The past year brought blockbuster headlines for U.S. manufacturing. Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn unveiled plans to build a $10 billion assembly plant in Wisconsin that would make liquid-crystal display panels and employ as many as 13,000 people.
Increasing demand for smart devices and embedded intelligence is driving manufacturers in a variety of industries to invest in new production tools and technologies. Additive manufacturing, advanced sensors, augmented reality, cloud-based computing, collaborative robots and digital twins are just a few of the many trends transforming factory floors today.
For Flex, there isn't a question of what can't they do, but what they will do next. The 50-year-old company began manufacturing electronic products, something it still does today, but has expanded to offer end-to-end production across the globe.
BOSTON—Nearly one in four exports from Massachusetts is a medical device, making the state No. 1 in the nation in share of exports of medical devices as a percentage of total exports, according to a report by the Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council.
TORONTO—Assembling a microrobot used to require a pair of needle-nosed tweezers, a microscope, steady hands, and at least eight hours. But, now University of Toronto engineering researchers have developed a method that requires only a 3D printer and 20 minutes.
Ergonomic upgrades are becoming a vital part of many workplaces, and assembly workstations can be especially challenging. According to data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, ergonomic issues cost U.S. companies upwards of $54 billion annually, and they account for one-third of workplace absences.
For medical devices such as catheters, syringes, vials, test tubes and injector pens, many manufacturers are turning to plastics that are formulated to resist harsh chemical and environmental conditions.
ANN ARBOR, MI—Industrial robot orders in 2018 grew 24 percent over the previous year in the life sciences, food and consumer goods, plastics and rubber and electronics industries, according to the Robotics Industries Association. The main reasons are lower robot prices, and robot systems that are easier to install, integrate and program.