Advanced Manufacturing Is Growing and Creating New Jobs
What is Advanced Manufacturing?
Our country has a long history of manufacturing, and over those years, a lot has changed. Today, advanced manufacturing relies on high-tech tools and skilled labor to make everything from medical devices to parts for jet engines. At an advanced manufacturing facility, you are more likely to see young people writing code to operate automated machinery and designers using high-tech software than to see an assembly line of workers doing the same repetitive task day-in and day-out. So what is advanced manufacturing? This post will give you a little history and show you how the industry has grown in New Hampshire.
History of Advanced Manufacturing
Fifty years ago, manufacturing was divided into two categories. Traditional manufacturing was the term used to describe the manufacturing of hard products, like automobiles, farm equipment, steel, and industrial machinery. Advanced manufacturing was emerging at this time as the manufacturing of process technologies that use automation, control systems, high-precision, and computer technologies to create products. These advances allowed for custom manufacturing and scalability in manufacturing. Advanced technology grew as computers became more powerful and technological advances created new opportunities to develop high-tech products on a large scale. It is used widely across the country in the defense, automotive, and aerospace industries, just to name a few.
To be considered advanced manufacturing, the facility must use computer programs or other controls to run the manufacturing process. It must also create a uniform, consistent product using high-tech machines that can be quickly reconfigured to make different products. These features allow manufacturers to respond to customers needs and offer a broader range of products without making considerable investments in new machinery, assembly lines, or factory buildings. Another benefit of advanced manufacturing is the ability to improve on the process continually. Companies can keep reviewing the process to reduce waste, which is better for the environment and encourages workers to be creative and more engaged in the job.
The Future Of Advanced Manufacturing
Advanced manufacturing will continue to play a significant role in the nation's economy as approximately 25% of the manufacturing workforce is nearing retirement. Young workers with engineering, computer, science and math skills will be needed to fill the jobs of those retiring as well as new jobs created as the industry continues to grow. There is strong evidence that growth will continue. Over 300,000 new jobs in advanced manufacturing were created between 2011 and 2015, which is nearly half of all new manufacturing jobs.
In New Hampshire and across the country, colleges and universities are creating training programs to meet this great need for workers. Economic and workforce development organizations are all putting out the call for workers willing to learn and innovate. Communities are eager to see growth in advanced manufacturing because these jobs have competitive wages, excellent benefits, and contribute significantly to the local economy.
Advanced Manufacturing Is Green Technology
One of the most exciting aspects of advanced manufacturing is the role it plays in green technology and addressing the need to reduce carbon emissions. New energy technologies, smart grids, microgrids, and the demand for clean energy technology are driving innovation and are expected to create opportunities for workers with strong skills in energy management. Advanced manufacturing facilities are focused on reducing waste, lower energy usage, and keeping processes as efficient as possible. Lower energy consumption and reducing materials used lead to lower carbon emissions, as well as reducing costs for the company. Besides workers on the manufacturing floor, companies will also need scientists and engineers to develop technologies that use innovative materials and processes to increase operating efficiency in new and modernized facilities.
Advanced Manufacturing Jobs
Did you know that one-in-six private-sector jobs involve manufacturing? People trained in jobs like engineers, machinists, machine operators, and computer manufacturing will see a boost in demand for their services in the next few years. For those looking for a secure future and job security, advanced manufacturing is a rapidly growing career field that has the potential to provide long-term employment.
Starting a Career in Advanced Manufacturing in New Hampshire
For those interested in a career in manufacturing but lack the skills, Manchester Community College offers an Advanced Manufacturing Technology Program provides training in this industry. Training shows students how manufacturing processes play out, from design to manufacture to delivery to the customer. Each student learns how a complete system is tied together to produce a high-quality product at a low cost. Some of the topics covered include using robotic automation, modular work cells, assembly stations, storage locations, machining centers, welding centers, and painting stations. Students need only have completed high school algebra I and II to enroll.
There are many opportunities for young people to get involved in advanced manufacturing, and with considerable career growth on the horizon, now is the time to do it.