Earlier this month, industry thought leaders, economic experts, and politicians took part in a daylong series of interview sessions called Manufacturing’s Next Chapter, hosted by The Atlantic in Washington D.C., where they gave their viewpoints on a number of issues impacting the U.S. manufacturing workforce — ranging from immigration to education. Here are some highlights. Read more
Manufacturers continue to close facilities in the U.S., but new research suggests that factory closings are not due to a “runaway plant” epidemic. In fact, many companies are outsourcing parts, not labor, and opening new plants overseas to better target foreign markets. Domestically, they are harnessing efficiency methods to produce more from fewer plants. Read more
The transportation and energy networks are the lifelines of the U.S. economy, powering factories, enabling the delivery of goods and materials, and sustaining quality of life. But investment in our nation’s infrastructure has fallen perilously low, and the economic repercussions could be disastrous. Read more
In The Lean Startup, author and entrepreneur Eric Ries explores innovative business principles derived from lean manufacturing, outlining how startups can use capital efficiently, leverage creativity, and implement continuous improvement methods to navigate an uncertain economy. Read more
We all have a mental image of wind mills, perhaps borne of romantic visions of the Netherlands, or being forced to read Don Quixote in high school. While modern wind turbines bear only cursory resemblance to the windmills of yore, they have a few things in common: they are tall and topped with shaped blades designed to catch the wind and turn, creating electricity (or, historically, grinding grain); and when one of the blades or part of the turbine mechanism became damaged, someone unlucky had to gather tools and start climbing.
Increasingly, the wind industry is becoming interested in what’s known as the vertical-axis wind turbine (VAWT), a unique looking piece of equipment on which the main rotor shaft is set vertically, with the blades wrapping around it, and the main components are located at the bottom, rather than the top, of the turbine. Read more