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

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.

Monday – 08/05/2021

Tesla is about to unveil an updated Cybertruck, Elon Musk says

More than a year since Tesla unveiled the first version of the Cybertruck, the company has been mostly silent about plans for its highly anticipated electric pickup.

But CEO Elon Musk said an updated version of the Cybertruck might be coming soon. — Read more via KCTV5

Biden fires starting gun on mission to liberate American tech supply chain from China’s grip

Car and electronics factories are normally busy places. The constant whirr of robotic arms is joined by the shouts of busy employees, forming an often deafening soundtrack.

But in recent months, many of these factories have been silent. An imbalance in the global supply of semiconductors and rare-earth minerals has reached a crisis point, leading to a global semiconductor shortage. — Read more via The Telegraph

Elon Musk-founded startup OpenAI discovers artificial neuron only ever seen in the human brain

Artificial intelligence researchers have discovered neurons within an AI system that have only previously been seen in the human brain.

OpenAI, a startup founded by Elon Musk, uncovered what is referred to by neuroscientists as a multinodal neuron, within the murky inner workings of one of its most advanced neural networks. — Read more via The Independent

Walmart to invest $350bn in US manufacturing

Walmart plans to invest $350 billion in products made, grown or assembled in the United States over the next 10 years, a move it says will help create 750,000 jobs.

The world’s largest retailer said Wednesday that it is committing to source a wide range of American-made products, including textiles, plastics, small electrical appliances, food processing, and pharmaceutical and medical supplies. — Read more via The Washington Post

Game of drones: Chinese giant DJI hit by U.S. tensions, staff defections

Chinese drone giant DJI Technology Co Ltd built up such a successful U.S. business over the past decade that it almost drove all competitors out of the market.

Yet its North American operations have been hit by internal ructions in recent weeks and months, with a raft of staff cuts and departures, according to interviews with more than two dozen current and former employees. — Read more via Reuters

Friday – 03/05/2021

Exclusive: UK to begin backdoor push to get Joe Biden to dump Trump’s steel tariffs

The UK will begin a push to get Joe Biden to ditch Donald Trump’s steel and aluminium tariffs on British manufacturers, after the US today moved to de-escalate a long-running transatlantic trade dispute.

The government is hoping the US’ decision to suspend a raft of tariffs on British goods, like Scotch whisky and Stilton cheese, as a part of a 16-year dispute between Airbus and Boeing will be followed by a move to dump Trump’s controversial steel tariffs on the UK. — Read more via City A.M.

General Motors considering second US battery plant

General Motors on Thursday said it was considering building a second battery cell factory in the United States with South Korean partner LG, as the American auto giant shifts towards producing electric vehicles.

GM and LG “are exploring the feasibility of constructing a second, state of the art battery cell manufacturing plant in the United States,” a GM spokeswoman told AFP. — Read more via Mail Online

Why hybrid cloud works best for the automotive industry

The automotive industry is being impacted by the convergence of several macro-economic factors and technology-driven innovations. Vehicles are being built differently as they become more autonomous and connected.

Previously, navigation systems were considered a standard automotive component and generally outsourced from third-party vendors, but not anymore, these systems now form part of the critical infotainment system that is responsible for elevating the user experience by making the automobile smart. As a result, OEMs are placing greater emphasis on standards that meet the best quality, usability, and performance criteria. — Read more via Tech Radar Pro

S. Korea’s Kencoa Aerospace expands space business in U.S. with new capital

Kencoa Aerospace Corp., a South Korean aircraft assembler and parts supplier that has NASA, SpaceX and Blue Origin as clients, is planning to expand its US parts manufacturing plant in Georgia.

The company raised 30bn won ($26.6m) in February by issuing convertible bonds to domestic institutional investors and will use a third of the newly raised fund for the expansion of its Eastman, Georgia-based affiliate, Kencoa Aerospace LLC, said a Kencoa investor relations manager.

It has another affiliate, Los Angeles-based California Metal & Supply Inc., producing special materials and alloys for space rockets, engines and other products. Kencoa established its U.S. footholds through a pair of 2017 acquisitions. — Read more via Space News

Manufacturing struggles to find enough workers to meet demand

The John Deere Tractor & Engine Museum in Waterloo, Iowa, celebrates the history of mechanized agriculture. But the museum’s hosting an event this weekend that’s very much about the present: a job fair.

Randy Venzke, labor relations manager at John Deere’s Waterloo Works, where they make those iconic yellow-and-green tractors, said they’re trying to hire about 300 more people by April. One problem, though, is there are only about 130,000 people in the county, and unemployment is currently under 4%. — Read more via Marketplace

Thursday – 03/04/2021

SpaceX’s Starship rocket lands but then explodes

The SpaceX company has managed to land one of its Starship prototypes at the end of a high-altitude test flight.

Serial Number 10 (SN10) touched down in Boca Chica, Texas – in contrast to its predecessors SN8 and SN9, which crashed into the ground.

But that wasn’t the end of the story. The next-generation space vehicle put down heavily on its extended legs.

A fire then developed around its base and eight minutes later SN10 blew itself apart on the landing pad. — Read more via BBC News

Boeing releases new video of F-15EX with its official U.S. Air Force livery

American plane-maker Boeing has released a new video showing its newest F-15EX fighter jet with its official U.S. Air Force livery.

As noted by the company, U.S. AirForce test pilots take to the skies for the first time in the F-15EX advanced fighter aircraft. — Read more via Defence Blog

The oil industry is getting greener faster as US policy shifts to climate change

Dan Yergin, IHS Markit vice chairman, said at the annual CERAWeek by IHS Markit energy conference, held virtually this year, that the greening of the American oil industry has gone into overdrive.

Yergin added that it’s an important turning point for the fossil fuel sector, which has been anticipating big changes with President Joe Biden’s climate-focused, clean energy policies. — Read more via CNBC

How can Biden bring back manufacturing jobs? Weaken the dollar

A piece in the New York Times this week looks at the potential impact a weaker dollar could have on US manufacturing. It’s hardly a new idea, but a number of economists are once again suggesting it as a good way to grow US industry. — Read more via New York Times

A first look inside the supersonic jet that could fly from London to New York in 1.5 hours

The makers of a supersonic jet that could fly from London to New York in just 90 minutes have revealed what passengers can expect onboard.

The Spike S-512 is designed to seat up to 18 passengers and travel at a speed of Mach 1.6, with the ability to do 3,000-mile trips.

The cabin inside would feature a large seating area that could be converted to beds or a dining area, as well as flat-screen TVs. But the manufacturer says there will no cabin windows on the plane, as they tend to create drag and add weight to the aircraft. — Read more via The Telegraph

Wednesday – 03/03/2021

Elon Musk’s SpaceX to open a factory in Austin, job posting reveals

Rocket producer SpaceX will open a high-tech factory in Austin, Texas, according to a recent job posting, the latest of billionaire owner Elon Musk’s projects to begin operations in the Lone Star State.

SpaceX is seeking an automation and controls engineer to help design and develop production systems in a manufacturing facility the company is planning to open in the Texas capitol, the job posting reads. — Read more via Forbes

New Mitsubishi website offers advice on digital manufacturing investments

Mitsubishi Electric has unveiled a new-look website which offers advice on digital manufacturing investments.

The industrial giant, which is also one of the world’s largest robot makers, says Industry 4.0 and digital processes are “indispensable for future manufacturing growth”.

It says that, while many companies understand the importance of automation, they sometimes struggle to make it a reality. They need a strong partner with the know-how to guide them. — Read more via Robotics & Automation News

New US bill provides $8bn for companies building EVs, batteries and more

The Biden administration and Democrats in Congress asserted themselves as a cohesive force to tackle climate change, while ensuring the economy still offers good-paying jobs. A new bill aims to put that thinking into play directly. On Monday, Democratic Sens. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Joe Manchin of West Virginia introduced the American Jobs in Energy Manufacturing Act, which would provide up to a 30% tax credit for companies building products and technology that reduce carbon emissions. — Read more via Roadshow by CNET

Penn State to develop new method of 3D printing ultra-tough steel for US Army

Researchers based at Penn State’s College of Engineering have been awarded $434,000 by the U.S. Army to develop an optimized method of 3D printing high-strength alloys.

During the project, the team intends to use computer modelling to identify a Laser Directed Energy Deposition (L-DED)-based setup, that’s capable of printing more robust metals with enhanced material efficiency. Such high-grade steels could have multiple defense-related applications, ranging from bulletproof vests to blast-proof protection for the hulls of naval ships. — Read more via 3D Printing Industry

US Congress weighs third aviation aid package as lobbyists warn of layoffs

Airline and aerospace lobbyists are urging lawmakers to approve a third round of payroll-support funding, including billions of dollars for workers at US aerospace manufacturing companies.

They made their comments during a 2 March hearing that comes as the US Senate reviews a bill that would set aside another $14bn in “payroll support” for US airlines.

The bill, approved by the US House of Representatives on 27 February, would require airlines use the money to fund employee compensation. It would prohibit them from laying off workers until 30 September. — Read more via Flight Global

Tuesday – 03/02/2021

Rolls-Royce powers up electric aircraft ahead of world record attempt

Rolls-Royce has completed the first taxiing of its Spirit of Innovation aircraft, ahead of its first flight before the summer and an attempt to break the world record for the fastest electric airplane later this year.

The airplane powered along a runway driven by its 500hp (400kw) electric powertrain for the first time in February. Taxiing is a critical test of the integration of the aircraft’s propulsion system, ahead of flight testing. — Read more via Aerospace Testing International

US manufacturing witnesses 3-year high as prices climb

US manufacturing expanded in February at the fastest pace in three years after a surge in new orders.

According to the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) manufacturing gauge, activity in the sector rose to 60.8% last month, 2.1 percentage-points above the January level of 58.7%. Readings above 50 indicate expansion and the figure exceeded the 58.9 median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists. — Read more via ISM

With new grant funding, this Plano infrared tech startup is cleaning up the wastewater treatment industry

A Plano-based infrared sensor tech startup is looking to clean up the wastewater treatment industry with fresh new funding.

Max-IR Labs, which has developed an infrared sensor system that analyzes liquids for their compound makeup, landed a $750,000 Phase II SBIR grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a prototype and kick-off field tests of its patented ISMIR infrared radiation sensor. — Read more via Dallas Business Journal

Hyzon Motors’ hydrogen fuel ambitions include two US factories

Hyzon Motors plans to produce fuel cells, including a critical component required to power hydrogen vehicles, at two US factories in a move aimed at kickstarting domestic production at a commercial scale.

The hydrogen-powered truck and bus manufacturer has already leased a 28,000-square-foot facility in the Chicago suburb of Bolingbrook and plans to expand it by an additional 80,000 square feet. Production at the Chicago facility is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2021. — Read more via TechCrunch

New Toyota Land Cruiser 300’s debut delayed yet again – report

The new Toyota Land Cruiser 300’s debut looks set to be delayed again, if a report out of Japan is accurate.

According to BestCarWeb, the global semiconductor shortage has impacted Toyota’s production schedule, pushing the Land Cruiser 300’s debut back to at least July 2021. — Read more via BestCarWeb