 18, 2013 3:57 pm | by Lindsey Jahn, Associate Editor, Food Manufacturing | Comments

Innovation is essential in the food industry, particularly when it comes to technologies that enhance product quality and safety. One new innovation that works to improve food safety is a “viral spray” designed to destroy potentially harmful bacteria on food products.

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Addressing The Demographic Challenge Of Knowledge Management

November 18, 2013 11:36 am | by Jeff Moffa and Lisa Merriam | Comments

Peter Drucker popularized the phrase “knowledge economy” back in 1969, referring to a new generation of high tech “knowledge workers.” The truth is manufacturing pioneered the knowledge economy decades earlier and has always been highly dependent on knowledge workers. Knowing how to profitably make things that satisfy market demand better than the competition is the lifeblood of industry.

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Say Not 'Cost Of Quality,' Rather Say 'Investment'

November 11, 2013 3:17 pm | by Alan Nicol, Executive Member, AlanNicolSolutions | Comments

The term “cost” means an expenditure that we pay to move on or to continue business. It will not offer a profitable return. It is money lost. Alternatively, “investment” means money that we set aside or spend now in order to achieve a greater return later. If we look the pursuit of quality correctly, we see it as an investment, not a cost.

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Deluded By Data

November 4, 2013 3:18 pm | by Alan Nicol, Executive Member, AlanNicolSolutions | Comments

Why do we collect and analyze data? I believe that answering this question is critically important each and every time we step into a data analysis exercise. I say that because if we don’t keep our purpose foremost in mind while we are analyzing data, we stand a good chance of interpreting information that may not be real.

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Google Glass On The Road

November 4, 2013 2:34 pm | by Rene Henry | Comments

Developers and techies alike will pay close attention to how this case resolves. If a judge deems Google Glass to much of a distraction, an array of developers will have to rethink apps they are building for the road.       

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Domestic Minerals Production Could Boost Manufacturing

November 1, 2013 9:18 am | by Hal Quinn, CEO, National Mining Association (NMA) | Comments

After decades of outsourcing, the resurgence in domestic manufacturing is now America’s favorite comeback story. Factors that once drove companies overseas — including labor and energy costs — are no longer considered insurmountable obstacles. Yet one troubling trend could signal a major complication for returning manufacturers: our nation’s increasing reliance on unstable supply chains of imported minerals.

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A Close Call With The Beloved Sriracha

November 1, 2013 8:30 am | by Joel Hans, Managing Editor, Manufacturing.net | Comments

Wednesday night, I heard, to my dismay, that the sole manufacturing facility for Sriracha hot sauce, located in Irwindale, Calif., may be shuttered. According to the city, allegations of burning eyes and throats have been rolling in — 30 or so in all, according to the Los Angeles Times — and it’s become enough for the city to declare the plant a “public nuisance” in violation of local ordinances regarding untoward odors.

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Russell Stokes: The Future Of Manufacturing Talent

October 29, 2013 10:16 am | by Russell Stokes, President and CEO, GE Transportation | Comments

Roughly a year ago, GE and other thought leaders in the industry — Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Alcoa and The Manufacturing Institute — launched the Get Skills to Work initiative, a coalition aimed at closing the skills gap and specifically, to supporting veterans as they transition to careers in advanced manufacturing.

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Don’t Train, Teach

October 28, 2013 3:58 pm | by Alan Nicol, Executive Member, AlanNicolSolutions | Comments

Consider the last time that you were invited or directed to attend training on a method to be applied to your own work. It might have been leadership training, process training, Six Sigma training, a Lean workshop, or training on the use of a new machine. The subject doesn’t matter.

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