This week we were in attendance at the inaugural Advanced Manufacturing Conference here in Honolulu. The focus of this event was on advanced manufacturing technologies and companies that represent this growing industry. Below is a short summary of our experience at the conference with some of our thoughts on the subject sprinkled in.
Advanced manufacturing is reshaping the current manufacturing landscape. Industry leaders in Hawaii understand that major manufacturing shifts are taking place, and want to assist the local manufacturing community in harnessing and implementing these emerging technologies.
Focusing on Infrastructure
Currently the manufacturing community in Hawaii is still relatively small, but with a heightened focus on economic development, workforce development, energy infrastructure and policies there is significant growth potential. However, with growth comes challenges; high energy costs make it cost prohibitive to run power hungry equipment and without high-speed broadband manufacturing productivity is significantly hindered. These are certainly a couple issues that need to be addressed before Hawaii experiences a manufacturing “boom” per se.
Our local aerospace, aquaculture, astronomy, biomedical, robotics and scientific industries have a clear and defined path towards utilizing advanced manufacturing technologies. The internet of things (IoT), big data and additive manufacturing are just a few of the technologies that would not only increase efficiency for these businesses, but would enhance competitive advantages on a local, national and global scale as well.
Developing a Skilled Workforce
While we know that the manufacturing community here can grow, another major factor in that growth is workforce development. Access to skilled professionals is vital.
Supporting future workforce demands means that an increased focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education, at all grade levels, is necessary. Fostering children’s innate curiosity and encouraging them to search and discover on their own, develops the necessary STEM centered mindset. Access to STEM resources and technology in the classroom will also provide invaluable hands-on experience that over time translates into a high-tech workforce.
Skilled STEM professionals will be require to support advanced manufacturing technologies such as Programmable Logic Controller (PLC), Product Lifecycle Management solutions (PLM), automation/programming, design, robotics, software, and maintenance support.
High Technology Development Corporation (HTDC) has a plan to support and increase the human infrastructure by introducing a strategic plan called 80/80. This plan seeks to have 80,000 high technology jobs that pay $80,000+ per year by 2030.
Harnessing Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing) Technology
There is no doubt that additive manufacturing is synonymous with advanced manufacturing. Stratasys was in attendance and brought various samples of parts made with their wide array of additive manufacturing machines. With the continuous development of new materials and finishes, the application of 3D printing can continue its transition to additive manufacturing, and have a profound impact on product development, prototyping, and manufacturing sectors.
Businesses and leaders in Hawaii have the drive and desire to grow our local manufacturing and technology sectors. With continued support and focus on initiatives at all levels, these industries will not only grow but thrive, making Hawaii a technology and manufacturing hub.
We are eager to see what the future holds!
3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.