Keeping it in-house: U.S. manufacturing continues its resurgence

There’s a bit of a renaissance happening in domestic manufacturing across the United States and the proof is found in a number of recently published reports. In December 2013, manufacturing grew at its second-fastest pace in more than two years and the Institute for Supply Management’s factory index held firm at 57 (over 50 indicates growth), according to Bloomberg. Growth is being spurred by spending in construction, automobile sales and an increase in demand in most major industries, which in turn, has led to investments in equipment and added jobs.

In fact, The Wall Street Journal says manufacturing employment in the U.S. has grown nearly 5 percent to 12 million jobs since 2010, as many U.S. companies want to stop relying so heavily on foreign plants, where quality and delivery times are hard to control.

“More companies will set up — or indeed keep — their production here as the manufacturing sector becomes more efficient, innovative, and technologically sophisticated to allow for greater product variety,” explains Donald B. Rosenfield of The Boston Globe.

Efficient, innovative and technology driven? That sounds familiar. Proto Labs’ automated systems allow us to CNC machine and injection mold plastic and metal parts really fast. The catalyst is our online quoting system that can take uploaded 3D CAD models and provide design analysis and pricing info within hours, not days or weeks, so we’re able to quickly get prototype parts back to a global customer base. And worry not, designs and intellectually property are legally protected at Proto Labs. The same confidence cannot be had with every overseas manufacturing facility.

As we move into 2014, we’ve launched new manufacturing services and added to our menu of available materials. We’re even opening a state-of-the-art production plant in Plymouth, Minn., which is contributing to a regional trend in manufacturing expansion. And yes, we’re open 24 hours a day, every day. That means when production slows down in China with its approaching New Year at the beginning of February, we’ll be on our horse cranking out parts.

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