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Manufacturing & Technology News editors are constantly searching for and receiving new reports, analyses and books that readers would find helpful in their jobs. Here is our list of recent manufacturing-related reports that our editors have reviewed.

If you have a report you want to publicize in this list, please send it or an abstract to the editor via e-mail at editor @manufacturingnews.com (no space in the e-mail address) or go to our comments section. You can also send it by mail to Manufacturing & Technology News, P.O. Box 36, Annandale, VA 22003.

Reports 1999  

New Reports, November

Nanostructures Science and Technology: A Worldwide Study is essential reading for anyone needing to keep up with this booming and ubiquitous technology. The report, from the World Technology Evaluation Center, can be viewed on the Web at http://itri.loyola.edu/nano/toc.htm.

The U.S. Department of State needs to place a far greater emphasis on science and technology, according to the National Research Council, the research arm of the National Academy of Sciences. The State Department must appoint substantially more science counselors to American embassies overseas and name a top science and technology counselor at Washington headquarters, says the report, Science, Technology and Health in Foreign Policy, a copy of which can be ordered by calling 800-624-6242.

Manufacturers that set environmental goals for emissions reductions often easily achieve them, says the National Academy of Engineering. Most of the impetus for more stringent environmental regulations is coming from industry, which must monitor pollution in the same way it monitors financial performance. For a copy of the $55.00 report, Industrial Environmental Performance Metrics: Challenges and Opportunities, which provides case studies from the automotive, electronics, chemical and pulp and paper industries, call 800-624-6242.

Global Trends 2005 provides a glimpse into the future by the analysts at Georgetown University's Center for Strategic and International Studies. The $30 report can be ordered via the Web at www.csis.org.

Companies that adopt education and training programs are far more profitable than those that don't, according to the Conference Board. Education provides a quick return on investment: Workers are more able to cope with change; they are able to use new technologies; get promotions and hold onto their jobs; supervise others; improve productivity, safety and relations with customers; and reduce errors. For a copy of the report, Turning Skills Into Profit: Economic Benefits of Workplace Education Programs, set your browser to www.conference-board.org

Korea, Indonesia and Thailand are digging themselves out of their financial mess but changing the business and financial cultures of these countries will take years, according to the General Accounting Office report, International Finance: Actions Taken To Reform Financial Sectors In Asian Emerging Markets. GAO provides an excellent update of the reform efforts taken to date in this 60-page analysis (GAO/GGD-99-157), a copy of which can be obtained for free by calling 202-512-6000.

One of the largest industrial technology funding programs in the country resides at the U.S. Department of Energy. The Office of Industrial Technologies, with a budget of about $160 million, works with heavy industry to identify the technical areas most in need of development and funds them in collaboration with industrial participants. It has funded substantial projects in the following industrial sectors: agriculture; aluminum; chemicals; forest products; glass; metal casting; mining; petroleum refining; and steel.To keep abreast of funding and program opportunities, you'll want to receive The OIT Times -- Turning Industry Visions Into Reality a quarterly publication that can be viewed at www.oit.doe.gov/oittimes. A hard copy can be received via mail by faxing a request to Lou Sousa at 202-586-9234.

The price of water is increasing in most industrialized countries to a level that pays for the infrastructure required to supply it to most consumers, according to the OECD. In most countries, 90 percent of water supplied to residential customers is metered and industrial use is also closely monitored. But agriculture receives large subsidies and in many countries, farmers do not pay anything for their water. For a copy of the $29 report, The Price of Water: Trends in OECD Countries, call the OECD office in Washington at 202-785-6323.

Businesses located in the nine "empowerment zones" throughout the country are not taking advantage of the many tax advantages available to them, says the GAO report, Community Development: Businesses' Use of Empowerment Zone Tax Incentives, GAO/RCED-99-253, 40 pages. It can be received for free by calling 202-512-6000.

Reports August 1999

The U.S. Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles is making solid progress in many technical areas including fuel cells, batteries and lightweight materials, according to a recent assessment of the program by the National Academy of Sciences. But a lot more work needs to be done before a high-mileage, low emission vehicle is perfected.

Funding also remains a problem. The level of commitment is "still far below the level needed to meet the challenges" of developing production-scale technologies such as fuel cells "on a timely basis," says the Academy in its Review of the Research Program of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles, Fifth Report available for $32.00 by calling 800-624-6242.

Today's Manufacturers: Merging Business and Environmental Goals by the Manufacturing Institute provides case studies on pollution prevention programs at 16 U.S. companies. For a copy of the 46-page report, call 202-637-3107.

The OECD Review of Regulatory Reform in Japan describes the substantial steps Japan has taken to liberalize its economy and the bolder steps necessary to put Japan back into a growth mode. For a copy of the 128-page report, call 202-785-6362.

Securing America's Industrial Strength from the National Research Council says the United States must boost investment in science and technology and training in order for it to remain competitive in most industrial sectors. The $29 report can be ordered by calling 800-624-6242.

Harnessing Science and Technology for America's Economic Future: National and Regional Priorities from the National Research Council warns that the United States is not investing adequately in basic research or education. New incentives must be created for industry to start investing more in university research and development, says the report, chaired by William Spencer, chairman of Sematech. For a copy, call 800-624-6242.

U.S. industry must be cautious in its assessment of the future given that the United States is substantially under investing in generic technologies while the rest of the world continues to target U.S. industrial sectors, says a recent report from the National Institute of Standards and Technology entitled R&D Trends In The U.S. Economy: Strategies and Policy Implications. The United States cannot rely on only a few sectors to provide economic growth, argues the report. "The fact that less than 10 percent of the U.S. economy is truly high-tech means that the remaining 90 percent is substantially similar to competing industries in other countries," says the report, a copy of which can be obtained by calling Gregory Tassey at 301-975-2663.

The New Challenge to America's Prosperity: Finding from the Innovation Index, a report from the Council on Competitiveness, says the United States economy may be humming along, but by many indictors all is not well. At a time when innovation is becoming even more fundamental to the prosperity of advanced economies, the U.S. commitment to innovation has weakened, it says. The report is full of graphs and charts detailing the decline in the growth of R&D spending and productivity, education and all the other common maladies raised by the alarmists. For a copy of the glossy, 94-page, $35 report, call the council at 202-682-4292.

University-Industry Collaboration of Technological Innovation: Assessing Behavioral Outcomes is a survey of 306 companies that belong to the Association of University Technology Managers and 671 scientists and engineers with 40 different research universities. It was conducted by Iowa State University and can be obtained by calling Yong Lee at 515-294-8892.

Guide to Federal Brownfield Programs, a 56-page inventory profiling each federal agency's brownfield programs along with contact and grant information, is available from the Northeast-Midwest Institute by calling Ann Eberhart Goode at 202-544-5200.

The Robotic Industries Association has produced a directory that profiles 164 robotics companies. For a free copy call 734-994-6088 or set your browser to www.robotics.org.

The Harbour Report 1999 ranks all of the major automobile manufacturers' plants by productivity, sourcing, and capacity utilization. For a copy of the $395 report, set your browser to www.harbourinc.com. The 1998 Machine Tool Scoreboard ranks 243 companies from 12 countries by machine tool sales, net profits, number of employees and sales per employee. Of the companies ranked, 90 are German, 65 are Italian, 40 are Japanese, 27 are American; five each are British or Swiss; and one from Belgium, Brazil and Canada.

The 243 companies had machine tool sales totaling $32.6 billion in 1998, 15 percent higher than 1997. However, nine of the 27 U.S. companies reported a decline in machine tool sales. For a copy of the report, call Candy Vincent of the Association for Manufacturing Technology at 703-893-2900. THE FOLLOWING REPORTS ARE PRODUCED BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE AND CAN BE RECEIVED FOR FREE BY CALLING 202-512-6000.

Environmental Information: EPA Could Better Address Concerns About Disseminating Sensitive Business Information (GAO/RCED-99-156) says industry is concerned that a great deal of proprietary information is being given out by regulatory agencies. The EPA will soon create a new "Information Office" to streamline its policies regarding competitive intelligence released to the public.

Defense Acquisitions: Progress of the F/A-18E/F Engineering and Manufacturing Development Program (GAO/NSIAD-99-127), 27 pages, finds that the "F" model, which makes up over half of the E/F planned buy "is not meeting the interdiction range requirement -- a primary justification for the program." The aircraft suffers from a host of maladies: poor climb performance over 30,000 feet; low acceleration; airframe buffet; high angle of attack and agility and controllability problems; tactically ineffective sustained turn rates; and many others.

Nuclear Waste: Process to Remove Radioactive Waste From Savannah River Tanks Fails to Work (GAO/RCED-99-69) finds that the Westinghouse Savannah River Corp. and the Department of Energy spent about $500 million over the past decade on a wasted effort to remediate waste. The primary reasons for the failure "were the ineffectiveness of the contractor's management and of the Department of Energy's oversight of the project."

The failure of the "in-tank precipitation" process means that the Department of Energy has fallen possibly decades behind in cleaning up its radioactive mess at Savannah River. An alternate process may not be available until 2007 and could cost upwards of $3.5 billion. Westinghouse now says that it may be 2025 before the tanks are emptied and could cost a total of $75 billion if an alternate process is not developed for separating wastes in the tanks.

Environmental Protection: Agencies Have Made Progress In Implementing the Federal Brownfield Partnership Initiative (GAO/RCED-99-86) says 10 federal agencies provided $413 million in assistance to brownfield projects during 1997 and 1998. The agencies have been providing money to assess contamination at sites, clean up sites, plan redevelopment, demolish old buildings and construct new ones. "The agencies...do not have comprehensive data to determine the extent to which this will result in the expected economic benefits of jobs and private investment in brownfields," says the 16-page report.

Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Readiness of the Oil and Gas Industries (GAO/AIMD-99-162) says the United States is "vulnerable to Year 2000 failures of oil production and transportation in other countries," particularly since more than half of the nation's oil is imported. "Little is known about the Year 2000 readiness of foreign oil suppliers." The U.S. industry also isn't yet ready. Earlier this year, more than 25 percent of companies in the sector said they did not expect to be Y2K compliant until the second half of 1999 "leaving little room for resolving unexpected problems," says GAO. "There are no plans to perform a national-level risk assessment and develop contingency plans to deal with potential shortages or disruptions in the nation's overall oil and gas supply."

Federal Research: Information on International Science and Technology Agreements (GAO/RCED-99-108), 25 pages.

Federal Research: Peer Review Practices at Federal Science Agencies Vary (GAO/RCED-99-99), 71 pages.

Water Quality: Federal Role in Addressing -- and Contributing to -- Nonpoint Source Pollution (GAO/RCED-99-45), 109 pages.

National Laboratories: DOE Needs to Assess The Impact of Using Performance-Based Contracts (GAO/RCED-99-141), 29 pages.

International Monetary Fund: Approach Used to Establish and Monitor Conditions for Financial Assistance, (GAO/GGD/NSIAD-99-168), 187 pages.

Nuclear Weapons: DOE Needs to Improve Oversight of the $5 Billion Strategic Computing Initiative (GAO/RCED-99-195), 73 pages.

Department of Energy: Accelerated Closure of Rocky Flats: Status and Obstacles (GAO/RCED-99-1 00), 74 pages.

Defense Inventory: Status of Inventory and Purchases and Their Relationship to Current Needs (GAO/NSIAD-99-60), 32 pages.

Air Force Depot Maintenance: Management Changes Would Improve Implementation of Reform Initiatives (GAO/NSIAD-99-63), 56 pages.

Technology Transfer: Number and Characteristics of Inventions Licensed by Six Federal Agencies (GAO/NSIAD-99-173), 46 pages.

More 1999 Reports

Send them to Richard McCormack, Editor, Manufacturing & Technology News, P.O. Box 36, Annandale, VA 22003, or fax us a synopsis at 703-750-0064 or drop us a line in the "COMMENTS" section of our Web site.

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