Last updateTue, 20 Aug 2019 8pm

Trends & Forecasts

The Nation’s Confidence in the Economy Looks Brighter

One major change in the economic picture that’s occurred since the beginning of this year is that “we’re starting to see improvement in terms of sentiment,” according to Chad Moutray, chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). He gave a third-quarter update via webcast July 21.

“When I meet with manufacturing leaders around the country, I’m often asked: have we hit rock bottom? Are we now moving in the right direction? Some of our most recent numbers indicate that’s the case,” he said.

Moutray went on to give a cautionary, but mostly positive outlook, citing a number of sources.

3D Printing: A New Era for Valve Manufacturing?

3D Printing A New Era for Valve ManufacturingWith new technology being developed virtually every day, 3D printing has the potential to change how valve engineers develop and refine products, and how users are able to see how a particular valve can fit into their process.

In the Spring 2015 edition of VALVE Magazine, we featured a comprehensive article on additive manufacturing (AM) or 3D printing. But a great deal can happen in the world of technology in a year, and AM is no exception. Here’s an update on the newest ways AM is being used within the valve industry.

U.S. and Canadian Concerns are Worldwide Concerns

US and Canadian Concerns are Worldwide Concerns 2During the recent meeting of the European Congress of the Valves and Taps Industry (CEIR) in Lyon, France, the 55 representatives from 11 different European nations discussed issues that closely mirror topics of concern to the valve community in the United States and Canada. VMA President Bill Sandler was on hand to represent the Valve Manufacturers Association, and noted, “The oil crisis was definitely on the minds of attendees, but the general industry slowdown, the EU’s machine directives and regulations affecting water quality were also of particular interest.”

Are We Bringing Back U.S. Jobs?

Made in USAWe first introduced readers to the Reshoring Initiative and its founder and president, Harry Moser, in the Winter 2013 edition of VALVE Magazine. At the time, the reshoring movement was just gaining traction amongst manufacturers, so we followed up recently to see how things are going at this time.

Technically, reshoring means that American companies are bringing manufacturing back to the U.S. after moving it offshore in the past; foreign direct investment (FDI) means that a foreign company is building in the U.S. In 2014 and 2015, the rate of reshoring plus foreign direct investment equaled the rate of offshoring. That means that in total, the U.S. was bringing back as many jobs as were being sent away, “for the first time since almost ever,” said Moser. “In the preceding decade, we were losing a net 200,000 manufacturing jobs per year. It’s a good start!” An interesting development is that a lot of Chinese companies are putting factories in the U.S. to make products for the domestic market.

Cyber-Update: Attacks on Utilities and Manufacturers

The Winter 2016 issue of VALVE Magazine featured an article in which the very real threat posed by cyber criminals to infrastructure security was discussed. Many of the experts quoted in that article said it is not a matter of if, but when, an attack would be made. So it came as no surprise when a recent article in the U.K.’s Register revealed a report by Verizon Security Solutions that a "hacktivist" group with ties to Syria compromised a water company’s computers after exploiting unpatched web vulnerabilities in its internet-facing customer payment portal.

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