Daily US Manufacturing News Digest – the industry stories you should be aware of today – 30 September

Posted on 3 Oct 2022 by The Manufacturer

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 – 10/03/2022

Japan grants Micron $320m in deepening US chip alliance

US chipmaker Micron will receive up to $320m in Japanese government subsidies, marking the first of an expected series of deals to fortify supply chains against the disruptive threat from China.

Beijing does not currently compete with Washington and Tokyo in the most advanced segment of semiconductor technology. But Covid-19 disruptions have underscored supply chain fragility, while Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has intensified fears that China could invade Taiwan, the global centre of cutting-edge chip production.

The Micron deal announced on Friday followed months of negotiations between the US and Japan to expand co-operation in semiconductor production, with the goal of reducing heavy dependence on Taiwanese chipmaker TSMC. — Read more via Financial Times

Arrival produces first production verification van in microfactory

Arrival has announced that it has produced the first production verification vehicle from its Bicester Microfactory.

Arrival produced the first Van in a Microfactory using in-house technologies, including composite materials, autonomous mobile robots, in-house components and a software defined factory.

The milestone is a big stepping stone towards at-scale production and delivering vehicles to its customers. — Read more via Arrival

Rolls-Royce and Water Revolution Foundation driving sustainability in the superyacht industry

Rolls-Royce is stepping up its sustainability strategy by forging a partnership with Water Revolution Foundation (WRF), a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote sustainability through collaborations with the superyacht industry.

The Rolls-Royce Power Systems business unit with its mtu product and solutions brand is the first propulsion system manufacturer to support the Water Revolution Foundation by committing to it at the highest level as an Anchor Partner. During the Monaco Yacht Show, the leading industry event for large-yacht manufacturers and customers, the company agreed for a promising collaboration with the foundation. — Read more via Rolls-Royce

The Royal Mint unveils official coin effigy of His Majesty King Charles III

The Royal Mint has unveiled the official coin effigy of His Majesty King Charles III. The first coins to bear The King’s portrait are a special £5 Crown and 50 pence commemorating the life and legacy of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

The King’s effigy has been created by renowned British sculptor Martin Jennings, and has been personally approved by His Majesty. In keeping with tradition, The King’s portrait faces to the left, the opposite direction to Queen Elizabeth II. — Read more via The Royal Mint

BYD sets prices for 3 EV models to be sold in Europe

BYD, seeking to fast establish a foothold in Europe, disclosed tentative prices on Wednesday for three full-electric passenger vehicles to be delivered in six European countries.

The Atto 3, a compact crossover, will be sold for 38,000 euros ($36,480). Two midsize models, the Tang SUV and the Han sedan, have been priced at 72,000 euros, the largest Chinese electrified-vehicle manufacturer said. — Read more via Automotive News Europe

Friday – 09/30/2022

Pepsi begins construction on largest US manufacturing center

PepsiCo Beverages North America (PBNA) has officially broken ground on its new 1.2 million-square-foot facility. The project initially was announced in July 2022 and is expected to open sometime in 2023.

The new production center in Denver will have three times the manufacturing capacity of its current site and is expected to create roughly 250 new jobs. — Read more via Food Business News

Moment Skis, largest ski manufacturer based in the U.S. settling into new Reno facility

It took years to complete, but Moment Skis’ acquisition of its new headquarters facility on Bible Way in Reno was a crucial step in the company’s ongoing expansion efforts.

Moment Skis Chief Executive Officer Luke Jacobson told NNBW in an interview last week that the company was bursting at the seams in its old 7,500-square-foot location on Marietta Way in Sparks. Moment’s new 20,000-square-foot building, acquired near the end of last year, was gutted and retrofitted to meet the company’s manufacturing needs, Jacobson said. — Read more via Northern Nevada Business Weekly

Electrolux begins exporting the Ferrari of ovens to the US

The Electrolux Home Products factory in Adelaide’s Dudley Park held an event on Thursday attended by premier Peter Malinauskas and others to celebrate the commencement of exports to the United States.

The plant – which was opened in 1939 and has had $30m invested in it in the last three years – employs about 400 and is Australia’s last whitegoods manufacturer. — Read more via AuManufacturing

First electric models roll off Nissan’s UK Sunderland Plant

Electrified versions of two pioneering crossover models are now rolling off the lines at Nissan Sunderland Plant. The Nissan Qashqai, the original crossover, is now offered with Nissan’s unique e-POWER system, a first for the company in Europe. Its B-segment stablemate, the Nissan Juke, is now equipped with an advanced hybrid powertrain.

These new powertrains have been launched as combined production of the two iconic crossover models has passed five million units in Sunderland. Built alongside the Nissan LEAF, these technologies mean every model built by Nissan in the UK now has an electrified version. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Joint UK/EU project to scale-up additive manufacturing

A new UK and European consortium made up of engineering firms, academic leaders and scale-ups has been formed to increase Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) productivity.

The project, known as LAMM, brings together four specialist organisations with the aim of achieving substantial improvements in deposition rates and printing efficiency.

To aid in reaching its goal, LAMM has received €428,000 of funding from EIT Manufacturing (EITM), an organisation formed in 2019 that strives towards making Europe a global manufacturing hub. — Read more via Gas World

Nineteen Group acquires Drives & Controls Show

The award winning Nineteen Group today announces that it has acquired the Drives and Controls Show and its co-located manufacturing events (Plant and Asset Management, Fluid Power systems and Airtech) www.drives-expo.com — Read more via The Manufacturer

Thursday – 09/29/2022

XAAR celebrates sustainability roadmap success

Leading inkjet technology business Xaar has made positive progress in driving forward its ESG commitments as set out in its ambitious Sustainability Roadmap to 2030.

Xaar’s Sustainability Roadmap is based on four key pillars – Environment, People, Innovation and Community, and is an important driver, fully integrated into Xaar’s growth strategy, with challenging targets set for all areas of the business. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Astroscale opens Zeus Satellite manufacturing facility in UK

Astroscale has opened a new satellite manufacturing facility and operations facilities at the Harwell Science & Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire in the United Kingdom. The new facility, dubbed Zeus, covers approximately 20,000 square feet for a manufacturing facility, satellite operations center, and offices.

Astroscale Limited, the U.K. and European subsidiary of Astroscale Holdings, announced the opening on Wednesday. The company said this location in the Harwell Space Cluster alongside the UK Space Agency, European Space Agency (ESA), Satellite Applications Catapult, and others will contribute to the in-orbit servicing supply chain and commercial servicing economy through creating new jobs and national capability. — Read more via Satellite Today

Global manufacturer continues support for future scientists

Leading manufacturer of solid format bases and natural ingredients for the personal care sector, Stephenson, is continuing its support for STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) by strengthening its links with further education.

The global business employs over 100 people from its manufacturing site in Leeds and is aiming to boost its links with leading Yorkshire universities over the next 12 months. The manufacturer is working with Leeds University on student placement programmes for the first time this year. It has had a successful partnership with Huddersfield University for 10 years. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Israel’s Rafael acquires UK defence firm Pearson Engineering

Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. has completed the acquisition of the British defense specialist company Pearson Engineering Ltd. The acquisition was executed under a stock purchase agreement (SPA), transferring 100% of the ownership. The acquisition includes Pearson’s metalworks subsidiary company Responsive Engineering Ltd.

According to M.G (ret.) Yoav Har-Even, RAFAEL’S President and CEO, this acquisition is part of RAFAEL’s continued strategic investments to transfer cutting-edge, state-of-the-art technologies, products, and systems into the United Kingdom, addressing UK national security and economic interests. — Read more via Defence Update

Drones – the ‘end’ of Britain’s silent killer

One of the world’s leading experts in drone technology, Robert Garbett, has called on the UK Government to support the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) plea for Britain to “rise up and act to protect the health of our most vulnerable people” by confronting the global threat of air pollution, which “is killing 7 million people per year and shaving over two years off the average life expectancy.”

Robert Garbett, Founder of Drone Major Group Limited, stated: “Lives can be saved, disease in the youngest reduced, the oldest and most vulnerable members of society protected, as well as saving the NHS millions by replacing many of our delivery vans, trucks and heavy goods vehicles with battery-powered drones.” — Read more via The Manufacturer

Wednesday – 09/28/2022

Daejin Advanced Materials USA Inc. to establish operations in Cumberland City

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Stuart McWhorter and Daejin Advanced Materials USA Inc. officials announced today the company will invest $10.2m to establish its second U.S. manufacturing and processing facility in Cumberland City, Tennessee.

Located in a portion of the Stewart-Houston Industrial Park, a Select Tennessee Certified Site, Daejin Advanced Materials will be located in close proximity to its electric vehicle battery customers and partners in the southeastern U.S.

As a result of the project, the company will create 83 new jobs in Houston and Stewart counties over the next five years. — Read more via Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development

US business equipment orders rise by most since start of year

Orders for business equipment at US factories rose in August by the most since the start of the year, reflecting broad advances across categories, including machinery and computers, even as interest rates rise.

The value of core capital goods orders, a proxy for investment in equipment that excludes aircraft and military hardware, increased 1.3% last month — the most since January — after an upwardly revised 0.7% July advance, Commerce Department figures showed Tuesday. The data aren’t adjusted for inflation. — Read more via Bloomberg

Ipsen doles out €52M to upgrade its Dublin manufacturing site, increase capacity

Aiming to boost its presence in Ireland, Ipsen has spent 52 million euros to upgrade its Dublin manufacturing site.

The expanded site in Blanchardstown will allow Ipsen to boost its production of active pharmaceutical ingredients by 10% this year compared with 2021. The company plans to invest 15 million euros more in the site between 2023 and 2026 as part of its growth strategy for the Irish market. — Read more via Fierce Pharma

GKN Aerospace – Northrop Grumman collabortion achieves additive manufacturing milestone

GKN Aerospace has completed its largest structural titanium additive manufacturing (AM) demonstration to date with the production of a component measuring 8 feet (2.5 meters) and processed from approximately 100 pounds of titanium.

The demonstration, conducted in collaboration with aircraft manufacturer Northrop Grumman, focused on the additive manufacturing process of laser metal deposition with wire (LMD-w), which successfully doubled the scale of previous components produced. The ability to scale additive manufacturing technology–also known as 3D printing—for large aerostructure components has a wide range of aerospace and defense applications. Additionally, the technology enables components to be produced faster than current methods, uses raw materials more efficiently, and may ultimately result in reduced costs. — Read more via GKN Aerospace

UK MOD to flex-up supply chain by 3D printing military spares in £5m Tampa Project

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is seeking to establish a network of suppliers capable of 3D printing military-grade spare parts on-demand.

As part of ‘Project TAMPA,’ the MoD aims to create a multi-supplier framework with the capacity to 3D print lighter, stronger metal parts as and when they’re needed. If this can be achieved, the UK government department anticipates being able to drive down military equipment and weaponry lead times, while improving the availability of difficult-to-source obsolete components. — Read more via 3D Printing Industry

UK trade pact: India weighs offering duty concessions for EVs

India is weighing its options to offer tariff concessions to products such as electric vehicles that receive support under the government’s phased manufacturing programme, as part of the proposed free trade agreement with the UK.

Discussions on the proposed trade pact are now in their final phase and the agreement is likely to be inked by Diwali, officials said. — Read more via The Economic Times

Tuesday – 09/27/2022

Factory Jobs Are Booming Like It’s the 1970s

Ever since American manufacturing entered a long stretch of automation and outsourcing in the late 1970s, every recession has led to the loss of factory jobs that never returned. But the recovery from the pandemic recession has been different: American manufacturers have now added enough jobs to regain all that they shed — and then some. — Read more via The New York Times

China’s 370-acre project near US Air Force base in North Dakota ‘highly concerning’ – General Atomics

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, a US-based leading drone manufacturer, recently stated that it “firmly opposes” a new Chinese agricultural project near Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota.

The business, which built the Predator drone and has a substantial presence near Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota, called the US government to stop the Fufeng Group’s plans to build a large-scale corn milling plant on 370 acres in Grand Forks.

The company expresses grave concern about the significant threats to US national security. — Read more via The Eurasian Times

3D printing drones work like bees to build and repair structures while flying

Imperial College London and Empa researchers have created a fleet of bee-inspired flying 3D printers for building and repairing structures in-flight.

The technology could ultimately be used for manufacturing and building in difficult-to-access or dangerous locations such as tall buildings or help with post-disaster relief construction, say the researchers, who publish their work in Nature. — Read more via Imperial College London

UK Manufacturing sector set to lose 1.3 million jobs by 2030

A new report published by Arden University has found that the Manufacturing sector is set to lose 1,387,194 jobs in the hands of automation and technological advances in the workplace.

The 2030 Workforce Report also found that by 2030, 30% of all jobs in the UK could be eradicated due to automation changing the workforce. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Monday – 09/26/2022

UK builds leadership in space debris removal and in-orbit manufacturing with national mission and funding boost

Two UK-based companies are designing missions to clear hazardous space junk alongside the launch of a new programme to back cutting-edge space technology, the UK Space Agency has announced.

ClearSpace and Astroscale have been awarded £4m from the UK Space Agency to design missions to remove existing pieces of space debris, working with a consortium of industry partners. Once the designs are complete, the teams, along with other UK space companies, could receive further funding to see the UK’s first national space debris removal mission launch in 2026.

The projects will directly support the creation of 70 new jobs, with further opportunities to increase growth in the wider UK space sector, which already supports 47,000 jobs and generates an income of £16.5bn each year. — Read more via GOV UK

Nissan electrifies its UK-built models

As Nissan Qashqai and Juke production in Sunderland passes the five million mark, electrified versions of these pioneering crossover models are now rolling off the lines.

The Nissan Qashqai, the record-breaking original crossover, is now offered with Nissan’s unique e-POWER system, a first for the company in Europe. Its B-segment stablemate, the Nissan Juke, is now equipped with an advanced hybrid powertrain.

These new powertrains have been launched as combined production of the two iconic crossover models has passed five million units in Sunderland. Built alongside the Nissan LEAF, these technologies mean every model built by Nissan in the UK now has an electrified version. — Read more via Nissan

Manufacturing SMEs set to target growth and investment

A significant majority of UK manufacturing SMEs are predicted turnover growth in the next 12 months, new research from Paragon Bank has found.

A survey of over 1,000 SMEs, conducted by Opinium on behalf of Paragon found that, despite wider economic challenges, 45% of firms in the sector are expecting turnover to increase, with a further 30% planning for it to stay at its current level.

Optimism within the sector is matched by plans for investment, with 55% of manufacturing SMEs set to increase investment in their businesses in the next 12 months – and a 29% to maintain current investment spending. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Research ties between Scotland and Australia could advance shipbuilding on the Clyde

Scottish and Australian researchers have struck a new agreement to strengthen collaboration on modern manufacturing methods that could be adapted to shipbuilding and marine operations underway in both hemispheres.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow – operator of the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland – Flinders University in Adelaide and BAE Systems is key to the establishment of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Exchange to foster closer working relationships and facilitate the development of international best practice for shipbuilding manufacturing methods and processes. — Read more via University of Strathclyde

Britishvolt powers a sustainable future with Infor

Infor, the industry cloud company, has announced that battery pioneer, Britishvolt, the UK’s foremost investor in battery cell technologies and research and development, has selected Infor CloudSuite Automotive to manage business operations at its £3.8bn 38GWh Gigaplant in Cambois, Northumberland, UK. — Read more via Intelligent CIO

QTS Group adopts Pathfindr’s Zonr smart worker safety system

Zonr, the smart safety system which creates virtual exclusion zones to protect worker safety in heavy industry, will be adopted by engineering contractor QTS Group across all its UK sites following a successful trial.

QTS collaborated with Zonr’s manufacturer Pathfindr – the asset tracking and Industrial IoT tech specialist – over its initial development and will now implement the system itself to improve health and safety across its rail engineering, infrastructure and electrification operations throughout the UK. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Friday – 09/23/2022

Thriving at 50 – Toyota celebrates North American manufacturing milestone

It all started in 1972 when Toyota announced its first manufacturing investment in North America. Today the automaker’s Long Beach, California, operation, TABC, Inc., celebrated 50 years of paving the way for Toyota to become a gold standard in advanced manufacturing. — Read more via Toyota

Battery manufacturing ramps up in the US

Passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 has resulted in numerous battery manufacturers announcing plans to begin production in the United States, supporting the transition to clean energy as well as clean transportation. — Read more via pv magazine

Qcells to invest $320m in solar manufacturing in the US and South Korea

Hanwha Solutions, Qcells’ owner, has announced a $320m investment plan for solar manufacturing expansion in the US and South Korea aimed at providing secure, end-to-end energy amid a climate of strained energy security and rising demand for net-zero emissions.

Hanwha Solutions announced that it will spend $170m to build a new 1.4GW solar module facility in the US to complement the existing 1.7GW factory in Dalton, Georgia, bringing Qcells’ production capacity in the US to more than 3GW.

The expansion will boost US domestic solar manufacturing as well as growing the clean energy industry in general, bringing more jobs, security and investor confidence to a recently turbocharged sector after the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). — Read more via PV Tech

Huawei dives into chip production to battle U.S. clampdown

China’s Huawei Technologies is attempting to get its own chips back into production as early as this year by partnering with domestic semiconductor companies to build up “U.S.-free” production lines.

Huawei, once the world’s leading smartphone maker, lost access to key American technologies and global chipmaking partners in 2019, when Washington further tightened export controls on the company. Since then it has been relying on off-the-shelf chips and stockpiled inventory to keep its flagship telecom equipment business on track. — Read more via Nikkei Asia

World-leading Australian building operations solution CIM raises AU$10m

CIM, the creator of a world leading property operations software solution that enables teams to work more collaboratively and accelerates the journey to net zero emissions, has announced that it has raised AU$10m after closing its Series A.

The round was led by Five V Capital alongside Carthona Capital and also included seasoned property executives such as Mark Steinert, former CEO of Stockland. The new capital will be used to expand CIM internationally into Asia and North America, in addition to building out the team with a doubling of headcount expected in the next 12 months. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Thursday – 09/22/2022

Department of Energy announces pledges from 21 organizations to increase the energy efficiency of semiconductors and bolster American manufacturing

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced a commitment from over 20 companies and organizations to increase the energy efficiency of semiconductors by a factor of 1,000 over the next two decades.

The Energy Efficiency Scaling for 2 Decades (EES2) national initiative aims to get the semiconductor industry back on the path of doubling energy efficiency every two years to increase the economic competitiveness of American semiconductor manufacturers and strengthen domestic clean energy supply chains. This initiative builds on the Biden Administration’s commitment to spur domestic semiconductor manufacturing through the historic CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 which includes $54bn in funding for the U.S. semiconductor industry and $67bn for the Department of Energy. — Read more via DOE

SEG Solar to set up TOPCon module manufacturing factory in Texas

SEG Solar plans to set up a solar module manufacturing plant in the US state of Texas with an annual capacity of more than 2GW.

Slated to begin construction by the end of this year and be fully operational by mid-2023, the facility will have three production lines capable of producing n-type TOPCon modules with 182mm or 210mm solar cells.

The development of the factory is the next step in SEG’s product localisation strategy, designed to better serve customers in the US, according to the company. — Read more via pv magazine

Inflation Reduction Act has already transformed energy storage industry thinking

The US’ Inflation Reduction Act legislation is an unexpected “huge shot in the arm” for the energy storage industry and may have doubled the addressable domestic market almost overnight.

Energy-Storage.news spoke with senior figures from battery storage system integrators Fluence and Wartsila Energy at the RE+ 2022 clean energy trade show in Anaheim, California, who discussed the landmark climate legislation and other topics. — Read more via Energy-Storage.news

Wednesday – 09/21/2022

US exports surge by 120% for Yorkshire-based natural paint manufacturer

A Yorkshire-based natural paint manufacturer has seen its US exports surge by more than 100% over the last year.

Leeds-based Brouns & Co, a business that manufactures traditional paints based on linseed oil made from Yorkshire-grown flax, has seen orders from the US for its natural and sustainable products increase by more than 120% in the last 12 months, with the support of the Department for International Trade (DIT) in Yorkshire and the US. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Blackline Safety sets new standard in connected worker safety with launch of G6

Blackline Safety Corp., a global leader in connected safety technology, continues to trailblaze in the industrial worker safety market with the launch of a new connected wearable to transform single-gas detection.

The all-new G6 personal gas detector – unveiled today at the National Safety Council (NSC) Safety Congress & Expo in San Diego – offers fast incident response time and a more efficient way to manage safety and compliance. — Read more via The Manufacturer

US module manufacturer Toledo Solar aims for 2.8GW of production capacity

US thin-film module manufacturer Toledo Solar is planning to expand production in response to the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act.

A manufacturer of cadmium telluride modules based in Ohio, the company said it is planning to ramp up production to 2.8GW of capacity by 2027 in response to “surging demand for solar products”.

Founded in 2019, Toledo Solar began PV panel production last year and supplies products for the US residential and commercial and industrial markets.

The company, which is aiming to create more than 250 additional jobs by 2027, said its supply chain is sourced exclusively from North America. — Read more via pv magazine

Japan’s House Foods expands US plant-based portfolio with Keystone Natural Holdings buy

Japanese tofu firm House Foods has acquired US plant-based food manufacturer Keystone Natural Holdings (KNH).

The deal, announced on 16 September, will expand House Foods’ portfolio of value-added tofu and plant-based food products.

It means House Foods will grow its North America manufacturing facilities from two to eight. — Read more via just-food

GSK puts suppliers on the hook as it amps up sustainability crusade

Starting next year, GSK will require and help suppliers to make sustainability commitments and chart improvements on emissions, energy, heat, transport, waste, water and biodiversity, GSK said Tuesday. The plan, unveiled at Climate Week in New York City, builds on the company’s established mission to achieve net zero climate impact and provide a net positive impact on nature. — Read more via Fierce Pharma

Jankel establishes agreements with key UK defence industry partners to deliver Oshkosh JLTV

Jankel, a British manufacturer in the design, integration, manufacture, and support of high-specification defence systems, announced the establishment of agreements with a number of key UK defence industry partners in order to create a team of experts to deliver the Oshkosh Defense Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) to UK. — Read more via Army Recognition

Tuesday – 09/20/2022

Wind(ings) of change – Electrifying innovation in motor manufacturing with Mitsubishi Electric’s robot solutions

Integrating Mitsubishi Electric’s robotic solutions, Horizon Instruments and the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), part of the University of Warwick, have created the first automated solution which combines two key operations in rotor assembly. — Read more via The Manufacturer

OneWeb seeks £3bn for GEN2 satellites that could support navigation

OneWeb is looking to raise around £3bn to expand its constellation with second-generation satellites that could support navigation.

The British firm is part-owned by the UK government and currently has 428 satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO) at around 1,200km. By the end of 2023, OneWeb aims to have increased the size of its constellation to 648.

OneWeb is already able to provide speeds exceeding 100Mbps and with sub-100ms latency. While impressive, OneWeb can’t match the coverage and performance delivered by Starlink’s over 2,300-strong constellation. — Read more via Telecoms Tech News

Azure Power signs agreement for 600 MW of First Solar high-performance modules

First Solar, Inc. has announced that it has entered into an agreement to supply 600 megawatts (MW)DC of its high-performance, advanced thin film photovoltaic (PV) solar modules to Indian renewable power producer Azure Power Global Limited.

The agreement is the first for production from First Solar’s new manufacturing facility in Tamil Nadu, India, which is expected to be commissioned in the second half of 2023. Under the agreement, Azure is expected to take delivery of First Solar’s Series 7 photovoltaic (PV) solar modules from the fourth quarter of 2023 to 2025. — Read more via Renewable Energy Magazine

UK-based EV-tire-maker ENSO in talks to supply multiple global OEMS

London-based EV tire manufacturer ENSO said it is in discussions with multiple international car makers and has begun trials with major fleet operators. Multiple EV manufacturers have expressed interest in fitting ENSO’s range-extending, emissions-reducing tires. Fleet operators, meanwhile, are investigating fitting ENSO’s tyres to their electric vehicles to help lower operating costs and reduce their carbon footprint. — Read more via Green Car Congress

Red Bull Powertrains partner with tool manufacturer Snap-on

Red Bull Powertrains announced earlier this week that they are to partner with American tool manufacturer Snap-on, as it continues to develop capability at its state of the art Formula 1 powertrain facility, which is housed at the Red Bull Technology Campus in Milton Keynes, UK. — Read more via The Checkered Flag

What technologies make up a smart factory?

There’s no question that smart factories are at the heart of the future of manufacturing. But what exactly is a smart factory, what technologies make it tick, and what makes it ‘smart’? — Read more via The Manufacturer

Friday – 09/16/2022

US manufacturing output ekes out small gain in August

Production at US factories edged up in August amid a decline at motor vehicle assembly plants, but gains in the output of machinery as well as computer and electronic products pointed to underlying strength in manufacturing.

Manufacturing output gained 0.1% last month after increasing 0.6% in July, the Federal Reserve said on Thursday. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast factory production would be unchanged. Output increased 3.3% compared to August 2021. — Read more via Reuters

Low Earth orbit satellite cluster to provide secure digital military intelligence from 2024

BAE Systems is set to launch its first multi-sensor satellite cluster into low Earth orbit in 2024 to deliver high-quality information and intelligence in real time from space to military customers.

Known as AzaleaTM, the group of satellites will use a range of sensors to collect visual, radar and radio frequency (RF) data, which will be analysed by on board machine learning on edge processors to deliver the resulting intelligence securely, anywhere in the world while still in orbit. — Read more via The Manufacturer

UK probes Microsoft’s $69bn bid for gaming giant

Britain on Thursday announced an “in-depth investigation” into Microsoft’s planned $69bn takeover of US gaming giant Activision Blizzard, citing UK competition concerns.

US technology giant Microsoft in January announced a bid to create the world’s third biggest gaming company by revenue, behind China’s Tencent and Japan’s Sony, by purchasing the owner of hit games “Candy Crush” and “Call Of Duty”.

The proposed deal, already controversial owing to allegations of sexual harassment against women at Activision, now faces a probe by Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority. — Read more via Barron’s

Friday – 09/15/2022

A new factory in South Carolina will make up to 10,000 EV chargers a year

Global EV charging infrastructure company ABB E-mobility today announced that it will spend $4 million to open an EV charger factory in Columbia, South Carolina.

The new South Carolina facility will be capable of producing up to 10,000 EV chargers per year. The chargers, which will range from 20 kW to 180 kW in power, are intended for public use, school buses, and fleets.

The Columbia-made chargers could be ready to go to market as early as next year. — Read more via electrek

Fujifilm to Invest $20m in 24M SemiSolid Manufacturing Platform

24M Technologies, Inc. (24M) announced today that it has licensed its SemiSolid manufacturing platform to FUJIFILM Corporation (Fujifilm). As part of the partnership, Fujifilm will invest $20m in 24M.

By reinventing the way lithium-ion cells are made, the chemistry agnostic 24M SemiSolid manufacturing platform enables higher energy densities, lower costs, unmatched recyclability and increased safety for next-generation batteries. This new agreement builds on previous investments from Fujifilm in 2020. — Read more via Silicon

Volvo Trucks, IKEA and Raben Group join forces to accelerate zero emission transport

Volvo Trucks, IKEA Industry and the Raben Group have signed a collaboration agreement on zero-emission heavy transport. IKEA will introduce heavy electric Volvo trucks for internal transport flows at two of its factories in Zbąszynek in Poland, which will be operated by the Raben Group. Lessons from the pilot will be used for the electrification of transport operations at scale in a larger transport network. — Read more via Automotive World

Canada’s MOBILTEX acquires UK manufacturer GCRTech

MOBILTEX Data Ltd. has announced the acquisition of GCR Tech Limited.

The company says the acquisition will bring together Mobiltex’s IIoT technologies with GCRTech’s experience in pressure management and product quality.

The newly appointed VP of value stream, Alain Lalonde will lead the Mobiltex GCRTech Product Group.

Dr. Gurch Chana, who founded GCRTech and now serves as its managing director, expressed that the partnership will allow the company to accelerate its product development roadmap, grow its position in existing markets and expand into new ones. — Read more via Canadian Manufacturing

Wednesday – 09/14/2022

Cummins to reveal zero-carbon H2-ICE concept truck powered by the B6.7H hydrogen engine

Cummins Inc. will reveal a medium-duty concept truck powered by the B6.7H hydrogen internal combustion engine (H2-ICE) at the IAA Transportation exhibition (Sept. 20-25, Hanover, Germany).

The proof-of-concept installation is rated 290 hp (216 kW) and features a 700-bar pressure high-capacity hydrogen storage system. The H2-ICE conversion highlights the opportunity for truck applications across the 10-to-26T gross vehicle weight (GVW) range to operate on zero-carbon hydrogen fuel with a potential operating range of up to 500-kilometres. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Manufacturers call for quick resolution to rail negotiations

Following news that White House aides and Cabinet officials spent Tuesday reviewing contingency plans for a work stoppage, including outreach to shippers, truckers and air-freight lines to keep goods moving, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons has released a statement on the ongoing negotiations between Class I railroads and labor unions representing the freight rail workforce. — Read more via NAM

IMTS 2022: US manufacturing exhibition is back with a strong 3D printing presence

Following a four-year COVID-imposed absence, the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) has returned, with a much more 3D printing-heavy line-up than before.

Usually held every two years, IMTS isn’t just about 3D printing, it sees manufacturers that specialize in processes ranging from CNC machining to injection molding meet to share best practice, unveil new products and identify cross-industry trends. — Read more via 3D Printing Industry

UK’s £50bn aftermarket sector to seek trade opportunities at Automechanika Frankfurt 2022

Automechanika Frankfurt 2022 today plays host to the largest UK aftermarket overseas trade mission since pre-pandemic 2019, with a dedicated UK Pavilion organised by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Twenty-two leading companies will represent the breadth and quality that the British sector has to offer, from engine remanufacturing and suspension system design services to specialist components, lubricants and tyre sealants. — Read more via SMMT

Ex-Newport Wafer Fab owner close to buying it back

Drew Nelson, the former owner of Newport Wafer Fab, is reportedly close to a deal with a private equity firm to buy back Britain’s biggest semiconductor manufacturer, if the government decides to unwind its purchase by the Chinese-owned business Nexperia.

The investor, Palladian Investment Partners, also considered teaming up with Nelson to rescue the business last year but this was rejected by Nexperia, a key customer, shareholder and board member, because it said the terms were too punitive. — Read more via The Times

Tuesday – 09/13/2022

Biden spurs US biotechnology with new order

The Biden administration announced the launch of a new national program dedicated to fortifying America’s biotechnology manufacturing industry in the latest executive effort to keep U.S. supply chains competitive.

Introduced Sunday via executive order, the Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Initiative focuses on a specific biomanufacturing process that uses microorganisms to create chemicals and compounds that contribute to make medicines, fuels and other input materials. — Read more via Nextgov

Micron breaks ground on US$15bn US chip plant, says more to come soon

Micron Technology, the biggest US memory chip company, on Monday (Sep 12) will break ground for a US$15 billion factory in Boise, Idaho, and its chief executive told Reuters an announcement of another new US plant will be coming soon.

“We are in final stages of another high volume manufacturing site that is going to be announced in the coming weeks,” CEO Sanjay Mehrotra said.

Both plants will produce Dram chips that are widely used in data centres, personal computers and other devices. Once operational, US plants will account for 40 per cent of Micron’s DRAM production volume globally, up from 10 per cent today, Mehrotra said. The Boise factory will be operational in 2025, he said. — Read more via The Business Times

America’s only ironing board manufacturer reopens southern Indiana plant

The United States’ only manufacturer of ironing boards reopened its plant earlier this month in Seymour.

Seymour Home Products, under various names, has spent decades making thousands of ironing boards per day and and exporting them internationally. Back in March, the owner, Home Products International, said it would close the plant. Production stopped May 27, and about 130 workers initially lost their jobs.

Thomas Day, chief operation officer for Seymour Home Products, said the COVID-19 pandemic and rising steel costs made the future of the company uncertain. — Read more via WDRB.com

Festo expands US-based automation system manufacturing, R&D to mark 50th anniversary

To celebrate its 50th anniversary year, Festo U.S. announced expansion plans for its 47-acre campus in Mason, Ohio. A new production facility and the expanded research and development (R&D) center will be dedicated to U.S.-centric automation components, systems and solutions.

The campus, 30 miles north of Cincinnati, will be the site of a new Festo Global Production Center (GPC), the designation for the company’s advanced automated manufacturing facilities. The GPC will focus on flexible automation in a direct response to provide automation industry customers with custom solutions that are designed to maximize performance and differentiate their machines and systems from the competition. — Read more via Control

Monday – 09/12/2022

Almost 5,000 drone patents granted last year – a 39% increase

Patents granted for drones worldwide have increased by 39% to 4,876 in the past year*, shows new research by leading intellectual property law firm Mathys & Squire. The figure is up from 3,511 in the previous year and up three-fold from just 446 patents five years ago.

Mathys & Squire says the global drone market is dominated by China. Of the patents granted in 2021, 3,262 (67%) belong to Chinese companies and research institutions. The US trails in second place, with 751 drone-related patents granted in 2021 – 15% of the global total. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Chip maker Wolfspeed to build new US factory to meet surging EV demand

US power chip maker Wolfspeed Inc (WOLF.N) on Friday said it will build a new multi-billion dollar factory in Chatham County, North Carolina to make the raw materials used for chips that power things like electric vehicles as demand surges.

While traditional power management chips have been made with silicon, which is also used for microchips that run computers and phones, Wolfspeed uses a relatively newer material called silicon carbide to make chips. Wolfspeed is considered a leader in this technology and says it produces more than 60% of the world’s silicon carbide. — Read more via Reuters

Biden touts manufacturing, stumps for Democrats in Ohio

President Joe Biden traveled Friday to the competitive battleground state of Ohio, where he touted the impact of the bipartisan Chips and Science Act that is set to boost domestic chipmaking and scientific research aimed at restoring America as the world’s leader in manufacturing.

[ READ: Biden Leans on Pennsylvania as Campaign Season Goes Full Throttle ]
“It’s fitting to break ground for America’s future here in Ohio,” he said, speaking from New Albany, where computer chipmaker Intel broke ground on a new multibillion-dollar semiconductor facility. “Think about it. There’s kind of a tradition here: the Wright brothers, Neil Armstrong, John Glenn. They defined America’s spirit – a spirit of daring and innovation.”

Intel will build on that legacy, he said. — Read more via US News & World Report

Carel to buy US sensor manufacturer Senva

Italian refrigeration controls and humidification company Carel is to acquire the US sensor manufacturer Senva Inc.

Founded in 2007 and based in Beaverton, Oregon, Senva specialises in the design and production of a wide range of sensors, chiefly in the air conditioning and ventilation sectors, and with a specific line dedicated to indoor air quality launched in 2021.

The company has a production facility of about 2,500m2 and is in the process of expanding to a new 3,250m2 facility with a new research laboratory. — Read more via Cooling Post

Friday – 09/09/2022

Biden to talk up US manufacturing at groundbreaking for Intel plant in Ohio

President Joe Biden looks poised to talk up his efforts to boost domestic manufacturing on Friday, as he delivers remarks at a groundbreaking ceremony in Ohio for Intel’s new $20bn semiconductor plant.

The chip company committed funding for the facility “in anticipation of the passage of the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Thursday, referring to a $280bn bill that Biden pushed for and then signed into law last month. — Read more via Market Watch

Magna mulls US plant – could Fisker Ocean and Jaguar I-Pace soon qualify for federal tax credits?

Magna Steyr – an Austrian-based contract manufacturer owned by Magna International – recently shared aspirations to enter the US market and produce vehicles in a climate-friendly facility in North America. The facility overseas currently manufactures the Jaguar I-Pace and will begin production of the Fisker Ocean in November. Based on revised terms for US federal tax credits, could a move by Magna happen?

Canadian company Magna International is the largest contract manufacturer in North America and the fourth largest on the planet. The company has produced nearly four million vehicles for ten different OEM customers, including Ford, Rivian, and GM. This fall, Magna’s Steyr plant is scheduled to begin production of Fisker Inc.’s flagship EV, the Ocean. — Read more via electrek

Samsung begins operation of mega chip manufacturing line in South Korea

Samsung Electronics has begun operation of a new advanced, massive chip manufacturing line in South Korea.

The new production line (P3) in Pyeongtaek, the largest chip manufacturing facility ever built to date by Samsung, has started production of state-of-the art NAND flash since July. — Read more via Business Standard

Orca Bio, hunting cell therapy’s production white whale, tees up new commercial plant

With manufacturing a major hang-up for cell therapies, late-stage player Orca Bio is also looking beyond the clinic.

Orca, focused on development of precision cell therapies for cancer, genetic blood disorders and autoimmune diseases, has drafted plans to build a new, 100,000-square-foot commercial facility in Sacramento, California.

The plant will be used to tackle late-stage development of Orca’s pod of cell therapy prospects including Orca-T, the company’s most advanced allogeneic candidate, which is in phase 3 testing in a trio of blood cancers. — Read more via Fierce Pharma

NSF announces $10m partnership with Intel to train semiconductor manufacturing workforce

The US National Science Foundation yesterday announced a new program with Intel Corporation to educate and train the nation’s semiconductor manufacturing workforce and advance opportunities for equitable science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. Following the historic passage of the “CHIPS and Science Act,” Intel and NSF will invest $10 million to provide funding to support the development of a high-quality manufacturing workforce at all levels of production and innovation as described in a new Dear Colleague Letter, or DCL. — Read more via HPC



Thursday – 09/08/2022

Magna to manufacture thousands of Cartken’s fully autonomous delivery robots in the US

Global contract manufacturer Magna International has agreed to produce and scale a fleet of autonomous delivery robots for silicon valley-based robotics company Cartken. The robots are being built at a Magna facility in Michigan and will soon offer autonomous last-mile deliveries to businesses around the world. — Read more via electrek

US bars ‘advanced tech’ firms from building China factories for 10 years

US tech companies that receive federal funding will be barred from building “advanced technology” facilities in China for 10 years, the Biden administration has said.

The guidelines were unveiled as part of a $50bn (£43bn) plan aimed at building up the local semiconductor industry.

It comes as business groups have pushed for more government support in an effort to reduce reliance on China. — Read more via BBC News

The Limestone Boat Company to expand its US manufacturing footprint

The Limestone Boat Company – owner of TN Composites and builder of Aquasport Boats, Limestone® Boats and Boca Bay Boats – has announced expansion plans for its Tennessee manufacturing facility that will significantly increase the Company’s production capacity and create more than 130 new full-time jobs. — Read more via Edmonton Journal

Wednesday – 09/07/2022

Biden Administration Releases Plan for $50bn Investment in Chips

The Department of Commerce on Tuesday unveiled its plan for dispensing $50 billion aimed at building up the domestic semiconductor industry and countering China, in what is expected to be the biggest U.S. government effort in decades to shape a strategic industry.

About $28bn of the so-called CHIPS for America Fund is expected to go toward grants and loans to help build facilities for making, assembling and packaging some of the world’s more advanced chips.

Another $10bn will be devoted to expanding manufacturing for older generations of technology used in cars and communications technology, as well as specialty technologies and other industry suppliers, while $11bn will go toward research and development initiatives related to the industry. — Read more via The New York Times

KeyPlants sets up operation in the US and chooses former Merck Director to lead

KeyPlants, a supplier of modular solutions for the life science industry, has now expanded its global footprint.

The company has made the addition of a US-based KeyPlants organisation and a strategic partner to manufacture KeyPlants PODs and modular facilities for the US and Canadian markets. It will be headed by former Merck Director Andrew Dell. — Read more via Cleanroom Technology

Bridgestone expands plant to meet demand for smart truck tires

In order to keep up with the demand for more intelligent tires in the trucking industry, Bridgestone Americas is making a substantial investment to expand its plant in Morrison, Tenn.

On Aug. 25, the tire manufacturer announced plans for a $550m, 850,000-square-foot expansion and modernization of its Warren County, Tenn., truck and bus radial tire plant. Bridgestone said a news release the expansion was needed “to support increased capacity and to accelerate the use of advanced technologies that support cleaner, safer and more efficient commercial truck and bus fleets.” — Read more via Land Line

Delta places huge order for sustainable aviation fuel made with 839MW of green hydrogen

American airline Delta is to buy 385 million gallons of green hydrogen-derived sustainable aviation fuel (SAFs), the largest deal of its kind made by a US airline and a major step forward for producers looking to make green biofuels with renewable H2.

Fuel for the deal will be made using a version of the Fischer-Tropsch (FT) process, which chemically pairs carbon monoxide and hydrogen to produce synthetic hydrocarbons.

Supply will come from a new FT plant planned by US producer DG Fuels in Louisiana, furnished with an 839MW electrolyser to supply the hydrogen. Construction on the plant is due to begin in 2023, with first SAF production in the second half of 2026. — Read more via Recharge

Tuesday – 09/06/2022

Zinc8 to manufacture its first zinc-air batteries in US market

Canadian battery developer Zinc8 Energy Solutions has announced plans to begin battery production in the United States, incentivized by manufacturing production credits in the US Inflation Reduction Act.

Zinc8 Energy Solutions has announced that its inaugural commercial production facility will be built in Ulster County, New York. Based upon comprehensive analysis done by the company, the recently announced US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) manufacturing production credits provide distinct and direct benefits to Zinc8, influencing its production plans in the United States. — Read more via pv magazine

Kordsa adding tire cord capacity at US plant

Turkish reinforcement materials supplier Kordsa Inc is progressing its growth with a $20 million (€20 million) investment at its production facility in the US.

In a statement 2 Sept, Kordsa said the project will boost its tire cord production capacity in North America as demand continues to the region.

As part of the investment, the manufacturer will add a new dipping line at its facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with the capacity to produce 19 kilotonnes per annum of tire cord fabric. — Read more via European Rubber Journal

More people now use iPhones than Android phones in the US

Many consider the iPhone series the only true rival to the best Android phones, and for the first time, Android has lost a big title in the US market. Data reveals that exactly half of all the smartphones in use in the US are iPhones now. It may be a reason for Android OEMs to worry, but the solution could be straightforward. — Read more via Android Police

BYD said to have 700,000 vehicle order backlog

Despite increasing production capacities, the waiting time for BYD customers has not shortened due to the continuously rising order backlog. Currently, the Chinese manufacturer is said to have an unfilled order backlog of 700,000 vehicles.

This was announced by company CEO Wang Chuanfu to local media. The current waiting time for customers who would place an order now is said to be four to five months. — Read more via electrive.com

Monday – 09/05/2022

Current state of IT & OT convergence among manufacturers revealed in new report

Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT) are two fundamental areas of manufacturing. Yet, traditionally, they haven’t always functioned as a unified entity. As a result, a gap often existed between the enterprise and the shop floor.

But as manufacturers further accelerate their digital transformation aspirations, converging IT & OT is a pivotal piece of the puzzle. After all, smarter shop floor machines
produce better data. And better data helps to make machines operate more efficiently. The mutual benefits for enterprise and the shop floor of IT and OT convergence are substantial.

Now, a new report reveals where manufacturers are on their IT & OT convergence journeys. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Hydratech opens facility in the US

Hydratech, a leading UK formulator and manufacturer of glycols, heat transfer fluids and water treatment chemicals, has opened a US production facility in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.

The new factory and offices will enable Hydratech to introduce its products and services to the American RAC, HVAC and renewables markets, as well as developing the company’s existing relationships with the likes of Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Papa John’s and Haribo. — Read more via Cooling Post

With $40m grant, ‘American manufacturing will be reborn in El Paso’

The federal government is awarding a $40m prize to the University of Texas at El Paso and its partners to revitalize the area’s manufacturing sector and strengthen U.S. aerospace and defense industries.

The award, part of the Biden administration’s $1bn Build Back Better Regional Challenge, was announced Friday by President Joe Biden. The funding comes from the American Rescue Plan, an economic recovery and pandemic relief bill passed by Congress in 2021 without Republican support. — Read more via El Paso Matters

Nextracker aims to harness Brazil’s knowledge of utility-scale solar with new R&D facility

Since starting operations in Brazil in 2015, Nextracker’s presence in the country has never stopped increasing, with its latest step being the inauguration of the Brazil Center for Solar Excellence in August.

This is the first research and development (R&D) facility outside North America for the tracker manufacturer and a commitment to the utility-scale industry in the largest Latin American country for solar PV. — Read more via pv magazine

Montgomery to be home of Hyundai’s first U.S. based electric car manufacturing operation

For the very first time, Hyundai will make electric cars in the United States. Montgomery’s Hyundai plant is actually ahead of schedule.

The facility originally planned to begin production next month but Hyundai now says assembly lines will begin manufacturing hybrid models in a matter of days.

And it is happening sooner than expected. Hyundai originally planned to start production of its Hybrid Santa Fe model in October, but now production is expected this month, shifting production from Korea to North America. — Read more via NBC 15

The Manufacturer Podcast: People and products

In episode three of our Leadership Series, we speak to Brompton Bicycle CEO, Will Butler-Adams. He speaks of his time as a leader, the passion that he and the business share for making city living and travel more sustainable and the shake-up needed to promote the “unbelievably cool” careers in manufacturing. Much of this is mentioned in his recent book – The Brompton: Engineering for Change by Will Butler-Adams and Dan Davies (Profile Books)

And on a trip down to Poole, where the editorial team met three manufacturers, we get the thoughts of Jason Muller – Global Manufacturing Director at Lush. Lush has a completely manual manufacturing process to making its various products – Jason explains why in his interview. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Friday – 09/02/2022

Micron to invest $15bn in new US manufacturing unit

Micron Technology Inc (MU.O) will invest about $15bn over the next 10 years in a new memory-chip manufacturing facility in Boise, Idaho, where it is based, the company said on Thursday.

The investment takes into account anticipated federal grants and credits under the CHIPS and Science Act and will create 17,000 jobs by the end of the decade. — Read more via Reuters

Job growth, investments in manufacturing sector tied to White House economic plan, Biden says

President Joe Biden Thursday praised progress made in the manufacturing sector weeks after the passage of the Chips and Science Act, which invested billions of dollars in domestic semiconductor manufacturing.

The president’s remarks came after Idaho-based microchip manufacturer Micron announced plans Thursday to invest approximately $15 billion over the next decade in a new memory manufacturing facility in Boise.

The lab, which is the first of its kind built in America in over 20 years, is projected to create 17,000 new American jobs by the end of 2032, according to the company. — Read more via CNBC

US manufacturing sector holds steady in August

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector grew in August, with the overall economy achieving a 27th consecutive month of growth, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®. — Read more via ISM

Philips subsidiary to pay over $24m for alleged false claims caused by Respironics for respiratory-related medical equipment

Philips RS North America LLC, formerly known as Respironics Inc., a manufacturer of durable medical equipment (DME) based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has agreed to pay over $24m to resolve False Claims Act allegations that it misled federal health care programs by paying kickbacks to DME suppliers. The affected programs were Medicare, Medicaid and TRICARE, which is the health care program for active military and their families.

The settlement resolves allegations that Respironics caused DME suppliers to submit claims for ventilators, oxygen concentrators, CPAP and BiPAP machines, and other respiratory-related medical equipment that were false because Respironics provided illegal inducements to the DME suppliers. Respironics allegedly gave the DME suppliers physician prescribing data free of charge that could assist their marketing efforts to physicians. — Read more via Department of Justice

Thursday – 09/01/2022

Asia’s factory activity slumps on China’s COVID curbs, US slowdown

Asia’s factory activity slumped in August as China’s zero COVID curbs and cost pressures continued to hurt businesses, surveys showed on Thursday, darkening the outlook for the region’s fragile economic recovery.

Manufacturing activity was weak in countries ranging from Japan, China, South Korea to Taiwan in a sign sluggish demand was adding to headaches for companies already suffering from lingering supply constraints. — Read more via Reuters

Sungrow mulling new inverter factory in North America

Ada Li, head of Latin America at Sungrow, told pv magazine that the Chinese inverter manufacturer is “seriously” considering the possibility of opening a new factory in North America.

It is considering the continent as a potential production location due to the attractive tax credits for solar in the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act, as well as physical proximity to its medium-voltage (MV) power stations. Such a factory would assemble inverters, with parts imported from China. — Read more via pv magazine

US government provides funds to boost continuous bioprocessing

Despite continuous bioprocessing being talked about as the future of manufacturing in biologics for years, this has not become reality. However, in recent years, the US government has begun to dedicate funds to intensify the production of biologics. — Read more via BioPharma-Reporter.com

US battery manufacturer enters Australia through 1.7 GWh deal with BlackRock’s Akaysha

US battery company Powin has agreed to deploy 1.7 GWh of energy storage systems in Australia over the next two years after entering a partnership with Victorian developer Akaysha Energy. The news tops a big month for Akaysha which was acquired by US giant BlackRock two weeks ago. — Read more via pv magazine Australia

Wednesday – 08/31/2022

Corning building new factory in response to broadband internet boom

Corning said Tuesday it will build a new manufacturing facility outside Phoenix in response to a spike in demand for fiber-optic cable as the US government ramps up a $42.5bn internet funding program.

Corning said the new facility brings investments in fiber and cable manufacturing to more than $500m since 2020 and will help to double its capacity to serve the North American market. — Read more via Axios

US Chief of Space Operations visits British rocket company Skyrora to strengthen UK-US space relations

Last week, the first Chief of Space Operations for the United States, General John W. “Jay” Raymond, toured the facilities of Skyrora as US interest grows in the British rocket company.

The landmark visit will bolster the key space relationship between the UK and US ahead of Skyrora’s plans to be the first UK company to complete a vertical launch from home soil in 2023. — Read more via The Manufacturer

First Solar will build its fourth US solar panel factory in the Southeast

First Solar is expanding its manufacturing operations in the United States outside of Ohio. The thin-film solar panel manufacturer today announced it will invest up to $1.2 billion for its fourth domestic factory in the Southeast. A specific location has not yet been announced, but First Solar said the site will have an annual capacity of 3.5 GW and should open by end of 2025. — Read more via Solar Power World

Innovative packer and logging tools win US DOE Geothermal Manufacturing Prize

Two teams from Houston, Texas were selected as the winners of the Geothermal Manufacturing Prize by the USDepartment of Energy (DOE) Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO). Each winning team was awarded USD 500,000 in cash and up to USD 200,000 for field testing of their innovations. — Read more via Think Geoenergy

Tuesday – 08/30/2022

Honda Motor, LG Energy to build $4.4bn US EV battery plant

Japan’s Honda Motor Co will build a new $4.4bn lithium-ion battery plant for electric vehicles in the United States with Korean battery supplier LG Energy Solution Ltd, the two companies said on Monday.

Battery makers are looking to increase production in the U.S. where a shift toward electric vehicles (EV) could increase as the country implements stricter regulation and tightens tax credit eligibility. — Read more via Reuters

Hankook Tire & Technology Co., Ltd to expand manufacturing operations in Montgomery County

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Stuart McWhorter and Hankook Tire & Technology Co., Ltd officials announced today the company will invest $612m in its third major manufacturing expansion since breaking ground on the company’s state-of-the-art Clarksville facility in 2014.

Located off International Boulevard, Hankook Tire will create 397 new jobs in Montgomery County over the next five years. — Read more via TN Department of Economic & Community Development

Accenture completes acquisition of Eclipse Automation

Accenture has completed its acquisition of Eclipse Automation, a provider of customized manufacturing automation and robotics solutions headquartered in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada.

Terms of the transaction, which Accenture announced on July 21, 2022, were not disclosed. — Read more via Silicon

A brighter future for Made in America

US manufacturing may be poised for an overhaul and a rebound, with a potentially significant impact on the nation’s overall economy. In the United States, manufacturing accounts for $2.3tn in GDP, employs 12 million people, and supports hundreds of local economies.

Although that represents just 11 percent of US GDP and 8 percent of direct employment, the sector makes a disproportionate economic contribution, including 20 percent of the nation’s capital investment, 35 percent of productivity growth, 60 percent of exports, and 70 percent of business R&D spending. — Read more via McKinsey

Defense Department launches innovative manufacturing pilot program

The Department of Defense’s Industrial Base Policy Office has launched a pioneering manufacturing pilot program, through the Defense Production Act (DPA) Title III Program, with the Austin Center for Manufacturing and Innovation (ACMI) in Austin, Texas. The first-of-its-kind pilot program will focus on advanced manufacturing technology for commercial and military applications that can be rapidly scaled to production. The methodology can then be replicated in other critical technology areas. — Read more via Department of Defense

Friday – 08/26/2022

Korean EV battery supplier to bring 93 high-wage jobs to Elizabethtown

A South Korea-based technology firm is the third battery industry supplier to announce plans to set up shop in Kentucky near two major electric vehicle battery plants.

Advanced Nano Products’ U.S. subsidiary, ANP USA Inc., will spend nearly $50 million on a 50,000-square-foot facility on 22.6 acres on North Black Branch Road in Elizabethtown, Gov. Andy Beshear’s office said Thursday.

Beshear said it’s an example of many future economic spinoff effects from the two major battery factories planned by Ford-SK Innovation and by Envision AESC. — Read more via wdrb.com

SPI Energy to start manufacturing solar wafers in the US

PV project developer and EPC firm SPI Energy has signed a letter of intent to secure 1.5GW of solar wafer manufacturing equipment for a US production facility.

The company targets the production and delivery of solar wafers in the US by 2023, while it has planned to further increase its solar wafer capacity to 3GW by 2024.

The announcement comes days after US President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) into law which will include solar manufacturing tax credits for wafers, with manufacturers receiving US$12 per square metre. — Read more via PV Tech

With plans to grow US manufacturing, university institute to offer free machine training

The Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) of Marshall University revealed plans to grow U.S. manufacturing by offering free training for individuals in Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky.

Residents who are high school-age and older in the tri-state region will receive complimentary training in computerized machining and machine tool training. Experience is not required. Similar training locations are based at Texas A&M University, the University of Tennessee, and North Carolina AT&T State University. The service features online instruction and optional hands-on machine training delivered by RCBI-trained instructors at an RCBI Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center.

Additionally, RCBI said it would buy CNC machining equipment for its training centers in South Charleston and Huntington, West Virginia. — Read more via Thomasnet

Intelbras earmarks around US$60m for plant expansion, 5G investments

Brazilian electronics equipment manufacturer Intelbras is investing close to 300mn reais (US$59m) in the expansion of its manufacturing park and in a new line of equipment for indoor 5G usage, Amilcar Scheffer, Intelbras’ head of networks, told BNamericas.

Of the total, 200mn reais are going to the expansion of existing plants and to the opening of a new factory, Scheffer said. This amount comprises investments for the 2021-22 period.

Intelbras’ current production units are in Santa Rita do Sapucaí, Minas Gerais state, which is focused on alarms and intrusion systems; in São José, Santa Catarina, focused on networks and communications; and in Manaus, Amazonas, focused on audio and video equipment. — Read more via BNamericas

Maersk container manufacturing sale to CIMC abandoned on US objections

AP Moller – Maersk has abandoned its sale of reefer container manufacturing unit MCI to China International Marine Container (CIMC) after objections from US regulators.

In September last year the Danish company agreed to sell Maersk Container Industry (MCI) to Chinese manufacturer CIMC for $987.3m. The deal was subject to regulatory approvals in a number of jurisdictions including the US.

The US Department of Justice said the proposed sale would have combined two of the world’s four largest manufacturers of insulated and reefer containers and put over 90% of the production of these type of boxes in the hands of Chinese manufacturers. — Read more via Seatrade Maritime News

Thursday – 08/25/2022

Rise in US business equipment spending allays recession fears

New orders for U.S.-manufactured capital goods increased in July, but the pace slowed from the prior month, suggesting a moderate rebound in business spending this quarter.

The report from the Commerce Department on Wednesday also showed solid gains in shipments of these goods. While part of the rise was because businesses are spending more due to higher prices, the data was another sign that the economy continues to grow at a slow pace and was not in recession. — Read more via Reuters

Tritium completes US EV charger factory in record time

Tritium, the Australian manufacturer of DC fast charging equipment, held a press conference with President Biden last February to announce the start of construction for a new factory in Tennessee. On August 23, it announced the opening of that factory, which will have 6 production lines and employ 500 people. The facility will be able to manufacture up to 30,000 DC fast chargers a year when it reaches full production. — Read more via Clean Technica

EV manufacturer BYD to drive in maiden e-SUV in India by end of year

The Warren Buffet-backed Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer BYD will be unveiling a Born Electric SUV for the Indian market by the fourth quarter of the current calendar year.

The deliveries of the same would begin in January, the company’s top official said. This will be the first Born Electric SUV in the mass market. The Born Electric models from Tata Motors and Mahindra and Mahindra would be launched from 2024. — Read more via Business Standard

Boeing and Northrop Grumman have AM Forward with other industry leaders

The AM Forward initiative was announced just in May but already a number of leading players in the American manufacturing sector have pledged to it. Most recently, Boeing and Northrop Grumman have announced that they will also be taking part, joining GE Aviation, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon Technologies and Siemens Energy. These seven leading American manufacturers, and early adopters of additive manufacturing, have committed themselves to helping smaller U.S. based suppliers to increase their use of AM. The goal is to help American manufacturing not only make a comeback but also to improve global competitiveness, transform shop floors across the country and bolster supply chains. — Read more via 3D Natives

Fluence’s new Utah manufacturing facility part of regionalisation drive; Europe site planned for 2024

Fluence’s new Utah facility is part of a wider move by the company to regionalise its manufacturing closer to customer markets across the globe, the company has told Energy-Storage.news.

Peter Silveira, senior director of manufacturing for Fluence, explained that its new contracted manufacturing facility in Utah, US, will be a ‘value-add’ facility for BESS modules en route to US customers.

That means that its existing contracted manufacturing facility in Vietnam will continue to produce the base, modular 6th generation Cube units – the building block of all Fluence’s energy storage solutions – which will then be sent to the US site for customisation and configuration in line with the customer’s needs. — Read more via Energy Storage News

Wednesday – 08/24/2022

Hyundai to accelerate schedule for US plant

Hyundai is apparently considering accelerating the construction of its electric car plant in the US state of Georgia – instead of 2023, the first excavators are to roll this year. The background to the considerations is the new electric car subsidy in the USA.

The new regulations signed by US President Joe Biden stipulate that electric cars built outside North America are excluded from tax incentives. Hyundai currently only builds its E-GMP models such as the Ioniq 5 or the Ioniq 6 in South Korea – so buyers of these vehicles would miss out in the US.

Construction of the US plant in Georgia, announced in May, with an annual capacity of 300,000 electric cars, was originally scheduled to begin in early 2023, with a view to starting production in the first half of 2025. — Read more via electrive.com

Apple to manufacture iPhone 14 in India: Report

Apple Inc. plans to begin manufacturing the iPhone 14 in India about two months after the product’s initial release out of China, narrowing the gap between the two countries but not closing it completely as some had anticipated.

The company has been working with suppliers to ramp up manufacturing in India and shorten the lag in production of the new iPhone from the typical six to nine months for previous launches, according to people familiar with the matter. Apple, which long made most of its iPhones in China, is seeking alternatives as Xi Jinping’s administration clashes with the US government and imposes lockdowns across the country that have disrupted economic activity. — Read more via Al Jazeera

Tritium (DCFC) cuts ribbon on its first DC Fast Charger manufacturing facility in the United States

Direct current fast charger manufacturer Tritium has officially opened the doors of its new EV charger manufacturing facility in Lebanon, Tennessee – its first production footprint in the United States. With it, Tritium intends to bring over 500 new jobs to the state.

Tritium ($DCFC) is a global manufacturer of hardware and software for DC fast chargers (DCFCs) founded in 2001, operating out of offices in the US and Europe. — Read more via electrek

US private sector activity contracts again in August, survey shows

US private-sector business activity contracted for a second straight month in August to its weakest in 27 months with particular softness registered in the services sector as demand weakened in the face of inflation and tighter financial conditions.

The S&P Global flash composite purchasing managers index (PMI) for August dropped to 45 this month – the lowest since May 2020 – from a final reading of 47.7 in July. A reading below 50 indicates a contraction in activity. — Read more via Reuters

VW and Mercedes-Benz ink agreements with Canada for raw materials vital to US battery manufacturing

Following last week’s signing of the Inflation Reduction Act in the US, German legacy automakers Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz have sealed agreements with the Canadian government to acquire raw materials for EV battery manufacturing at their US facilities. This move could help EVs from both automakers qualify for US tax credits under the revised terms of the recently signed bill. — Read more via electrek

Tuesday – 08/23/2022

Ford cuts 3,000 jobs as it pivots to EVs, software

Ford Motor Co(F.N) said it will cut a total of 3,000 salaried and contract jobs, mostly in North America and India, as it restructures to catch up with Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) in the race to develop software-driven electric vehicles.

Ford Chief Executive Jim Farley has been saying for months that he believed the Dearborn, Mich. automaker had too many people, and that not enough of its workforce had the skills required as the auto industry shifts to electric vehicles and digital services. — Read more via Reuters

Thermo Fisher kicks off production at giant plant in Tennessee, where it plans to hire more than 1,000

As part of its recent expansion surge, Thermo Fisher has identified single-use technology (SUT) manufacturing as an important area of focus.

On Monday, when the Massachusetts-based manufacturer opened a $105m plant in Lebanon, Tennessee, it became the company’s largest SUT site in its growing network. Employing SUT allows a manufacturer to move away from equipment that must be sterilized or consumables that are recycled or pose a risk with their transfer into cleanrooms. Thermo Fisher also has a new SUT site in Singapore. — Read more via Fierce Pharma

Dow to become first manufacturer to use SMRs in US

As Europe re-evaluates nuclear power in the face of a looming energy crisis, new nuclear technologies like small modular reactors (SMRs) may prove an option for generating low-carbon energy in the manufacturing sector. That vision is taking hold in the United States, where chemical giant Dow has announced plans to deploy SMR units to power one of its Gulf Coast facilities by 2030.

Dow will partner with X-energy, based in Rockville, Maryland, to install its Xe-100 systems at the site. The Xe-100 is a high-temperature gas reactor designed to work as a single 80-megawatt (MW) electric unit, but also in a configuration of four units to build a “power plant” that delivers 320 MW of electricity. In the industrial setting, each unit delivers 200 MW in thermal output for high-pressure steam generation. — Read more via Sustainability Times

Congressman William Timmons tours Spartanburg County steel manufacturer

US Rep. William Timmons was in Spartanburg County Monday.

He met with area business leaders in the morning and toured Spartanburg Steel Products in the afternoon.

Timmons is running for re-election this November.

A little more than a week ago, the State Election Commission ruled he will not face a Democrat on the ballot.

Spartanburg Steel Products employs about 400 people. Timmons said he is committed to doing what he can to help the business and others like it succeed. — Read more via WYFF4

Monday – 08/22/2022

Fisker considers US ocean production amid shakeup in EV tax credit

Fisker Inc., a Los Angeles-based electric vehicle startup planning to deliver European-built SUVs late this year, is looking into adding a U.S. production site for its Ocean model now that changes to federal EV tax credits given to carbuyers favor those assembled at domestic plants.

Fisker’s Ocean SUV is expected to go into production in November at a plant in Graz, Austria, operated by auto parts and engineering giant Magna that can supply 50,000 of the units annually. But with reservations for the model now exceeding 58,000 units before deliveries have begun Fisker says it may also need a U.S. production base for future demand. — Read more via Forbes

The Manufacturer Podcast – How do the leaders see things?

In the latest episode of The Manufacturer Podcast, join the editorial team for a panel discussion of leaders, a European site visit and a new category at our TMMX Awards. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Wockhardt shuts down Illinois plant, to sell in the US through manufacturing partners

Drugmaker Wockhardt is closing its manufacturing facility in Illinois and will continue its business in the United States through contract manufacturing alliances for its products sold in North America, the drugmaker said.

The management has initiated various cost optimisation measures, including restructuring its US business model, and closing the facility, the company said in a regulatory filing. All staff directly engaged by the subsidiary at the manufacturing plant are being relieved in a phased manner and in full compliance with the applicable local laws, it added. — Read more via The Hindu Business Line

Southeast Mich. important in plane manufacturing, US defense, state leaders say

Defense and state leaders stressed the importance of southeast Michigan manufacturing companies at an event Friday in Macomb County highlighting the region’s role in manufacturing F-35 fighter planes.

Michigan has about 600 aerospace-related companies and employs more industrial designers than any other state, according to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. — Read more via The Detroit News

A Manitoba company manufactures most of North America’s electric buses — but why is it making them in the US?

Manitoba’s New Flyer Industries is a leading North American zero-emission bus manufacturer, but are Canadian government policies and Buy America rules pushing much of their business and jobs to the American market? — Read more via The Narwhal

Friday – 08/19/2022

DARPA seeks proposals to forge the future of US microelectronics manufacturing

Amid ongoing shortages in integral semiconductor chips, new US initiatives are necessary to fortify access and restore the supply chains underpinning modern communications, travel, national security, and manufacturing. However, longer-term solutions require research, development, and innovative breakthroughs that will transform future technological performance and scalability.

That next major wave in microelectronics manufacturing will require the heterogeneous integration of disparate materials and components, enabled by advanced packaging that leverages all three dimensions.

DARPA’s Next-Generation Microelectronics Manufacturing (NGMM) aims to create a novel, US-based center for R&D and manufacturing 3DHI microsystems. Currently the United States lacks the financial backing, physical facilities, and organizational support for a national hub for public-private research, development, and engagement in 3DHI. Aligning these critical pieces through a centralized, open-access capability is essential to the next major wave of microelectronics innovation. — Read more via DARPA

UK Business Secretary blocks takeover of Pulsic by Hong Kong rival over security concerns

The UK has blocked the takeover of an electronic design company by a Hong Kong rival over national security concerns, in the latest sign of growing British anxiety about Chinese investment.

The business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, took the decision to prevent Super Orange HK from acquiring Bristol-based Pulsic, saying it was “necessary and proportionate to mitigate the risk to national security”.

It comes under the new National Security and Investment Act, which was introduced at the start of the year. — Read more via The Guardian

Swiss solar panel maker eyes 5GW US bonanza as new climate law offers ‘significant support’

Swiss solar equipment maker and panel manufacturer Meyer Burger has signed a binding agreement with developer D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments (DESRI) to supply at least 3.75GW of solar modules for large-scale solar projects in the US.

The panels are planned to be manufactured at the company’s factory in Goodyear, Arizona, with delivery foreseen between 2024 and 2029.

DESRI has the right to increase the volume to 5GW, as well as to extend the contract beyond the 5-year period. — Read more via Recharge

South America on a path towards sustainable denim manufacturing

Denim manufacturers in South America — the largest supplier of denim items to the Americas — are investing insustainable technologies. Peru-based company Nuevo Mundo is leading the way. The denim manufacturer will be the first South America-based manufacturer to abandon the chemical production of liquid indigo as it turns itself toward a sustainable technology. — Read more via Textile World

Thursday – 08/18/2022

Boeing, Northrop to join White House-backed advanced manufacturing program

Boeing Co and Northrop Grumman (NOC.N) are joining a White House-backed compact to help smaller U.S.-based suppliers increase the use of 3D printing and other advanced manufacturing technologies.

The voluntary program, unveiled by President Joe Biden in May, seeks to boost suppliers’ use of additive manufacturing (AM).

Driven by 3D printing, the technology allows complex shapes to be built in layers from particles of plastic or metal. The Biden administration views it as an innovation that will enable U.S. manufacturers to flourish and create jobs. — Read more via Reuters

Four Louisiana manufacturing projects create $268m+ in investment

The state of Louisiana is set to benefit from over $268m of investment from four separate manufacturing companies: Cargill, CF Industries, BASF and Calucem.

The projects will create, retain more than 350 jobs throughout the state. — Read more via Business Facilities

Inflation Reduction Act prompts Turkish company to increase US gigafactory output to 3GWh

Turkish group Kontrolmatik Technologies has increased the output of its planned energy storage-focused gigafactory in the US by 50%, thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which Joe Biden signed into law yesterday.

The company announced plans earlier in 2022 to build a lithium-ion battery factory in the US specifically for the utility and industrial-scale stationary energy storage sectors, with 280-305 Ah range lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries.

It expects to pick a site within a month and for the facility to start production in 2024, according to an announcement authored by Kontrolmatic’s USA CEO Bahadir Yekti who cited the passing of the IRA yesterday as a major factor in the decision to increase its planned capacity from 2GWh to 3GWh. — Read more via Energy Storage News

The USA approves virtually all tech sales to China

The Department of Commerce approved almost all tech sales to China in 2021.
Diplomatic relations between the U.S. and China are deteriorating. The U.S. has also stated that China’s rising technological competition is a top security threat. Despite those views, however, the U.S. has just approved almost all tech sales to China.

On the other side, the U.S. imports numerous consumer electronics sold over the Pacific.

The biggest point of contention is the sale of semiconductors, including semiconductor manufacturing equipment. The list also includes A.I. technology and aerospace components, which can advance the unallied country’s military sector. — Read more via TechGenix

Opioid manufacturer agrees to $450m settlement

Endo International has agreed to provide up to $450m to states participating in a lawsuit against the opioid maker for its role in the opioid crisis.

The agreement, which has yet to be approved by the court, also includes banning the promotion of Endo’s opioids and requires Endo to release millions of documents detailing its role in the opioid crisis. Those documents will be published in a public online archive.

A multi-state lawsuit, including all six New England states, alleged that Endo boosted opioid sales by downplaying the risk of addiction and overplaying the benefits. — Read more via CBS News

Wednesday – 08/17/2022

US manufacturing production accelerates in July

Production at US factories increased more than expected in July as output rose at motor vehicle plants and elsewhere, pointing to underlying strength in manufacturing despite ebbing business confidence.

Manufacturing output rebounded 0.7% last month after declining 0.4% in June, the Federal Reserve said on Tuesday. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast factory production would rise 0.2%. Output increased 3.2% compared to July 2021. — Read more via Reuters

The Manufacturer MX Awards 2022 finalists announced

Over 40 of Britain’s top manufacturing companies have made it through to the finals of the UK’s largest and most rigorous industry awards programme. Delivered by The Manufacturer in partnership with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), The Manufacturer MX Awards (TMMX Awards) exist to encourage, benchmark, and celebrate manufacturing excellence, with every stage of the programme providing value for participants, whatever their excellence maturity. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Skilcraft expands US operations, invests $8.4m

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear last week announced Skilcraft’s expansion in Hebron. The $8.4m investment will create 14 news jobs.

The project will see Skilcraft’s current operation in Boone County expand by more than 22,000 square feet, bringing the plant to more than 54,000 square feet.

The additional space will help increase production capacity and make room for new equipment that will support production of fabricated parts and metal components for the aerospace industry. — Read more via manufacturing.net

Canadian hydrogen fuel cell manufacturer to open new UK facility

Canadian engineering firm Loop Energy will open its first UK facility later this month to supply hydrogen fuel cells to the commercial vehicle sector, beginning with FCEV lorry manufacturer Tevva Motors.

The new facility in Grays, Essex, will initially hire a small number of people in roles including customer service, inventory management and production support. The team will eventually number in the tens, scaling to meet customer demand. — Read more via Autocar

UK set to host rare earths processing hub in push for cleantech security

The UK is set to host a new $195m rare earth processing hub that Pensana is building at the Saltend chemicals park on Humberside. It will become one of only three such facilities operating outside of China and comes as the UK has launched a new strategy to shore up supplies of the critical materials needed for the energy transition.

The facility is set to begin operations in 2023, and when it reaches full capacity in 2024 will produce 12,500 t/y of separated rare earths including around 5,000 t of neodymium and praseodymium oxides. These are essential components of the magnets used in electric vehicle motors and wind turbine generators. — Read more via The Chemical Engineer


Tuesday – 08/16/2022

US announces export ban on advanced semiconductor manufacturing tech

The United States has banned the export of four key semiconductor manufacturing technologies that it says are “vital to national security.”

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security said Friday that the new rule, enacted today, bans the export of two “ultrawide bandgap” semiconductor materials, plus some types of electronic computer-aided design and pressure gain combustion technology.

More specifically, BIS said the export of semiconductor materials gallium oxide and diamond will be subject to renewed controls, as they can operate under more extreme temperature ranges and voltage conditions. These capabilities make it more likely the materials could be used in the design of weapons systems. — Read more via Silicon Angle

US House of Representatives passes $369bn Inflation Reduction Act, Biden expected to sign into law imminently

The US House of Representatives on Friday passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The largest climate package in US history will now move to the desk of President Joe Biden, where it is expected to be signed into law as early as today.

Containing $369bn in energy security and climate change programmes over the next 10 years, the IRA passed in a party-line vote of 220 to 207 in the Democrat controlled House. — Read more via PV Tech

Uncle Sam picks 3D printing to boost US manufacturing

Uncle Sam has had it with sending American innovation overseas, and he’s erecting a blockade of 3D printers.

With his recently introduced Additive Manufacturing Forward program, President Joe Biden wants to make it possible for more small and medium-size enterprises, otherwise known as machine shops, to adopt the high-tech AM method. Some of the country’s most prominent OEMs have signed on to the plan, which also leverages existing federal programs. — Read more via sme

Solar giant Hanwha weighs US expansion with massive new facility

Hanwha Q Cells — one of the few solar-panel makers with US production — is considering sites for a massive new facility as the country prepares to incentivize cleantech manufacturing.

The company is evaluating sites in Georgia, South Carolina and Texas, according to documents filed in Texas. The potential project in Dallas County, Texas, would feature a suite of manufacturing — panels, ingots, wafers and cells. Korea-based Hanwha Solutions is the manufacturer’s parent company. — Read more via Bloomberg

Monday – 08/15/2022

EV startup Fisker explores higher production in 2023, US manufacturing

Electric-vehicle startup Fisker Inc (FSR.N) said on Friday it was exploring options to manufacture in the United States in 2024 and was considering ramping up production of its first vehicle, the Ocean SUV, in the second half of 2023.

US manufacturing would make certain vehicle models eligible for a tax credit under the Inflation Reduction Act, a $430 billion bill focused on lowering healthcare costs, promoting clean energy and increasing corporate taxes. — Read more via Reuters

Why Biden’s plan to boost semiconductor chip manufacturing in the US is so critical

If you take stock of all the high-tech gadgets around you right now, including the device you’re currently using to read this article, you’ll find that they all need semiconductor chips to function.

And most of these chips are not made in the US

The Biden administration wants to change that, with the president signing the CHIPS and Science Act into law this week. It will allocate more than $50bn to bring semiconductor chip manufacturing to the US and away from its current production hub in East Asia. — Read more via NPR

Automakers scramble to decode new US EV tax credits

US automakers and dealers are scrambling to figure out if they can still offer $7,500 tax credits to would-be buyers of electric vehicles (EVs), as Congress prepares for final votes today on a bill that includes a top-to-bottom overhaul of Washington’s clean vehicle policies.

Under the $430bn climate, health care and tax bill that the House of Representatives is set to vote on Friday, rules governing the current $7,500 EV tax credit aimed at persuading consumers to buy the vehicles would be replaced by incentives designed to bring more battery and EV manufacturing into the United States. — Read more via Reuters

Vergent Products signs deal with Indian manufacturer to share potential clients

Vergent Products Inc. of Loveland has signed a global strategic partnership with a large contract manufacturer in India.

Vergent and Napino Digital Solutions, based in Gurgaon, Haryana, India but with production facilities across India, have agreed to share customers as clients’ needs require. — Read more via Loveland Reporter-Herald

Friday – 08/12/2022

Less than 2 years after Charlotte expansion, UK manufacturer details US layoff plans

UK Electric vehicle maker Arrival is laying off several dozen workers in Charlotte, North Carolina. The layoffs are part of company-wide restructuring, Arrival spokeswoman Rana Khatun told The Charlotte Observer in a statement Thursday.

Layoffs are for 35 people, Khatun said, bringing the total number of Arrival employees in the city down to 60. Khatun did not specify when the layoffs would take effect in Charlotte. — Read more via aem.org

AEM advocates for historic investment US manufacturing competitiveness

After a months-long bipartisan, bicameral negotiation process, Congress took the first step to enhance U.S. innovation leadership and global competitiveness by passing the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022. This bipartisan bill includes $54.2 billion in total appropriations for domestic semiconductor fabrication, assembly, research and development, and includes funds specifically designated for public wireless improvements and workforce development.

As a top priority for the U.S. equipment manufacturing industry, AEM, in coordination with the White House and a small group of selected industry groups, enacted a comprehensive advocacy campaign to obtain strong bicameral and bipartisan support for this critical investment, helping end long term semiconductor shortages and supply chain disruptions impacting domestic equipment manufacturing.

Nel to double electrolyser manufacturing capacity to 1GW on green hydrogen tailwinds in US and Europe

Electrolyser manufacturer Nel is to spend €35m ($36.2m) to double the capacity of its alkaline electrolyser factory in Herøya, Norway, to 1GW, on the back of rising demand for green hydrogen production equipment and favourable political winds that extend beyond Europe to the US, Nel’s CEO Håkon Volldal told investors this morning.

In fact, the North American market will be increasingly important to Nel in the wake of the US Inflation Reduction Act and its hydrogen tax credits, and the company is now looking to expand its operations there, Volldal said. — Read more via Recharge News

Female-led clothing manufacturer celebrates “truly incredible” milestone

Female-led clothing manufacturer and sourcing company, Aspirado Trading, is celebrating a milestone accomplishment this summer as it marks its 23rd year in the fashion industry.

Founded in Delhi in 1999 by fashion industry veteran Anshuman Gupta, Aspirado Trading has since expanded from India first to the fashion hub of New York and then later to London.

Today, the womenswear and menswear wholesalers has carved out a space as a “premium” wholesale supplier, trusted by a wealth of high street and high-end brands including ASOS, Max Mara, Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, JCPenney, Neiman Marcus and Lord & Taylor. — Read more via Bdaily News

Doncasters invests further in aviation future

As the commercial aircraft market takes off once again, Doncasters has invested $12.9m in two of its facilities, one in the US and one in the UK.

With post-covid orders from commercial airlines higher than predicted, Doncasters is doubling the capacity of its US operations in Connecticut, and more than doubling production in the shell lines at its UK site in Droitwich. This closely follows the announcement of the company’s acquisition of Uni-Pol, which increased its annual revenue to over $500m. — Read more via The Manufacturer

New legislation to increase solar manufacturing in the US

The Senate recently passed Georgia Senator Jon Ossoff’s legislation to boost solar manufacturing in America.

The Solar Energy Manufacturing for America Act is aimed at strengthening American energy independence and reducing dependence of overseas imports, as well as creating more jobs, lowering energy costs, and more. — Read more via Local 3 News

Thursday – 08/11/2022

Bentley to take 103 cars to Monterey, one for each year of its history

Crewe-headquartered Bentley Motors is returning to Monterey Car Week in America with a programme of features across the event that together define the brand’s greatest ever presence on the Monterey peninsula. — Read more via The Manufacturer

Destination IAA = Destination Zero for Cummins

Cummins Inc. will showcase its commitment to decarbonization at the industry’s largest tradeshow in Hannover, Germany this September. Destination Zero™ is the company’s strategy to go further, faster to reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) and air quality impacts of its products and reach net-zero emissions by 2050. — Read more via Cummins

New $26m center will assert American leadership in advanced manufacturing

A large multi-institutional collaboration, including Northwestern University, has received $26m from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to launch a new advanced manufacturing research center.

The NSF grant will fund the new center across five years, with the ability to renew for another $26m for an additional five years. — Read more via Northwestern Now

EV battery plant projects get US Energy Dept. financial boost

Seeking to stimulate domestic electric vehicle production, the U.S. Dept. of Energy is providing hundreds of millions in new loans for US advanced battery component manufacturing plants now being built.

DOE announced in July a $2.5bn conditional loan to a General Motors Corp. joint venture with South Korea’s LG Solutions that now has three large battery cell plants under construction, each about 2.8 million sq. ft. in size and costing from $2.3bn to $2.6bn. DOE said its loan, which could close in two months, would be the first for a battery cell manufacturing project under the agency’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program.

The first plant, in Lordstown, Ohio, is set to begin battery production this month to supply electric vehicles being made at two GM Michigan plants, said the JV, called Ultium Cells LLC. Another facility, in Spring Hill, Tenn., is set to oomplete construction in late 2023 and will serve nearby GM vehicle production. Gresham Smith is the plants’ design firm, with Barton Malow serving as contractor for the Spring Hill facility. — Read more via Engineering News-Record

Wednesday – 08/10/2022

Micron to invest $40bn in US chip manufacturing

Micron announced Tuesday it will invest $40bn between now and 2030 to manufacture chips in the US. The investment is supported by grants and credits from the CHIPS and Science Act, a bipartisan bill that President Joe Biden signed into law Tuesday.

Micron said it will create up to 40,000 jobs in the U.S., including 5,000 highly paid technical and operational roles. The company said the additional capacity will bring the U.S. market share of memory chip production from 2% to 10%. Micron expects to begin production in the second half of the decade. — Read more via CNBC

US accuses China’s largest cable manufacturer of violating export controls

The US on Tuesday brought administrative charges against China’s largest wire and cable manufacturer, saying it had violated US export controls by helping telecommunication company ZTE Corp. deliver restricted technology to Iran.

Far East Cable Co., a company based in China’s Jiangsu province, signed a contract with ZTE in an effort to conceal the telecommunication company’s business with Iran, which relied on US-origin routers and microprocessors, according to a charging letter by a bureau of the US Commerce Department. — Read more via The Wall Street Journal

Cox Marine charts US growth with key appointments

Cox Marine announced two sales appointments in North America as it builds its regional team to drive business growth. Doug Ross was confirmed as Regional Sales Director, North America, to lead Cox Marine’s sales strategy, overseeing all business channels in the country and working closely with the U.S. distributors to stimulate growth.

Based in South Florida, Ross will build and support the strengthened regional sales team, which includes the second new appointment, Regional Sales Manager Chuck Gould. Current Cox Marine sales manager Bruce Woodfin has been confirmed as the new Aftersales Manager, North America, with the final team incorporating both Regional Sales Managers, Aftersales Managers, North America-based Technical / Warranty Manager, and Marketing Manager. — Read more via Marine Link

FreightCar America sees benefit in tight rail car supply, better rail service

Although macroeconomic uncertainties loom and higher inflation could be keeping some would-be customers at bay, rail car manufacturer FreightCar America is bullish on the second half of 2022.

“I would like to emphasize just how optimistic we are about the future,” President and CEO Jim Meyer said in prepared remarks during FreightCar America’s second-quarter earnings call Tuesday morning. “At the same time, I would like to emphasize that we are also realistic about the potential temporary impacts of a slowdown in the economy and continuing supply chain disruptions.” — Read more via Freight Waves