The road aheadClick image to enlargeby Mary Scianna

Business Outlook 2017: Cautious optimism replacing uncertainty for 2017

When you’re a resource rich economy and one of your key sectors hits rock bottom, it’s going to hurt. Such has been the case for Canada with stubbornly low oil prices throwing a dark shadow on this country’s economy.

Yet against this backdrop, manufacturers have continued to operate and in some instances expanded their businesses. Indeed, for many who participated in two recent surveys conducted by Shop Metalworking Technology Magazine, you might describe their outlook as cautiously optimistic.

Investing for growth
In one recent survey, 50 per cent of the 258 participants noted they plan to hire employees for their manufacturing operations, while another 24 per cent noted they planned to expand operations. And when asked about machinery and equipment purchasing plans for 2017, close to 50 per cent said they would invest about the same as 2016, while 29 per cent said they would invest more, with 23 per cent noting they would invest less. Of particular note was the specific technologies participants expect to purchase in 2017. Among both chip and fabrication and welding shops, automation and robotics was cited as one of the leading areas of investment with 16 per cent of participants and 12 per cent respectively selecting this technology category. Among chip shops, machining centres was the top technology businesses plan to purchase in 2017 (17 per cent) and among fabrication and welding shops, welding equipment was the top choice (29 per cent).

EXPANSION VS CONTRACTIONClick image to enlargeTechnological change
What is clearly evident in the two surveys is that manufacturers are thinking about how best to compete in the future. In the second survey, in which 130 people participated, we asked which manufacturing technologies will dominate the global landscape in the next five to ten years. Close to 80 per cent noted robotics and automation, another 20 per cent identified Industry 4.0 platforms (e.g. digital manufacturing) and 23 per cent said additive manufacturing. And when asked which new technologies manufacturers have implemented or are considering, 64 per cent selected robotics and automation, 40 per cent said additive manufacturing and 20 per cent said digital manufacturing.

MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGIESClick image to enlargeStrategies for success
Much as been written about the strategies you need to succeed in manufacturing in Canada, but the truth is, there isn’t one simple solution that fits every business. We asked participants what key strategies Canada should implement to ensure future growth. Lower corporate taxes and allocation of more funding for skills training were the top items, followed by allocation of more funding for manufacturing R&D.

OSG launches new drills for deep hole drilling

OSG has launched ADO-40D and 50D coolant-through carbide drills for deep hole drilling applications.

The Nesting Essentials

by Mary Scianna

Looking for nesting software to meet today’s demands? Keep these pointers in mind

Mark it up

Shop Metalworking Technology discusses laser marking with Thomas Burdel, national sales manager for TRUMPF Inc., Farmington, CT.

Flextec multi-process welder

The new high amperage Flextec 650 multi-process welder from Lincoln Electric delivers up to 815 amps of welding power. 

Clearing Chips

by Kip Hanson

Still struggling with bird nests? It might be time for a different toolholder and a different pump.

Maximizing CMM ROI

by Jim Barnes

Aerospace shop boosts metrology throughput with upgrades

Emuge industry first: general purpose tap

Calling it an industry first, Emuge's MultiTap is a high performance tap designed for threading a range of materials including carbon steel, steel alloys, stainless steel, aluminum, cast iron, copper, brass and bronze.

Job Shops in Canada 2017: Manufacturing Support

by Andrew Brooks

Gauging the pulse of Canada’s job shops and their critical role in manufacturing

Multi-station tube former

BLM Group’s E-FORM tube end forming machine now has a full CNC electric rolling device, providing maximum precision and repeatability in part production. The punches of the E-FORM reach up to 10 tons of force, molding tubes up to 30mm in diameter from materials such as copper, aluminum, iron or stainless steel.

Thinking horizontally

Long considered a mature technology and a production workhorse, the horizontal machining centre is back in the winner’s circle

by Jim Barnes

Higher-end builders are strongly motivated to improve their offerings.

Lights out manufacturing with mobile manipulation

A weld assembly equipment supplier to automotive OEMs has installed a robotic mobile manipulator, the OTTO 1500 integrated with Yaskawa Motomanrobotics to automate its black oxide process.

Making Cutters Clever

by Kip Hanson

It takes more than sharp edges to maximize cutting tool performance

Inspection techniques

As anyone in the fabricating and welding business knows, process and part inspection is a critical component of a successful business. Build and weld a poor part will simply guarantee failure.

Battery welding: Selecting and using laser, micro-TIG and resistance technologies

Batteries and battery packs have become an integral part of everyday life, in response to the ever-increasing demand for portable electronic devices, cordless power tools, energy storage, and hybrid and EV cars. This in turn, drives the need to manufacture batteries and battery packs that meet the quality and production requirements for these products. 

Cutting, welding online data management

ESAB Welding and Cutting has introduced CutCloud online data management system and has unveiled advancements in its WeldCloud online data management system, including the ability for these software programs to bi-directionally share data, as well as incorporate gas management information.

Stay In Touch

twitter facebook linkedIn