Here's a deeper look into the top trending stories in manufacturing today based on reader feedback: 3D Printing A House; regulating chemicals in WV; tiny cars fail crash tests; and new approaches to contract manufacturing. Below these stories, check out links to other related news and features at Manufacturing Business Technology.
3D Printing Could Revolutionize Home Building
A USC professor demonstrates how to build a 2,500-square-foot home in less than 20 hours.
Would this idea be good, bad or indifferent for the home building industry?
Legislation Proposed In WV To Regulate Chemicals
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin on Monday proposed tighter regulations for chemical storage facilities after a spill contaminated the water supply for 300,000 people.
Tomblin, the Democratic governor, urged passage of a chemical storage regulatory program. The bill aims to address shortcomings that allowed 7,500 gallons of coal-cleaning chemicals to seep into the Elk River on Jan. 9. Freedom Industries, which owned the plant that leaked the chemicals, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Friday.
Freedom Industries' safety flaws, including a last-resort containment wall filled with cracks, went largely undetected, because as a facility that neither manufactured chemicals, produced emissions, or stored chemicals underground, it was not subject to environmental regulations, state Department of Environmental Protection officials have said. The chemical that spilled also wasn't deemed hazardous enough for additional regulation.
The material flowed 1.5 miles downstream and made it into West Virginia American Water Company's water supply. Continue reading...
In discussion on whether or not chemical regulations should be proposed, commenter Bob argues for regulation by saying:
"So if a nuclear bomb went off by accident in this country or one of the nuke plants exploded, that woudl be a good time to check safety standards and possibly enact some new bills?"
Commenter Albee didn't think any regulation would go very far:
"If the proposed legislation has any teeth after the lobbyists for chemical and coal industries have rewritten the bill(s) for the legislature, as they seem to do in most environmental legislation, I will be very surprised."
Eleven of the smallest cars sold in America performed very badly in crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Only the Chevrolet Spark received a score of "acceptable."
Does better fuel economy mean less safe?
As global economic activity continues, it’s a slow but steady rebound, as more and more manufacturers are turning to contract manufacturing. According to our recent study, “Flexibility is the Key to Growth: Accenture Global Manufacturing Study 2013”, a large majority (76 percent) of original equipment manufacturers plan to increase their use of contract manufacturing in the coming year.
Although many global manufacturers may have a limited view of contract manufacturing, seeing it as a safety valve to handle the pressures of excess demand, manufacturing leaders identified in the Accenture study are outperforming their peers and making contract manufacturing a core part of their long-term strategy. They recognize the many benefits that can be derived from using contract manufacturing as part of their overall production strategy. These benefits can be particularly important in an economic environment characterized by rising customer expectations, growing complexity and ever-increasing volatility. Continue reading...