CADfidential30 Jun, 2007 By: Kenneth Wong
Behind the scenes in the world of CAD.
2008 Can't Come Soon Enough
The Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI Quarterly Economic Forecast—a report that analyzes 27 major industries—predicts "Manufacturing production growth will decelerate from the 4.7% recorded in 2006 to 2.1% growth in 2007, before rebounding to 3.3% growth in 2008."
Daniel J. Meckstroth, the author of the report, blames the deceleration in growth to "the continued housing slump, soft business investment, a surprise downshift in exports and inventory adjustment." He also sees reasons for optimism. "The manufacturing inventory correction is over, the inexplicable decline in exports has passed . . . and the worst of the housing collapse has occurred . . . As long as the general economic expansion continues, conditions in manufacturing will improve."
Wanted: Green Exhibitors
The green fever that has been sweeping through architecture conferences seems to be spreading to manufacturing. In June, trade show producer Canon Communications announced its plan to make green, or sustainable, manufacturing practices a feature in all four of its principal manufacturing trade events.
The Canon portfolio includes the troubled National Manufacturing Week Expo (Chicago, Illinois, September 25–27, 2007), which the company acquired in May 2006. At its peak, the show was nicknamed "the granddaddy of the manufacturing shows." By 2006, it had dwindled to what Craig Resnick of ARC Advisory Group diplomatically called "a place for small and mid-size manufacturers to go to develop solutions." The eco-friendly exhibits may be just the thing to pump a healthy dose of green—the color of profit—into the show's future.
Short on Engineers
Alice Seagren, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Education, made a stop in Tampa, Florida, in May to speak to the press at the PTC World Media and Analyst Event. The ACT statistics she shared indicates that just 10.8% of eighth graders and 20.9% of tenth graders express an interest in pursuing a future in science, technology, engineering and math. Furthermore, citing data from the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, she showed that during the 2003–2004 academic year only 803 bachelor's degrees in engineering were awarded out of a total of 29,986. The point of Seagren's presentation was not to paint a bleak picture but to encourage technology vendors to invest more in educating and inspiring future engineers.
Pacific Rim Goldmine
Presenting his company's financial outlook to the press at the recent PTC World Media and Analyst Event, PTC's CFO Neil Moses revealed, "In 2006, PTC's China revenue grew 52% . . . The Pacific Rim is leading the chart for PTC. We expect the Pacific Rim to lead the chart in the next three years." In 2006, this region contributed 14% of the company's organic growth. PTC predicts the region will churn out 19% by 2010.
No lead, says the chip leader Intel. According to an Associated Press report dated May 24 ("Intel to Strip Lead From Processors"), Intel has already stripped approximately 95% of the prohibited metal since 2004. It will now go ahead and get rid of the remaining 0.02 grams. The EU directive demands that products marketed in its member countries contain less than 0.1% of lead, mercury and other environmentally harmful substances. Intel's rival AMD began shipping EU-compliant microprocessors as early as 2005, one year before the EU directive went into effect.
As a freelance writer, Kenneth Wong explores the innovative use of technology.