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Apple is reportedly trying to move iPhone manufacturing to…

Apple is reportedly trying to move iPhone manufacturing to…

Nov 21, 2016

“Apple is reportedly trying to move iPhone manufacturing to the US”  By James Bareham, The Verge Apple is reportedly asking its manufacturing partners to investigate moving iPhone production to the United States, according to the Japanese newspaper Nikkei. According to the report, sources claim that Apple has approached Foxconn and Pegatron, the two manufacturing companies that are largely responsible for assembling iPhones. Foxconn is apparently exploring the possibility, while Pegatron has elected to decline due to cost concerns. According to the Nikkei, Apple made the request to explore moving manufacturing to its partners in June, prior to President-elect Donald Trump’s victory in the recent election. But despite that, this report has to be considered in light of Trump’s comments regarding Apple earlier this year. Trump has repeatedly suggested that Apple move its manufacturing back to the US. His most recent comments were made in January at a talk at Liberty University where Trump said, “We’re gonna get Apple to start building their damn computers and things in this country, instead of in other countries.” Moving iPhone production overseas would likely be a pricey endeavor, with Nikkei sources claiming that it would increase production costs by nearly 50 percent, which makes sense given that the vast majority of Apple’s part suppliers are already located in Asia. Motorola also tried to move smartphone manufacturing to America, but the experiment ended in 2014 when Motorola closed the factory due to costs. Apple has made some efforts in bringing hardware production back to America in the past — most notably, the Mac Pro in 2013, when the company invested over $100 million dollars to jumpstart production — but relocating iPhone manufacturing to the United States would be a move of a vastly different...

What Trump Presidency May Mean For Manufacturing?

What Trump Presidency May Mean For Manufacturing?

Nov 17, 2016

By Kannan Sivasubramaian, Executive Vice President at Aranca, Manufacturing Business Technology The U.S. has seen its share of manufacturing consistently on the slide — from almost 25 percent in 1970 to less than 12 percent at present. Growing trade deficits with China and Mexico and impending recovery from the recession since 2008 have resulted in the U.S. losing about 6 million manufacturing jobs by now. The question largely asked is whether such loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs is due to several U.S. policies over the last two decades; namely, high corporate tax rates and incentives support for investments in manufacturing technologies or capacities? Perhaps not. Evidently, even if the U.S. was a closed economy, the drop was inevitable as the share of services sector in the global GDP, vis-à-vis that of agriculture and manufacturing, grew strongly. Despite politics’ huge influence on economic policies, the basic objective of making profits is the most fundamental tenet of the any country’s economy. With the increase in per capita incomes and wages in developed economies, manufacturing certain products at home becomes unviable. For example, export dress shirts are procured from the Asian economies at $4 on FOB basis. It is practically impossible for the U.S. companies to match the price points while making such shirts at home. Stringent environmental regulations further shifted capacities from the West to the East in relevant industries. Thus, in last two decades, the U.S. manufacturers have significantly increased their global footprint across high-growth emerging markets. To drive up efficiencies and profits in competitively-intensive markets, the U.S. manufacturers have developed the necessary skill and network to successfully leverage global sourcing opportunities. Moreover, not only the U.S. but almost all of the developed economies are witnessing the manufacturing’s share drop at their home markets as the world economy has been shifting from the ‘machine-age’ to the ‘digital age’. The influence of automation, robotics, and connected factories on manufacturing is pretty evident and is slated to grow phenomenally over the next two decades. Popularly known as ‘Industry 4.0’, such advancements will reduce labor requirements and can be identified as opportunities for the U.S. manufacturers to invest heavily in such technologies that will help reduce the proportion...

U.S. Manufacturing Output Rose for a Second Month in October

U.S. Manufacturing Output Rose for a Second Month in October

Nov 16, 2016

By Sho Chandra, Bloomberg Output at U.S. manufacturers rose for a second month in October, a sign the industry is gradually recovering from a prolonged period of weakness. Production at factories, which make up 75 percent of production, climbed 0.2 percent for a second month, a Federal Reserve report showed Wednesday. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey called for a 0.3 percent gain. Warmer temperatures led to a drop in utility use, resulting in little change to total industrial production, which also includes mining. Factories are benefiting from steady household spending growth at the same time the drag on industrial output from the oil sector wanes as prices recover and drillers employ more rigs. Nonetheless, a bigger boost to manufacturing is unlikely without stronger export markets and more domestic business investment. “The energy sector is stabilizing, and that takes away a negative,” said David Sloan, senior economist at 4CAST-RGE in New York. “People were worried that manufacturing is stalling out but it did get some modest growth. The outlook for manufacturing is getting better slowly.” Manufacturing accounts for about 12 percent of the economy. Economists’ estimates in the Bloomberg survey for factory output ranged from a drop of 0.6 percent to an advance of 0.5 percent. Total industrial production for September was revised to a 0.2 percent decrease, previously reported as a 0.1 percent gain. The median projection for October was for a 0.2 percent advance. Utility output dropped 2.6 percent after a 3 percent decrease the previous month, the Fed report showed. Mining Output Mining production, which includes oil drilling, increased 2.1 percent, the most since March 2014, reflecting a gain in coal output. Oil and gas well drilling jumped 9 percent, the biggest advance since January 2010. Capacity utilization, which measures the amount of a plant that is in use, eased to 75.3 percent from 75.4 percent in the prior month. Factory output was boosted by an increase in auto production, which rose 0.9 percent. Excluding autos and parts, manufacturing edged up 0.1 percent after a 0.2 percent gain. The production of consumer durable goods rose 0.5 percent, while output of business equipment increased 0.2 percent for the first gain in...

How U.S. Manufacturing Is About to Get Smarter

How U.S. Manufacturing Is About to Get Smarter

Nov 15, 2016

By Christopher Mims, Wall Street Journal The aim is to make factories more productive, less costly to operate and more reliable Here’s a paradox of America’s highly automated, increasingly labor-independent manufacturing: While sophisticated, for the most part, it isn’t all that high-tech. Picture metal-stamping machines in an auto-parts factory that can easily have a long useful life of up to 40 years. Now picture the assembly line just outside Austin, Texas, where Samsung Electronics Co. makes core chips for Apple Inc.’s iPhones. I toured the facility last summer. It is a pristine white environment filled with WALL-E-like robots ferrying boxes full of silicon wafers from one station to the next. Every detail of the factory is measured by sensors pouring data into a centralized repository where it can be processed to optimize production. The only humans present are there to fix the machines doing all the work. But that means there is still a big opportunity to use in manufacturing all the learning Silicon Valley has applied to, for example, advertising. “People are really thinking about applying venture capital and technology innovation to things that are 10 times the size of the ad market,” says Jon Sobel, chief executive of Sight Machine Inc., which helps companies process all the data coming off their assembly lines. Manufacturing is a $12 trillion industryglobally a year. Annual spending on ads globally is just north of a half a trillion dollars. This transformation in the way we make things has many names—the fourth industrial revolution, the industrial Internet of Things, smart factories—but at base it is about harvesting as much data as possible from all the machines in factories, shipping it to the cloud, parsing it with artificial intelligence, and using the results to make those factories more productive, less costly to operate, and more reliable. The goal is to break data out of its silos—the machine, the factory floor, the shipping and logistics system—and pool it in a way allows for real-time decision-making. Here are examples of what this “revolution” can accomplish: deciphering how ambient air temperature affects productivity of an entire factory. Or ramping up and down production in a way that is more responsive to...

New App Turns Apple iOS Devices into Professional Vibration…

New App Turns Apple iOS Devices into Professional Vibration…

Nov 11, 2016

“New App Turns Apple iOS Devices into Professional Vibration Measurement Tools” Featured in Design-2-Part Magazine FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich.—ACE Controls, a specialist in industrial damping technology, has introduced a new app that is said to turn iPhones and iPads into professional vibration and impact measuring devices, providing users with a high-performance, lightweight alternative to more costly systems. ACE’s VibroChecker PRO native iOS app is an upgraded version of its original VibroChecker app, which uses the acceleration sensors, gyroscopes, and microphones integrated in the iPhone and iPad to measure vibrations on machines and components within a frequency range of up to 50 Hz. Upgrading to the new ‘PRO’ version of the app increases the range up to 8,000Hz. The user simply has to connect an external USB sensor (available from a third party) to the iOS device via the lightning port and an adaptor. Measurement results can be saved or emailed directly to Ace Controls. The app is available for download here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/vibrochecker-pro/id1076108553?mt=8&ign-...

Pratt & Whitney Searching for Products, Services to Ramp…

Pratt & Whitney Searching for Products, Services to Ramp…

Nov 9, 2016

“Pratt & Whitney Searching for Products, Services to Ramp Up Monthly Engine Production” By Brett Brune, Editor, Smart Manufacturing Manufacturing Engineering CHICAGO—Pratt & Whitney is aggressively searching for smart manufacturing solutions that will allow it to successfully ramp up monthly production of engines for military and commercial aerospace engines, Kimberley Hagerty, Hot Section Module Center lean transformation manager, said yesterday at the 2nd Smart Factory World Symposium. In 2010 P&W delivered about 55 engines a month. In 2017, that number grows to about 100 engines a month. And in 2024, it continues to climb to about 158 engine deliveries a month, she said.  “And I’m doing that with 20-year-old technology and 20-year-old manufacturing processes and a very well-seasoned workforce” that adds significant complexity to the digital manufacturing transformation of the East Hartford, CT-based firm, Hagerty  said during a panel talk on best practices.  “So the challenges ahead of me are steep.” In an interview with Smart Manufacturing magazine after the panel discussion, Hagerty said she is “fresh into the exploratory phase” to find products and services her firm needs. She has mapped out her requirements. “Now, I’m reaching out to the service providers” and scheduling visits to firms using products and services that might well work for Pratt & Whitney. She joined the firm five years ago, after retiring from the US Air Force as the chief of strategic planning and analysis. The only tech move she’s made so far for her division at Pratt & Whitney is to enroll in the Forcam Academy, for shop-floor management. Forcam software was already deployed at a P&W Facility in Middletown, CT, and GKN, one of Pratt & Whitney’s suppliers. “Forcam is one of the resources I reached out to as far as a serviced provider, because they provide a service I need from a machine health monitoring and data analytics standpoint.” Hagerty told the crowd at yesterday’s smart manufacturing conference, which Forcam organized, that she commonly uses over 1,000 machines in four different states to build one customer’s engine. “I’ll start production in Connecticut, do an interim shipment to another facility, do another manufacturing step there and send it to another facility in another state and do another...