If you’re reading this, you probably already know that RapidMade’s website has many informative resources on our custom manufacturing, engineering, and interactive marketing services. But did you also know that RapidMade has local sales representatives who assist our customers across the country? Our sales reps are ready to help your business start taking advantage of our rapid manufacturing solutions with dedicated local relationships.

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Now, we’re pleased to announce that we’re expanding our local services to the Midwest with the addition of our newest sales representative, Daniel Diekmann. Daniel will be available for customers in Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Tennessee and Kentucky. If you live in the Midwest and would like to talk to Daniel about working with RapidMade, give him a call at 503-751-2131 or email him at daniel@matterformgroup.com. You can see information for all of our sales representatives by clicking here.

Whether you are looking for 3D printing, thermoforming, machining or other services, RapidMade can help your business get the most from its products by providing faster manufacturing solutions at less cost. To get started with your project, get a custom quote in 24 hours or less with our easy-to-use quote tool.

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AuthorMicah Chaban
RapidMade CEO Renee Eaton

RapidMade CEO Renee Eaton

Kudos to Oregon Business Magazine for its feature, Women’s Work, which details the chronic gender gap that continues in manufacturing. The article is based on interviews with female professionals in trade organizations, manufacturing firms, and higher education.

Together they show how improving gender representation requires a concerted approach from across the industry to reshape an institutionalized culture of gender-based segregation and redefine archaic norms of what work women can and cannot do.

Strategies proposed include:

  • Advising businesses that diversity will ease the labor shortage and improve the bottom line.

  • Promoting manufacturing careers to female students and professionals.

  • Providing supportive networks, like Women in Manufacturing and Oregon Tradeswomen, to help women secure employment and businesses find and retain female employees.

  • Breaking down the “bro culture” prevalent in manufacturing.

RapidMade CEO Renee Eaton, a Women in Manufacturing chair of its Oregon chapter was among the women featured in the article. RapidMade is a Portland-based additive manufacturing (3D printing) and engineering services firm.

Growing up in Pittsburgh, if you weren't directly connected to the Steel industry, you complained about the rotten egg smell and pollution.  But when the industrial giants went silent in the 70s and 80s, the complaints shifted dramatically to the economic tragedy that was unfolding - the flight of life-long residents and well-paying jobs.   Rhetoric from the recent election aside, Pittsburgh's manufacturing base is both alive and well...

The Pittsburgh Regional Alliance (PRA) recently reported that in 2016 the manufacturing sector accounted for the most investment dollars ($6.1 billion), the most deals (50 companies expanding or relocating), and the most new and retained jobs (3,667).

But as we've continued to see, the type and number of jobs that have been created don't resemble those of the steel-era in any way.

“Manufacturing is the most active sector in southwestern Pennsylvania,” explains PRA President David Ruppersberger. “But as technology and automation continue to transform this legacy sector, the reality is that manufacturing facilities will be smaller-footprint, high-efficiency environments where fewer workers, with advanced skills including STEM proficiency, will produce more goods. This is a trend that won’t reverse at any time in the foreseeable future.”

Hearing of Pittsburgh's adoption of additive manufacturing and other advanced technologies is encouraging if the resulting economic turnaround benefits the greater community.

 

A recent Forbes article described a PwC report that detailed 7 ways manufacturing firms confide 3D printing helps thembecome more competitive.  They argue:

  1. Increasingly (71.1%), responding companies use the the technology for prototypes and final parts.
  2. Over half believe its use will be expanded to include high-volume production within 5 years.
  3. Surprisingly, only a quarter predict Additive Manufacturing will disrupt their supply chains in the short term.
  4. Almost 53% feel 3D printing will gain a greater foothold in the parts/products after-market.
  5. A majority (64%) anticipate Additive Manufacturing will be used to reproduce obsolete components.
  6. Of those organizations that already use 3D printing, more than half believe their peers will adopt the technology within 5 years.
  7. Firms continue to believe that technology costs and qualified labor shortages will slow greater adoption of 3D printing use.

To learn more about how additive manufacturing can help your company, contact RapidMade.

This week marks Maryland's 4th Annual Economic Development Week.  The commemoration was launched on Sunday by the Maryland Economic Development Association (MEDA) in Rocky Gap where it held its Conference & Showcase.  The two-day event focused on Advancing Manufacturing in Maryland.  In addition to featuring some of Made in Maryland's products, two keynote addresses detailed the trends of "Nextshoring" and "Reshoring."

Stree Ramaswamy, a Senior Fellow at the McKinsey Global Institute gave an update on the state of manufacturing in the U.S. and Maryland.  He suggested that, while the U.S. has recovered some of the manufacturing jobs lost in the past decade, Maryland has not been a beneficiary of these gains.  He believes one important factor in Nextshoring and Reshoring is the health of the supplier ecosystem - large manufacturers need local suppliers if they hope to bring back manufacturing.  He also argued that some possible interventions other countries have adopted could work here:  Singapore's investment in R&D, Germany's focus on worker training, China's decision to bring together suppliers and consumers through an on-line portal and Canada's creation of Technology Access Centers.

Sandy, Montalbano D'Amico, a consultant with the Reshoring Initiative, spoke about the hidden costs associated with offshoring.  She argued that firms need to consider the total costs incurred which include product quality, IP loss.  These types of challenges, when coupled with increases in overseas labor and transportation costs have led some firms to return to the U.S.

Recognizing the importance of Additive Manufacturing to Maryland's plan to improve its manufacturing base, there was a panel discussion on 3D printing:  Highlighting Innovation.  Jan Baum of 3D MD was the moderator.  Panelists Jeremy Wyckoff of Volvo Group Trucks, John Dankoof Danko Arlington Foundry and Guru Ram of Alio Designs talked about their use of 3D printing in their respective companies.

 

 

Now that 3D printing (additive manufacturing) has become the latest media darling, it's no surprise that this attention has awakened various national, state, and local authorities to its promise.  Yes, I follow these developments because I have a vested interest as someone who owns a 3D printing, engineering and manufacturing firm.  But part of my interest comes from growing up in a rust belt town once known as the "center of the universe" for steel manufacturing.  (Very few steel plants remain today).  Up the street (interstate) sits the New Stanton plant, so every time we drive between Baltimore and Pittsburgh, we pass the site. From the late 70s - late 80s, it housed a VW factory (a great coup for the state at the time) and afterward a Sony TV plant moved in and operated from the early 90s until 2008 when it also closed.  

We are too familiar with this scenario which has played out numerous times in every state. Products have life cycles.  Companies merge and consolidate.  Production shifts to locations with better labor and material costs.  So often public officials and civic leaders feel pressured to compete with one another to land the next big thing.  Is that N-B-T additive manufacturing? Maybe...

America Makes, a collaboration of government, business, academic and non-profit representatives promotes 3D printing innovation and resides in the heart of the Rust Belt.  Similar initiatives have since been launched...

An Illinois consortium was selected to lead The Digital Manufacturing & Design Innovation Institute.

The Lightweight & Modern Metals Manufacturing Innovation (LM3I) Institute will be directed by a Michigan-based consortium.

The Next Generation Power Electronics National Manufacturing Innovation Institute is comprised of a North Carolina-based consortium.

A competition is now underway (application deadline this week) to select a consortium for the Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Institute for Composites Materials and Structures.

And, not to be left behind, various counties, states and regions have joined pursuit.

Notice anything all these collaborations have in common?  Any west of the Mississippi?  I'm not saying there aren't any, but a quick internet search came up with none.  Nor do I begrudge the rust belt - as someone who managed and lived through a plant closing there, I support bringing back manufacturing jobs to the region.  And I live in Maryland, so obviously I'm excited about its promotion of 3D printing.  But as someone whose AM business is headquartered in Portland, Oregon (yes, it's a long commute), I don't want the Northwest to miss out. Because, at least for now, this emerging technology should generate enough opportunities for all.  The Northwest's demographics, location and passion for sustainability, collaboration, and creativity make it an ideal innovation hub.