Iverson Snowshoes in Wetmore, Mich., lowered its production costs and improved product consistency by applying automation to the art of snowshoe making. The company identified variables that led to inconsistencies and added modern manufacturing processes that would make production more repetitive.
Novoheart combines stem cells and bioengineered tissue with software and hardware analysis to manufacture human hearts for drug-testing applications. The technology is "the only macroscopic human cardiac tissue model on the market that is capable of mimicking fluid pumping similar to a natural heart," writes Adrienne Selko.
Supply chain operators can reduce the expense and disruption caused by product recalls by vetting suppliers and using internet of things sensors to spot problems before they occur, among other tactics. Develop a plan for recalls that involves informing customers, fixing the problem and updating inventory, says Gary Barraco of Amber Road.
Wireless sensors measure vibrations at AB InBev's plant in Fort Collins, Colo., and the information they send in real time can identify when equipment needs maintenance without waiting for a failure to occur. Executive Tassilo Festetics says the upgrade cost $20,000 and has saved more than $200,000 in six months.
Manufacturers are using digital twins to monitor equipment, test new processes, identify potential problems and optimize performance. "Being able to simulate and run what-if scenarios [virtually] vs. doing them in the real world delivers far greater efficiency," says General Electric executive John Renick.
Chemical companies should regularly audit safety systems using IEC 61508/ISA84 standards and, possibly, a third-party consultant, writes Mark Sen Gupta of ARC Advisory Group. "Unlike in years past, it often no longer makes sense for today's resource-constrained chemical companies to maintain in-house expertise for specialized projects like safety system analysis and design," he argues.
Green manufacturing done right can reduce environmental impact without compromising growth by reducing carbon generation from energy, deploying smart technologies and embracing the circular economy, writes Schneider Electric CEO and Chairman Jean-Pascal Tricoire. Schneider has set a goal to recover all its industrial waste by 2030.
The Center for Manufacturing Research: Combating the Baby Boomer Brain Drain
More than 2.6 million baby boomers are expected to retire from manufacturing jobs over the next decade. The Manufacturing Institute's Center for Manufacturing Research, with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, is researching best practices for retaining and upskilling this highly productive and institutional knowledge-rich population. If your company would like to share its experiences with retaining or upskilling workers close to retirement age, please contact Chad Moutray, the NAM's chief economist and the director of the Center for Manufacturing Research, by Feb. 15.