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Furnaces North America 2020 Virtual kicks off on September 30th for three power-packed days of 38 technical sessions, 4 LIVE sessions, and 85+ virtual exhibit booths with production demonstrations, informative technical documents, and live supplier staff that you can connect with via online chat or video conferencing.   FNA 2020 Virtual is 100% focused on giving you and your team the information and trends you need to maximize productivity, quality, safety, operations, people, and profits.   Over three days, you and your team will learn everything from how new technologies and Industry 4.0 will drive connection between OEMs and heat treaters, how to ...
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Monday Economic Report

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Survey: Outlook Rebounding, Revenue Recovery Expected 2021 or Later. In the latest  NAM Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey , 66.0% of respondents reported a positive outlook for their company in the third quarter, up from 33.9% in the second quarter, which had been the worst reading since the Great Recession. However, the outlook measure remains below the historical average of 74.4%. Weak domestic demand continues to be the top primary business challenge. Respondents were asked when they expect revenues to return to pre-pandemic levels. 62% expect their firm’s revenues will not get back to pre-COVID-19 levels until 2021 ...
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OEMs may alter sourcing to drive ‘bundling’ with a single supplier. As summer passes, the industry is still gritting its teeth amidst the restart from months of COVID-driven paralysis. OEMs and suppliers are bracing for a potential second wave, along with the impact of slower overall vehicle demand. Now is a good time for companies to revisit forward strategies, and a critical element of any reboot is understanding the competitive landscape. Too often suppliers build out their short- and long-term strategies with little consideration of how current or potentially new competitors could impact strategic initiatives. This was already happening in the months ...
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New orders for U.S.-made goods increased more than expected in July as the manufacturing sector continues to steadily recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.   The Commerce Department said on Thursday factory orders rose 6.4% after a similar gain in June. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast factory orders increasing 6.0% in July.   Reporting by: Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, for Reuters
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Honeywell has received its first FAA approval for a flight-critical engine part produced through additive manufacturing, marking a step forward in the rapidly advancing field of 3D printing. The part, the #4/5 bearing housing, is a structural component for the ATF3-6 turbofan that powers the Dassault Falcon 20G maritime patrol aircraft operated by the French Navy. The ATF3-6 engine was certified in 1967, and only about a dozen are still flying, making parts sourcing difficult. Complicating matters, Honeywell said, is that production of the #4/5 bearing housing through traditional means is a complicated process, requiring expensive specialty tools and molds. ...
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A series of positive short-term actions and changes in safety processes can make a lasting difference. “Workplace safety” has become a buzz-phrase in 2020, as the pandemic has made safety concerns related to the spread of COVID-19 a top priority for most business leaders. Advocating for all aspects of workplace safety—from maintaining public health to changing practices and processes, to predicting injuries, near-misses, property damage, and other leadership issues—is what I do for a living. My title is Process Change Leader, and for more than two decades I’ve worked with global organizations in manufacturing, oil and gas, and other industries to help ...
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Wearable devices that have made inroads due to the productivity of their hands-free operation also carry a hygiene advantage: the high-touch parts can be cost effectively assigned to individual workers. Anything that gets touched often in a warehouse is a potential health and safety concern since the onset of  COVID-19 , including industrial computers. However, wearable devices that have made inroads due to the productivity of their hands-free operation also carry a hygiene advantage: the high-touch parts can be cost effectively assigned to individual workers. To accomplish this, wearables need to feature easily detachable and cleanable accessories, explained ...
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Employment in manufacturing and warehousing remains below pre-pandemic levels as manufacturers and supply chains get ready to produce and move inventory for peak season. Employment dipped to its lowest levels in April for both sectors. Employment in manufacturing fell 10% year over year in April and 5% in warehousing during the same period. Workers have since come back, but at levels lower than in the first three months of the year or all of 2019, according to the latest employment figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Matt Leonard / Supply Chain Dive, data from Bureau of Labor Statistics   Meanwhile, logistics companies have begun their  ...
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The Right Bot for You

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A digital assistant for every worker is certainly cool, but in today’s artificial intelligence age, selecting the wrong automation tool can be disastrous. In manufacturing tech circles and businesses alike, a lot of people are talking about robotic process automation (RPA). Shortly after Gartner hailed RPA " the fastest-growing segment of the global enterprise software market", it’s been described by some as a cure-all for high-volume, repetitive processes that often drive workers crazy. Is RPA the all-mighty solution to delivering unprecedented advances in productivity, efficiency, and accuracy? There is a bot for everyone, right? The concept of a digital ...
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The MTI Educational Foundation is excited to announce that it has finalized and awarded $51,000 in scholarships to 9 recipients. Educational Foundation Chair, Mary Springer from Thermtech in Waukesha, WI stated, “During a year like 2020, with so many challenges around us, it is exciting to hear the joy of 9 students getting notice of their scholarships. The Foundation is happy to be able to play a part in helping with their financial resources to further their education.” The scholarship awards were given to:   Founder’s Scholarship ($15,000): Hope Fiely – Meadville, PA   Doug Peters, Hope Fiely, Diana Wilkosz & Andy Wilkosz ...
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This is what I said to a CEO who didn’t understand why they needed to be nice to their employees. In December 2019, I flew to Los Angeles to deliver a full day of training on “How to Build Inclusive Teams” to an executive team at a flourishing tech startup. My point of contact before arriving on-site was the company’s head of people; I’d yet to speak with the CEO or any other executive. Luckily, when setting the agenda, we put aside a full hour before the training to sit down with the CEO and get to know them. The conversation started with the usual niceties; but not two minutes later, the CEO blurted out, “What’s the point of being nice to my employees?” ...
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Fueled by a combination of industrial data and artificial intelligence, a new era of smart and flexible manufacturing is underway. The technology promises to facilitate an environment where production can be seamlessly calibrated to pump out customized goods while factory floor equipment is maintained proactively to avoid costly downtime. That was the focus of a recent panel exploring the evolution of smart design and manufacturing at   EmTech Next , a virtual event hosted by MIT Technology Review. Presenters said artificial intelligence has the potential to touch and transform the entire design and manufacturing continuum, including:  Early-stage ideation ...
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  Manufacturing production  rebounded for the third straight month, rising by 3.4% in July. Despite progress over the past few months, output in the sector has fallen 7.7% year-over-year, with durable and nondurable goods output down 9.3% and 5.4%, respectively. Manufacturing capacity utilization rose 69.2% in July, although that is still down from 75.2% in February. There were 336,000  manufacturing job openings  in June, up from 306,000 in May, which had been the slowest pace since October 2016. Overall, job postings have drifted significantly lower over the past year—a trend that began before the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, there were 486,000 ...
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Facing increased pressure to find new products and suppliers amid disrupted supply chains—along with increased demand for products that meet regulatory and corporate social responsibility standards—procurement teams must choose the best tools to manage supplier performance, Forrester Research says in a new report. Sourcing suppliers is often an arduous task for B2B companies; they must manage the risks of taking on new suppliers that can deliver the right products on time, but nowadays companies increasingly want to do business with suppliers that adhere to ethical and sustainable practices. At the same time, B2B companies want to improve ...
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Learn how to realize substantial value from conducting a dust hazard analysis. Due to the growing awareness of combustible dust hazards and broader adoption of regulatory requirements to complete a dust hazard analysis (DHA), manufacturing facilities are increasing efforts to implement hazard prevention and mitigation measures. Several statewide fire codes require facilities that produce or handle combustible particulate solids to conduct a DHA by Sept. 7, 2020 (per the 2019 Edition of NFPA 652, Standard on the Fundamentals of Combustible Dust). The DHA aims to identify fire and deflagration hazards from combustible dusts handled or produced on site, identify ...
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When a big storm is forecast to come our way, Katie, my wife, starts to plan ahead, just in case we lose power: nonperishable food in the pantry (check), flashlights with working batteries (check), gas in the car (check), some cash on hand (check). She reminds family members to charge up their phones and laptops. The havoc the storm may or may not cause is unknown, but she has taken proactive steps to get us through. If you travel by air, you’re acquainted with the standard safety instructions that are demonstrated by flight attendants before take-off. Among other things, you are given a heads-up about what to do with oxygen masks and life vests, and how ...
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Two months of record-setting payroll growth slowed in July but was still better than Wall Street estimates, even as a rise in Coronavirus cases put a damper on the struggling U.S. economy. Nonfarm payrolls increased 1.763 million for the month, the Labor Department reported Friday. The unemployment rate fell to 10.2% from its previous 11.1%, also better than the estimates from economists surveyed by Dow Jones. An alternative measure that includes discouraged workers and the underemployed holding part-time jobs for economic reasons fell from 18% to 16.5%. The consensus was for growth of 1.48 million jobs and an unemployment rate of 10.6%. However, ...
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Before the pandemic, it seems that the vast majority of the population did not give PPE a second thought. This has changed.   In today’s world, personal protective equipment (PPE) is everywhere. The COVID-19 virus has profoundly affected people worldwide, and outside of social distancing, the next steps in protection are the PPE recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Going to the grocery store or standing in line now requires six feet of separation, mouth coverings, and face shields for counter employees.  In comparison to before the pandemic, it seems that the vast majority of the population did not give PPE a second thought. ...
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MTI is excited to announce that registration is now open for the 2020 Furnaces North America VIRTUAL Trade Show. The excitement grows as for the first time ever, FNA is able tobe experienced by every member directly through their computer screens. All attendees will experience: 4 LIVE Panel Discussion Sessions 35 Technical Sessions Online Exhibits from Top Industry Suppliers With FNA’s special “Bring Your Team” registration pricing, every member can engage all of their employees in the training, product demonstrations, and connection that takes place at FNA VIRTUAL. Special registration pricing: First 2 registrations per company are $199 ...
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Planning for Uncertainty

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Since March, when most countries started to go into lockdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic, life for many organizations has been turned upside down. Despite the current easing of restrictions in some areas, it looks unfortunately likely that COVID-19 will pose a threat for the rest of 2020, with some areas already forced to roll back re-openings and shut down again. Continued bouts of business disruption seem inevitable, and the impact for some companies could be highly damaging, if not catastrophic.   After months of weathering the pandemic, it is clear that companies will have to alter their business practices going forward. Organizations likely need ...
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