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Tooling U-SME Blog

While still early stage, manufacturers are seeing the necessity of implementing a Smart Manufacturing strategy for benefits including increased efficiency, improved quality, shorter cycle times, increased innovation, and cost reduction.

As explained in SME’s first of three Smart Manufacturing Reports, Smart Manufacturing: A Competitive Necessity, the same technical revolution underway at home—with smart devices like Amazon’s intelligent personal assistant Alexa to play a favorite song or change the temperature—is taking place in the manufacturing facility.
Lean has long been associated with manufacturing, and in particular, the automotive industry. But since it was first introduced decades ago, industries of all types have begun to understand that the basic premises of lean — continuous improvement and delivering maximum value while minimizing waste — are beneficial in manufacturing and far beyond.
This week, the inaugural Smart Manufacturing Experience event takes place April 30-May 2 at the Boston Convention Center. Thousands of manufacturers are joining to learn more about how to strategically — and practically — thrive during this digital revolution.
Sarah Boisvert is the Founder and CEO of Fab Lab Hub, a part of the international Fab Lab Network based at MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms in Cambridge MA. She is the co-founder of Potomac Photonics, Inc., a laser micro machining company in Maryland that she and partners sold in 1999.
When it comes to job openings for maintenance and repair workers, welding is one of the top four skills requested, according to Burning Glass TechnologiesLabor Insight Jobs report.

That’s not surprising since the welding industry is expected to face a shortage of 400,000 operators by 2024, our partners at the American Welding Society tell us. This is primarily due to the aging population of current welders and a skills gap of qualified employees to fill open positions.
When I think about robots, a few things come to mind: Automation, smart manufacturing, artificial intelligence, R2-D2, WALL-E and better opportunities for workers. Robots have clearly impacted pop culture, but also many industries throughout the U.S. including agriculture, healthcare, defense, and manufacturing. This week, April 7-15, we celebrate National Robotics Week (#RoboWeek) to acknowledge the importance of the robotics industry, especially in relation to manufacturing.