The Future of Manufacturing

Presented by OMEP, this year’s Oregon Manufacturing Summit focuses on tech with a CoBot demonstration

This story has been updated from its original version.

In Oregon, nearly 30 percent of the state’s gross product comes from manufacturing — the second-most of any state in the U.S.

With robot demonstrations, a former Intel futurist’s presentation and skilled trades students, the annual Oregon Manufacturers’ Summit is a place for manufacturers across the state to come for industry trends, innovation and disruption.

The 2018 summit, put on by the Oregon Manufacturing Extensions Partnership (OMEP), is next Monday at the Washington Square Hilton Embassy Suites. Its intention is to celebrate and empower Oregon manufacturers to become more competitive in the global marketplace.

This year, the primary focus is automation, robotics and tech in manufacturing. The idea is to promote embracing robotics instead of fearing the jobs it will replace.

Nonprofit OMEP is one of 51 Manufacturing Extension Partnership resource organizations nationwide, receiving state, federal and private funding to assist Oregon manufactures in growth and innovation, transforming the way they do business and responding to the challenges of competing globally.

Since 2002, OMEP’s work with manufacturing firms supported 25,073 jobs through direct and indirect employment; $1.3 billion in wages and benefits paid to employees, property-type income and other items; and $2.5 billion in total production output.

OMEP clients have seen nearly $1.2 billion in increased or retained sales.

“This year’s event will focus on the use of advanced technology in the manufacturing industry,” said OMEP President Aaron Fox. “As automation becomes increasingly accessible and critical to competing in our global economy, we must find new ways for workers and technology to operate efficiently together to support growth and improve profitability — that includes developing new approaches to recruitment, training and employee development so we have enough skilled workers in Oregon to fill high-paying jobs that require advanced manufacturing capabilities in a high-tech environment.”

At the event, presentation and breakout sessions will address this year’s industry trends. Speakers include futurist Steve Brown; Geoff Gilmore, former CEO of Climax Portable Machine Tools; Craig Tomita of Universal Robots USA; Ed Israel, owner of Plural Additive Manufacturing; and Jim Allen, the founder and principal of Value Based Sales.

Steve Brown’s presentation will kick off the summit at 8:15 a.m.

After that, a live robotics demonstration and talk will begin, featuring Collaborative Robotics (CoBots), which are new to the marketplace in the past six years. They’re different than traditional industrial robots because they can work in close proximity to humans, often without the need for safety fencing or shielding.

The presentations and breakouts will focus on equipping industry professionals with the skills, knowledge and education they need to work in high-tech environments so they stay competitive.

The event’s plans this year also address the importance of getting young people interested in manufacturing careers and setting them on a path to success that gives them tech skills.

At lunch, students from Benson High School who are focused on manufacturing will be there networking with industry professionals during lunch. At Benson, students can choose a major and focus on manufacturing. It’s the kind of program that’s seen a huge decline in the state, influencing employers to outsource vocational positions.

For small- and medium-sized manufacturing businesses, this event is an all-encompassing way to connect with young talent and experts and come together to find solutions and invent strategies to stay competitive in the future.

Event sponsors include IT Assurance, Moss Adams LLP, Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt, the Energy Trust of Oregon and KeyBank.

“KeyBank is committed to the manufacturing industry and the invaluable contributions it makes to the health of the Oregon economy, which is why we are delighted to support this community as presenting sponsor of Oregon’s premier manufacturing event,” said Barbara Cardinale, senior vice president and business banking team sales leader of Oregon and Southwest Washington. “As business bankers, we work side by side with our manufacturing partners to offer innovative banking solutions, and we are eager for any opportunity to champion their message through education and outreach.”

Read the full article in the Portland Business Tribune

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