It was the last week of October and the Reshoring Institute team was in Chicago for The ASSEMBLY Show. The Cubs were on their way to be World Series champs for the first time in over 100 years, we were in Obama’s home state and we had our first female Presidential candidate. Needless to say, excitement was in the air at the show.
The ASSEMBLY Show (TAS) is sponsored by ASSEMBLY, a monthly trade magazine read by engineers and managers responsible for manufacturing and designing cars, computers, medical devices, coffee makers, and all types of consumer and industrial goods. ASSEMBLY covers the processes, technologies, and strategies for joining discrete parts into finished products. The show gives participants a look at new products, systems, and processes, hands-on experience with working equipment and machines and a chance to connect with fellow suppliers and manufacturers.
We attended the show because Rosemary Coates, Executive Director of the Reshoring Institute was asked to speak on the topic of reshoring and to meet with manufacturers and suppliers to learn more about the latest trends. Reshoring, bringing manufacturing back to the US, has been possible because of these trends. Robotics, 3D printing, lean manufacturing, and automation are just a few examples of the technologies companies like GE, iRT and Starbucks have used to manufacture products in the US.
As an engineer, this type of technology thrills me and I felt like a child at a Thanksgiving feast. Instead of beans, greens, potatoes and tomatoes (Thanksgiving social media dance craze), TAS had drills, spills, movers, and shakers. We posted a short video of one of the movers on our Facebook page while at the show. This was just one example of the types of machines and robots that were on display.
It was a great event! Many manufacturers and suppliers stopped by our booth to tell us stories about how they are actively working on bringing manufacturing back to the US. Many of them are building new, more technically advanced, products here in the US while leaving popular products in Asia and/or Mexico. They commented that the US can’t compete with labor rates but given the right technology, many products can be made here. I talked to engineers from a few companies including Zippo that have always manufactured their products in the US. It’s been hard at times but conferences like TAS help engineers learn about the latest technology that can help keep costs low. It’s always great to hear stories about American manufacturing. We are looking forward to working with these companies in the upcoming months. Keep an eye on our Research Library for new case studies and whitepapers!