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Most sources indicate that manufacturing in the U.S. is on a very strong path right now. IMTS was a huge success, and research studies such as Gardner Business Media’s 30-Second Survey show a definite bias towards more capital equipment spending in the next 12 months. The growth of suppliers is also a very positive sign.
On October 5, cutting tool manufacturer Walter celebrated National Manufacturing Day with the inauguration of its new North America Technology Center in Waukesha, Wis. The 40,000-square-foot facility includes demonstration and application trial areas devoted to involving real-world applications to help educate customers, channel partners and employees on the company’s products. It also provides the cornerstone to further enhance Walter Multiply, the company’s competence brand that deals with service support to end users in the areas of planning, manufacturing, logistics, maintenance and training.
The event began with an introduction from Walter Americas President Muff Tanriverdi, who spoke briefly about the history of the company, which was founded in 1919. He explained that the company’s U.S. operations have experienced almost 35 percent growth each year since opening 12 years ago.
Mirko Merlo, president of Walter AG, while discussing the company’s decision to open the new tech center, explains, “As the economy continues to grow, it will require investment and innovation on our part, strong incentives on the government’s part, and cooperation on everyone’s part. We know it can be done. It has worked so far and will continue to do the same. We are investing in our customers and channel partners. If we are to succeed, we need them to succeed as well.”
Also speaking at the event was Wisconsin Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch. She emphasized the importance of facilities such as this in continuing to expand the educational opportunities in the field of manufacturing. “We have between 25,000 and 45,000 open jobs in this state every day, yet more than 100,000 people on unemployment,” she says. “The lack of skills is the problem. But we are implementing new solutions to fix this workforce paradox, or skills gap.”
Winding up the presentations was Peter Eelman, V.P. of exhibitions and communications for AMT-- the Association for Manufacturing Technology. Mr. Eelman explained that for the first time in 40 years, an economic recovery is being led by manufacturing, which has experienced a steady growth rate of 1 percentage point per month for the past 38 months. “Manufacturing is important to the overall economy because it serves innovation, increases global competitiveness, and creates stable, well paying jobs,” he says.