Implementing A New Manufacturing Vision: Challenges, Mechanisms, Partnerships and Lessons Learned

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Wang, Ben
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What will the future of manufacturing look like 15 years from now? How does manufacturing stay competitive in the global economy? Dr. Ben Wang, Executive Director of the Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute discusses implementing a new manufacturing vision. Developed countries realize that a robust economy must have a strong manufacturing base. The service industry alone cannot sustain a long-lasting, prosperous economy. Globally, policy makers are redefining their macro-economic policies, including advanced manufacturing such as the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (USA), Industry 4.0 (Germany), MIC2025 (China), Catapult (UK), to name a few, in order to stay competitive in the global marketplace. With a renewed interest in manufacturing, we must first define the characteristics of the future of manufacturing. Manufacturing of the future will be built upon the following pillars: 1) advanced processes; 2) innovative materials; 3) disruptive business models of extended value chains; and 4) a skilled workforce. Manufacturing processes will no longer be limited to metal cutting or fabricating semiconductors; instead, nano-processing, bio-manufacturing and additive methods will increase in use. On the materials front, even though metals and alloys will continue to be a main material of choice, composites, nano-materials and bio-materials, including biological and stem cells, will be important as we move forward. It’s important to note that the line between manufacturing and the service industry is blurring. Ten or fifteen years from now, it would be hard to tell which company is in manufacturing or which company is in the service industry. Advanced manufacturing-supported services will be the hallmark of manufacturing. There are many challenges going forward, among which workforce development ranks number one. In the U.S. alone, at least two million manufacturing jobs cannot be filled due to a lack of skilled graduates, from two-year technical colleges all the way to post-doctoral personnel. Higher education institutions are adapting to the renewed interest in advanced manufacturing. The adjustments are not straightforward or easy. There are technical and cultural challenges. Dr. Ben Wang will share with faculty and students the challenges we will encounter, mechanisms we have already put in place, partnerships we have built, and lessons we have learned, as we march into the future of manufacturing.
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