Rockwell's Nosbusch calls for smart factories to boost U.S. manufacturing

 DETROIT — Rockwell Automation Chairman and CEO Keith Nosbusch today called for business and government to invest in smart factories that are flexible, efficient and sustainable as the best way to create higher-paying, long-term manufacturing jobs in the United States. 

“The public and private sectors need to invest in advanced technology that will lower costs, increase productivity and make U.S. manufacturing competitive globally,” said Nosbusch. “This investment is the best way to create enduring, higher-wage manufacturing jobs that can compete against other economies with lower costs of doing business.”

Nosbusch spoke yesterday at The National Summit, a gathering hosted by the Detroit Economic Club, to promote actions to improve America’s manufacturing competitiveness in the global economy. 

Nosbusch also called for a renewed U.S. industrial policy that includes federal stimulus, and research and development on industrial automation and information technology to keep U.S. manufacturing competitive globally. 

Nosbusch cited research that shows most Americans believe that highly automated, modern factories are important to grow the U.S. economy. A majority of Americans said the government should provide incentives for companies to invest in advanced technology to improve U.S. manufacturing. 

“A $50 billion investment in retooling factories would create 250,000 direct manufacturing jobs in the U.S., support an additional 725,000 indirect jobs and generate up to $120 billion in revenue resulting from increased demand for products,” said Nosbusch, citing a study by the Apollo Group, a business-labor coalition focused on job creation.

Nosbusch called for the Obama administration to double research and development for manufacturing innovation to bring it back to 1970s funding levels. “If you really want to invest in long-term, high-quality job creation, you have to invest in innovation,” he said.

“We also need an education system that will train workers to operate these smart factories and produce engineers who develop innovative manufacturing solutions for the future,” he emphasized. “This needs to start with a better pre-school to college STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) talent-development pipeline.”

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