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Made in America: Why Motorola is making smartphones in America again

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Manufacturing is returning to the US

Manufacturers are starting to understand the reasons to bring manufacturing back from overseas.  US consumers care about where their products are made.  Wages are on the rise overseas, but remain stable in the US.  Better products result from tighter turnaround time between design and engineering teams.

Motorola recently announced that their new flagship smartphone, designed to compete with the iPhone 5S and Galaxy lines, will have final assembly done in a Texas factory.

Other companies are following suit.

Motorola’s Announcement for the MotoX

Motorola’s Moto-X smartphone has recently come out to critical acclaim.  It is a high end smartphone comparable to Apple’s new iPhone 5S.  (See CNET’s comparison of the MotoX versus iPhone 5S.)

The Verge recently published an article on the manufacture of the new phone, designed to complete with the Galaxy and iPhone lines.  (See “Made in America: A look inside Motorola’s Moto X factory“.)  In it, they talk about how Motorola rebuilt an old Nokia factory in order to perform final assembly of their top-of-the-line smartphone in Texas.

From The Verge:

[The MotoX is] going to be built in Texas, in a 480,000-square-foot facility previously used to manufacture Nokia phones. Woodside says Moto X will be the first smartphone built in the United States, and was clearly proud of that fact

 

Some of the reasons cited for US manufacture:

  • Quicker turnaround time (faster fulfillment)
  • Direct fulfillment for customized, made-to-order relationships (better customization)
  • The proximity of the design and manufacturing engineers enables the design team to make tweaks to the phone and quickly push them into production (tighter loop between design and manufacturing teams)

 

Further, the Motorola CEO explicitly mentioned the following business reasons for moving manufacturing:

There is a premium [with building in the US] but it’s not material to the economics of the business. It’s a myth that you can’t bring manufacturing here because it’s too expensive… We’ve observed that wages in Asia are going up, wages here are relatively steady, consumers care more about where their products are being built, and you have advantages of having design close to your manufacture. Those advantages will well outweigh the costs that we have today and those costs will go down over time.

 

The rush to manufacture overseas was primarily driven by the bottom line, which was a product of a lower standard of living in poorer countries.  Lower labor costs and fewer regulations meant companies saved huge sums of money by moving all manufacturing to China, Korea, and other centers of manufacture.

Now, however, some manufacturing is coming back.   Cheap toys will continue to be made abroad, but innovative, high quality manufacturing is returning.  And it will bring high quality manufacturing jobs back with it.

Bond and EMI Shield with same part, FASTELek, an engineering case study from Fastel Adhesives

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Editors note: This is a Case Study from our partner supplier Fastel Adhesives, and here is their Industrial Interface Supplier Profile.  Learn more about Fastel’s FASTELEK Materials.

1) How do you bond a housing together and create an EMI/RFI Shield?

EMI Shielding is a very complex subject with a lot of considerations. Whenever you are evaluating an EMI shield you need to think about galvanic reactions, frequencies you are shielding, costs, and additional functions of the EMI shielding gasket. An engineer working on a wireless transceiver contacted Fastel looking to create an EMI shielding gasket in a complex geometry.

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Engineering Case Study: Glue in die cut form-Fastel Adhesives

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Editors note: This is a Case Study from our partner supplier Fastel Adhesives, and here is their Industrial Interface Supplier Profile.

1) Glue in the form of film?

As an engineer, I was always interested in the latest, greatest, and most unique technologies. Fastel Adhesives introduces the world’s only glue in the form of Film that bonds and seals quickly. Benefits include:
  • No Mess
  • Quick Cure
  • Re-Workable

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Product lifecycle management (PLM) software covered by Manufacturing Business Technology Magazine

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Industrial Interface was mentioned recently in a great article in Manufacturing Business Technology magazine titled “Product Innovation: Keeping good ideas on the fast track.”

“Companies like IndustrialInterface.com take the collaborative approach a step further, offering online platforms that provide product engineers with a whole new universe of potential resources and partners.” ~Manufacturing Business Technologies Magazine

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Industrial Interface, Inc. Focuses Growth on Research, Design, and Manufacturing for the Medical Device Market

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SAN DIEGO, CA — May 8, 2009 — Industrial Interface is focusing its growth and development on the medical device market. Company president, co-founder, and former manufacturing engineer, T. Brian Jones said, “Medical devices is a dominant industry in Southern California where we are located. It’s an industry with diverse and complex design and manufacturing issues, and we believe that Industrial Interface will be a valuable tool for engineers and suppliers.”

Industrial Interface has no plans to limit project postings from other industries and other engineering professions. Jones explained, “OEM suppliers in the medical device market cover a broad range of specialties and we believe that they will benefit our entire community of engineers and designers, not just those in the medical device field.”

Jones finished by saying, “We would like to develop our supplier network to be the best in the world for the medical device market, and some of the major players are already using our system. More than ever before, our customers realize the importance of sourcing the best solutions at the best prices, and they are excited at the possibilities presented by Industrial Interface.”

More About Industrial Interface, Inc.

Industrial Interface is an online B2B service that connects engineers with experienced technical salespeople. The system allows engineers, designers, and sourcing professionals to post projects, problems, and sourcing needs to the website. Industrial Interface then matches those projects with industrial suppliers who have worked on similar projects in the past, or who have experience with similar technologies. The system finds potentially relevant salespeople by allowing Engineers to post as little as a problem statement and some technical details.

Industrial Interface is headquartered in San Diego, CA. For more information, visit http://industrialinterface.com.

Industrial Interface, Inc. Launches its New Online B2B Service for Engineers and Salespeople in the Manufacturing Industry

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SAN DIEGO, CA — January 6, 2009 — Industrial Interface went live today with its online B2B service that connects engineers with experienced technical salespeople. The system allows engineers, designers, and sourcing professionals to post projects, problems, and sourcing needs to the website. Industrial Interface then matches those projects with industrial suppliers who have worked on similar projects in the past, or who have experience with new technologies that could help.

Co-Founder, President, and former manufacturing engineer T. Brian Jones said, “The current pace of technological development means that no one is an expert in any niche anymore. Engineers and designers need to partner with experienced suppliers to solve their technical design problems. The earlier they do this, the better off both parties will ultimately be. We’ve designed Industrial Interface to facilitate connections between these two parties during the concept and design phase of development when the biggest design mistakes are often made. With Industrial Interface, engineers can find the best suppliers to work with when they know little more that the problems they are trying to solve.”

Industrial Interface is headquartered in San Diego, CA. For more information, visit http://industrialinterface.com.