Engineers at a major manufacturer of portable electronic devices had a problem. They needed to rivet a small, thin electrical contact to the device’s charger subassembly, but how could they head the tiny rivets—0.02 to 0.03 inch in diameter—without crushing the assembly?
Wire stitching for book binding has been an industry standard since Thomas Briggs invented the wire stitcher in 1896. Over the years, manufacturers began adapting the process to other industrial applications.
A surveillance camera in a retail store is designed to zoom in with laser-like precision to focus on people and merchandise. A race car is designed to handle crowded straightaways and steep turns with speed and agility.
Once a lagging market segment, automotive electronics has gained significant importance in recent years, as the industry, the culture and consumer expectations have changed. Safety and regulatory requirements for vehicles have increased, manufacturers have new warranty requirements, and what used to be “luxury” features are now expected to come standard with a new car.
There is a big difference between being part of an industry and being an industry participant. Little Humtown Products (based in Columbiana, OH) has followed the latter path for many years as a full-service supplier to the foundry industry.
About 300 miles northwest of Mexico City sits the town of Aguascalientes. Although its name means hot waters, the place is much more well-known for its gentle climate, brave bullfighters and being a stopover point between the mines of Zacatecas and Mexico City.
Noted actor and film director Mel Brooks told viewers often in his 1981 film “History of the World Part I” that “it’s good to be the king.” What he failed to say, though, is that it’s hard to stay the king, or leader, of a big industry for a long time.
Successful manufacturers never get tired of facing new market challenges. This statement applies to companies across all industries—including those involved in the annual manufacturing of more than 1 billion tires worldwide.
Our government could do a lot more to level the playing field for manufacturing. While the Reshoring Initiative does not support individual candidates, we do recommend policies that will bring manufacturing back from offshore, and we try to document candidate positions on these issues.
Although I’m a fan of science fiction, I have to laugh at utopian predictions of global—even universal—unity and harmony. Clearly, these authors don’t read the news. In 2015, no less than 55 armed conflicts raged worldwide.