Some of the report’s other tax and economic reform recommendations include:

♦ Enact a corporate tax rate of 22 percent, in line with the upper quartile of European economies.

♦ Make the R&D tax credit permanent; increase it from 12 percent to 15 percent; and include applied research related to U.S. manufacturing.

♦ Allow 100 percent expensing of plant, property and equipment; and institutionalize accelerated depreciation for all capital investments.

♦ Require federal agencies to reduce the costs and burdens of current and proposed regulations.

♦ Reform section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to increase entrepreneurs’ access to U.S. public capital markets and grow new companies.

♦ Reduce the national debt by $4 trillion by 2021.

Although the latter might seem off-point, McDougle says it applies to the overall competitive environment in the United States. “Look at what’s happening in Europe right now,” he points out. “As government becomes more debt-burdened, as the cost of borrowing gets higher, the ability to invest in infrastructure and R&D, and to create a favorable tax environment, becomes stymied.”

Improving the Workforce

Tax and fiscal reforms are only part of the recommendations outlined in the report. It also includes specific proposals for fostering small businesses; boosting exports; increasing R&D; and improving infrastructure.

The report also addresses workforce issues. Despite unemployment hovering around 8.6 percent, U.S. manufacturers face a significant talent shortage. A recent study by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute found that 5 percent of manufacturing jobs remain unfilled simply because people with the right skills are not available. That could be as much as 600,000 jobs.

“We have to make sure we’re producing the right kind of folks to get into the manufacturing jobs of the future, and that’s been a challenge in the United States for the past 20 years,” says McDougle.

McDougle blames parents, teachers and guidance counselors for overemphasizing the importance of a four-year college degree in the liberal arts, at the expense of vocational or technical training. Ironically, the conventional wisdom that suggests college graduates will earn higher wages over their lifetimes than individuals without a degree may no longer be valid.

“There’s a huge part of the population for whom college is not the right track, and quite frankly, they don’t need to go to college to enjoy a better standard of living,” McDougle points out. “A certified welder can make $120,000 a year, which is significantly higher than average.”

The report makes several recommendations for preparing the next generation of engineers and skilled workers, including:

Allow foreign students who receive graduate or postgraduate degrees in scientific and engineering disciplines from U.S. institutions to become citizens.

Develop a national network of retired business leaders to mentor entrepreneurs.

Launch a national manufacturing apprenticeship program operated by both labor and industry.

To download a copy of the council’s Makeand Igniter eports, visit


ASSEMBLY’s Virtual Trade Show Returns

Last spring, ASSEMBLY co-hosted its first virtual trade show, Tech ManufactureXPO.

The event was a success for both attendees and exhibitors.

Some 1,372 manufacturing professionals registered for the show, and half attended the event live. On average, viewers spent 123 minutes at the show, and a total of 1,671 files—catalogs, podcasts and other material—was downloaded from the show site.

The 33 companies exhibiting at Tech ManufactureXPO averaged 166 leads, and a total of 726 one-to-one chats took place between exhibitors and attendees.

“I never thought there could be a virtual equivalent to a physical trade show,” says D. Paul Zito, a sales representative with WEST Forwarding Services, a Cleveland-based shipping company. “The content, quality of exhibitors, and the mechanics of navigating the show were excellent. It was well worth my time.”

Based on the success of the first event, ASSEMBLY will co-host Tech ManufactureXPO again this year on May 2, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Eastern time.

Tech ManufactureXPO is designed for information-hungry engineers who are faced with time and budget constraints. The virtual show will allow manufacturing professionals to attend educational sessions and interact with suppliers via their computer screens. It’s the online equivalent of a traditional trade show, featuring webinars, podcasts and “virtual booths.”

Participants can browse exhibitor booths, view product demonstrations, engage in discussions with booth representatives, and collect information, such as brochures, data sheets and white papers.

ASSEMBLY is co-hosting the event with four other manufacturing magazines published by BNP Media: Adhesives & Sealants Industry, Appliance Design, Qualityand World Trade 100. To date, 21 suppliers have signed up to exhibit at the event, including Bosch Rexroth Corp., DENSO Robotics, Promess Inc., Schunk Inc. and Weiss North America Inc.

The virtual event will kick off with a keynote speech by Jack McDougle, senior vice president for manufacturing at the nonprofit Council on Competitiveness. The speech will air from 9 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. Eastern time. A live 15-minute question-and-answer session will be held immediately after the presentation.

The event will also include educational webcasts by Bosch Rexroth, Elite Engineering Inc. and FARO Technologies Inc.

A “lunch-and-learn” session on preparing for supply chain disruptions will be held from 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. According to the World Bank, two of the four most costly natural disasters in history occurred in 2011: the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in March and the massive floods that inundated Thailand from July to December. Beyond their staggering toll in human life and property loss, these disasters also revealed the fragility of the international manufacturing supply chain. In this interactive session, manufacturing professionals can chat live with the editors of the sponsoring magazines about the best practices in supply chain management.

Manufacturing professionals who register by March 16 and attend the live show May 2 will qualify for a drawing to win a free iPad.

For more information, visit




ManufacturingEXPO Exhibitors

Twenty-one companies have already signed up for Tech ManufactureXPO. Visit for the latest additions to the lineup.

Automated Precision Inc.—Advanced metrology equipment.

ATI Industrial Automation—Robotic accessories and tooling, including automatic tool changers, deburring tools, collision sensors and compliance devices.

Baltec Corp.—Radial and orbital riveting equipment and assembly presses.

Bosch Rexroth Corp.—Hydraulics, pneumatics, electric drives, motors and control systems, conveyors, linear motion systems, and modular components for building machines, workstations and other equipment.

Control Gaging Inc.—In-process and post-process gauges that provide closed-loop feedback to machine controls based on real-time part measurement.

Delta Regis Tools Inc.—Electric screwdrivers, screwfeeders, torque testers and torque-reaction arms.

DENSO Robotics—SCARA robots and five- and six-axis articulated robots.

Design Tool Inc.—Handheld automatic screwdrivers; multispindle screwdriving systems; screw presenters; automatic pocket-cutting and screw insertion machines; and automatic nail-driving systems.

Elite Engineering Inc.—Assembly process management software.

FARO—Computer-aided coordinate measurement machines and software.

Gagemaker—Tubing and casing gauges, rotary shouldered gauges, connection gauges, thread gauges and groove gauges.

HyperCyl—Hydropneumatic and servo-electric cylinders for assembly and forming applications.

InterTech Development Co.—Leak testing equipment, functional testing equipment, and automated assembly and test systems.

Item International America—Modular building kits, including aluminum framing, fasteners, linear guides, tubing and workbench systems.

Pilgrim Software—Enterprise risk, compliance and quality management software for automotive, aerospace, medical and other highly regulated industries.

Promess Inc.—Highly adaptive monitoring and motion control systems to assemble and test products.

QC Group Inc.—Precision dimensional inspection services; engineering and re-engineering services; 3D scanning services; and training and staffing services.

QT9 Software—Quality management software for large and small businesses.

Schunk Inc.—Grippers, rotary actuators, linear slides, robotic accessories, and pick-and-place equipment.

TE-CO Workholding—Tooling, jigs and fixtures for gauging, measurement and inspection.

Weiss North America Inc.—Rotary indexing tables, palletized conveyors, motor-driven pick-and-place units, cam- and servo-driven assembly chassis, indexing rings, machine bases and tool plates.