Manufacturers Continue to Sing Happy Tune in Latest Survey

Business activity continued to grow strongly in New York State, according to firms responding to the June 2018 Empire State Manufacturing Survey, the monthly survey of manufacturers in New York State conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Headline general business conditions index climbed five points to 25.0, indicating a faster pace of growth than in May. Both the new orders index  

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Customized Products: An Untapped Market?

Fun Fact readers: the laptop used to type this post, and many others on this blog, is a custom ordered one. As the latest gadgets become central parts of our lives, collecting our personal information and helping us through the day, is it really surprising that research shows a growing number of people want products made to their exact specifications?

The study revealed the most important reasons  

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The Factory in 3D Printer Age

3D Printing has been a big focus here at the Council, and all over the world really. It’s the sort of innovation that once seemed confined to only the most fanciful science fiction stories made into reality, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who wouldn’t be at least a little interested. In this bit of speculation on the tech’s future, the evolving concept of the  

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GM: Autonomous Cars are the Future

Demand for traditional vehicles is waning, and General Motors is preparing for the shift by investing in Cruise Automation, Lyft and other autonomous vehicle technologies, says General Motors CEO Mary Barra. “Autonomous technology that’s safer than a car with a human driver is coming, and it’s going to get better and better and better with technologies like artificial intelligence  

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Manufacturing’s Future: Small-Batch for Small Companies?

Demand for low-volume custom orders is increasing, creating opportunities for small companies on their own and in partnership with larger manufacturers. World Emblem CEO Randy Carr explains how:

The rise in adoption rates of just-in-time manufacturing processes places increasing pressure on large and small manufacturers to shorten delivery times from weeks to days—or even overnight. Working  

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Why Two High Profile Companies Face Shortages of Signature Products

Ford is suspending production of its F-150 trucks. The FDA is warning of a nationwide shortage of EpiPens and their generic alternative.

In a strange coincidence, these two high profile glitches in the manufacturing process are occurring at the same time. Fortunately, there is no reason to think this is a sign of things to come. The FDA attributed the EpiPen shortage to manufacturing problems.  

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In Connecticut, Apprenticeships can lead Straight to Full Time Jobs

Another day, another apprenticeship program, or should I say, a pre-apprenticeship program? This one located in Connecticut and combines in-class education with a special online curriculum called Tooling-U that allows students to graduate with full credentials and sometimes even a job.

Hernandez, 18, is graduating this month with a pre-apprenticeship at AdChem Manufacturing Technologies Inc.  

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Coming Soon: Tablets on the Shop Floor

Desktops are so last decade. Human-machine interfaces are among the use cases for tablets on the factory floor, notes Panacea Technologies executive William Aja, pointing out the technology’s ability to improve life-cycle management:

Before you grab your pitchfork as many industry professionals might like to, hear me out. Tablet-controlled factories are becoming a reality, and thin client  

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The Problem with Manufacturing Growth: Rising Overtime Costs

American manufacturing has been enjoying a a period of tremendous growth, but there’s an unexpected downside to that: Manufacturers face rising overtime costs as they need to keep workers on longer to keep up with production demands.

For companies shelling out more pay at time-and-a-half rates, the wage drain cuts into profits and can affect new investments. For workers who qualify for  

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April 2018 Empire State Manufacturing Survey

The Federal Reserve Back of New York reports still more good news for manufacturers as business continue to grow, with the only bad mark being firms’ reported optimism about the next six months declining again:

The headline general business conditions index, at 15.8, remained firmly in positive territory, although its seven-point decline from its March level pointed to a somewhat slower  

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Competency-Based Apprenticeships Come to Maryland

We’ve written a lot on this blog about various apprenticeship programs popping up around the country, the practice has taken off as more and more people are realizing its benefits. This program in Maryland stands out by taking a competency-based approach that focuses on skill proficiency instead of time logged.

The apprenticeship program through Maryland Manufacturing Extension Partnership  

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Automation is Tricking Down to Smaller Manufacturers

Automation for manufacturing purposes has made some substantial progress recently as machines sophisticated and inexpensive enough to handle low-volume orders and ever-changing production:

New systems, software and processes are replacing so-called islands of automation with seamless, automated manufacturing lines that boost overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) from 30 to 80% or more. Like  

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Companies invest in future of Iowa High School manufacturing students

Large companies in the Quad Cities have stepped in to help supply a local high school manufacturing class with the materials they need.

North Scott High School offers a manufacturing class where students can learn different aspects of business. The class is divided up into four divisions: finance, marketing, design and production.

“We want to put the students in a real world manufacturing situation,”  

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Michelin Launches high school Apprentice Program down South

Apprenticeship programs continue to catch on across the country, as a practice once thought old-fashioned takes on new relevance in a manufacturing economy. This time in Greenville, South Carolina.

Five young men signed on the dotted line Friday, marking the start of their careers with Michelin.

They ranged in age from 15 to 17, and they are the first class of high-school apprentices to work  

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Spotlight: Hudson Valley Pathways Success

This blog has covered a lot of training programs around the country, all of them dedicated to preparing a new generation of manufacturing workers. Today though we’re going to go local so that we can spotlight the Success Story of two P-TECH students: Frank Alicandri and Katharine Navarra.

Frank and Katharine were students in the Hudson Valley Pathways Academy who were just hired for paid  

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Mobile Learning: Taking the Tech to the Students

Cutting edge technology like virtual reality is more than most schools’ budget, but what if a mobile classroom could share the cost with multiple districts?

Student’s eyes started to glow as they stepped into the Future Maker Mobile Learning Lab Thursday afternoon at Inman High School.

The lab, which was provided by Wichita Area Technical College, consisted of hands-on learning virtual  

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Lowe’s Launches Workforce Development Program

Lowe’s is launching a new workforce development program known as “Track to the Trades.” It will roll out March 1 in Charlotte, North Carolina; Denver; Pittsburgh and Richmond, Virginia.

The platform will offer employees financial assistance to pursue certification for a specific trade skill, such as carpentry, heating and air conditioning, electrical, plumbing and appliance  

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New York Manufacturing Survey: The Good News Doesn’t Stop (Yet)

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York released its monthly survey of New York manufacturers, and once again it cast a sunny outlook with continued growth in everything from business to employment. The only downside being a few indicators suggesting the rate of growth was slowing down compared to last month.

The headline general business conditions index fell five points to 13.1, suggesting a  

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Students get Manufacturing Training from… NASA?

Talk about a once in a lifetime opportunity! While many schools have partnered with local industries to inspire a greater interest among their students in manufacturing, this year dozens of high schools affiliated with the nonprofit SME Education Foundation’s program to train future manufacturing workers joined with the High Schools United with NASA to Create Hardware (HUNCH) program.


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How a School District in Maryland put Manufacturing in the Curriculum

This program in Caroline County, Maryland, teaches high-school students manufacturing skills in partnership with local businesses. Started in 2014, Untangled Minds, as it is called, also teaches lean principles, quality control and sustainability.

Untangled Minds’ goal is to get students in a fast-track, career-ready program that would set them up for success in the advanced manufacturing  

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First Manufacturing Report of 2018: Steady as She Goes

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has released the results of its monthly manufacturing survey for January 2018. As expected, the first report of the new year shows little has changed. The headline general business conditions index, at 17.7, was about the same as it was last month. The new orders index and the shipments index both showed ongoing growth, although at a slower pace than in  

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High Tech, Huge Potential – CI Members Visit Spackenkill High School

On Thursday, January 11th, members of the Council of Industry visited Spackenkill High School to talk about workforce opportunities and advanced manufacturing. Council employees demonstrated the career portal designed to educate students and educators about pathways to careers in advanced manufacturing and showed the GoMakeIt video.   

Rob Engle, Vice President of Sono-Tek  

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See How a Pencil is Made

Have you ever wondered how they get the lead (or graphite, nowadays) into a little wooden stick to make a pencil? Or how they attach the eraser to the end? The New York Times has put together a brief, yet fascinating photo essay chronicling the journey young pencils take at the General Pencil Company’s factory in Jersey City, New Jersey. Take a look inside one of the last pencil  

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SUNY Ulster Advanced Manufacturing Program Begins this Month

The Council of Industry is pleased to support the latest advancement in workforce development as SUNY Ulster kicks off a state-of-the-art Advanced Manufacturing Program on January 22nd. This critical program is in response to the increasing demand for skilled workers within and beyond the Hudson Valley. Our members indicate that workforce development, recruiting and filling skilled worker positions  

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