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Preaching to the choir.

The National Association of Manufacturers has launched a campaign to rally manufacturers to create a public policy environment "that fosters the re-emergence of America as the world's preeminent, cost-competitive, high quality manufacturing power." This endeavor, the "Campaign for growth and manufacturing renewal," asserts that while the economy may be improving in the short term, U.S. manufacturing faces fundamental challenges, which left unaddressed, could result in the erosion of industrial leadership.

Are they preaching to the choir? Most likely. But something has to be done, and doing nothing is not an option. NAM represents 14,000 member companies, and they have offered them a blueprint for tackling this task. The main points are: Reducing the cost of production; promoting innovation, investment and productivity; leveling the international playing field; and ensuring an adequate supply of skilled workers.

Reducing the cost of production is the only point that is contentious, since it deals with reforms of the legal, healthcare and regulatory systems of the country, along with the energy policies. But the other three are doable, and the group has excellent recommendations for action. These are available at:

For the promotion part, NAM should encourage more studies like the one conducted by Zatkoff Seals and Packings. This Michigan-based seal distributor performed a study of nitrile o-ring performance. Zatkoff conducted the study in response to customer's telling them that all nitrile o-rings are created equal, and that they are now a commodity.

By measuring compression properties, Zatkoff compared o-rings produced by Parker Seal Group against the best Asian suppliers and found the Parker product outperformed every Asian source in all compression set tests. The study showed that the higher compression set of the Asian products was indicative of utilizing ingredients strictly for cost reduction and shortening process cycles, and proved that seal quality and rubber material properties do matter.

The Zatkoff study, by implication, is also a jab at a number of NAM members. They are the ones incorporating the inferior o-tings into their products. Sometimes preaching to the choir is necessary.
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Title Annotation:Editorial
Author:Smith, Don R.
Publication:Rubber World
Date:Jun 1, 2004
Previous Article:Dispensing/curing equipment.
Next Article:PolyOne sells European rubber granulates division.

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