Daily US Manufacturing News Digest – the industry stories you should be aware of today – 27 January

Each day The Manufacturer compiles a roundup of the top US manufacturing news stories from around the web. To make your life a little easier, we trawl through all the major trade publications, broadsheets and business magazines to find you the most important manufacturing news each morning. Don't forget to bookmark this page and check back daily.

Thursday – 1/27/2021

Tesla confirms Cybertruck, Roadster, and Semi pushed until 2023

During its 2021 Q4 earnings call Wednesday afternoon, Tesla confirmed that the wait for any new products from the company would stretch into next year. That means the earliest we will see a Cybertruck, Roadster, or Semi is 2023.

Elon Musk said that this year Tesla will focus on scaling output of its current offerings, as the company still struggles (as is the rest of the industry) with supply chain delays and chip shortages. — Read more via Green Car Reports

2023 CX-50 marks Mazda’s return to U.S. manufacturing

Mazda is officially back to making vehicles in the U.S.

Jeff Guyton, CEO of Mazda North American Operations, piloted the first production CX-50 off the line Wednesday at the automaker’s joint-venture plant with Toyota in Huntsville, Ala.

“The production of the CX-50 here signifies the importance of the North American market to Mazda and our commitment to investing in the U.S.,” Guyton said in a statement.

The 2023 CX-50 crossover is a new vehicle designed for the U.S. It is bigger than Mazda’s bestselling CX-5, but both are classified as compact. — Read more via Automotive News

Global chip shortage: US says firms’ stocks have plunged

Manufacturers have seen their stocks of semiconductors plunge amid the global chip shortage, the US Department of Commerce has warned.

A survey of more than 150 firms found supplies had fallen from an average of 40 days’ worth in 2019 to just five days in late 2021.

Sales of devices soared during the pandemic, leaving semiconductor makers struggling to keep up with demand.

The shortage has resulted in huge disruptions for major industries.

Millions of products – cars, washing machines, smartphones and more – rely on these chips, also known as semiconductors. — Read more via BBC News

Catalent completes $10m expansion at US and UK production sites

CDMO giant Catalent completed expansion projects worth $10 million that added large-scale isolator units to its Malvern, Pennsylvania, and Dartford, U.K., manufacturing facilities.

With the new units, Catalent can provide clinical and commercial scale jet milling to be conducted under enhanced containment conditions, the company said. Micronizers, which are part of the new systems, will provide a greater degree of safety by eliminating the risk of dust explosion for compounds with low minimum ignition points. — Read more via Fierce Pharma

WTO gives Beijing a $645M tariff weapon against the US

The World Trade Organization granted Beijing a new tariff weapon against the U.S. during a politically sensitive moment for the Biden administration — almost a year into a tenuous truce in the trade war between the two largest economies.

On Wednesday, a WTO arbitrator in Geneva said China can retaliate against $645m worth of annual American exports as part of a decade-old trade dispute over U.S. anti-subsidy duties on Chinese goods. The amount was much less than the $2.4bn that China had initially requested legal authority to target. — Read more via Al Jazeera

Wednesday – 1/26/2021

General Motors will build a third EV battery factory in the US

General Motors announced a $7bn investment in growing its electric vehicle manufacturing capabilities in Michigan, calling it “the single largest investment announcement in GM history.”

The company will spend the money on four manufacturing sites, with plans to create 4,000 new jobs and retain another 1,000 in the state. The investment includes construction of a new battery cell plant in Lansing and the conversion of GM’s assembly plant in Orion for production of the Chevy Silverado EV and the electric GMC Sierra. The latter will be GM’s second assembly plant scheduled to build full-size electric pickups, the first being the company’s Factory Zero in Detroit. — Read more via The Verge

US controls manufacturer Logix to launch industrial CO2 refrigeration controller

US controls manufacturer Logix Controls will launch a refrigeration system controller specifically designed for industrial CO2 systems in March.

The controller has been developed in partnership with South African CO2 refrigeration consultancy Future Green Now (FGN), the companies told R744.com in a joint communication.

The two companies felt there was a gap in the controller market due to the growing use of CO2 refrigeration in industrial applications. The new “robust” CO2 system controller is designed to “maximize the energy efficiency of large industrial CO2 system operation throughout the entire year, and ensure the safest operation at the same time,” Logix and FGN said. — Read more via R744

Canadian manufacturer looks to East Valley for US headquarters

Xnrgy Climate Systems, a Montreal-based company that manufactures climate systems for data centers, is planning to build a huge facility in the East Valley. — Read more via Phoenix Business Journal

Boeing paying American for delayed 787s as United awaits deliveries

American Airlines and United Airlines are eagerly awaiting deliveries of new Boeing 787 aircraft. With deliveries paused since early 2021 as a result of some manufacturing issues that Boeing is working to fix with regulators, both airlines have been making plans for their schedules. Today, both made different public statements as to when they expect to receive Dreamliners, with American confirming payments from Boeing due to the delays. — Read more via Simple Flying

Tuesday – 1/25/2021

White House unveils initiatives to expand chip manufacturing

President Biden has announced efforts to strengthen semiconductor manufacturing operations and improve the resilience of supply chains.

One of the initiatives is Intel’s plan to establish a $20bn factory in Ohio that is expected to ramp up chip production and create 3,000 full-time jobs and 7,000 construction jobs, according to a White House fact sheet published Thursday.

The president also mentioned that semiconductor companies, including Samsung and Micron, announced $80 billion in investments in 2021 to build new manufacturing facilities in the US. — Read more via Executive Gov

Tesla now runs the most productive auto factory in America

Elon Musk’s California plant cranked out more cars than 70 competing facilities in North America. His next factories are even bigger. — Read more via Bloomberg

Argonne scientists use artificial intelligence to improve airplane manufacturing

When it comes to manufacturing new lightweight, yet strong components for new passenger jets, scientists are treating the process like trying to brew the most delicious cup of coffee.

By using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, researchers at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory are intelligently and automatically selecting the perfect settings for a different kind of hot brew — the process of friction stir welding, a common ingredient needed to manufacture airplane components. — Read more via Argonne National Library

Electric Boat on a hiring spree as US military strategy faces Chinese and Russian threats

Submarine manufacturer Electric Boat said Monday it plans to hire more than 3,000 workers this year, a 20% increase over 2021 as U.S. military strategy faces rising threats from China and Russia.

“Our need to hire is persistent and it will continue as far as the eye can see,” Kevin Graney, president of Electric Boat, a subsidiary of General Dynamics Corp., said at the manufacturer’s annual legislative briefing.

EB, with shipyards in Groton, Conn., and Quonset Point, R.I., has been on a hiring spree for years in what Graney called a “once in a generation” expansion building Virginia-class attack submarines and ramping up construction of the next-generation ballistic submarine, the Columbia. — Read more via Stars and Stripes

GSK and Vir add further manufacturing capability for sotrovimab

UK drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline and its US partner Vir Biotechnology have taken action to boost production of their antibody-based COVID-19 treatment sotrovimab faced with huge demand.

Last week, the US government agreed to buy 600,000 additional doses of the drug, which has been authorized for the early treatment of COVID-19 and has shown more promise against the Omicron variant in lab studies than rival therapies.

This brings the total number of doses secured to date through binding agreements to approximately 1.7 million globally and the US government has the option to buy further additional doses in the second quarter of 2022. — Read more via The Pharma Letter

Monday – 1/24/2021

Intel’s $20bn Ohio factory could become world’s largest chip plant

Intel Corp said on Friday it would invest up to $100bn to build potentially the world’s largest chip-making complex in Ohio, looking to boost capacity as a global shortage of semiconductors affects everything from smartphones to cars.

The move is part of Chief Executive Officer Pat Gelsinger’s strategy to restore Intel’s dominance in chip making and reduce America’s reliance on Asian manufacturing hubs, which have a tight hold on the market.

An initial $20bn investment – the largest in Ohio’s history – on a 1,000-acre site in New Albany will create 3,000 jobs, Gelsinger said. That could grow to $100bn with eight total fabrication plants and would be the largest investment on record in Ohio, he told Reuters. — Read more via Reuters

Boeing 737 MAX plane conducts China test flight as US manufacturer pushes for return

A Boeing 737 MAX plane was recorded taking off and landing in southern China on Friday as the American manufacturer pushes to resume commercial flights with the model after a ban of nearly three years.

Chinese flight tracking app VariFlight Pro showed the China Southern Airlines’ plane with flight number CZ2007 took off from Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport at 10.24am before landing again at 1.57pm. — Read more via China Macro Economy

GE holds large job fair as it looks to add more than 1,000 jobs by end of 2023

As GE Appliances plans to invest $450 million into its Louisville headquarters, the company is looking to add more than 1,000 jobs by the end of next year.

The company hosted a job fair on Saturday, Jan. 22, holding interviews and making offers to potential new hires on the spot.

The company is hiring both full-time and part-time positions.

New hires can get up to $2,000 from a hiring bonus as well as tuition reimbursement, benefits and career advancements. — Read more via WLKY

GM to spend $154m to refurbish plant near Buffalo for EV production

General Motors said it will spend $154m to refurbish a plant near Buffalo where the automaker manufacturers a key part of the motor used in electric vehicles.

The investment in the Western New York Lockport Components plant, which will go toward renovating the facility and installing new machinery, is expected to create some 230 new jobs.

The company said that the new hires will begin next year, though “actual staffing plans will be finalized closer to the start of production as the facility transitions to support EV motor component production.” — Read more via New York Post

Friday – 1/21/2021

Protolabs’ new vapour smoothing produces 3D printed parts with enhanced surface finish

Protolabs, the world’s leading digital manufacturer, has announced a major breakthrough with the launch of vapour smoothing for 3D printed parts.

The post-processing automated technology is a significant advancement for additive manufacturing because it further enhances a plastic part’s surface finish on even the most complex geometries. It is currently available for the commonly used nylon material PA-12, plus the elastic material TPU-01.

The process also improves a part’s mechanical properties with increased elongation at break and impact strength, whilst the sealed and smoother surfaces are also water/airtight and are easier to clean. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Intel to announce US manufacturing plans

Intel Corp. will announce today (Friday 21 January, 2022) the next step in Chief Executive Officer Pat Gelsinger’s plan to build up semiconductor production in the U.S., seeking to restore the chipmaker’s edge in manufacturing technology.

The company, which has declined to comment on the site of new plants, is holding a briefing to “share details of Intel’s latest plans for investment in manufacturing leadership.” That event coincides with one being held by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine on “a historic economic development announcement for the state,” according to a statement from the governor’s office. Cleveland.com and other local media have reported that Intel intends to spend as much as $20 billion on a new factory in the Columbus area. — Read more via Bloomberg

North Carolina manufacturer to close, put 475 out of work

A North Carolina manufacturing plant which makes small engines for windshield wipers, electric windows and other car parts says it is shutting down, putting nearly 500 people out of a job.

Denso Manufacturing told local economic development officials on Tuesday that layoffs at the Greenville plant will take place later this year and that it will close its doors by January 2023, news outlets reported. The move affects 475 workers, who were told on Tuesday of the impending shutdown.

Since 2019, DENSO’s parent company has been reorganizing, said Brad Hufford, vice president of business development for the Greenville-ENC Alliance. Hufford said he believes that the decision to close the plant is a result of corporate streamlining.

The company said in a statement that the closure was part of an effort to optimize its North American manufacturing operations. DENSO’s closest plant is in Statesville, 229 miles (368 km) west of Greenville. — Read more via US News & World Report

Elon Musk’s Neuralink could soon implant its brain chip in HUMANS: Firm wants to hire a director to oversee its ‘first clinical trial participants’

Elon Musk has demonstrated the Neuralink brain chip in a pig, a monkey and new job listing from the company suggests we could soon see it preform in a human brain.

The firm is now hiring a clinical trial director, which says the right candidate will ‘work closely with some of the most innovative doctors and top engineers, as well as working with Neuralink’s first Clinical Trial participants.’

The position is based in Fremont, California and provides the candidate with commuter benefits, meals and ‘an opportunity to change the world.’

The listing also suggests the candidate will lead and build ‘the team responsible for enabling Neuralink’s clinical research activities,’ as well as follow regulations. — Read more via Mail Online

Thursday – 1/20/2021

Manufacturer opening first US facility in Upstate to create nearly 100 new jobs

Kostwein announced plans to open it’s first U.S. facility in Greenville and will create 95 new jobs in the area.

The high-tech machine manufacturer said it’s first U.S. facility, located at 500 Hartness Drive in Greenville, will increase the company’s manufacturing capabilities.

Kostwein Group CEO Hans Kostwein said, “Kostwein is a family company with a 100-year history acting in the build-to-print business. We are proud that our customers are world market leaders in the different fields of machine production. Our headquarters is in Austria, and we have production facilities in Croatia and India – totaling 1,200 employees in the group. We are glad to announce that we are growing our global production footprint with the manufacturing facility in Greenville County.”

The new facility is expected to be completed in March of this year. — Read more via Fox Carolina

UK’s PTC announces Servigistics expansion with the US Air Force

PTC, which operates extensively across the UK from its Farnborough base, has announced that the United States Air Force (USAF) is expanding its use of its Servigistics® Service Parts Management SaaS solution for its supply chain modernisation program, ESCAPE.

The expansion is a five-year definitive contract consisting of a one-year base period and four one-year options that are worth up to $95m if all options are exercised.

The USAF’s Sustainment Center’s 448th Supply Chain Management Wing is responsible for the ESCAPE – Enterprise Supply Chain Analysis, Planning, and Execution – programme and is made up of 3,000 personnel supporting the USAF’s global readiness. — Read more via The Manufacturer

International contract manufacturer Scanfil expands its Atlanta factory

Finland-based Scanfil, an international manufacturing partner and system supplier for the electronics sector, has expanded operations at its US factory in Atlanta, Georgia. The company has invested in an additional 6,000m2 production facility close to its existing site, increasing the factory’s overall manufacturing area by 50%. Production will begin in the second quarter of 2022.

Chief executive officer Petteri Jokitalo commented: “Customer demand increased significantly in 2021, and the US market is one of the fastest-growing in Scanfil’s market areas. To respond to the increasing demand, we kicked off this expansion project in Atlanta.”

The Atlanta factory assembles products for a range of industries including medtech, power electronics, refrigeration, the internet of things and solutions for payment cards. The facility also provides distribution and repair services. — Read more via Investment Monitor

Chip manufacturer says ‘no’ to Chatham. But officials aren’t deterred about TIP’s future

The hoped-for announcement that a major microchip manufacturer would choose Chatham’s Triangle Innovation Point as the home for one of the largest economic projects in North Carolina history isn’t going to happen, but officials and observers here aren’t deterred by the rejection.

As first reported by the News + Record online last Thursday, the semiconductor company’s expansion project — dubbed “Project Autumn” by state officials — is no longer considering Chatham’s TIP site as its home.

The 2,158-acre life science and advanced manufacturing park, formerly known as the Moncure Megasite, is located in southeast Chatham close to the Lee County line. Its proximity to rail, U.S. 1, the I-540 loop, Research Triangle Park and airports — it’s just six miles from Sanford’s Raleigh Executive Jetport and about 30 minutes from RDU — has made the site, with its 47 building locations and the capacity for more than 12 million square feet of space, an attractive potential new home for business and industry.

But it won’t be home for Project Autumn. — Read more via Chatham News + Record

Droneshield’s bumper result, focus on Australia and the US

Drone detection and countermeasure manufacturer DroneShield has reported a bumper quarterly result and a renewed focus on ‘more business-transparent’ government markets in Australia and the United States.

The ASX listed company, which has operations in Australia, the US and the UK, reported cash receipts of $2.6 million in the December quarter, up 53 per cent on the previous corresponding period.

The result brought unaudited revenue for the calendar year to $10.5 million, a rise of 94 per cent.

DroneShield, which specialises in Electronic Warfare, RF sensing, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Sensor Fusion, Rapid Prototyping and MIL-SPEC Manufacturing, also announced a 174 per cent growth in total customer and grant funding for the year to December 31 of $14.8 million.

The company now has a bank balance of $9.5 million, and a committed order book of $1.7 million.

It said in a statement it had a ‘growing focus towards the more business-transparent US and Australian government customer base. — Read more via AuManufacturing

Wednesday – 1/19/2021

Mississippi furniture manufacturer expanding, adding jobs

A Mississippi furniture manufacturer is embarking on a nearly $6.6m expansion.

Kevin Charles Fine Upholstery in New Albany plans to add 75 jobs over the next four years, the Daily Journal reported. The company assembles sofas, love seats, chairs and other furniture at its 125,000-square-foot (11,613-square-meter) facility in the northeast Mississippi city.

It spent $2.5m to more than double the site in 2019, adding roughly 40 employees. It currently employs 122 people. It mainly makes furniture for Florida-based City Furniture.

The latest expansion is being assisted by state and local officials. The Mississippi Development Authority is awarding a grant of just over $41,000 to move a sewer line.

Robotics-as-a-service provider Formic Technologies raises $26.5m

Formic Technologies, a provider of turnkey robotic solutions to American manufacturers, has raised $26.5m in a Series A financing led by Lux Capital with participation from Initialized Capital, Correlation Ventures, Lorimer Ventures, One Planet VC and other strategic investors. In addition, Formic has secured access to more than $100m of debt capital to fund equipment purchases.

According to the announcement, the financing will enable the company, now valued at more than $100m, to expand its operations and support the rapid deployment of its Robots-as-a-Service (RaaS) offering for US manufacturers. — Read more via Supply Chain Management Review

Lakeland manufacturer produces 2 million N95 masks daily to meet demand

A Polk County N95 mask manufacturer is doubling its production after an increase in demand.

Workers at Advanced Concept Innovations are putting in extra hours, to inspect, package and ship out N95 masks to millions of Americans.

“Our capacity is north of 2 million per day and we’re very busy,” said Matt Muller, President of Advanced Concept Innovations.

That’s 80,000 N95 masks an hour, making ACI one of the largest masks suppliers in the nation. — Read more via ABC Action News

Blackline Safety to double its manufacturing capacity

Blackline Safety Corp., a global leader in connected safety technology with a hardware-enabled software-as-a-service (HeSaaS) business model that helps ensure workers get their job done and return home safely each day, has announced a $2m investment in its manufacturing process that will allow the company to double its hardware production.

The upgrade — implemented in preparation for an anticipated increase in global customer demand for Blackline’s products in 2022 — will particularly enhance manufacturing horsepower as the company gears up for high volume production of its soon-to-launched G6 entry-level single-gas wearable safety device. — Read more via Firehouse

Wood manufacturers hope foreign workers might help fill jobs

A Hanover-based provincial association of wood manufacturers hopes to persuade the federal government to devise a national, emergency foreign worker program to help solve its labour shortage problems.

The industry needs thousands of workers in Ontario alone, Wood Manufacturing Cluster of Ontario CEO Mike Baker said. The organization used to be called Bluewater Wood Alliance.

Baker said there are more than 3,000 value-added wood manufacturing firms in Ontario with more than 25,000 employees and more than $6 billion in annual revenues. About 18 of those firms are in Grey-Bruce. — Read more via The Sun Times

Tuesday – 1/18/2021

Chinese semiconductor output surged 33 per cent last year, double the growth rate in 2020

China’s output of integrated circuits (ICs), including those produced by local companies and foreign-owned factories, last year grew at double the rate seen in 2020, according to Chinese government data.

China produced 359.4 billion ICs in 2021, up 33.3 per cent year on year, according to data released by China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Monday. It marked a significant acceleration from 2020, when China’s IC output rose 16.2 per cent to 261.3 billion units.

While the official data did not provide a breakdown by technology node – China is unable to produce the most advanced ICs – or by company, it highlighted the country’s efforts to boost output amid a protracted chip shortage and Beijing’s push for semiconductor self-sufficiency. — Read more via South China Morning Post

Rivian’s radical plan to install electric-car chargers in US national parks

Electric ute and SUV manufacturer Rivian has announced a radical plan to install charging points in US national parks, so customers can stay topped-up off the beaten track.

The outlets will initially be installed at the Yosemite and Golden Gate national recreation areas in California, the company says, as part of a partnership with a company ‘Adopt a Charger’.

The business partners are also promising to bring “dozens” of stations to state parks in Tennessee and Colorado later this year, to provide electric vehicle drivers accessibility to “America’s most beautifully preserved environments.”

It is unclear how the charging points will themselves be recharged, and what steps will be taken to prevent vandalism or theft of the installations. — Read more via Drive

Tesla India and other EV manufacturers await government decision

Tesla India and other electric vehicles (EV) manufacturers are now awaiting the green light from the Indian government on how they can run their operations in the country.

Since the Indian government announced a $ 2.4bn battery scheme last year, EV manufacturers like India’s Reliance Industries, SoftBank Group backed Ola Electric and automaker Mahindra & Mahindra have submitted bids. — Read more via Techwire Asia

Major advances for US, Australian solar window specialists

Australian solar glass developer ClearVue Technologies has revealed the results of modeling to demonstrate the energy and thermal improvements of integrating PV products into inner-city buildings. Its findings are striking.

Integrating concentrator photovoltaics products such as solar windows into high-rise structures massively reduces carbon emissions by generating clean electricity and relying on thermal-insulative properties, which significantly reduce heating and cooling loads. — Read more via PV Magazine

Monday – 1/17/2021

US manufacturing output unexpectedly falls in December on autos

US factory production unexpectedly fell in December, pulled down by a decline in output at motor vehicle plants amid an ongoing global semiconductor shortage.

Manufacturing output dropped 0.3% last month after increasing 0.6% in November, the Federal Reserve said on Friday. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast factory production rising 0.5%. Output increased 3.5% compared to December 2020.

Manufacturing, which accounts for 11.9% of the U.S. economy, remains supported by lean inventories at businesses as demand for goods remains strong. But COVID-19 and the recovery from the pandemic have overstretched supply chains, igniting inflation. — Read more via Reuters

Pennsylvania company restarting work at Birmingham-Area manufacturing site

A Pennsylvania company said it plans to reopen a piece of Birmingham’s manufacturing industry by spending $25m on an old plant that will become a production, service and distribution center.

HarbisonWalker International said Friday that construction will begin early this year at a site west of downtown in Fairfield, and the 200,000-square foot facility is expected to open by the end of the year. About 50 people will work at the plant, it said. — Read more via US News & World Report

Tesla inks deal to get key battery component outside China

Tesla is turning to Mozambique for a key component in its electric car batteries in what analysts believe is a first-of-its-kind deal designed to reduce its dependence on China for graphite.

Elon Musk’s company signed an agreement last month with Australia’s Syrah Resources, which operates one of the world’s largest graphite mines in the southern African country. It’s a unique partnership between an electric vehicle manufacturer and a producer of the mineral that is critical for lithium-ion batteries. The value of the deal hasn’t been released. — Read more via Tech Xplore

Philip Bell to chair NAM’s Council of Manufacturing Associations

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) announced new 2022 leadership for its Council of Manufacturing Associations at the CMA 2022 Winter Leadership Conference. Philip Bell, president of the Steel Manufacturers Association, will serve as chair, and Melissa Hockstad, president and CEO of the American Cleaning Institute, will serve as vice chair. Made up of 260 industry-specific manufacturing associations representing 130,000 companies worldwide, the CMA creates powerful partnerships across the industry and ensures manufacturers have the strongest possible voice. — Read more via NAM

Nearly 120 new jobs coming to York County as Mobile Climate Control moves US operations to Pennsylvania

Governor Tom Wolf announced today that Mobile Climate Control, a manufacturer of mobile thermal solutions for commercial vehicles, is consolidating its U.S. operations into a single, newly-constructed facility in York County and will create 117 new, full-time jobs over the next three years.

“I commend Mobile Climate Control for choosing to move their US operations and headquarters to the commonwealth,” said Governor Wolf. “Pennsylvania has the skilled workforce, strong business climate, and prime Northeast location to give manufacturers an edge over their competition and help them thrive. My administration will continue investing in businesses that want to relocate here and create good jobs for Pennsylvanians.” — Read more via Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development

Friday – 1/14/2021

Taiwan’s TSMC to invest $44bn this year

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. is planning to boost this year’s capital expenditure budget by about 46 percent to exceed $44bn, citing strong customer demand for advanced technologies used in high-performance computing (HPC) and 5G-related applications, the world’s largest contract chipmaker said yesterday.

The plan marks a record spending for TSMC after the chipmaker budgeted $30bn for capacity expansions at home and overseas fabs last year.

TSMC is planning to allocate about 80 percent of this year’s capital spending for advanced chip capacity expansion including 2-nanometer, 3-nanometer, 5-nanometer and 7-nanometer technologies. — Read more via Taipei Times

Reliance to invest $80bn in 100GW project pipeline, PV manufacturing and green hydrogen ‘ecosystem’ in India

Reliance Industries has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the government of Gujarat for a total investment of $80bn over 10-15 years to establish 100GW of renewables and set up green technology manufacturing facilities in the state.

India’s largest privately traded company will invest the vast sum in setting up solar PV module manufacturing (including polysilicon, wafer and cell manufacturing), electrolysers used in green hydrogen production, battery energy storage system (BESS) technology and fuel cells. — Read more via PV Tech

Solar to comprise 50% of 2022 US electricity generation

Per the latest report by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), almost half of the planned 2022 electric capacity additions in the United States are expected to be solar. In particular, according to EIA’s Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory report, 46.1 gigawatts (GW) of new utility-scale electric generating capacity is projected to be added to the US power grid, of which 21.5 GW is expected to be solar.

This planned new capacity would exceed 2021’s 15.5 GW of solar capacity additions. This should benefit stocks like Enphase Energy ENPH, ReneSola SOL and First Solar FSLR that have a strong presence in the US solar market. — Read more via Nasdaq

Rocket Lab USA may expand US manufacturing and launch operations in Accomack County

Accomack County is a finalist for a proposed expansion by Rocket Lab USA, Inc., a global leader in launch services and space systems, which expects to make a significant investment to expand its US manufacturing and launch operations. If selected, the proposal would see Rocket Lab develop a new facility to support part production, assembly, integration and test operations to support the launch of its new Neutron rocket from the NASA Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Announced by Rocket Lab in March 2021, the Neutron rocket is expected to be operational in late 2024 and is designed to deliver a 17,600 pound payload to low Earth orbit, and may ultimately support human spaceflight. — Read more via Shore Daily News

Honda still waffling over EVs in the US claiming consumer uptake is ‘out of whack’

Japanese automaker Honda Motor Co. recently stated it is still undecided on where to manufacture EVs in the United States, questioning the country’s demand despite soaring sales numbers from competitors miles ahead in their own electrified transitions.

Honda is a legacy automaker that, like many, has shared goals to have 100% electric sales by 2040, although a huge chunk of that strategy includes Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles (HFCVs).

In terms of BEVs however, Honda has shared less of a game plan compared to the rest of the industry. Last summer, Honda shared its “first volume BEV,” the Prologue – one of two EVs coming to the US in 2024, based on GM’s Ultium electric platform. — Read more via electrek

Thursday – 1/13/2021

Biden and Harris Administration rushes to deploy green energy

When President Biden came into office nearly a year ago, he pulled every lever to position America to scale up clean energy that creates good-paying, union jobs and lowers energy bills for consumers. Since then, the Biden-Harris Administration has readied offshore areas to harness power from wind, approved new solar projects on public lands, and passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to build thousands of miles of transmission lines that deliver clean energy. — Read more via The White House

Embraer to sell Portuguese manufacturing sites to Aernnova for $172m

Embraer has agreed to sell aerostructures operations in Portugal to Spanish aerospace company Aernnova for $172m, an effort by the airframer to “optimise” its manufacturing footprint.

The deal will see Aernnova acquire two Embraer operations in the city of Evora: the 37,100 sq m (399,000 sq ft) Embraer Metalicas site, and the 31,800 sq m Embraer Compositos facility, the Brazilian airframer announced on 12 January.

Those operations employ a combined 500 staff and produce metallic and composite components for wings, horizontal stabilisers and vertical stabilisers; they have been operational since 2013. The components are found on Embraer’s primary aircraft programmes, including its E-Jet commercial airliners, Praetor 500 and  600 business jets and KC-390 military transport. — Read more via FlightGlobal

USNC licenses 3D printing for reactor component manufacture

Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC) has licensed a novel method to 3D print components for nuclear reactors, developed by the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), which the Seattle-based company says is ideal for manufacturing components for its advanced nuclear reactor designs.

The ORNL-developed process prints refractive materials – materials which are highly resistant to extreme heat and degradation – using binder jet printing as the additive manufacturing technique, combined with a ceramic production process called chemical vapour infiltration. UNSC’s refractory material of choice for nuclear reactor core components is silicon carbide – which is resistant to high temperatures and is radiation tolerant, but is extremely time-intensive and expensive to machine into reactor parts with complex shapes. The new technology will allow USNC to make such components more efficiently. — Read more via World Nuclear News

Thermwood secures 32 more patents to protect its large-scale additive manufacturing technology

The Thermwood Corporation, a CNC machinery and large-format 3D printer manufacturer, has gained 32 new patents to further protect the technology behind its proprietary additive production systems.

Specifically, the patents are said to relate to the firm’s Large-Scale Additive Manufacturing (LSAM) machines, which in their newest configuration, enable the creation of single-piece parts up to ten feet tall. Having first had the patents approved under COVID restrictions, Thermwood has now had their physical copies delivered, effectively providing a timely boost to its products’ IP protection.

“During COVID, we received electronic copies of patents that were granted, however, the official hard copies were withheld,” said Duane Marrett, Thermwood’s VP of Marketing. “A couple of days before Christmas 2021, we received a package containing the official hard copy of 32 additive manufacturing patents. This was certainly a one-day record for Thermwood and a welcome sight!” — Read more via 3D Printing Industry

LG Energy Solution IPO to fuel manufacturing capacity expansion on three continents

LG Energy Solution will use proceeds from its initial public offering (IPO) this month to feed into growing the company’s manufacturing capacity significantly in Europe, the Americas and Asia.

The energy storage and battery division of LG Chem held a press conference on Monday online to discuss the IPO, through which it will list shares worth more than US$10 billion on the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI).

In addition to opening new facilities and expanding existing production bases, the company is also making its lines lower cost and more efficient, with higher levels of automation. Big data and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies will be key to this, LG Energy Solution said. — Read more via Energy Storage News

Wednesday – 1/12/2021

Aquiline becomes first US drone manufacturer to establish insurance subsidiary

Aquiline Drones Corporation, based in Hartford, Connecticut, has become the first drone manufacturer in the US to create its own insurance subsidiary (ADIC). Barry Alexander, Founder and CEO of Aquiline Drones (AD), stated in the company’s announcement, “Our goal is to introduce various aspects of safety at every level and opportunity in a UAV/drone operations environment, for every drone business or individual operator, in keeping them safe and compliant as well as protecting the interest of the general public.” — Read more via Aviation Today

Boeing snatches Airbus crown on adjusted order basis

US plane manufacturer Boeing has snatched Airbus’s crown as the world’s largest aircraft maker on an adjusted order basis.

While the European plane maker remains the world’s largest manufacturer for the number of planes delivered, the Seattle-based company ended the year with 535 net orders while Airbus’s total amounted to 507.

Boeing’s deliveries – which met analysts expectations – were up 116 per cent compared with 2020, going up from 157 to 340 orders, while remaining down on 2019 levels. Read more via CITY A.M.

US Air Force and Boom Supersonic enter into strategic partnership

Boom Supersonic, the aerospace company building the world’s fastest and most sustainable supersonic airliner, today announced it has entered into a three year strategic partnership with the U.S. Air Force valued at up to $60 million. The Air Force awarded this contract to Boom through its innovation arm, AFWERX, and its AFVentures division, which is designed to accelerate commercial technologies. Known as the Strategic Funding Increase (STRATFI), the STRATFI contract awarded to Boom is one of the program’s largest investments and a significant commitment to the future of supersonic aviation. Read more via Boom Supersonic

OilQuick Americas to expand production in the US

OilQuick USA and OilQuick AB form new joint venture company to manufacture quick coupling systems

OILQUICKUSA, an Exodus Global company, and OilQuick AB, the manufacturer of the OilQuick automatic quick coupler system, have announced a joint venture to manufacture automatic coupling systems in the US.

The new company – OilQuick Americas (OQA) – is said to be investing millions of dollars in manufacturing equipment at its facility in Superior, Wisconsin, expanding production capacity to meet the growing market for automatic quick couplers in North America. Read more via Agg-net

Tuesday – 1/11/2021

Elon Musk shares dramatic video of wild SpaceX launch and catch tower

SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s ambitious vision for the next-generation Starship spacecraft is one of rapid reusability. Launch it. Bring back the rocket booster. Refurb it. Quickly launch another Starship. Part of that vision involves a pretty wild piece of engineering: a launch and catch tower.

On Sunday, Musk tweeted a sweeping video of the tower with the succinct message, “Starship launch & catch tower.” The 31-second video gives us a visual tour of the structure, which sports an arm that’s made to snag a returning Falcon Heavy booster after it’s done its job escorting a Starship off this rock. — Read more via CNET

MS Beautilab transitioning into US market, looking to bring heavy R&D to mfg space

European cosmetics manufacturer MS Beautilab is moving into the US market with strong R&D and recalibrated formulations.

The manufacturer, a merger of Swiss packaging company Marvinpac and French color cosmetics specialist Strand Cosmetics, has been serving legacy companies like LVMH and L’Oreal in Europe. — Read more via Cosmetics Design

Tramec Sloan expanding manufacturing capabilities through acquisition

Tramec Sloan, a division of Tramec, LLC, has acquired Penz Products Inc., bringing together two established U.S. manufacturers to broaden and strengthen manufacturing capabilities.

The acquisition was finalized Dec. 31, 2021, and was announced last week. Penz Products is a diverse manufacturer, located in Mishawaka, Ind., serving a variety of markets, principally commercial vehicles. It was founded in 1956 by Wally Penzenik and led today by his two sons, Richard and David Penzenik.

With Penz Products, Tramec Sloan says it expands its capabilities to include thermoforming, vacuum forming, urethane foaming, and more. This allows Tramec Sloan to expand offerings to the commercial vehicle marketplace and increases capacity for metal forming, assembly, robotic welding, and other key capabilities. — Read more via Trucks, Parts, Service

Greater Columbus believed to be in running for massive computer chip factory

Ohio is believed to be in the running for what would be its biggest economic development prize of all time: a major computer chip-making operation with a potential total investment of tens of billions of dollars.

State and local officials along with those from JobsOhio have officially declined to comment, but rumors have been rampant for months of a massive economic development project potentially coming to the region that could include a computer-chip factory.

At the same time, the city of New Albany is preparing to annex 3,190 acres from Jersey Township in western Licking County. — Read more via The Columbus Dispatch

Alencon expands its Philly R&D and manufacturing facility

Alencon, an optimizer manufacturing company based in Pennsylvania, announced that the company has completed a significant expansion at its manufacturing and research and development headquarters, located in Hatboro, just outside of Philadelphia.

As part of this expansion, Alencon has significantly expanded its R&D lab facilities to support the further improvement of its current products and development of new alternative energy power electronics technologies and products; improved the facility’s energy efficiency; and doubled the company’s staff, with many of the hirings coming during 2021, in anticipation of the expansion. — Read more via PV Magazine

America’s VW ID.4 will be slightly different

At present, the all-electric Volkswagen ID.4 crossover is being imported from Germany but this will soon change. That’s nothing new but what we can confirm is the US-built ID.4 will be slightly different than its overseas counterpart. Speaking to VW North America CEO Scott Keogh during a media roundtable, CarBuzz was told that “prototype ID.4 examples are now coming down the [assembly] line [and that] volume production will begin in September-October.”

We further inquired whether there’ll be any differences between the overseas-made ID.4 and the Chattanooga-produced model. “About 96 percent of it is identical,” Keogh said. “The core mechanical bits are still there but we’ll be switching from the LG-supplied battery to one from SKI that’ll be manufactured in Georgia. The cell chemistry is slightly different but packaging is exactly the same.” Obviously, that’s all hidden in the vehicle’s guts as consumers are highly unlikely to notice a difference. — Read more via CarBuzz

Friday – 1/7/2021

US factory orders increase strongly in November

New orders for U.S.-manufactured goods accelerated in November, but business spending on equipment likely struggled to rebound in the fourth quarter.

The Commerce Department said on Thursday that factory orders rose 1.6% in November. Data for October was revised higher to show orders rising 1.2% instead of 1.0% as previously reported.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast factory orders advancing 1.5%. Orders increased 12.9% on a year-on-year basis. — Read more via Reuters

Naval Surface Warfare Center invests in additive manufacturing prototypes

The Naval Surface Warfare Center is investing in six additive manufacturing prototypes through its Crane, Ind., division as it looks for new ways to protect military technologies.

Additive manufacturing is technology that adds materials to existing objects instead of removing materials. The Naval Surface Warfare Center believes the military can use additive manufacturing to help protect its systems from intrusion or compromise.

Selected vendors “will demonstrate prototype capabilities that address the AM technical domain problem set. The prototypes will demonstrate improvement over current technology protection techniques, processes, or systems as well as feasibility for eventual deployment on DoD systems and platforms,” said Crane Division Technical Director Angela Lewis in a Jan. 5 statement. — Read more via Defense News

Oterra acquires US-based food colors manufacturer

Danish natural colors supplier Oterra closed its acquisition of American colors and natural antioxidants maker Food Ingredient Solutions, expanding its portfolio and production capabilities, a company release announced Monday.

Established in 1999, Food Ingredient Solutions supplies products to the cosmetics, pharmaceutical, and food industries, according to information on its website. Its portfolio includes natural and synthetic colors and several types of antioxidants. This is Oterra’s first acquisition of a US company. — Read more via Powder & Bulk Solids

Micron Technology searches for site for $40bn factory. Is Boise among the contenders?

Micron Technology Inc. is reported to be scouting several locations for a plant with an investment of more than $40bn, but apparently Boise is not on the list.

The Boise-based memory-chip maker is considering sites in Arizona, California, Texas and North Carolina, the Triangle Business Journal in Raleigh, North Carolina, reported, citing multiple unnamed sources. A company spokesperson would not say Thursday whether Boise is among the candidates.

The Austin Business Journal, also citing unnamed sources, said Micron is considering central Texas “for a massive fabrication facility.” — Read more via Idaho Statesman

US plant backed by 34 systems to produce 40m medical gowns annually

A domestic medical gown manufacturing plant funded by 34 health systems will start production in early spring.

The manufacturing plant is the result of a joint venture Premier, a healthcare group purchasing organization, launched in 2020 with 34 member systems, S2S Global — Premier’s direct sourcing subsidiary — and DeRoyal Industries, a global medical manufacturer.

The plant, which relies on a fully automated production process, is capable of producing two gowns every second.

Premier said it expects the plant to manufacture more than 40 million gowns annually, which participating health systems have signed contracts to buy. — Read more via Becker’s Hospital Review

Thursday – 1/6/2021

Vietnam’s EV maker Vinfast plans to build US battery factory – CEO

Vietnamese car maker VinFast plans to build electric vehicle battery cells and packs in its planned U.S. manufacturing complex, its global chief executive told Reuters on Wednesday.

VinFast, part of Vingroup JSC (VIC.HM), the largest conglomerate in the Communist-ruled country, had previously said it planned to start producing electric vehicles in the United States in the second half of 2024.

VinFast is betting on the U.S. market, where it plans to debut affordable electric sport utility vehicles late this year with its battery leasing models. — Read more via Reuters

Mobile manufacturer plans $20m expansion, to hire 200

A Mobile-based producer of frozen novelties is expanding, pumping $20m into production and expansion.

The move is projected to create about 200 full-time jobs over the next three years for FGP Holding, which makes private label treats for national brands and retailers, including stick products, cones and ice cream sandwiches for companies looking to outsource their manufacture. The company plans to move into the former Crown Products facility at 3107 Halls Mill Road in Mobile and expand its production space from 30,000 square feet to 130,000 square feet. — Read more via AL.com

Boeing’s big win: All-Airbus Allegiant orders up to 100 MAX planes

Allegiant has announced a commitment for up to 100 aircraft from the Boeing 737 MAX family. The order is the first from an ultra-low-cost carrier in the United States, and represents a big win for Boeing in its home turf. The order is split between the MAX 7 and the high density MAX 8-200. — Read more via Simple Flying

Stoughton expands chassis manufacturing capacity with New Texas factory

Stoughton Trailers announced it will build intermodal chassis at a new facility set to open this year in Waco, Texas.

The plant will expand the manufacturer’s capacity to build intermodal chassis, an emerging market for the Stoughton, Wis.-based company and one at the center of recent federal action targeting Chinese manufacturers’ business practices for selling chassis in the United States. — Read more via Transport Topics

Using space-based technologies to manufacture stem cells

The secret to producing large batches of stem cells more efficiently may lie in the near-zero gravity conditions of space. Scientists at Cedars-Sinai have found that microgravity has the potential to contribute to life-saving advances on Earth by facilitating the rapid mass production of stem cells.

A new paper, led by Cedars Sinai and published in the peer-reviewed journal Stem Cell Reports, highlights key opportunities discussed during the 2020 Biomanufacturing in Space Symposium to expand the manufacture of stem cells in space. — Read more via Technology Networks

Wednesday – 1/5/2021

US manufacturing activity slows in December

Despite continuing to grow, the US manufacturing sector experienced a slow down in December, according to the latest Institute for Supply Management data, as companies continued to combat supply chain problems.

The overall economy achieved a 19th consecutive month of growth, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®. — Read more via ISM

Toyota topped G.M. in US car sales in 2021, a first for a foreign automaker

Toyota Motor unseated General Motors as the top-selling automaker in the United States last year, becoming the first manufacturer based outside the country to achieve that feat in the industry’s nearly 120-year history.

That milestone underlines the changes shaking automakers, which face strong competition and external forces as they move into electric vehicles. And it came in a tumultuous and strange year in which automakers contended with an accelerating shift to electric vehicles and struggled with profound manufacturing challenges. New car sales have been damped by a severe shortage of computer chips that forced automakers to idle plants even though demand for cars has been incredibly robust.

G.M., Ford Motor and Stellantis, the automaker created by the merger of Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot, produced and sold fewer cars than they had hoped to in 2021 because they were hit hard by the chip shortage. Toyota was not hurt as much. — Read more via The New York Times

Risen unveils $7bn expansion plan spanning silicon metal, n-type ingots and modules

Solar manufacturer Risen Energy has revealed the details of a $7bn manufacturing capacity expansion plan that will span n-type polysilicon ingots, modules and renewables projects.

In late December, ‘Solar Module Super League’ (SMSL) member Risen announced it had signed two agreements with the local government in Baotou City, Inner Mongolia, to advance capacity expansion plans in the region.

The plans are broadly split into two specific areas; upstream material and module manufacturing and downstream power generation projects, the electricity from which will be used to reduce the carbon intensity of the manufacturing operations. — Read more via PV Tech

US-based Cummins to build 1GW hydrogen electrolyser factory in China with state-owned oil giant Sinopec

US-based electrolyser maker Cummins has formed a joint venture with Chinese state-owned oil giant Sinopec — to be known as Cummins Enze — which will build a 1GW PEM electrolyser factory in southern China.

The $47m plant in Foshan, Guangdong province, will initially have an annual production capacity of 500MW upon completion in 2023, which will be gradually increased to reach 1GW by 2028.

It is noteworthy that the new entity will produce electrolysers with PEM technology — proton exchange membrane or polymer electrolyte membrane — rather than standard alkaline models. — Read more via Recharge

Stoughton expanding chassis production to Texas

Stoughton Trailers is opening a chassis manufacturing line in Waco, Texas, part of the company’s ambitious plan to increase production this year to address a critical shortage of equipment contributing to international and domestic supply chain gridlock.

The chassis and trailer manufacturer already has plants in Evansville and Stoughton, Wisconsin, but adding a third location is critical to increasing its annual output from 10,000 to 25,000 chassis. — Read more via JOC.com

Tuesday – 1/4/2021

European solar company picks West Valley for first US manufacturing facility

A European technology company plans to open a solar module manufacturing facility and bring up to 500 jobs to Goodyear, the Arizona Commerce Authority announced Monday.

Switzerland-based Meyer Burger Technology AG signed a lease for its first U.S. production site for high-performance solar modules at Goodyear Airport 85, a recently completed 276,000-square-foot speculative building located at 1685 S. Litchfield Road across from the Phoenix Goodyear Airport.

Meyer Burger said initial production capacity of the facility will be 400 megawatts; will include capabilities to manufacture solar modules for residential, commercial and industrial rooftop and utility-scale applications; and will be operational by the end of 2022 with an initial 250 manufacturing jobs. — Read more via ABC 15

Jamison Door merges with company based in Italy

Jamison Door merges with company based in ItalyAfter working together for about a decade, Jamison Door Co. and BMP Europe have merged in a deal that closed Dec. 31.

The companies announced the merger Monday.

“It builds on the strengths of the company and it guarantees its future here and possible expansion in the area,” John Williams, Jamison’s chairman and CEO, said of the merger during a telephone interview Monday.

No layoffs are expected. — Read more via The Herald-Mail

Tesla recalls almost half a million electric cars over safety issues

Tesla is recalling more than 475,000 of its Model 3 and Model S electric cars to address rearview camera and trunk issues that increase the risk of crashing, the U.S. road safety regulator said.

Tesla shares fell as much as 3% in the morning but rebounded and were last trading slightly higher around $1,088.76. The federal regulator has been discussing another camera issue with the automaker, while probing the electric vehicle manufacturer’s driver assistant system and other issues.

The model years affected in the recall range from 2014 to 2021, and the total number of recalled vehicles is almost equivalent to the half a million vehicles Tesla delivered last year. — Read more via CNBC

‘Reshoring’ initiative seeks to boost Washington County’s chip industry

Amid a national effort to revive domestic semiconductor manufacturing, a new effort seeks to make Oregon more hospitable to the industry.

Washington County, and the cities of Hillsboro and Forest Grove, have launched a “reshoring” initiative aimed at identifying gaps in the chip industry’s regional supply chain. From land to labor, the pilot project seeks to figure out what it would take for the semiconductor industry to take a fresh look at local expansion.

The pilot project is the first step in an effort to promote the industry by improving local governments’ knowledge of the chip industry’s regional supply chain and its growth requirements. — Read more via Oregon Live

Chip makers contend for talent as industry faces labor shortage

The world’s largest chip makers are fighting for workers to staff the billion-dollar-plus facilities that they are building around the world to address a shortage of semiconductors.

A dwindling supply of qualified workers has worried semiconductor executives for years. Now that concern has been amplified by a global labor shortage, the pandemic-fueled demand for all things digital and a race among governments to bolster their local chip-manufacturing capabilities, according to industry officials. — Read more via The Wall Street Journal

Thursday – 12/30/2021

Northvolt rolls out Europe’s first ‘gigafactory-era’ car battery

Electric cars have gone mainstream in Europe – they accounted for nearly a fifth of all car purchases in the UK last month. Yet one piece has been missing up to now: European batteries.

That is now changing. On Tuesday night, Northvolt, a startup, produced its first lithium ion battery cell at a plant in northern Sweden. It is the first of a series of new factories that investors hope will allow Europe to carve out a big proportion of the electric vehicle market – and weaken the stranglehold built up by manufacturers in China, Japan and Korea. — Read more via The Guardian

Tesco powers into the new year with the UK’s first commercial electric articulated HGVs

Tesco will power into the new year by launching the UK’s first commercially used fully electric heavy freight articulated trucks. Two new 37 tonne DAF electric vehicles will transport food and other products from Wentloog rail terminal outside Cardiff to Tesco’s distribution centre in Magor, Wales, in partnership with logistics and international freight forwarding company FSEW.

These first two lorries will replace around 65,000 diesel-fuelled road miles with clean green energy, removing 87.4 tonnes of CO2e per year. To power the new service FSEW has installed charging points at its site in South Wales that provide enough energy to power these large vehicles for 100 miles before needing to charge again. At around 30 miles each way the Wentloog – Magor journey is an ideal location to understand the potential and range of these lorries for use throughout the UK and elsewhere in Tesco’s fleet. — Read more via Tesco

Rivian UK gigafactory: Everything we know amid plans for £1bn Somerset electric car plant

A huge £1bn gigafactory could be coming to Somerset amid urgent government discussions with a US car giant.

Rivian, a Californian electric vehicle firm valued at more than $100bn, is considering a 635-acre smart campus called Gravity in Puriton, near Bridgwater, as a base for a new factory.

The relatively new car company, which specialises in SUV-type vehicles, has not entered full-scale production yet, but is lining up a new plant outside of the USA.

The proposed Somerset gigafactory would be the largest single building in the UK if it is built, and the deal would be the most significant car deal in the UK since the 1980s, a source close to the discussions previously told Somerset Live , creating up to 40,000 new direct and indirect jobs. — Read more via Somerset Live

James Webb Space Telescope launch celebrated by UK

The once-in-a-generation James Webb Space Telescope has launched, with scientists and engineers across the UK playing a vital role in the mission.

The telescope, known as ‘Webb’, blasted off from the Arianespace spaceport in French Guiana on 25 December 2021 at 12:20 pm – the culmination of decades of scientific collaboration.

The mission is led by NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency, with the UK playing a major role by leading the European consortium, which designed, built and tested one of the four main science instruments, working closely with partners in the US. — Read more via UK Space Agency

Arrival Bus proving ground trials begin in UK ahead of Q2 2022 production

Arrival’s flagship Bus EV has begun proving ground testing in the UK before entering full production in 2022. The Arrival Bus marks the first of several electric vehicles in the pipeline for the company which will be manufactured and operated in the UK and US, as well as the European Union.

Arrival is a technology company specializing in electric vehicles, particularly vans and buses. In addition to headquarters in London, Arrival has recently expanded into the US, setting up a North American HQ in Charlotte, NC alongside a Van microfactory on the city’s west side. — Read more via electrek

Wednesday – 12/22/2021

GE Appliances to invest $118m in Georgia factory, hiring 600

GE Appliances, a unit of Chinese appliance maker Haier, announced Tuesday that it will invest more than $118m to expand its factory in northwest Georgia, hiring 600 additional workers by the end of 2024.

Spokesperson Julie Wood said the company needs to expand because of increased demand for the electric ranges, wall ovens and gas and electric cooktops it makes at the Walker County facility. — Read more via US News & World Report

Teal Drones to double size of new factory

Teal Drones, which opened a new 13,000 sq ft manufacturing facility in Salt Lake City, Utah, in October, plans to double the size of the factory to 26,000 sq ft to meet an expected surge in demand, according to the chief executive of US-based parent company Red Cat Holdings.

Teal, which intends to ramp up production to 200–300 drones a month over the next year, will ultimately be able to make thousands of drones a month at the expanded site. The increased capacity will allow the company to accommodate potential large contract awards from the US Army and other customers, Red Cat CEO Jeff Thompson told investors on 20 December. — Read more via Janes

Plastics manufacturer to produce 300 jobs in Chesterfield

Starplast USA, a subsidiary of Israel-based plastic manufacturer Starplast, plans to invest $17.7m in a new facility in Chesterfield County, creating 300 jobs over the next five years, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Tuesday.

According to Chesterfield’s economic development authority, Starplast will retrofit an existing industrial building near Meadowville Technology Park, on Bermuda Hundred Road in the southern part of the county. — Read more via Virginia Business

US Navy, Boeing complete first carrier tests for MQ-25

The U.S. Navy and Boeing [NYSE: BA] have successfully maneuvered the Boeing-owned T1 test asset on a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier for the first time – an early step forward in ensuring the MQ-25 unmanned aerial refueler will seamlessly integrate into carrier operations.

During an underway demonstration aboard the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), Navy flight deck directors – known as “yellow shirts” – used standard hand signals to direct T1 just like any other carrier-based aircraft. Instead of a pilot receiving the commands, however, it was a Boeing MQ-25 Deck Handling Operator (DHO) right beside the “yellow shirt” who commanded the aircraft using a new handheld deck control device. — Read more via Boeing

Denim factory opens in US implementing Jeanologia technology

Denim Forward, Inc (DenimFWD) has launched in California, US, as a digital, on-demand production factory developed to contribute to the “return of textile production to the United States”.

The denim plant has partnered with eco-efficient firm Jeanologia on the implementation of the company’s technology into its production model, designed to act as an on-demand, close to consumer service that is “completely sustainable, digital and automated”. — Read more via Fashion United

Tuesday – 12/21/2021

Leonardo Electronics US to build semiconductor manufacturing facility near Tucson

Leonardo Electronics US Inc., which provides defense, security, medical and industrial products, will build a semiconductor laser manufacturing facility on 13 acres at Innovation Park in Oro Valley, six miles north of Tucson, Ariz.

The one-story tilt-up building will include manufacturing, assembly, testing, research and development, administrative and office space.
Sundt Construction, Tempe, expects to begin construction in the first half of 2022 and finish in the first quarter of 2024.

The 120,000-gross-sq-ft building, including steel, metal panels and glass, comprises 90,000 sq. ft. of buildout and 30,000 sq ft of expansion for cleanroom space over the next five years, says Jeremy Kwapich, preconstruction project manager for Sundt. — Read more via ENR Southwest

Large US manufacturer orders LFP cells from Gotion

Chinese battery cell manufacturer Gotion High-Tech has signed a supply agreement with a major publicly traded US automaker to supply it with LFP cells. Gotion is not disclosing the name of the customer, but there are suggestions it could be Tesla.

The supply agreement covers the years 2023 to 2028 and includes a total volume of at least 200 GWh. Gotion will produce LFP batteries in China and export them to the customer. The partners also plan to localize the production and supply of LFP batteries in the US, as well as jointly explore the possibility of establishing a joint venture in the future.

If the customer is indeed Tesla, Gotion would be the third Chinese cell supplier from which Tesla orders lithium iron phosphate cells. The battery cells for the current base models of the China-built Model 3 and Model Y (formerly called Standard Range +) come from CATL. In recent months, there have been repeated reports linking Tesla to BYD where Tesla has reportedly already ordered a smaller quantity of “blade” batteries. — Read more via electrive.com

Fast-charger maker speeds up US factory plans as demand booms

Australian fast-charger maker Tritium Pty will accelerate plans to open a US manufacturing plant to meet booming demand in the world’s third-largest electric vehicle market and avoid supply chain bottlenecks.

The Brisbane-based group, whose customers include Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Siemens AG, seeks to avoid global shipping issues with the move, Chief Executive Officer Jane Hunter said in a Bloomberg Television interview. The new facility should also help the company meet its ambitious growth targets by maintaining market shares of 15% in the US and 20% in Europe. — Read more via Bloomberg

Manufacturer leases 101K square feet in New Wilmington facility

A sustainable packaging company has leased more than 101,000 square feet in a new Wilmington industrial facility.

PaperFoam, headquartered in the Netherlands, is moving its Leland operations, plus introducing new manufacturing equipment, to the Wilmington Trade Center on U.S. 421, the company’s COO said Monday.

PaperFoam makes its packaging products using industrial potato starch, cellulose fibers, water and a proprietary ingredient, said CEO Willem Derkman. — Read more via Wilimington Biz

Michigan Governor signs $1.5bn in business incentives

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation Monday to spend $1.5bn on economic development efforts for businesses, including possible funds to build a General Motors factory to manufacture electric vehicle batteries in the Lansing area.

The legislation creates the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve Fund, which will be funded from state revenue with $1bn to be used for assistance to companies.

Funds totaling $409m will also be allocated to support restaurants, gyms and other areas of business highly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. — Read more via US News & World Report

Monday – 12/20/2021

Intel’s $100bn plan for advanced US manufacturing delayed to 2022

US chipmaker Intel Corporation has delayed its announcement of more than $200bn of chip making facilities in the United States and Europe according to statements made by its chief executive officer Mr. Patrick Gelsinger in Malaysia last week.

Mr. Gelsinger is on a trip to Asia to engage Intel’s suppliers in the region as his company and others in the semiconductor industry struggle with historic supply chain constraints owing to pandemic-induced economic turmoil and historic demand. Intel, which announced another multibillion-dollar plan to build chip making facilities in the United States had also intended to disclose construction sites for additional plants in the US and European Union by the end of this year according to previous statements by Mr. Gelsinger and other executives. — Read more via WCCF Tech

Norway’s FREYR Battery signs ‘$3bn’ off-take deal with energy storage industry customer

FREYR Battery, a European startup developing advanced lithium-ion battery cells for mass production, has signed a 31GWh off-take agreement with an energy storage system manufacturer.

One of about two dozen established and new players seeking to create gigafactories in Europe, Norway’s FREYR wants to initially build out production capacity at four factories powered by renewable energy, including its home country’s abundant hydropower resources.

Work is already underway on its initial 2GWh plant in Mo i Rana, Norway and the company has signed a technology partnership with US advanced battery tech company 24M, developer of a novel manufacturing platform called SemiSolid. — Read more via Energy Storage News

Koch Industries invests $150m into tracking company GameChange Solar, pair to explore ‘strategic partnerships’

Koch Strategic Platforms (KSP), a subsidiary of Koch Investments Group, has made a US$150 million investment in racking and tracking company GameChange Solar to support its strategic development goals.

GameChange focuses on utility-scale solar PV projects, supplying mounting solutions, trackers and software to renewable developers and engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) firms.

It will use the proceeds of the investment to expand its established market share in the US and globally, accelerate product research and development, grow its customer base and increase its international deployment and manufacturing presence. — Read more via PV Tech

Bona US expands facility in Monroe, North Carolina, with groundbreaking event

Bona US, a global, sustainably-driven company that supplies products for installing, renovating, maintaining, and restoring premium floors, has announced that it purchased 35 acres in Monroe, North Carolina, where it will add on to its existing facility.

The new, 280,000-square-foot building will officially break ground today at an event hosted at the facility. Bona expects the building to be completed in late summer 2022.

Bona is expecting to hire approximately 124 employees to staff the new facility. — Read more via Globe News Wire