Why everyone in manufacturing should host a Manufacturing Day Event

tourAs we wrap up our second annual manufacturing day event at Balluff (Oct 7th 2016), I am motivated to see so many kids and adults excited about manufacturing. This is an amazing industry to be a part of and as the 4th industrial revolution is upon us, we must inspire the next generation to see the light.

At Balluff’s MFGDAY event, we offered hourly time slots for attendees. During that hour, they received a plant tour and participated in hands-on labs. The tour focused on lean manufacturing work-cells, automated systems, and lot-size-one flexible manufacturing. Visitors learned how these tools are utilized at a US manufacturer to be competitive in a global market, how manufacturing technologies are utilized and how STEM education is applied in a manufacturing environment.

labThe hands-on labs were by far the favorite part for most attendees. We offered 5 hands-on labs from a speed game of flexible manufacturing to technology discovery experience about infrared light. Each lab taught the students and parents about how different sensor technologies worked and created a positive effect on the manufacturing process.

vanOutside the labs, interactive automation games were available to play and win prizes. The automated bags game was a hit with adults and kids and our RFID tag catapult game took quite a lot of skill. Everything was designed to inspire interest in manufacturing automation and help educate both adults and aspiring students to consider careers in advanced manufacturing.

Our motivation at Balluff to participate in MFGDAY is three-fold:

  • Bridge the US Manufacturing Skills Gap. Help our manufacturing community bridge the 600k+skills gap by building interest in the public for a career in manufacturing.
  • Connect with our community. We want to be involved in our community, improve outcomes for local students and support the local economy. That’s why we partnered with local schools like Gateway Community College and Cincinnati State to turn a budding interest into a solid path.
  • Motivate our employees. Talking about how awesome manufacturing is is fun. And seeing the excitement of a little kid when they can see infrared light through a cellphone camera was the highlight of many employees’ day.

As attendees left the event we asked them a few questions to gauge their interests and the effect of the day on their attitudes toward manufacturing. I am happy to report that we increased an interest in manufacturing careers by 22% in both kids and adults. Many people walked away with a better understanding of how STEM education can positively affect manufacturing careers and 90% agreed that factory automation is cool. Check out our new infographic on MFGDAY16 at Balluff and our press release has event more details.


You Should be Participating in #MFGday!

MFG Day TourWow! Talk about a fun, energizing and educational event for employees, students and the community. Balluff just completed our first year participating in Manufacturing Day as a host company. We had over 100 students, kids, parents, teachers, customers and retirees visit our facility over 6 hours during a rainy Friday. We ran tours every hour that consisted of a hands-on lab that taught the difference between manual and automated processes, tours of our production and warehouse facility and a review of how automation is used in a variety of industries.During any downtime the participants could also visit our newly constructed Automation in Action Demo Van (Twitter: @balluffbus) and learn about how sensor technologies support automation in manufacturing.

The high school students that visited loved the hands on applications and asked questions with an engaging and excited spirit that was inspiring. We engaged with some home schooling groups and had a great turnout from those folks as well. I loved how eager all the kids were to learn about sensors and automation. Even the big kids found value and inspiration. The posts on the Balluff facebook page I believe say it all:

Thank you guys so much for the tour! We had fun and learned a lot. The kids have been playing make believe with sensors and their badges since we got home.

Thank you for the wonderful tour! My husband and I really enjoyed it! It’s nice seeing the mechanics behind the some of the equipment that we’ve used in the chemical industry and manufacturing processes!

But the best part of this event was how inspiring it was to our employees. Both those giving the tours, participating at the signup table or hands-on labs and even those who were not direct participants. Everyone was so proud and excited to share with the community our passion for automation and how committed we are to our customer’s success. Manufacturing is a great industry, with great opportunities and its great to share that spark with others.

Thank you to everyone who attended, participated in and supported this great event! You can see more photos from the event on our Flickr page.