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Entries in Manufacturing (3)

Tuesday
Jun202017

Automation and the Truck Driver

Transport Topics

June 20, 2017

Automated vehicle technology is coming to trucking, but what will that mean for the truck driver?

This was a prominent topic during Transport Topics’ LiveOnWeb program last week featuring American Trucking Associations President Chris Spear, autonomous vehicle consultant Richard Bishop and Josh Switkes, CEO of truck-platooning firm Peloton Technology.

While conversations about automation often drift toward fully autonomous trucks, that’s still decades away, Spear said.

“I think driver-assist is where we need to put our energy,” he said. “I think that’s the most reachable goal within the next few years, and it could yield tremendous benefits if it’s done right.”

Drivers who are working today will not be put out of work by automation, especially with freight volumes expected to grow and the driver shortage expected to worsen, Peloton’s Switkes said.

“Yes, over time, automation will reduce the number of drivers needed, but for the foreseeable future, that’s just going to slow down the growth of the shortage,” he said. “Eventually, it’ll reduce the driver shortage. The time in the future when there are fewer drivers needed than the amount of drivers we have today is far off.

Thursday
Jan122017

Donald Trump and the rising reshoring movement

TRG International

January 12, 2017

In June 2015, Donald Trump, then the Republican frontrunner, threatened to slap a 35% tariff on Ford’s cars and trucks made in Mexico if the automaker went ahead with plans to move its production of small cars from the US to Mexico. The feud between Mr. Trump and Ford was a highlight of his repeated pledges to bring manufacturing jobs back to the US. Mr. Trump also made it very clear that he opposes free trade agreements like TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) and will renegotiate NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement).

Fast forward to 2017, Ford just announced on Jan 03 that it will cancel plans for the US$1.6 billion plant in Mexico and instead invest in expanding its facilities in Michigan, IL. And TPP is now dead in the water when both the White House and congressional leaders gave up on passing it. Is reshoring, the practice of bringing outsourced production back to home countries, becoming a major trend that will reshape the future of global manufacturing? And should emerging economies be concerned?

Read on...

Sunday
Jun072015

How a Decaying Infrastructure Hurts U.S. Manufacturing

Aged concrete can be seen as a car drives under the I-95/495 inner loop bridge on the Suitland Parkway in Forestville, Md. The bridge is one of 61,000 bridges across America that the Department of Transportation said were structurally deficient and in need of repair. MARK WILSON/GETTY IMAGESWall Street Journal

June 4, 2015

Make or buy all that you want in the U.S., but if the transportation system doesn’t work, your business will suffer. That’s why the U.S. must address the huge problem of decaying infrastructure.

Manufacturing is physical—not virtual—regardless of the amount of digital technology used to organize, guide and control it. It is dependent on places and the transportation connections among them. Even if research and development can happen on computers, even if simulations can substitute for prototypes or prototypes can be made on 3-D printers, and even if parts can be sourced from anywhere in the world by employees sitting in any part of the world destined for customers in any part of the world, physical objects must move from place to place.   Read on…