Factory floor with upward trajectory arrow superimposed

Design Insights: Cyber-risk, Digital Design and Manufacturing’s Strength

March 1, 2021
A review of the day’s top trends and news from Machine Design editors.

Design Insights is a new daily column recapping some of the trends and highlights from Machine Design editors.

Managing cyber-risk: Digital security is just like physical security. You wouldn’t lock the front door to your plant but leave the back door open. Putting a “cyberlock” on your network is the same concept.

In the latest Machine Design Video Insight series, Gonda Lamberink, global senior business development manager at UL, said this about risk management and cybersecurity: Digital transformation is a good thing, but that means that risk management has to step up…Supply chains have grown more complex, and of course more diversified and more global, and digital transformation is adding more complexity, for manufacturers and for their end-users.”

She said there is a need for manufacturers to look deeper at their supply chains to see where there may be a need for additional locks. More of the interview can be found here

The power of digital design: We write about the individual trends in manufacturing—everything from cloud computing to 3D printing. In a Machine Design article this week, MIT professor Markus J. Buehler looks and how those trends, taken together, are changing not just the way we view design, but the materials we can use to turn that design into reality.

One area Buehler highlights is nanoengineering, which is manufacturing down to an atomic level. Or as Buehler explains it, “To illustrate just how small we’re talking: The difference in scale between a nanometer and a meter is similar to the difference between a child’s marble and the entire earth.”

A small scale, but a big concept: Take a look at the full article here.

Manufacturing continues its surge: The Institute for Supply Management’s monthly PMI Index is the bellwether for the health of the manufacturing sector. When the pandemic hit a year ago, manufacturing took a direct hit that ended a 12-year growth streak for the sector. Since then, manufacturing has rebounded, and the February reading hit 60.8%. That’s 20% above the baseline growth rate of 50% for the index and almost 50% above the low point of 41.7% just 10 months ago.

Labor remains the only area of continuing concern, with ISM officials referring to it as a “headwind.” While unemployment remains high nationally, manufacturing continues its struggle to find and retain the workers needed to accelerate growth. The PMI has been as high as 63% in recent years, and an improvement on the jobs front would be the final boost manufacturing will need.

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