TECH CAN FUEL
Shortages shrink supply: The ISM®
Manufacturing Report On Business®
indicated that methacrylates were in short
supply in May, due in part to unexpected
plant outages in the U.S., Europe and Asia
last year. That has left some customers
looking to the Middle East for supply.
Where do they come from? Derivatives
of methacrylic acid, methacrylates are
the building block for such acrylic-based products as paints, coatings
and adhesives, forming the polymers
and resins that provide durability and
What are they used for? Methyl
methacrylates (MMA) are polymerized
into solid form for use in such items as
signage, baths, spas, work surfaces,
automotive lights, flat-screen monitors,
dental prostheses and medical
And that’s a fact: The global MMA
market is expected to exceed 4. 8 million
metric tons by 2020, with the Asia-Pacific
region powering much of the growth,
according to a 2016 report by San
Jose, California-based Global Industry
Analysts, Inc. ISM
Information technology has taken over
business, bringing with it the mind-set
that computers and automation will
continue chipping away at manual labor.
Nothing will stop the former, but the latter
doesn’t have to be, say the authors of
an economic analysis released by the
Technology CEO Council.
In The Coming Productivity Boom,
economic scholars Michael Mandel and
Bret Swanson argue that IT’s diffusion
in such industries as manufacturing,
agriculture, health care, transportation
and energy needn’t weaken the American
“While some economists will put the
blame squarely on IT for disrupting
industries and destroying jobs … 70
percent of companies in the U.S.
economy are not taking full advantage
of the power of information technology,”
says Mandel. “And that’s the problem.”
The authors cite digital industries
that have used IT to create products,
platforms and jobs. A full emphasis on IT
could add US$2.7 trillion to the nation’s
annual economic output by 2031 and
grow cumulative federal revenues by $3.9
trillion over the next 15 years, the report
U.S. manufacturing was a topic of much discussion during the 2016 presidential
campaign, but it wasn’t always clear if Americans’ perceptions of the sector matched
reality. A survey by London-based Deloitte and Washington, D.C.-based The
Manufacturing Institute suggests that respondents are thinking of manufacturing
beyond a factory, cognizant of the technology that will shape the sector’s future.
The 2017 Manufacturing Perceptions Study finds that 88 percent of respondents
expect future sector jobs to be high-tech, and 77 percent expect them to require
less manual labor. More than eight in 10 (83 percent) see manufacturing as vital to
the country’s health.
“This research indicates that public opinion of the future of the industry has taken a
measurable, positive jump as people acknowledge the strong connection between
this industry, the U.S. economy and the American way of life,” says Jay Timmons,
president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers.
Among other findings in the survey of 1,030 people from all 50 states:
• Eighty-one percent believe trade and export of American manufactured goods
benefit the economy.
• Three quarters (76 percent) believe the U.S. should invest more in the
manufacturing industry, and 71 percent feel that the country should provide long-term funding for programs that spur manufacturing innovation.
• Respondents considered manufacturing third among the nation’s top sectors for
job creation, behind technology development centers and health-care facilities.