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California: The capital of Industry 4.0

Manufacturing trends in California

What country boasts a diverse population of 39 million people and the sixth-largest economy in the world valued at $2.46 trillion?

Trick question: It's not a country. It's the state of California.

And at the epicenter of its economic prosperity lies its manufacturing industry - a modern, future-focused sector contributing more than one-tenth to the state's gross product. California industrial manufacturers set an example the rest of the nation, and indeed the world, would be crazy not to follow.

Here are just a few astounding highlights that showcase why manufacturing is best out west:

California industry

California industry leads charge on green manufacturing at home and abroad

Earlier this month, California Gov. Jerry Brown entered into an alliance with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Washington State Gov Jay Inslee to continue to uphold, at the state level, the provisions of the Paris Climate Agreement. According to a press release from Brown's office, together the three comprise one-fifth of U.S. GDP and about 10 percent of the country's greenhouse emissions footprint, so an enduring commitment to greener production from their respective industrial sectors would go a long way toward mitigating climate change.

But this focus on environmental impact is not new to the California industry. In 2006, the state enacted the California Global Warming Solutions Act, a bill that originally created a benchmark for a 15 percent greenhouse gas emissions reduction - based on levels from 1990 - before 2020. Nearly a decade after the measure's inception, Brown strengthened it with an amendment: 40 percent reduction by 2030. 

California manufacturing sets an example the rest of the nation, and indeed the world, would be crazy not to follow.

Recently, Brown also brokered nonbinding climate agreements with leaders from Jiangsu and Sichuan in China, the state's biggest trade partner. Although neither deal included further explicit limitations on greenhouse gas, the parties did assent to research the viability of low-carbon alternative energy sources and the development of clean industrial technologies, as well as establish a channel for exchanging climate data. In inking this agreement, both sides have forged the makings of a productive, environmentally friendly supply chain.

California industry

Golden State is home to cutting-edge manufacturing and warehousing technology

California is as much a hub for manufacturing as it is for technological innovation and leads the world with its advancements in both 3-D manufacturing and the industrial internet of things. There are too many organizations doing amazing work in these areas to mention all of them here, but we thought we'd emphasize a few striking examples of how Californians are heralding Industry 4.0:

Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute

In 2016, President Barack Obama named the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition out of Los Angeles as the consortium charged with leading the Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute. The White House tasked the institute with the development and adoption of advanced sensors, data analytics and controls in manufacturing, while reducing the of cost these technologies by half and radically improving the efficiency of U.S. advanced manufacturing. Since then, the organization has raised hundreds of millions of dollars in private and public investment, including its initial $70 million grant from the federal government, with help from local universities and manufacturing leaders across the state.
 

Contour Crafting

Contour Crafting recently purchased more than 33,000 square feet of warehouse space in El Segundo to begin production of their deployable, large-scale 3-D printing technology designed for housing and other architecture. According to a press release published on the Contour website, its automated robots can build a home in a day or two using concrete-like materials. First orders are expected to ship in 2018.
 

Verdigris

Famed automaker Tesla may have one of the most advanced manufacturing plants in the world, but there are plenty of startups breaking new ground. Take Verdigris, a small company that builds scalable Wi-Fi-connected energy sensors that track consumption. Founded by Sunnyvale's Mark Chung, Verdigris helps facilities of all sizes monitor their usage, pinpoint faulty equipment and reduce their electricity bills.

Rocket Lab

In May, Los Angeles-based Rocket Lab successfully launched an experimental rocket with a disposable fuselage and a 3-D printed electric engine. Although the deployment, staged in New Zealand, did not breach orbit as hoped, Rocket Lab representatives told The Mercury News the flight was a great first step toward lowering the cost of space exploration. Each launch, the company said, costs a mere $5 million start to finish. For scale, NASA's shuttle program cost an average of approximately $1.5 billion per launch.

For these examples and more, California has staked its claim as a mecca of intelligent, eco-conscious industry 4.0 today and for years to come. Are you looking for more information on the future of manufacturing, in California and beyond? Check out our latest eBook Unbounded Manufacturing. For more blog articles on this topic, here's a recent post on conquering your fears using cloud-based enterprise resource planning solutions at your manufacturing plant.

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