Made In America: Robotics Are All The Rage In U.S. Manufacturing

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 93 views 

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With the Arkansas Manufacturing Innovation Summit only days away, a quarterly industry report by PriceWaterHouse (PWC) shows that manufacturing executives are optimistic about the future despite recent challenges that have maligned the sector once viewed as the pillar of the U.S. economy.

The reason for that optimism will be highlighted at the two-day Arkansas summit (April 29-30) where keynote speakers, panels and manufacturing executives will discuss innovations and technologies that can help grow revenue and jobs, increase productivity, improve quality and add to the bottom line – including robotics.

The 31-page PWC report, which surveyed senior executives of U.S.-based industrial manufacturers with employee workforces of nearly 9,000 and annual revenues topping $3 billion, had these interesting notes concerning the future of robotics.

  • Overall, there is a moderately strong evolving market for robotics systems among Manufacturing Barometer panelists. Currently, 48% are either heavily involved (17%) or moderately involved (31%). Overall, 44% believe it is at least moderately important to their company’s business and profit growth over the next two to three years.
  • Planned acquisition of robotics systems over the next two to three years was cited by a maximum of 58% – with nearly one-third (31%) planning to acquire a moderate amount (25%) or many more robotics systems (only 6%). A larger number plan to acquire a limited number of robotics systems (27%).
  • On the barriers side, 69% that price and return on investment for robotics systems must be notably reduced before they can consider more installations (49% strongly agree). In contrast, only 44% agree that quality of robotics must be improved before they can consider more installations (but only 13% strongly). Price and ROI (return on investment) appear as the chief barrier to robotics systems growth in the industrial manufacturing market.

“Interestingly, the panelists agree that robotics will both create new job opportunities and replace workers and reduce their overall workforce,” the PWC quarterly report said. To view the 31-page report, click here.

Dovetailing nicely into this report and the upcoming Arkansas manufacturing summit is the Maker Faire in downtown North Little Rock, scheduled for May 2. All of this activity and the focus it brings to entrepreneurship in Arkansas was the subject of a roundtable conversation on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics.

Mining and nondurable goods manufacturing, which includes professional, scientific and technical services, were the leading contributors to U.S. economic growth in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to statistics on the breakout of GDP by industry released April 23 by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).

Both the private goods- and services-producing sectors contributed to the increase, while the government sector decreased. Overall, 15 of 22 industry groups contributed to the 2.2% increase in real GDP, which is the most closely-watched measure of U.S. economic growth based on prices for goods and services that are produced nationwide.

Like the rest of the nation, Arkansas has experienced strong growth in the nondurable manufacturing sector. According to the state’s most recent unemployment report, Arkansas’ nondurable manufacturing was among the leading advancers in largest month-to-month growth among all the major job categories, producing 1100 jobs in March 2015.

Click here to see the industry GDP report by the Labor Department’s statistical analysis group.

Jason International Inc. on Friday introduced Matt Peterson and Paulo Jacuzzi as the Central Arkansas spa manufacturer’s newly minted executive brass during a ceremony downtown at the Arkansas State of Chamber of Commerce headquarters.

The new executive team was announced as longtime company founder, CEO and President Remo Jacuzzi steps aside. He will, however, remain in his post as chairman of the North Little Rock based-based luxury spa brand manufacturer as relinquishes his day-to-day responsibilities.

Despite fewer domestic deliveries of air and defense missiles in the first quarter, Lockheed Martin scored another big Pentagon contract recently that will keep workers at the defense giant’s 500-worker facility in Camden humming for quite some time, company officials confirmed on Wednesday.

According to an April 7 contract announcement on the U.S. Department of Defense’s website, Lockheed Martin’s Grand, Prairie, Texas-based Missile and Fire Control (MFC) division was awarded a $174.7 million firm-fixed-price foreign military sales contract with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a close U.S. partner and Persian Gulf ally.