Walmart and 3D Systems Work to Create New Manufacturing Jobs

Both Walmart and 3D Systems announced initiatives that will hopefully bring about new manufacturing jobs or reshore some production in the U.S. over the next ten years.

3D Systems announced that it is teaming up with the White House, UI Labs, the Department of Defense and other industry and academic organizations on its recently announced Digital Lab for Manufacturing, reports Jon Minnick, associate editor of Manufacturing Business Technology.

As part of this collaboration, 3DS plans to deliver its latest Geomagic perceptual design to manufacturing tools including scan-to-CAD, and inspection products into the center, providing access for the American manufacturing industry to the most advanced design to manufacturing digital thread.

“Perceptual design and manufacturing tools enable digital manufacturing technologies to catch up with advancements in design,” said Ping Fu, Chief Strategy Officer, 3DS. “For America to lead in manufacturing, seamless digital threading needs to be readily democratized, localized and accessible; and the Digital Lab for Manufacturing is exactly what we needed to pave the way.” The Digital Lab has a mission to transform the American manufacturing chain, to ensure the secure integration and communication of digital manufacturing data, and allow companies of any size to adopt emerging innovations in the space. This new center is the next step in the proposed National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, consisting of regional hubs that will accelerate development and adoption of cutting-edge manufacturing technologies for new, globally competitive products.

Walmart announced that the company, the Walmart Foundation and the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) have launched the Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund. Eligible non-profit organizations can apply for grants of $100,000 or more, funded by the Walmart Foundation, to help create solutions to challenges many companies face with reshoring and growing U.S. manufacturing.

According to the announcement, the first year of the initiative will focus on innovation in textiles manufacturing and common manufacturing processes that apply to a broad range of consumer goods, including small motor manufacturing and tooling for injection molding. Anticipated participating organizations include research and academic institutions, think tanks and other non-profit entities focused on innovations in manufacturing.

In August 2013, Walmart partnered with the National Retail Federation to host a summit on U.S. manufacturing. Its efforts to encourage the creation of more U.S. manufacturing jobs has resulted in a new plant in Rogers, Arkansas. and the reshoring of some shoe manufacturing jobs to Georgia. Redman & Associates, a Bentonville-based company will make battery-operated toy cars for children and eventually recall all work currently being done in China. Its president said the company will hire 74 workers to build products exclusively for WalMart. Elan-Polo will start production of injection-molded footwear in March 2014 in Hazelhurst, GA. as part of a joint venture with McPherson Manufacturing.

“Through the Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund, we hope to help remove the barriers to revitalizing and growing U.S. manufacturing, creating jobs and building a stronger American economy,” said Cindi Marsiglio, vice president of U.S. sourcing and domestic manufacturing for Walmart. “This is part of Walmart and the Walmart Foundation’s broader commitment to foster new ideas and jobs to promote strong communities and grow America’s manufacturing footprint.”

Walmart’s announcement represents a significant investment to accelerate U.S. manufacturing and create American jobs. Boston Consulting Group estimates the initiative could add 1 million jobs in the U.S.




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