Monday, February 28, 2011

The U.S. Doesn't Make Anything Any More? We Make Some Pretty Cool High-Tech Glass Products



This video is a great example of a high-tech, U.S. manufacturing company, competing globally in the 21st Century from Midland, Michigan: glass-maker Dow Corning, with production facilities in Michigan (6), Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, North Carolina and Tennessee. 

HT: Mike Carlson

10 Comments:

At 3/01/2011 4:46 AM, Blogger juandos said...

What about the brittleness that is typical of glass?

Has Dow many any advances in mitigating that problem?

 
At 3/01/2011 7:36 AM, Blogger Tom said...

Isn't Dow Corning the chemical company partially owned by Dow Incorporated the glass company headquartered in Corning NY? If you are ever in that neck of the woods, the glass museum is worth a visit..

 
At 3/01/2011 9:26 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

i'm still not sure why we care about making things.

making things is mostly a pretty crummy business.

in recent decades, the most successful US companies don't make things.

those that do sell products choose to be platform companies because designing, writing the software for, and selling an iphone is a good business, but actually putting it together is a terrible one.

sure, there are exceptions (notably intel and possibly cat) but many US manufacturers like steel, autos, and boeing would be in deep trouble without constant governmental aid and protectionism.

but all in all, manufacturing is a crummy business and only makes sense if you combine it with design and innovation (and often still doesn't).

i will never understand why we fixate so intensely on it as some sort of economic necessity.

 
At 3/01/2011 10:49 AM, Blogger AIG said...

"Isn't Dow Corning the chemical company partially owned by Dow Incorporated the glass company headquartered in Corning NY?"

No. Unless you missed the word "and" between "Dow incorporated...and...the glass company in Corning NY".

Its actually a different company than the one in Corning NY. I worked for Corning (not Dow Corning), and their transformation into a high-tech company is even more impressive.

Morganovich, "making things" is simply the end step of a long line of value creating activities. And the reason a company would "make things" in the US instead of elsewhere, is because the process of making those things requires much higher technical expertise than can be found elsewhere. Corning for example has countless highly experienced engineers and managers and employees running a production line (which undergoes continuous innovation and improvement). Moving that to China would make it go to hell and back in a minute.

 
At 3/01/2011 10:58 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

aig-

i understand the need to make certain things here and to protect valuable production processes, but looking at things like shirts and steel and flatware, who cares where it is made?

we are better off letting others make such low value add things.

 
At 3/01/2011 2:03 PM, Blogger gacoffma said...

Who is the moron that posted this? Dow Corning in Midland Mi does not make glass. It makes silicones, Corning in NY makes glass and LCD's

 
At 3/01/2011 3:13 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"i understand the need to make certain things here and to protect valuable production processes,"

Its not about protecting anything. Its about the ability to produce something. You can either have it here, or you can move it to China and have 50 manufacturing and industrial engineers fly from the US to China on a weekly bases to fix the problems that arise in China.

Not to mention you completely lose the ability to improve and innovate on your production processes.

"but looking at things like shirts and steel and flatware, who cares where it is made?"

Ok, but thats a whole different argument. The point I was making is that the production that remains in the US is mostly focused on high-tech products...like what Corning does.

 
At 3/01/2011 3:18 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"Dow Corning in Midland Mi does not make glass. It makes silicones, Corning in NY makes glass and LCD's"

Right. Different companies.

 
At 3/01/2011 7:06 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"The point I was making is that the production that remains in the US is mostly focused on high-tech products...like what Corning does."

yes, and i was agreeing with you that it makes sense to keep certain kinds of production that have high intellectual property components and require innovation, but let's face it, most manufacturing is not like that.

attempting to hold on to crappy, low value jobs like textiles is a recipe for wage stagnation.

 
At 3/01/2011 7:47 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"but let's face it, most manufacturing is not like that."

I'd say most manufacturing by value, is like that. Maybe not by number of employees or some physical measurement. But even the lower end manufacturing, is mostly small or medium enterprises which usually serve a niche which either is not cost effective to buy from elsewhere (transportation costs for example), or they offer some other service to their customers which a Chinese or Mexican manufacturer can't.

Even things like t-shirts at the end of the day still are made in the US and the industry manages to survive. The market still demands it...because there's more consideration to be made than simply cost of labor.

There's a large distribution of different customers for any market, and some American manufacturers of even the most simple of trinkets will still find a niche.

 

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