Shortage of qualified workers is causing concern for manufacturers
According to the 2016 Manufacturing Outlook Survey of over 900 companies put together by ASQ, an increasing number of manufacturers are struggling to source genuinely talented employees to fill skilled vacancies.
The number of qualified applicants has dropped, with 51 percent of the survey respondents – seven per cent up from 2011 – claiming this to be their biggest issue when hiring. 25 per cent stated that their biggest challenge is the time it takes to find a new employee, and 17 per cent blamed a lack of budget to support their search.
However, many manufacturers are taking a proactive approach to dealing with the issue. 55 per cent of the respondents say they’ve hired agencies to find the right employees for them, and 41 per cent are combining with local colleges to help supply the necessary qualifications.
Cecilia Kimberlin, ASQ Chair, said: “The shortage of qualified applicants remains a clear concern for manufacturers. It’s pivotal that workers get the training and education they need to fill these roles and be successful in the high-tech manufacturing field – whether that’s through on-the-job training, or through an organisation like ASQ.”
The reason behind the drop in suitable employees has been pinned upon the retirement of the Baby Boomer generation, leaving many gaps in the market, although companies are split on how badly retirements affect their business. What they can agree on, however, is the waning confidence in the economy; 83 per cent of manufacturers expected increased revenue in 2015, but only 65 achieved that, down from 10 per cent in 2014.
Despite this, many are confident for the future, with the majority expecting to implement pay rises or wage freezing, and increased staffing levels in 2016.
Ultium Cells LLC/Li-Cycle: Sustainable Battery Manufacturing
Ultium Cells LLC - a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solutions - has announced its latest collaboration with Li-Cycle. Joining forces the two have set ambitions to expand recycling in North America, recycling up to 100% of the scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing
What is Ultium Cells LLC?
Announcing their partnership in December 2019, General Motors (GM) and LG Energy Solutions established Ultium Cells LLC with a mission to “ensure excellence of Battery Cell Manufacturing through implementation of best practices from each company to contribute [to the] expansion of a Zero Emission propulsion on a global scale.”
Who is Li-Cycle?
Founded in 2016, Li-Cycle leverages innovative solutions to address emerging and urgent challenges around the world.
As the use of Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries in automotive, industrial energy storage, and consumer electronic applications rises, Li-Cycle believes that “the world needs improved technology and supply chain innovations to better recycle these batteries, while also meeting the rapidly growing demand for critical and scarce battery-grade materials.”
Why are Ultium Cells LLC and Li-Cycle join forces?
By joining forces to expand the recycling of scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing in North America, the new recycling process will allow Ultium Cells LLC to recycle cobalt, nickel, lithium, graphite, copper, manganese and aluminum.
“95% of these materials can be used in the production of new batteries or for adjacent industries,” says GM, who explains that the new hydrometallurgical process emits 30% less greenhouse gases (GHGs) than traditional processes, minimising the environmental impact. Use of this process will begin later in the year (2021).
"Our combined efforts with Ultium Cells will be instrumental in redirecting battery manufacturing scrap from landfills and returning a substantial amount of valuable battery-grade materials back into the battery supply chain. This partnership is a critical step forward in advancing our proven lithium-ion resource recovery technology as a more sustainable alternative to mining, " said Ajay Kochhar, President, CEO and co-founder of Li-Cycle.
"GM's zero-waste initiative aims to divert more than 90% of its manufacturing waste from landfills and incineration globally by 2025. Now, we're going to work closely with Ultium Cells and Li-Cycle to help the industry get even better use out of the materials,” added Ken Morris, Vice President of Electric and Autonomous Vehicles, GM.
Since 2013, GM has recycled or reused 100% of the battery packs it has received from customers, with most current GM EVs repaired with refurbished packs.
"We strive to make more with less waste and energy expended. This is a crucial step in improving the sustainability of our components and manufacturing processes,” concluded Thomas Gallagher, Chief Operating Officer, Ultium Cells LLC.