Manufacturing News Roundup

Manufacturing has been a big topic in the news lately! Good news came when the one-year tax extender package was passed by the House in December. We’re still waiting for news that it will be passed by Congress as well.

U.S. manufacturing is on track to have a good year in 2015. According to the Wall Street Journal, manufacturing is thriving with factory activity on the rise from 56.6 in September to 59 currently. The industry also has increased hiring, encouraging consumers to spend more, which also leads to more hiring with higher consumer demand.

Mary Baldwin College (MBC) launched a new initiative, Advanced Achievement for Minority Women, to advocate for more minority women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fields. MBC will provide scholarships, research opportunities and travel to professional conferences. President Obama stated that he wanted businesses to look in the US for employees, which means we need to maintain a strong focus on STEM education.

Hewlett-Packard (HP) has taken a step into the world of additive manufacturing with the launch of their new 3D printer, Multi Jet Fusion 3D. As one of the largest companies to break into 3D printing, HP is now expected to be at the forefront of innovation in the industry.

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Tweet Your Way to Business Success

Social media is a great way to connect with your customers online. For those who haven’t quite gotten their foot in the door online yet, here are some simple tips for starting out:

Start with the basics: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube are the most popular media outlets. Begin by focusing on just one of these and mastering it before moving on to the rest. Once you’ve mastered each of these basic platforms, try moving on to more time-consuming platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.

Dedicate time to social media.
Using social media can be time consuming, especially if you want results. Make sure you have a member of your team that can dedicate enough time to working with social media on a daily basis.

Post frequently!
Aim for at least once or twice a day to start, then increase the frequency as you learn what type of post gets the most interaction.  Accounts with little to no content won’t get much attention, so be active and stay updated.

Follow the 80/20 rule.
Make sure only 20% of you content promotes your company specifically. Use the other 80% to share interesting articles from others relevant in your field.

Join the conversation!
Interact with people by tweeting at them or posting to their wall. Respond to posts, retweet, and share to expand your audience reach!

Use images as much as possible!
People love images and will be more likely to look at your post if it has a photo rather than just text.

Don’t post a novel.
Keep posts short, sweet and to the point. Most people quickly scroll through their news feeds during their busy day and don’t want to take the time to read anything that is too long.

Social media can be a great tool for your company when used correctly. The most important tip for success in social media is to not be afraid to try it! Participating on social media is a trial and error process where not everything you try will work. Using social platforms could benefit your business greatly by allowing you to connect with customers or potential partners or even make a sale.  




Exploring Modern Mixed Media: Additive Car

While exploring AMT’s Emerging Technology Center, there is no way that attendees could miss this stand-out exhibit. Located next to the Local Motors’ 3D-Printed Electric Car exhibit, artist Ioan Florea’s Ford Torino Additive Car featured technology from the second and third Industrial Revolution, a combination of a classic assembly line vehicle with modern specialized technologies. Although an art car may seem a little out of place at a show like IMTS, Florea explained how art and technology are more closely related than people may think.

“We can go back in art history and see the first Industrial Revolution where they created pigments and machinery for textiles. So who was using the pigments? Artists, painters… [The first Industrial Revolution] created the chemical industry. The alchemists in all the labs mixing, making…they were artists.”

Florea’s artwork is “culture on wheels,” showing how the use of many technologies and materials reflects today’s globalization. His work combines an iconic Ford with a fusion of liquid metal and nano and ultralight materials to create a unique display of the transition from mass production to mass customization in the industry. The Torino also uses additive technology in the form of 3D-printed shapes attached to the car to reflect light and give the car balance between the organic and geometric shapes.

Although the Torino may seem visually intense when first viewed, Florea was very meticulous in his methods behind why the car has such a specific style.

“My search for 3D art was a reaction to the 2D media. We are surrounded by TV, print…everything is 2D. So I wanted [to make] something touchable, something that’s tactile.”

Another unique feature of Florea’s Torino is that all of the designs on the car are completely symmetrical. From a side view or a corner angle, this is hard to see. But when viewing the car head on, there is a visible center line. The car was designed from the top, making it easier to create the symmetry that Florea wanted to achieve.

Florea calls his piece a contemporary, Post-Ford installation, but at its core it is a new form of mixed media; that of the modern world. Between its sharp concave and convex shapes and the fluidity of the liquid metal, this creation gives a glimpse into the future of customizable cars and the innovative potential of 3D-printing.


Manufacturing Brighter Futures

Over 17,000 students visited the Smartforce Student Summit during IMTS. On Wednesday, September 10, the majority of the crowd was made up of students ranging from grades 6 to 8 who attend the Azuela School located on the southwest side of Chicago. Thanks to Principal Carmen Navarro, 350 of her students rushed into the Summit early Wednesday, eager to learn more about future careers in manufacturing technology.

Eric Sarb, a sixth and eighth grade Earth and physical science teacher, believes that the hands-on knowledge offered at the Smartforce Student Summit was the most effective way for his students to learn about manufacturing technology. “This is the world they live in,” Sarb explains, “these students grew up with cell phones and computers.” Although their generation is highly technological, they still need to work hard to achieve success for their futures. The Azuela School’s population is largely children of Mexican heritage whose parents immigrated to the United States. Sarb explains that, because the students have seen their parents work hard to give them a good education in the U.S., “school is their job,” and they take their education seriously. Speaking highly of his students, Sarb states, “I have no doubt in my mind that they’ll go to amazing colleges. These kids are going to change the world someday.”

Along with the Azuela students, the summit captured the attention of others as well.

Brandon, Jake, and Sid are all freshmen at Huntley High School who attended the summit to learn more about future careers in engineering. “This is exactly why I want to go into engineering,” Sid shared, “I want to use technology to make lives easier.”

Stephanie and Beth, a senior and junior at Elkhorn High School in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, enjoyed visiting the FIRST booth, For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, where they were able to see robots built by students play a game. “This was very worthwhile,” Stephanie commented, “Seeing it makes me more interested in the field.” Both of the students were very thankful to Precision Plus Inc. for sponsoring the transportation to get schools like Elkhorn to IMTS.  




Relive IMTS Via Social Media

IMTS 2014 is a wrap! If you take a look at our social media feeds, it’s easy to see that the show was a huge success, both on and off-line. Social media had a large presence at IMTS from Social Media Central, to the IMTS hashtag, to the social media contests! We hosted four different social media contests over Facebook and Twitter. The first was a Facebook daily trivia contest in partnership with The Berghoff Oktoberfest celebration, which asked questions about the history of Oktoberfest and the first person to answer correctly won a prize.
The next contest was more interactive and paired with IMTSTV’s iSpy series starring AMT’s own Andrew Taggard. The concept was simple; visitors who spotted Andrew could snap a photo of him and share it on social media using #iSpyAndrew. In addition, visitors could tweet Andrew tips about the coolest things on the show floor to inspire his next iSpy video.
The final contest, which was definitely the most interactive, was the RoboQuest Challenge. Throughout the show, we hid two robots, Roxie and Ripley, in different locations every day and tweeted hints about their whereabouts. If visitors found a robot, they posted a photo on Twitter and used #RoxieRobot or #RipleyRobot; the winner was selected at random. Congratulations to all of our winners and thank you to everyone who participated in our contests!
Check out the activity on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles. 

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