Metalworking has an over 7,000-year history and the field of machinery manufacturing continues to shape present-day civilization. Although metalworking materials and methods have advanced significantly over this time span, modern methods are still recognizable as metalworking and involve the use of metalworking tools. Here are six reasons why metalworking is still vital in the twenty-first century.
The metalworking, machinery and manufacturing industry group employs around 200,000 people in the United States alone. These workers play a critical role in domestic tool production and use, which supports the national economy. Instability around the world makes domestic metalworking all the more important in the 2020s and beyond. Metal part and tool producers also bolster the economy by supplying critical equipment to a wide variety of industries.
The Aerospace Industry
The aerospace industry is going strong in the U.S. and around the world. In addition to the use of metal parts and tools in developing advanced airplanes and unmanned aerial vehicles, which are commonly referred to as drones, aerospace tooling & machining also produces rocket components. Tools and parts rated for use at the speeds and temperatures that apply to aerospace applications drive innovation in metalworking.
Even facilities that are equipped for advanced manufacturing still have a use for metalworking. Whether a manufacturing facility uses metal parts or tools or additive manufacturing industries produce components or products with metal extrusion or methods such as powder bed fusion, the manufacturing sector has seen many groundbreaking metalworking developments over the last decade with further advances on the horizon.
Public structures and works have always depended on metalworking for essential components. This relationship continues as challenges posed by aging infrastructure and natural disasters drive new engineering projects. Metalworkers enable civil engineers to obtain necessary components made with the best available materials. Advances in design and materials science affect both fields. In this sense, engineering and metalworking pursue a reciprocal and mutually beneficial approach to innovation.
Metal components undergird construction projects in figurative and literal senses. Advances in metalworking such as additive manufacturing and materials science have a direct effect on construction. The availability and cost of components, which are economic factors, also directly bear on cost projections in this industry. Metalworking concerns have provided tools and parts to generations of architects and contractors.
Energy independence requires equipment produced by metal tools and including metal parts. Photovoltaic solar panels contain metal components, and metal tools and parts also play a critical role in geothermal, hydroelectric and wind power equipment. Some firms in the U.S. and around the world are also experimenting with ways to produce and use metal tools more efficiently. Just like renewable energy, metalworking has a bright future.
Demand for metalworking is likely to increase even with advances in additive manufacturing, automation and robotics. Metalworking tool production and deployment exist in an ongoing supply and demand cycle, and developments will lead to the manufacture and deployment of more advanced and high-performance materials that support future growth.