There are many opportunities that lie ahead for the manufacturing industry. These include disruptive processes such as additive manufacturing and the internet of things as well as newly created materials that bring substantial benefits to end users.
Along with these opportunities come challenges. Among them are an increasing demand for precision, the need to improve the speed of the additive process, the desire to increase throughput, and, of course, the need to do all this profitably. As if these manufacturing-based challenges weren’t enough, there are also outside issues that must be addressed, including a regulatory and policy environment that is not always supportive of manufacturing.
This special report is divided into five parts. The first examines forces at work in the economy. The four that follow examine the prospects for key segments of manufacturing.
These five articles are not intended to be a crystal ball in which the future may be seen clearly. Rather they are intended as a compass that indicates in which direction things are likely to head. There are too many events that are still outstanding as this is written that cloud the view inside a crystal ball. Among them is the US national election that will place a new president in the White House and could change the tone and tenor of one or both houses of Congress. Another impending decision that is likely to impact a broad swath of the economy is the late November meeting of OPEC that will determine if the oil cartel will limit production. Also pending is a decision by the Federal Reserve Board to raise or hold interest rates.