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Archive for January, 2013

The Need to Better Accommodate Automated Production Systems

More and more in our daily business, we work with customers who make use of automated robotic equipment. Given the new demands being placed on American manufacturing, the resurgence in the need for domestic production capacity, and the shortage of well-trained American factory workers to fill the fill the hundreds of thousands of unfilled industrial sector jobs across this country; it’s a matter of necessity that companies remain globally competitive by integrating robotic systems to help make their goods. But what often gets left out of the discussion is the need for supply chains to accommodate the qualitative inspection and packaging services to highly automated manufacturers’ needs.

For example, a customer uses robotic assembly to put parts together to form a product. The fact that things are automated proves – in one sense at least – to be a double-edged sword. On the plus side, when the parts are per the company’s specifications, the products can be assembled rapidly, with little human intervention. On the down side, if even one or two parts don’t meet the exacting specifications of a given client’s component design, there can be huge delays in the production process, since the entire assembly or machining line usually shuts down.

At PMI, we welcome business with all kinds of manufacturers. But in order to better meet the needs of automated assembly customers, we’ve added electronic sorting to our array of secondary solutions. Vision systems scan for specific imperfections (excess burrs, overextended lengths, etc.) to separate the defective components from the workable parts. Once the sorting process is complete, we ship the parts back to our customer: defect-free, and ready for seamless integration into the automated production system.

Call us or contact us today if your company could use a helping hand in sorting out these types of automation issues.

More Opportunities for Domestic Manufacturers

Posted on: January 21st, 2013 | Posted in: domestic manufacturers, manufacturing

If we take an objective, eagle’s eye look at the manufacturing sector in America right now, what we see is – to put it politely – chaotic. While we are still (just barely) the world’s largest manufacturing center, we have rising industrial superpowers which compete directly with American manufacturing of all stripes. Indeed, many once-iconic North American industries have been outsourced in recent decades in favor of cheaper production methods available overseas. Whether it’s the powerful leather industries of countries like Vietnam, Ethiopia, or Colombia; or the massive steel and electronics manufacturing bases that help drive the economies of countries such as China, Taiwan, Germany, South Korea, or India; America has a lot of world-class competition on her hands – much of it of her own creation. And that list isn’t meant to be comprehensive; that’s just to name a few of the contestants.

Not only that, but these are lean economic times. While we’ve made headway in recovering from the Great Recession of 2007, it’s hardly the pretty picture any of us wants to see. We still have millions of skilled and unskilled workers unemployed, and that’s not an issue that can be swept under the rug by anyone, as far as we’re concerned.

On the other hand, 2012 saw a sea-change in the way a lot of American companies think about our nation’s capacity to build. Both major political parties made the revival of U.S. manufacturing (particularly small business manufacturing) a cornerstone of their respective platforms. And now the mainstream market seems to be following suit: American and Canadian companies are adjusting their inventory strategies to match leaner demand; and this, in turn, requires a more efficient supply chain. The larger production orders issuing out of China or Indonesia are being – in many instances – curtailed in favor of smaller, specialized orders produced by local shops right here in Illinois, Texas, or North Carolina. Also, with international freight charges being what they arethis creates an added incentive for American companies to “re-source” their manufacturing back to the States, since the higher wages in the U.S.A. may neutralize the costs of shipping, large inventories, and (possible) poor quality issues.

We may be beginning to experience the transition to a manufacturing revival in America. It’s a long road ahead of us, but it’s nice to see things looking up again. PMI is proud to be a part of this moment in history, by working with our customers to better match their supply with actual demand.

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