In recent years, reshoring and the resulting skill gap are the two most distinct trends in the US manufacturing sector. Some of the cost related reasons pointed to by industry experts for reshoring are; increased ocean freight cost, increment in manufacturing wages overseas or changes in exchange rate. Experts also reason that companies want to produce close to demand. Whatever the reason, reshoring is very much the new trend. However, on the other end, the problem surfacing and hindering reshoring is the lack of a skilled workforce in the manufacturing industry. In May of 2014, The National Press Club hosted an event entitled “The Manufacturing Skills Gap: How a Shortage of Skilled Workers and Needed Education is Affecting the Economic Recovery,” where speakers cited two worrisome figures. There are approximately 600,000 skilled manufacturing jobs that are currently unfilled in the U.S., and 2.7 million manufacturing workers are expected to retire in the next 10 years. Part of the gap is explained by the overall decline in manufacturing over the last three decades or so. Some blame a shift in educational priorities. To rectify this situation, manufacturers are rolling up their sleeves and contributing to initiatives like education in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Some manufacturers are conducting onsite or offsite training to interest local high school students in the manufacturing sector.
Dukane is also proud to contribute its own share to fill the skill gap by providing upcoming talents with resources that can enhance their education and research activities related to plastic technology. Recently, Dukane facilitated the donation of an iQ Series Pneumatic Ultrasonic Welding Press System to the Department of Technology’s Engineering Technology plastics laboratory at Illinois State University (ISU). This device is an Ultrasonic Press System from Dukane’s iQ Series. Features of this equipment are the 100% digitally controlled generator, ultra-rigid press, coupled with the iQ Explorer user-interface providing superior accuracy and ease of use. The generators have a new multi-core processor technology that allows them to operate at a processing rate of .5 milliseconds. iQ Explorer’s intuitive touch-screen graphical menu structure incorporates a one-page setup screen that makes welder operation easy to learn and program. Ethernet Connectivity and multiple USB ports are all options for weld and graph data storage. Over 25 programmable upper and lower process limits along with reference and weld graph logic are available for weld diagnostics and process consistency. Future Engineers and researchers at ISU will have a unique opportunity to interact and learn from this technically advanced equipment. Dukane and ISU are hoping to strengthen their relationship further through the development of student and faculty research projects.
• Reshoring is not just a buzzword, it’s an economically driven correction to a supply chain that had become unbalanced. http://www.ptonline.com/articles/the-truth-about-reshoring
• What Processors are doing to Bridge the Skill Gap, Plastics Technology September 2014 http://www.ptonline.com/articles/what-processors-are-doing-to-bridge-the-skills-gap
• Ten for STEM – Ten developments promoting science & technology learning, Machine Design June 2014 http://machinedesign.com/blog/ten-stem-ten-developments-promoting-science-technology-learning