Industry 4.0 and the Rebirth of American Manufacturing Topic of Keynote Presentation
Your next work partner might be a robot that you have to program and repair as your customer live streams his parts order hitting the paint booth.
This near-future scenario is painted by Mike Nager, an electrical engineer and manufacturing systems guru, who is a keynote speaker presenting Industry 4.0 and the Rebirth of American Manufacturing at the Fourth Annual Nevada Economic Development Conference, Aug. 20-22, 2018 at the Atlantis Casino & Resort in Reno.
Nager has enabled U.S. manufacturers to compete on the world stage by providing them with advanced industrial controls and automation systems that increase productivity and reliability of the finished product.
Nager’s vision is especially timely for Nevada where the University of Nevada Las Vegas’ Lee Business School reports that manufacturing and logistics have grown two and a half times faster in the Silver State than in the rest of U.S.
“What’s new, and determining the growth of manufacturing in the United States and Nevada, are the new technologies and the challenge to train and educate the workforce needed to make this happen,” he says.
Nager will walk attendees through the manufacturing 4.0 work floor that sports collaborative robots and customer-transparent technology.
“There used to be a black hole on the production floor,” Nager says. “Data created in the plant couldn’t easily be shared with other departments, let alone the customer. Enabled by Industrial Ethernet systems customers can have greater visibility into the manufacturing process and see their products being made and tracked like a package from UPS or FedEx.”
With this powerful tool, manufacturers can get a better handle on enterprise resource planning and establish predictive maintenance programs which promise a spike and efficiency and productivity, he adds.
The typical robotic work floor features caged articulated robots welding, assembling, sealing, cutting, painting, and handling materials. Now robots are being uncaged and working with their human co-workers more interactively and increasing their access to the repetitive tasks they are built to handle, Nager says.
The changing work floor also means the need for a changing workforce.
“There is a greater awareness that companies and communities have to focus on technical education,” he says. “That education has to recognize that we cannot silo areas of expertise. The new technicians have to be well-versed in mechanics, IT, electronics, pneumatics and hydraulics to keep the assembly lines moving.”
Nager says the workers with these skills are finding entry levels jobs with salaries exceeding $50,000 annually, particularly in the southeast U.S. where numerous European manufacturers have put down roots.
Nager helps feed the workforce pipeline by volunteering with the IEEE Mini-Engineering Academy which gives students experience in the technical fields and has served as an advisory board member for educational institutions.
To learn more about Industry 4.0 and the new manufacturing work floor, register at www.nvedc.com. This event is recognized by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) as a professional development event that counts towards the recertification of Certified Economic Developers (CECDs).
Tracks for the Nevada Economic Development Conference Tuesday, Aug. 21 and Wednesday, Aug. 22, include Agribusiness, Economic Development, Manufacturing, Transportation/Infrastructure and Workforce Development. The $175 ($200 after July 6) cost before July 6 includes opening sessions, lunch with keynote speakers and Exhibit Hall Reception. A one-day conference pass is $125 ($150 after July 6).
A Pre-Conference Tour and workshop, Connecting Nevada to the Global Economy, on Aug. 20 will visit the SWITCH facility located at the Reno Tahoe Industrial Center. There is a separate registration fee of $75 for this portion of the conference ($100 after July 6) which includes lunch and transportation.