Elizabeth Modic Editor | emodic@gie.net

As companies print their signs and polish their machines for the International Manufacturing Technology Show – IMTS 2016 – manufacturing in the U.S. is picking up steam. Factory activity expanded in June at the fastest rate in more than a year while the Institute for Supply Management’s index increased to 53.2 – the highest since February 2015. Additional positive signs in manufacturing is the factory employment index climbing to 50.4 – a first since November 2015 – while factory inventories rose to 48.5 from 45.

With some of the most positive economic signs this year for U.S. manufacturing, it’s probably time to take a close look at your company’s manufacturing equipment and processes and determine what is required to advance your capabilities and stay competitive.

A recent survey offers insight into what’s on the mind of manufacturers that plan to compete or charge ahead of the pack. KPMG's 2016 Global Manufacturing Outlook found that:

  • 81% plan to collaborate to achieve traction in innovation
  • 80% plan to enter new sectors to grow
  • 63% plan to invest in technologies related to the Internet of Things
  • In addition, the survey revealed that manufacturers are placing significant investment into improving adoption and utilization of technology within their operations. In fact, 42% of KPMG’s medical device respondents said they would invest significantly into robotics.

    This automation interest is also noted in the latest research from global technology research and advisory firm Technavio. Predictions are for the U.S., the largest manufacturing device market worldwide, to reach $412 billion by 2020. Bharath Kanniappan, a lead analyst at the firm notes how Tegra Medical doubled manufacturing throughput by implementing manufacturing robots at its facilities. (In case you missed it, TMD’s June cover story featured Tegra Medical and its use of Universal Robots – http://goo.gl/X5Ta8k).

    Your choice of cutting tools, workholding equipment, machines, software, and robots keeps companies that invest ahead of those that don’t. So, make a plan of what you’ll need to advance your production and pack your bags for IMTS 2016 in Chicago, which will host more than 2,000 exhibitors. However, you won’t be the only one attending with plans to advance your manufacturing competitiveness, since 93% of visitors at IMTS 2014 reported that they found new products and ideas to use. With the right agenda, you can be part of the advanced manufacturing group that embraces technology.

    I hope to see you at IMTS 2016 and make sure you put our booth – Today’s Technology Center, Booth #W-20 – on your agenda. ~ Elizabeth