October 4th is National Manufacturing Day. In the United States, National Manufacturing Day is celebrated every year on the first Friday of October. Companies of all sizes will participate in events for this year’s National Manufacturing Day. There is a great future in manufacturing, and this is a way to recognize and promote it. Over the last few decades there has been a decline in US manufacturing and in New York State the decline has been even greater. Rochester, NY, where Optimation is located, has seen large reductions in employment, driven in part by the massive declines of huge manufacturers like Kodak, Xerox and Bausch and Lomb. In response to this, the both the federal government and the state government have made efforts to encourage and incentivize smaller manufactures in a variety of industries. One main focus of their efforts is workforce development.
Around the world, manufacturers use processing plants to produce a nearly unlimited number of products. In many cases these processes are built in small, modular units either as skids or as modular container-based systems.
Robots are beginning to show up everywhere. Of all the amazing technical developments that are part of Industry 4.0, the fastest growing sector is robotics. By 2020, over $100 billion a year will be invested in robots and this amount is projected to double every two years.
I recently attended the New York State Manufacturing Conference in Troy, hosted by the CATS center at RPI. The focus of the conference was advancing technology and manufacturing in New York. I had the opportunity to be part of the conference and gave a talk titled, “Building on New York’s Manufacturing Legacy in the Fourth Industrial Revolution – Industry 4.0.” Industry 4.0 is an amazing step forward in technology and defines an exciting era for manufacturing which began just this decade.
I recently attended the New York State Manufacturing Conference hosted by the Center for Automation Technologies and Systems (CATS) center at Rensselaer. It was a spirted event attended by participants from a variety of individuals and companies whose primary focus was promoting and advancing technology and manufacturing in New York. Robots and cobots were everywhere. More than 70 organizations were represented from industry, academia, economic development and technology centers.
Every year Deloitte carries out surveys. One of the surveys and trends addresses the state of mergers and acquisition trends. Recently they published their comprehensive look at M&A activity for 2019. Their survey looked at deal trends and predicted deal strength will remain strong in 2019. Some of the reasons cited were tax reform, a more relaxed regulatory climate, and growing cash reserves among corporations and investors.
Unemployment is down, manufacturing is up, and the demand for skilled trades hasn’t been this high for a long time. There is a gap between demand and the available skilled workforce. This is true in many trades. One example is electricians. According to numbers from the National Electrical Contractors Association, 7,000 electricians join the field each year, while at the same time 10,000 retire.
During the past decade, the Internet of Things has been steadily advancing and becoming a part of our lives. We get texts from our cars when the tire pressure is low or suggesting we should stop and buy another gallon of windshield washer fluid. We can turn on the oven or close the garage door at home from our office. These opportunities are supported by small amounts of data and provide simple solutions.
In November I attended the Rockwell Automation Fair in Philadelphia. The conference and exhibition were all about automation, advances in automation and a display of the newest control and manufacturing technologies by Rockwell and their partners. While it was about their proprietary technologies and products, it was also representative of where the entire world of automation industry is going. Crowds were large, and the most highly attended booths were the ones showing off Industry 4.0 related technologies.
Pet food manufacturing is a 20-billion-dollar industry. In the United States, the manufacture of pet food is regulated in the same way and with the same rigid requirements that are required for the manufacture of any food. At Optimation we are engaged in the construction of pet food plants as well as facilities for the dairy and other food products. We know that the facilities for both are the same. They must be sanitary, easy to maintain and clean. The control systems must maintain the same high standards for metering, mixing and packaging.