Friday, November 30, 2012

Top Five Twitter Posts: Linear Guides, Manufacturing Jobs and Mass-Produced Carbon Fiber

We're on the last leg of the second-to-last month of 2012. Can you feel the time slipping past us? This has always been a busy time of year for us, planning the next year's trade shows, gearing up for a new calendar and wrapping up loose ends before the holidays. But that doesn't mean we don't have time to scope the Twitterscape for some interesting industry news for you to peruse. Here's our latest collection of Twitter gems. Stay posted on what we're up to in the future by following us at @BWCnews!

1. Bishop-Wisecarver Introduces QuickTrak Linear Guides on We announced this week that we now offer a line of modular linear guide components and sub-assemblies we call QuickTrak® Linear Guides. These guides help manufacturers and automation solution providers put together machines with guided motion systems quicker and easier. To cite our Vice President of Engineering Ali Jabarri, it's basically an industrial-grade erector set! So many possibilities!

2. BWC is Hiring via Our company is growing. Part of that growth means we need more people on board to help roll us into the future. We're hiring a sales manager, a marketing analyst, a materials planner and an applications engineer. To read descriptions of each job, click through the link. We look forward to receiving your applications!

3. Makers Row — a Database of Manufacturers on Fast Company: Imagine you have an inventive idea and need a specific component to make it a reality. Say it's a belt or a guided motion system. But how do you find the people who make it? That's where Makers Row comes in. It's an online database of American manufacturers. It's like a one-stop shop for U.S. makers. Definitely take a minute to see what we're talking about — a great resource, and it's free!

4. Manufacturing Advances Bring Carbon Fiber Closer to Mass Production on Auto Blog: There wasn't a single breakthrough but a combination of advances that could make man an automaker's dream of mass producing carbon fiber come true. The raw material costs and slow manufacturing cycle has historically kept the product on the pricey side... until now! Click through to find out just why the cost of it's on the decline.

5. Staples Launches "Easy 3D" Printing Service via Fast Company: And it's just in time for some awesome holiday parties, the article notes. Additive manufacturing is about to debut at select Staples now that the company's partner Mcor announced the launch of Staples Easy 3D. If you're in Belgium or Holland, you can expect to see the service by early next year!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Bishop-Wisecarver Faces on MD&M West Website

In lieu of a Motion Monday post, we wanted to share some good news! Our eyes lit up last week when we spotted two Bishop-Wisecarver faces on the MD&M West website promoting the 2013 trade show. Check it out for yourself! The marketing manager and project engineer are photographed with our rotary motion guide booth demo. The photo taken earlier this year at the February event. The ring guide was accompanied by a brightly colored heart model, all of which caught the show floor photographer's eye.

To learn more about this PRT2 Precision Ring and Track application example, check out this great video interview with Brian Burke by the Design World team in their 2012 MDMwest coverage [ WATCH VIDEO ]

The video highlights a medical industry imaging application with a simulated camera package and a model heart as the subject target. This application utilizes 180-degree ring segments of HepcoMotion PRT2 product line mounted to linear guides from the LoPro product line.

The video also showcases the DualVee washdown wheel in a high pressure water spray environment. The washdown wheel is an ideal solution for the food packaging and processing industries.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Top Five Twitter Posts: Being Thrifty, the 'Barbie Box' and a Manufacturing Renaissance

Turkey Day has come and gone, and we hope you had a filling feast with your friends and loved ones. Despite this being a holiday week, so many interesting conversations held our attention on Twitter. Though we specialize in manufacturing guided motion technologies like linear slides and rotary guides, so many advancements in science and industry capture our attention. Here's a sample of what made us pause and think on Twitter this week. Keep up with the action in real time by following us at @BWCnews! Enjoy your leftovers!

1. A New Era of Thrift on Manufacturing Executive blog: Could the recent recession and a continued weak economy have created a new era of penny pinchers? If so, what implication could that have on the manufacturing sector? Columnist Chris Chiampinelli asks that question in a blog post he published this week. He says, "I think it will. And the consequence will be a new era of thrift. We’ve seen it even in the quarterly numbers of the software providers we cover. Businesses are looking to patch what they have instead of buying up to the latest release. Consumers, too" What do you think? Do you believe that consumers are less likely to spend, even with an uptick in economic vitality?

2. Stanford Engineer Gets Girls Thinking Outside the 'Barbie Box' on Deseret News: A lot of ink, digital and actual, has been spilled over the question of how to attract more children to the wonder of engineering and manufacturing. But what about girls, specifically? What toys, media and marketing has been directed toward the young female demographic to ignite their interest in "making things?" One Stanford grad developed a tactile answer to that in the form of a new kind of toy, one that's appealing to girls without degrading them to purely pop culture and fashionista-flavored interests.

3. A Manufacturing Renaissance on National Association of Manufacturers: As the manufacturing industry debates over how to revive domestic manufacturing, no matter how interconnected the industry is to the larger global economy, NAM has published a report that crystalizes some ideas into four simple points about how to ressurect U.S. industry. We tweeted a link to the report and even blogged about the topic earlier this week. We'd love to hear your thoughts about it!

4. A Journalist Tries to Debunk the Manufacturing Workforce Shortage on Manufacturing Executive blog: So many stories pop up about the shortage of skilled workers compared to the need for them in the manufacturing sector. But is the discrepancy as severe as it's been reported? Some journalists beg to differ. Then again, there's always a rebuttal. Here's a good distillation of the discussion right here. Does the reported shortage affect your business? How severe is the shortage to your company? Myth or fact?

5. The Potential of Data and Human Capital to Change the World on Fast Company: For the first time in history, we have massive amounts of data at our fingertips. We can connect millions of peopel through the internet. We can exchange ideas in a way we've never been able to interact before. It's a crazy advanced time to innovate, to brainstorm. Fast Company this week published a blog post on exactly how valuable a resource we have in that interconnectivity. What about you — has that availability of human resource, of data, helped advance your own research? What does that mean for manufacturing?

Monday, November 19, 2012

#MotionMonday: Is Manufacturing Dead? Far From It, NAM Says

AN INDUSTRY RENAISSANCE – Companies who make things are what drives a country's economy. It's production that generates jobs and galvanizes the economy so that policymakers can drive down the national debt. Since so much rests on the fate of manufacturing in the United States, lots of ink has been spilled and airtime spent on the subject this year. NBC's Rock Center with Brian Williams ran a special earlier this month that addressed what it called a manufacturing renaissance in domestic manufacturing.

"The United States may have shifted to a postindustrial economy," the report begins, "but that does not mean the manufacturing sector is dead. Far from it."

A definite revival is underway, and although we need it, do we have the skilled workforce to take this on?

"From coast to coast, manufacturers are making more products, but with fewer people, as the sector makes an improbable rebound right after a tough recession."

MANUFACTURING HOPE FOR THE FUTURE – The National Association of Manufacturers, NAM, is very passionate about this topic. Chairwoman Mary Andringa also appeared on William's show to talk about the bright future of our industry sector.

"I think it's a time of great opportunity in manufacturing," she tells Williams before enumerating some reasons why. She points out:
  • The U.S. output $4.8 trillion of manufactured goods in 2010, up from $4.1 trillion in 2000
  • That growth came despite the nation going through two recessions in a decade
  • The U.S. remains in the lead by producing 21 percent of the world's manufactured goods, followed by China and Japan
Manufacturing also remains a bright spot in our economic recovery," NAM writes on a recent blog post, "fighting against unprecedented headwinds to hire skilled workers and invest in high tech facilities."

[ NAM published a guide to this manufacturing renaissance here, FREE to download! ]

"There's a renaissance going on," Andringa says.

CHANGES AHEAD – The story reports that it's obvious manufacturing has changed, evolving to become more high-tech. It's grown up in a lot of ways, NAM says, reworking itself to become cleaner, more efficient, more in line with principles of lean manufacturing. And increasingly, it's become a sector on which the public pins a lot of potential, a lot of hope for a better tomorrow.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Top Five Twitter Posts: High-Tech High School Diplomas, Space Junk Trackers and Zombies

From space junk orbiting the Earth to zombies that walk it, it's been a week of motion without limits for this manufacturer of linear slides and rotary guides. We're fascinated with almost everything related to science, engineering, technology, math and more, so follow us on Twitter to learn more about the news we share and the exciting stories making headlines all around the world. Have a great weekend!

1. NASA's 3D-Printing Rocket Parts Might Boost Larger Manufacturing Trend on Modern Science: NASA's working on its first heavy-lift booster rocket since Saturn 5, the one launched in 1967 to jet astronauts to the moon. The under-development Space Launch System will not only make history in the annals of American spaceflight, it could also become a bellwether for a specific technology that could boost U.S. manufacturing, according to this article. Click through to find out what technology they're talking about.

2. New High School Diplomas Promote High-Tech Industries via Press Connect: A New York senator came up with a plan to create high school diplomas for upstate students who focus on high-tech and manufacturing-related studies. The article says that "goal is to increase high school graduation rates and connect New Yorker’s with jobs in manufacturing, nanotechnology and biosciences by training them to fill positions in the emerging fields." Makes sense to us!

3. U.S. Military Enlists Amateurs to Track Space Junk via Mashable: Think of it as a "far-out neighborhood watch," says this news brief about a new program the military rolled out that asks the public to help pinpoint space junk floating around out there. It's a project the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency calls SpaceView. Interesting news considering the topic of crowdsourcing has been on our minds lately, too.

4. Zombies, Twitter and Braaiiins: the Neuroscience of 'The Walking Dead' via Fast Company: A bunch of volunteers got hooked up to brain scanners while watching AMC's popular zombie apocalypse show The Walking Dead so researchers could understand a little more about why the show's fans react the way they do on social media and which scenes spark the most neural activity. No, the story says, AMC did not sponsor this study.

5. Free Guided Motion Technology User Manuals on Did you know there's a library of information about our guided motion technologies available online for you to download for free? From white papers and user manuals to FAQ features and catalogs, we've got a lot to share. Couldn't find what you're looking for? Use the "Ask Us" page or call in directly to speak with an applications engineer one-on-one.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Veterans Close the Manufacturing Skills Gap #MotionMonday

FIGHTING FOR JOBS — The national conversation about manufacturing always circles back to the skills gap, the disparity between job opportunities in the industry and the number of qualified workers to staff these openings. We hear a lot in the news about efforts being made to interest our future workforce in science, technology, engineering and math careers, so the gap doesn't grow any wider. But what about right now? What can we do in the present to staff our manufacturing workforce? Is there an untapped market of potential employees we're overlooking?

Yes: U.S. military veterans. And a handful of major corporations have made a concerted effort to recruit them into high-paying jobs, accomplishing the twofold aim of beefing up the manufacturing workforce and providing ex-military men and women with great job opportunities. On the tail-end of this Veterans Day weekend, we think it's a fitting time to spotlight that effort.

FROM WAR TO WORK — The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) nonprofit educational branch, the Manufacturing Institute, is spearheading the effort to match up manufacturers with a skilled veteran workforce, according to USA Today. The four companies to so far join in that effort include utility giant General Electric, aluminum makers Alcoa and defense contractors Lockheed Martin and Boeing, which together plan to hire 15,000 veterans. The goal is to bump that number up to 100,000 if they enlist more support from other companies, the article says.

"The timing is perfect to ... marry those two things together," GE's program manager of veteran initiatives Kris Urbauer tells USA Today. "The opportunity to grow manufacturing in the U.S., with this great talent pool kind of leading the charge, is, I think, the perfect confluence."

The four companies that dove in first with this initiative will match military skills with civilian manufacturing work, train veterans and share ideas about how to best recruit and keep ex-military employees, NAM says.

About 600,000 manufacturing positions in the country remain understaffed  according to NAM. And the typical manufacturing worker's age has shifted up to 50, Mike Haynie, head of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracus, tells USA Today.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Top Five Twitter Posts: A Machinist's Tattoo, Engineering School and Movember Mustaches

Wow, was this week not a rush or what? Elections, expectations and aftermath analysis ... it's all taking the nation, and Twitter, by storm. But we still kept an eye on manufacturing news. In this week's edition, we bring you some of the more notable examples here in our weekly Twitter post. Feel free to suggest stories for next week's installment, or just tweet us at @BWCnews!

Credit: Modern Machine Shop
1. Shop Owner's Tattoo Honors the Machinist Who Taught Him on Modern Machine Shop blog: We had to give this story pause because it's so touching. A young machine shop owner shared his story about how he grew up learning how to operate machinery and CNC equipment from his dad. Eventually, he grew up and started his own shop. But he didn't forget his roots — the younger machinist went under the needle to get a full sleeve tattoo in honor of his family's machine shop heritage. Like father, like son!

2. 50 of the Best Engineering Universities in the World on Engineering Daily: MIT, Stanford and Cambridge top this list originally compiled by U.S. News, which grades colleges and universities on a scale of 1 to 100. "These are the world's top universities for mechanical, aeronautical, and manufacturing engineering," U.S. News says. You can see the methodology they used to determine that here.

Credit: BWC
3. Celebrating Movember with Mo the Linear Guide Wheel on Pinterest: Curious about why you're seeing more men with mustaches lately? It's part of a global effort to raise awareness about men's health ... and a fun reason for gentlemen around the world to sport a new style. Check out the 'stache our mascot Mo's donning for the rest of the month. Lookin' good, Mo!

4. Engineering Equations on Did you know we have an online toolkit of equations to help engineers use our linear slides and rotary guides? This page lists unit conversion and engineering formulas, so feel free to make the most of them when spec'ing your next linear or rotary motion component! If you need assistance, don't hesitate to reach one of our application engineers at 888-580-8272.

5. Manufacturing Survey: Outlook Mixed, But Hiring a Bright Spot on Manufacturing Executive Blog: A study that polled nearly 60 manufacturing executives found that most of them had low expectations for U.S. manufacturing in the next year because of a declining demand for goods. But they held higher hopes for the global economy, the survey said. “What it really tells you is that there is a lot of uncertainty,” said Bobby Bono, PwC’s U.S. industrial manufacturing leader, of the PwC Barometer results. “But they seem to feel that they will navigate through it.” What's your outlook for manufacturing over the next 12 months?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Watch, Read, Listen, Do: 3D Printing, American Workers and Making Manufacturing Cool to Generation Z

All kinds of interesting manufacturing-related news was scattered around the web this week, so we took the time to collect some of the most interesting multimedia stories that captured our interest. From podcasts to video lectures to free white papers for download, there's a host of resources to keep you busy. As a manufacturer of linear slides and rotary guides used in many industries, we try to keep an ear tuned in to all things related to science, manufacturing, engineering and technology.

[ WATCH ] "Four quiet revolutions are going to change our relationship to things and the structures that surround us," begins Chris Yonge, a thought leader in 3D modeling, in this lecture. One of those revolutions, he says, is how we make things. The accessibility of design an manufacturing tools, especially since the advent of 3D printing and additive manufacturing, will create an open economy and a more democratic society, he says. It's a fascinating 20-minute lecture in which he also speaks to his own experience, starting out as an architect, then a furniture maker, then industrial designer. He used to walk into a machine shop to order parts for his furniture making, he says, thinking that he could never make the hinges, brackets or bolts he bought. But then the simplicity of it dawned on him: "For all these expensive machines are based upon two principles, rotary and linear motion. They go around or they go back and forth." That epiphany sparked in Yonge a desire to study the art of "making things" and eventually turned him on to the world of 3D modeling and additive manufacturing.

[ READ ] The National Institute of Standards and Technologies, or NIST, collects research and white papers all about lean manufacturing. It's an invaluable database and all the info is free to download, including papers about sustainability metrics for lean manufacturing or how to improve production processes at your plant.

[ LISTEN ] This podcast is months old, but its message and topic about the past, present and future of American manufacturing still holds a lot of weight. In it, the reporters take a trip to Greenville, South Carolina, to check out the manufacturing scene and search for a clearer idea of the state of the American worker.

[ DO ] How can we make manufacturing seem cool to Generation Z? As the field of robotics revolutionizes the way we live, 3D printing captivates imaginations and researchers breach the world of regenerative medicine, it's time to start sharing these advancements with the next generation to spark their fascination with all these exciting things going on. This virtual panel on manufacturing seeks to explore some ideas about how to capture the attention of today's youth to get them as excited about manufacturing as we are. It's an online event you can take part in at 3:45 p.m. EST on Nov. 12.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Will Crowdsourcing Expedite the Manufacturing Process? #MotionMonday

WORKING TOGETHER — In the 19th Century, Professor James Murray struck up a literary project that required tens of thousands of volunteers to help him complete. His mailbox got bombarded with six million letters over the next several years from strangers documenting the definitions and origins of virtually every English word. It took seven decades to finish the first Oxford English Dictionary, the first crowdsourced collection of knowledge in known history.

Since that first manifestation of crowdsourcing, years before the term was coined by Jeff Howe in a June 2006 Wired magazine article, companies, government agencies and other entities have reverted to crowdsourcing to gather new ideas.

MANUFACTURING CHANGE — Could the crowdsourcing model fast-forward innovation in the manufacturing sector? The Pentagon thinks so. Earlier this year, the agency responsible for military funding created a crowdsourcing effort called the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which aims to slash the design-to-production cycle by two to four years through offering prize incentives for design ideas, according to a New York Times article published in April. Since researching, developing and building U.S. military assets is a famously time-consuming and pricey ordeal, it normally takes anywhere from a decade or two to manufacture a new tank, the article says.

The defense research project will use a software platform called VehicleFORGE, a portal for the exchange of ideas. The online format makes sense, considering that crowdsourcing is nothing new to the software industry. Crowdsourcing is what spawned programs like Linux and Apache.

What's unique about this recent military effort to crowdsource vehicle design is how well it fits into other fields of manufacturing. An M.I.T. professor explains to the New York Times:

Teaming up with academic institutions could expand crowdsourcing possibilities even more. How much R&D time do you think a submission like that would save the pentagon? Or even a private company? Think of how much more can be accomplished if many more minds could tackle a project together.

"Sometimes the best and brightest ideas come from the most unlikely or unheralded sources," Associate Editor Mike Schmidt wrote for a couple months ago.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?  —  How could the practice of crowdsourcing change manufacturing? The good and the bad? Some commentators tout the practice as the "Holy Grail" of innovation, but what are some of the risks? Do the risks outweigh the benefits of diversifying your company's talent pool?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Top Five Twitter Posts: Pack Expo, Manufacturing Jobs and Hurricane Sandy Facts

Such an eventful time of year! We brought our linear slides and rotary guides to Pack Expo, the BWC team celebrated Halloween and... coming up in a matter of days ...we're thinking about the United States' Presidential Election. Of course all of those and other topics affected our Twitter conversation this week, much we captured here in this week's edition of Twitter Friday! Be sure to catch our real-time conversations on Twitter by following us at @BWCnews. Enjoy your weekend!

Credit: Pack Expo
1. Pack Expo 2012 Summary in Design World: The magazine sent some of its editorial staff to the Pack Expo event in Chicago this week to report on some of the latest technologies in the packaging and processing industry. Miles Budimir sums up some notable inventions companies showcased during the four-day trade show, which drew 1,800 exhibitors to three massive halls at the McCormick Convention Center.

2. Get a Job in the Manufacturing Field on Ever think about a career in manufacturing? We have several openings!

Credit: AP
3. Manufacturing Will Play a Key Role in Hurricane Sandy Recovery via The antithesis to destruction is creation, to dismantling is building. So it makes sense to reason that the creative force of manufacturing will play a big part in untangling the mess Hurricane Sandy left in her wake. That devastation and subsequent recovery efforts "stand as a stark reminder that America's critical infrastructure — our electric grid, transportation systems, nuclear power plants, water infrastructure and treatment plants and petroleum pipelines — as well as key population centers, remain inherently vulnerable," the article reads. The answer, both in this immediate recovery and in preventative efforts elsewhere in the nation, is to redouble our focus on manufacturing improved infrastructure and technologies to prepare for future natural disasters ... and to recover more quickly from the aftermath.

4. Five Crazy Sandy Facts on Discovery News: In the No. 4 spot on our Top 5 list is another list! This one sums up a handful of unbelievable-but-true stats and facts about Hurricane Sandy, the storm that whipped the Eastern seaboard with a destructive tidal torrent this week, including news that this wasn't the only superstorm to wreak havoc on civilization this week. Click through to find out more.

5. [ INFOGRAPHIC ] A Brief History of Packaging via BWC Pinterest: Did you know that the first commercial cardboard box was made in England? Or that the DualVee guide wheel was invented for a packaging application that previously used flat rollers clogging from exposure to debris? Or that branding, labels and trademarks were invented in the late-1860s? Check out our latest graphic on the packaging industry in honor of Pack Expo and others posted on our Pinterest page!