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Erik Finman first made news when he became the world's youngest bitcoin millionaire (he invested when he was 12 years old and now holds 401 coins). But now Finman is attracting attention by showing some advancements that can be made with 3-D printing. He developed a Doctor Octopus exoskeleton suit, and most of its parts were 3-D printed. 

Features of the suit include:

  • The tentacles use a series of stacked coffee cups;
  • The final weight of the suit is 12.5 pounds;
  • Eight motors power the suit (two per tentacle); and
  • The suit is powered by a lithium motorcycle battery.

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Finman led the project to give the suit to 10-year-old Aristou, who wanted superhuman strength. Aristou is the son of one of Finman's mentors and former bosses, and wanted a suit like that to wear to ComiCon. Finman explains Aristou struggles with hypermobility issues and wanted to create something to "enhance humanity." Finman led the suit's design, development, creation and production, and believes advancements in this suit and similar projects will lead to innovations in the manufacturing, medical and construction fields. 



The McPherson CertainTeed employees include (from left) Tim Groote, Chris Holloway, Janet Lynch and Jennifer Smith.

CertainTeed takes pride in playing a part of the National Manufacturing Day celebration in McPherson, Kan.

What is unique about CertainTeed’s celebration of National Manufacturing Day at its plant in McPherson, Kan., is that CertainTeed’s activities are just one part of a town-wide, month-long celebration of local manufacturing. This is a town that celebrates its industry, and CertainTeed enjoys being a part of it.

“This will be our facility’s fourth year celebrating National Manufacturing Day,” says Janet Lynch, plant manager of the CertainTeed siding facility in McPherson. “Our town chamber heard about the event years ago and declared October manufacturing month. This is a rural town with a lot of manufacturing.”


Kikkerland and Paper Source Launch a Design Challenge for ID Students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Kikkerland has partnered with Paper Source to host a design challenge for the industrial design students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC).

For its 10th design challenge, Kikkerland Design invited the students to design a simple, inspiring and executable product within four core categories:

Mindful Desktop: Design a stylish yet functional office item that promotes mindfulness and focus in the workplace.

Cocktail Culture: Offer unique and innovative cocktail/wine accessories to add some flair to parties.

Tech meets paper: Create a product that links the physical and the digital world for the generation that is connected to their devices, but nostalgic about reading physical books, writing in notebooks, and handwriting cards.

Hydration: Everyone carries a water bottle with them wherever they go. What is the next innovation in hydration?

The goal is to give design students a platform to present their product ideas for a well-respected retailer, and the chance to see their ideas produced. The product submissions need to appeal to Paper Source values: live, give, create and celebrate and include Kikkerland’s signature fun and functional characteristics.

Assistant Professor Architecture, Interior Architecture, Designed Objects (AIADO) Peter Oyler has guided students during the Spring semester. Paper Source and Kikkerland reviewed and critiqued the projects.

Final products will be hosted online http://papersourcedesignchallenge.com/ for a public vote May 5th-12th.

Anyone can vote for their favorite designs to determine the People’s Choice Winner.

The Prototypes will be sent to a jury of buyers, merchandisers and industrial design professionals to determine the pieces selected for production. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on May 12th 2017 at SAIC.

Winners in the two categories below will be announced at the awards ceremony:

*Production: Selected product(s) that Paper Source intends to buy and Kikkerland intends to produce. Student will receive a licensing agreement when the product gets developed.

*People’s Choice: Product that received the most votes from the online voting website. The winning designer will receive an award and will be given additional consideration for Kikkerland production.

For more than 15 years, Kikkerland Design and Paper Source have had a long-standing partnership and committed to bringing thoughtful and well-designed gifts.

“We are honored to partner with Kikkerland for their annual design challenge. At Paper Source, we’ve always believed that life moments should be celebrated in a fun and creative way. Kikkerland has always been a retailer that inspires solutions for everyday life. We’re proud to be working with the bright and talented SAIC students who will be brainstorming new gifting products for special occasions,” said Paper Source CEO Winnie Park.


Plante Moran and the Reshoring Initiative are jointly launching the pivotal U.S. Manufacturing Reshoring Study. Both organizations encourage businesses to participate in the study’s survey. Responses will provide valuable insights into how much manufacturers produce offshore, what drives them to offshore and what U.S. policy changes would motivate them to reshore. 

Manufacturers and distributors can complete the survey online at www.reshoringsurvey.com. Survey findings will be shared with the Trump Administration, Congress and survey respondents later this year. The survey takes approximately 15 minutes to complete and will close at 8:00 pm EDT on Friday, October 20.

For the first time in decades, more manufacturing jobs are returning to the United States than are going offshore. However, about 4 million manufacturing jobs have still been lost to offshoring over the last decade, based on the $500 billion U.S. trade deficit. The Reshoring Initiative concludes that about 25 percent of these jobs are reshorable at current levels of U.S. competitiveness. The survey will provide insight into the mix of policy changes needed to reshore the other 75 percent.

A 50-year manufacturing industry veteran and retired President of GF AgieCharmilles, Harry Moser founded the Reshoring Initiative to move lost jobs back to the United States. For his efforts with the Reshoring Initiative, he was named to Industry Week's Manufacturing Hall of Fame in 2010. Additional information on the Reshoring Initiative is available at www.reshorenow.org. The Initiative’s many sponsoring associations and companies are also acknowledged on the site.


Speakers shared their thoughts on leadership and success at Macola Evolve 2017 in New Orleans. 

The Macola Evolve 2017 conference in New Orleans had a lot to offer in terms of new technology and enhanced solutions for customers to improve their ERP systems. More on all of that in our upcoming May/June issue, but the event also offered many great ideas for manufacturers that are worth sharing now. The key message I got from the conference’s speakers concerned how manufacturers can gain strength, and then use that strength to build their brands.

Cal McAllister, co-founder, CEO and executive creative director at Seattle-based ad agency Wexley School for Girls, offered a short “guide for success with brands.” This included worrying only about what you can control, solving the problems first before you start something new, and living “in authenticity.”

“It’s easy for brands to make up stories,” he said, but consumers are smart and will quickly find out the truth about your brand. “Be the best part of someone’s day – that will allow you to work your way into the fan base.” 

He noted that manufacturers can do a number of things right now to get attention:

1. Provide jobs, because the market likes to see companies that are here in the United States and providing employment.

2. Demonstrate your speed and the ease of doing business with you.

3. Be on social media and “use that to turn your customers into salespeople.”

McAllister added that a strong internal culture can have a big impact on a company’s success. “I want to make sure our employees feel Wexley is the best job they’ve ever had,” he said. “It is important to keep them happy because the employees are our most important customer.”

‘Always Time for Fun’

Speaker Craig Zablocki injected a lot of energy into the conference, asking attendees to compare their adult approach to problems and worries with how children react to the same issues. “Serious and sincere doesn’t always lead to success – there is always time for fun,” Zablocki said. He explained that adults resist change, but it’s important to accept change and adopt the natural curiosity of kids.

“Not many workplaces are intentionally created around fun, but we need to be curious, we need to have creativity and we need to have fun,” he stressed, adding there is also a great need to be fearless. “Sales happen and safety happens when people are present,” he said. “Fear constricts us, distracts us and keeps us from creativity.

“When you’re playing Lego, play Lego. When you’re brainstorming, brainstorm. Do it instead of being somewhere else in fear or worry.”

Zablocki explained that most of what we worry about is either in the past or will never happen, so it’s important to let it go. Psychological fears can get in the way of creativity and participation, limiting a company’s success. “Resistance to change causes more suffering, pain and procrastination,” he said. “Stop worrying about the little things and allow yourself to really focus on having more fun, customer service and engagement.”

‘No Man is an Island’

Professional football player Rocky Bleier closed the conference by reminding attendees that everyone constantly has opportunities to reinvent themselves and improve. “Hourly we are reborn,” he said. “I’m in my eighth decade of creating memories, and the highlights are forever etched in our brains.”

Known for his time at Notre Dame and with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Bleier has four Super Bowl rings and understands the importance of teamwork, and how individuals using their strengths and talents together as a team can achieve great things.

“For 40 years, the Steelers were a team destined to lose because there was no long-term vision – they were only focused on the short term,” he said. “They were very much a product of western Pennsylvania – a tough, hard-nosed team. They would beat the crap out of you, but they’d never win.”

He noted that changed when Chuck Noll came on as the coach because he “knew how to win.” Noll helped to shape Bleier’s idea of successful leadership, but he also learned key leadership skills after being drafted into the U.S. Army and serving in Vietnam. 

“When you are put in charge, you take charge,” he said. “When you are in charge, you have to have the courage to do what you think is right, but more importantly, what is right for the men.

“Courage is not passing off the responsibility or being a fool,” he added. “It’s that moment when we are faced with an issue – we have to take the information we have and implement it to move forward.”

He stressed that it’s important to appreciate people with talent – they raise the standards throughout an operation and make everyone better. “Don’t make things more complex; simplify things,” he said. “Create a great team and work together to move forward. No man is an island – none of us got here on our own, and we have to remember that." 

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