Nanotechnology Now





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > A manufacturing renaissance for America?

Pills are fed through a sorter in a pharmaceutical manufacturing facility. New manufacturing methods in industries such as drug production may be a key to reviving the United States economy.
Pills are fed through a sorter in a pharmaceutical manufacturing facility. New manufacturing methods in industries such as drug production may be a key to reviving the United States economy.

Abstract:
At an MIT forum, experts examine new ways to pursue a good old idea: making things

By Peter Dizikes, MIT News Office

A manufacturing renaissance for America?

Cambridge, MA | Posted on April 1st, 2010

Over the last few decades, the sector of the U.S. economy devoted to manufacturing has lost ground to the services sector. The number of U.S. manufacturing jobs has declined from nearly 20 million in 1979 to about 12 million today. Yet as the recent global recession suggests, services can propel the economy only so far. There is no substitute for making tangible, useful products.

But what form will new kinds of manufacturing take? At an MIT roundtable discussion on Monday titled "The Future of Manufacturing — Advanced Technologies," more than a dozen of the Institute's faculty shared converging ideas about how to reinvigorate America's goods-producing businesses. The roundtable followed a broader campus forum hosted by MIT President Susan Hockfield on March 1, in which faculty members, some of whom also participated in Monday's discussion, offered ideas about how to strengthen America innovation and thus its overall economy. These meetings are part of a larger effort by MIT to contribute the Institute's expertise in emerging technologies and innovation policies to the national effort to revitalize the American economy.

Monday's discussion cast specific issues of manufacturing in the light of broad economic considerations. "To recover from the current economic downturn, it has been estimated that we need to create on the order of 17 million to 20 million new jobs in the coming decade," noted Hockfield in her opening remarks at the event, which was co-sponsored by the Council on Competitiveness, an industry group. "And it's very hard to imagine where those jobs are going to come from unless we seriously get busy reinventing manufacturing." That question should be of great concern to scientists and engineers — 64 percent of whom, Hockfield noted, are employed in the manufacturing sector.

Hockfield also directly addressed the commonly held notion that the United States cannot compete in manufacturing against low-wage countries, citing the success of Japan and Germany, both of which feature trade surpluses and high wages. "I take this as positive proof that building a strong advanced manufacturing sector is not impossible, but very much worth pursuing," Hockfield said. In addition to new business practices and continued strength in education, Hockfield added, "A key hope for progress lies in tapping unprecedented new manufacturing technologies."

Suzanne Berger, a professor of political science and author of How We Compete: What Companies Around the World Are Doing to Make It in Today's Global Economy, asserted that Americans need to be disabused of the notion that manufacturing is "a ‘sunset sector' that should be allowed to sink over the horizon." Increased productivity per worker means the United States still produces 22 percent of the world's goods, Berger noted, a figure that has been roughly constant for 30 years, and which makes the United States the world's top manufacturer. Yet the country "has failed to exploit new opportunities for exporting U.S. goods," she said. "The big problem is not that we can't compete with China on low wages," Berger added, but that the United States has "not developed enough kinds of manufacturing that could generate both high profits and also good jobs."

Material benefits

The roundtable discussion was organized into two consecutive panels, the first of which focused on innovation in materials science. Gerbrand Ceder, a professor in MIT's Department of Materials Science and Engineering (DMSE), outlined how a "Materials Genome Project" can catalogue the properties of known materials and allow designers to better model potential devices, thus accelerating product development. "Clearly there are some things that would be useful to apply in many types of manufacturing," Ceder noted.

Christine Ortiz, an associate professor also in DMSE, described her research group's efforts to study the nano-scale properties of "high-strength, lightweight, penetration-resistant" biological materials. Those properties could then be transferred to synthetic materials, expanding the range of products that can be manufactured through methods such as 3-D printing.

Charles Fine, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and Richard Roth, of the Engineering Systems Division, both discussed lightweight automobiles as an alternative to traditional vehicles and an area where the United State could re-establish a competitive advantage in manufacturing. "If we take on the hard challenges and succeed, it's not so easy to copy," Fine said. And as Roth noted, "Batteries are extraordinarily expensive," so new materials research leading to lighter cars would lower those costs by reducing vehicle battery size. In turn, that could make electric automobiles more affordable for consumers and a more appealing investment for manufacturers.

But the actual techniques of manufacturing are what most need to be reinvented, asserted Martin Culpepper, an associate professor in MIT's Department of Mechanical Engineering. Over the last 150 years, suggested Culpepper, heavy industry has refined large-scale production techniques effectively, and developed myriad tools suited to its needs. But businesses today must invent equally useful nanotechnology-based manufacturing techniques, he believes, allowing firms to better manipulate matter at the smallest scales in order to produce everything from new industrial materials to cutting-edge medicine.

"We don't have the tools and technologies right now to do a lot of nano-manufacturing in a really practical way," said Culpepper. Moreover, he believes, researchers today who want to commercialize lab discoveries underestimate the difficulties of "integrating the science and the [manufacturing] process … this is not a trivial thing."

Culpepper's own research group aims to create those kinds of small-scale manufacturing tools. Working with one bioscience research institute, he noted, they have been able to roll back the size boundaries of nano-scale DNA arrays, which could make drug production more efficient.

Still, these advances are also restricted, Culpepper said, by the limited number of people with a thorough knowledge of nano-scale manufacturing. "In my lab, it's like an apprenticeship," Culpepper said. "It takes a long time to learn how to do this stuff properly." Universities and their partners, he stated, need to help rectify this problem: "We would like to have more support for training."

Production values

The second panel discussion centered on technology advances for transforming production. Rodney Brooks of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory suggested it is increasingly hard for industry to find places that provide low-cost labor, meaning that U.S. firms should instead seek low-cost manufacturing technologies. Specifically, manufacturers who use robotics, Brooks said, have gotten "stuck in what was developed in the 1960s. There's very little integration of sensors and computation with these robots." As a result of this adherence to inflexible technology, Brooks added, "the integration cost of using robots in industry is 5 to 10 times the capital cost of the robots, and only makes sense if you do the same thing again and again."

Bernhardt Trout, a chemical engineering professor and director of the Novartis-MIT Center for Continuous Manufacturing, asserted that the traditional, small-molecule part of the pharmaceuticals industry — firms that make over-the-counter medicines, for instance — invest a "shockingly low" portion of their capital in further product development, instead reaping high profits from existing products, while basic manufacturing technologies have not changed for decades. Trout suggested a streamlined drug-approval process would help motivate industry innovation, but equally claimed the "financialization" of the industry has hurt product development; firms see themselves as "marketing and supply companies." Advances in academic research, Trout said, are thus especially critical if the industry is to move forward.

The rapid spread of manufacturing know-how has had double-edged effects, observed Sanjay Sarma, an associate professor of mechanical engineering. Profitable industries can now be located around the world, while multinational firms build global supply chains to move products in bulk. "The thing that really hurts manufacturing in the U.S. is the flattening effect that comes from economies of scale," Sarma said. In response, Sarma suggested domestic manufacturing can become lucrative with the use of "small-lot logistics," technologies that reduce production and transportation costs and can make many businesses, such as apparel firms, more viable.

However, making new manufacturing environmentally sustainable will be a large challenge, said Timothy Gutowski, also a professor of mechanical engineering. "Here's the problem: Underpriced ecosystem services provide a competitive advantage," said Gutowski, meaning that companies who extract natural resources cheaply still have edges in manufacturing. Cooperation between industry and government — and between governments — will be necessary to put new manufacturing on a sound environmental foundation.

Charles Cooney, a professor of chemical engineering moderating the second panel, concluded that three things are important to improving U.S. manufacturing: an understanding of systems thinking, which can help create new, possibly local and regional forms of manufacture and distribution; a recognition that sound public policy will be a necessary part of new development; and a multi-agency approach to science and technology funding, to improve the odds that more forms of research will move from the lab to the factory.

####

About MIT
The mission of MIT is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century — whether the focus is cancer, energy, economics or literature.

For more information, please click here

Copyright © MIT

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Global Nano-Enabled Packaging Market For Food and Beverages Will Reach $15.0 billion in 2020 May 26th, 2015

Dr.Theivasanthi Slashes the Price of Graphene Heavily: World first & lowest price – Nano-price (30 USD / kg) of graphene by nanotechnologist May 26th, 2015

Fine-tuned molecular orientation is key to more efficient solar cells May 26th, 2015

DNA Double Helix Does Double Duty in Assembling Arrays of Nanoparticles: Synthetic pieces of biological molecule form framework and glue for making nanoparticle clusters and arrays May 25th, 2015

Jobs

New ASTM Standards Will Help Educate Present and Future Nanotechnology Workforces April 26th, 2015

SUNY Poly & M+W Make Major Announcement: Major Expansion To Include M+W Owned Gehrlicher Solar America Corporation That Will Create up to 400 Jobs to Develop Solar Power Plants at SUNY Poly Sites Across New York State March 26th, 2015

Is US immigration policy 'STEMming' innovation? Study sheds light on why foreign STEM students stay in US or return home March 11th, 2015

Nanotech Discoveries Move from Lab to Marketplace with Lintec Deal: Licensing Partnership Brings Together University Technology, New Richardson-Based Facility Directed by Alumni February 9th, 2015

Academic/Education

SUNY Poly CNSE and NIOSH Launch Federal Nano Health and Safety Consortium: May 20th, 2015

New JEOL E-Beam Lithography System to Enhance Quantum NanoFab Capabilities May 6th, 2015

FEI Partners With the George Washington University to Equip New Science & Engineering Hall: Suite of new high-performance microscopes will be used for cutting-edge experiments at GW’s new research facility April 29th, 2015

Renishaw Raman systems used to study 2D materials at Boston University, Massachusetts, USA. April 28th, 2015

Nanomedicine

DNA Double Helix Does Double Duty in Assembling Arrays of Nanoparticles: Synthetic pieces of biological molecule form framework and glue for making nanoparticle clusters and arrays May 25th, 2015

Nanostructures Increase Corrosion Resistance in Metallic Body Implants May 24th, 2015

Iranian Scientists Use Magnetic Field to Transfer Anticancer Drug to Tumor Tissue May 24th, 2015

New Antibacterial Wound Dressing in Iran Can Display Replacement Time May 22nd, 2015

Materials/Metamaterials

Dr.Theivasanthi Slashes the Price of Graphene Heavily: World first & lowest price – Nano-price (30 USD / kg) of graphene by nanotechnologist May 26th, 2015

DNA Double Helix Does Double Duty in Assembling Arrays of Nanoparticles: Synthetic pieces of biological molecule form framework and glue for making nanoparticle clusters and arrays May 25th, 2015

Engineering Phase Changes in Nanoparticle Arrays: Scientists alter attractive and repulsive forces between DNA-linked particles to make dynamic, phase-shifting forms of nanomaterials May 25th, 2015

Nanostructures Increase Corrosion Resistance in Metallic Body Implants May 24th, 2015

Announcements

Global Nano-Enabled Packaging Market For Food and Beverages Will Reach $15.0 billion in 2020 May 26th, 2015

Dr.Theivasanthi Slashes the Price of Graphene Heavily: World first & lowest price – Nano-price (30 USD / kg) of graphene by nanotechnologist May 26th, 2015

Fine-tuned molecular orientation is key to more efficient solar cells May 26th, 2015

DNA Double Helix Does Double Duty in Assembling Arrays of Nanoparticles: Synthetic pieces of biological molecule form framework and glue for making nanoparticle clusters and arrays May 25th, 2015

Tools

This Slinky lookalike 'hyperlens' helps us see tiny objects: The photonics advancement could improve early cancer detection, nanoelectronics manufacturing and scientists' ability to observe single molecules May 23rd, 2015

Nanometrics Announces Live Webcast of Upcoming Investor and Analyst Day May 20th, 2015

Taking control of light emission: Researchers find a way of tuning light waves by pairing 2 exotic 2-D materials May 20th, 2015

DELMIC announces a workshop hosted by Phenom World on Integrated CLEM to be held on Wednesday June 24th at the Francis Crick Institute (Lincoln Inn Fields Laboratory). May 19th, 2015

Industrial

Dr.Theivasanthi Slashes the Price of Graphene Heavily: World first & lowest price – Nano-price (30 USD / kg) of graphene by nanotechnologist May 26th, 2015

Wearables may get boost from boron-infused graphene: Rice U. researchers flex muscle of laser-written microsupercapacitors May 18th, 2015

ORNL demonstrates first large-scale graphene fabrication May 14th, 2015

Nano-policing pollution May 13th, 2015

Events/Classes

Haydale Named Lead Sponsor for Cambridge Graphene Festival May 22nd, 2015

Aspen Aerogels to Present at the Cowen and Company Technology, Media & Telecom Conference May 21st, 2015

Directa Plus in Barcelona to present the innovative project GEnIuS for oil spills clean-up activities: The company has created a graphene-based product for the remediation of water contaminated by oil and hydrocarbons May 21st, 2015

Nanometrics Announces Live Webcast of Upcoming Investor and Analyst Day May 20th, 2015

Nanobiotechnology

DNA Double Helix Does Double Duty in Assembling Arrays of Nanoparticles: Synthetic pieces of biological molecule form framework and glue for making nanoparticle clusters and arrays May 25th, 2015

Engineering Phase Changes in Nanoparticle Arrays: Scientists alter attractive and repulsive forces between DNA-linked particles to make dynamic, phase-shifting forms of nanomaterials May 25th, 2015

This Slinky lookalike 'hyperlens' helps us see tiny objects: The photonics advancement could improve early cancer detection, nanoelectronics manufacturing and scientists' ability to observe single molecules May 23rd, 2015

Supercomputer unlocks secrets of plant cells to pave the way for more resilient crops: IBM partners with University of Melbourne and UQ May 21st, 2015

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More










ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project