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Not Everything That Can be Automated Should Be

Robert Simonis, Senior Consultant, Manufacturing and Operations, KCE Consulting LLC


The assembly cell was installed and running in our Mexican factory. We had used the Production Preparation Process (3P) to design this Improved Junction Box assembly area and were happy to see our hard work and ideas in practice. We had a compact U-shaped cell with right-sized equipment and low-cost automation. Machines had no changeover or were designed for single-second-exchange-of workstation (SSEWS) to allow mixed production and level flow.  Full Article

3D Help Wanted: Additive Manufacturing Technicians

George Aslanidis, Program Manager, Additive Manufacturing, Cuyahoga Community College


As additive manufacturing gains momentum, so does the need for skilled technicians to man and maintain sophisticated 3D printing machines—in addition to those who design and print 3D parts. Under a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) located in Cleveland, Ohio recently launched a certificate program for individuals interested in taking advantage of the rising opportunities in additive manufacturing, commonly referred to as 3D printing. Full Article

Viewpoints: Round Two for Reshoring: Meeting the Challenge

Harry Moser, Founder and President, Reshoring Initiative


About 170,000 manufacturing jobs have been brought to the US from offshore in the last five years, according to our calculations. That job gain is the result of both new reshoring—the return of manufacturing work that was previously produced offshore—plus Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in our manufacturing sector. Full Article

Manufacturing in North America--A First Hand Lesson

Contributing Editor Bruce Morey


Since the end of the Great Recession manufacturing in the U S seems to be holding its own. Amid the welcome news, two elements seem to stand out for success - delivering high value products and customers that reside close by. I saw great evidence of this in a casting company making its way in a world replete with worldwide competitive threats and changing technology. Full Article

UpFront: Fill Up Your Tank--and Find a New Playbook

Editor in Chief Sarah A. Webster


A few years back, the US Energy Information Administration predicted that the US would achieve energy self-sufficiency in two decades. Thanks largely to fracking, the US was on its way to becoming the world’s top producer of petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbons. If only that game-changing prediction came with a new playbook. Full Article

To U-Shape or Not to U-Shape?

Robert Simonis, Senior Consultant, Manufacturing and Operations, KCE Consulting


“You should strive for a U-shaped layout,” I said.  “It is U-shaped!” responded the Engineering Manager.  We were both looking at the same factory layout.  He was looking at how the machines were placed so that they formed three sides of a square, or a U-shape, and I was looking at the process flow and material flow, which twisted and looped like the proverbial plate of spaghetti. Full Article

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