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November 2017

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"It is a Great Time to Be in Manufacturing"

ISCAR Metals headquarters in Arlington, TX

Rod Zimmerman, Vice President, ISCAR Metals

Rod Zimmerman, Vice President of ISCAR Metals, spoke recently at a National Tooling & Machining Association (NTMA) North Texas regional meeting.

The NTMA is an association of custom precision component manufacturers in the U.S. "Although many are small business owners, this sector generates more than $40 billion annually," said an NTMA spokesperson.

"We do a lot of training here at ISCAR," Zimmerman said. "Throughout the U.S., we train about 1,000 customers a year. Training is available to our customers, technical training, product knowledge . these things are always available," he added.

Zimmerman talked about the changes within the industry, the current state of manufacturing and the challenges facing today's job shop owners.

"The rate of change is accelerating," Zimmerman said.

Along with technological advances-from the invention of the telegraph to today's hand-held smartphones-he said demand in manufacturing industries is on the rise.

"One example is the aerospace industry," he said.

By 2040, the global aircraft fleet demand projects to double, according to reports. This will present a significant challenge for manufacturing to meet the demand.

Light vehicle production is another sector that has seen an increase.

"There is an investment from VW with a new plant in Tennessee," Zimmerman said.

Additionally, oil/gas production is on the rise because demand is rising worldwide. "World liquid fuels and consumption are going up," Zimmerman said.

"Just in the state of Texas, [oil and gas production] is bigger than Mexico and Canada combined. That's how much oil and gas production is going on in Texas alone," he said. "We have abundant reserves. Land-based is what you see right now.

"The only sector of oil/gas not increasing is deepwater rigs," he added.

Oil prices will have to rise in order to make this exploration more cost effective.

"Beyond oil and gas, if one compares durable good sales to cutting tool consumption, there is a direct correlation," he said. The chart Zimmerman showed to the crowd saw both sectors climbing.

"It is a great time to be in manufacturing," Zimmerman said.

Even so, the industry is not without its challenges. "Some of those challenges," he said, "include: prospering in a competitive environment, profit erosion, low cost labor markets, hiring qualified employees, training employees, industry stereotyping, government regulations, spindle uptime, equipment upgrades, difficult materials, rising costs and more."

Despite these challenges, Zimmerman points out that the U.S. is responsible for about 30% of manufacturing in the world, Europe comes in at 40% and Canada/Asia make up another 30%.

"Each job shop owner is concerned with price, tool life and productivity," he said.

"Investing in technological improvements today will lead to gains tomorrow," he said. "Rapid prototyping is essential, and 3-D printing makes that possible."

For more information contact:

ISCAR Metals, Inc.

300 Westway Place

Arlington, TX 76018


NTMA North Texas Chapter

P.O. Box 540576

Dallas, TX 75354


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