Innovation

House and Senate to Examine Regulation of Open Internet

Tomorrow is a big day on Capitol Hill for manufacturers who want to continue to leverage technology in their products and processes. Both the House and Senate are holding hearings on how to protect the Internet from unnecessary regulation. These hearings will kick off in earnest the 2015 debate on how to keep the Internet open for business.

We will see some calling for legislation that will provide regulatory certainty to all industries. This certainty will then lead to increased investment in our nation’s communications infrastructure thereby facilitating groundbreaking technological innovations in the products and processes of manufacturers. Others will call for applying outdated, 1930’s-era regulations on a primary tool driving the 21st century economy. (continue reading…)

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NAM in the NEWS: Why Manufacturing Still Counts

Today, Wall Street Journal reporter Bob Hagerty published a series of articles highlighting the growing strength of the manufacturing sector. Although in recent years, the U.S. economy has seen a rise in service work, manufacturing continues to be a driver of growth, especially for the middle class. With the growing American energy renaissance, manufacturing jobs remain a source of good paying jobs averaging $36.37 in wages and benefits. (continue reading…)

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Manufacturers Welcome Congress Back; Say Now Is Time To Govern

As Members of the 114th Congress descend on Washington for orientation, and the 113th Congress convenes for the upcoming lame duck session, manufacturers stand ready to work with our leaders to advance policies that will enable us to continue to grow and create jobs.   Manufacturers believe that now is the time to set aside the differences that have resulted in gridlock, and focus on the pro-growth policies that brought voters to the polls. Simply put, it is time to govern and grow. (continue reading…)

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House Lawmakers Invest in Manufacturers’ Innovation. Will the Senate Do the Same?

Last evening, the House passed the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act (RAMI), a bill championed by Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) and Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA) that has the potential to strengthen the technology leadership position that manufacturers have worked years to establish.

Manufacturers in the United States have always been the world’s leading innovators, as demonstrated by their investments and research and development and prolific patent portfolios. RAMI marks another important investment in a public-private innovation partnership that will help drive manufacturing and facilitate the longevity of our industry’s comeback. The legislation creates a network of innovation centers that brings together business, schools and the government in a joint effort to accelerate the transfer of advanced manufacturing technology and techniques into the commercial sector.

RAMI has been a top legislative priority for the NAM. Our policy teams have tirelessly advocated for the legislation in congressional meetings with key lawmakers. The NAM also designated legislative action on RAMI as a Key Vote. Now that the House has done its part and passed the bill, it is time for the Senate to follow suit.

There is reason to be optimistic. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), the bipartisan sponsors of a Senate version of RAMI, sat down with the NAM’s Member Focus magazine to discuss how their bill would contribute to the manufacturing comeback. “This legislation will particularly help small and medium-sized manufacturers by helping companies gain access to cutting-edge capabilities and equipment and by educating and training students and workers in advanced manufacturing skills,” Blunt told Member Focus.

As NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons wrote to lawmakers in July, “This legislation will accelerate the development of advanced manufacturing technologies and solidify the United States as the best place in the world to innovate.” The NAM will continue its push to advance RAMI until it becomes law.

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The Worth of American Ingenuity

Manufacturers in the United States are among the most prolific inventors and innovators in the world and the NAM supports policies at the federal level that encourage and stimulate innovation in all sectors of our economy. While Americans and federal policy makers generally understand there are risks associated with research and development, the enormity of the risk is often difficult to convey, but it is absorbed into every product.

The cost of innovation varies from sector to sector, but the drive for solving problems and improving what we have is priceless. It’s what built our nation into an economic workhorse and we ought to have the proper perspective on the value it brings to our lives every day. Manufacturers of all sizes and types strive to improve, build upon or replace the products we use to make our lives easier – in some cases they even make our lives possible. In the words of Thomas Edison, “There is always a better way.”

Manufacturers of automobiles are constantly looking for ways to make our cars more convenient, more enjoyable, more luxurious, more efficient – generally more of everything, including safer. All of those innovations come with a cost that runs into the millions and billions of dollars and sometimes they never make it to the market. Over time, the price of those innovations that do make it to the market declines and becomes part of the base cost of a vehicle. Thirty years ago, fuel-injection wasn’t viewed as necessary or practical for general use. Try finding a new car that isn’t fuel-injected now – you can’t, unless it’s an electric one.

Manufacturers of paints and other coatings are engaged in a constant and epic battle with chemistry, mineralogy, physics, biology and meteorology. Millions of dollars are spent by coatings companies to perfect the color, application and durability characteristics of all their products and we get to choose which of those features we want with each gallon of paint or stain we buy. Whether we realize it or not, that’s part of the reason we see a price differential between a gallon of flat white paint and a gallon of solid stain.

Manufacturers of medical devices, biologics, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, petroleum, and many other products also spend billions each year to improve upon or invent products and treatments that have never existed before – products that enrich our lives or make it possible to continue living at all. That’s why the NAM has a clear and unambiguous policy when it comes to innovation – we are for it. American ingenuity has always, always been worth the investment and it is firmly embedded in the American ethos.

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Boeing ecoDemonstrator Aircraft Comes to Washington

Today the Boeing Company brought the new ecoDemonstrator to Reagan National Airport in Washington. The eco Demonstrator program was started earlier this summer by Boeing, partnering with American Airlines, the FAA and other important partners.  The program uses an all new Boeing Next Generation 737-800 aircraft.

Boeing's ecoDemonstrator Visits Washington

Boeing's ecoDemonstrator at Reagan National Airport.

The goal of the ecoDemonstrator program is to help accelerate advancements and innovation in efficiency, noise, airspace modernization and to reduce the environmental footprint. The ecoDemonstrator that we had the opportunity to tour today has many unique features to help achieve these goals to lead to a sustainable future.

Perhaps the most unique feature on the aircraft is the regenerative fuel cell which converts hydrogen and oxygen gas to electricity and water. The aircraft also features an adaptive trailing edge on the wings that reduces airframe noise on takeoff and landing. To improve efficiency the aircraft has active engine vibration control which allows the engine to run at lower speeds and reduces vibration and noise in the cabin. The ecoDemonstrator even has recyclable carpet tiles that can be individually replaced instead of having to replace the entire carpet in the cabin.

Boeing is continuing test flights of the ecoDemonstrator to gain as much as data about these new features as possible. And hopefully in the future you will see these innovations when you are catching a flight on a future family vacation.

The ecoDemonstrator is another great example of how manufacturers are continuing to innovate to build better and more sustainable products.

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Boeing Dreamliner Lands in Washington, D.C.

A Boeing 787 Dreamliner touched down today at Ronald Reagan National Airport. The aircraft is in town for the Atlantic’s Innovation Summit that is being held this week at the airport.

A Boeing 787 Dreamliner arrives at Reagan National Airport

Boeing's 787 Dreamliner arrives at Reagan National Airport

The Dreamliner is the most advanced and efficient commercial jetliner ever produced. It is a great example of the innovations of modern manufacturing.

The aerospace industry continues to be essential to manufacturing  in the United States. Which is why its important for Washington to provide manufacturers with the tools necessary to compete globally so they can continue to innovate and create new products that can change the world, such as the Dreamliner.

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How Sweet It Is: Three Hershey Company Facilities Achieve ‘Zero Waste to Landfill’

The Hershey Company recently announced that three of its manufacturing facilities in Pennsylvania have achieved “Zero-Waste-to-Landfill” (ZWL) status due to the company’s ongoing recycling and waste management efforts. According to the press release, ZWL means that manufacturing waste from these three facilities has been eliminated from landfill disposal.

Approximately 90 percent of this waste is recycled, and the remaining 10 percent is converted to energy at nearby waste-to-energy incinerators in Bainbridge, PA and Harrisburg, PA. This announcement underscores the company’s long-standing commitment to environmental sustainability. Founder Milton Hershey started the company’s first recycling center in Hershey in 1937, long before recycling and waste reduction were common practices.

Terence O’Day, Senior Vice President of Global Operations stated in the release, “We are proud of our role as stewards of the environment and of our progress in eliminating waste from our operations. We achieved ZWL at these facilities through a rigorous process of eliminating waste, recycling and converting waste to energy. Our employees understand the importance of sustainability across our company and are working together to reach our reduction goals.”

In addition to its recycling achievements, the company has also invested in solar panels to generate electricity at several facilities and made commitments to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

Alicia Meads is director of energy and resources policy, National Association of Manufacturers.

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Bayer Corporation Opens Electric Vehicle Charging Station

Furthering its commitment to sustainability, NAM member Bayer Corporation last week opened an electric vehicle charging station for employees at its U.S. headquarters in Pittsburgh. The Bayer charging station is one of the 45 stations that will be built along Pennsylvania Interstate 376 as part of the “Energy 376 Corridor” project. The project’s goal is to create one of the most extensive charging station networks in the country. The station is located next to Bayer’s EcoCommercial Building Conference Center, which is a net-zero energy facility.

Dan Santmyer, Director of Operations at the Bayer Pittsburgh site, said in a press release, “the installation of the EV charging station is part of the company’s global commitment to sustainability. We are proud to provide our employees with the infrastructure that supports their efforts to drive, rent or purchase EV’s and reduce their personal footprint on the environment.”

Learn more about Bayer’s comprehensive sustainability program here.

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Kennametal CEO Speaks in Washington on Importance of Manufacturing

Today NAM Board Member and Kennametal Inc. Chairman, President and CEO Carlos Cardoso spoke at the National Press Club to discuss manufacturing and the need to bridge the gap between how the public views manufacturing and the actual reality of manufacturing in the United States.  

Mr. Cardoso called on manufacturing leaders to help spread the message and share the success stories and the importance of educating young workers about manufacturing careers. 

Kennametal also released a poll which shows that Americans are not as aware that manufacturing is leading the economic recovery and don’t believe manufacturing jobs are available. The NAM and manufacturers like Kennametal are working to change that perception and better educate the public and our leaders in government about the critical role of manufacturing in our economy and the need for highly skilled workers.

One of the main goals of the NAM’s Manufacturing Renaissance: Four Goals for Economic Growth is to ensure that manufacturers in the U.S. have the workforce that the 21st-century manufacturing economy requires.

From the Kennametal press release:

“The U.S. manufacturing sector has been steadily growing and right now, 600,000 manufacturing jobs are available,” Cardoso said. “Most of these positions require specialized skills and education, and as manufacturers, we have a responsibility to educate people about these opportunities and build the manufacturing workforce of the future. At Kennametal, we take this seriously and are helping to deliver the promise of manufacturing today through our actions.”

Joining Mr. Cardoso today were representatives from Greater Latrobe High School which is a partner in the company’s Young Engineers Program. Students in this program get to learn first-hand about manufacturing by participating in hands-on projects and mentoring from Kennametal engineers. This program is just one of many educational initiatives by manufacturers throughout the country to help educate students on manufacturing jobs.

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