Top MFG Learning Stories

manufacturing education

James McCanless, an Air Force machinist, shows metal cut products to visiting students

Let’s give our kids the chance to discover manufacturing-related jobs.

Fall is coming, and with it, the entrance of students into their high school senior year, as well as those entering college and postsecondary programs. With students on our minds, especially in regards to the future of manufacturing and upcoming MFG Day, here are the top 5 manufacturing education stories we think you should hear about lately:

  1. SME-EF & NASA helps Wheeling High School – The SME Education Foundation has teamed up with HUNCH (High School Students United with NASA to Create Hardware) to give these gifted STEM students a chance to make hardware for the International Space Station. Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math are all areas more students need to get interested in, and with amazing organizations like NASA stepping in to help, it is creating an interest for kids to get into manufacturing.
  2. A Quick Spotlight on Jim Filipek – With MFG Day coming up quick, it is so crucial for those in the manufacturing industry to share their insight and their passion with the younger generation for working in this industry. Jim Filipek and his family have been part of the manufacturing industry for years, and after 11 years working in it, he taught in a high school machine shop for two decades, and since 2009, has been a full-time coordinator/instructor for the College of DuPage’s Manufacturing Technology and Welding programs. Great job, Jim!
  3. The 3D Experience Center at Wichita State University – The National Institute of Aviation Research has teamed up with Dassault Systems and Wichita State University to provide the venues for future products and technologies to be developed while being part of a network of companies and experts. What is called the Innovation Campus spreads across 120 acres and over 25 buildings, where students can work on robotics, virtual/augmented reality, reverse engineering, additive manufacturing, and more.
  4. The North Carolina Triangle Apprenticeship Program – The NCTAP is an incredibly successful apprentice program to get young people in the manufacturing industry. Especially since they have programs that start as early as the 11th Grade in high school, this is a very important and valuable program that shows these students there is financial prosperity to be had in these careers – even while learning on the job!
  5. Check out Edge Factor – Do you have NetFlix and Hulu? Who doesn’t? Imagine a video platform similar to these two programs specifically geared towards the manufacturing community. It exists! Check out our interview with Edge Factor’s founder and what inspired this multi media platform to be created. With more and more students connected to streaming sources for entertainment, this could be a great venue to cultivate interest.

Already working in manufacturing and want some resources for better OEE or productivity? Call us at (877) 611-5825 or fill out a form here to contact us. 

Military MFG Career Fair

Workshops for Warriors Career FairWorkshops for Warriors, a long time friend to Shop Floor Automations, will be hosting its inaugural Employer Career Fair on August 4th. More info is at this link, or read below:

“Employers will come to Workshops for Warriors in San Diego CA first for a tour of the facility, and second to participate in 20-minute ‘speed dating’ style interviews with students and Workshops for Warriors alumni,” Workshops for Warriors (WFW) proclaims in a press release about the event.

“We will work to connect Employers with students interested in relocating to their area or are interested in the specific jobs the Employers need to be filled. The event will be followed by an off-site networking event.”

WFW is the only accredited school in the nation that provides training, certifications, and job placement for military veterans. This includes those wounded in action and transitioning service members.

“As you may or may not know, veterans get up to four years to be trained in a particular military occupation, but they have less than one week to transition as civilians,” WFW founder Hernan Luis Y Prado said in an interview with Shop Floor Automations. “The challenging part that we have is that we know people love veterans, but loving a veteran does not make them a good machinist, or fabricator, or welder.”

To read more about what WFW does, click here to read about our visit to their school. If you run a manufacturing company and need solutions for better productivity, improved OEE, or better organization, call us at (877) 611-5825. You may also contact us by clicking here

Prison Programs for MFG Skills Gap

America is the land of opportunity and the Prison Industry Enhancement Certification Program (PIECP) is an unconventional example of this ideal. Those who are behind bars will have opportunities through this program to gain skills that will land them stable jobs and do something productive while incarcerated. There can be mixed feelings about this program, though. Prison industry enhancement certification programs

Here are five basic things to know about PIECP, before going forward:

#1 – It was created by Congress in 1979 with the goal of having inmates contribute to society while offsetting the cost of their incarceration, as well as to pay back the crime victims and support their families.

#2 – Other than monetary reasons, the program was created not only to reduce prison idleness but to increase job skills for those in prison so they have a good transition upon release and help the economy by filling jobs.

#3 – The only prisoners who are allowed to participate in the program are in State prisons (not Federal prison), are medically able to participate, and have minimum disciplinary records while serving time. Only minimum or medium security level prisons may participate in this program and the only prisoners who take part in PIECP volunteer to do so.

#4 – The program also helps with reincarceration rates, since the prisoners who underwent this training and transitioned properly out of prison had non-arrest rates ranging from 60% to 93% meaning more than half of the participants who were monitored did not return to prison.

#5 – These programs help to offset the cost to taxpayers of running prisons, as well as helping prisoners not bounce back into jail to eat up further resources. Information varies from source to source, but via this 2010 study, State contributions via taxes to help run prisons can be as low as $58,065 (total annually from taxpayers in North Dakota) all the way up to $7,932,388 (total annually from taxpayers in California). With inflation and prison populations growing over the years, these amounts have no doubt changed.

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MFG School of the Month – WSBVI & Beyond Vision

In previous manufacturing school and education resource blogs, we have mentioned Workshops for Warriors for military veterans, as well as discussed manufacturing apprentice positions and the Cardinal Manufacturing program. Now, we want to highlight our MFG School of the Month by mentioning both WSBVI (Wisconsin School for the Blind and Visually Impaired) and Beyond Vision.

WSBVI describes their services on their main site stating they have “students with varying degrees of visual impairment enrolled full time, with other students receiving short-term educational services. WSBVI offers state-standard K-12 education, as well as an early childhood program, college and career readiness program, extracurricular activities, meals, on-campus housing, and the latest in assistive technology to our students.”

blind machinist The school has many resources and programs for students, including events such as the Braille Olympics and a YouTube channel with videos that highlight their students’ achievements, and even tutorials on how to use social media more easily with screen readers. What we also want to talk about is the amazing possibility that those with visual impairments in Wisconsin have to go on and seek out manufacturing jobs.

Those who graduate from WSBVI, or any other school for those who are blind or otherwise visually impaired, should inquire with an organization called Beyond Vision (AKA the Wisconsin Workshop for the Blind). These individuals work tirelessly to gain meaningful employment for those who are blind or visually impaired. One of Beyond Vision’s services is a machine shop where they employ individuals who are 70 percent or more visually impaired.

“They perform call-center work, assemble and package products, and distribute office supplies at military bases,” states Tim Heston, who wrote about Beyond Vision for The Fabricator. “Perhaps most surprisingly, it also has an eight-employee machine shop that recently delved into metal fabrication with a 40-ton press brake and a single-station punch press.”

“We’re not-for-profit, but we’re not for loss either,” James Kerlin, President and CEO of Beyond Vision explained in The Fabricator. “We have a little saying around here: no margin, no mission. Ninety-nine percent of funding comes from work we do for other companies.”

If you enjoyed this piece, please be sure to share it on social media. If you have a machine shop or a manufacturing shop floor that needs OEE or other efficiency fixes, call (877) 611-5825 or fill out this form so an Account Executive can get back to you. 

The Manufacturer’s Apprentice

With the manufacturing skills gap being a topic that is on all of our minds, one of the tactics being used to address the issue is a time-tested tradition. The position of the manufacturing apprentice, as well as apprentice positions for other industrial jobs like electricians, technicians, and similar jobs, is an excellent option for both job seekers and those in the industry who need skilled workers.

manufacturing apprenticeWhat exactly is an apprentice? The Department of Labor defines an apprentice as a position that “combines on-the-job training with job-related instruction…a “learn while you earn” model – apprentices receive a paycheck from the first day and progressive increases in wages as their skills advance.”

Basically, if you want to be an apprentice, you want to be paid to learn how to do your job. This is preferential to those who know what they want to do for a career. They don’t want to spend two to four years while paying to get a degree somewhere that is not specific to the niche industrial areas that have an urgent need of employees. It’s a win-win.

Here are the three things people seeking an apprenticeship in this job field will need to know to get started:

First, you need to evaluate what area you would want to work in. CareerOneStop, which is a site sponsored by the Department of Labor, will help you build a skills profile. By looking into traits such as your social skills, listening skills, speaking skills, problem-solving skills, technical skills, computer skills, and more, it will give you a list of possible jobs that would suit you. If any of the careers listed are remotely industrial, technical or relative to manufacturing, an apprenticeship would be a good option.

Secondly, you need a starting point, which would be this resource page via the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). Here, you will find resources like workshops and apprenticeship listings to take advantage of. The Department of Labor even has special resources for women who want these higher-paying, but unconventional jobs, under the Pre-Apprenticeship Program.

Finally, pick the apprenticeship for you. Once you enter one of these programs, the length of the program and rate of pay will vary. An apprenticeship can be anywhere from one to six years long. There are even informal apprentice positions private companies offer when you look them up on job sites like Indeed.com

Do you already work in the manufacturing industry and need better productivity on your shop floor? Call Shop Floor Automations at (877) 611-5825 or interact with us on social media

International Women’s Day

For International Women’s Day, Shop Floor Automations wants to take the time to recognize women in the field of manufacturing and similar jobs. Of course, the first thing that comes to mind when most people think of women in manufacturing, or women in industrial jobs, is Rosie the Riveter, which is a great place to start.

international womens dayThe real life inspiration for this iconic figure is said to be a woman named Rose Will Monroe. The month of May is extremely significant to Rosie, as the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company came out with the well known “We Can Do It!” poster in May of 1942, while a Norman Rockwell painting inspired by the ad came out in May of 1943. Rose herself passed away in May of 1997.

World War II was a historic time for women in the workplace. Women who would normally work low-paying administrative assistant type jobs, or were stay-at-home mothers, were filling these important positions during this tumultuous time. A great book to read about this era is “A Mouthful of Rivets: Women at Work in World War II.”

When World War II ended, many women either returned to their homes or office jobs, but a good amount remained in the manufacturing industry. Today, there is a need to maintain and bring more women into this field of work.

“According to a 2015 report by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, women make up 47 percent of the overall workforce but just 27 percent of the manufacturing workforce,” writes Penny Brown of AMT. “Simply put, it can get lonely for a woman on the factory floor. At a time when manufacturing is seeing a desperate need for skilled workers, it seems that it’s a very good time to address ways to tap this vast talent pool.”

“Like young people, women need to see the value of a manufacturing career, but they also need to feel like there is a place for them in it,” Penny continues. “Whether their skill is design, management, engineering, or some other area of business, diversity is proven to improve a company’s competitiveness and innovation.”

Some encouraging sites in regards to women in the field of manufacturing are the Women Can Build photo exhibit, via the California Institute of Technology, as well as many organizations that continue the dialogue to include women in manufacturing, industrial and technical jobs. Just off the top of our heads, there is SWE (Society of Women Engineers), WiM (Women in Manufacturing), Girls Who Code, and SkillScout, for starters.

There are also modern depictions of Rosie that remain alive to this day, from women who do photo shoots dressed up as her, women who cosplay as her for conventions or Halloween, or even the popular Rosie’s restaurant aboard the Carnival Valor ship, which can fit nearly 3000 passengers for each voyage. No matter how you think of women in manufacturing, whether in vintage or modern tones, it is great to see that the conversation never closed up shop.

If you work on a manufacturing shop floor and want to see better productivity, as well as improved OEE, please contact us for solutions! Call us at (877) 611-5825 or contact us on social media

MFG School of the Month: Cardinal Manufacturing

In a new blog installment from Shop Floor Automations called MFG School of the Month, we want to take a moment to highlight a place of learning that is helping to keep the Made in America movement going.

manufacturing school We encourage you to check out our previous, separate pieces on Workshops for Warriors, OSML, and Edge Factor, but for now, we want to take a look at what Cardinal Manufacturing is doing.

The Cardinal Manufacturing program from the Eleva-Strum School District has been in operation for 10 years. The public school system is also known for their Digital Learning Initiative. They are clearly striving to keep their students up to date with current technology, as it relates to getting a career.

Conceptualized in 2007, the program was “designed as a localized way to address the skills gap in advanced manufacturing and to engage our students in meaningful education,” the school website declares. “We are exposing students to the potential of manufacturing-related careers, sharpening their technical skills, and instilling the soft skills and professionalism that employers crave.”

Cardinal is treated as a fully operational machine shop, where locals can order machining, welding, or fabrication jobs from the students. Check out a video from Modern Machine Shop about this terrific school by clicking here.

The school will be holding a workshop on Wednesday, June 21, 2017 for potential future students to come and see what their futures could look like!

If you want information on how to increase productivity in your machine shop, contact Shop Floor Automations today. Reach us at (877) 611-5825 or chat with us on social media

 

Jeremy Bout Edge Factor Interview

Jeremy Bout Edge FactorIt is pretty difficult these days to find someone who does not have a NetFlix, YouTube or Hulu account. They are gateways not only for entertainment but also a good resource to learn about different cultures than our own, in the instances of “how to” videos, reality programming (well, some of it) and documentaries. Now, there is a network of programming online for the manufacturing industry, MFG Day & the Made in America movement similar to these platforms called Edge Factor.

The introduction video to Edge Factor is a great window into what they do. It starts with the point of view of the parent, the educator and the employer. It all focuses on how manufacturing jobs are the perfect middle ground for the frustrated parent who paid for a child’s education who does not have a job in that career field, while the employer gets skilled workers, and the educator can get the resources they need to teach in this realm.

Edge Factor The Founder of Edge Factor Jeremy Bout was a typical high school graduate who didn’t quite know what he wanted to do. What was atypical about him was that he experimented with manufacturing by trying out a five-axis machine. He said the experience changed his life significantly.

In an interview with Shop Floor Automations, Jeremy spoke about how the first piece he ever built with a machine set him on a path that would change his life, as well as the lives of others. For Disney, it was all started by a mouse, and for Jeremy, it was all started by an end mill.

“A standard, four flute end mill which looks so simple really became a catalyst for just recognizing that everything is made in using that one tool. Boy oh boy, you can make an awful lot of different parts [with it]. The diversity of things that an end mill can create is shocking and astounding, so for me, the end mill was a gateway to a much, much bigger journey in life.”

Read more after the page break below! 

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Where is USA Manufacturing going?

made in the USA This is an archive of our January 2017 topical newsletter:

What exactly is going on with the welfare of American manufacturing? Are the horror stories of all our jobs going to robots and China unfounded? Here are two good pieces of news, and one factor we should consider, in regards to this industry in the USA:

1) Manufacturing jobs that were already in America continue to grow. With organizations such as Workshops for Warriors training a new workforce, and movements like MFG Day encouraging a younger generation to show interest in our industry, the seeds of growth are being planted. Bloomberg News also declares that manufacturing is the strongest it has been since August 2009, with notable improvements this past December.

2) Manufacturing jobs reported to be moved to America from overseas. There is talk of Apple moving production of iPhones to America, while a Chinese garment company that makes clothing for brands such as Armani, is definitely moving to America. There is also the infamous story of Ford canceling a factory in Mexico and instead, investing Millions into a Michigan facility. With these moves, more manufacturing jobs will be created to keep the Made in America movement growing.

3) Whatever is broken in this industry won’t be fixed overnight, is the hard truth. This article from The Economist is a fascinating read, as they point out that not all of America’s manufacturing problems are caused strictly by globalization. The President of the Alliance for American Manufacturing said it best “America felt left behind as manufacturing jobs disappeared, and no single election cycle can erase that,” said Scott Paul. “As President-Elect Trump prepares to take office, the question becomes how best to restore the American dream for our working people – and that path, for many, lies in the heart of a resurgent manufacturing sector.”

CONTACT US Toll Free: (877) 611-5825

Link to original newsletter HERE

An Exciting Visit to Open Source Maker Labs

OSMLThe future is what you make of it, and when it comes to the people who use Open Source Maker Labs (OSML), making is literally their future. The digital fabrication lab in Vista CA was the location of the latest NTMA San Diego Chapter meeting, where members learned about what OSML is up to.

The presentation began with a sample of what the kids, and adults, who visit work on. The mission statement of the makers who come in is to formulate an idea, design it, redesign it, prototype it, then polish the final version.

Some of the focuses at OSML are in metalworking, welding, 3D Printing, wood working, electronics, and much more. Aside from the physical aspects of creating, those who create also learn how to use CAD (computer aided design) software, and how to work with coding and computers.

One of the projects they are most proud of is their involvement in the Vulcan1 rocket launch from May of this year. As a collaboration with the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) at UC San Diego, OSML’s lab was used as a resource to do a “cold flow” test of the team’s 20-foot-tall liquid-fueled rocket.

OSMLThe test utilized a steel-framed test rig, made by OSML’s Dan Hendricks and his daughter in a 14-hour project, to hold the object in place for a test of the rocket’s control valves and fluid systems. OSML also hosted a launch party at their lab for those who could not make it to the launch site, when Vulcan1 went airborne.

They had a few visitors for MFG Day 2016, including other businesses and a home-schooled family, which speaks to the future of the manufacturing industry. One of the members, an instructor from Kearney High School in San Diego County, reflected on how one of his former students, who is actually employed here at SFA as a technician, would have loved to come to this lab when he was growing up.

OSML is open evenings and weekends for makers of any age, with monthly membership prices varying from $60 a month to $140 a month. The lab has tools, equipment, work space, and other resources to bring their concept to life. Some of the tools available are CNC machines, 3D printers, laser cutters, a panel saw, soldering tools, a computer lab, and more. Membership includes (among access to tools) free classes, free parts and materials, project kit discounts, meet ups, free parking, free maker humor (as you can see in the photo to the left), and coffee with snacks.

See our photos from our OSML visit by clicking here.

To keep OSML thriving, as you can see what they look like on a weekend in this video, they are always in need of new members. They also would love a donation of an old Haas machine and are always open to suggestions on how to further help OSML.

For more information on OSML – go to OpenSourceMakerLabs.com, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter. You can also call them to ask how else you can contribute at (760) 998-1522.

Check out our NTMA San Diego Chapter page here. You can also contact Shop Floor Automations, a proud NTMA associate member, by calling (877) 611-5825 or reaching us on social media.