Industry Research – Manufacturing – Manufacturing in Motion


Manufacturing in Motion  |

By Rick Jones  |  vice president of sales at RecruitMilitary and a former master gunnery sergeant in the United States Marine Corps  |

Published in the July/August 2012 issue of print Search & Employ®  |

If you might be interested in a career in manufacturing and you want to know more about manufacturing processes, equipment, and environments, just pull up a chair and fire up your computer. Let’s go to the movies – or, more specifically, to the videos.

As you watch the videos listed below, I suggest that you ask yourself the following four questions:

(1) Does the video hold my attention?

(2) Would I enjoy doing what is shown day after day?

(3) Would this work be “hands-on” enough for me?

(4) Do I see high value in the product?

This article is about a career in manufacturing; not necessarily a lifetime career doing production work. But even so, if you answer any of the four questions in the negative, work involving that particular process may not be for you. And if, after watching several videos on greatly differing processes, you find yourself responding negatively time after time, the manufacturing industry may not be for you.

 Does the Video Hold My Attention?

As you watch a video, do you find yourself analyzing the process? Thinking that whoever developed the process was pretty clever? Wanting to know what came before this process and what comes next?

Would I Enjoy Doing What Is Shown Day After Day?  

As you watch, do you get a feeling that you would like to participate in the process? Would the work hold your attention? There is a lot of repetition in almost any civilian job; but you have experienced repetitive tasks in the military, so you are in a good position to make this evaluation.

You will note that many of the videos do not show any people at work. In some cases, you can easily imagine what the workers do – place parts in fixtures where machines work on them, monitor automated processes, maintain automated equipment, etc. In other cases, you may have to pull up your favorite search engine and do a little research on the process.

Would this Work Be “Hands-on” Enough for Me? 

Would you take great pride in producing a fine piece of work with your own hands – especially if the work required very close attention to detail and failure could be costly? Have you found that you are at your best when you are working with tools or machinery?

Do I See High Value in the Product? 

This question can be a “tie-breaker” for a job seeker with a choice of manufacturing jobs. The high value might have to do with the public nature of the product. Imagine, for example, being able to say to a buddy, “We make the glass used in all the windows in that subdivision over there.” Would that do anything for you? Or the value might have to do with a matter of public health, as in “I help produce titanium alloys used in heart pacemakers.”

The videos listed below vary in length and quality. We have not attempted to determine whether any of them are technologically outdated.

1.  “Cool Stuff Being Made” is a collection of 63 videos compiled by the National Association of Manufacturers. The videos include:

•  galvanizing of steel parts

•  how magnets are made

•  how glass bottles and jars are made

•  how aluminum cans are made

•  how mirrors are made

•  building the Boeing 777

•  explosion welding

To access the videos, go to www.nam.org, and search videos.

2. “How Everyday Things Are Made,” from the Alliance for Innovative Manufacturing (AIM) at Stanford University, covers more than 40 products and processes. It includes 4 hours of video. Examples of the manufactured products include motorcycle engines, golf clubs, candy, and plastic cups. A Resources section has links to “factory tours” that show manufacturing steps in series of still images.

The AIM is a joint venture between multinational corporations with a significant design and manufacturing presence in the United States and the university’s Graduate School of Business and School of Engineering. Visit http://manufacturing.stanford.edu/hetm.html.

3. Airbus has 32 videos showing the manufacture of its aircraft. Many of these are time-lapse videos lasting under 4 minutes. Examples:

•  complete production of an A340-600, from the arrival of aircraft parts to the painting process

•  final assembly process of the A330-200

•  production of the A330-200F freighter

•  Final assembly of the A380

Go to http://videos.airbus.com/search/?q=manufacturing&x=20&y=12

4. Engineering Motion is a free resource where people have posted technical videos of various lengths. As I write this in mid-May, the site has 113 manufacturing videos, including:

•  how steel is made

•  metal extrusion manufacturing

•  industrial robotics applications

•  sheet metal shearing and bending

•  manufacturing chains

Engineering Motion is a production of Engineers Edge, an engineering publishing, consulting, and training firm in Monroe, Georgia.

Go to: www.engineeringmotion.com/search.php?keyword=manufacturing&type=videos&page=1

5. MFGVideos, a division of MediaWebLink, has more than 100 links to separate groups of videos, many of which show products being manufactured. Visit: www.mediaweblink.com/#manufacturing

6.  HowStuffWorks has 64 manufacturing videos. Examples include:

•  carbon fiber forming

•  manufacturing a mason’s chisel

•  assembling PRS guitars

•  assembling Wilson footballs

•  manufacturing laboratory glassware

HowStuffWorks is a subsidiary of Discovery Communications, producer of Discovery Channel, TLC, Military Channel, Science Channel, and more than 100 other networks. Go to: http://videos.howstuffworks.com/science/manufacturing-videos-playlist.htm

7.  The Glass Association of North America (GANA; http://www.glasswebsite.com/video/default.asp) has 3 videos:

•  The Float Glass Manufacturing Process

•  How Mirrors Are Made

•  How Laminated Glass Is Made with Polyvinyl Butyral

8.  A German company, Zwilling J.A. Henckels, has videos showing the manufacture of its knives, cookware, kitchen scissors, and fingernail scissors. The video of knives being made is at http://www2.zwilling.com/en-GB/Sortiment–sortiment/Knives–knives.html, and the other videos are accessible from that page.

Careers Videos

A second group of videos features descriptions of various kinds of manufacturing work by people who perform that work.

1. CareerOneStop has 32 videos describing manufacturing occupations, including industrial machinery mechanics; millwrights; electrical and electronic equipment assemblers; numerical control and process control programmers; machinists; tool and die makers; welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers; chemical equipment controllers and operators; hand grinding and polishing workers; and packaging and filling machine operators and tenders. The following page  of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development of the State of New Jersey contains links to the videos: http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/wfprep/coei/media/English_VidList_Sorenson.html#13

CareerOneStop is sponsored by the Employment and Training Administration of the United States Department of Labor.

2. The Dream !t Do !t site, www.dearmit-doit.com, of the National Association of Manufacturers has six videos. The workers are Ray, who handles Harleys; Kurt, who designs speakers; Kellie, who runs a high-tech company; Aileen, who deals with biochemistry; Andre, who brews beer; and Jennifer, who works for a vineyard.

3.  The Minnesota Manufacturing Careers website has 11 videos on manufacturing careers, including quality auditor, industrial designer, and production supervisor.  Minnesota Manufacturing Careers is part of ISEEK, Minnesota’s career, education, and job resource. Go to: http://www.iseek.org/industry/manufacturing/videos.html

About the Author

This article was written by Jay Myers