The AP (4/20) reports, “Harley-Davidson’s net income more than tripled during the first quarter, yet the US economy still weighed on sales at home and will continue to do so as the company retools its manufacturing operations.” Harley’s profit was nearly four times higher than it was this time last year, but it fell four cents-per-share short of analysts’ expectations. “The company reduced the low end of its estimate for motorcycle shipments this year, as a precaution, because of possible supply interruptions from the March 11 earthquake in Japan.” CEO Keith Wandell “pointed out continued growth worldwide ‘even as we continue to encounter some headwinds in the US related to the challenging macroeconomic conditions.'”

Manufacturing Experts Emphasize Importance Of Training

Tom Snyder, president of Ivy Tech Community College, and Steve Dwyer, president and CEO of Conexus Indiana, write in the Indianapolis Star (4/30) that while manufacturing remains a strong source of jobs in Indiana, the field is changing and becoming more technologically complex. As a result, “workers need more advanced skills to be tech-savvy problem-solvers who work on a team, not at an assembly line.” This kind of worker can be hard to find, and a large number of experienced professionals are reaching retirement age. However, “there’s a movement under way to address this issue and create a national system of ‘industry-approved’ credentials.” As a key example of this they noted the introduction of the AMERICA Works Act, which “would prioritize federal workforce training funding for programs that teach toward a nationally portable, industry-recognized credential, including those endorsed by the Manufacturing Institute, the educational arm of the National Association of Manufacturers.”

Innovative Die Castings Wanted!

To be a winner in today’s economy, you must meet and even exceed expectations. In a competitive global market, customers take notice of the best. NADCA knows that competition improves the competitor. With its annual International Die Casting Design Competition, it recognizes and rewards the outstanding casting designs of the year. Each entry is judged on its design, quality, cost savings, ingenuity, innovation and industry-changing potential.

Entering and winning is one of the best ways to gain visibility with leading decision-makers. The competition is open to aluminum, magnesium and zinc die castings. Any number of castings may be entered. However a separate entry form is required for each casting or assembly of castings. In addition, the metal surface cannot be improved or concealed by tumbling, shot blasting, coating or other surface treatments.

Judging is conducted by an independent panel of experts from the die casting industry, with no ties to eligible companies. The four equally weighed criteria are ingenuity of casting/product design; overall quality; cost savings; and market-expanding potential.Winning castings will be displayed during the 2011 Die Casting Congress & Tabletop in Columbus, OH and winners will be honored during the Die Casting Design Luncheon.NADCA’s Die Casting Engineer Magazine,Website and the Design Website will also feature the winning castings.

This competition helps promote increased use of die castings by recognizing and publicizing outstanding designs. For more information on the 2011 International Die Casting Design Competition please visit, or contact Alex Monroe at for more details.

Chrysler Joins Other US Automakers In Reporting Quarterly Profit

The AP (5/3) reports that Chrysler has finally reported a profit, and its announcement of $116 million in first-quarter earnings marked “the first time in nearly seven years” that “Detroit’s car companies are all making money.” The last time Chrysler was in the black was in 2006; it declared bankruptcy in 2009 along with GM, which has since reported four profitable quarters. With its first-quarter earnings announcement, Ford has reported eight in a row. Consultant Van Conway called the news “kind of miraculous.” The AP attributes the success of the US automakers to a number of factors, including streamlined operations and lower costs, an improving economy, and also hardships faced by Japanese competitors stemming from recalls and supply chain issues created by the disasters in that country. “Conway said consumer confidence is improving, which will help car sales.”

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