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IndustryNet Blog

Posted by IndustryNet
As part of their continuing effort to help inspire and mentor the future of the food industry, Bell Flavors & Fragrances recently hosted the Chicago Section IFT Student Night at their Northbrook, IL headquarters.

Student Night is held every March to help students gain inspiration and ideas for future projects and also acts as a networking tool for students to connect with professionals within the flavor industry.

The Institute of Food Technologists organization offers students internship and employment opportunities, scholarships, tools for new professionals, student nights, and dinner events for networking.

The Chicago Section is the longest running and most active largest section within the IFT organization.

According to the Chicago IFT's website, the IFT founders had established five goals that constitute the organization: to facilitate the exchange of ideas among its members; to stimulate projects inspired by science regarding technical problems relating to food manufacturing and distribution; to help implement research results across food technology platforms; to offer networking opportunities and platforms to discuss important industry topics; and to plan, organize, and operate projects that relate to food science technology advancements.

Students visited the Bell Northbrook facility during the day for a tour around the grounds to learn about flavors manufacturing and flavor trends.

Students were exposed to many different areas of study that Bell employs and every facet of food-related science within Bell, including quality control, analytical chemistry, manufacturing, food science, and culinary arts.

Chef Christopher Warsow, Bell's Corporate Executive Chef and Manager of Culinary Applications at Bell Northbrook, stated "The reason why we do these events is to support future industry leaders. It is important to invest in students as
Posted by IndustryNet
Other than the iconic - and fictional - Rosie the Riveter, few Americans actually know many women who work in the manufacturing industry. There is a good reason. According to a recent Deloitte study commissioned by the Manufacturing Institute, women comprise only 29 percent of the manufacturing workforce.

The study interviewed a number of women across a variety of manufacturing careers with diverse educational achievements to try to explain the gap between the number of women available to work in manufacturing and the number of women who actually pursue manufacturing as a career. The primary reason cited is that of image. The industry retains the decades-old image of being dirty, dark and dangerous, despite the technological advances that have created cleaner, safer work environments in this vibrant, growing industry sector.

IndustryNet's analysis of U.S. women-owned manufacturing companies found that of the 374,474 companies in their database, only 2 percent were women-owned. Equally fascinating was the finding that women-owned manufacturing companies decidedly outperform other companies.

Seven percent of women-owned enterprises experienced employment growth, while only 3.8 percent of companies with other ownership experienced employment growth.

IndustryNet found that the following woman-owned manufacturing companies are at the top of the pack based on the number of employees and employment growth.
Posted by IndustryNet
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has approved the Benson Medical Instruments CCS-200 Plus Spirometer for the Coal Workers' Health Surveillance Program (CWHSP). The CWHSP testing of U.S coal miners includes respiratory health screening through questionnaires, spirometry testing and chest radiology when they enter the coal mining workforce and periodically throughout their tenure.

NIOSH oversees standards for spirometry testing of coal workers. NIOSH requires that electronic spirometry data files include both flow-volume and volume-time graphs for each forced expiratory maneuver. In addition, spirometry test result data must be transferable from testing facilities and clinics to NIOSH.

The CCS-200 Plus Spirometer ( meets the NIOSH established standards and provides further benefits such as advanced reporting and analysis and multi-year record keeping for each subject. The CCS-200 Plus ultrasonic technology and "U-Tube" mouthpiece with no-touch ejection provide for hygiene by avoiding contamination.
Posted by IndustryNet
Today, more than one-third of the manufacturing workforce is female. Women's roles range from working on the line to owning manufacturing businesses. Still, as a segment of the population as a whole, women are underrepresented in this industry. They make up 48 percent of the workforce, but according to figures from 2016, they comprised only 29 percent of employees in the manufacturing industry.

Women-owned manufacturers

However, women-owned manufacturing companies in the U.S. are on the rise, both in number and in size. According to statistics gathered by IndustryNet, 7 percent of the of 8,137 women-owned manufacturers reported increases in employment in 2017.

Contrast that with a 3.8 percent increase from 366,337 manufacturers with other ownership. Similarly, the growth of sales in women-owned manufacturing businesses was 4 percent, but only 1.2 percent at the businesses of their male counterparts.

The clear indications of success by women-owned manufacturing firms begs the question as to why there are still so few of them, comparatively speaking. For every 50 male-led manufacturers, there is only one led by a female.

Historically, the road to female proprietorship has been steep. For many years, women's roles were defined by society in terms of domesticity. Laws based on this tradition limited access to both property and credit.

Posted by IndustryNet
Minnesota's manufacturing sector is going strong, according to new data collected by IndustryNet. The state's industrial employment edged up for a sixth straight year in 2017, adding 3,285 industrial jobs. This is more than double the increase reported in 2016, adding to the nearly 20,000 jobs the state had gained since October 2011.

Minnesota's highly skilled workforce remains a major draw for manufacturers as industrial production evolves toward high-tech and innovation-driven enterprises.

In addition, an abundance of capital funding and robust economy have helped the state's manufacturers thrive, reflecting similar gains in many Midwestern states like Wisconsin and Indiana. Yet, challenges persist.

This article will explore how Minnesota manufacturing has evolved over the years, examining city, county, regional, and historical data collected by IndustryNet. We'll also take a look at some of the challenges faced by Minnesota manufacturers, and provide some insight into the state's outlook.
Posted by IndustryNet
The Marsh Bellofram Company continues to reimagine its BelGAS operations to strategically respond to the needs of the oil and gas industry, announcing the formation of the new BelGAS CP (Control Products) business unit one month after announcing the formation of its new BelGAS FM (Flame Management) division. The announcement is the latest step in an aggressive plan to super-serve the industry by strategically narrowing each business unit's focus with pairings of best-in-class products and unparalleled application support.

BelGAS and the recently launched BelGAS FM and BelGAS CP companies are members of The Marsh Bellofram Group of Companies.

The new BelGAS CP creates a range of instrumentation used on the well pad and beyond, such as control valves, level controls, level safety indicators, pressure relief valves, gauges, and needle valves. It also offers specialty fabrication services. In total, BelGAS CP's control products and fabrication services make them a one-stop shop for any OEM (original equipment manufacturer) producing surface production equipment for oil and gas exploration. The company's products also help increase safety for a variety of processes including oil and/or gas separation, sweetening, treating, heating, and more.
Posted by IndustryNet
Due to the vast size of the metal coatings industry in the United States, understanding this segment can give you important insights into the metal finishing sector as a whole.

The metal coatings industry is reportedly the largest category within the sector of metal finishing, both in terms of employment and sales, making this a key starting point to better understand the market as a whole. To say the industry is large is an understatement as there are 33,207 jobs and the average current sales are $31 billion.

The metal coatings sector evolves constantly, growing to accommodate the rising demand. In fact, Markets And Markets reports that by 2026, experts project the industry will be worth $14.34 billion.

A Look at Companies and Jobs in the Industry

Metal coatings currently account for 33,207 jobs in the U.S., distributed among 1,647 companies. Of these companies, 2 percent are women-owned with 1 percent minority-owned. The vast majority, 74 percent, produce for domestic distribution with 24 percent distributing internationally. Nearly all metal coatings businesses are private at 92 percent, with just 5 percent being public. It is worth mentioning that most companies are in the Midwest (32.79 percent), with New England holding the smallest percentage with 4.98 percent.

Change in Jobs Within the Last Year

One year ago, the industry represented 32,067 jobs. The current figure of 33,207 shows an increase of 3.56 percent. Of the 1,647 companies within the metal coating business, 6 percent, or 93 of them, reported an increase in employment while 51 or 3 percent reported a decline.
Posted by IndustryNet
Business Credit Reports, Inc. has integrated its online business credit application with its industry-leading multi-bureau credit reports, delivering a seamless process that makes reviewing credit applications easier, faster and more accurate.

BCR's turn-key online credit application is available at no cost and enables users to add a company logo as well as custom questions, terms and conditions. By putting their credit applications online, companies start their customer relationship off on the right foot while demonstrating competence and professionalism. An online form eliminates the problems of incomplete or illegible credit applications that slow the approval process and cause friction between the customer, sales and credit.

The new integration with credit report ordering means credit managers can use the information in the credit application to pull the credit report and render a customizable decision. It is the first step to automating the new customer onboarding process. A speedy and accurate credit approval process gets products and services flowing to customers more quickly, resulting in happy customers and salespeople.
Posted by IndustryNet
The Trump administration's recent authorization of tariffs on steel and aluminum has produced mixed reactions in U.S. industries. Manufacturers of these metals regard the action as defending their businesses against dumping by foreign competitors. Heidi Brock, president and CEO of the Aluminum Association, praised the decision. She issued a statement declaring: "We look forward to working with the president on implementation and to creating a more level playing field."

The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) explained its support for the action. Thomas Gibson, president and CEO of AISI, claimed, "About one-fourth of domestic steel capacity today is not being utilized. This is being fueled by the massive excess steel capacity in the world today, which is more than eight times larger than the annual output of all U.S. steel producers and driven by subsidies and other interventional government policies. That translates into idled plants and the loss of thousands of jobs."

Users of steel and aluminum products such as producers of soup, beer and watercraft expressed a different perspective. Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturer's Association (NMMA), issued his view. "Today's decision by the administration to implement new tariffs severely harms the $37 billion U.S. recreational boating industry and the 650,000 workers it supports."

In a tweet, a beer manufacturer remarked: "Like most brewers we are selling an increasing amount of our beers in aluminum cans, and this action will cause aluminum prices to rise. It is likely to lead to job losses across the beer industry." Automobile dealers also expect prices to rise.
Posted by IndustryNet
As U.S. manufacturing activity continues to accelerate, industrial plating companies will likewise continue to benefit from positive growth forecasts. Overall, industrial plating companies are still outperforming American manufacturers in general, IndustryNet's latest data shows.

Average sales for industrial plating companies have increased 1.88 percent over the last year. Employment remains steady, as well. Plating companies in the Midwest experienced 46.15 percent of job growth, the most in the country. The top 10 U.S. industrial plating companies provide context based on employment and facility size.

Top 10 companies by number of employees

IndustryNet data shows the top 10 industry plating companies, ranked by the number of employees:

- DCI Aerotech, Inc.

- Lincoln Industries.

- Triumph Processing - Embee Div.

- Southwest United Industries, Inc.

- Roy Metal Finishing Co., Inc.

- Quaker City Plating Ltd.

- Allied Finishing, Inc.

- Howard Finishing, LLC.

- Anoplate Corp.

- S & S Plating Co.

These companies annually report employment data to IndustryNet for further analysis.

Posted by IndustryNet
Industrial companies in Nevada continue to expand, according to new data collected by IndustryNet, adding more than 1,600 jobs in the past year alone. Altogether, Nevada's manufacturing workforce has grown by 12% since November 2011, and now accounts for nearly as many jobs as it had prior to the recession.

Reflecting similar gains recorded in other Western states like Colorado and Utah, Nevada's unique, pro-business environment and solid infrastructure have galvanized the state's industrial sector, scoring Tesla's massive new "gigafactory" and helping to create jobs for a sixth straight year.

This article will explore how Nevada manufacturing has evolved over the years, delving into city, county, regional, and historical data collected by IndustryNet. We'll also examine some of the challenges faced by Nevada manufacturers, and take a look at the state's industrial outlook.

The year in review

Manufacturing employment in Nevada surged 3% between November 2016 and November 2017, a gain of 1,692 jobs.

This past year's employment gain was overwhelmingly led by the electronics industry, which skyrocketed 38% as Tesla continued to hire at its newly-opened massive lithium ion battery production facility in McCarran.

Nevada's industrial job gains were not limited to the electronics sector, however, with a number of other industries posting healthy gains. Jobs in lumber/wood surged 10%; rubber/plastics grew 7%, while food processing ticked up 2%.

Posted by IndustryNet
U.S. manufacturing activity expanded in February to a level not seen since May of 2004, according to a new report released this morning by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM).

According to the ISM's survey of purchase executives, U.S. factory activity climbed 1.7 percentage points and now stands at a robust 60.8% (any reading over 50 indicates expansion, according to the ISM's metrics).

February's increase represents the nation's 18th straight month of growth in the manufacturing sector, and the overall economy has expanded for a 106th consecutive month.

Fifteen of the eighteen industries surveyed by the ISM reported growth, led by printing and related support activities; primary metals; machinery; computer & electronics products; petroleum & coal products; and nonmetallic mineral products.

Just two sectors reported contraction: apparel, leather & allied products; as well as furniture/related products

U.S. manufacturing starts out year strong

The ISM's February survey points to continued strength in the nation�s industrial sector, with strong growth in new orders, production, and employment. The nation's fourth quarter GDP was revised up to 2.5%, while the Labor Department reported 200,000 new jobs for the month of January � with 15,000 new jobs created in the manufacturing sector.

All of this corresponds with IndustryNet�s February reports, including some strong growth numbers for the state of Kentucky, as well as in structural steel fabrication and metal finishing.

Posted by IndustryNet
Whether to inhibit corrosion, improve appearance or smooth sharp edges, metal finishing is essential to many industries. According to data gathered by IndustryNet, 4,093 metal finishing companies with current sales of $36,890,189,770 provide 93,022 jobs.

Metal finishers vary in both specializations and capabilities. Understanding the types of metal finishing is vital to choosing the right vendor. This article is intended to help customers find the best and most economical solutions to their finishing needs.


There are many types of coatings and a wide array of methods to apply them. Even a coating as familiar to a consumer as paint can have a multitude of varieties. Paints can be solvent-based, water-based, or entirely composed of film-forming components.

Each type of paint will need the appropriate methods and equipment to apply and cure it. Coatings can also be sprayed on as powders and heated to liquidity, creating contiguous coverage.

Both powder and paint may be applied either manually or robotically by spray guns or bells that impart an electrical charge, which causes the paint to be attracted to grounded metal parts.

The Faraday cage effect may interfere with this type of application method, and some coaters choose other technologically advanced coating techniques such as plasma arc, flame spray and thermal spray.

Paint, powder and other types of metal coatings increase the attractiveness of treated items. Depending on the components of the coating used, other surface enhancements may include:
Posted by IndustryNet
Coatings both beautify and protect metal surfaces. Wear resistance, chemical resistance, slip and corrosion resistance can all be achieved by using expertly formulated liquids and powders and technologically advanced equipment. According to data gathered by IndustryNet, 1,647 companies in the metal coatings industry with total yearly sales of $31,500,634,923 provide 33,207 jobs. They manufacture and apply coatings that impart these and other enhancements to metal products.

New Developments

The metal coatings industry is constantly evolving. In response to both consumer demands and government regulations limiting emissions, water-based and solvent-free products are in continuous development. The appeal of coatings, which cure by electron beam, ultraviolet light or a combination of both, is growing.

Improvements in powder coating technology make it a more attractive option for many coating operations. In another leap into the future, nanotechnology is being utilized to make fingerprints on metal surfaces disappear, a boon to both vendors and purchasers of appliances.

Types of Coatings

In response to the needs of both industrial users and the broader marketplace, many types of coatings are produced and applied. Each is formulated to provide specific characteristics required by both manufacturers and retail customers. The segments of the metal coatings industry are:

- Powder coatings

- Powder coating materials

- Industrial coatings

- Protective coatings

- Corrosion resistant coatings

- Thin films

- Electrodeposition (e-coat)

- Conductive coatings

- Custom formulated coatings

- Electrostatic coatings

- Heat-resistant coatings

- Aluminum coatings

Posted by IndustryNet
IndustryNet's latest data depicts positive growth trends for U.S. industrial plating companies.. These manufacturers are integral to the metal finishing industry by applying a number of fabrication processes used to coat, plate, polish and heat treat metals. Manufacturers can also apply plating to plastics and other nonmetallic surfaces. A look at the following data gives a snapshot of what's new in the industry.

Industry overview

During fabrication processes, manufacturers in the metal finishing industry utilize several types of industrial plating:


-Hard chrome plating.

-Black oxide plating.

-Cadmium plating.

-Nickel plating.

-Electroless plating.

-Decorative plating.

-Precious metals plating.

In fact, industrial plating is now the second-largest sector in the metal finishing industry in terms of sales and employment. As U.S. manufacturing continues to gain momentum, IndustryNet data suggest that the U.S. industrial plating sector will remain healthy, which may lead to further job growth over the next year.

Number of companies and jobs

Today, there are 723 U.S. industrial plating companies that employ 22,459 workers. IndustryNet statistics show that 624 companies operate in the domestic distribution space, accounting for 86 percent of all U.S. industrial plating companies.

One hundred seventy-seven (177) U.S. industrial plating companies import raw materials, comprising 24 percent of all plating companies reported to IndustryNet. Ninety-five (95) companies operate in the international distribution space. Overall, U.S. industrial plating sector centers more on domestic distribution than general manufacturing as a whole; 70 percent of companies in general manufacturing is in the domestic distribution space.

Job change over one year

Furthermore, job change in the U.S. industrial plating sector remains stead
Posted by IndustryNet
For close tolerances and parts that fit the first time every time, industries look to precision metal fabricators. Metal fabrication involves cutting, bending, welding and assembly. Precision fabricators use advanced and innovative techniques and equipment to manufacture products to exacting specifications.

Plasma and laser are two methods at the forefront of metal cutting technology. Plasma cutting, the more mature process, works by firing gas out of a nozzle. Plasma formed by an electrical arc can cut through any type of metal up to 3.15 inches thick. Lasers cut thin sheets of metal but can be employed for a variety of other purposes, including engraving, welding and drilling. Water jet cutting can also be used, particularly in temperature-sensitive conditions.

What's new?

Three trends are on the horizon for plasma cutting machinery. The first is the integration of biochemistry with the equipment, to inhibit bacterial growth in cooling fluids. High-definition plasma systems exploit ethernet connections for automation and the employment of PC-based controls. These configurations offer instant troubleshooting.

Several organizations are looking at Android-based systems that can interface with computer numerical control (CNC) equipment. These configurations will allow mobile control of machines and remote transfer of programs. Productivity is expected to increase, as employees will be able to complete tasks away from the manufacturing line. As information technology expands, capabilities of precision metal fabricators do as well.
Posted by IndustryNet
Bell Flavors & Fragrances is proud to announce that Tom Fortman, Bell's Vice President of Manufacturing, has been welcomed on as one of four new board members of the Northbrook Chamber of Commerce & Industry in January 2018. Tom will be holding his position on the board for three years.

The Chamber of Commerce & Industry for Northbrook helps connect the bridge between people and businesses with networking, marketing, and community outreach programs for over 50 years. It also helps educate fellow residents about the village of Northbrook.

According to the Northbrook Chamber of Commerce's website, "The Chamber is organized to advance the interest and serve as the voice of the commercial, industrial and retail communities of the Village of Northbrook and its trade area. Our membership reflects the true diversity of the Northbrook business community with active participation from small and large companies like Allstate, Nestle Pizza Division, and Underwriters Laboratories, with each industry sector well represented."

Tom Fortman has had his entire career within the food industry, and has been with Bell Flavors & Fragrances for the past 20 years in its headquarter location in Northbrook, IL. Among his many duties and roles he plays at Bell, he is responsible for quality assurance (QA), regulatory compliances, engineering, purchasing, and production from various Bell manufacturing sites across the globe.

Posted by IndustryNet
The U.S. iron fabrication industry has shown much resilience as American manufacturing continues to surge. Key industry statistics remain stable without a significant decline in employment growth or sales statistics.

The latest data from IndustryNet encompass key metrics:

-Number of companies and jobs.

-Job change over one year.

-Average sales.

-Top 10 by employees.

-Top 10 by square footage.

These metrics suggest that the U.S. iron fabrication industry is trending well alongside U.S. manufacturing as a whole.

Number of companies and jobs

Data collected by IndustryNet show that there are currently 107 iron fabrication companies operating in the U.S., employing 5,203 workers nationwide.

Job change over one year

Last year, the U.S. iron fabrication industry accounted for 5,205 jobs. New data show that employment has only declined a negligible 0.04 percent, implying a steady job market.

Average sales

Remarkably, average sales statistics over last year coincide with job change statistics. Last year, the U.S. iron fabrication industry reported $616.39 billion in sales. New data show that average sales are currently $616.64 billion, a 0.04 percent increase.

Top 10 iron fabrication companies by employees

IndustryNet data shows the top 10 iron fabrication companies, ranked by the number of employees:

United States Steel Corp., Gary Works

United States Steel Corp., Gary Works also operates blast furnaces and steel mills.

Location: Gary, Indiana

Employees: 4,000

U.S. Pipe Fabrication LLC

U.S. Pipe Fabrication LLC has additional competencies in aluminum rolling and drawing.

Location: Orlando, Florida

Employees: 150

Posted by IndustryNet
Structural steel fabrication is a growing sector of U.S. manufacturing. According to data gathered by IndustryNet, jobs have increased by 2.85 percent and sales by 2.96 percent over the past year. During the same period, sales in some other segments of the metal fabrication industry have held steady or experienced slight decreases.

Prefabricated components offer builders and contractors significant advantages in both quality and convenience. Operations involved in fabrication include cleaning, machining, welding and transportation. Some companies offer additional finishing services such as painting to protect structural steel components from corrosion.

While traditional building design has been dependent on the use of two-dimensional drawings, developments in computer technology have enabled advances in off-site fabrication of structural steel. Building information modeling allows 3-D specifications to be produced for structural components, allowing them to be assembled on-site more easily.

The products offered by structural steel fabricators differ by both location and the industries served. Services also vary to meet the requirements of customers occupying varying niches of the building and manufacturing trades. The successful companies highlighted here illustrate how the specific needs of clients are met.
Posted by IndustryNet
Bell Flavors & Fragrances is excited to announce its new selection of trends for the 2018 "Spark" program. Spark is Bell's insider resource for new and emerging consumer trends as well as flavor and fragrance inspirations. Using a unique and detailed process, Bell uncovered new ideas for 2018 and beyond that are sure to ignite customer inspirations and translate them into winning product ideations.

Bell's Spark flavor trends include a deeper dive into the Mediterranean Sea; consumers that are making healthy-ish decisions; ingredients found at the intersect of the world's grid; chefs using a touch of cleverness in the unexpected; an inspiration from our social surroundings; and a "bao of respect" to well-known Chinese provinces of the culinary world.

The Spark fragrance trends are inspired by the everyday moments that go unnoticed; the classic notes from the French countryside; Mother Nature's accords reflected in the natural beauty space; America's ever-changing landscapes; and by the scents that can only be discovered as you flip through the pages of a novel. Lastly, we look back at trends from the past year and explore how they've made an impact in the ever-changing world of fragrance.

Kelli Heinz, Bell's Vice President of Marketing, talks about Spark: "Bell's Spark trend program has evolved over the years to become a dynamic program that analyzes different data points combined with consumer insight to generate trend forecasts for flavor and fragrance predictions and concepts. Each year Bell validates our past predictions to see where they have matured in the market place and our success rate has been spot on for each Spark trend further validating our unique trend curation process. We are excited to ignite your creativity and inspire your senses for future flavor and fragrance developments."

Posted by IndustryNet
Structural steel forms the backbone of our nation. According to the American Institute of Steel Construction, structural steel is the most cost-effective, reliable and environmentally friendly building material. Skylines, bridges, machinery and appliances all rely on structural steel.

IndustryNet's recent analysis of the more than 1,400 structural steel fabricators in its database reveals that the industry is growing, both in terms of employees and sales, with some striking regional differences in the U.S. This analysis will explore these trends.

IndustryNet reported a total of 1,450 structural steel fabricators, employing 34,372 individuals, representing a 2.85 percent increase over last year. At the same time, the industry experienced a sales growth of 2.96 percent over last year, with sales in excess of $15 billion. This sales growth is twice that of manufacturing as a whole, with two percent of steel fabricators reporting growth versus only one percent of all U.S. manufacturers.

Unlike manufacturing as a whole, the structural steel industry relies heavily on domestic distribution. This reliance is likely based on several factors, including the cost of shipping completed structural steel elements overseas. Nearly 90 percent of all structural steel is utilized domestically, whereas only 70 percent of manufacturing companies nationally rely on international distribution.

Posted by IndustryNet
Recent data collected by IndustryNet shows Kentucky manufacturers added jobs over the past year, helped by gains in transportation equipment and a stabilization in the coal mining industry.

According to IndustryNet's survey of 4,702 Kentucky manufacturers, industrial employment in the state inched up by a half percent between October 2016 and October 2017, recovering losses suffered over the 2015-2016 survey period.

After growing for five straight years between 2010 and 2015, Kentucky broke its winning streak, during the 2015-2016 survey period, shedding industrial jobs for the first time since the recession. This was largely due to a 19% employment decline in coal mining. Job losses in Kentucky's coal mining sector slowed over the past year, however, down 3.2%. In addition, a 2.4% in the state's transportation equipment manufacturing industry helped to offset losses. gains in the auto industry helped to offset losses.

Transportation equipment remains the state's top industry by number of jobs, employing 57,597.

This article will explore some major developments in Kentucky's manufacturing sector in the post-recession era, and take a closer look at what the future holds for the state. We'll explore some of Kentucky's top industrial sectors, companies, and regions, as well as some specific site selection factors that continue to make the Bluegrass State a great location for business.
Posted by IndustryNet
Epec Engineered Technologies, an industry leader in high reliability manufactured electronics, has recently announced a new version of their Customer Portal.

Epec's Customer Portal was originally released back in May of 2015 but Epec's customer service department was still hearing about issues of the usability of the site from their current customers. Epec�s ERP administrator and marketing team were assigned to complete a much-needed design overhaul. Over a 3-month process they were able to rebuild the entire site from the ground up.

"Through customer feedback we came to understand that our site wasn't the most user-friendly portal available, changing the front-end UI look and feel was a must to help our customers get the most benefit from using the portal," shared Keith Araujo, Director of Marketing at Epec.

From an accounting standpoint, Epec's customers can view open and paid invoices, pay invoices online, view credit memos, and apply credit to an open order, as well as running statements. Additional options in the customer portal allow customers to view/print packing slips or COC documents, review quote history, view open and past orders, and even expedite orders online.

Julie Das Neves, Customer Service Assistant Manager at Epec commented, "The ability to expedite your order online has been a huge help to many of our customers. Email can be cumbersome to manage urgent requirements like an expedite. By having customers submit these requests through our portal, we have been able to cut response time in half."

Posted by IndustryNet
Getting the message out about your company and its many strengths can sometimes be difficult. Budgets aren't always available for marketing efforts. In fact, a recent survey of industrial marketing experts showed only 38 percent of respondents expect their spending to increase in 2018. Nearly half say it will likely remain the same as last year.

Even with great marketing strategies, many companies have difficulty understanding how much their efforts really help the bottom line. The industrial sector has somewhat complex sales channels that make it difficult to attribute sales directly back to marketing efforts. Thus, correctly calculating ROI continues to pose a challenge as it has been for many years.

In fact, more than half (52 percent) of survey respondents do not measure ROI because they feel "we need an easier way to do this" and "we don't know how to do this." Even when 70 percent of respondents note they can provide solid numbers for how marketing has increased audience engagement and number of leads, they are less likely to be able to show how it has increased sales.

Marketing is evolving because consumers don't simply want things to be sold to them. Many B2C brands are getting innovative with their efforts. They understand that banner ads don't pull in results. Furthermore, technology is blocking many of those ads. The industrial sector is B2B, but that doesn't mean engineers are suddenly influenced differently just because they are at work.

They look for things in the same way B2C buyers might. In fact, research shows 60 percent of engineers find information from digital publications and another 53 percent find it on vendor websites. It's important to note that final decision makers are the heaviest consumers of this content.
Posted by IndustryNet
During the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association (FMA) Annual Meeting last year, collective sentiment about the state of custom metal fabrication seemed to be, "Business is great, but how can we keep up with it all?" Moving forward, the industry is preparing for significant growth.

Because the custom metal fabrication industry serves a variety of other industries such as pharmaceutical, food processing, transportation, industrial, architectural, packaging and ornamental, experts forecast that it won't be a lack of demand that holds back expansion, but companies will need to find skilled employees to meet that demand.

Overall, there are 169 custom metal fabricators in the U.S, according to data collected by IndustryNet. The number of people working in the industry has risen by 0.35 percent in the last year to 4,007. Four percent of companies report new hires in 2017. Two percent of these fabricators are owned by women, with a total of eight plants nationwide.

Of those companies reporting growth to IndustryNet, the largest number are located in the Midwest, accounting for 33.73 percent of expanding companies. The South follows with 18 percent. Other regions adding companies include: Middle Atlantic (15 percent), Pacific (11.83 percent), West South Central (9 percent), New England (6.51 percent) and Mountain (5.33 percent).

Industry-wide, sales are up 2.18 percent, averaging $20.2 million per year.

The health of the metal fabrication industry is largely based on the state of the economy. Great opportunities lie ahead because sectors that rely on metal fabrication such as farming, aerospace and defense are growing at a steady pace. The lawn and garden sector is also doing well.

Additionally, President Trump's goal of a 4 percent annual economic growth is promising for business overall.
Posted by IndustryNet
IndustryNet recently reported on trends in the aluminum fabrication industry, finding the sector to be fairly stable over the year, with just a slight dip in employment and sales.

This report will take a look at some of the top companies in the U.S. aluminum fabrication industry today, measured by number of employees and square footage.

Currently, there are 185 companies specializing in aluminum fabrication in the U.S. today, employing 3,425 workers across the country. By comparison, there were 3,457 jobs last year, a .93 percent dip.

Sales edged down over the past year by 0.44 percent, from $1,801,149,994 to $1,793,149,993. Most aluminum fabrication firms have a stable number of jobs, with only six reporting an increase in employment and two reporting a decrease.

The vast majority, a full 81 percent, of these companies focus on domestic distribution. Unsurprisingly, most firms are private.

One way to compare aluminum fabrication companies is by studying their labor force, a metric regularly used to gauge size and profits as these factors are typically correlated. The following rankings show the employee count for various companies:

1. Kawneer Co., Inc., Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania: 366 employees. Kawneer specializes in all types of aluminum fabricating as well as metal manufacturing in general.

2. Vulcan, Inc., Foley, Alabama: 300 employees. Vulcan works in aluminum manufacturing, offering marking devices, specialties in advertising, and sign, metal stampings, and sheet metal work.

3. Kaiser Aluminum Fabricated Products, LLC, Heath, Ohio: 250 employees. This company works in aluminum fabrication in general, including different wire products and sheet metal work.

4. Sapa Extrusions, Inc., Sidney, Ohio: 250 employees. Sapa Extrusions, Inc. works with sheet metal as well as aluminum.
Posted by IndustryNet
Rinco Ultrasonics USA, a leading manufacturer of ultrasonic welding equipment, will launch its new Electrical Motion ultrasonic welding machine at NPE2018 May 7-11 at the Orlando County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. (Booth #W5373).

The new machine, available in 20 kHz and 35 kHz frequencies, represents a move away from traditional pneumatic type press systems to electrically driven machines, according to Gordon Hull, managing director of Rinco Ultrasonics.

The Electrical Motion welding system enables users to finely regulate the weld, using precise positioning of the horn, along with the applied welding force to the welding rate. This means considerably better results in welding, punching, cutting, and sealing of molded thermoplastic parts, nonwovens, and synthetic textiles.

Another key feature of the Electrical Motion welding system is a high-performance, industry-type PC that can be easily operated via a 12-inch adjustable touchscreen, with the welding process triggered through an ergonomically designed two-hand operation.

The Electrical Motion Series is a next-generation product based on the company's Dynamic 3000 ultrasonic welding machine (also with a working frequency of 20 kHz and 35 kHz) which was designed for technically demanding welding operations for medium to large-sized thermoplastic parts.

Posted by IndustryNet
U.S. manufacturing activity expanded in January, but at a slower rate than reported in December, according to a new report released this morning by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM).

The ISM's report shows manufacturing activity in the U.S. expanded for a 105th consecutive month, registering at a robust 59.1%.

January's survey shows new orders and production, while still in expansion territory, eased this past month, while employment decelerated by nearly 4%. Exports accelerated slightly faster than imports, while supplier deliveries slowed. Prices were on the rise.

The ISM's December report closed out a solid year of accelerating manufacturing activity, with the index reaching its highest level since 2004, and though the index inched back slightly, industrial activity is holding steady at this historic high.

The Labor Department's December jobs report shows the nation added 148,000 jobs in the last month of 2017, with employment in the manufacturing sector rising 1.7% year-over-year.

Meanwhile, orders for durable goods surged 2.9% in December, according to the Commerce Department, led by an uptick in new orders for military and civilian aircraft, and U.S. industrial production continues to post strong growth.

A stabilization of oil prices as well as a weaker dollar are among the influences behind current U.S. economic strength, and should help to drive growth in the months ahead.

All of this corresponds with data collected by IndustryNet, including strong manufacturing employment numbers for Ohio and Tennessee, as well as solid growth recorded in the fabricated metals industry.

Posted by IndustryNet
The U.S. aluminum fabrication industry remains stable, which coincides with the sustained productivity of U.S. manufacturers in recent years.

New data released by IndustryNet suggests that aluminum fabrication companies continue to show resilience as the U.S. economy expands. IndustryNet's latest analysis includes these metrics:

The number of companies and jobs.

Top employers.

Job change over one year.

Average sales.

Regional differences.

Each metric emphasizes a different aspect of the U.S. aluminum fabrication industry.

Aluminum fabrication in the U.S. today

Currently, there are 185 companies operating in the U.S. aluminum fabrication industry. In total, these companies employ 3,425 workers across the country. Data on domestic distribution and international distribution stand out as positive indications.

Domestic distribution accounts for 81 percent of all jobs in U.S. aluminum fabrication. International distribution accounts for 17 percent of total employment. The remaining 2 percent of jobs are in the public sector.

Three percent of companies in IndustryNet's data reported increasing employment. However, 1 percent of companies also reported decreasing employment.
Posted by IndustryNet
New data from IndustryNet paints an optimistic picture of American steel fabrication companies. Throughout the U.S., the pace of manufacturing productivity remains steady as the economy keeps expanding. America's top steel fabrication companies depict how amenable the global economy is to U.S. manufacturers.


Accelerating sales growth has become the hallmark of the American steel fabrication industry. Currently, average sales for the entire steel fabrication industry in the U.S. exceeds $34.7 billion while last year average sales totaled less than $29.7 billion.

Sales growth has climbed 17.24 percent, which far outpaces the U.S. manufacturing industry in general. The top 10 steel fabrication companies reflect how efficient and productive the industry has been since last year.

Top 10 American steel fabrication companies

According to IndustryNet's data, the top 10 American steel fabrication companies, as sorted by the number of employees, are:

1. AK Steel Corp.

2. AK Steel Corporation

3. North American Stainless

4. MacAljon/SCL, Inc.

5. The Haskell Company

6. High Steel Structures, LLC

7. SFI Of Tennessee, LLC

8. Paul Mueller Co.

9. Oklahoma Steel & Wire Co., Inc.

10. Monroe Truck Equipment, Inc.

A closer look at each company adds context to IndustryNet's figures.

AK Steel Corp.

AK Steel Corp., specializing in blast furnaces and steel mills, actually has two facilities in the same city.

Location: Dearborn, Michigan.

Employees: 1,900.

AK Steel Corporation

AK Steel Corporation handles metal fabrication.

Location: Dearborn, Michigan.

Employees: 1,500.

North American Stainless

Blast furnaces and steel mills are the main products of North American Stainless.

Location: Ghent, Kentucky.

Employees: 1,375.

MacAljon/SCL, Inc.

Similarly, MacAljon/SCL, Inc. primarily operates with blast furnaces and steel mills.

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