Manufacturing

11:20am

Sat March 9, 2013
All Tech Considered

Could This Robot Save Your Job?

Originally published on Sat March 9, 2013 9:50 am

Baxter is billed by its makers as a "collaborative manufacturing robot." It can work alongside humans to do simple, repetitive tasks.
© Stephen F. Bevacqua Courtesy of Rethink Robotics

The man who invented Roomba, the robotic vacuum, is back — this time, with Baxter. Rodney Brooks, roboticist and entrepreneur, brought Baxter, his latest robot, to the TED conference in Long Beach, Calif., last week.

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2:48pm

Tue February 5, 2013
Business

Why Is It So Hard To Make A 100 Percent American Hand Dryer?

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 6:17 pm

The Xlerator hand dryer is made almost entirely of American components and assembled in Massachusetts. But the company's owner says it's simply not cost-effective to use an American-made motor.
Andrea Hsu NPR

Fifteen years ago, Denis Gagnon bought a company that made a product nobody really liked: hand dryers. But he quickly managed to turn Massachusetts-based Excel Dryer into an innovator with the Xlerator — a high-speed dryer that cut drying time from more than 30 seconds to less than 15.

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4:00pm

Mon February 4, 2013
Business

How One Company Reinvented The Hand Dryer

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 2:52 pm

Craig McCarl dips Xlerator covers two at a time into a chrome bath. He has worked for Excel Dryer in East Longmeadow, Mass., for 31 years.
Andrea Hsu NPR

There's a lot of talk in politics about the desirability of American manufacturing and "green" jobs. President Obama talks about both often, especially wind turbines and long-lasting batteries that are made on U.S. soil.

Robert Siegel, host of All Things Considered, recently visited a Massachusetts factory that makes a product that hits those same parameters. It's arguably a force for sustainability, nearly 40 Americans assemble it, and it's an interesting case study in innovation: the high-speed hand dryer.

'We Had A Product People Hated To Use'

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4:03pm

Sat December 8, 2012
Business

Not Just Patriotic, U.S. Manufacturing May Be Smart

Originally published on Sat December 8, 2012 6:12 pm

General Electric's Appliance Park has been in Louisville, Ky., since 1951. But it's putting new power behind its U.S. production.
General Electric Co.
  • As Heard On Weekends On 'All Things Considered'

The advantages to making products in the U.S. are starting to stack up — and companies are taking notice. Among them are Apple, which announced Thursday it plans to start producing some of its Mac computers here instead of in China, and General Electric, which is making big investments at home.

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3:04pm

Sat December 8, 2012
Business

Hoodie Company Put U.S. Manufacturing In Style

Originally published on Sat December 8, 2012 4:51 pm

Transcript

GUY RAZ, HOST:

It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.

We're talking about the small but significant trend called insourcing, manufacturing things here in the U.S. Earlier this year, Bayard Winthrop opened up a sweatshirt and hoodie business in San Francisco, and he called it American Giant. He's got 10 people in the front office and up to 150 workers in a factory where his entire line, soup to nuts, is made in America.

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