Ever since Ransom E. Olds founded Olds Motor Works in Lansing, the Capital City has been a leader in manufacturing technology. Olds’ second Lansing venture, the REO Motor Car Co., brought us the technological wonder of the progressive assembly line in 1905.

Our dedication to industrial improvements and quest to work smarter, not harder, brings us to Lansing in the 21st century, where innovation and imagination drive changes in the factory.

Michigan has the highest concentration of engineers in the United States and ranks among the nation’s top 10 for its skilled trades workforce. That’s the good news.

On the other hand, there is a looming shortage of skilled trades workers, which is causing concern not only in Lansing but also across the state.

Enter the Capital Area Manufacturing Council and Michigan Manufacturing Association, both of which are advocating for change to help develop a strong, skilled trades workforce. Both are working with industry leaders and policymakers to cultivate opportunities for the next generation to master skilled trades careers and meet the growing demand.

Lansing also is a leader in technological development in the manufacturing world.

Lansing Community College’s Center for Manufacturing Excellence, for example, is ranked the No. 2 technical school in the U.S. in terms of robotics. LCC has a world-class robotics and automation lab that includes cobots – robots that work in collaboration with humans.

Even Spartan Stadium on the Michigan State University campus is getting a technological facelift, which will enable MSU to lead the way in the future of college athletics.

In this issue, we also examine the development of 5G – the fifth generation of cellular network technology – as it applies to industry. While total acceptance in manufacturing might not be immediate, it promises to slash production costs and cut energy use when it is fully integrated into factories.

With all this technology, what is the future for humans in the mechanized workplace?

Not to worry. Humans will adapt, new careers will be created, even if new technology and robots do the heavy lifting.


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