What Donald Trump could mean for US manufacturing
Throughout Donald Trump’s campaign he’s talked about how he wants to revive manufacturing in the USA and create plenty of jobs within the industry. Those plans have been met with a mixed reception from manufacturers around the world.
President-elect Trump has promised to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure projects, a move that has been applauded by Caterpillar Inc., its Vice President for Global and Corporate Affairs agreeing that a lot needs to be on to improve infrastructure in the country. This is no doubt going to create jobs in manufacturing, construction and beyond.
While many manufacturers are eager to take on new contracts and employ more people, Trump’s plans have been criticised by some. The campaign rhetoric was to bring all manufacturing back to the USA and revamp existing overseas trade deals. This could have repercussions for any manufacturers that rely on exporting their goods.
The idea is that limiting trade will make companies look within the US for products and supplies they would normally import from elsewhere. It’ll also encourage people to buy products made closer to home by limiting exports.
The auto industry
Car manufacturers could be hit hard by Trump’s plan to scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement as many rely on exporting to Mexico. If trade deals are pulled and restrictions imposed on manufacturers, this could hit the auto industry hard as it comes at a time when growth in US car sales has stalled.
Another impact of scrapping the North American Free Trade Agreement is the effect it could have on Canada’s auto industry as it, and many other sectors, rely on US sales.
Many US companies also have factories in Mexico and use the cheap labour and manufacturing costs to keep prices down for the end user.
While Trump’s plans will undoubtedly make more jobs in the USA by taking them away from Mexico and other countries, consumers will pay for this US workforce in higher product prices. Charles Chesbrough, senior economist and Executive Director of Strategy and Research at the Original Equipment Suppliers Association, a Detroit-based trade group representing auto suppliers commented on Trump’s plans to Fortune magazine: “His trade policies could add $5,000 or more to the price of a small car from Mexico.”
Bad news for green energy
The plans coming out of Trump’s campaign could also have repercussions for manufacturers involved in green energy and transport. He wants to scrap subsidies for electric car manufacturers and renewable energy providers and wants to relax environmental regulations that could see fossil fuel companies benefit hugely.
Trump’s America First Energy Plan pledges to “unleash an energy revolution that will bring vast new wealth to our country”. America may already have undergone a shale revolution but Trump wants to go further, accessing “$50 trillion in untapped shale, oil and natural gas reserves, plus hundreds of years in clean coal reserves”.
Relaxing these regulations will allow more traditional energy companies to expand what they’re doing, creating jobs in the process. Trump is confident that within a few years, the US could overtake Saudi Arabia as one of the biggest oil producers in the world.
Already energy suppliers and the manufacturers of large pipeline projects are seeing the value of their shares rise.
It seems that most manufacturers are eager to work with the Trump administration on its plans to reduce tax, boost infrastructure spending and ease regulations but these same manufacturers are worried Trump’s views on trade will limit any benefits that come from other plans. Those who rely on free trade for their imports and exports are the most at risk.
Hexagon Revolutionises Manufacturing Design Process
A global leader in sensor, software and autonomous solutions, Hexagon recently announced that complex CFD (computational fluid dynamics) simulations can now be completed with the help of the world’s fastest supercomputer, Fugaku. Before this breakthrough, CFD simulations were far too expensive and time-consuming to run. Now, however, engineers can use these high-detail simulations to explore new ideas, iterate their designs, and optimise next-gen aircraft and electric vehicle manufacturing.
Thanks to Hexagon, manufacturers can now analyse what they’re up against before starting their build process—with one-third the energy use of traditional simulations and a fraction of the cost. This is only the latest step in Hexagon’s mission to use design and engineering data to speed up smart manufacturing. As the company wrote: ‘The idea of putting data to work is part of Hexagon’s DNA’.
What Are CFD Simulations?
Simply put, they’re simulations so complex and powerful that engineers usually have to spend hours upon hours simplifying their designs. 90% of an engineer’s time can centre around this task—but not with Fugaku-powered simulations. Now, original designs can be fed into the simulation software, reaching a much closer approximation of reality.
With the ARM-powered Fugaku supercomputer, Hexagon’s Cradle CFD clients can now reduce simulation cost, conserve valuable energy, and integrate high-detail simulations into their daily operations. At a time when the automotive and aerospace industries are racing to bring safe and sustainable transport options to market, in fact, CFD simulations could be the key to success.
How Does CFD Change the Game?
As auto manufacturers transition to electric vehicles, they must understand how design adjustments will affect the vehicle in real-time. Instead of physically iterating their blueprints, they’d rather work it out in theory. With CFD, engineers can now pre-test critical safety, performance, and longevity features—for example, how aerodynamics will interact with energy efficiency, or how thermal management will operate under a range of parameters. Essentially, CFD simulations speed up the design process and cut down on costly mistakes.
Said Roger Assaker, President of Design & Engineering in Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division: ‘Simulation holds the key to innovations in aerospace and eMobility. Advances such as the low-power Fugaku supercomputing architecture are one of the ways we can tap into these insights without costing the Earth, and I am delighted by what our Cradle CFD team and our partners have achieved’.
How Did Testing Unfold?
- Prototyped a typical family car. This is only possible with enhanced computing power. The car model consisted of 70 million elements using 960 cores and was simulated until it reached a steady-state using the RANS equation over 1000 cycles.
- Simulated transonic compressible fluid around an aeroplane. Made up of approximately 230 million elements, the simulation used 4,000 nodes using 192,000 computing cores and relied on 48,000 processes via Message Passing Interface (MPI).
Tomohiro Irie, Hexagon’s Director of R&D for Cradle CFD, commented on the recent progress: ‘I expect that these technical developments will contribute to making the power of Fugaku more accessible for general use, bringing huge freedom and improved insights to engineering teams solving tomorrow’s problems today’.
Overall, Hexagon intends to continue driving product innovation forward, with smart manufacturing that adapts to conditions in real-time, pursues perfect quality, and optimises designs for zero waste. And there’s little doubt about it. With 20,000 employees in 50 countries, coupled with Fugaku’s supercomputing capabilities, Hexagon is uniquely poised to succeed.