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Resurging US Manufacturing Will Look Different, More Automated - but Still Good

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Boston Area Firm Machine Inc. Provides a Glimpse at the Future of US Manufacturing.

 At Machine Inc. in Stoughton, MA, aerospace and other parts are made more by robots than people. Largely gone are manual milling and machining operations, once a cornerstone of US manufacturing and thousands of mom and pop shops.

For example, inside the company's walls a block of solid aluminum is fed into an automated milling machine, and sometime later out pops a detailed manifold, with eight different holes in it to channel oxygen inside an airplane engine. 

According to a recent story on NPR, there are more machines and robotic arms operating on the factory floor than there are actual people running all this equipment. At lunch breaks and overnight, the people disappear, but the robots keep toiling. But it's that low number of employees that allows Machine Inc. and many others to stay competitive and increasingly thrive, matching or staying below the costs of less automated, offshore suppliers, often with better quality and almost always more flexibility and responsiveness.

In the very slow recovery in US job creation, manufacturing has been viewed as something of a bright spot. Since 2010, the US has added back almost 700,000 manufacturing jobs, which sounds like pretty good news - but also not so great when compared with the 7 million manufacturing jobs lost in the previous three decades...Read more on scdigest

Last modified on Thursday, 09 January 2014 12:56

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