American technology and innovation have always been the envy of the world. Perhaps not since the founding of the nation two and a half centuries ago, when we were cut off from the factory production in Europe and forced to produce our own goods, has there been such motivation and drive to increase our domestic output. In the United States, billions of dollars are spent annually on research and development. For decades Congress has encouraged it and tax law has provided research and development tax credits to companies carrying out this research. The law periodically expires but, independent of who controls the House and Senate, there has always been bi-partisan support to renew the law and the credits continue. Research and development lead to innovation and innovation is a hallmark of American ingenuity. Companies in the United States spent about 500 billion in research last year. One could assume that most of this was eligible for federal tax credits which is in part why companies and like Google, Apple and Amazon often pay such a small amount in income taxes.
It’s that time of year again. The New York State budget is in the planning stages and efforts to have parts of it be pro-business or pro-manufacturing need to be made now. March 3, 2020 is Manufacturing Lobby Day. Those who have an interest and can find the time will go to Albany to meet with their legislators. Local trade and manufacturing associations participating in the March 3 lobby include the Rochester Technical and Manufacturing Association (RTMA), The Manufacturing Alliance of New York and the Manufacturers Association of Central New York (MACNY). These groups and others will be going to Albany on March 3, 2020 to advocate and lobby for reforms that can improve the business and manufacturing environment. It is important for our state legislators to hear from their constituents.
The celebration of National Engineers Week started in 1951 by the National Society of Professional Engineers and is always during the week in February which includes George Washington’s birthday, February 22nd. President Washington is considered the nation’s first engineer, notably for his survey work. It is observed by more than 70 engineering, education, and cultural societies, and more than 50 corporations and government agencies. Primarily, the goal of this week promote recognition among parents, teachers, and students of the importance of a technical education and a high level of math, science, and technology literacy. The intent is to motivate youth to pursue engineering careers in order to provide a diverse and vigorous engineering workforce.
Upstate New York has Quadrupled it's Breweries in Less than a Decade.
It’s no secret that there has been an explosion of breweries popping up all over New York. Undoubtedly, the past decade has seen more changes in the American beer industry than at any other time in history, except for Prohibition perhaps.
For those of you who believe your data really resides in a cloud, I’m about to burst your bubble. Did you know that 99 percent of the data traffic that is crossing oceans is carried by undersea cables? Yep – that’s right. For those of you that think Amazon, Microsoft, Dell, Google, IBM, & Alibaba are the data traffic kings, think again (although they may help fund the majority of these cables).
This year, I spent Manufacturing Day by travelling to Chicago with Optimation VP of Engineering Wendy Smith, to support her as she was officially recognized as an Influential Woman in Manufacturing by Putnam Media along with 26 other women working in industry. The luncheon, awards ceremony and panel on supporting inclusive workplaces in manufacturing were all held at MxD, a digital manufacturing research and development facility that facilitates experimentation, simulation and training for emerging technologies.
Photo Credit: Netflix
A few months ago, I wrote a blog about a really neat project that we were doing at Eastman Business Park, the old Kodak Park Campus in Rochester, NY. Netflix was going to film a series that would rival American Ninja Warrior only with high performance cars and expert drivers on challenging obstacle courses. It is dubbed “American Ninja Warrior meets the Fast and the Furious.”
Skid systems solve a wide range of problems for many industries. Even waste processing in a hazardous industry, like one that handles radioactive waste, can be aided by a skid system. This project profile is an example of how a modular fabrication & assembly process can be applied to solve a difficult problem.
One of our core competencies at Optimation is in the development, design, fabrication and improvement of web-based, or roll-to-roll, processes. Optimation owns and operates a web development laboratory – we call it the Media Conveyance Facility (MCF). Many things you use on a regular basis are produced on a web, from aluminum foil to the thin glass used in cell phones.
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.