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

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

Friday – 07/23/2021

Rivian is planning a second US factory

Rivian, the Amazon-backed electric automaker that aims to be the first to bring an EV pickup truck to market, plans to open a second U.S. manufacturing factory, sources told TechCrunch, confirming an earlier report from Reuters.

Rivian wouldn’t elaborate on when it planned to build the factory, but did confirm it was in the process of identifying a site for a second plant. Reuters reported that the factory, dubbed Project Tera, would also include battery cell production, a detail that would drive up the cost and size of the factory. — Read more via Tech Crunch

Mercedes-Benz plans all-electric lineup by 2030 — and that includes AMG

Mercedes-Benz on Thursday unveiled its electrification strategy through the end of this decade, which includes three new all-electric vehicle architectures, more research and development spending, new partnerships and more.

In markets where this shift is feasible, Mercedes-Benz is aiming to go all-electric by the end of this decade. An important step on the road to a battery-powered future, by 2022 the automaker plans to offer EVs in every vehicle segment it competes in. Then, from 2025 forward, every new product architecture will be electric-only, giving drivers a battery-powered option for every Mercedes-Benz vehicle. — Read more via Roadshow

10 millionth Camry rolls off line at Georgetown

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, Inc., is celebrating two milestones: the 35th anniversary of its plant in Georgetown, as well as the ten millionth Camry rolling off the assembly line.

The white 2021 Toyota Camry SE, representing one of America’s best-selling vehicles of all time, is a highlight that is capping the 35th anniversary celebration year. — Read more via The Winchester Sun

GlobalFoundries pledges $1bn expansion to ease chip supply crisis

US-based semiconductor manufacturer GlobalFoundries has announced its current US expansion plans, which involve investing $1 billion into their Malta, New York, fabrication plant, as well as longer-term plans to launch a new fab at the same location. The new facility will create around 1,000 new jobs.

The investment to the existing fab will reportedly allow for upgrades to equipment and bring the existing fab to full capacity, creating an additional 150,000 wafers per year. — Read more via Total Telecom

UNF professor receives US manufacturing patent for 3D printing mold tool

Dr. Steve Stagon, University of North Florida mechanical engineering associate professor, has received a U.S. patent for a tool that will revolutionize manufacturing, a 3D printing injection mold tool with improved heat transfer and mechanical strength. This coating technology can save manufacturing businesses time, money and reduce plastic waste.

Stagon invented a printing mold that includes a series of air and/or water cooling channels to limit thermal stresses to 3D printing molds as well as a series of coatings to add to the mold’s surface to extend its lifetime and increase the performance. The coatings improve thermal conductivity, provide a thermal barrier between the injection material and the mold body, and improve the detachment of the final mold product from the mold body. — Read more via EurekAlert

Thursday – 07/22/2021

Elon Musk says Tesla Supercharger network will be open to other cars this year

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Tuesday that the company’s network of DC fast-charging stations for its electric vehicles, also known as the Tesla Supercharger network, will be open to other types of electric vehicles in 2021.

Responding to a Tesla fan on Twitter, where Musk commands a following of 58.3 million, the CEO specifically wrote: “We’re making our Supercharger network open to other EVs later this year.”

Musk did not say where in the world Tesla would make its DC fast-charging stations available for use with other electric vehicles, or which makes and models would be compatible with Tesla’s on-the-road chargers in 2021.

He did say that Tesla intends to make Superchargers open to other electric vehicles in all countries, eventually. — Read more via CNBC

GM truck production takes first hit as chip crunch grinds on

General Motors Co. will halt regular production of its profit-rich trucks for the first time next week because of the continuing semiconductor shortage affecting the industry, the automaker confirmed Wednesday.

GM canceled production of light-duty Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups at its Fort Wayne Assembly plant in Indiana and at its assembly plant in Silao, Mexico, during the week of July 26. The Flint Assembly plant where heavy-duty Silverado and Sierra trucks are built will go down to one shift that same week. Full production is expected to resume the week of Aug. 2. — Read more via The Detroit News

Major drug companies reach landmark $26bn US opioid settlement

A group of state attorneys general in the United States has unveiled a landmark $26bn settlement with major US drug companies accused of fuelling a deadly nationwide opioid epidemic, but some states were cool on the agreement.

Under the settlement proposal released on Wednesday, the three largest US drug distributors – McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen – are expected to pay a combined $21bn, while drugmaker Johnson & Johnson would pay $5bn. — Read more via Al Jazeera

Pfizer partners with Biovac to boost Africa’s vaccine Supply

Pfizer Inc. said it reached an agreement to start production of its Covid-19 vaccine at a facility in Cape Town in an effort to deliver more than 100 million doses annually to African nations.

Pfizer and its German vaccine partner, BioNTech SE, said Wednesday they signed a letter of intent with Biovac Institute, a company partially owned by the South African government, to manufacture the shots. The companies expect to bring Biovac’s Cape Town-based facility into the fold of their broader coronavirus vaccine supply chain by the end of 2021, and to begin producing finished doses in 2022.

At full capacity, Biovac is expected to produce more than 100 million doses per year, all of which would be distributed to the more than 50 member states of the African Union. It will be the first facility in the Southern Hemisphere to use the messenger RNA technology underlying the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, among others. — Read more via Bloomberg

Bell restarts UH-1Y Venom helicopter production for Czech Republic order

Bell has restarted UH-1Y Venom utility helicopter production to fulfil an order placed by the Czech Republic in late 2019.

Production of the UH-1Y stopped in 2018 after the final example of the helicopter was delivered to the US Marine Corps (USMC). However, because the utility helicopter shares 85% of its parts in common with the AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter – which is still in production – Bell was able to restart building of the UH-1Y, it says. — Read more via Flight Global

Wednesday – 07/21/2021

World’s first flying motorcycle is getting one test closer to becoming a reality

California’s Jetpack Aviation has completed flight testing on its first prototype of the Speeder, a jet turbine-powered flying motorcycle that has a top speed of over 200 mph.

The very small VTOL aircraft is powered by four individual turbojet engines and proved to be impressively stable and resilient, including with dummy loads on it and performing in 30-knot winds. — Read more via New Atlas

Biden team sees chip supply gains, relief soon for carmakers

Biden administration officials say they’re starting to see signs of relief for the global semiconductor supply shortage, including commitments from manufacturers to make more automotive-grade chips for car companies that have had to idle production.

US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, who has led President Joe Biden’s efforts on chip supply, has brokered a series of meetings between semiconductor manufacturers, their suppliers, and their customers including automakers. Senior administration officials said the meetings helped ease mistrust between the sides related to the chipmakers’ production and allocation and automakers’ orders. — Read more via Bloomberg

Tesla Semi electric truck is finally about to go into production

After years of delays, Tesla is finally about to start production of Tesla Semi, its all-electric semi-truck.

The whole truck industry is watching.

While there are already a few electric trucks on the road, none of them have the specs enabling longer range hauling in a class 8 semi-truck, like the Tesla Semi is promising. — Read more via elektrek

Wastequip commits to reducing virgin resin use by 25%

In 2020, Wastequip launched CORE (COrporate REsponsibility). This program formalizes Wastequip’s commitment to improving the lives of its employees and the communities in which it operates to maintain a healthy company. Today, Wastequip launches CORE’s first public-facing initiative known as Project25.

Project25 commits to reducing the amount of virgin resin used in the company’s entire cart manufacturing operation by 25%. Focused on Wastequip’s Toter brand, this commitment will help reduce Toter’s carbon footprint by 9% per cart. — Read more via Waste 360

BioNTech strengthens cell therapy pipeline with acquisition of R&D platform and US manufacturing facility

BioNTech will acquire Kite’s solid tumor neoantigen T cell receptor (TCR) R&D platform and clinical manufacturing facility in Gaithersburg, MD.

In acquiring the facility from Kite-owner Gilead, BioNTech is both expanding its manufacturing footprint into North America, as well as expanding its work in individualized cell therapies.

BioNTech already has a cell therapy manufacturing facility in IdarOberstein, Germany: and the US facility will be used to support clinical trials stateside. — Read more via BioPharma-Reporter

Tuesday – 07/20/2021

ProAmpac opens new collaboration and innovation centre in US

Flexible packaging company ProAmpac has opened a new Collaboration & Innovation Center (CIC) at its existing Rochester campus in New York State.

The new global 35,000ft² CIC includes the design and sample lab (DASL), the packaging lab and the analytical and physical packaging lab.

The packaging lab allows product developers to assess and integrate advanced materials for performance and sustainability. — Read more via NS Packaging

$60m GE expansion will create 245 full-time jobs

GE Appliances, a Haier company, completed a $60 million expansion at its global headquarters at Appliance Park to add 4-door refrigerator production, a project creating more than 245 full-time jobs.

The Appliance Park expansion will feature new high-end refrigerators and add new quad-door and counter-depth models to its assembly capabilities. GE says the investment signifies the completion of their domestic conversion to next-generation refrigerants, which offer consumers more environmentally friendly options by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. — Read more via Kentucky Today

Canada aiming to shift to all zero-emission electric vehicles by 2035: Federal government

The government of Canada recently announced its plans to eliminate combustible engine-run cars and light trucks by 2035 as part of its net-zero emissions goal to limit further global warming.

Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said in late June at a press conference over Zoom, that all new vehicles will be either electric, hybrid, or run on fuel such as hydrogen.

Wilkinson said the plan is very ambitious but is required in order to meet the net-zero emissions standards within the Paris Climate Agreement. Other countries are also implementing similar goals such as the United States and the United Kingdom. — Read more via Global News

Toyota launches all-new Aqua

Toyota Motor Corporation announced the launch of its all-new Aqua yesterday.

The all-new Aqua inherits and refines the roles undertaken by its predecessor, and, in pursuit of once again “creating a compact car for the next 10 years”, in addition to a suite of features designed to enable customers to drive their vehicles every day with joy, safety, peace of mind, and comfort, it also realizes superior environmental performance.

In addition to excellent environmental performance such as in the form of low fuel consumption at 35.8 kilometers per liter, it achieves high-quality driving performance by way of comfortable acceleration. The all-new Aqua also features an emergency power supply mode that allows electricity to be drawn from the vehicle for external use during blackouts. — Read more via Toyota

Direct Pack expands manufacturing capacity of North Carolina plant

US-based thermoformed packaging provider Direct Pack has increased the manufacturing capacity of its facility in Rockingham, North Carolina.

The company has added 56,000ft² of space and flexible manufacturing lines and increased the plant’s workforce by 50% since late last year.

The expansion will allow Direct Pack to operate at all hours, increasing its manufacturing capacity by more than 40% and helping to address increasing demand for food packaging. — Read more via Packaging Gateway

Monday – 07/19/2021

American Airlines suspends Sydney flights

American Airlines will drop its long-standing flights between Los Angeles and Sydney from the end of August until at least the end of October.

The move effectively sees the Qantas partner airline pull out of Australian skies, given that LAX-Sydney was American’s only route ‘down under’.

American Airlines has recently begun flying in cargo-only mode from Los Angeles to Sydney, with uniformed crew also on the flight in order to bring passengers and cargo back from Sydney to Los Angeles. — Read more via Executive Traveler

Tesla is charging owners $1,500 for hardware they already paid for

This weekend, Tesla started offering their long-awaited Full Self-Driving subscription package for $199/month. Along with the package, Tesla is offering a $1,500 hardware upgrade for early owners who have old hardware that is not capable of full self-driving tasks.

The problem is, Tesla previously told those same owners that their cars were capable of full self-driving tasks and isn’t allowing those owners to take advantage of the new subscription scheme without paying again for a hardware upgrade that they already paid for. — Read more via Elektrek

Scandinavian Airlines is deploying its brand-new jet to the US to take flyers to a reopening Europe and beyond

Scandinavia is finally opening to American tourists. Sweden and Denmark will both allow American tourists, vaccinated and unvaccinated, this summer after more than one year of being closed off to most of the world.

SAS Scandinavian Airlines, the flag carrier of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, is welcoming back tourists onboard its newest long-haul aircraft, the Airbus A350-900 XWB. — Read more via Insider

Bill Gates and George Soros join buyout of UK Covid testing company

Billionaire philanthropists George Soros and Bill Gates are part of a buyout of Bedford based developer of lateral flow tests.

The founder of Microsoft founder joined the Soros Economic Development Fund in a deal to buy Mologic, which has developed 10-minute Covid tests that it aims to make for as little as $1.

The consortium will pump £30m into Mologic to focus on the low-cost development of tropical diseases such as dengue fever and river blindness, taking it on from current owners Foresight Group LLP and Calculus Capital.

Mologic was founded in 2003 by professor Paul Davis, who was one of the original developers of widely-used ClearBlue pregnancy tests, and his son Mark. The company will be renamed Global Access Health after the deal. — Read more via The Telegraph

Russia’s 737 MAX competitor: 36 MC-21s to be built every year

In his meeting with Vladimir Putin last week, United Aircraft Corporation’s CEO Yuri Slyusar informed the Russian President that the company intends to produce 36 of the narrowbody MC-21 by 2025. Not only that, but UAC, along with manufacturer Irkut, intends to double that output by 2027.

Meanwhile, Rossiya Russian Airlines is preparing to introduce the new Russian single-aisle contender into service by summer next year. — Read more via Simple Flying

Friday – 07/16/2021

Elon Musk admits Tesla’s Cybertruck could flop

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Thursday in an exchange with fans on Twitter that there’s “always some chance” his company’s forthcoming Cybertruck will “flop.” Nonetheless, Musk plans to keep the Cybertruck “production design” almost exactly the same as its show car — a giant metal trapezoid.

But he also said he “doesn’t care” about any risk that the Cybertruck could flop, because he personally loves its design. — Read more via CNBC

Ball Corp (BLL) to Build Plants in UK & Russia to Meet Demand

US-based Ball Corporation BLL announced that it is planning to build beverage can manufacturing facilities with cutting-edge technology, in the U.K. and Russia — another step in its endeavor to increase capacity to meet the growing demand for beverage cans. The facilities that are anticipated to become operational in 2023, are expected to produce billions of cans a year across a range of formats and sizes.

Ball Corp intends to build a plant at the SEGRO Park Kettering Gateway, an established industrial development in Northamptonshire. The plant is expected to break ground this year and will supply cans for domestic customers in a growing range of categories, which includes hard seltzers, wines, ready to drink cocktails, together with pure and enhanced water brands. It will be the company’s third beverage can manufacturing facility in the U.K. In Western Russia, the plant will be built in Ulyanovsk that will help serve the fast-growing Russian market, particularly the beer and energy drinks categories. This will take Ball Corp’s tally of manufacturing plants in Russia to four. — Read more via Nasdaq

TSMC eyes expansion in US, Japan to meet sustained chip demand

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd signalled on Thursday plans to build new factories in the United States and Japan, riding on a pandemic-led surge in demand for chips that power smartphones, laptops and cars.

TSMC, which posted record quarterly sales and forecast higher revenue for the current quarter, said it will expand production capacity in China and does not rule out the possibility of a “second phase” expansion at its $12bn factory in the US state of Arizona.

The world’s largest contract chipmaker and a major Apple Inc (AAPL.O) supplier also said it is currently reviewing a plan to set up a speciality technology wafer fabrication plant, or fab, in Japan. — Read more via Reuters

JMA gets ready to offer ‘Made in the USA’ 5G equipment

Syracuse, New York-based JMA Wireless is getting ready to take the wraps off a massive new manufacturing center in its hometown that will allow the company to build its 5G equipment domestically.

In doing so, JMA joins Ericsson, COMSovereign and others in looking to manufacture 5G equipment in the United States.

The actions dovetail with growing noise around the need for domestic 5G suppliers. And JMA’s efforts could well be buoyed by a shift toward open RAN technology that may open doors to smaller vendors like JMA. — Read more via Light Reading

German Businesses Urge US to End Travel Ban for Its Travellers

In a letter sent from the Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VCMA) and directed to the US embassy in Berlin, the business representatives demand to put an end to the travel ban, ordered by the Biden administration so that German citizens can travel easily across the Atlantic again.

The chain of German-owned companies that stretches out across the United States and the two-century partnership has resulted in billions of dollars invested in American companies and over 900,000 US workers employed at these companies.

This ban imposed in March 2020 by the former President, Donald Trump, was reinstated by his successor in a bid to prevent the further spread of Coronavirus. — Read more via SchengenVisaInfo.com

Thursday – 07/15/2021

SK Siltron’s US unit plans $300m investment in Michigan to support EV growth

SK Siltron’s US unit will announce on Wednesday it plans to invest $300m in Michigan to expand its silicon carbide wafer manufacturing and add 150 jobs to support U.S. electric vehicle production, the company’s chief executive told Reuters.

The investment announcement comes as U.S. automakers are spending tens of billions of dollars to boost EV production and the Biden administration has sought $174bn in funding to expand EV subsidies and charging networks. — Read more via Reuters

Secretary Raimondo announces $153m to promote innovation in biopharmaceutical manufacturing

The US Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has made two awards totaling $153m to the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL). The awards were announced today by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo at the NIIMBL annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

NIIMBL is a public-private partnership designed to accelerate innovation in the U.S. biopharmaceutical industry, which produces vaccines, monoclonal antibodies, gene therapies and other medical products derived from biological sources. NIIMBL is a Manufacturing USA® institute sponsored by the Department of Commerce. — Read more via US Department of Commerce

LG to invest $5.2bn in production of electric vehicle battery materials

LG is to commit $5.2 billion over four years to produce the chemicals and ingredients needed for electric vehicle (EV) batteries as the world’s largest maker of the drivetrains seeks to loosen its reliance on Chinese supplies.

The South Korean giant’s chemical and battery units will “reinvent our company”, LG Chem chief Shin Hak-cheol was quoted as saying in the report, which added that the expansion programme would also include investments and acquisitions in the metal mining, smelting and refining sectors. — Read more via Financial Times

Microsoft launches Windows 365

Microsoft today launched Windows 365, a service that gives businesses the option to easily let their employees access a Windows 10 desktop from the cloud (with Windows 11 coming once it’s generally available). Think game streaming, but for your desktop. It’ll be available for business users (and only business users) on August 2, 2021.

Announced through a somewhat inscrutable press release, Windows 365 has been long expected and is really just an evolution of existing remote desktop services. — Read more via Tech Crunch

Delaware judge approves Boeing’s purchase of TECT Aerospace in Wellington for $19.8m

TECT Aerospace in Kansas, an aerospace supply company with a plant in Wellington, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in early April.

Now, after an auction bid worth $19.84m, Boeing Co. will acquire the aerospace company.

Boeing offered to pay $13.5m in secured debt forgiveness, plus a $5.84m creation fund to cover assumed liabilities and $500,00 in cash.

The agreement was filed on Friday, July 2 but the sale was approved on Tuesday, July 12 by a Deleware judge. — Read more via Wellington Daily News

Wednesday – 07/14/2021

Undelivered Boeing 787 Dreamliners have quality issues, FAA says

The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reportedly found new manufacturing issues in undelivered Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

The issue was “near the nose on certain 787 Dreamliners,” the FAA spokesperson told Reuters on July 13, 2021. “This issue was discovered as part of the ongoing system-wide inspection of Boeing’s 787 shimming processes required by the FAA.”

Adding to that, the FAA spokesperson said the authority would inspect whether the manufacturing changes should be made on Dreamliners that are already in commercial service. — Read more via Aerotime Hub

A pair of beverage companies to invest $740m, bring 400 jobs near Charlotte

Two global beverage companies plan to create more than 400 jobs and invest $740m in Concord by 2027 to create a new beverage manufacturing site, Gov. Roy Cooper announced Tuesday.

The joint venture is between Red Bull and Rauch, Cooper said. The location will be at the sprawling, former Philip Morris cigarette manufacturing site just down the road from Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The two companies will partner to build a new beverage manufacturing, filling and distribution center spanning two million square feet, including office space, at The Grounds at Concord. — Read more via The Charlotte Observer

US oil consumption surging with industry firing at full blast

America’s oil demand has soared to new heights in a remarkable turnaround from just a year ago when the pandemic sent the US economy into a tailspin and decimated demand.

A rolling average of US total oil products supplied – an indicator of consumption – jumped to the highest seasonal level in government data going back three decades in the week ending July 2. While gasoline and diesel demand have returned to pre-pandemic levels, a surge in petroleum use for products such as plastic, asphalt, lubricants and other industrial needs is propelling the recovery. — Read more via Bloomberg

Honeywell And Premier Inc. collaborate to expand US production of nitrile exam gloves

Honeywell and Premier Inc., a leading technology-driven healthcare improvement company, today announced a new commercial relationship dedicated to expanding the domestic production of nitrile exam gloves. This new collaboration is expected to produce at least 750m domestically made nitrile exam gloves in the first year alone.

The collaboration between Premier and Honeywell is expected to expand access to domestically manufactured exam gloves for US hospitals, clinics and other healthcare providers. More than 80 participating Premier member health systems have committed to purchase a certain percentage of the Honeywell gloves for a period of five years. — Read more via Johnson City Press

Nuclear-powered spacecrafts? NASA taps Blue Origin, GE to try it

NASA and the US Department of Energy awarded three $5m contracts to produce reactor-design concepts that could be used to ferry people and cargo to Mars someday.

The U.S. government is drawing on the expertise of Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin space venture, General Electric Hitachi Nuclear Energy and other companies to develop nuclear-powered spacecraft that can travel faster and farther. — Read more via Al Jazeera

Rinnai America expands commitment to domestic manufacturing

Rinnai America, a subsidiary of Rinnai Corporation based in Japan, has become the first major tankless water heater brand to have a U.S. manufacturing facility with advanced automation and precision assembly processes, the company notes.

Within the last few years, the company has looked towards new expansion opportunities, including investing in new markets to sustain innovation as well as operationalizing manufacturing and production to meet need. The North American market was quickly identified as one of the greatest growth vehicles for the company. — Read more via Supply House Times

Tuesday – 07/13/2021

GE Sets 2050 Goal of Zero Emissions From Jet Engines, Gas Power

General Electric Co. vowed to curb the greenhouse gases produced by the use of its products—including thousands of fossil-fueled turbines and jet engines in operation around the world—in a bid to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

The new goal, announced in GE’s annual sustainability report on Monday, signals that the industrial giant plans to go beyond an earlier pledge to make its own operations carbon neutral by 2030. The announcement includes no specific targets or concrete details about how it will achieve those emissions cuts, however, nor has the company yet quantified the reductions necessary to achieve that goal, though it said it would do so in the future. — Read more via Bloomberg

Leading North American building supply manufacturer to open new facility in Bucks County

Pennsylvania Governor, Tom Wolf, announced yesterday that CertainTeed, a subsidiary of Saint-Gobain and a manufacturer of building products including roofing, siding, fencing, and decking, will open a new manufacturing facility in Quakertown, Bucks County, creating 45 new full-time jobs over the next three years, and retaining 533 current positions across the CertainTeed business units within the state. — Read more via The Pennsylvania Governor’s office

Why the US Air Force plans to make a digital replica of the F-16 fighter

The US Air Force (USAF) plans to disassemble and make 3D digital scans of two Lockheed Martin F-16 fighters mothballed in the Arizona desert.

The effort is intended to give the service the precise specifications of the aircraft’s parts and airframe so that it can reproduce components in the future, possibly contracting work to new manufacturers. The USAF believes that having a “digital twin” of the F-16 will help lower future sustainment and modernisation costs, it said on 5 July. — Read more via Flight Global

Tesla finally begins shipping ‘Full Self-Driving’ beta version 9 after a long delay

Tesla began sending out over-the-air software updates for its long-awaited “Full Self-Driving” beta version 9, the definitely-not-autonomous-but-certainly-advanced driver assist system.

As promised by Elon Musk, the software update (2021.4.18.12) began uploading after midnight on Friday, giving thousands of Tesla owners who have purchased the FSD option access to the feature, which enables drivers to use many of Autopilot’s advanced driver-assist features on local, non-highway streets. — Read more via The Verge

Taiwan biotech firm announces manufacturing deal with US company

Taipei-based biotech firm TCI Co. announced on Monday that it is forming a manufacturing partnership with NewAge Inc., an American health products company.

Under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between the two firms, NewAge will sell its 50,000-square-meter manufacturing facility and office in Utah to TCI, which will serve as the headquarters for TCI’s operations in the U.S., TCI said in a statement.

The facility will allow TCI to serve its US clients more efficiently, the company said, adding that it will take over productions as early as in the fourth quarter.

The MOU states that in return, TCI will be providing a combination of US$3.5m in cash and a share of the revenues over the next five years to NewAge, according to a press release issued by the US company. — Read more via Focus Taiwan

Monday – 07/12/2021

Richard Branson reaches space on Virgin Galactic flight

Sir Richard Branson, after nearly 17 years of development and over a billion of dollars invested in Virgin Galactic, achieved his dream and reached space.

The company’s spacecraft VSS Unity launched above the skies of New Mexico on Sunday, with two pilots guiding the vehicle carrying the billionaire founder and three Virgin Galactic employees. VSS Unity – after being released by a carrier aircraft called VMS Eve above 40,000 feet – fired its rocket engine and accelerated to faster than three times the speed of sound in a climb to the edge of space. — Read more via CNBC

Biden taking on Big Agriculture with program to help small family farms

President Joe Biden’s sweeping executive order promoting competition across American industries aims to give a boost to farmers whose profits have dwindled as multinational companies increasingly dominate markets for crops, chemicals, seeds and meat.

Biden’s order includes directives on issues long pushed by some farm groups, such as rules that would help chicken farmers and ranchers win claims against poultry and meat packers, and better-defined “Product of the USA” labels. It also encourages regulators to limit equipment makers’ ability to restrict farmers from repairing their own tractors. — Read more via Business World

China to rein in US IPOs by entertainment companies

The Chinese government on Saturday announced tough new rules that will limit mainland tech firms listing on US stock markets. Surprisingly, this looks like being an area where the two superpowers are likely to agree.

The move will prevent a repeat of the embarrassing incident that took place this month where ride hailing giant Didi Chuxing listed in New York, but was twice struck down by regulatory penalties within a week of its IPO. — Read more via Yahoo! Finance

UK International Trade Secretary visits US to foster closer cooperation on making global trade free and fair

The UK’s International Trade Secretary, Liz Truss, is to meet US Trade Representative, Katherine Tai, to discuss closer cooperation on tackling threats to free and fair global trade during a five-day visit to the US (11-15 July).

Truss’ meeting with Tai will focus on what we can do to work together and combat market-distorting trade practices such as industrial subsidies and dumping, as well as working together to defend workers and companies that play by the rules against unfair practices in the global trading system, by combating forced labour and strengthening supply-chain resilience. — Read more via GOV.UK

US Govt issues right-to-repair law to boost independent device repairs

President Joe Biden signed an executive order Friday that is seen as a win for proponents of independent device repairs.

In a fact sheet on the Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy, the White House said that the order seeks to “make it easier and cheaper to repair items you own by limiting manufacturers from barring self-repairs or third-party repairs of their products.”

The order “encourages” the Federal Trade Commission to “issue rules against anticompetitive restrictions on using independent repair shops or doing DIY repairs of your own devices and equipment,” according to the White House. — Read more via CRN

Friday – 07/09/2021

Jobs and millions of dollars in investment making its way to Greenville County

More jobs and money are headed to Greenville County with two announcements in the last two days. Officials with the Greenville Area Development Corporation said the county is poised to benefit from post-covid investment and the moves serve as an indication of the available workforce Greenville has to offer.

Star EV, which manufactures golf carts, off-road carts, and other recreational vehicles, will invest nearly $9m and add 50 new jobs. Meanwhile, IT Company Epsilon has plans to add an expected 145 new positions and invest more than $2.5m to accommodate what they say is a surging governmental and commercial business demand. — Read more via WSPA.com

S.Korea’s Samsung SDI considers building battery cell plant in US

South Korea’s Samsung SDI Co (006400.KS) may build a battery cell plant in the United States to support the auto industry’s shift to electrification, a company source with close knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Thursday.

Samsung SDI, an affiliate of Samsung Electronics (005930.KS), has been in talks with automakers including Stellantis (STLA.MI), Amazon (AMZN.O) and Ford Motor-backed (F.N) electric vehicle startup Rivian to supply batteries manufactured at its potential U.S. factory, the source said. — Read more via Reuters

Microsoft is giving employees a $1,500 pandemic bonus

Microsoft is gifting its employees a $1,500 pandemic bonus. In an internal memo seen by The Verge, the software giant says this one-time bonus “is in recognition of the unique and challenging fiscal year that Microsoft just completed.”

Microsoft’s chief people officer, Kathleen Hogan, announced the gift to employees today, and it will apply to all eligible employees in both the US and internationally. Microsoft is gifting this bonus to all staff below corporate vice president level that started on or before March 31st, 2021, including part-time workers and those on hourly rates. — Read more via The Verge

NASA announces partners for advanced air mobility testing next year

NASA has announced participants in NC-1, the first full phase of testing in its Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) National Campaign.

NC-1 will include flight demonstrations and simulations at test sites around the United States over several months in 2022. Participants include vehicle, airspace, and infrastructure partners who will help NASA establish how to integrate new aircraft including eVTOL air taxis into the national airspace system. — Read more via eVTOL

Introducing LiveWire ONE, the first product from Harley Davidson’s all-electric LiveWire brand

Harley-Davidson, Inc. has unveiled the LiveWire ONE, an electric motorcycle it says is “built for the urban experience, with the power and range to take you beyond.” LiveWire ONE will debut at IMS North California on July 18th, 2021, with demo rides and wider product experience moments.

The LiveWire ONE will launch at $21,999 and is available to order today at LiveWire.com, in addition to select LiveWire dealers. — Read more via Harley Davidson

Thursday – 07/08/2021

Amtrak invests $7.3bn in new fleet of modern trains to service Northeast

Amtrak is investing $7.3 billion in a new fleet of state-of-the-art trains, including some of its first hybrid-electric powered trains, to modernize its aging fleet and attract more travelers, the company said Wednesday.

The company is buying up to 83 new trains that will operate mostly along the Northeast Corridor. They will also run the long distance Palmetto line from New York to Miami as well as some state-supported routes, replacing Amtrak’s Amfleet, Metroliner and state-owned equipment on certain routes across the country.

Some of the new trains servicing the New York region will be powered by Amtrak’s first hybrid-electric batteries, to cut back on air pollution. — Read more via CNBC

Ford is about to ship thousands of F-150s to dealers as pickup demand remains high

Despite having relatively barren supplies on dealer lots and dismal sales in June, Ford Motor Co. revealed on Friday a dramatic plan to pivot.

Ford is getting a new supply of semiconductor chips and will now ship thousands of F-Series pickup trucks built and parked in lots in states including Michigan, Kentucky and Missouri, the Free Press has learned. The company did not provide specific numbers of vehicles. — Read more via Detroit Free Press

Clark State College to receive over $3M to implement manufacturing technology, training

Clark State College will receive nearly $3.2m to implement Smart Manufacturing technologies and training, according to a release from the school.

The grant is part of a $13m initiative by ARCTOS Technology Solutions to grow manufacturing innovation in the region. ARCTOS Technology Solutions, a Dayton based business unit, is a global aviation services and technology solutions provider to the defense, aerospace, and intelligence markets. — Read more via Clark State College

ROCKWOOL’s second US factory begins commercial production

ROCKWOOL North America has begun commercial production of stone wool insulation products at its newest US manufacturing facility, located in Jefferson County, West Virginia. The state-of-the-art factory produces ROCKWOOL’s residential, commercial and industrial stone wool insulation and marks North America’s first post-pandemic increase in stone wool insulation manufacturing capacity.

The 460,000 square foot facility utilizes industry-leading melting and emissions abatement technologies, including ROCKWOOL’s award-winning fuel-flexible melting technology that makes it possible for the factory to start operations using natural gas instead of coal. Using natural gas as the fuel source reduces the facility’s CO2 emissions by approximately 30 percent. — Read more via Johnson City Press

Elon Musk’s Boring Company gets approval to build tunnels in Florida

Elon Musk’s Boring Company got a step closer to building another tunnel to transport people in Tesla cars, this time in Florida.

On Tuesday evening, Fort Lauderdale approved a proposal from The Boring Company to build tunnels between its downtown and the beach, a route of about three miles. The dual tunnels (one to the coast, the other back) would be called the “Las Olas Loop,” named for the city’s beach on the Atlantic Ocean. The company’s first “Loop” is in Las Vegas. — Read more via Mashable

Wednesday – 07/07/2021

Pentagon hits reset on Trump’s $10bn cloud deal, welcoming new players

The US Defense Department canceled its $10bn JEDI cloud-computing project on Tuesday, reversing the Trump-era award to Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) and announcing a new contract expected to include its rival Amazon.com (AMZN.O) and possibly other cloud players.

The contract was coveted not for its dollar value as much as its prestige: Both companies for years have sought to persuade businesses and governments that it was safe to shift computing work into their data centers. Meeting all the security requirements of the US military would have been a visible stamp of approval likely to sway other corporate and government clients, analysts said. — Read more via Reuters

Nestlé to invest $100m in frozen foods factory in South Carolina

Nestlé has announced plans to invest $100m into the expansion of its frozen food facility in Cherokee County, South Carolina.

First opened in 1980, the Gaffney factory manufactures frozen food entrees for the company’s Stouffer’s and Lean Cuisine brands. The proposed plan includes the addition of a new production line, as well as the expansion of an existing production line.

The project will create approximately 160 new jobs and will ensure that Nestlé can continue to meet growing consumer demand for its frozen food brands. — Read more via FoodBev Media

US Rep. Joaquin Castro seeks federal funding for cybersecurity project at Port San Antonio

US Rep. Joaquin Castro has proposed a $1 million cybersecurity manufacturing innovation park at Port San Antonio that would draw on the expertise of a new research institute at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

The San Antonio Democrat submitted a project on behalf of UTSA and Port SA to the House Appropriations Committee, which was included in the House spending bill, said Michael Alexander Sarabia, Castro’s communications director, on Friday.

The innovation park, which would be located at Port San Antonio, would allow for small and medium industrial defense businesses to come together in order to establish cybersecure satellite production lines and warehousing, as well as give workers better access to workforce training in cybersecurity and energy efficiency, Castro said in a press release. — Read more via San Antonio Report

Mitrex launches operations of new factory in Canada marking world’s largest building with its patented BIPV system

Mitrex, GTA-based solar technology manufacturer of building-integrated photovoltaic technology (BIPV), has officially launched operations of its new production factory in Toronto, Ontario. Now fully operational, the new facility will be the largest building in the world to date incorporating Mitrex’s patented solar solution, including solar cladding, windows and railings.

The facility, which will also act as the company’s head office, will allow Mitrex to localize its production in the Canadian market while ramping up product offerings into other markets including the United States of America. — Read more via Bloomberg

Novartis to make Leqvio for US in Austria to overcome FDA delay

Novartis (NOVN.S) will manufacture anti-cholesterol drug Leqvio at its own plant in Austria to supply the United States as it seeks US approval that has been delayed by regulatory concerns over a contractor’s Italian facility.

Leqvio, which cost Novartis $10bn in a 2019 acquisition, has been approved in Europe but US clearance stalled after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) questioned “unresolved facility inspection-related conditions” at the Italian plant of Novartis supplier Corden Pharma. — Read more via Reuters

Tuesday – 07/06/2021

Major ransomware attack against US tech provider forces Swedish store closures

One of the largest ransomware attacks in history spread worldwide on Saturday, forcing the Swedish Coop grocery store chain to close all 800 of its stores because it could not operate its cash registers.

The shutdown of the major food retailer followed Friday’s unusually sophisticated attack on US tech provider Kaseya. The ransomware gang known as REvil is suspected of hijacking Kaseya’s desktop management tool VSA and pushing a malicious update that infect tech management providers serving thousands of business. read more

Huntress Labs, one of the first to sound the alarm of the wave of infections at the providers’ clients, said Saturday that thousands of small companies might have been hit. — Read more via Reuters

Electronic materials manufacturer agrees to $800m deal to expand US operations

A suburban St. Louis manufacturer of silicon wafers for semiconductors is expanding under an $800m agreement with a semiconductor giant, state and local officials, and other groups.

MEMC Electronic Materials will invest $210m in its O’Fallon, Missouri, facility and add 75 jobs under the deal, Missouri Governor Mike Parson’s office announced.

The project will add a production line for 300-millimeter wafers, which will be used by semiconductor maker GlobalFoundries in the production of computer chips at its advanced manufacturing facility in upstate New York. — Read more via Thomas Insights

China widens data-security probe of US-listed tech companies

A unit of China’s cybersecurity regulator launched data-security reviews of apps operated by two US-listed Chinese companies, days after announcing a similar probe into ride-hailing giant Didi Global Inc.

The latest action targets two truck-hailing apps operated by Full Truck Alliance Co. and an online recruiting app owned by Kanzhun Ltd. Both companies went public in the US in June. Like Didi, they were ordered to stop adding users while the probes are conducted. — Read more via The Wall Street Journal

SK Innovation forms North America battery supply partnership with ESS provider IHI Terrasun

SK Innovation has established a partnership with US energy storage system integration solutions and services company IHI Terrasun Solutions that could see the South Korean manufacturer’s lithium-ion batteries used in Terrasun projects from 2022.

SK Innovation made its first commercial lithium batteries in 1996 and is currently constructing two battery gigafactories in the US state of Georgia with over 20GWh of annual production capacity. Parent company SK Group is involved in various industries from energy to chemicals and the company is investing around US$10bn in the US, including US$1.67bn investment in Georgia, to add to US$8bn of existing assets in the country. Once the Georgia plants are up and running SKI will have about 71GWh of annual production capacity worldwide. — Read more via Energy Storage News

EDF dropping $2m to push for American Jobs Plan

EDF, a notable environmental organization that is especially focused on the business sector, is putting a good chunk of its cash behind the American Jobs Plan.

The organization is spending $2m on ad campaigns to try to persuade the public and congress to get more behind the American Jobs Plan, which will help improve opportunities and quality of life in the United States. — Read more via Clean Technica

Monday – 07/05/2021

Raytheon wins $2bn nuclear cruise missile contract for USAF

Raytheon has won a $2bn US Air Force contract for engineering and manufacturing development of a nuclear-armed cruise missile.

During this phase, manufacturing processes of the Long Range Standoff (LRSO) weapons system will continue to mature and the manufacturing environment will be demonstrated and transitioned to a pilot line readiness state.

The objective at the end of this next phase is to demonstrate full production readiness. Work will be performed in Tucson, Arizona, and is expected to be completed February 2027. — Read more via Aerospace Manufacturing

Sumitomo Electric to double 5G chip production in US to meet shortage

Japanese chipmaker Sumitomo Electric will double supply capacity within its US operations, amidst the continuing supply shortage.

Sumitomo has set up a factory in New Jersey to produce 5G chips, using gallium nitride — a glasslike material– rather than silicon, in its production chain. It offers increased communications capacity and lower power consumption.

The production (and therefore, the retail) price is higher, but adoption of gallium nitride chips is increasing, and is expected to supersede silicon. — Read more via Channel News

Apple and Intel become first to adopt TSMC’s latest chip tech

Apple and Intel have emerged as the first adopters of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.’s next-generation chip production technology ahead of its deployment as early as next year, Nikkei Asia has learned.

The development shows how TSMC continues to be vital to U.S. companies’ chip ambitions, even as Washington attempts to bring more semiconductor production to American soil.

Apple and Intel are testing their chip designs with TSMC’s 3-nanometer production technology, according to several sources briefed on the matter, with commercial output of such chips expected to start in the second half of next year. — Read more via Nikkei Asia

Cincinnati’s ProAmpac acquires British flexible packaging company Ultimate Packaging

Cincinnati-based flexible packaging company ProAmpac has acquired British flexible packaging manufacturer Ultimate Packaging.

The acquisition is intended to strengthen ProAmpac’s flexible food packaging capability and expand its sustainable solutions portfolio.

Ultimate Packaging operates two divisions, namely Ultimate Packaging and Ultimate Digital.

These provide printing techniques and sustainable packaging solutions designed to extend products’ shelf lives and enhance convenience and recyclability.

The financial details of the transaction have not been disclosed. — Read more via Packaging Gateway

Carnival Cruise Line to launch first voyage from US port since last year

The Carnival Vista is set to sail on Saturday afternoon out of Galveston, Texas, marking Carnival Cruise Line’s first UScruise since the pandemic halted its operations.

The week-long cruise is set to travel to Roatan, Belize, and Cozumel. Passengers aboard must show proof of vaccination, or be pre-approved for an exemption by Carnival, which is following strict guidelines.

The next day, its Carnival Horizon ship will leave Miami. — Read more via CNBC

Friday – 07/02/2021

US manufacturing output growth eases as supply-chain disruption worsens, despite marked rise in client demand

June PMI data from IHS Markit signaled the joint-fastest improvement in the health of the US manufacturing sector on record. The upturn was supported by further  arked expansions in output and new orders, but supply chain disruptions worsened and weighed on production capacity. Vendor performance deteriorated to the greatest extent on record. Input costs meanwhile showed the largest jump on record, feeding through to another record rise in factory selling prices. — Read more via IHS Markit

Manufacturing center opens in North Lawndale, bringing jobs and investment

A light manufacturing center has opened in the K-Town neighborhood, and it could bring up to 100 jobs to the area.

The K-Town Business Centre, which opened Monday, is a 60,000-square-foot manufacturing, distribution and warehouse facility at 4647 W. Polk St. The new center was planned by the Will Group, a manufacturing company that specializes in electrical products and lighting.

Before relocating to K-Town, the Will Group’s manufacturing headquarters was in a rented building at 5261 W. Harrison St. in Austin. The group owns the new facility and has room to grow.

The $20m manufacturing center was built in the neighborhood’s industrial corridor on 3.3 acres of land that had been vacant for decades. — Read more via Block Club Chicago

US manufacturing price index at highest level since 1979

Supply chain issues and material shortages are causing price hikes across the US manufacturing sector, according to the latest data from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM).

In June, manufacturers reported the biggest price jump in 42 years, with the ISM’s manufacturing price index rose to 92.1% last month, up 4.1 percentage points and hitting its highest mark since July 1979. It was the 13th straight month of price increases in the sector. — Read more via Institute for Supply Management

GE Steam Power to refurbish 3GW Ontario nuclear plant

Ontario Power Generation has signed up GE Steam Power to play a significant role in the Canadian utility’s massive refurbishment of its 3GW Darlington Nuclear Generating Station.

The $120m project agreement between Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and GE Steam Power includes turnkey installation and commissioning of steam turbine and excitation control system upgrades. The work also will include generator and auxiliary upgrades for three of Darlington’s four units. — Read more via Power Engineering International

Next generation Jammer Mid-Band ready for production: US Navy

The US Navy (USN) has given the green light for the Raytheon-made Next Generation Jammer Mid-Band to start low-rate initial production, after finishing the Milestone C assessment for the programme.

The service gave production approval on 28 June, it said on 29 June. An initial production contract award is anticipated soon. — Read more via Flight Global

Thursday – 07/01/2021

Rolls-Royce to expand mtu Aiken Plant to add remanufacturing and overhaul capabilities

Rolls-Royce has announced the addition of a new Remanufacturing and Overhaul Regional Center at our mtu Aiken manufacturing facility in Graniteville, South Carolina.  The project will provide dedicated and streamlined remanufacturing and overhaul operations to support growth based on customer demand.

To be built next to mtu’s existing engine manufacturing operations, the new center will bring currently outsourced workshop and warehouse operations in-house and expand them to provide remanufacturing of mtu Series 2000 and 4000 engines and components; the overhaul of mtu brand and customer owned engines; and internal and external rework services to help customers and distributors fine-tune maintenance and performance metrics. The planned $17.4m investment will create a 109,000-sq-ft facility. — Read more via Rolls-Royce

Fujifilm announces $850m investment to add additional development and manufacturing capacity

Fujifilm Corporation announced yesterday a $850m investment package to accelerate the growth of its core Bio CDMO subsidiary, Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies.

The investments will be made to increase capacity for biologics including recombinant vaccines for COVID-19 and advanced gene therapies in the United Kingdom and the United States.

The expansions will double cell culture production for recombinant vaccines in the United States. — Read more via Fujifilm

Elon Musk: SpaceX is sending Starship and its Super Heavy rocket to space soon

For almost two decades now, Elon Musk’s vision for SpaceX has been to send a “big fucking rocket” to Mars. For a few years, the planned vehicle that would make the trip was simply referred to as “BFR.” Today it’s been rechristened Starship, and after its first successful suborbital test flight and landing, Musk says it could now be on the verge of going to actual space for the first time.

“We’re hoping to do our first orbital launch attempt in the next few months. We certainly will have a booster and a ship, an orbital capable booster and orbital capable ship and the orbital launch site will be ready within the next month or so,” Musk said Tuesday during a virtual keynote to Mobile World Congress 2021. — Read more via CNET

BMW i Ventures announces new $300m fund to invest in sustainable technology

BMW i Ventures, the venture capital arm of BMW Group, has announced a new $300m fund to further its investment in technologies that make transportation, manufacturing and supply chains more sustainable.

The firm doesn’t operate as a traditional corporate venture capital fund, but rather acts independently from BMW while being fully backed by the German automaker. Its previous €500m (about $525m at the time) fund, which was announced when the firm moved to Silicon Valley in 2016, is now at the end of its period for new investments. From now on, new investments will come from Fund II. — Read more via Tech Crunch

US companies added 692,000 jobs in June, new data reveals

US companies added more jobs in June than expected, indicating further progress in the nation’s labor market recovery.

The 692,000 gain in private payrolls followed a downwardly revised 886,000 increase in May, according to ADP Research Institute data released Wednesday. — Read more via ADP Research Institute

Wednesday – 06/30/2021

United Airlines bets on post-pandemic growth with its biggest-ever jet order

United Airlines Holdings Inc. is making its largest ever plane order, adding Boeing and Airbus jets to fuel its post-pandemic growth plans.

The Chicago-based airline said Tuesday that it will purchase 200 of Boeing Co. ’s 737 MAX jets and 70 larger Airbus SE A321neos, a deal valued at more than $30 billion at list prices before customary discounts. United is looking to replace most of its 50-seat jets and other smaller, older aircraft with these larger planes that can carry more passengers and allow it to sell more premium seats as part of a strategy to expand flying out of its main hubs and to lure more high paying travelers. — Read more via The Wall Street Journal

White House plans to attribute the Microsoft Exchange hack soon

The White House will soon officially assign responsibility for an extensive attack on Microsoft Exchange servers and decide on next steps, according to a top cybersecurity official.

“I think you saw the National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan say that we will attribute that activity,” Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology Anne Neuberger said Tuesday. More on the decision and follow-on action will be announced “in the coming weeks.”

Neuberger was speaking with Dmitri Alperovitch, founder of the security firm CrowdStrike and executive chairman of Silverado Policy Accelerator, during an event on the administration’s cyber strategy. — Read more via Nextgov

Honda to manufacture its own EVs for North America after GM-made models go on sale

Although General Motors will build Honda’s first two fully electric vehicles for North America, the Japanese automaker plans to change course and manufacture its own later this decade. Company officials say they’re developing their own EV architecture, and after two GM-made EVs go on sale in 2024, Honda will start building its own.

“It’s absolutely our intention to produce in our factories,” Honda of America Executive Vice President Dave Gardner said, adding that Honda has developed battery manufacturing expertise from building gas-electric hybrids. “We absolutely intend to utilise that resource.”

Honda and GM have been partners on hydrogen fuel cell and electric vehicles. Earlier this year they announced that GM would build one Honda SUV and one Acura SUV using its Ultium-branded electric vehicle architecture and battery system. The company said the Honda SUV would be named the Prologue, and that both SUVs will have bodies, interiors and driving characteristics designed by Honda. — Read more viaTech2

Amgen to build new $365m manufacturing plant in Ohio

Amgen is set to construct a new $365m product advanced assembly and packaging facility near Columbus, Ohio, expanding its manufacturing network in the US.

The greenfield facility is intended to assemble and package vials and syringes to meet the rising demand for the company’s drugs.

Construction work will begin this year and the plant is scheduled to start operations by 2024. — Read more viaPharmaceutical Technology

New face mask prototype can detect Covid-19 infection

Engineers at MIT and Harvard University have designed a novel face mask that can diagnose the wearer with Covid-19 within about 90 minutes. The masks are embedded with tiny, disposable sensors that can be fitted into other face masks and could also be adapted to detect other viruses.

The sensors are based on freeze-dried cellular machinery that the research team has previously developed for use in paper diagnostics for viruses such as Ebola and Zika. In a new study, the researchers showed that the sensors could be incorporated into not only face masks but also clothing such as lab coats, potentially offering a new way to monitor health care workers’ exposure to a variety of pathogens or other threats. — Read more via MIT News

Tuesday – 06/29/2021

China’s 1-cent masks drive US manufacturers to the brink

American manufacturer Premium-PPE has seen its monthly mask production plunge nearly 90% from last year’s peak, falling to 4 million to 5 million.

Idle equipment and piles of unsold merchandise fill its factory in the city of Virginia Beach. Its workforce, once boasting as many as 280 people, has shrunk to about 50. And the company blames cheap imports from China for its reversal of fortune. — Read more via Nikkei Asia

Wipro arm buys aerospace manufacturing facility in US for $31m

Wipro Givon USA, an arm of Wipro Infrastructure Engineering, is buying the Washington manufacturing facility of Boeing supplier TECT Aerospace Group Holdings for $31m.

Wipro’s bid for the manufacturing site was the only qualified offer submitted, TECT told the US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. The court gave the go-ahead for the deal. — Read more via Times of India

GE advances wind turbine blade recycling with European partnerships

GE Renewable Energy is collaborating with European partners neowa and LafargeHolcim to advance wind turbine recycling and reuse as part of broader efforts to contribute to the European Commission’s (EC) circular economy action plan.

As governments and corporations aim to achieve their net zero targets, wind turbines are expected to grow significantly in the decades ahead. According to the Global Wind Energy Council, 2020 added 93 GW of new capacity installed – a 53% year-on-year increase – but that is not nearly enough to meet renewable energy targets. — Read more via Environment & Energy Leader

Infrastructure spending promises boost for US industry

Plans to pump money into rebuilding the nation’s roads, bridges and other infrastructure could give companies that make machinery and materials a solid foundation for growth.

Caterpillar, with its heavy machinery, and construction materials company Vulcan Materials could see years of additional business as roads and bridges are rebuilt and buildings are modernized. The benefits would be even broader, impacting Sherwin-Williams, United Rentals and others that make, sell, or rent anything used for construction. — Read more via Daily Commercial News

Raytheon forms industry team to develop US Army ground station

Raytheon announced June 28 it is teaming with seven aerospace and data analytics companies to develop a ground station for the U.S. Army that can process data from air and space sensors.

Raytheon and Palantir in January were selected to develop competing concepts for the Army’s tactical intelligence targeting access node, or TITAN. The Army wants a mobile ground station that fuses and analyzes data from satellites, aerial and terrestrial sensors. — Read more via Space News

Monday – 06/28/2021

Tesla dealt big blow as almost all cars in China need safety fix

Tesla Inc.’s aspirations in China were dealt a major blow over the weekend after the government ordered that almost all the cars it’s sold in the nation — more than 285,000 of them — be fixed to address a safety issue.

The State Administration for Market Regulation said in a statement on Saturday that the action involves 211,256 locally produced Model 3 vehicles and 35,665 imported ones, as well as 38,599 China-made Model Ys. The California-based carmaker only began deliveries of the Model Y sports-utility vehicle in January, so the recall will affect pretty much every driver who bought one. — Read more via Bloomberg

Former OSHA head David Michaels calls for transformation of US worker safety

Having ran the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration from 2009 to 2017, former director David Michaels knows better than most what the agency needs to become better.

Now a professor at the George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health, Michaels points out that when OSHA was created, the initial buzz brought a national focus on industrial safety, and fatalities and injuries declined. Death and injury rates have flatlined in recent years, however. — Read more via Chemical & Engineering News

First cruise ship sails from US as industry seeks comeback

The first cruise ship to board passengers at a United States port in 15 months was to sail on Saturday from the industry’s South Florida hub in a symbolic stride towards normalcy that will be watched closely by health experts as vaccines curb the coronavirus’ spread in the country.

Industry officials hope that the Celebrity Edge’s voyage serves as a bookend for people for whom the gravity of the pandemic first hit home in the alarming reports last year of deadly outbreaks on crowded ships, with guests quarantined for weeks, vessels begging to dock, and sickened passengers carried away on stretchers at ports. — Read more via The Gleaner

SpaceX aiming for July for Starship orbital launch despite regulatory reviews

SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell says the company is “shooting for July” for the first orbital launch of the company’s Starship vehicle despite lacking the regulatory approvals needed for such a launch.

Speaking at the National Space Society’s International Space Development Conference (ISDC) June 25, Shotwell said the company was pressing ahead with plans for an orbital flight involving the Super Heavy booster and Starship upper stage from the company’s Boca Chica, Texas, test site. — Read more via Space News

Citing a serious flight test incident and lack of design maturity, FAA slows Boeing 777X certification

In yet another blow to Boeing, the Federal Aviation Administration last month formally denied the jet maker permission to move forward with a key step in certifying its forthcoming giant widebody airplane, the 777X.

In a sternly worded letter dated May 13, which was reviewed by The Seattle Times, the FAA warned Boeing it may have to increase the number of test flights planned and that certification realistically is now more than two years out, probably in late 2023.

That could push the jet’s entry into commercial service into early 2024, four years later than originally planned. — Read more via The Seattle Times

Friday – 06/25/2021

Elon Musk says Starlink will go public when its cash flow is more predictable

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said he will only publicly list satellite broadband service Starlink when its cash flow is more predictable.

Starlink, which is currently operated by space exploration firm SpaceX, allows people to connect to the internet via a satellite dish that is placed on or near their property. The internet is beamed down to the dish via Starlink satellites that have been put into orbit by SpaceX.

“Going public sooner than that would be very painful,” Musk said in a tweet late Wednesday. “Will do my best to give long-term Tesla shareholders preference.”

The billionaire’s tweet came after a Twitter user asked him: “Any thoughts on Starlink IPO we would love to invest in the future. Any thoughts on first dibs for Tesla retail investors?” — Read more via CNBC

GlaxoSmithKline plans to ‘relaunch’ Shingrix after the pandemic decimated sales

GlaxoSmithKline, set to unshackle itself from its consumer health business next year, plans to make vaccines a major focus for the so-called “New GSK.” Blockbuster shingles vaccine Shingrix will play a key role.

Over the next decade, GSK aims to position itself as the world’s “leading vaccines company,” Roger Connor, president of Glaxo’s global vaccines business, said on a call with investors Wednesday. It’s “crown jewel” Shingrix will do much of the heavy lifting in the near-term, buoyed by the company’s meningitis franchise as well, he said.

Overall, the company’s efforts should yield a “high single-digit” average growth rate in vaccines over the next five years, GSK execs said. — Read more via Fierce Pharma

India’s richest man announces $10bn bet on renewables

India’s oil-to-telecoms conglomerate Reliance Industries plans to invest more than US$10 billion in three years in a new business unit that will build solar module, battery storage, electrolyser, and fuel cell factories, chairman Mukesh Ambani told the group’s annual general meeting on Thursday.

Reliance Industries is the most valuable company in India and has diversified operations, including oil refining. Reliance Industries owns the biggest refinery in India and the biggest refining hub in the world, Jamnagar. The refinery has a crude oil processing capacity of 1.24 million barrels per day, while Reliance Industries is also invested in oil exploration and production, petrochemicals, textiles, telecoms, and retail.

As part of a drive to be part of India-made energy transition solutions, Reliance will now create a renewables division in which it will invest US$10.1 billion (750 billion Indian rupees) in three years, Ambani said today. — Read more via Oil Price

GE outlines nuclear’s role as a pillar of a low-carbon world

Nuclear power, the largest source of carbon-free electricity generation today, should continue to be a pillar in the energy transition to a carbon-free future and in helping countries achieve energy security, GE says in a newly published ‘positioning paper’. It says two parallel paths are needed: maximizing the lifetime output of the existing installed fleet and building new nuclear plants with best-in-class technology.

GE’s steam turbine technology operates in 50% of the world’s nuclear power plants, producing 200 gigawatts (GW) for the global grid. With a global fleet of 53 GW, 99.96% reliability, and capable of generating 2% more power output than a previous turbine configuration, GE’s says its Arabelle steam turbine is compatible with all large-size reactors. It is also developing a small modular reactor (SMR), the BWRX 300. — Read more via World Nuclear News

US durable goods orders rise 2.3% in May

Orders to US factories for big-ticket manufactured goods rose for the 12th time in the last 13 months in May, pulled up by surging demand for civilian aircraft.

The Commerce Department said Thursday that orders for durable goods – meant to last at least three years – climbed 2.3% in May, reversing a 0.8% drop in April and coming despite a backlogged supply chain and a shortage of workers. Orders for aircraft shot up 27.4% last month after climbing 31.5% in April. Excluding transportation orders – which can bounce wildly from month to month – durable goods orders rose 0.3% last month, down from a 1.7% gain in April.

A category that tracks business investment – orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft – dipped 0.1% in May after rising 2.7% in April. — Read more via Mail Online

Thursday – 06/24/2021

US-based 1366 Technologies to invest $300m in solar manufacturing in India, seeking local partner

Solar wafer provider 1366 Technologies is actively exploring manufacturing opportunities in India, seeking a local partner.

US-based 1366 Technologies, which is backed by Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Venture, confirmed to PV Tech that it intends to invest US$300 million to establish a 2GW wafer and cell manufacturing facility in India, CEO and founder Frank van Mierlo has said.

Reports say the successful partner will handle module manufacturing and the establishment of solar farms in India. 1366 is in talks with Indian firms but van Mierlo would not name them, citing non-disclosure agreements. — Read more via PV Tech

Plastics manufacturer Nissei to move US headquarters from California to San Antonio

An international plastics manufacturer has announced plans to move its U.S. headquarters to San Antonio, the fourth business in the past year to relocate to the area.

The San Antonio Economic Development Foundation said Wednesday that plastics manufacturer Nissei America will consolidate the company’s US operations in San Antonio, relocating its main office from Anaheim, California, to its facility at Brooks in July. The others making the move to San Antonio from other areas include Pabst Brewing, battery manufacturer Saueressig Engineering, and tech company Skipcart. — Read more via San Antonio Report

Dreyer’s investing in Indiana ice cream plant

Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, Inc., a subsidiary of UK-based Froneri, has unveiled plans to invest $145m to further expand its ice cream production plant in Fort Wayne.

As part of its latest round of investment, Dreyer’s said it will add two new production lines for the company’s Drumstick products, set to be fully operational by the end of 2023. That’s in addition to another new Drumstick production line, announced in October 2020, which is already up and running.

Dreyer’s currently employs about 400 at its Fort Wayne facility, and the expansion is expected to add 145 more manufacturing jobs by the end of 2024 to support the new Drumstick ice cream production lines. — Read more via Food Business News

GE Research tests 3D printed heat exchanger at temperatures up to 900°C

Back in 2019, GE Research embarked on a project to develop a high temperature and super-compact heat exchanger using additive manufacturing. The project, undertaken in cooperation with ORNL and the University of Maryland, aimed to unlock cleaner and more efficient power generation. Fast forward to today, and GE Research has revealed the significant progress it has made on the heat exchanger project.

The $3.1m project—part of the ARPA-E’s High Intensity Thermal Exchange through Materials and Manufacturing Processes program (HITEMMP)—has taken a significant step forward with the development and testing of a subscale 3D printed heat exchanger at temperatures reaching up to 900°C. The prototype heat exchanger’s performance has exceeded existing devices by more than 200°C! In terms of pressure, the 3D printed device has reportedly achieved close to half the 250 bar (3626 psi) target. — Read more via 3D Printing Media Network

Microsoft joins Space ISAC to support cybersecurity

The Space Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC) welcomed its newest member, Microsoft, June 23 with an announcement highlighting the tech giant’s cybersecurity expertise.

“Space cybersecurity is relatively unknown territory because we’re approaching and doing some things for the first time, fortunately through Space ISAC we have the opportunity to build a foundation for protection from a knowledge pool with deep security expertise,” Frank Backes, chair of the Space ISAC board of directors and Kratos Space Federal senior vice president, said in a statement. “Microsoft brings its longstanding history of proficiency in cybersecurity to its role as a founding member including its experience detecting and stopping attacks and eliminating persistent threats which brings clear value our membership.”

Microsoft has been expanding its role in the space sector largely through partnerships. Microsoft announced Azure Orbital in 2020 to link satellite networks with the Azure cloud. Microsoft also has revealed partnerships with Amergint Technologies, Kratos, KSAT, Kubos, SES, Thales Alenia Space, U.S. Electrodynamics and ViaSat. — Read more via Space News

Wednesday – 06/23/2021

Boeing to Boost UK Royal Air Force Chinook Fleet

US Special Operations Command awarded Boeing a $578m Foreign Military Sales contract approved by the U.S. Department of State to deliver 14 extended-range Chinook helicopters to the UK Royal Air Force (RAF).

The extended range Chinook gives the RAF fleet more versatility to execute the domestic and international heavy-lift missions that only the Chinook can facilitate.

“These Chinooks are the future of heavy-lift, built on an existing foundation of advanced capability and life cycle affordability,” said Andy Builta, Boeing vice president and H-47 program manager. “This contract for Block II aircraft sets the stage for the next 60 years of Chinook excellence on the battlefield.”

Boeing and the RAF recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of the first Chinook delivery to the UK. Boeing will also celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Chinook’s first flight later this year. — Read more via Boeing

US chip foundry announces new manufacturing plant in Singapore

US-headquartered semiconductor manufacturer GlobalFoundries announced Tuesday that it will build a new fabrication plant in Singapore to meet the unprecedented global demand for chips.

The new facility will be developed in partnership with the Singapore Economic Development Board and with co-investments from committed customers, GlobalFoundries said. More than $4bn will be invested into the development, according to the company. — Read more via CNBC

Reshoring could drive $443bn in US economic opportunity

The latest Thomas State of North American Manufacturing Report reveals that manufacturers are keen to reshore parts of their supply chains, potentially contributing an injection of $443bn into the US economy.

Furthermore, 83% of manufacturers indicate they are ‘likely’ to ‘extremely likely’ to reshore. — Read more via Thomas

US manufacturing activity in Mid-Atlantic expanded in June

Manufacturing activity expanded across the central Atlantic region of the US in June amid increasing new orders, research from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond showed Tuesday.

The Fifth District Survey of Manufacturing Activity’s composite index came in at 22 in June, up from 18 in May. The reading beats the forecasts from economists polled by The Wall Street Journal, who expected the indicator to stand at 18. — Read more via Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

Exclusive: Jaguar’s luxury reinvention to start from £100k

Jaguar Land Rover CEO Thierry Bolloré has shone new light on his plans to reinvent Jaguar as a luxury car brand.

Bolloré’s ‘Reimagine’ strategy has already revealed plans to reposition Jaguar and take it all-electric with a whole new product range arriving from 2025. But in his first interview since taking charge of JLR last September, Bolloré has told Auto Express that the initial design work for a new family of Jaguars has been completed and that the brand will be competing against Bentley, with prices in the region of £100,000. — Read more via Auto Express

Tuesday – 06/22/2021

Top cities where US manufacturing is thriving

An analysis by AdvisorSmith Solutions Inc., a New York-based small business insurance firm, of nearly 300 US cities has placed Elkhart, Ind., as the top city where US manufacturing is thriving.

AdvisorSmith based its rankings on four key economic factors: manufacturing output growth rate, manufacturing output per capita, manufacturing location quotient, and manufacturing employment growth rate. — Read more via AdvisorSmith

Tesla to hold AI Day in “about a month” for hiring – Musk

Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) chief Elon Musk is considering holding an AI Day in about a month, where the Silicon Valley billionaire will showcase the progress in AI software and hardware with an aim to recruit.

“Looking at holding Tesla AI Day in about a month or so. Will go over progress with Tesla AI software & hardware, both training & inference. Purpose is recruiting,” Musk tweeted on Monday.

His latest plan to promote Tesla’s technology comes amid the hiccups faced in the company’s path to achieve full self-driving technology. — Read more via Reuters

Walmart US CEO highlights American manufacturing as key solution to easing supply chain challenges

Over the past year, the global supply chain for the consumer markets has been severely strained by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a fact that Walmart US president and CEO John Furner acknowledged during the NRF Retail Converge conference.

“We all recognize the restraints put on the supply chain around the world — and that can be everything from a manufacturer that had to close or a raw material that wasn’t available to even as recent as things like port delays,” Furner said during a virtual conversation with Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation.

The head of the retail giant’s US division noted that Walmart is making major investments to strengthen its operations over the next few years to ensure it can meet customer expectations and deliver goods in a timely manner. — Read more via Footwear News

Boeing ousts longtime head of government relations in Washington, D.C.

Tim Keating, Boeing’s executive vice president of government operations, the company’s chief lobbyist and political strategist in Washington, D.C., and a leading figure on the jet maker’s leadership council, is “no longer with the company.”

That was the curt wording in a Monday afternoon memo from Chief Executive Dave Calhoun to Boeing’s government operations team, telling them that “effective immediately” Marc Allen, the company’s chief strategy officer, would abruptly take over Keating’s role on an interim basis. — Read more via The Seattle Times

Arizona is ‘building back better’ by reshoring critical technology

Arizona has been a top choice of automobile and chip manufactures owing to its availability of talent, a business friendly environment, low energy costs and the overall infrastructure that has created a business ecosystem for high tech manufacturing. Starting with Apple’s data center in 2015, several technology companies have chosen locations outside of California in favor of Arizona.

As of 2021, the state houses the Tesla rival, Lucid motors, TSMC, one of the world’s largest chip makers from Taiwan, Intel, Caterpillar, Blue Yonder and Zoom to name a few.  — Read more via The Hill

Monday – 06/21/2021

American Airlines to cut 1% of July flights as travel rebound strains operations

American Airlines (AAL.O) on Sunday said it would cancel around 1% of its flights in July to serve a surprise uptick in travel demand at a time when the airline struggles with unprecedented weather and a labor shortage at some of its hubs.

American Airlines said the move would bring additional resilience and certainty to its summer operations. — Read more via Reuters

‘When is this going to end?’: US factory town devastated by jobs moving overseas

The Viatris plant at Chestnut Ridge, just outside Morgantown in West Virginia, has been in operation since 1965, providing well paid jobs in one of America’s poorer states. But, unfortunately, it’s closing down and laying off workers.

With the closure of the 56-year-old pharmaceutical plant, between 1,500 and 2,000 jobs will go to India and Australia.

As the COVID-19 pandemic rolls on, and the need for vaccine production continues, the timing of the closure has also been brought into question. — Read more via The Guardian

Manufacturing veteran starts recruiting firm to meet industry’s talent needs

As a veteran of the machine and cutting tools industry, Jeff Swift launched Swift Placement and Consulting this month to meet the talent needs of a niche manufacturing segment.

Swift broke into the business at the age of 17 when he completed a machinist apprenticeship. He would later embark on a long career primarily in machine tool sales and executive roles. — Read more via MiBiz

How Microsoft’s digital transformation created a trillion dollar gain

At a time when most digital transformations are falling short, last week’s appointment of CEO Satya Nadella as chair of Microsoft’s board is a shout of confidence in Nadella’s leadership and in the digital transformation that he has led since 2014. After having split the CEO and chairman’s roles in 2014, rejoining them is an unusual governance move. — Read more via Forbes

Volkswagen plans to use new 3D printing process in vehicle production

Volkswagen is pressing ahead with the use of innovative 3D printers in car production. For the first time, metal binder jetting is being used to manufacture components at the company’s main plant in Wolfsburg, Germany.

Volkswagen is currently the only carmaker using this 3D printing technology in the production process. “Despite the ongoing challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, we’re continuing to work on innovation”, said Christian Vollmer, member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Brand responsible for Production and Logistics. “Together with our partners, we aim to make 3D printing even more efficient in the years ahead and suitable for production-line use”. — Read more via 3D Printing Media Network