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U.S . manufacturers Cisco Systems and
Rockwell Automation are pursuing this
market aggressively, and jointly creating a
training program called Managing Indus-
trial Networks to provide technicians with
the skills needed to manage networked
industrial control systems — job title:
industrial networking specialist.
The use of big data across the man-
ufacturing sector is helping American
companies respond quickly to customer
needs and more easily analyze and solve
— or even head off — manufacturing
process problems. The ability to collect
and analyze huge amounts of detailed
data is giving a biopharmaceutical
manufacturer the ability to significantly
increase its yields in vaccine production.
One American defense systems manu-
facturer — also collecting and analyzing
treasure troves of real-time information
— is able to monitor assembly opera-
tions down to the turn of a screw. Sen-
sors set off flashing lights if that screw is
turned even one fewer or one too many
turns. With big data behind them, ma-
chine operators are becoming machine
managers, production roles that are
infinitely more interesting and requiring
different and better — and more market-
able — skills.
Additive manufacturing (3D printing) is
making prototyping much easier and faster
and opening up the possibility to produce
aerospace and automotive components,
medical devices, toys and even replace-
ment human organs in “make-to-individ-
ual-order fashion.” MakerBot Industries
and Dremel, just two of these high-tech 3D
printer manufacturers, offer cutting-edge
career paths to those with the curiosity
and skills to help mainstream 3D printing.
And with that possibility seemingly just
around the corner, GE is figuring out how
to design its jet engines to accommodate
printed fuel nozzles.
R.R . Donnelley — your former local Yellow
Pages publisher — is making reality of the
phrase “printed circuit boards” using spe-
cialty printers to deposit layers of electrical-
ly conductive ink to produce antennas for
RFID and NFC tags in St. Charles, Illinois.
At North Carolina State, the College of Vet-
erinary Medicine is using additive manufac-
turing to produce individualized implants for
cats and dogs that have lost limbs due to
disease, accident or birth defect.
“Modern manufacturing...is a clean, cre-
ative and high-tech field with many avail-
able jobs. This is not your grandfather’s
manufacturing,” said Allison Grealis.
As executive director for the industry
group Women in Manufacturing (WiM),
Grealis has direct line-of-sight into Ameri-
ca’s diversified manufacturing sector.
“Manufacturing jobs are modern and high-
tech. From streamlining processes to 3D
printing, manufacturing provides opportu-
nities to explore and master cutting-edge
technologies. The constant advancements in
technology are a real positive in manufactur-
ing careers.” Grealis also pointed out that the
Deloitte and Manufacturing Institute study
had found women in manufacturing careers
are pleased with the quality of their jobs and
find their careers interesting and rewarding.
Foreign direct investment. Foreign invest-
ment is often driven by the same eco-
nomics as reshoring: the advantage of
producing near your customer. Accord-
ing to the Washington-based Office for
International Investment, foreign industrial
companies held more than $838 billion
of investments in U.S . manufacturing as
of year-end 2013 and continue to plow
new dollars into the U.S. at increasing
rates, which creates more demand for
skilled technical talent. These companies
employ 17 percent of the total U.S . man-
ufacturing sector (over 2 million workers)
with an average annual salary of $85,211,
12.5 percent higher than the national
manufacturing average. Here’s a snap-
shot of recent activity.
European airframe manufacturer Airbus,
for instance, has chosen Mobile, Ala-
WHAT IS IT? Printing successive layers of mate-
rial — plastic, paper, metal, ceramics — to make
everything from small-batch medical devices to
toys to engine components.
NOW The 3D prototype model for Robohand, the
first prosthetic using a MakerBot 3D printer, was
downloaded more than 77,000 times.
FUTURE Wohlers Associates sees the 3D printing
market expanding by more than 300 percent by
2019 to $6.5 billion.
WHAT IS IT? Computers can do tasks that once
could only be performed by people, improving
productivity by detecting technical faults in real
NOW Emerson, which used automation to shift
production to the U.S . from Asia, is sharing its
knowledge — boosting capacity at BP’s Chica-
go-area refinery by more than 400 percent.
FUTURE McKinsey sees potential impact of
$6.7 trillion a year from automation by 2025.
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