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Valve Companies Urged to Comment by Aug. 30 on Proposed Export License Requirements

export2Many valve companies must currently obtain export licenses for shipments of certain commercial products that could also potentially be used for nuclear or chemical weapons purposes. There have been more than 50 federal enforcement cases in recent years against fluid handling companies that did not obtain required licenses. Some of the penalties in these cases are counted in the millions of dollars and some company officials are in jail because they did not comply with U.S. export control regulations.

 

Ancient Roman Valves

LorenzThe story of water supply in the ancient Roman Empire is grand. The transport and hydraulic control of large quantities of fresh water was one of the factors in the immense, unprecedented success of the Roman Empire. The major Roman cities were located, in part, in the proximity of good water supplies. Plentiful water improved public health and allowed the urban life to provide labor and support businesses to build the Roman economy.

Hydraulic Fracturing, Natural Gas, and the U.S. Manufacturing Renaissance

anvilThe Great Recession has been hard on America’s domestic manufacturing industries. Even before the 2008 economic spiral, domestic industries suffered under the pressures of foreign competitors with lower labor, raw material, and energy costs, as well as more permissive regulations. In the face of this downturn, America’s oil and gas industry, an industry which itself was facing declining domestic production, embraced game-changing technology with the capability of unlocking unprecedented reserves of oil and gas.

Intellectual Property Theft: Part Two

counterfeit valvesIn Part One of our two part series on Intellectual Property Theft, we summarized some recent developments in protection of intellectual property rights. Unfortunately, with every new measure taken to stop counterfeiting and patent and trademark infringements comes a new breed of pirates intent on capitalizing on the efforts of others.

In fact, according to recent information released by the ARC Advisory Group, as much as 10% of all goods and services sold worldwide are counterfeit. The cost to holders of intellectual property rights is almost incalculable. Thus, governments are adding regulations and signing agreements at a frantic pace, attempting to stem the tide of theft.

A New China?

mitch_freeMitch Free is the CEO of MFG.com, an online marketplace for the manufacturing industry. Because of his extensive travel and business with suppliers, manufacturers and importers, Free is in a unique position to monitor manufacturing companies all over the world.

One of the biggest economic concerns in the last few months has been the notion that China is losing steam as an economic powerhouse, toppling a fragile world economy. “Not likely,” said Free during a recent interview. “China is going to be the powerhouse for a long time. While there will always be another lower cost country that can do the labor for less, there is not another China on the horizon.”

U.S. Drives Global Growth as Manufacturers Ready for Upswing

steelfactorywebManufacturers worldwide remain optimistic about the near-term outlook for their businesses. They are using the low-growth environment to become leaner and more efficient. Since 2011, manufacturers have become slightly more bullish that an upswing in the global economy is imminent. They are ramping up their innovation activity, finding ways to increase efficiency (for example, by improving the ways they manage costs and optimize their supply chains), and add value to their offerings simultaneously. This is stated in "Global Manufacturing Outlook 2012: Fostering Growth Through Innovation," an Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report sponsored by KPMG.

The True Cost of Offshoring

harry moserIn his 2012 State of the Union address, President Obama announced what he called a Blueprint for an America Built to Last. The plan is to encourage companies to create manufacturing jobs in the United States and remove deductions for shipping jobs overseas. Whether or not any of the proposals Obama sent to Congress are actually enacted is yet to be seen, but private enterprise is nevertheless taking a serious second look at the feasibility of manufacturing goods overseas.

Intellectual Property Theft: Part One

stockvalvesWEBAs part of the Valve Manufacturers Association’s ongoing efforts to help manufacturers defend against IP Theft, and to protect end users and the public against dangerous products, Valve Magazine is presenting a two-part Web feature covering the far-ranging effects of counterfeit products. Here in Part One, we present a general overview and the opportunity to catch up on information previously published online and in Valve Magazine.

In Part Two, to be published in a May Web Feature, we will be talking with valve manufacturers, distributors and end users to ask them about the current state of affairs in this industry. What steps are being taken by your manufacturing company to protect against counterfeits? What would you like to see being done by government agencies? End users and procurement officers: What safeguards are you taking? How has technology helped you defend your IP rights? What experiences have you had dealing with counterfeiters?

Presidential Proposals

obama state of the union 2012In his State of the Union address on Jan. 18, President Obama presented several programs and initiatives to Congress and to the American people, many of which could have a noticeable impact on manufacturing—which, of course, includes valve, actuator and control manufacturing.

He also proposed changes to policy regarding the oil and gas industry and had ideas for repairing America’s aging infrastructure. Following are a few highlights from the speech, categorized by areas that could be of special note to our readers.

Dealing with the Threat Posed by Chinese Counterfeiting

saving american manufacturingI wrote an article that appeared in the Summer 2009 issue of Valve Magazine entitled Suspicious and Counterfeit Valves: An Avoidable Danger. That article dealt just with fake valves — whether produced or imported under false labels, or repaired or salvaged units sold as new — but valves are just a small part of the counterfeiting problem. A few weeks ago Mike Collins, author of Saving American Manufacturing, published a blog on chem.info entitled Economic Terrorism in which he quoted Ohio State University law professor Dan Chow on the extent of the problem: Chow: “We know that 15 to 20% of all goods in China are counterfeit.” In fact, Collins went on, “In 2006 an estimated 8% of China’s Domestic Gross Product (GDP) was generated by counterfeiting.” The main point is that counterfeiting and intellectual property theft are not just a minor occurrence in China, they are a major industry.

 

Past the Obstacles to Lean Manufacturing

Toyota  Production SystemIs Lean the answer for manufacturing? Or is it just the latest flavor of the month peddled by management gurus? We interviewed experts in the field to find out:

Lean manufacturing, which had its origin in the Toyota Production System (TPS), is built around getting rid of waste — defined as any activity that does not add value (whatever a customer will pay for) to the product. Taiichi Ohno, father of TPS, identified the Seven Wastes (muda, in Japanese) — defects, overproduction, motion, transportation, waiting, inventory and processing — that TPS works to eliminate. But there is much more to Lean than that, says Mike Kuta, Managing Partner at Productivity, LLC.

 

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Valve Magazine Digital Edition

14 wnt cover 160x214Inside the Winter 2014 issue…

• Compression Packing Friction
• Wireless Technology
• Purchasing Standards
• New EPA Concerns

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