MFG Day 2013 is Here!

MFG Day 2013 is Here!We’ve been talking about it for weeks, and it’s finally here: MFG Day 2013!

Manufacturing day this year–the second year in a row–really represents what we stand for here at NeMAC: manufacturing education, a stress on the importance of STEM skills, and really, an investment into manufacturing’s future.

We’re proud that Nebraska is stepping up for MFG Day 2013 (there are a slew of events being hosted by Nebraska manufacturers for manufacturing day), and we’re proud to be a part of the day ourselves.

If you can, we recommend getting out and seeing some of the factory tours going on later today. And if you can’t make it out to those factory tours, fear not–there are a lot of other ways to get involved with MFG Day 2013.

To do our part to help get everyone excited about manufacturing today, we thought we’d compile a list of the coolest things happening in manufacturing right now. Here are our 5 favorite things happening across the industry:

  1.  3D Printing, In Space! A while ago, NASA unveiled plans to put a 3D printer on the International Space Station. The 3D printer, scheduled to go up next year, will help astronauts produce small parts that would otherwise have to be shuttled up via rocket–hardly a cheap endeavor. This is a big step forward for 3D printing as a technology, and it’s just plain cool to see 3D printing in space!
  2. Robots Alongside Humans. For a long time, it was just plain unsafe for humans to work alongside robots. They were clumsy, dangerous, and perhaps even unpredictable in the event of an error. But in South Carolina at a BMW plant, BMW is trying out new robotics technology which allows robots to work alongside humans. This means good things for emerging technology, and obviously makes today’s factories much more safe. Who couldn’t support that?
  3. Bioprinting. Another awesome 3D printing-related technology? Bioprinting. Bioprinters “artificially construct living tissue by outputting layer-upon-layer of living cells,” and they’ve already been used to print things like bone replacements. This technology is still in its infancy, but we expect big things for bioprinting as it continues to see more widespread use.
  4. Maker’s Row. For anyone interested in starting a business, a new organization called Maker’s Row is striving to make the manufacturing process simple to understand and easy to access. We like the organization itself a lot, but we like what they represent even more: that manufacturing now is more accesible than ever, and that there are tremendous opportunities in manufacturing for anyone willing to invest time.
  5. Fab Labs. Fab Labs, which we wrote about Wednesday, are new shops popping up all around the country which provide anyone the opportunity to get hands-on experience with manufacturing tools and equipment. There aren’t any Fab Labs in Nebraska just yet (we hope to see one open up soon), but the fact that Fab Labs even exist shows that there are a lot of people out there interested in manufacturing who want to spread the word.

Getting people interested in manufacturing is absolutely essential to the future of the manufacturing industry, and the economy as a whole. The more we can get people educated about just how great manufacturing is today, the better! And manufacturing day strives to do just that.

We hope that our list here today has you thinking about manufacturing, and wondering how it may fit into your future education and career plans. But remember: the effort to help educate young people about manufacturing doesn’t end after today. We all have to make this a group effort if we want the industry to continue to be the best that it can be.

So what do you think? How are you celebrating MFG Day 2013? What’s your favorite part about manufacturing today, and what would you like to see change in the future? We want to encourage good conversations about manufacturing on this manufacturing day, so please let us know your thoughts, and reach out to us in the comments or on Twitter!

Photo credit: MFG Day 2013