In 1882, our country celebrated the first Labor Day on Tuesday, September 5 in New York City. As a fitting tribute we are re-launching our "American Made" Newsroom blog at Info.RodonGroup.com. With new content each week, The Rodon Group strives to support the case for American manufacturing and ingenuity by featuring articles on related topics including:
Excerpts from a report by an advisory council of Team Pennsylvania Foundation
Following the challenges brought by the Great Recession, the manufacturing sector in Pennsylvania is undergoing a renaissance. With gross state product (GSP) now reaching $71 billion, manufacturers in Pennsylvania account for over 12% of the total output in the commonwealth1. Pennsylvania remains the 6th largest manufacturing state in the United States (utilizing GSP as a benchmark). Pennsylvania outranks other historically industrial states including Michigan, Indiana, New York and New Jersey2. Pennsylvania is now producing more products than at any time in its history. For each of the last two years manufacturing employment has increased significantly and in 2011 alone 12,100 new jobs were created3. While employment continues to grow, the sector continues to experience measurable leaps in productivity driven by technology adoption and process innovation. Manufacturing productivity outpaces all other sectors with a staggering 259% increase over the last 40 years4.
With nearly 15,000 manufacturing establishments across the commonwealth, the outlook is bright for continued growth. Pennsylvania firms are building upon a proud heritage in manufacturing and have demonstrated new and creative approaches of integrating innovation into both products and processes. Recognizing the dynamics of the global marketplace, Pennsylvania hosts scores of multinational facilities exporting at record levels around the world accounting for more than 90% of all Pennsylvania exports.
A toy that’s “Made in the U.S.A.”? These days, that might sound like a contradiction in terms, what with so many playthings produced in Asia. Yet, it turns out that one of the most innovative, stimulating, and just plain fun toys in the stores is just that - made in America, with pride, unmatched quality, and total commitment to environmental responsibility, no less.
It’s K’NEX, a construction system comprising hundreds of different building blocks that children of all ages can use to create everything from fully-functional robots to model racetracks to working roller-coasters to ... well, you name it. And every single K’NEX rod, connector and brick - some 30 Billion - have been manufactured in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, just north of Philadelphia. They then travel to over 40 different countries around the world as the various K'NEX construction systems.
This marriage of fun and function started more than 50 years ago when The Rodon Group was founded as a company specializing in a manufacturing process called plastic injection molding. Injection molding was hardly new back then - it actually dates to the 19th century - but Rodon’s founders saw an opportunity to take the process to another level - to make it much easier, that is, to create large quantities of even extra-small parts with unheard-of quality. Until then, the small injection-molded parts were plagued by a host of flaws - bubbles in the plastic, imperfect shapes, and so forth - which greatly limited the yield, or portion of usable parts, in every manufacturing batch. That kept prices high and applications limited.
Story and audio file featured on NewsWorks at http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/component/flexicontent/item/27754-pennsylvania-manufacturers-reviving-made-in-america-label