February 27, 2010
What are the most powerful, the most disruptive new paradigm-shifting technologies for manufacturing?
That’s a harder question to answer than what people realize, and many people would answer it differently. I’m going to answer it myself in this article, slanted toward welding. But the biggest power of the question lies in the searching and the analysis, because ultimately that’s not the question that needs answered. The question that any leading company executive or engineering manager really needs to answer is this one:
“Which new paradigm-shifting technologies can I take full “disruptive” advantage of in my marketplace segment or new segments?”
Answering that question effectively requires research and analysis, as well as a keen visionary eye. Because in evaluating a new technology for feasibility and disruptive profit potential, you must accurately envision what can realistically be, not what already is. Essentially, you must think innovatively.
Take for example, this recent article in Fabricating & Metalworking on Hybrid Laser Arc Welding (HLAW) as “the future of welding”, which leads off with this statement:
“This innovative technology is the most disruptive in a generation, leading some to believe hybrid laser arc welding will be a core welding process in the next five to ten years.” Read the rest of this entry »
February 27, 2009
These are days in American and world history of unprecedented business pressures and explosive economic upheaval. There are so many unknowns and variables that even the best “crystal balls” look cloudy. Yet there remains some general agreement from those who analyze international manufacturing trends and competition, that in the end, companies who are best able to harness flexible high-performance automation will come out the winners and leaders in 21st century manufacturing.
Many companies manufacture welded assemblies, but precious few realize that even in product design, quoting and launch, their entire business is wrapped up in selling their expertise at manufacturing welded assemblies: having never realized this, they have never sought and developed true expertise in high-profit welding – yet it’s their most complex core process. Instead, over 90% of companies (and too many welding engineers) are content to merely enable the welding processes, oblivious to the potential to achieve 40-95% improvements in them. The few competitors who grasp this potential can leverage an advantage that’s as great or greater than union vs union-free manufacturing.
For a moment, consider one picture of an ideal profitable company of the future: working as a team who is sharply focused on applying formidable expertise in the mechanisms, controls, and processes of flexible welding automation, supporting a structure that enables Continuous Improvement and “closes the loop” of design, launch and manufacturing.
To do this well will require assembling a team of technical expertise that is fully capable of effective CI, DFM, and DFSS thinking in every core discipline. The critical essentials that are perhaps most often overlooked are a smart controls engineer and a smart welding engineer (SWE). And “closing the loop” requires leadership with the experience to shape a team and craft mechanisms that can move past the traditional hurdles that are so commonplace in industry. Accomplishing this, bridging this chasm between design and production, has been my passion. So I believe that it could be worth millions to your company to consider some of my perspectives. Read the rest of this entry »