The strength, and future promise, of manufacturing throughout the Southeast region shone brightly with myriad presentations on additive manufacturing, smart technologies, and student participation at SME’s SOUTH-TEC 2017 held this week at the TD Convention Center in Greenville, SC.
SOUTH-TEC, which alternates between the Greenville location and downtown Charlotte, NC, featured a wealth of present and future manufacturing, between additive and 3D digital manufacturing to bread-and-butter metrology, machining and factory-floor data-collection technologies. The three-day exhibition held Oct. 24-26 kicked off with a keynote from Patricia Buckley, managing director, Economics Deloitte Services LP (Washington, DC).
“The manufacturing intensity in the southern states is relatively strong,” Buckley said. As with the rest of US manufacturing, however, concerns remain regarding the ongoing issue of retiring Baby Boomers set to leave the workforce in droves over the coming years. “People are working longer, and the workforce is aging,” she said, noting that a quarter of the workforce is going to be over the age of 55.
Manufacturing is getting more diverse, she added, with a higher percentage of workers being women and minorities. “The US labor force is becoming more educated,” said Buckley. “More people have bachelor’s degrees, or higher, and talent is the number one driver of manufacturing competitiveness. But women are terribly underrepresented in manufacturing.”