News & Views

Are manufacturing innovation and sustainability mutually exclusive?

By Dale Robinson on Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Are manufacturing innovation in the U.S. and sustainability mutually exclusive?

 Both of these topics have generated a lot of discussion in the U.S. recently, not only in the media, but among corporate manufacturing executives.  My name is Dale Robinson and I have the privilege of engaging some of EWI’s manufacturing members in this tantalizing discussion.  Although I am new to the world of “blogging”, I am excited about the opportunity to share what I am learning from “manufacturing giants” in the U.S. on these topics. 

In June of 2011, Reuters reported on the recent achievement of Master Lock in relocating a major part of their lock manufacturing from China to their 90-year old factory in Milwaukee.  This transfer was enabled by automation that allowed Master Lock to manufacture locks 30 times as fast as the factories in China.  As reported by Reuters, this shift was also driven by rising labor costs in China, rapidly increasing energy costs, and complexities of shipping products across the ocean.  This is not an unfamiliar story.  Many U.S. manufacturers are seeking ways to move more of their manufacturing back to the homeland.

 EWI is frequently involved in these plans.  Our expertise in innovative manufacturing technologies is often the missing link that manufacturers seek in making these dramatic transitions.  EWI’s engineers supply the expertise needed when new materials or more energy-efficient manufacturing processes are required to justify relocation to the U.S.  At other times, our experience in designing custom automation and controls provides the necessary innovation.

 Stay tuned to this blog-site where we will continue to discuss how to strengthen U.S. manufacturing.  In addition, we will discuss how to design and implement sustainable manufacturing processes – while simultaneously reducing manufacturing costs!  Sound interesting?  I invite your comments.  If you’d like to kick this around, call or e-mail me, Dale Robinson, using the following coordinates.
O 614.6889.5232
C 614.530.7007

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