There has been a great deal of hype around the renewal of U.S. manufacturing, but what is actually being done to realize this vision?
As we indicated in our last manufacturing blog post, the manufacturing industry is creating a whole new identity – dropping the stigmas and entering a state of innovative, technology-based solutions.
Take additive manufacturing, for example. Did you know that GE is building its newest aircraft engine by way of 3D printing – literally building an object through layer-by-layer of material?
GE even predicts that in four years it can build an entire engine this way. Yes, complex items such as jet engines will be built through 3D printing. If the U.S. continues to be a leader in technology, we will be positioned to excel in this new era of advanced manufacturing. However, as Michael Idelchik of GE points out, the additive industry is not quite big enough to support industrial production.
So what are the building blocks to get there?
Education. Namely, strategic partnerships between companies and universities to bring up the next generation of advanced manufacturing professionals. Millennials were raised & educated with technology; imagine the generations to follow being given a supportive environment to utilize technology for digital manufacturing.
Mark Muro of the Wall Street Journal agrees that,
“The nation needs to forge a series of more urgent, technology-specific partnerships between business and academia to solve critical manufacturing problems and develop the next generation of cutting-edge technologies for making new, globally competitive products.”
Are any technology + education partnerships currently in place?
Yes. The most recent partnership is between Cleveland’s Case Western Reserve University and the 3D printing company Rapid Prototype + Manufacturing (rp+m.) Together, they will create the Additive Manufacturing Studio at think[box], Case’s School of Engineering innovation hub.
Students will work side-by-side with the company’s employees, enabling experience-based learning that will teach students the skills needed for advanced manufacturing. This kind of learning is important to help students transition from theoretical academia to the actual workforce.
We predict that more and more strategic partnerships between businesses, schools and the government will appear as advanced manufacturing becomes a real method of economic growth.
Share your thoughts on what it will take to see this vision become a reality!