Daily US Manufacturing News Digest – the industry stories you should be aware of today – 06 July

Posted on 6 Jul 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.

Wednesday – 07/06/2022

American factories are making stuff again as CEOs take production out of China

There has been a sense in financial circles that the fever among American executives to shorten supply lines and bring production back home would prove short-lived. As soon as the pandemic started to fade, so too would the fad, the thinking went.

And yet, two years in, not only is the trend still alive, it appears to be rapidly accelerating.  Read more via Bloomberg

Tech talent shortage slows reshoring of chip manufacturing in US

As Intel, Samsung, TSMC, and others move ahead with plans for new computer chip development and manufacturing plants in the US, those efforts are running into a new headwind: there aren’t enough people with the skills needed to run the facilities.

The skills gap is exacerbating a chip supply shortage that predated disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic — but the pandemic made matters worse.  Read more via Computer World

US exempts tariffs on Vietnamese solar panels for 2 Years

The US government recently approved a 24-month tariff exemption for solar panels from four Southeast Asian countries: Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Thailand to meet national renewable electricity demand. Vietnam Briefing looks at the opportunities and how Vietnam’s solar panel manufacturing is likely to benefit in the long term.  Read more via Vietnam Briefing

US company, L&T arm to develop electric air taxi jointly

A subsidiary of Indian engineering giant L&T will develop an eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) air taxi jointly with Texas-based aerospace company, Air Mobility. L&T Technology Services Ltd (LTTS) says it has won a multi-year $100m plus electric air mobility deal from Jaunt that has its design and manufacturing centre in Montreal, Canada.

As part of the contract, LTTS says it will open an engineering and R&D Centre in Canada “for the next-gen electric aircraft manufacturer to provide engineering services for the eVTOL air taxi.”  Read more via Times of India

Biotech manufacturer Meddux doubles Boulder footprint with new plant

Meddux Development Corp. LLC, a contract manufacturer for the life-sciences industry, has opened a new, nearly 22,000-square-foot facility at 6165 Lookout Road in Boulder’s Gunbarrel neighborhood, doubling its footprint compared to its prior operation on Sterling Drive.

Boulder County real estate records show that Meddux, through holding company 6165 Lookout LLC, bought the building last year from Neidecker LLC for just a tad less than $4m.  Read more via Daily Camera

Tuesday – 07/05/2022

Chip makers are refusing to build new semiconductor plants in the US

GlobalWafers, a Taiwan- based semiconductor manufacturing firm that is positioned to be the third biggest manufacturer of chips across the world has declared its proposal to set up a manufacturing industry worth $5bn in the United States. It further said that it would set up the factory only if the ministry of the U.S. agrees to assist in paying for the factory.

On June 4 when the firm declared its proposal the Secretary of Commerce of the United States said that the chief executive of the firm told her that the financing that the firm would be doing in the U.S. is dependent on Congress approving the CHIPS bill.

The council has already approved the bill that issued an amount of $52bn in financing for provincial investors to fund the local semiconductor manufacturing market earlier in January last year. However, it has not yet officially set aside any allocation to fund the CHIPS Act.  Read more via Tech Story

Digital transformation helps fuel American manufacturing activities, reshoring initiative finds

The pandemic’s impact on the supply chain stirred much debate about the role of overseas suppliers in critical product categories, and at the time many companies asserted their intention to reshore certain operations.

Fast forward to today… did these pledges from U.S. companies pan out? According to the Reshoring Initiative, the Harry Moser-led organization designed to help bring American jobs back, the answer is yes.

Recently published data contends that, in 2021, reshoring and foreign direct investment (or FDI) job announcements were propelled to a record 261,000 for the year. The group says the additions helped the total reshoring job gains reach a monumental 1.3 million since 2010.  Read more via Thomas Insights

Inari to increase production ahead of US smartphone launch

Chip assembly and testing firm, Inari Amertron Bhd is preparing to ramp up its radio frequency (RF) business for a smartphone launch in the United States in September.

Following Kenanga Research’s recent visit to Inari’s production facility, the research house said the group’s utilisation rate is expected to gradually increase to around 90% closer to the launch date, compared with the current 75%.  Read more via The Star

Volvo builds new EV manufacturing plant in Slovakia

Volvo Cars is positioned to meet the ongoing customer demand for electric vehicles and to seize possible future growth with the recent announcement that it will build a third production facility in Europe.

The company’s goal to produce only electric cars and achieve climate neutrality by 2040 will be supported by the new state-of-the-art facility. Volvo Cars also aims to keep expanding its global production capacity to meet its growth goals.

By choosing Slovakia as the location for its new facility, Volvo Cars creates a European manufacturing triangle that covers its largest sales region, complementing the Torslanda plant in Sweden and the Ghent plant in Belgium.  Read more via Zig Wheels

Monday – 07/04/2022

US factory activity slows to two-year low as clouds gather over economy

US manufacturing activity slowed more than expected in June, with a measure of new orders contracting for the first time in two years, signs that the economy was cooling amid aggressive monetary policy tightening by the Federal Reserve.

The survey from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) on Friday also showed a gauge of factory employment contracting for a second straight month, though an “overwhelming majority” of companies indicated they were hiring.  Read more via Reuters

Daher becomes Boeing supplier with purchase of Florida site from Triumph

French aircraft manufacturer Daher has completed the purchase from Triumph Group of an aerostructures business in Florida, becoming a direct supplier to major aircraft manufacturers like Boeing and Gulfstream.

Daher, which manufactures TBM 940 and Kodiak 100 turboprops, completed the purchase on 1 July. It had in February revealed its plan to acquire the Florida site but has not disclosed the purchase price.

The deal marks further US expansion by Daher and continues Triumph’s divestitures of various aerostructures businesses.  Read more via Flight Global

Toray supplies HiCAM project with thermoset, thermoplastic prepreg technologies

Toray (Tokyo, Japan), a global company offering innovative technologies and advanced high-performance materials, is among the list of composite material suppliers that are members of the NASA Advanced Composites Consortium (ACC) and are supporting NASA’s (Washington, D.C., U.S.) Hi-Rate Composite Aircraft Manufacturing (HiCAM) project. The ACC is a public-private partnership which includes NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), select aerospace and materials companies, and academia that supports the HiCAM project. The project seeks to dramatically improve the manufacturing rates of composite airframe structures for future single-aisle commercial aircraft manufactured in the U.S. Its approach includes the use of high-rate composite technologies to improve production rates and cost without sacrificing weight and performance attributes.  Read more via Composites World

Boeing pain from US-China trade war seen in Airbus bonanza

After Boeing Co.’s European archrival revealed a major deal to provide aircraft to Chinese carriers, the US-based planemaker bemoaned its home country’s trade war with China for bruising its business prospects.

“As a top US exporter with a 50-year relationship with China’s aviation industry, it is disappointing that geopolitical differences continue to constrain US aircraft exports,” a Boeing spokesperson said Friday in a statement.

The agreement for Airbus SE to provide 292 planes to Chinese airlines in a deal worth $37bn is a stark reminder of Boeing’s uncertain standing in one of the world’s largest travel markets. Both Airbus and Boeing have held long-running talks for large narrow-body aircraft orders that would help China replenish and grow its domestic fleet this decade, said a person familiar with the matter.  Read more via Bloomberg

Friday – 07/01/2022

Salmonella halts production at ‘world’s biggest’ chocolate factory

Salmonella has halted production at the ‘world’s biggest’ chocolate factory, the Barry Callebaut plant in Wieze, Belgium.

Barry Callebaut announced that it had suspended production at the Wieze site until further notice and blocked all products manufactured since the time of testing (June 25).  Read more via Food Manufacture

Asia stocks mixed after Wall St down, China manufacturing up

Asian stock markets were mixed Thursday after the U.S. economy contracted and China reported stronger factory activity.

Shanghai and Hong Kong gained, while Tokyo and Seoul declined. Oil prices advanced.

Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index edged down 0.1% on Wednesday after data showed the U.S. economy shrank in the first quarter amid high inflation and weakening consumer confidence.  Read more via US News & World Report

Most US solar importers should be able to meet UFLPA requirements, SEIA says

US authorities’ move to require documentation showing the source of quartzite in solar module imports should come as no surprise, experts have said, amid suggestions most companies will be able to overcome the latest hurdle that threatens to delay shipments.

Under the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), solar panel importers are now required to trace their supply chains and prove that key inputs, including quartzite, are not coming from China’s Xinjiang region, according to Dan Whitten, vice president of public affairs at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).  Read more via PV Tech

US Department of Labor proposes $315kmore in fines for Ohio vehicle parts manufacturer that continues to expose workers to dangerous machine hazards

An Ohio aluminum vehicle parts manufacturer cited for safety and health violations after a worker in Ravenna suffered fatal injuries in March 2021, continues to put workers at risk.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found General Aluminum Mfg. Co.’s facility in Conneaut exposing workers to similar machine hazards when the agency served warrants on Jan. 3, 2022, and opened an inspection under its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

Inspectors found tilt mold devices, sand core machines, and indexing tables at the plant lacked adequate machine guarding and workers performed service and maintenance tasks on industrial machinery without using energy control procedures – commonly known as lockout/tagout – exposing workers to amputation and caught-in hazards. OSHA cited the company for the same violations at the Ravenna facility.  Read more via US Department of Labor

Novartis brings radiotherapy production back online, touts expansion plans

Novartis has put an end to a radiotherapy production hiccup, and expansions are already underway.

The drugmaker fixed the quality issues that led to voluntary production halts at its radioligand therapy sites in Ivrea, Italy, and Millburn, New Jersey, Novartis said Thursday. Back in May, the manufacturing freeze abruptly stopped U.S. supply of two of the company’s marketed cancer drugs, Lutathera and Pluvicto.

The company resumed production at the facilities in early June and has since been delivering doses of the products to patients in a phased approach. At this point, Novartis has yet to reach full capacity, and it expects supply to be limited for some time.  Read more via Fierce Pharma

Thursday – 06/30/2022

First Solar rejects US site for new factory, eyes Europe or India instead

First Solar Inc. has decided against building a new factory in the US, citing uncertainties regarding trade policy and tax incentives.

The biggest US solar manufacturer is still planning a manufacturing facility in either Europe or India, and Chief Executive Officer Mark Widmar expects to make a final decision within 90 days. That would come after the company completes a third US plant early next year in Ohio and its first factory in India in the second half of 2023.  Read more via Bloomberg

Fujifilm plots $1.6bn expansion at CDMO sites in Denmark and Texas, adding 450 jobs

Fujifilm isn’t slowing down on its expansion roll. Just a few months after it bought Shenandoah Biotechnology for an undisclosed sum, the Japanese conglomerate has unveiled a $1.6 billion investment to expand the cell culture manufacturing services of Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies, a CDMO subsidiary.

The investment will benefit its sites in Hillerød, Denmark, and Texas, and create approximately 450 jobs.  Read more via Fierce Pharma

UK government ‘minded to accept’ takeover of Meggitt by US buyer

The UK government has signalled it is likely to accept the £6.3bn takeover of the British defence manufacturer Meggitt, the second deal by a US buyer to receive a green light in a week.

The American industrial conglomerate Parker Hannifin said on Wednesday that it expected to complete the takeover within the next two months after receiving assent from the UK business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng.

Meggitt, based near Coventry, makes wheels, materials and electronics for the F-35 fighter jet and the A400M transporter, both used by the UK military, as well as civilian aircraft made by Airbus and Boeing. Meggitt employs about 2,300 workers in the UK and 9,000 globally.  Read more via The Guardian

Samsung starts mass production of chips using advanced 3nm process node

Samsung said on Thursday that it has started mass production of chips using its 3-nanometer (nm) process node, its most advanced technology yet for contract chip production.

The South Korean tech giant said its 3nm process, compared to its 5nm process, reduced power usage by 45% and improved performance by 23% with surface area reduced by 16%.

Samsung’s 3nm process node uses its gate-all-around (GAA) transistor architecture, called Multi-Bridge-Channel FET (MBCFET) by the company, which packs wider channels in gates for electricity to flow threw while reducing the voltage level compared to the previous FinFET transistor architecture.  Read more via ZD Net

Southeast Asia manufacturers sweat as US mulls tougher tariff rules

Proposed reforms to America’s largest and longest-running trade preference program threaten to freeze out some of the Southeast Asian countries that rely on it for duty-free access to the U.S. market.

The General System of Preferences (GSP) was established in the 1970s to help developing countries by reducing tariffs on up to 5,000 products, ranging from bags and jewelry to mattresses and car parts. It plays an important role in regional manufacturing — its top five beneficiaries include Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia and the Philippines.

However, the scheme, which covered about $16bn in imports in 2020, has been inactive since the end of that year, when its most recent extension expired.  Read more via Nikkei Asia

Toyo Tire names new bosses for US manufacturing business

As of 1 July 2022, new faces will join the management team at Toyo Tire North America Manufacturing, Inc. Shinji Tanabe will become chairman and chief executive officer of the company responsible for Toyo’s tyre plant in Georgia, whilst Patrick Matthew Lenz takes on the roles of president and chief operating officer. — via Tyre Press

Wednesday – 06/29/2022

White House says companies investing $700m to boost EV charger production

The White House said on Tuesday that companies are planning to invest more than $700m to boost U.S. manufacturing capacity for electric vehicle (EV) chargers – actions set to add at least 2,000 jobs and make charging more accessible and affordable.

The investments include $450m earmarked by Volkswagen unit Electrify America and more than $250 million by Siemens (SIEGn.DE) to expand its Grand Prairie, Texas and Ponoma, California EV charger plants.  Read more via Reuters

PPG to increase US aerospace products manufacturing output to meet rising demand

PPG will increase manufacturing output to meet rising demand for its commercial aerospace aftermarket products. The company expects to increase employment levels at its Huntsville, Alabama and Sylmar, California manufacturing facilities by up to 20% to fulfill higher demand from new and existing customers.

PPG is also investing in increased factory automation to enhance delivery times for aerospace coatings and sealants. For example, the company’s Shildon, U.K. aerospace plant is commissioning an automatic Semkit filling machine to increase production of these ready-to-use cartridge-based systems that store, mix and ease application of aerospace sealants.  Read more via Coatings World

Nextracker opens third US factory this year as part of PV reshoring commitment

US solar tracker manufacturer Nextracker and steel producer BCI Steel have reopened the Bethlehem steel manufacturing factory in Leetsdale, Pittsburgh that will process steel and produce solar tracker equipment for utility-scale solar projects.

This is Nextracker’s third new factory, adding to its Texas and Arizona factories announced in April and May, respectively. The company aims to establish 10GW of annual solar tracker capacity in the US amid growing calls for reshoring of the country’s PV supply chain.  Read more via PV Tech

Nine in 10 manufacturers struggle to close labor gaps, up 38% over prior year

According to a newly released survey of manufacturing HR leaders by The Workforce Institute at UKG, 4 in 5 U.S. manufacturers are having difficulty keeping up with production demands due to increased supply constraints and ongoing labor shortages amplified by today’s competitive job market. Although a skilled-labor gap has plagued the sector for decades, 87% of the 300 manufacturing HR leaders surveyed feel its impact “more than ever.”  Read more via Workforce Institute @ UKG

Tuesday – 06/28/2022

BAE wins $12bn ballistic missile support recompete

BAE Systems’ U.S. subsidiary has won a new potential 18-year, $12bn contract to continue its role as lead systems integrator and engineering services provider supporting the US’ fleet of intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The Air Force received five bids including that of BAE Systems Inc. for the Integration Support Contract contract that covers systems engineering and broad professional services, according to the Pentagon’s Friday awards digest.  Read more via Washington Technology

US may lose silicon wafer factory if Congress can’t fund CHIPS Act, commerce secretary says

US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Monday that she believes GlobalWafers will follow through on its plan to build a silicon wafer factory in Texas — but only if Congress passes funding for the CHIPS for America Act by the time the August recess begins.

“This investment that they’re making is contingent upon Congress passing the CHIPS Act [funding]. The CEO told me that herself, and they reiterated that today,” Raimondo said in an interview on “Mad Money.”  Read more via CNBC

Taiwan company plans Texas chip wafer factory—if congress approves incentives

A Taiwan-based company said it plans to build a $5bn factory in Texas to make silicon wafers used in semiconductors, but the deal hinges on financial incentives bogged down in Congress.

GlobalWafers on Monday said its planned factory in Sherman, Texas, would be the first US silicon wafer-facility in more than two decades and create as many as 1,500 jobs, as well as helping fuel the expansion of the US chip-making industry.  Read more via The Wall Street Journal

Albemarle plans major US lithium processing plant

Albemarle Corp plans to build a lithium processing plant in the United States that would produce as much of the electric vehicle battery metal as the entire company produces today, a bullish bet on America’s all-electric future,an executive said on Monday.

The plan reflects Albemarle’s emerging strategy to lead the US lithium renaissance, from mine development to processing to manufacturing types of the metal used to make high-end EV batteries.  Read more via Reuters

Monday – 06/27/2022

Allied Motion buys US linear motor manufacturer Airex

Allied Motion Technologies has acquired the US linear and rotary motor manufacturer Airex for an undisclosed sum. Airex, based in New Hampshire, has more than 70 years of history supplying precision wound components and systems for industrial, semiconductor, life science and aerospace/defence applications.

Airex uses a patented winding technology, combined with robotic manufacturing, to produce ironless and iron-core linear motors, rotary motors, voice coils, magnetic bearings, wound electromagnetic components and sub-components.  Read more via Drives & Controls

Former BMW CFO plans rapid expansion in electric van sector including U.S. plant

Last-mile transportation provider B-On, led by former BMW board member Stefan Krause, plans to build on its acquisition of electric delivery van maker StreetScooter Engineering.

Krause told Automotive News Europe his next aims are to add an electric three-wheel van maker and to develop an “urban mobility” passenger vehicle.

Krause, who was BMW’s chief financial officer and then head of global sales between 2002 and 2008, has also held top-level jobs at Deutsche Post, Deutsche Bank and U.S. EV startups Canoo, Faraday Future and Fisker.  Read more via Automotive News Europe

Cargill acquires plant-based feed additive manufacturer

With demand for plant-based feed additives increasing, Cargill announced on June 23 that it has signed a binding agreement to acquire Austrian-based Delacon, a global leader in plant-based phytogenic additives.

The acquisition combines Cargill’s global network and deep expertise in animal nutrition technologies with Delacon’s pioneering knowledge and market experience in phytogenic feed additives, a category that uses a broad range of herbs, plants and their extracts, such as essential oils, to improve livestock and aquaculture performance and promote animal health.  Read more via World-Grain.com

Samsung US sharply discounts Galaxy S22 Ultra, foldables

Samsung US is currently running some tempting promos in its official webstore. These will be active through today and tomorrow, so you have to be fairly quick if something catches your eye.  Read more via GSM Arena

Friday – 06/24/2022

US economy slows sharply in June amid renewed downturn in demand, but inflationary pressures cool

Latest ‘flash’ PMI™ data from S&P Global signalled the weakest upturn in US private sector output since January’s Omicron-induced slowdown in June. The rise in activity
was the second-softest since July 2020, with slower service sector output growth accompanied by the first contraction in manufacturing production in two years.  Read more via S&P Global

Intel warns Ohio factory could be delayed because Congress is dragging its feet on funding

A large chip factory currently in the early stages of being built outside of Columbus, Ohio, could see its scope scaled back or construction delayed depending on what Congress does with the CHIPS Act, Intel said in a statement on Thursday.

The facility was announced in January and would be the most significant expansion of U.S.-based semiconductor manufacturing in years. Intel estimated the plant could cost as much as $100bn and committed an initial investment of $20bn.  Read more via CNBC

Takeover of UK defence supplier Ultra Electronics set to be approved

The UK government is set to wave through a £2.6bn takeover of a British defence manufacturer in a deal that will move a US private equity investor a step closer to controlling a significant supplier of nuclear submarine equipment.

Cobham has received the green light to take over Ultra Electronics, a FTSE 250 maker of systems such as sonar and radio communications used by navies and air forces, as well as civilian aircraft. Cobham was itself controversially taken over and broken up by US private equity investor Advent over the course of 2019 and 2020.

The business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, announced on Thursday that he is “minded to accept undertakings offered” by a Cobham/Advent investment vehicle to address national security concerns.  Read more via The Guardian

Engine maker MTU hopes for maintenance deal in German fleet overhaul

Military aircraft engine maker MTU (MTXGn.DE) said on Thursday it hopes for “at least a maintenance deal” as Germany replaces its ageing Tornado fighter jet fleet with F-35 steel bombers from Lockheed Martin (LMT.N). read more

MTU, which is working with the F-35 engine supplier Pratt & Whitney (RTX.N), is also prepared to supply spare parts, Chief Program Officer Michael Schreyoegg told journalists at the ILA Berlin Air Show trade fair.  Read more via Reuters

Thursday – 06/23/2022

Manufacturers warn gas tax suspension is a step backward

Following the decision by President Biden to instruct Congress to suspend federal gasoline and diesel taxes for three months, National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement:

“Our nation achieved historic progress with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, but this move is likely to derail its implementation by suddenly disrupting its funding, delaying critical projects that Americans desperately need and that are vital to manufacturers’ competitiveness. Our focus should be on increasing energy production here at home—to make manufacturers more competitive, to bring energy and gasoline prices down and to provide lasting relief for American families. We need the same smart, long-term approach that inspired the infrastructure bill to solve today’s energy challenges.”  Read more via NAM

DOD addresses supply chain resiliency with lone star state industry

Even before COVID-19, the Defense Department had identified supply chain vulnerabilities for things like microelectronics. There, the onset of the pandemic exacerbated a problem the department was already aware of. But the pandemic also highlighted other areas of supply chain vulnerability in the U.S., some of which affect national security.

Deborah Rosenblum, who performs the duties of the assistant secretary of defense for industrial base policy, met June 16 with stakeholders from across the industrial base in Texas to discuss the department’s efforts to strengthen supply chain resiliency. The event, held near Fort Worth, was in partnership with the National Economic Council and the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station.  Read more via Department of Defense

Tongwei signs US$7.6bn silicon supply agreement with wafer manufacturer Qinghai Gaojing Solar

Tongwei has announced that its subsidiaries have signed a RMB50.9 billion (US$7.58 billion) silicon material sales contract for 216,100 tons with Qinghai Gaojing Solar Energy Technology Co., Ltd.

The announcement on 17 June said that from 2022 to 2026, Qinghai Gaojing will purchase no less than 216,100 tons of silicon from Tongwei’s subsidiaries. Ordering details will be negotiated monthly and the total amount of contract trading volume will be subject to the final transaction amount.

Based on the average transaction price of mono dense poly announced by Silicon Branch of China Non-ferrous Metals Industry Association on 15 June, the total sales volume is estimated to be more than US$7.58bn.  Read more via PV Tech

Emirates weighs new Airbus order as Boeing deliveries drag out

Gulf carrier Emirates is weighing more Airbus SE A350 jetliner orders to help fill gaps in its fleet in coming years as Boeing Co. struggles to bring its wide-body models to market.

Following strong freight demand during the pandemic, Emirates converted 10 Boeing 777s into cargo planes, depleting its passenger capacity, and a still-robust market might prompt it to switch another 10, President Tim Clark said.  Read more via Bloomberg

American Colors to expand Sandusky manufacturing facility

American Colors Inc. (Sandusky, Ohio, U.S.), a supplier of colorants and outsource manufacturer for the CASE, composites, vinyl and agricultural markets, has announced plans to expand its facility in Sandusky, with a 12,500-square-foot manufacturing addition. Construction will commence in summer 2022 with completion in the fall of 2022.

This addition is the first phase in a long-term plan to enable the company to purchase and install larger mixers and material handling equipment, greatly expanding overall capacity of the location as well as reorganizing the existing footprint to increase capacity and improve efficiency. The company is also planning to build a cleanroom within the new building which will reportedly aid in American Colors’ expansion into new markets.  Read more via Composites World

Wednesday – 06/22/2022

US factories pop up to make medical gloves, spurred by pandemic

Rising from a muddy field on the outskirts of the small town of Fayette, Alabama is a bricks-and-mortar symbol of the global COVID pandemic: A new glove factory.

When completed in 2024 the complex, owned by Japan’s SHOWA Glove Co will be able to produce about 3 billion medical-grade nitrile gloves a year from its dozen massive new, five-stories-tall, automated assembly lines.

That may seem like a lot but is only a small slice of the over 100 billion consumed in the United States annually.  Read more via Reuters

Farm, construction equipment manufacturer plans $140m Georgia factory

A manufacturer of agricultural and construction equipment plans to produce front-end loaders at a new factory in Georgia, officials announced. Kubota Corp. is expected to invest $140 million in the Gainesville facility, the Associated Press reports. Construction is slated to begin this year, and the plant is scheduled to open in 2024.

The Japanese company already operates numerous facilities in North Georgia, including an existing mower and tractor plant in Gainesville and a loader and backhoe facility in nearby Jefferson. Company officials indicated that the new Gainesville facility would allow the Jefferson plant to make more attachments and implements for tractors and construction equipment.  Read more via Thomas Insights

Solar developers pledge $6bn to boost US manufacturing

A consortium of large US solar developers have committed to spend more than $6 billion on domestically produced panels in a move aimed at boosting the small American manufacturing sector.

The group, which includes AES Corp. and Clearway Energy Group, is seeking manufacturers that will be able to supply as much as 7 gigawatts of solar modules annually starting in 2024, according to a statement Tuesday.

The new initiative is a sign that longstanding market trends may shift. The vast majority of solar panels installed in the US are imported from Asia, but several trade disputes have roiled the industry, complicating development plans for many installers.  Read more via Financial Post

Chinese manufacturing orders decline by 20-30%, according to shippers, as consumers pull back on buying goods

Chinese manufacturing orders are reportedly down by as much as 20-30%, according to logistics sources responsible for moving the finished products from Chinese manufacturing plants to the Chinese ports.

“As consumers move from purchasing stuff to buying services, importers continue to work on balancing order flow with sales expectations,” said Alan Baer, CEO of OL USA. “Some industries are forecasting purchase order reductions of 20 to 30 percent, while others see no interruptions in their order flow. Overall, the risk appears to be to the downside. The decrease appears tied to economic uncertainty and not the migration of operations out of China.”  Read more via CNBC

Minnesota solar manufacturer says importing parts is still risky despite tariff pause

The federal government’s decision to pause tariffs on solar panels from four Asian countries amid a trade dispute investigation has not resolved uncertainty for Minnesota’s only solar manufacturer.

The Ontario-based solar module manufacturer Heliene operates a plant in the northern Minnesota city of Mountain Iron. Like almost all US solar manufacturers, it relies on components imported from southeast Asia. Heliene receives solar cells from Malaysia, one of the countries under scrutiny.  Read more via Minnesota Reformer

Tuesday – 06/21/2022

LEGO to build a (real) solar power plant on its new factory site in Virginia

The LEGO Group has announced plans to build a $1 billion dollar factory in Chesterfield County, Virginia, complete with a solar facility to power the factory. The company’s goal is for its first U.S. factory in over 16 years to be completely carbon neutral.

While the solar park plans for the factory site are impressive, the solar array will not be providing all of the energy the factory needs to operate. Instead, as a carbon-neutral facility, it will still run in part by fossil fuels, as Clean Technica explains. The plan is for the factory to minimize energy needs in order to match the output of clean energy provided by the solar park.  Read more via Eco Watch

Eric Schmidt Urges US to Lean on TSMC, Samsung for Chip Security

The US should do more to attract overseas chipmakers to build plants on its territory as a matter of national security, former Google chief Eric Schmidt wrote in an opinion piece published Monday.

Pointing to China’s accelerating investment in chip fabrication technology and capacity, Schmidt urged the US to reduce its dependence on Taiwan and South Korea for the most advanced semiconductors powering everything from smartphones to ballistic missiles and build out its own capabilities. Instead, it should be incentivizing national champions Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and Samsung Electronics Co. to partner with US chip designers and build more on US soil, he said.  Read more via Bloomberg

Doosan Robotics to open US headquarters for cobot pipeline

Doosan Robotics, a South Korean manufacturer of collaborative robots, or cobots, has announced a new U.S. business unit, Doosan Robotics Americas with headquarters in Plano, Texas which will combine the company’s North and South America operations.

The expansion plan is intended to boost the group’s presence in the American market and accelerate uptake of its manufacturing assistant bots in the area, with a particular focus on the automotive and manufacturing sectors.  Read more via IoT World Today

M2 Optics Inc. launches new 3D printing design and manufacturing service

M2 Optics Inc., a US manufacturer of customized fiber optic solutions for communications testing and networking applications, has launched a new 3D design and printing service business. The services will help companies solve critical and timely challenges that require customized, or non-standard, parts not readily available in the marketplace.

M2 Optics has been leveraging its 3D printing expertise and capabilities within its Raleigh NC facility – manufacturing customized fiber optic solutions for leading entities, across multiple sectors, around the world.  Read more via 3D Printing Media Network

Monday – 06/20/2022

Manufacturers remain resilient as recession concerns rise

The National Association of Manufacturers released its Q2 2022 Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey, which shows manufacturers’ significant concerns around recession, inflation, hiring and China competition legislation. The NAM conducted the survey May 17–31, 2022.

“Through multiple crises, manufacturers have proven remarkably resilient, but there’s no mistaking there are darker clouds on the horizon. A majority of our surveyed members believe inflationary pressures are making a recession more likely within the next year,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons.  Read more via NAM

US manufacturing output softens; leading indicator extends decline

Production at U.S. factories unexpectedly fell in May, the latest sign of cooling economic activity as the Federal Reserve aggressively tightens monetary policy to tame inflation.

Slowing growth was indicated in other data showing a gauge of future economic activity declining in May for a third straight month. Other data this week showed a drop in retail sales last month as well as steep declines in homebuilding and permits. Weakness in manufacturing output also reflects a shift in spending from goods to services.  Read more via Reuters

eMagin awarded $2.5m US Army contract for OLED microdisplay prototype project

eMagin Corporation announced it has been awarded a $2.5m contract from the US Army for a high-brightness, full-color OLED microdisplay prototype project, including manufacturing process technologies. The prototype will be used in AR systems that provide both sensor and tactical data to soldiers, thereby enhancing situational awareness and mobility in a range of military applications.  Read more via Printed Electronics Now

SLG breaks ground on $14m Houston manufacturing center, creates american production jobs

Construction is underway for a new manufacturing facility near SLG’s American headquarters in the Houston, TX metropolitan area. This 80,000 square foot building will enable SLG to manufacture its growing portfolio of durable luminaires in the United States. Over 100 jobs will be created to support these domestic capabilities.

As an OEM with over 25 years of manufacturing experience, the new investment allows SLG to produce their line of proprietary line of products in the US and alleviate potential supply chain challenges. Known for functional durable lighting products, SLG is able to redesign and launch new items on a monthly basis.

Establishing manufacturing roots on American soil provides the advantage of an 80% reduction in lead times for its customers.  Read more via Cision

Friday – 06/17/2022

DOE awards $57.9m to reduce industrial emissions and manufacture clean energy technologies

The US Department of Energy (DOE) today awarded $57.9m to 30 projects — housed within industry, universities and the National labs — that will help decarbonize the American industrial sector, advance the science of clean energy manufacturing, and strengthen America’s economic competitiveness. These projects will yield technological innovations that can accelerate progress toward the Biden Administration’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.  Read more via Department of Energy

REC Silicon to restart US polysilicon plant

EC Silicon plans to restart its polysilicon plant in Moses Lake, Washington, next year in an effort to create a US-based supply chain for solar panels, stretching from raw materials to finished solar cells. REC is negotiating with a long-standing supplier, Ferroglobe, to secure a US-based source of silicon metal, the raw material used to make polysilicon. REC plans to sell its polysilicon to the solar panel manufacturer Q Cells, which has a factory in Georgia.

REC shut down the Moses Lake plant in 2019, when tariffs made it uneconomical to sell into China’s large solar market. The company decided to reopen its facility after an investment of over $200 million from Q Cells’ parent company, South Korea’s Hanwha Solutions.  Read more via Chemical & Engineering News

US cell manufacturer KORE Power wins 20MWh UK battery storage project supply deal

Battery cell manufacturer KORE Power is to provide the batteries for a 10MW/20MWh battery storage project under development between ABB and green energy supplier Ecotricity in the UK.

The battery energy storage system (BESS) will be installed at Ecotricity’s existing 6.9MW wind farm in Gloucestershire, England, in 2023, with KORE to supply its Mark 1 energy storage modules equipped with its high energy density NMC pouch technology. The Mark 1 system is fully certified under UN 38.3, UL 1973 and IEC 62619 and achieved UL 9540A.

KORE said the project represents a key step for the company in the “rapidly growing UK market”. KORE itself is headquartered in the US, where it’s currently building a battery cell gigafactory with a 12GWh annual production capacity. Located in Arizona, the gigafactory will add to a ramp up of KORE’s existing factory in China from 2GWh to 6GWh.  Read more via Energy Storage News

VW US chief warns of industry challenges with EV battery shift

Volkswagen AG’s (VOWG_p.DE) top U.S. executive said on Thursday the United States faces major challenges in ramping up battery production to facilitate a shift to electric vehicles including attracting skilled workers, mining for key metals and supply chain issues.

Scott Keogh, chief executive of Volkswagen Group of America, told an Automotive News forum in Washington that the move to EVs is the single biggest “industrial transformation in America.”  Read more via Reuters

Key US baby formula plant closes again as ‘torrential storms’ cause flooding

Severe weather sweeping through the US midwest has forced the plant that produces much of America’s baby formula to shut down again, once again putting a chokehold on the country’s struggling baby formula supply chain.

Abbott Laboratories, the US’s largest baby formula manufacturer, closed down production in its main plant in Sturgis, Michigan, on Thursday, because of flooding caused by “torrential storms”.  Read more via The Guardian

Thursday – 06/16/2022

Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey: Second Quarter 2022

Manufacturers are concerned about recession, inflation, hiring and China competition legislation, according to the National Association of Manufacturers Q2 2022 Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey, conducted May 17–31, 2022.  Read more via National Association of Manufacturers

First Lego manufacturing facility in U.S. is coming to Virginia

The Lego Group said Wednesday it plans to build a $1bn precision-manufacturing facility in Chesterfield County, south of Richmond, to crank out its famous tiny plastic bricks.

The 1.7 million-square-foot factory is expected to create more than 1,760 jobs over 10 years, according to a news release from Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R), who joined company officials to announce the project at the Science Museum of Virginia.  Read more via The Washington Post

Caterpillar relocation to Texas extends US manufacturing’s southern shift

Caterpillar Inc.’s planned relocation of its global headquarters to Texas from Illinois comes as the equipment maker and other companies expand their manufacturing bases south.

Manufacturing employment has been on the rise in many Southern and Southwestern U.S. states in recent years, according to federal data, as companies target the regions for new factories, plant expansions and corporate bases, seeking what some executives have said is a growing available workforce and cheaper real estate.  Read more via The Wall Street Journal

More than 100 CEOs urge US Congress to pass China competition bill

Chief executives from Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) and Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) on Wednesday called on Congress to pass legislation aimed at boosting U.S. economic competitiveness against China, including in chip manufacturing.

Those executives and more than 100 others signed a letter urging the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, which each have passed different versions of the legislation, to reach an agreement and send a bill to President Joe Biden for his signature. Legislators will break for a summer recess in August, after which most observers expect lawmakers to shift their attention to this fall’s midterm elections.  Read more via Reuters

139 jobs coming to Duplin County as cabinetry manufacturer selects Warsaw for new facility

The residential cabinet manufacturer Design Mode Cabinetry has selected Duplin County for a $13m manufacturing facility located in the Town of Warsaw.

The 245,000 square foot building that the company will occupy is currently vacant and will be upfit to construct a manufacturing and distribution operation, according to a statement from North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper.

Governor Cooper called the move “another great win for eastern North Carolina,” in the statement.  Read more via WRAL Tech Wire

GreenPower Hosts Educational Display and Demonstration of All-Electric School Buses and Commercial Vehicles at the U.S. Capitol

GreenPower Motor Company Inc., a leading manufacturer and distributor of zero-emission, electric-powered, medium and heavy-duty vehicles, today hosted an event at the US Capitol demonstrating its lineup of electric school buses including GreenPower’s Type D BEAST and Type A Nano BEAST and flagship commercial electric transit vehicle, the EV Star.

GreenPower hosted members of Congress, West Virginia state delegates, school district personnel and the general public to review the health benefits of electric vehicles for our children and communities, the safety and reliability of zero-emission school buses, and various funding programs available to school districts. Participants were able to learn about the BEAST, Nano BEAST and EV Star, as well as the opportunity to speak with lawmakers on investing in advanced mobility, U.S. manufacturing and healthier communities.  Read more via Yahoo! Finance

Crypto Mining Chip Manufacturer Nano Labs Applies for US IPO

Nano Labs, a Chinese crypto mining chip manufacturer, recently submitted an application to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for an initial public offering (IPO) on the Nasdaq to raise $50 million.

Nano Labs was founded by Kong Jianping, former co-chairman of Canaan, and its main income is derived from mining machine sales. According to the company’s prospectus, AMTD Global Markets, Maxim Group and UP Fintech Holding are its joint underwriters.  Read more via Pandaily

Wednesday – 06/15/2022

Elon Musk says SpaceX will have Starship ‘ready to fly’ in July, amid FAA work

SpaceX is closing in on the next major milestone in its Starship rocket development, as the company works to complete environmental impact requirements outlined this week by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Elon Musk on Tuesday said the company will have a Starship prototype rocket “ready to fly” by July, with his space venture aiming to reach orbit with the vehicle for the first time.  Read more via CNBC

White House meets with solar firms in bid to boost manufacturing

White House officials huddled with solar manufacturers Tuesday on the Biden administration’s plan to kick-start domestic panel-making and wean US clean energy projects off foreign imports.

The roughly one-hour meeting with more than 20 industry representatives was designed to shed light on President Joe Biden’s move last week to bolster domestic solar manufacturing under the Defense Production Act, said several people familiar with the session. They asked for anonymity because the virtual meeting was not public.  Read more via Bloomberg

Microsoft to acquire Miburo to boost threat intelligence research into new foreign cyber threats

Yesterday, Microsoft is announcing that we have entered into an agreement to acquire Miburo, a cyber threat analysis and research company specializing in the detection of and response to foreign information operations.

Microsoft detects and helps customers defend against cyber threats from nation-states as part of our commitment to keep customers safe online. These efforts are underpinned by the threat intelligence we gather, publish, and use to fuel disruptions of malicious nation-state activity across a range of cyber-attack vectors.  Read more via Microsoft

Ferrero adding 200 jobs in Illinois with first-ever US Kinder Bueno plant

Ferrero North America, part of the global confectionery company Ferrero Group, will invest up to $214.4 million to expand its chocolate processing and product manufacturing plant in Bloomington, IL. The 169,000-square-foot addition will be dedicated to producing Kinder Bueno, a popular Ferrero premium chocolate bar in Europe that launched in the US in 2019.

Construction of the expansion is projected to start by Fall 2022 and is anticipated to create up to 200 new jobs over a four-year period. The new expansion will be one of the largest production lines built by Ferrero outside of Europe. The new facility is set to open in 2024.  Read more via Business Facilities

Life science firm is laying off 76 workers at North Carolina manufacturing plant

North Carolina’s booming life science sectors isn’t immune to layoffs as more companies continue to locate or expand operations across the state. Proof is Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd. which lay off 76 workers from a facility in Monroe, according to a required notice the company filed with the North Carolina Department of Commerce earlier this month.

In fact, it’s just the second life science workforce reduction this year following the news in March that BASF would be laying off more than 100 workers in Wake County.

So far in 2022 layoffs have been few across North Carolina’s economy despite rising inflation and other issues, according to reports made to the N.C. Department of Commerce: Some 18 actions involving just over 1,500 workers.  Read more via WRAL Tech Wire

Monday – 06/13/2022

Oklahoma lands nation’s first rare earth metal and manufacturing facility

A newly-announced rare earth metal and manufacturing facility will create more than 100 new jobs and increase Oklahoma’s domestic energy production, officials said.

USA Rare Earth LLC selected Stillwater to locate the first rare earth metal and manufacturing facility in the nation, Gov. Kevin Stitt said. The company plans to invest more than $100m in developing the manufacturing facility and expects to generate over $6.6m in wages once operational, according to Stitt’s office.

The company already operates the Round Top Heavy Rare Earth, Lithium and Critical Minerals Project in Texas. Company officials say their goal is to create a US-based critical mineral supply chain that does not depend on China.  Read more via The Center Square

Gift to Purdue University establishes Institute for Advanced Manufacturing of Pharmaceuticals

A generous donation from a pioneer in pharmaceutical and biotechnology manufacturing will establish the William D. Young Institute for Advanced Manufacturing of Pharmaceuticals at Purdue University. The university institute, approved by the Purdue University Board of Trustees on Friday (June 10) and launched with a gift from William D. Young, will unite faculty in overhauling pharmaceutical manufacturing with a goal of reducing costs and expanding access to innovative drugs emerging from biotechnology research.

The institute is the latest fruit from a $250m investment in life sciences as part of the Purdue Moves strategic plan, which included investments in research that improves lives and supports Indiana’s critical life sciences business sector.  Read more via The Center Square

US solar manufacturer says importing parts is still risky despite tariff pause

The federal government’s decision to pause tariffs on solar panels from four Asian countries amid a trade dispute investigation has not resolved uncertainty for Minnesota’s only solar manufacturer.

The Ontario-based solar module manufacturer Heliene operates a plant in the northern Minnesota city of Mountain Iron. Like almost all US solar manufacturers, it relies on components imported from southeast Asia. Heliene receives solar cells from Malaysia, one of the countries under scrutiny.  Read more via Energy News Network

Siemens and ORNL announce new R&D partnership to boost US manufacturing innovation

Industrial manufacturing firm Siemens has announced a new research and development (R&D) partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to enhance the adoption of additive manufacturing, workforce training, and decarbonization efforts within the US manufacturing sector.

In particular, Siemens and the US Department of Energy’s (DoE) Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (MDF) at ORNL will build on the success of several previous DoE-funded projects to investigate new methods of advanced manufacturing and materials innovation.  Read more via 3D Printing Industry

Astellas opens new US-based large-scale gene therapy manufacturing facility

Astellas Pharma has announced that it has opened its new late-stage clinical and commercial manufacturing facility in Sanford, NC. The new 135,000-ft2 facility is a standalone facility that is good manufacturing practices compliant. It is designed to provide clinical- and commercial-scale manufacturing capabilities for the company’s pipeline of adeno-associated virus (AAV) gene therapies.

The company’s $100m investment in the site will support global supply chain needs and in-house quality control testing. The investment will also create more than 200 jobs through 2026.  Read more via Biophraminternational.com

Friday – 06/10/2022

Rare earth manufacturing facility to open in Oklahoma

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and the president of USA Rare Earth on Thursday announced plans for a $100 million metal and manufacturing facility in Stillwater that’s expected to create more than 100 jobs.

Rare earth elements are 17 raw elements used in electric vehicles, wind turbines, mobile electronic devices and military hardware and considered difficult to mine, Smith said.  Read more via AP News

Atlas Copco to acquire National Vacuum Equipment; expands US footprint

Atlas Copco is expanding its US footprint, having today (9th June) unveiled plans to acquire National Vacuum Equipment.

Headquartered in Michigan, Nation Vacuum Equipment is a manufacturer of industrial vacuum pumps and packages for mobile use on tanker trucks.  Read more via Gas World

Meet the ‘faces of manufacturing’ from I Make America

Every single day in America, the 2.8 million men and women of the equipment manufacturing industry go to work to make the equipment that builds, powers and feeds the world. These are the Americans who help move the United States’ $288 billion equipment manufacturing economy forward, but they cannot do it alone.

I Make America, AEM’s national grassroots advocacy campaign, provides a platform for every supporter to raise their voice and make a difference. Today, I Make America unveiled its “Faces of Manufacturing” initiative, which spotlights the men and women behind the equipment and serves as a rallying cry for pro-manufacturing policies.  Read more via Association of Equipment Manufacturers

US bans exports by firms that leaked sensitive technology to Chinese 3D printing manufacturers

The US Department of Commerce has suspended the export licenses of three firms after they allegedly leaked confidential defense data to 3D printing service providers in China.

Rapid Cut, Quicksilver Manufacturing and US Prototype are believed to have asked Chinese manufacturers to 3D print satellite, rocket and other defense-related prototypes. However, in the process of placing these orders, the firms shared sensitive technical drawings and blueprints without authorization, hence they’ve now been banned from exporting for 180 days.  Read more via 3D Printing Industry

The billionaires behind a push to reinvigorate US chip-making

Over the past several months, without attracting much notice, Eric Schmidt, the former chief executive of Google and a longtime Democratic donor, has joined Peter Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal and a vocal Trump supporter, to back an unusual nonprofit venture capital fund to invest in chip-making across the country. The group also includes a cadre of former government officials, including Ashton B. Carter, former secretary of defense, and H.R. McMaster, former national security adviser.

The billionaires aren’t simply funding the effort themselves: The group has met with lawmakers in Congress hoping that U.S. taxpayers will help foot the bill.

The ask: $1bn.  Read more via The New York Times

Thursday – 06/09/2022

US-based bike manufacturer Allied Cycle Works partners with Classified

Arkansas-based bicycle manufacturer Allied Cycle Works has established an OEM partnership with Classified.

Allied is now offering the Able gravel bike with an option to include the Powershift hub.  Read more via bike biz

UT hosts bootcamp event to train workers on machine tooling, meant to improve US industry

The University of Tennessee hosted an event Wednesday meant to help workers learn the skills they need to jumpstart careers in machine tooling. Organizers said the program is meant to help boost the US machine tooling industry, making it more competitive in international markets.

It’s called America’s Cutting Edge and is funded by the US Department of Defense, in partnership with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Knoxville’s Composites Institute. The BootCamp started at 10:45 a.m. and provided participants with hands-on training with advanced machine tools.

Participants and future trainers traveled from as far away as Chicago and New Mexico. Organizers said they expected the event to help boost Knoxville’s prominence in the US manufacturing industry.  Read more via 10 News

Canadian manufacturer of electric vehicle chargers comes to Michigan

State officials are announcing a $3m investment from Canada-based company FLO into a facility in Auburn Hills. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer describes it as a “victory” for the state’s mobility future.

The Auburn Hills plant aims to build 250,000 EV chargers by 2028. It will be FLO’s first US-based manufacturing facility.  Read more via wemu.org

Introducing Mullen: The entirely US-based electric vehicle manufacturer rivaling Tesla

David Michery, CEO of Mullen Automotive Inc., was a guest speaker at Benzinga’s All Access on June 3rd, 2022.

Mullen Automotive is an American electric vehicle manufacturer and automotive company based out of Southern California. Mullen owns and partners with several businesses within the clean energy and electric vehicle space.  Read more via Benzinga

Toyota Mississippi opens experience center

Toyota Mississippi held a news conference on Tuesday to announce the grand opening of its workforce training and experience center.

The 15,000-square-foot facility, which sits adjacent to the Blue Springs plant, was built in partnership with the Mississippi Development Authority.

According to Toyota Mississippi, the interactive museum gives visitors the opportunity to be immersed in the world of Toyota manufacturing.

Some features include a motion timeline showcasing the company’s 125-year history, simulators and collaborative robots.   Read more via wtva.com

Wednesday – 06/08/2022

New partnership announced to help organisations better handle supply chain issues

A new partnership between an industry cloud provider and a global supply chain insights and risk analytics specialist will help organisations better prepare for and deal with supply chain issues.

Infor has announced that it has entered into a technology partnership with Everstream Analytics to help organisations better anticipate and navigate supply chain risks and disruptions. Through the partnership, Infor will integrate Everstream’s end-to-end supply chain risk assessment and monitoring data with its Infor Nexus multienterprise business network platform.  Read more via The Manufacturer

Doosan Robotics launches full product line and opens office in USA

Doosan Robotics Inc., has announced a new business unit, Doosan Robotics Americas, establishing its US headquarters in Plano, Texas. Doosan Robotics has appointed Alex Lee North and South America General Manager, who will oversee the US business.

Established by Doosan Group in 2015, its growth into the US market will increase customer service in this territory, accelerating business development and awareness of Doosan Robotics’ and specific vertical industry product support.  Read more via The Robot Report

US Solar Companies Weigh Challenge to Biden Pause on Tariffs

US solar manufacturers say they are considering legal challenges after President Joe Biden declared a two-year pause for tariffs on solar imports from Southeast Asia.

Biden also invoked the Defense Production Act on Monday as the White House moved to jumpstart solar installations that have been slowed or abandoned amid a Commerce Department inquiry into possible trade violations involving Chinese products.

The White House said Biden’s actions would boost an industry crucial to his climate change-fighting goals while not interfering with or shutting down the Commerce investigation.  Read more via US News & World Report

Fruehauf returns to US, manufacturing trailers in Kentucky

Fruehauf North America recently held a grand opening for the company’s $15 million plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky, signifying the iconic semi-trailer manufacturer’s return to production in the United States.

The 125,000-square-foot facility will house dry van manufacturing and assembly operations, with a goal of building 5,000 trailers annually, said Eugenio Clariond, chairman of Fruehauf North America.

The plant, which aims to hire up to 290 workers, currently employs 75 people.  Read more via Freight Waves

Australian nutraceutical firm Star Combo Pharma prepares to open new facility in $7.5m bid to double output

Australian nutraceutical outfit Star Combo Pharma is expected to open its new manufacturing facility in early July and could possibly more than double its output from 2m to 5m capsules daily.

The 7,000 square metre facility will provide a total manufacturing floor space of around 30,000 square meters for the New South Wales (NSW) firm. The plan is part of its AUD$10.7m (USD$7.5m) site upgrade featured in its recent quarterly business update. — Read more via NutraIngredients-Asia

Tuesday – 06/07/2022

Pfizer to spend $120m to boost US COVID pill manufacturing

Pfizer Inc said on Monday it would spend $120m to expand manufacturing of its COVID-19 antiviral treatment at its Michigan plant, as demand ramps up.

Use of the pill, Paxlovid, authorized to treat newly infected, at-risk people to prevent severe illness, has soared recently as infections rise.

Biden administration officials have pushed for the wider use of Paxlovid, which the government distributes for free.  Read more via Reuters

Nissan exec: Turnaround plan working, US factories to grow

Two years ago, struggling Nissan Motor Co. announced a restructuring plan to cut costs and revamp its aging model lineup in an effort to rebuild sales as the coronavirus pandemic eased.

Jérémie Papin, the company’s chairman for the Americas, says the turnaround is happening. In May, Nissan reported its first fiscal-year profit in three years, and Papin says North America is a big contributor.  Read more via Manufacturing Business Technology

Snack maker Lotus Bakeries invests $84m in expansion

Biscoff cookies maker Lotus Bakeries is preparing to launch an $84m project to add a new manufacturing facility to its existing site in Mebane, NC, according to a release issued Monday by the office of NC Gov. Roy Cooper.

The firm’s headquarters in Belgium and the North Carolina facilities are the firm’s only production locations for Biscoff cookies. Opened in 2019, the Mebane site is Lotus Bakeries’ sole US manufacturing plant.  Read more via Powder & Bulk Solids

Health Supply US to build $150m nitrile glove production facility in Greenville County

North Carolina-based Health Supply US, a medical supply manufacturer founded in 2020, is bringing a $150m nitrile glove production facility to Greenville County that will create 600 new jobs and bring the manufacture of critical medical gear back to American shores.

The announcement came at the Greenville Area Development Corporation’s annual meeting June 6 before a packed ballroom at the Westin Poinsett, which included remarks from S.C. Governor Henry McMaster, US Sen. Lindsay Graham, company leaders and state and local economic development officials.

The new operation is being spearheaded by Health Supply US subsidiary Glove One and will produce an estimated 4.3 billion nitrile gloves annually.  Read more via UBJ

Haribo strikes major deal with ODW logistics supporting first US manufacturing facilities

Haribo of America has confirmed it is to form a partnership with ODW Logistics in a deal to provide warehousing and logistics services for the company’s first North American manufacturing facility in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, reports Neill Barston.

As the business, which this year marks its centenary of its core Goldbears range explained to Confectionery Production at Sweets & Snacks Expo, the development of its new site is set to have a gamechanging impact on its operations in the US.

The event proved highly memorable for the business, which launched several new individual flavoured varieties of its century-celebrating brand, which continues to gain an increasing market share of the American market for gummies.  Read more via Confectionary Production

Monday – 06/06/2022

Ford to invest $3.7bn in US factories, add 6,200 union jobs in push to build more EVs

Ford said Thursday it will invest $3.7 billion and add more than 6,200 union manufacturing jobs in Michigan, Ohio and Missouri as part of the automaker’s plan to sell 2 million EVs a year globally by the end of 2026.

The new investment will be used to hire union workers at factories in Michigan, Ohio and Missouri, provide healthcare to new hourly employees as well improve working conditions at these facilities. Notably, Ford said it made the hiring investment a year ahead of 2023 contract negotiations with the United Auto Workers union.  Read more via Tech Crunch

Global factory output falls for second month in May amid China lockdowns

The JPMorgan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index™ (PMI™), compiled by S&P Global, inched up from 52.3 in April to 52.4 in May, though remained at the second-lowest level recorded over the past 20 months. The subdued performance of the goods-producing sector was led by a slight decline in production for a second successive month, thanks principally to a further marked drop in output in mainland China amid ongoing lockdown measures.  Read more via IHS Markit

Biden to waive tariffs for 24 months on solar panels hit by probe

President Joe Biden will declare a 24-month tariff exemption on Monday for solar panels from four Southeast Asian nations after an investigation froze imports and stalled projects in the United States, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The move comes amid concern about the impact of the Commerce Department’s months-long investigation into whether imports of solar panels from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam are circumventing tariffs on goods made in China.

Biden’s action would allay companies’ concerns about having to hold billions of dollars in reserves to pay potential tariffs, one source familiar with the White House’s plans said.  Read more via Reuters

Malvern-based chipmaker Vishay hosts U.S. Commerce Secretary and Rep. Houlahan, pushing Congress to help semiconductor firms

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo visited a semiconductor manufacturer in the Philadelphia suburbs Wednesday, as she and local officials expressed support for proposed legislation in Washington that seeks to boost the key sector and bring manufacturing back to America.

Vishay Intertechnology, of Malvern, is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of semiconductors and electronic components. It’s also one of several U.S. chipmakers facing supply chain issues brought on by the economic tumult of the pandemic. Geopolitical tensions between China and Taiwan, a main chip supplier to large U.S. tech companies, also threaten to further strain the sector.  Read more via The Philadelphia Inquirer

Wednesday – 06/01/2022

Manufacturing skills shortage to be tackled by new partnership between The Manufacturer and Michael Page

Today, The Manufacturer announces a new strategic partnership with global recruitment specialists Michael Page to address the chronic skills issues faced by the UK manufacturing sector.

The multi-channel partnership will bolster the premier industry publication’s market leading news, features, insights and events programmes, while continuing to promote best practice for manufacturing boardrooms and senior management in the manufacturing industry.  Read more via The Manufacturer

US investigates Chinese companies over export sanction issues

US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on Tuesday the Biden administration is actively considering adding new Chinese companies to the government’s economic blacklist as it investigates what it calls efforts by China to evade U.S. sanctions.

The Commerce Department’s Entity List restricts access to US exports.

Raimondo told reporters the administration was working to “get information around bad actors in China and adding those companies to the Entity List … We are in the middle of a number of investigations.”  Read more via Reuters

How Microsoft is equipping manufacturing workers with the tools of the future

Emma Williams, Corporate Vice President, Modern Work Transformation at Microsoft, announced yesterday that Microsoft is introducing several new cross-cloud product features and capabilities designed to optimize, connect, and upskill the manufacturing workforce—helping frontline workers perform at their best today and harness the opportunities of tomorrow.  Read more via Microsoft

Lilly to build two new US manufacturing sites

Eli Lilly and Company intends to invest $2.1 billion into two new manufacturing sites at Indiana’s LEAP Lebanon Innovation and Research District in Boone County, US.

The new facilities will expand Lilly’s manufacturing network for active ingredients and new therapeutic modalities, such as genetic medicines. According to the enterprise, they “represent the company’s dedication to strengthening its portfolio of potentially life-changing treatments.”  Read more via European Pharmaceutical Review

Jubilant HollisterStier nets US government contract to increase activity at its growing facility

A pharmaceutical contract manufacturer that has been growing its presence in the US has secured itself a sizable contract from the US government.

Jubilant HollisterStier, a subsidiary of Singapore-based Jubilant Pharma Limited, has entered into a cooperative agreement for $149.6m with the Army Contracting Command. The deal is also in coordination with the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (JPEO-CBRND) on behalf of BARDA.

The effort, which was funded under the American Rescue Plan, will enable Jubilant HollisterStier to double its injectable filling production capacity at its Spokane, WA manufacturing facility for a total cost of $193m. The project is slated for completion in 2025, according to the company.  Read more via Endpoints News

Tuesday – 05/31/2022

Tesla’s Shanghai factory adds back second shift, restoring manufacturing capacity to level before citywide lockdown: sources

Tesla has put two shifts back into operation at its factory in Shanghai, restoring manufacturing capacity to the level before local authorities imposed a citywide lockdown on April 1 to combat an outbreak of Covid-19.

The Gigafactory 3, also known as Giga Shanghai, is once again able to assemble about 2,600 electric vehicles a day, according to two industry officials with knowledge of the plant’s status who declined to be named as they are not authorised to talk with the media.

This follows weeks of single shift “closed loop” operations at the factory, whereby workers had to sleep on site to avoid contact with outsiders and be tested daily for possible Covid-19 infection.  Read more via South China Morning Post

Robots pick up more work at busy US factories

Robots are turning up on more factory floors and assembly lines as companies struggle to hire enough workers to fill rising orders.

Orders for workplace robots in the U.S. increased by a record 40% during the first quarter compared with the same period in 2021, according to the Association for Advancing Automation, the robotics industry’s trade group.

Robot orders, worth $1.6bn, climbed 22% in 2021, following years of stagnant or declining order volumes, the group said.  Read more via The Wall Street Journal

Norwegian Air Shuttle to buy 50 Boeing 737 MAX, ending dispute

Low-cost carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle said yesterday it would buy 50 Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes, ending a dispute between the companies and helping revive the US-made aircraft after two deadly crashes.

The jets will be delivered between 2025 and 2028, or around the same time that Norwegian’s aircraft leasing deals come to an end, and the contract includes an option for 30 more, the company said in a statement.

The order is welcome news for the US manufacturer’s flagship Boeing 737 MAX 8, which was grounded for 20 months following two fatal accidents and has been gradually returning to service since late 2020.  Read more via The Sun Daily

$1.5m set to boost Michigan’s semiconductor workforce

Amidst rising demands in the US semiconductor market, and great strains being felt within the supply chain, $1.5m in funding has been announced to bolster the semiconductor industry talent pipeline in Michigan, US.

SEMI, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation on Thursday (26th May) announced the funding for SEMI Foundation that will see the development of the SEMI Career and Apprenticeship Network (SCAN) in the US state.  Read more via Gas World

Monday – 05/30/2022

DOE’s Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute releases first public roadmap

The US Department of Energy (DOE) Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CyManII) recently released its first Public Roadmap, which details a five-year plan for the Institute’s activities, priorities, and initiatives. Housed at the University of Texas at San Antonio, CyManII supports early-stage research and development (R&D) to improve the competitiveness of American manufacturing, secure supply chains, and bolster cybersecurity in energy-efficient manufacturing.  Read more via DOE

Firm to move to GE warehouse site, bringing 45 jobs, $2.25m in new payroll to Ravenna

The former GE Distribution Plant in Ravenna will soon become Boston Retail Products, bringing 45 jobs to the Ravenna site.

The business, based in Medford, Mass. received a 1.232 percent, six-year Job Creation Tax Credit from the Ohio Tax Credit Authority for the project. The business expects to open by fall, said Brad Ehrhart, president of the Portage County Development Board.  Read more via Record-Courier

The Manufacturer Podcast: The tech that will make us sustainable

The penultimate episode of series three of The Manufacturer Podcast will look at modern manufacturing technology that could enable a huge push towards a sustainable future.

We welcome our podcast sponsors Accenture on to talk about the latest manufacturing technology, and how it’s being applied in the manufacturing world. Dan Farrell at Accenture, along with Séverine Trouillet from Dassault Systèmes, discuss how this new and exciting tech can enable sustainable growth within the industry.  Read more via The Manufacturer

Tesla rival NIO reportedly recruiting positions to build a US manufacturing plant

According to a report out of China, EV automaker NIO is hiring a number of positions related to manufacturing vehicles in the US. The recruitment descriptions suggest the Chinese automaker intends to begin planning and erecting EV production facilities on US soil that may begin with either complete knock down (CKD) or semi-knock down (SKD) assembly methods.

NIO is an EV automaker originally founded in China in 2014 that has established itself as one of the leading electrified brands, originally beginning with a line of electric SUVs. Following the addition of two EV sedans, NIO has begun expanding to other global markets the past year, starting in Europe.  Read more via electrek

T. Hasegawa USA opens new California food and beverage flavor manufacturing facility

T. Hasegawa USA officially opened a new 60,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., which augments the company’s manufacturing resources in the U.S. market by 50 percent and expands capabilities in sweet flavor production and technology.

The new facility was opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by T. Hasegawa USA CEO Tom Damiano and the company’s U.S. leadership team, who toured the new plant to observe the extensive manufacturing workspace, technical equipment and industry-leading safety equipment.  Read more via Food Enginerring

Friday – 05/27/2022

UK signs first US state-level agreement with Indiana

The UK today (May 27 2022) marks a milestone in trade relations with the US by signing its first state-level trade and economic development Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Indiana.

The MoU creates a framework to remove barriers to trade and investment, paving the way for UK and Indianan businesses to invest, export, expand and create jobs.

Indiana is an entrepreneurial powerhouse, offering UK firms significant opportunities in areas like renewable energy, advanced manufacturing and pharmaceuticals.  Read more via GOV UK

Go up SpaceX’s Starship-catching robotic launch tower with Elon Musk

Wanna tour of SpaceX’s Orbital Launch Tower? Today is your lucky day and who better to give you that tour than Mr SpaceX himself, Elon Musk.

Let Elon walk you around the bottom, explain how they plan to catch the booster with the chopsticks and then go up the elevator stopping at the quick disconnect and on to the upper deck.  Watch now via YouTube

Georgia gives US solar panel manufacturing a big boost with a new factory

Seoul-headquartered PV solar-cell manufacturing giant Q Cells today announced that it’s opening a new solar panel manufacturing facility in Dalton, Georgia.

It’s a $171m expansion of Q Cells’ existing solar module manufacturing plant in Dalton, and that will create 470 additional jobs. Total local Q Cells employees will exceed 1,000 when the expansion is complete.

Groundbreaking is planned for fall 2022 and operation is expected to commence within the first half of 2023.  Watch now via electrek

T. Hasegawa opens new manufacturing plant

T. Hasegawa USA has opened a new 60,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. According to the company, the new facility augments its manufacturing resources in the US market by 50% and expands capabilities in sweet flavor production and technology.

The Rancho Cucamonga facility will primarily service the production of sweet food and beverage flavors, and features large capacity equipment for liquid blending, spray dry technology for powdered flavors, and extraction equipment for flavor extractions, the company said. Additionally, the facility features high-tech tooling used for development and manufacturing of T. Hasegawa’s recent product innovations, including Boostract and EmulsiTract kokumi-enriching products and developing proprietary technologies.  Watch now via Baking Business

Kendal baby formula producer to supply US amid shortage

Baby formula produced in Cumbria is being sent to the US to help amid severe shortages.

Kendal Nutricare has been approved by the US’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to fast-track about two million cans of its Kendamil product.

A combination of US supply chain issues and a manufacturer shutting a factory due to contamination have led to the worst shortages there in decades.  Read more via BBC News