NASF Discusses SUR/FIN International Panel, Environmental Protection with China Surface Finishing Industry
Representatives of the China Electroplating Association and the China Surface Engineering Association are making plans to send a formal delegation to NASF SUR/FIN 2012 in Las Vegas. Based on the success of the SUR/FIN 2011 International Panel session, NASF recently discussed expanding the SUR/FIN international program to include Chinese industry representation, along with other countries.
One of the areas discussed by NASF and the China delegation is improving environmental and health protection and controls at Chinese domestic finishing operations. Additional details on the expanded SUR/FIN 2012 International Panel will be forthcoming. Industry and association participants from Europe, North and South America, and Asia will be announced by late 2011.
Automotive Surface Technology Roadmap Initiative Launched
The NASF Technology Advisory Committee’s Automotive Surface Technology Roadmap initiative is formally underway. The roadmap Task Group is being chaired by Linda Wing, Automotive Industry Manager from NASF Supplier Member Enthone.
The Task Group will be working through the fall to identify and highlight key finishing technology trends for the future, and will begin developing the roadmap for release to NASF members in 2012. The recent Aerospace/Defense Surface Technology Roadmap, completed in the past year, provides useful guidance on material demands, trends and innovation in finishing technology for that sector. For further questions or information, please contact NASF TAC Chairman Dr. Keith Legg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mist Suppressants, Chromium Emissions Targeted in NASF-EPA Meetings
NASF members met with federal EPA officials this week to discuss the agency’s decision to impose tighter regulations on industry chromium emissions. The agency recently received over 10,000 comments via a Sierra Club email campaign to impose tougher mandates on U.S. finishing operations.
The agency concluded earlier this year that emissions did not pose a significant risk and the industry anticipated no changes to the existing chromium air limits. However, EPA officials have reversed course and are considering substantially lower emission standards. If the agency’s recommended approach prevails, the industry could see newly mandated limits 50 to 70 percent lower than current federal emission standards by 2012.
The NASF Government Advisory Committee and key NASF Supplier members have been working to address EPA data and modeling issues, among other topics. NASF Members in attendance at the recent industry-EPA meeting included: Gene Barlowe, Atotech, Doug Lay, Coventya, Rick Hall, KCH Services, and Mike Barnstead, MacDermid.
New Labor Rules Supporting Union Efforts Challenged in Federal Court
The National Labor Relations Board recently issued new regulations that require companies to put posters on their bulletin boards by November 14, 2011, that inform employees about their rights to unionize under federal law. Last week, the National Association of Manufacturers filed suit against the NLRB in opposition to the posting requirement rule.
In comments filed with the Board, the NAM contended the posting requirement is beyond the NLRB’s authority under the Act. These comments are the basis for the lawsuit filed in federal court yesterday. The NAM is asking the court to preliminarily and permanently enjoin the Board from implementing, enforcing and applying the rule.
2014: A Health Care Odyssey
It has been 18 months since the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act—better known as health care reform—and most businesses have made few, if any, changes in the delivery of their health care benefits. However, major provisions such as penalties for not covering full-time employees and the creation of public and private health insurance exchanges to broker coverage will take effect in 2014. Employers and benefits managers will soon need to make strategic decisions impacting their future healthcare programs. NASF will provide updates on the new law in the coming year.
Lessons in Workers Compensation
Is there a role for the federal government in a state-based workers' comp system in the wake of huge losses like those sustained in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon? Those who assume the state-based workers' compensation system will weather a major natural or man-made disaster in the future would do well to heed some hard lessons from the events that took place on U.S. soil on Sept. 11, 2001.
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The Debate on Producing in China – Is the U.S. Really More Attractive?
Rising costs in China, along with dozens of hidden costs, are making it more economical to either keep manufacturing in the United States or bring it back from China, writes Manufacturing & Technology News editor Richard McCormick.
Companies are not adequately accounting for dozens of hidden costs and growing risks associated with outsourcing production to China, according to David Meeker of Neoteric Product Development based in Acton, Mass., and a lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. When companies tally all of the costs of offshore outsourcing and adopt new design techniques for streamlining manufacturing, the cost advantage of moving production to China disappears.
"If you look at all the costs and total them up and you do a really good job of doing design, the chances are you can manufacture in the United States just as competitively and with a lot less risk and a lot less lead time," says Meeker. "You have more control over what you are doing."
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