FABTECH, the largest metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing event in North America, has provided a ‘State of the Industry’ post which states how manufacturing in the US has successfully adapted to changes in customer needs and shifts in the competitor landscapes, while still focusing on profit margins and revenue growth.

The post explains that production in the US is estimated to grow 2.8% from 2018-2021 (a faster increase than other segments of the general economy), and that manufacturing continues to have an outsized influence on regional economies. According to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, manufacturing generates $1.40 in economic activity for every dollar put in.

At a session on the state of the industry at FABTECH 2017, the panel concurred that, barring any unforeseen developments, manufacturing will continue to be a healthy industry moving forward. The panellists also agreed that the United States’ “competitive position is improving in a global manufacturing market in the midst of a digital revolution.”

Along with this growth trajectory, there are a few lingering questions. For instance, as a result of the projected growth of manufacturing, the need for skilled workers in areas like metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing has also risen. Welding alone will need an estimated 90,000 welders around the country by 2024. Companies are actively working to address this. A National Association of Manufacturers report highlights how many organisations are successfully partnering with community colleges and high school career programmes to build a pipeline of future skilled workers. Other companies like GM are embracing new technologies and working to attract young engineers focusing on digital services.

metal working on lathe grinder

Along with the labour shortage, questions regarding American-made goods being reintroduced into export markets as well as end user motivation for products like cars are also being debated. In response to recent tariffs, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers – a trade association for producers like GM, Ford and Volkswagen – is working to educate the public and Congress on concerns surrounding these administrative actions.

“Industry professionals have questions about what the future holds, and we want to provide a place for them to find the answers and innovations they need to face the ever-changing manufacturing landscape,” stated John Catalano, SME Senior Director, FABTECH.

“FABTECH is dedicated to providing a platform for the industry to collaborate, discover innovation, share ideas and participate in education sessions that highlight solutions and tactics our attendees need to accelerate and grow their businesses,” Catalano continued.

These panel sessions at FABTECH 2018 will help shape the industry outlook in 2019:

  • Innovate, Accelerate and Advance Manufacturing on Tuesday, Nov. 6 at 12:30 p.m.
  • State of the Industry on Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 12:30 p.m.
  • Manufacturing and the New Generation Workforce on Thursday, Nov. 8 at 10:30 a.m.