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Q&A: What The GOP Tax Plan Means For Distributors…

Q&A: What The GOP Tax Plan Means For Distributors…

Nov 6, 2017

“Q&A: What The GOP Tax Plan Means For Distributors & Manufacturers” By Mike Hockett, Manufacturing.net In late September, President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans unveiled an outline of a proposed tax plan that Trump has boasted as the largest in U.S. history. On Sept. 29, Trump provided the broad strokes of that plan in a speech to the National Association of Manufacturers in Washington D.C., with the $6 trillion plan including significant tax cuts for corporations, simplified tax brackets and nearly double the standard deduction used by most tax filers. However, the finer details of the plan are still largely unknown by the general public. Aside from a 2015-2016 industrial recession, industrial distributors and suppliers have often cited tax burdens and regulations as hurdles to business growth, so those companies would be wise to keep tabs on what a new tax plan would involve for them. ID recently spoke with Jim Brandenburg, Tax Partner at Sikich LLP, about what Trump’s tax plan means for manufacturing, especially for distributors. Brandenburg’s extensive knowledge of tax legislation and experience working with distributors and manufacturers give him a unique perspective discussing current tax impacts and what future implications could be of the proposed tax plan. ID: From what you’re hearing, what are distributors and manufacturers’ biggest criticisms/pain points with the current tax structure/regulations? Jim Brandenburg: High tax rates and uncertainty regarding tax policy and various tax provisions are ongoing pain points for manufacturers and distributors. Uncertainty stems from the fact that many benefits that enable a company to reduce their annual tax burden are not permanent, which hinders a company’s ability to plan too far into the future. For example, under current law, bonus depreciation, which allows companies to immediately deduct the cost of newly purchased assets (e.g., machinery and equipment), is set to be reduced in 2018, reduced again in 2019 and then expire in 2020.  The tax reform debate creates additional uncertainty and leaves companies in a holding pattern as they wait and see whether any legislation will pass at all and, if so, what form the final legislation will take. However, manufacturers and distributors have long sought lower tax rates and would welcome the decrease in the corporate and small business pass-through...

3D-Printing Marine-Grade Steel

3D-Printing Marine-Grade Steel

Nov 2, 2017

By Jeff Reinke, ThomasNet Marine-grade stainless steel, or 316 as it’s called in the industry, is highly sought after for applications that range from underwater storage tanks to kitchen utensils and appliances. This need stems from its unique ability to resist pitting and corrosion after being exposed to salt and water. However, these properties are usually obtained by adding molybdenum, which can have an adverse effect on the ability to stretch and form a metal. Scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory may have come across a way to preserve the non-corrosive capabilities of 316 while simultaneously improving its ductility. The team announced a technique for 3D-printing a low-carbon type of marine grade stainless steel that they’re calling 316L. As profiled in Nature Materials, the additive production process has been found to enhance both strength and ductility properties. This breakthrough translates to expanded capabilities in industries such as aerospace that operate in harsh environments where materials need to be durable, flexible, and non-corrosive. The ability to 3D print these types of materials stems from analyzing their structure and understanding the small, splinter-like defects that seem to form when the metals are produced in traditional ways. Bringing an additive process addressed these gaps while preserving the essential benefits. Perhaps more exciting is that researchers believe this breakthrough could lead to improved production approaches for numerous other materials by using 3D printing. The results could enhance quality exponentially across a range of products and...

Audi and Alta Devices to Develop Automobiles with Solar Roofs

Audi and Alta Devices to Develop Automobiles with Solar Roofs

Nov 1, 2017

Featured in Design-2-Part Magazine SUNNYVALE, Calif.—Audi and Alta Devices, a subsidiary of solar-cell specialist, Hanergy Thin Film Power, plan to work together to integrate solar cells into panoramic glass roofs of Audi models. With this cooperation, the partners aim to generate solar energy to increase the range of Audi electric vehicles. The first prototype is expected to be developed by the end of 2017. As the first step, Audi and Alta Devices (www.altadevices.com) will integrate solar cells into a panoramic glass roof. But the companies plan to eventually cover almost the entire surface of the roof with solar cells, which they say is possible due to Alta’s uniquely flexible, thin, and efficient technology. The electricity generated from the cells will flow into the car’s electric system and can supply, for example, the air-conditioning system and seat heaters—a gain in efficiency that has a direct positive impact on the range of an Audi electric vehicle. “The range of electric cars plays a decisive role for our customers,” said Audi Board of Management Member for Procurement Dr. Bernd Martens, in a press release. “Together with Alta Devices and Hanergy, we plan to install innovative solar technology in our electric cars that will extend their range and is also sustainable.  At a later stage, solar energy could directly charge the traction battery of Audi electric vehicles. That would be a milestone along the way to achieving sustainable, emission-free mobility.” Alta Devices’ innovative solar cells will generate the green electricity. The solar cells are reported to be very thin and flexible, hold the world-record for efficiency, and perform extremely well in low light and high temperature environments. “This partnership with Audi is Alta Devices’ first cooperation with a high-end auto brand,” said Dr. Jian Ding, senior vice president of Hanergy Thin Film Power Group Ltd., CEO of Alta Devices, Inc., and co-leader of the Audi/Hanergy Thin Film Solar Cell Research and Development Project. “By combining Alta’s continuing breakthroughs in solar technology with Audi’s drive toward the future of the auto industry, we will define the solar car of the...

Tech Advances Drive Manufacturing Investments Back to U.S.

Tech Advances Drive Manufacturing Investments Back to U.S.

Oct 30, 2017

By Andrew Soergel, Economy Reporter, U.S. News Advances in artificial intelligence and industrial production are reshaping the world’s manufacturing landscape. Manufacturing at long last is enjoying a revitalization in the U.S. as companies from around the world invest in the country’s operations – a key development in President Donald Trump’s quest to make America great again. But presidential policies may not be the primary driver of the manufacturing shift back to the U.S. – and an industrial return isn’t expected to create nearly the same number of jobs that factory floors maintained in decades past. It appears to be technological innovations, rather than policies or an availability of labor, driving the manufacturing renaissance. And with operational advances extending well beyond the reaches of Silicon Valley and into Rust Belt communities in the Northeast and Midwest, many believe the country is well-positioned to be a leader in advanced manufacturing for years to come. “The reason is, candidly, it’s less about the manufacturing people. It’s more about the technology,” Mike Marusic, COO of Sharp Electronics, said Wednesday during an event hosted by Bloomberg. Marusic said Sharp is one of several companies that has chosen to increase investment in the U.S. rather than seeking out “traditional manufacturing places” like China and Thailand in recent years. Other companies include medical device manufacturer Insulet – which broke ground last month on a new central Massachusetts facility that’s expected to bring hundreds of jobs to the area after spending several years operating a production outfit in China – and General Electric, which has tweaked investment plans in recent years to funnel more resources into U.S. facilities rather than in countries with historically lower labor costs like Mexico and China. Even Foxconn, a Taiwan-based electronics manufacturer that helps assemble popular products like iPhones, recently announced plans to build a Wisconsin facility and develop operations in the U.S., despite its proximity to what have historically been considered countries with cheap labor. The Reshoring Initiative advocacy group estimates 338,000 jobs migrated to the U.S. from overseas between 2010 and 2016. The country on net is estimated to have gained 25,000 manufacturing positions last year – meaning more jobs returned to the U.S. than were offshored in 2016 for the first net gain in years. At...

Rebuild Manufacturing – the key to American prosperity

Rebuild Manufacturing – the key to American prosperity

Oct 25, 2017

Published by the Coalition for a Prosperous America Press Release –  October 25, 2017 By Michele Nash-Hoff I am proud to announce the publication of Rebuild Manufacturing – the key to American Prosperity by the Coalition for a Prosperous (CPA). I am currently Chair of our California chapter of CPA. Michael Stumo, CEO of CPA, said, “”Michele has been instrumental in developing our California chapter and has spread the word about CPA’s issues and proposals in her Industry Week column. Her new book shows the adverse effect of offshoring and U. S. trade deficits on American manufacturing and highlights CPA’s proposals to eliminate the trade deficit and improve the business climate for American manufacturers with new trade and tax policies.” In 2012, CPA published the second edition of Michele’s previous book, Can American Manufacturing be Saved? Why we should and how we can. My new book is based on my nearly 200 articles for my column on Industry Week’s website and my presentations on behalf of CPA and the Reshoring Initiative for the past five years. My book describes the current state of American manufacturing, discusses what are the main threats to rebuilding American manufacturing and recommends what strategies, and analyzes how trade agreements have affected American manufacturing. I discuss the role “reshoring” plays in rebuilding American manufacturing, what is currently being done to rebuild American manufacturing, shows how American innovation and advanced manufacturing contribute to rebuilding American manufacturing, and how we can solve the skills gap and attract the next generation of manufacturing workers. The book provides case stories of how some American manufacturers are succeeding against global competition by developing innovative products and becoming Lean companies. It concludes with specific recommendations of strategies, policies, and actions that can be taken towards rebuilding the manufacturing industry in America. Steve Minter, Sr. Editor, Industry Week, wrote, “Rebuild Manufacturing” represents the latest installment of Michele Nash-Hoff’s tireless efforts to promote the strengthening of U.S. manufacturing. The book demonstrates her encyclopedic knowledge of the problems that have beset manufacturing but, more importantly, presents manufacturers, policymakers and other readers with insightful recommendations for actions that will improve U.S. industrial competitiveness and the American economy.” Den Black, President...

U.S. Reshoring: A Collaborative Challenge

U.S. Reshoring: A Collaborative Challenge

Oct 23, 2017

Feature in Design-2-Part Magazine Manufacturing Experts Answer 5 Questions on How to Turn the Tide FAIRPORT HARBOR, Ohio—North America’s $137 billion metalforming industry is driven by the production of myriad precision metal products using stamping, fabricating, spinning, slide forming, and roll forming technologies, as well as vital value-added processes. In recent decades, approximately 3-to-4 million U.S. manufacturing jobs were lost to offshoring. The tide seems to be turning modestly in recent years as companies return U.S. production, or sourcing, from offshore. In comparison to 2000-2003, when the United States lost about 220,000 manufacturing jobs per year (net) to offshoring, 2016 achieved a net gain of 27,000. Progressively bridging this gap presents huge collaborative opportunities and challenges for all manufacturers, associations, employees, communities, and the U.S. government itself. The following Q&A explores factors that are key to the collective goal of gaining momentum in successfully returning the manufacturing of parts and products to the United States from offshore. Authors of the Q&A are two men with a vested interest in the subject of reshoring: John Stoneback, president of JM Performance Products, Inc., of Fairport Harbor, Ohio; and Harry Moser, president of the Reshoring Initiative, based in Kildeer, Illinois. JM Performance Products, Inc. has been manufacturing CNC mill spindle optimization products since 2009. The company’s Patented High Torque Retention Knobs overcome a critical “loose-tool” design flaw inherent in CNC v-flange tooling that was responsible for costly, industry-wide issues with CNC milling and boring that negatively impacted production costs, cycle time, and tooling costs. An essential element of the patented design is a knob that is longer and reaches a little deeper into the holder’s threaded bore. As a result, all thread engagement occurs in a region of the tool holder where the diameter is large, and where there is correspondingly more material to resist deformation. The Reshoring Initiative, founded in early 2010, takes action by helping manufacturers realize that local production, in many cases, reduces their total cost of ownership of purchased parts and tooling. The Reshoring Initiative also trains suppliers in how to effectively meet the needs of their local customers, giving suppliers the tools to sell against lower priced offshore competitors. The Initiative is...