By Pramod Thomas
The US Manufacturing Technology as an industry has registered tremendous growth over the past three years, and it will continue in most of 2019, Edward Christopher, Vice President, Global Services, Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT), told AutoParts Asia. He said data will drive this industry.
“In 2018, for the first time, all the major international markets had significant growth. We are very optimistic about the manufacturing industry prospects. In the US we are forecasting a slowdown in the last quarter of 2019 and in early 2020. However, overall we are expecting good growth in the next two years,” Christopher said.
AMT represents the US-based manufacturing technology companies and promotes its members who design, build, sell, and service the continuously evolving technology that lies at the heart of manufacturing. AMT also has offices or Tech Centres in China, India, Mexico, Brazil, and Poland. In India, their Chennai Technology Centre (CTC) is in Tamil Nadu.
“We have more than 600 members. One way we help our members gain market access is by organising the AMT/US Pavilions in some of the key International Manufacturing Technology shows. Our members represent all sectors in manufacturing technology such as machine tool builders and distributors, sensor and software companies, and robotics. We help our members in India, China, Mexico, Brazil and Eastern Europe. We actually have facilities in all those regions to assist our members,” he said.
Founded in 1902 and based in Virginia, the association specialises in providing targeted business assistance, extensive global support, and business intelligence systems and analysis. AMT is the voice that communicates the importance of policies and programmes that encourage research and innovation, and the development of educational initiatives to create tomorrow’s Smartforce, Christopher said.
As the representative of companies which manufacture, distribute and service manufacturing technology, AMT keeps a vigil on the latest trends and pass on the early trend signals to its members. When asked about the latest changes in the industry, Christopher said, “There is no question that it is all about data and connectivity moving forward. One of the things we do is to make our members aware of the new developments in disruptive technologies like Augmented Reality (AR), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and trends in the interconnectivity of machines. These will certainly transform manufacturing. Most of the bigger members have already invested in these areas and it is trickling down.
“Almost all the companies that are involved in manufacturing are aware of the importance of data. Manufacturers need time to change. We try to make our members aware of developments through ‘Tech Trends’ on our website, technical seminars, and webinars. We have a Technology Department that is exclusively involved in investigating all these new technologies. We help our members address these challenges by making them aware of what is on the horizon that will affect the market and their business. Our organisation is very focused on business intelligence. We do research regularly, that is one of the ways we help our members to increase their sales around the world,” he said.
According to Christopher, one of the biggest challenges now is that traditional manufacturing technology has had a larger dependency on the automotive industry than other sectors. Globally, that industry is changing as we move to electric vehicles from traditional drivetrains. It will be a big challenge to adjust to that change, he said.
When asked about the presence in India, he revealed that AMT members are convinced of the possibilities in India and they are committed to the market. “They are ready to invest in the long-term to support their customers not only with initial sales but with aftersales service and support. My department, Global Services, is responsible for our International Tech Centres, one of which is in Chennai, India. The Chennai team has the mission of helping our members gain access to the Indian market and supporting them once they’re here,” he said.