Most challenges manufacturers face involve the assembly process of one or more of their products. Sometimes, though, a company struggles with where to locate its headquarters or build another plant for market expansion.
Additive manufacturing has become a buzzword in manufacturing today. It has improved tremendously over the past few decades, and it is evolving from a technology for simple prototyping to one that can be used to make actual parts and tooling.
Designing a new medical device is a bit more complicated than designing a toaster or an automotive cooling system. Besides the issues common to any product—feasibility, usability, and design for manufacture and assembly—there are also issues of biocompatibility, sterilization and FDA regulations to deal with.
New plastics and coatings are giving automotive engineers a wealth of options for interior design. These materials offer the promise of additional functionality beyond just decoration or passenger protection.
Mergers, acquisitions and partnerships are risky endeavors for managers, as well as workers. Sometimes these transactions favor one group over another, or end up being disastrous for both groups. Other times, however, the deal turns out great for everyone.
In the early 1980s, a product design methodology called design for assembly (DFA) began to gain popularity. It focused on improving efficiency by evaluating the amount of labor required for assembly. Since that time, the DFA methodology has been adopted with much success by more than 850 corporations.
Times were tough for the Timken Co. at the start of the 21st century. In March 2000, the Canton, OH-based manufacturer of antifriction roller bearings and related components announced plans to cut 600 jobs worldwide—after having trimmed 1,700 jobs in the previous two years. It also closed plants in Australia and England, and was relying more heavily on sources of steel outside the United States.