”Re-inventing manufacturing” almost sounds like the mission statement of a Technocrat or Futurist looking to capture the utopian dream. Indeed, but why can’t we? After all, Henry Ford’s assembly line is a pretty old concept. Yes, certainly we have made incremental advances and yet, what about the proverbial ”OMG” revolutionary innovations, and ”leap-frogging” type paradigms shifts in the manufacturing sector? I guess we are still waiting for those aren’t we? We don’t have Star Trek assimilation machines yet, I suppose someday we will, and I hope the US is the nation to bring such dreams to fruition.
The industrial robots can be programmed for performing a single function at a time and can only perform that particular function till they are reprogrammed. The cost of a robot is not very huge, but generally the cost of programming the robot is so high that instead of reprogramming it the manufacturers find it more economical to buy a new one for a different task. In simpler terms we can say that usually the cost of the robot is just a fraction of the cost of programming it.
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Offshore manufacturing can make better sense if the overseas company is located close to where they have a bigger percentage of the target market. For instanceFind Article, Japanese automotive companies like the makers of the Toyota car are setting their manufacturing plant in America where they have a huge market while they export other units home and to the rest of the world.
Most of the manufacturing conducted in the U.S. is high tech manufacturing, such as chemical, semiconductor, petro-chemical, pharmaceutical, among others. To understand the nature of the manufacturing processes requires background information. That’s where a degree in engineering becomes so critical. Spending the time earning an engineering degree is worth it: many engineering jobs in this sector start around $50,000 and rise up to over $100,000.
Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining is another form of automation used in the U.S. manufacturing industry. CNC machines are typically lathes that machine parts used in automobiles, for instance. To operate a CNC machine requires not only machinist skills but programming skills. Just go to any online job board and search for CNC machinist jobs and a job seeker will find hundreds if not thousands of open CNC jobs. Don’t let anyone tell you that the U.S. manufacturing industry is dying. It isn’t. But it’s a high technology business that requires a high technology employee.