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The Wire

  • New tunnel, premium RV section at Talladega Superspeedway on schedule despite weather

    Excerpt:

    Construction of a new oversized vehicle tunnel and premium RV infield parking section at Talladega Superspeedway is still on schedule to be completed in time for the April NASCAR race, despite large amounts of rainfall and unusual groundwater conditions underneath the track.

    Track Chairman Grant Lynch, during a news conference Wednesday at the track, said he’s amazed the general contractor, Taylor Corporation of Oxford, has been able to keep the project on schedule.

    “The amount of water they have pumped out of that and the extra engineering they did from the original design, basically to keep that tunnel from floating up out of the earth, was remarkable,” Lynch said.

  • Alabama workers built 1.6M engines in 2018 to add auto horsepower

    Excerpt:

    Alabama’s auto workers built nearly 1.6 million engines last year, as the state industry continues to carve out a place in global markets with innovative, high-performance parts, systems and finished vehicles.

    Last year also saw major new developments in engine manufacturing among the state’s key players, and more advanced infrastructure is on the way in the coming year.

    Hyundai expects to complete a key addition to its engine operations in Montgomery during the first half of 2019, while Honda continues to reap the benefits of a cutting-edge Alabama engine line installed several years ago.

  • Groundbreaking on Alabama’s newest aerospace plant made possible through key partnerships

    Excerpt:

    Political and business leaders gathered for a groundbreaking at Alabama’s newest aerospace plant gave credit to the formation of the many key partnerships that made it possible.

    Governor Kay Ivey and several other federal, state and local officials attended the event which celebrated the construction of rocket engine builder Blue Origin’s facility in Huntsville.

1 week ago

Southern Research expanding additive manufacturing capabilities with key hire

(Southern Research)

Southern Research announced that Robert Amaro, a mechanical engineer with expertise in metallurgy and solid modeling, will spearhead an expansion of the organization’s activities in additive manufacturing, a technology revolutionizing how complex aerospace parts and other industrial components are made.

Amaro, Ph.D., joins Birmingham-based Southern Research from the University of Alabama, where he conducted federally funded research on how metals behave in environments that contribute to structural problems such as fatigue, fracture and large-scale deformation.

In his new role as manager of Advanced Materials Technologies, Amaro will help companies in aerospace, energy and other industries better understand the physical properties and performance capabilities of parts produced using additive technologies.

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Jim Tucker, director of Materials Research for Southern Research’s Engineering division, said expanding the advanced materials group’s expertise in additive manufacturing will complement its longstanding focus on composites.

For decades, Southern Research has been considered a world leader in the high-temperature evaluation of composite materials used in heat shields and other components in NASA spacecraft and ballistic missiles.

“Just as composites did, additive manufacturing is changing the whole concept of how high-performance parts are designed and manufactured,” Tucker said. “Southern Research intends to stay at the center of materials testing for a range for industries, and Robert will help position us for the next generation of advanced materials.”

Ensuring precision

Additive manufacturing – sometimes called 3-D printing – involves techniques that create three-dimensional objects by depositing one superfine layer of material over another. The process is controlled by computer-aided design (CAD) software and can involve laser or electron beams.

Manufacturers are embracing additive technologies because they can rapidly produce intricate parts that are lighter and stronger than ones fabricated using conventional means such as machining.

Because the techniques are so new, however, there can be questions about the structural integrity of components built with additive technologies that require extensive post-build testing.

Amaro’s work at Southern Research will aid companies and organizations using additive technologies to ensure consistent component builds and high-precision industrial production while simultaneously minimizing and quantifying defects.

“Basically, we will offer a component build-to-solid model infrastructure that closes the gap between what it is that is being built through additive manufacturing and what is being put into service,” Amaro said. “If we can decrease the amount of time from part inception to the insertion of that part into service, then we have been successful.”

As with composites, the Southern Research team will be able to consult with both manufacturers using additive techniques and end-users of AM-produced parts on the structural integrity and performance characteristics of materials.

Research focus

Amaro has served as principal investigator for research projects supporting NASA, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST.

His research for NASA focused on modeling friction stir welding processes to achieve optimal welds, while he examined hydrogen-assisted fatigue and failure in pipeline steels and pressure vessels for NIST.

Before arriving at the University of Alabama, Amaro worked in the Colorado School of Mines’Mechanical Engineering Department and in the Materials Reliability of NIST’s Structural Materials Group. He is the former co-owner of a design-build engineering firm and managed projects to construct themed attractions in Tokyo and Berlin.

Amaro holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he also earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the field.

This story originally appeared on Southern Research’s website.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

1 week ago

Kemira investing $70 million to expand Alabama operation, creating 20 jobs

(Made in Alabama)

Finland-based Kemira announced this morning that it is investing $70.8 million to expand production at its Mobile facility. The company is a polymer producer serving the pulp and paper, oil and gas, and water treatment industries.

The project will create an additional 20 jobs, growing Kemira’s Mobile workforce by 32 percent, to handle new process operations, increased logistics and the support functions at the site.

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“For Kemira this investment is an important step towards the growth objectives outlined in our strategy. It also secures our position as a leading global polymer producer and demonstrates our continued commitment to the oil and gas industry,” said Pedro Materan, senior vice president, Oil & Gas, at Kemira.

Richard Ryder, Kemira’s Mobile plant manager, said construction will begin this year and be operational in 2021.

“We are expanding on our current footprint and will significantly increase production to meet our customers demand in the oil and gas industry,” Ryder said.

‘RENEWING A RELATIONSHIP’

The existing site first opened in 1938, initially focused on the area’s lumber and pulp and paper businesses. Over time, Kemira said, the site began serving the wider industrial water treatment industry and more recently the oil and gas industry.

Kemira utilizes chemistry to add optimal quality, functionality and strength to paper and board products, ensure the safety and hygiene of water and food packaging, and maximize yield from energy resources.

Mobile is one of three Kemira facilities in the U.S., with others in Columbus, Georgia, and Aberdeen, Mississippi. Kemira’s parent company, Kemira Oyj, is based in Helsinki, Finland with its Americas headquarters in Atlanta.

“There has been significant growth in the area’s manufacturing and chemical sectors, whose companies historically, and continue to provide high-paying jobs for our community,” said Shelby Glover, the Mobile Area Chamber’s senior project manager of economic development.  “I look forward to seeing what the future holds for Kemira as they continue to excel in Mobile,”

Local officials welcomed Kemira’s decision to expand its Mobile operation.

“This expansion by Kemira is about more than just jobs – it’s about a global company reinvesting in our city and renewing a relationship that dates back more than 80 years. When existing businesses are thriving in combination with new jobs and investment, that’s a winning formula,” Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson said.

“We are very excited about Kemira’s decision to expand operations in Mobile County to meet customer demand. Their additional $70 million capital investment and 20 jobs further demonstrates Mobile’s growing attraction for foreign direct investment,” added Mobile County Commission President Connie Hudson.

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)

2 weeks ago

International Paper to boost investment in Alabama mill to $522.7 million

(International Paper/Facebook)

Memphis, Tennessee-based International Paper (IP) plans to increase a planned investment in its Riverdale Mill in Dallas County to $552.7 million as it optimizes the facility’s product mix and boosts productivity.

In September 2017, IP announced plans to invest around $300 million at the plant as part of a strategic plan to grow its industrial packaging business.

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The additional investment expands on those plans to convert a line making uncoated freesheet, or copy paper, to the production of high-quality whitetop and kraft linerboard, as well as containerboard. These products are important to the packaging industry, which is experiencing a boom due to surging levels of e-commerce.

“Our system runs most effectively when there is flexibility, and this conversion will also help us define a more streamlined and balanced system overall,” Tim Nicholls, IP’s senior vice president, Industrial Packaging the Americas, said last September.

Selma and Dallas County Economic Development Authority Executive Director Wayne Vardaman recently briefed county leaders on the IP project, which will be supported by abatements of non-educational property and sales and use taxes.

“This is a tremendous investment in our community, and solidifies the presence of IP in Selma and Dallas County,” Vardaman said. “IP is Dallas County’s largest employer with over 750 employees and numerous indirect jobs. These employees now know that the Riverdale Mill is here to stay.”

Dallas County officials said IP is making the largest industrial investment in the county in many years.

“This latest number floored us all,” Dallas County Probate Judge and Commission Chairman Kim Ballard said. “It’s the biggest investment in Dallas County that I remember.”

ALABAMA REINVESTMENT ACT

Vince Perez, a project manager at the Alabama Department of Commerce, said the IP project is taking advantage of the Alabama Reinvestment Act, a new version of the traditional abatement act used on projects. The new abatements are designed to assist companies reinvesting in a facility prevent it from becoming a “legacy plant,” which ceases to get new investment and sheds jobs.

“This project is another indication of International Paper’s strong commitment to its Riverdale Mill and its workforce there,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

“It’s a great example of a company preserving its investment in a facility, and the jobs there, by pivoting output from one product to another that is in greater demand,” he added.

Vardaman said IP’s increased investment stems from discussions between local officials and company representatives.

“Since IP’s announcement in late September 2017, we have worked with local and corporate officials on the project, and we are extremely pleased with the increase in capital investment and the generosity of the company,” he said.

He said IP will donate $250,000 per year to the county for six years as an existing Industrial Development bond winds down and no taxes would be due. When the bond matures, the county will receive over $5 million in education taxes annually. Once the abatement period ends, the county will receive even more money in non-educational property taxes, he added.

“Our work with IP proves our slogan, ‘When We Work Together, Together We Work,’”  Vardaman said.

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)

3 weeks ago

Southern Research moving ‘green chemistry’ team to new Birmingham lab

(Southern Research)

Southern Research has moved a team of scientists working to develop promising clean-energy technologies from North Carolina to a new state-of-the-art laboratory it is opening on the organization’s downtown Birmingham campus.

The research team, led by Amit Goyal, Ph.D., has devised cost-efficient, environmentally friendly methods to produce valuable industrial chemicals from sources such as waste materials and harmful carbon dioxide.

“These leading-edge technologies hold significant potential for commercialization, and relocating our talented scientists to an ultra-modern laboratory in Birmingham will help them advance their important work,” said Art Tipton, Ph.D., president and CEO of Southern Research.

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“We are committed to supporting the research being conducted by Amit’s team because it fully aligns with Southern Research’s core mission – finding innovative solutions to make the world a better place,” Tipton said.

Southern Research is investing $1 million to outfit an existing 7,200-square-foot building on its Southside campus as the Sustainable Chemistry and Catalysis Laboratory. Work is under way to install pilot-scale chemical reactors and other equipment at the facility. Funds raised through the recent Change Campaign effort are also helping to drive this important project forward.

The lab is expected to be operational by mid-February, and Goyal’s team, comprising eight researchers, is already working full time in Birmingham, according to Corey Tyree, Ph.D., senior director in Energy & Environment (E&E) at Southern Research.

“This will be a world-class lab where brilliant inventors are creating new technologies that offer a better way of manufacturing everyday products,” Tyree said. “This group is doing award-winning work, and now that work will be carried out right here in Birmingham, where Southern Research has made many groundbreaking discoveries in its history.”

Green technologies

Goyal and his team have developed a method to convert biomass sugars into acrylonitrile, the chemical building block of carbon fiber, which is increasingly used in airplanes, automobiles and other manufactured products because of its strength and light weight.

The Southern Research process to produce acrylonitrile for high-performance carbon fiber is around 20 percent cheaper than conventional production methods and sustainable, lowering greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 40 percent.

Goyal’s team has also developed a process to transform CO2 into high-value chemicals known as olefins, which are used to make a sweeping range of products such as packaging, plastics, textiles, paints and electronics.

Energy-intensive methods are currently used to produce ethylene and other widely used chemicals in the olefin family, so the Southern Research technology could yield significant environmental benefits while also converting a greenhouse gas.

“This relocation represents an exciting and important opportunity to capitalize on significant Southern Research infrastructure and the scientific community in Birmingham,” said Goyal, director of Sustainable Chemistry and Catalysis for Southern Research. “This puts science at the heart of everything we do because our long-term success depends on improving R&D productivity and achieving scientific leadership.”

Expanding capabilities

Mayor Randall Woodfin welcomed Goyal’s team to the city where Southern Research works to discover and develop new medicines, tackles engineering challenges for major government agencies, and researches energy and environmental technologies.

“Birmingham is increasingly becoming a key location for world-class research and a place where important discoveries are being made on almost a daily basis,” Woodfin said. “Southern Research’s decision to move its ‘green chemistry’ scientists to a new lab in the city will add to this momentum. I look forward to seeing their work advance in Birmingham.”

As a result of the team’s relocation, Southern Research has closed its office in Durham, North Carolina. The organization’s Environmental Technology Verification team, led by Tim Hansen, P.E., will continue to operate from the city, evaluating new clean technologies around the world.

Tyree said the decision to close the Durham office will yield cost savings and increase efficiency for the nonprofit organization. The move also unites the Sustainable Chemistry team with other E&E researchers in Birmingham, who focus on issues such as energy storage systems and solar panel durability.

Southern Research opened the Durham office in 1992 to support work for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which at the time operated a major research and development facility in Research Triangle Park.

In recent years, the work in Durham has focused primarily on various green energy technologies from the U.S. Department of Energy and other customers, making the location in North Carolina less necessary than when it was tied to the EPA work.

This story originally appeared on Southern Research’s website.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

1 month ago

AIDT to assist Airbus in hiring 600 new workers for Alabama growth

(Contributed/Alabama NewsCenter)

Airbus said it is working with AIDT to seek candidates to fill the first manufacturing positions at a new assembly line for A220 aircraft at the company’s production facility in Mobile. In addition, Airbus said it is hiring for production positions at its existing A320 Family aircraft manufacturing line on its Alabama campus.

Altogether, Airbus plans to add 600 new employees in Mobile over the next 18 months.

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Open positions on both lines include aircraft structure/installation mechanics, aircraft cabin furnishings installers and aircraft electricians.

Successful candidates for all positions will participate in several weeks of preparation at AIDT, the state’s primary workforce development agency, in a combination of classroom instruction and on-the-job training.

“Airbus’ growth plans in Alabama underscore the strengths of the talented workforce that has already assembled more than 100 A320 family aircraft at the Mobile manufacturing facility,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

“Alabamians take pride in their work, and building A220 aircraft in Mobile will be another major accomplishment for the state’s workforce.”

For a full job description of all the positions and to apply, go to this link.

AIDT’s contribution

AIDT has already played a major role in helping Airbus assemble and train a workforce at the company’s only U.S. manufacturing facility. In 2014, AIDT, part of the Alabama Department of Commerce, opened a $7 million training facility near the Airbus campus in Mobile.

“The addition of the new Airbus A220 family of aircraft in Mobile is proof that Alabama is well positioned with its workforce training to meet the needs of manufacturers all over the world,” said Ed Castile, director of AIDT and deputy secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

“AIDT has worked with Airbus since the beginning, and we’re honored to continue our support,” he said. “Congratulations to Airbus and Bombardier. We’re proud that they chose to build this next-generation aircraft here.”

Airbus and Canada’s Bombardier finalized plans last year to form a joint venture to produce Bombardier’s C Series passenger jet, now called the Airbus A220.

The new A220 production facility will be at the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley industrial complex, adjacent to Airbus’ A320 Family production line. It will build aircraft for U.S.-based customers.

The assembly line, which will create more jobs and further strengthen the aerospace industry, is part of Airbus’ strategy to enhance its global competitiveness by meeting the growing needs of its customers in the United States and elsewhere.

A220 aircraft assembly is planned to start in 2019, using a combination of the existing and expanded Airbus facilities at Brookley to enable the first A220 delivery from Mobile to take place in 2020.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the new facility is planned for next week.

A permanent production process will be established upon completion of an A220 final assembly line building in 2020. Birmingham’s HPM was selected as program manager for the construction project, according to a November announcement.

HPM served as program manager for Airbus’ $600 million project to build its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Mobile, with work beginning in 2013. Airbus delivered its first Alabama-made A321 aircraft in 2016.

Airbus said some candidates for the new Alabama jobs will have the opportunity for on-the-job training with the company’s manufacturing team in Mirabel, Canada, before returning to Mobile.

Production on the first A220 aircraft begins in the third quarter.

This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

3 months ago

Southern Research tests parts 3-D printed in space for NASA

(NASA)

Could 3-D printers transform the International Space Station into a manufacturing hub and one day function as the heart of an on-demand machine shop in space that enables NASA to mount crewed missions deep into the solar system?

Engineers at Southern Research are helping NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center explore the capabilities of additive manufacturing technologies that have major logistics implications for the nation’s ambitious future space missions.

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“When NASA sends a crew to Mars, there can’t be a resupply mission. There is just no way to send them replacement parts if equipment breaks or a part fails in deep space,” said Madison Parks, an advanced mechanical engineer in Southern Research’s Engineering division.

“On a mission to Mars, a 3-D printer will have to go with the crew. A part failing in orbit can be replaced after a resupply mission, but a resupply mission to a craft on the way to Mars would be too costly and may result in a loss of the mission. The crew will need to be entirely self-sufficient,” he said.

Parks is working with Marshall’s engineers to come up with an answer to a critical question facing NASA’s plans for space-borne three-dimensional printing: Are parts manufactured in zero gravity going to behave just like those produced on Earth-bound 3-D printers?

The ISS is already equipped with a 3-D printer. In 2014, California-based Made in Space sent a polymer printer to the space station, followed two years later by a more advanced device. It’s been used to print plastic tools used around the station, along with other non mission-critical items.

To help NASA understand the properties of materials printed in an in-space 3-D polymer printer, Parks and his team are testing specimens of materials printed in space and comparing them to similar specimens produced on Earth.

Along with tension and compression tests on these materials, Southern Research will be performing digital image correlation (DIC). DIC is a non-contact optical method that employs tracking and image registration techniques for accurate 3-D measurements of changes on the surface during a mechanical or thermal loading.

Measuring full-field displacements and strains during the mechanical tests will help engineers understand the material behavior and overall effect of print passes and how they relate to zero-gravity 3-D printing versus Earth 3-D printing.

“For safety reasons, NASA has to understand the materials before they use them,” Parks said. “You have to understand where and how these parts, which are manufactured in space, can be used. Doing otherwise could lead to parts and systems failing prematurely.”

Southern Research’s Engineering division, which specializes in analyzing how materials perform in extreme environments, has collaborated with NASA for decades.

Its engineers analyzed the thermal and mechanical properties of potential heat shield materials for the Apollo program and provided crucial support for the Space Shuttle, particularly in the “Return to Flight” missions after the Columbia accident.

Today, Southern Research is involved in the Space Launch System, the massive rocket NASA is developing for planned Mars missions.

For NASA, three-dimensional printing offers a fast and inexpensive way to manufacture parts on a spacecraft, exactly when they’re needed. That’s a huge benefit to long-term missions and has the potential to fundamentally change how NASA plans logistics operations for human spaceflight.

“Right now, there are thousands of parts for the International Space Station sitting in NASA storage, and most of them will never be used,” Parks said. “But they have to have all these parts on hand to launch to the ISS in case something breaks or fails.”

“What Southern Research and NASA are working together on is a foundational effort with the goal of the ISS crew being able to print the parts they need as they need them, which will help the astronauts accomplish their missions,” he said.

This story originally appeared on Southern Research’s website.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

3 months ago

Alabama based Southern Research receives funding to turn captured CO2 into key chemicals

(Southern Research)

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has selected Southern Research for an award of up to $1.5 million to advance technology for carbon dioxide (CO2) utilization.

The DOE award, now being negotiated, will fund scale-up and field testing of a catalytic process for conversion of CO2 and shale-derived ethane to ethylene, a valuable olefin.

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Olefins serve as building blocks for a sweeping variety of products such as packaging, plastics, textiles, paints and electronics. Industrial demand for olefins such as ethylene and propylene is rising at 4 to 5 percent annually as living standards improve across the world.

Over the last two years on a previously funded DOE study, Southern Research has developed a novel nano-engineered catalyst-driven process for the production of light olefins, such as ethylene, using CO2 from coal-fired flue gas and lower alkanes derived from shale gas feedstock.

This lab scale study demonstrated the conversion, selectivity and stability of this new generation catalyst in presence of flue gas impurities and low concentrations of CO2.

The results of the lab scale study led to this new award, which consists of constructing and operating a field scale unit. This project will produce and test a larger amount of catalyst and validate both the process reliability and the ability to produce ethylene at the next engineering scale.

“Ethylene and propylene are the highest-volume petrochemicals in use today. Current production methods are capital- and energy-intensive as well as large greenhouse gas emitters,” said Corey Tyree, Ph.D., senior director of Energy and Environment at Southern Research.

“By combining CO2 with shale gas, which is readily available in the U.S., our new process promises to have meaningful economic and environmental impact,” he said.

The project’s long-term goal is a commercially viable and environmentally friendly technology for producing light olefins via CO2 utilization.

Environmental benefits

Production techniques for ethylene, which is manufactured in amounts greater than any other chemical, typically use naphtha or ethane as raw materials, and require a large amount of energy to crack apart molecules.

Principal investigator Amit Goyal, Ph.D., director, Sustainable Chemistry and Catalysis, said Southern Research’s innovative process concept can use CO2 directly (or captured) from coal-fired power plants, or derived from any source, to produce light olefins. The new technique can yield significant environmental benefits by becoming a net consumer of CO2, he added.

“Ethylene alone accounts for 1 percent of the world’s energy consumption and 180 to 200 million tons of CO2 emission,” Goyal said. “Due to the large magnitude of ethylene production, any reduction on the energy requirement will be highly impactful.”

The approach would reduce carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired plants, the top emitters of the colorless, odorless gas in the U.S power sector. In 2015, coal-based power plants in the United States emitted nearly 1.4 billion metric tons of CO2.

“Coal is abundant and cheap, making it a vital energy source,” said Jadid Samad, Ph.D., advanced chemical engineer and co-principal investigator for Southern Research. “A smart solution to the issue of emissions from coal-fired power plants lies in the prospect of using CO2 as feedstock to produce valuable chemicals.”

Converting CO2

Samad said Southern Research’s approach on the project directly supports the Carbon Use and Reuse research and development portfolio being assembled by DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy. The portfolio is developing and testing novel approaches that convert captured COfrom coal-fired power plants into usable products.

The funding from the Office of Fossil Energy for Southern Research’s project totals $1,499,442. The office announced Oct. 31 that it has committed a total of $18.7 million to funding projects to support its Carbon Use and Reuse R&D portfolio.

Southern Research’s partners include 8 Rivers Capital LLC, a company developing and commercializing sustainable infrastructure technologies, which will provide support on the project’s techno-economic analysis.

The National Carbon Capture Center, a DOE site for testing innovative technologies, will provide the field site and flue gas feed generated at a utility plant for the project. The center is operated by Southern Company and based in Wilsonville.

In addition, a petrochemical consultant will provide guidance on catalyst development, as well as scale-up and commercialization aspects of the project.

This story originally appeared on Southern Research’s website.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

3 months ago

Auto supplier Hwashin to add 50 jobs with $26M Alabama expansion

(Photo: Alabama NewsCenter)

Auto supplier Hwashin America Corp. announced plans to expand its Butler County manufacturing operation with a $26 million investment in new equipment and 50 new jobs.

Hwashin, which produces body components for Hyundai’s Alabama auto assembly plant, has been in expansion mode since arriving in Greenville in 2003. The operation began with a 150,000-square-foot facility and 200 workers. Today, the company’s 650,000-square-foot plant is staffed with more than 750 workers.

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“Companies have a choice regarding where they locate and expand. We appreciate the confidence Hwashin has shown in Greenville and Butler County since 2003,” said David Crenshaw, chairman of the Butler County Commission for Economic Development (BCCED).

To facilitate the company’s latest expansion, the Greenville City Council granted statutory tax abatements at a Nov. 5 meeting. The expansion is projected to boost payroll by $1 million and increase property tax revenue to the Butler County School System by more than $500,000 over 10 years.

“We are excited about the new jobs and investment Hwashin has committed to Greenville,” said Mayor Dexter McLendon. “Great things happen when city and county governments work together toward a common goal.”

GROWTH STORY

After repeated investments in its Greenville manufacturing operation, Hwashin has become Butler County’s largest industrial projects. Data from the Alabama Department of Commerce show that the company has invested more than $200 million in the facility.

BCCED Executive Director David Hutchison said his agency and Butler County officials work hard to support the area’s existing industry.

“Announcements like this are the return on investment of our efforts,” Hutchison said.

Hwashin’s latest expansion comes amid a sharp growth spurt for Alabama’s auto industry, which includes a wide-ranging network of suppliers located across the state. Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama is also growing, after announcing a $388 million expansion project at its Montgomery assembly plant.

Butler County Commission Chairman Darrell Sanders welcomed Hwashin’s expansion.

“We are delighted that Hwashin, by announcing their expansion plans, will continue to create jobs and wages that will in turn add new income to the Butler County Schools,” Sanders said.

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)

4 months ago

Eissmann expands Pell City facility with $14.5 million investment

(Contributed/Alabama NewsCenter)

Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield joined St. Clair County and Pell City officials to help Eissmann Group Automotive LLC celebrate the completion of a $14.5 million expansion project at the auto supplier’s Pell City campus.

Eissmann announced plans in June 2016 to expand its Pell City facility with a new 130,000-square-foot building featuring advanced manufacturing equipment for a new production line. The project is adding 200 workers to the company’s St. Clair County workforce.

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“From the first investment Eissmann Automotive made in Pell City, the community and elected officials have made us feel welcomed and supported,” Claudia Eissmann, chair of the Advisory Council of Eissmann Automotive Deutschland GmbH.

“Our facility has grown within the community and we look forward to continuing to work with the City of Pell City, the St. Clair County Commission and the Economic Development Council for many years to come.”

Eissmann specializes in car interiors, built-to-print trim components, shifter modules and other parts for automakers that include Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Jeep, Tesla, Porsche and Volkswagen. Based in Bad Urach, Germany, the company operates 13 production facilities on three continents.

“Eissmann has found the right environment for growth in St. Clair County, where it has carried out multiple expansions that have greatly expanded its workforce,” Canfield said.

“Over the years, we’ve developed a productive partnership with this top-flight company, and we will strive to help it continue to grow in Alabama.”

‘Tremendous’ partner

During the last decade, Eissmann has grown to become the largest industrial employer in St. Clair County. Starting out with 85 employees in its initial phase, the company’s Alabama operation had 650 workers at the time of the 2016 expansion announcement, according to the St. Clair County Economic Development Council.

“We are always excited to see our existing industries continue to expand in St. Clair County. The addition of jobs to St. Clair County allows our citizens to work closer to home and improves their quality of life,” said Paul Manning, chairman of the St. Clair County Commission.

“Eissmann is a tremendous community partner and we look forward to growing with them in the future.”

“With this expansion, Eissmann has become the largest employer in Pell City, and we are excited to see them continue to grow in our community. We are very fortunate that they chose our community as their North American headquarters, and we hope they will continue to expand here,” added Pell City Mayor Bill Pruitt.

Growth story

Eissmann Group Automotive was founded in 1964, when Helmut Eissmann and his sons Volkhard and Jürgen launched a business developing, manufacturing and selling automotive accessories in Bad Urach-Seeburg.

Manufacturing leather gear knobs provided the fledgling company with an entry into the world of leather craftsmanship. A mother-in-law’s sewing machine was fitted with an edge trimmer, and the first leather covers were produced. Audi became the company’s first automotive customer to introduce a leather gear knob. It was so satisfied with the results that it went on to order leather-covered armrests and internal door handles for the Audi 100.

Eissmann Group Automotive now concentrates its activities on the production of leather interior fittings for the automotive industry. In 1997, the company founded its first foreign subsidiary in Hungary, followed in quick succession by the Czech Republic in 1998, Slovakia in 2001, Great Britain in 2002, Mexico in 2004, the U.S. in 2005 and China in 2007.

“Eissmann is a solid, family-owned company that has outperformed even our greatest expectations in Pell City. They pride themselves on the highest quality craftsmanship in the industry, which is a perfect fit for the high-end automotive customers that they serve,” said Don Smith, executive director of the St. Clair County Economic Development Council.

“They have incredible leadership in management at their Pell City facility, and we look forward to working with them on future expansions.”

At Monday’s ceremony, Canfield said Eissmann’s growth story in Alabama reflects the state’s emergence as an auto production center, where around 1 million vehicles and 1.7 million engines are assembled annually. In just a generation, Alabama has become a Top 5 auto-producing state, with more gains expected.

“Great companies like Eissmann have come into the picture as a result of this footprint that we have established as an automotive powerhouse in Alabama,” he said. “Eissmann brings with it a rich history, high-quality products and a commitment to doing the job right and to meeting their customers’ stringent standards.

“This has all come together in Alabama, where Alabama workers have put their pride and their hard efforts into the products that are made here.”

This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

4 months ago

Alabama team travels to Tokyo, seeks stronger bonds with Japanese companies

(Made in Alabama)

Business leaders from across Alabama are participating in an international conference in Tokyo this week that aims to broaden economic and cultural ties between seven Southeastern states and Japan.

The 41st annual joint meeting of the Southeast U.S.-Japan and the Japan-Southeast associations, known as SEUS Japan 41, is taking place in the Japanese capital beginning Friday.

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Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, is heading the Alabama delegation, which includes company leaders, economic development specialists, mayors, workforce training officials and others.

“This conference brings together a great group of top business and government officials from both sides. We always find it an excellent venue to share what is going on in Alabama as a place to invest and do business,” Secretary Canfield said.

“Japanese investment has a large footprint in our state, and it continues to grow as shown by the plans of Mazda Toyota Manufacturing USA,” he added. “We want to see that Japanese investment stays in Alabama and continues to grow.”

Earlier this week, Secretary Canfield and Huntsville area officials met with executives from Mazda and Toyota to discuss their plans for a $1.6 billion assembly plant with 4,000 workers in the North Alabama city.

RENEWING TIES

“Japanese companies have a long history of succeeding in Alabama, and we would like to see this continue in our community. ”

The Alabama delegation at SEUS Japan 41 includes representatives from areas around the state where Japanese companies have operations. This includes the Huntsville area, Decatur, Auburn, Jasper, St. Clair County, and Birmingham.

Alabama-based officials from Japanese companies such as Toyota, Daikin and Yorozu are also included in the delegation. AIDT, the Alabama Department of Labor and the University of Alabama’s Center for Economic Development are represented as well.

Mark Jackson, Honorary Consul of Japan to Alabama, also is a part of the delegation.

Don Smith, executive director of the St. Clair County Economic Development Council, said a primary reason he’s attending SEUS Japan 41 is to personally thank Masanobu Yoshizawa, president of Unipres, for the auto supplier’s $40 million expansion at its facility in Steele.

“This investment will bring new jobs and opportunity to our region for decades,” Smith said.

While in Japan, he’ll also work to make new contacts and reinforce relationships in the Japanese automotive supply chain as the Toyota-Mazda partnership begins establishing its Alabama assembly plant.

“Japanese companies have a long history of succeeding in Alabama, and we would like to see this continue in our community,” Smith said.

MEETING AGENDA

The theme of this year’s joint meeting is “Success through Tradition, Innovation and Partnerships.” Tokyo-based Marubeni Corp. a major integrated trading and investment business conglomerate, is the Japanese conference host.

At SEUS Japan 41, the Alabama team can take advantage of numerous networking events. Plus, Alabama is holding a private reception prior to the conference tonight, with invitations sent to all Japanese companies based in Tokyo that have operations in the state.

The joint meeting begins Friday with a delegates’ breakfast and an opening ceremony. That’s followed by remarks from state delegation leaders, including Secretary Canfield, and panel discussions on economic trends and investment opportunities.

Afternoon speakers include William Hagerty, U.S. ambassador to Japan, and Hiroyuki Ishige, chairman and CEO of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO).

The event will close with an exchange of gifts.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

Japanese companies function as a powerful engine of growth in Alabama, as well as the Southeastern region.

Since 1999, when Honda announced its plans for an auto assembly plant in Alabama, Japanese companies have invested $5.5 billion in projects across the state, creating 17,000 jobs, according to data from the Alabama Department of Commerce.

“The special relationship between the Southeastern states and Japan continues to flourish on many levels that benefit all of us,” Secretary Canfield said. “These ties spark economic growth, create dynamic new opportunities, and foster long-lasting friendships.”

He welcomed a pledge made in September by the leaders of the U.S. and Japan to begin negotiations on a trade agreement to expand trade and investment between the two countries.

Today, Alabama is home to around 70 Japanese manufacturing operations, including a heavy automotive presence with Honda’s assembly plant in Lincoln, Toyota’s engine plant in Huntsville, as well as their extensive network of suppliers and support businesses. The arrival of Mazda Toyota Manufacturing USA is expected to expand that presence.

Japan’s non-automotive companies also have a significant presence in Alabama.

Among them are dietary supplement manufacturer Pharmavite, a subsidiary of Japan’s Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., as well as Nippon Steel, Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co., and Daikin and Toray, which make carbon fibers and fluorofibers.

Besides Alabama, the states represented at the conference are Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi and Florida.

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)

4 months ago

Alabama team talks future with Mazda, Toyota officials in Japan

(Made in Alabama)

Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield and Huntsville area officials engaged in meetings this week with executives of Mazda and Toyota to expand relationships as the automakers prepare to officially launch construction on a $1.6 billion Alabama assembly plant.

The mission began Monday, when the Alabama group traveled to Toyota’s Motomachi assembly plant and held talks with members of the Toyota USA executive team. Today, the group was in Mazda’s hometown of Hiroshima to learn more about Alabama’s newest automotive manufacturer.

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“During these visits with the executive headquarters teams of Toyota in Toyota City and Mazda in the Hiroshima, we have learned more about each company and their vision for this joint venture that is already taking shape in Huntsville, Alabama,” Secretary Canfield said.

“We have had rare opportunities to learn more about the new technologies that will be employed and how each company’s respective philosophies will be reflected at the new Mazda Toyota Manufacturing USA Inc. production facility,” he added.

ALABAMA ASSEMBLY PLANT

Mazda and Toyota announced their plans for the joint Huntsville production center in January. The plant will employ 4,000 people and produce 300,000 vehicles per year, split evenly between a new Mazda crossover and the Toyota Corolla sedan.

The first vehicles are expected to roll off the assembly lines at Mazda Toyota Manufacturing USA, as the venture is called, in 2021, indicating a rapid time line for construction at the Huntsville site.

Those joining Secretary Canfield on the trip to Japan include Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong, Huntsville/Madison County Chamber CEO Chip Cherry, and Lucia Cape, the chamber’s senior vice president for economic development.

Others are Paul Finley, mayor of Madison; Jason Black, Limestone County commissioner; Rick Tucker, executive director of the Port of Huntsville; and Kim Lewis, chair elect of the Huntsville/Madison Chamber.

Hollie Pegg, assistant director of business development for Asian strategy at the Alabama Department of Commerce, is also on the mission. Representatives of Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Alabama attended as well.

“These meetings in Japan with the Mazda and Toyota corporations have created an even greater sense of understanding of the partnership and commitment that has been created with two of the world’s most renowned automakers, while engineering, road design and site prep continues on more than 2,000 acres locally,” Strong said.

He added that the Mazda-Toyota assembly plant project “will be a redefining moment for North Alabama.”

MAZDA CONNECTION

While Alabama officials have long had deep ties to Toyota, which has operated an engine plant in Huntsville for more than a decade, Secretary Canfield said today’s discussions in Hiroshima provided an opportunity to forge a deeper relationship with Mazda and its executive team.

In addition, the discussions centered on how AIDT, the state’s primary workforce development agency, will help the automakers reach an aggressive employment ramp up at the new plant. Ed Castile, director of AIDT and deputy secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, will be in Hiroshima on Friday to tour Mazda’s production and training facilities.

Secretary Canfield said the meetings with the Mazda executives will help the Alabama team develop a strategy for securing the supply chain for the automaker’s first U.S. assembly plant.

“Our meetings with the Mazda executive team, and the production facility visits that accompanied them, afforded Team Alabama the best opportunity to deepen our understanding of what is at the core of Mazda,” he said. “We have learned how Mazda embraces the principle of ‘Monotsukuri Innovation’ in pursuit of the achieving quality in production that reflects the belief that though they make many vehicles, each customer sees only the one vehicle.

“This is a very driver-driven company,” he added. “They want drivers of Mazdas to have fun with the driving experience. They want their customers to feel the ‘Zoom Zoom’ that is built into every Mazda.”

Besides touring Toyota’s Motomachi plant, the Alabama group also visited the automaker’s Kaikan Museum, witnessing some of the company’s newest automotive technologies and smart cars in person.

“I can’t stress enough the importance of relationships in doing business with our overseas partners,” Battle said. “If we had not already established a long-standing collaborative relationship with Toyota, we would not have landed the new Mazda-Toyota plant. These commitments don’t just happen in 15-minute meetings or phone calls. There is a long process of communication, listening, and work toward mutual respect before we develop a trusted business relationship.”

The Chamber’s Cherry said the longstanding relationship with Toyota played a key role in securing the new assembly plant for Huntsville.

Later this week, an Alabama delegation will attend the 41st annual meeting of SEUS Japan, an international conference in Tokyo that aims to broaden economic and cultural ties between seven Southeastern states and Japan.

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)

5 months ago

Alabama Robotics Technology Park gets new leader to direct strategic upgrades

(Alabama NewsCenter)

The Alabama Department of Commerce and AIDT announced that Chuck Ernst, a former Honda manufacturing executive, has been appointed to lead Alabama Robotics Technology Park (RTP) as it embarks on a strategic plan to prepare the training facility for new technologies and additional capabilities.

The goal of the “RTP 2.0” initiative is to ensure that the $73 million center in Tanner is positioned to meet the evolving workforce development needs of Alabama companies as technology brings radical changes to manufacturing techniques.

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As part of the initiative, RTP will add needed next-generation technologies, manufacturing simulation areas and training solutions that support key Alabama industry sectors including automotive, aerospace, aviation and logistics.

“Alabama Robotics Technology Park is a unique asset for the state and the manufacturers that utilize this facility to provide cutting-edge training for their workforces,” Gov. Kay Ivey said.

“The RTP 2.0 initiative will increase our leadership position in advanced job training, even as technology continues to change how factories operate. And, with his experience at Honda Alabama, Chuck Ernst is the perfect choice to direct this effort.”

‘Technological resource’

Ernst, who retired from Honda in 2014 after nearly three decades, will play a key role as plans are developed to advance the park and design its next level of services. He will work alongside RTP’s robotics and automation professions and AIDT leadership as the 2.0 initiative is implemented.

“The opportunity to work with the Alabama Robotics Technology Park as it has developed and matured over the last several years is a career high for me, personally and professionally. We are extremely proud of the RTP as it has served as a great technological resource for Alabama manufacturers as well as the brilliant staff who are the very heart of the work there,” said Ed Castile, director of AIDT and deputy secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce for Workforce Development.

“We are looking forward to RTP 2.0 as we take the park to the next level with the assistance of Dr. Jay Baron’s strategic planning and the leadership of Chuck Ernst. With Chuck leading the RTP along with our incredible staff, we are confident in the RTP’s ability to assist our Alabama companies in becoming more successful in the ever-changing manufacturing world,” Castile said.

Baron, the former CEO of the Manufacturing, Engineering and Technology Group at the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Center for Automotive Research, has provided his expertise for the RTP 2.0 initiative.

Ernst’s assignments at Honda included serving as project manager and operations executive at Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, a $2.6 billion assembly plant in Lincoln. He finished his 29-year career with the automaker as the Powertrain Division’s chief engineer at the North American Shared Services Group in Marysville, Ohio.

“The opportunity to join the AIDT team at the Robotics Technology Park and assist the business community in Alabama to study and utilize technology that improves their future competitiveness is a chance of a lifetime for me,” Ernst said. “I can’t wait to get started.”

Commitment to manufacturers

State Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, said he is committed to supporting efforts to secure the funding needed to implement any new technologies at RTP, which opened in 2010 and now comprises three buildings for highly specialized, company-specific training.

“By retooling our leadership at the RTP, we are setting the standard of having a nationally recognized reputation for a well-trained and highly skilled Alabama workforce in the usage and repair of robotic technology and advanced manufacturing machinery,” Orr said.

Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said the RTP 2.0 initiative reflects Alabama’s commitment to ensure that manufacturers operating in the state are prepared for disruptive technologies.

“At Alabama Robotics Technology Park, we intend to prepare companies for a new world in manufacturing by providing them with technology and facilities dedicated to research and development, simulation, modeling, product design and training,” Canfield said. “Supporting companies in this way creates and preserves jobs, while making Alabama a more attractive location for business.”

This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

5 months ago

GE Aviation’s Alabama milestone: 30,000 additive fuel nozzles

(GE Aviation/Made in Alabama)

GE Aviation’s plant in Auburn achieved a milestone this week — the 30,000th additively-manufactured fuel nozzle tip “grew” on a 3D printer at the facility, the industry’s first site for mass production using the additive manufacturing process.

Employees at GE Aviation in Auburn began producing the nozzle tip in 2015. More 3D printers have been added since the facility started additive production, and now, more than 40 printers are making parts from a metal powder.

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“This milestone isn’t just about reaching production of 30,000 fuel nozzle tips. The team should also be proud for their role in helping prove additive technology works in mass production for our business and others who buy GE technology,” said Ricardo Acevedo, plant leader for GE Aviation Auburn.

GE announced plans in 2014 to invest $50 million in the existing 300,000-square-foot Auburn facility to prepare the building for the additional additive work.

There are 230 employees at the plant, with projections for employment at the advanced manufacturing location to increase in 2019 to 300 staff members.

‘LEADING THE WAY’

Unlike traditional manufacturing methods that mill or cut away from a slab of metal to produce a part, additive manufacturing (also referred to as 3D printing) grows parts directly from a CAD file using layers of fine metal powder and an electron beam or laser. The result is complex, fully dense parts without the waste, manufactured in a fraction of the time it would take using traditional methods.

Under the additive manufacturing method, the number of parts in a single fuel nozzle tip was reduced from about 20 pieces previously welded together to one whole piece. The nozzle tip’s weight was cut by about 25 percent.

“We’re leading the way of mass producing additive parts for the industry. We’re continuously looking at ways of expanding the possibilities for the business,” Acevedo said.

GE Aviation started making additively-produced fuel nozzle tips for the LEAP engine, commercial aviation’s best-selling engine with fuel efficiency up to 15 percent better than the best CFM56 engines.

Total LEAP engine orders and commitments currently exceeds 16,300 engines.

LEAP engines are a product of CFM International, a 50/50 joint venture company between GE and Safran Aircraft Engines and the world’s leading supplier of commercial aircraft engines.

UNIQUE MATERIALS

The Auburn facility in not GE Aviation’s only cutting-edge manufacturing operation in Alabama.

Earlier this year, the company opened a new $200 million factory complex in Huntsville that will be America’s first production center for unique materials used to manufacture ceramic matrix composites (CMCs).

CMCs are poised to revolutionize aerospace manufacturing because of their ultra-lightweight properties and their ability to withstand extremely high temperatures.

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)

5 months ago

Mercedes launches construction of Alabama battery plant for EVs

(Made in Alabama)

At a groundbreaking ceremony today, Mercedes-Benz officials formally marked the start of construction on a 2 million-square-foot plant in Bibb County that will supply battery packs for the automaker’s Alabama-made electric vehicles.

At the event, Mercedes officials also said their Tuscaloosa County assembly plant this morning produced the first customer-ready 2020 GLE, the fourth generation of the sport utility originally known as the M-Class.

The battery plant, which will be located in the Scott Davis Industrial Park near the Woodstock community, is a key component in a $1 billion Mercedes expansion announced in September 2017.

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The plan calls for Mercedes to begin producing electric SUVs at its sprawling assembly complex in Vance, about seven miles away, at the beginning of the next decade.

“The widely export oriented Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa is a high-tech production facility with a successful history and an exciting future in terms of our brand in the United States,” said Markus Schäfer, member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain.

“We aim to play a pioneering role in the development of e-mobility and are well prepared to accomplish this mission,” he added.

At the groundbreaking ceremony at the site of the battery plant, Governor Kay Ivey said Alabama and Mercedes have developed a strong relationship over more than two decades. The unfolding $1 billion expansion means even more exciting developments are on the way, she added.

“Just as Mercedes helped put our state on the cutting-edge of automotive manufacturing, Alabama will help put Mercedes on the cutting-edge of electric vehicle development,” Governor Ivey said.

“We continuously strive to reaffirm the ‘Made in Alabama’ brand as one of excellence. So, naturally, there is no better state for Mercedes to build upon their world-class brand of excellence than right here in Alabama.”

SECOND CAMPUS

The battery plant – twice the size of the original M-Class factory that opened in 1997 – will be a centerpiece in the automaker’s second Alabama campus in Bibb County. It will feature a battery analysis center that will accelerate the production ramp-up of electric vehicles and allow for the testing of battery packs that have been in use on the road.

Now under construction in the Scott Davis Industrial Park is Global Logistics Center that will support the company’s worldwide logistics operations for the products it makes in Alabama. After it opens next year, it will supply overseas assembly plants with kits used to produce vehicles for local markets.

Also in the works is a new after-sales North American hub that will provide spare parts to markets around the world once it becomes operational in late 2020.

Mercedes said the Bibb County campus will create a total of 600 jobs.

FOURTH-GENERATION SUV

At the groundbreaking event, Mercedes also showed off the next-generation GLE sport utility, the successor to the celebrated M-Class that was the first vehicle to roll off the automaker’s assembly line back in 1997. The 2020 GLE made its debut this week at the Paris Auto Show and will go on sale in the U.S. next year.

Mercedes says the new GLE is more aerodynamic, comfortable and boasts a raft of new innovations.

“The successful story of the Mercedes-Benz Tuscaloosa plant began with the start of production of the M-Class 21 years ago. We are proud to see further investment into Tuscaloosa, which underlines the effort and teamwork by all our team members,” said Jason Hoff, president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, the automaker’s Alabama unit.

“As a team here in Tuscaloosa, we play a key role in the global success of Mercedes-Benz and we are proud that the all new GLE will again be produced in Alabama for the world demand,” he added.

NEW DIMENSION

Mercedes has already invested more than $6 billion in the Tuscaloosa County plant, which has 3,700 workers and produces around 300,000 vehicles per year. Its electric vehicle initiative will add a new dimension to the state’s growing auto industry.

“Mercedes-Benz’s decision to build a battery factory and launch electric vehicle production in Alabama will position the state as a leader in a new automotive technology that is poised to dramatically change the direction of the industry,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

“We’re proud to call Mercedes a partner, and we’re excited about the future that we are building together in Alabama.”

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)

5 months ago

MTC Logistics to open $58 million distribution facility at Alabama port

(M. Kittrell/Alabama NewsCenter)

Baltimore, Maryland-based MTC Logistics announced plans to build a $58 million cold storage facility on property owned by the Alabama State Port Authority, creating between 50 and 70 jobs and providing a boost to the port’s container operations.

Company officials said the 300,000-square-foot facility will be five stories tall and will contain almost 12 million cubic-feet of refrigerated space, enabling it to store 40,000 pallets of product. All of the product will transit in on containers and will be processed through APM Terminals before or after arriving at MTC Logistics.

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The MTC facility will be located on land between APM Terminal and Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley near downtown Mobile. The Alabama State Port Authority announced the sale of the property to MCT on Tuesday.“We have been in the temperature-controlled logistics business for 90 years and are thrilled Mobile will be a part of our future,” said Brooks Royster, president of MTC Logistics. “Being able to find property immediately adjacent to a world-class port such as Mobile and in such close proximity to I-10 is a very unique opportunity.

“MTC Logistics’ new cold storage distribution facility will be a great addition to the growing operations at the Port of Mobile,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

“This family company is making a significant investment in Alabama and creating good-paying jobs in Mobile.”

EXPANDING CLUSTER

David Rodgers, vice president of economic development for the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, said MTC Logistics’ facility will be able to blast freeze poultry product coming from across the Southeast for to export across the globe. This project will enhance Mobile’s containerized operations to reach more markets throughout the world.

“This is a great project for us as Mobile continues to grow its warehousing and transportation industry cluster,” Rodgers said. “It grows the Port of Alabama and increases capacity at APM Terminals. Mobile’s infrastructure assets are second to none, and growing our economy is our top priority.”

A groundbreaking is expected by December, with an estimated opening date in the second quarter of 2020. Company officials expect an 18-month construction project.

“We’re extremely pleased to see this world-class services company invest in both our region and our port. MTC’s investment will create new jobs and add new products to the port’s container intermodal operations,” said James K. Lyons, director and CEO of the Alabama State Port Authority.

Partners in this project include the Alabama State Port Authority, APM Terminals, City of Mobile, Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, Mobile County and the State of Alabama.

Mobile County Commission President Connie Hudson said the county government is committed to providing roadwork needed to facilitate trucking to and from the facility.

“We are pleased and proud to welcome MTC Logistics to Mobile,” Mayor Sandy Stimpson said. “We are out there every day looking for opportunities to recruit jobs and families to Mobile. This announcement is the latest proof that Mobile is open for business.”

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)

5 months ago

Milestone: Toyota Alabama plant produces first next-gen engine

(Made in Alabama)

Toyota’s Alabama plant produced its first next-generation 4-cylinder engine after a $106 million investment to prepare the Huntsville facility for advanced production.

The milestone occurred this week, exactly one year after the automaker announced the investment in Alabama to build next-gen engines using a new approach called Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA).

“I could not be prouder to reach this milestone. Launching our new TNGA engine is a true testament to our highly-skilled workforce,” said David Fernandes, president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama. “They are leading Toyota Alabama into the future of advanced engine production.”

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The project provided a complete replacement of the 4-cylinder engine line at the only Toyota plant in the world to build 4-cylinder, V-6 and V-8 engines under one roof. This week, the Alabama plant built its first advanced, 4-cylinder engine from the new line.

TNGA represents a new approach to the way Toyota designs, engineers, and produces its vehicles. While retaining traditional values such as exceptional quality and safety, the advanced engines produced using TNGA will have increased power performance, efficiencies and fuel economy.

In designing the TNGA platform, engineers have repositioned and lowered the center of gravity of powertrain components. They’ve also focused on reducing the weight of the size of certain components, while at the same time increasing overall body rigidity thanks to stronger materials and new laser welding techniques.

The new powertrain units will go into Toyota RAV4 and Highlander vehicles, providing 10 percent better power performance and 20 percent better fuel economy. This supports the company’s goals to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

6 MILLION ENGINES

“Toyota has had remarkable success in Alabama, and it is a pillar of our booming automotive industry.”

With four expansions since 2003, Toyota Alabama has grown from 300 team members to more than 1,400.

The new production line added 50 jobs and increased total plant investment to nearly $1 billion.

The Huntsville plant is among Toyota’s largest engine facilities globally, producing more than more than 700,000 engines in 2017 for the RAV4, Highlander, Tacoma, Tundra and Sequoia. This breaks down to about 3,000 each day.

The Alabama plant built its 6 millionth engine earlier this year.

“Toyota has had remarkable success in Alabama, and it is a pillar of our booming automotive industry,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)

5 months ago

Alabama trade mission seeks opportunities in southeastern Europe

(Contributed/Alabama Newscenter)

Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield is leading a team of state business leaders on a trade mission this week to Romania and Bulgaria, countries that offer new markets in southeastern Europe and a potential gateway to opportunities in other regions.
The multi-sector trade and business development mission kicked off Monday in Bucharest, the Romanian cultural, industrial and financial center, before moving on to Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital and largest city.

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Over five days, the Alabama delegation will meet with public and private sector leaders in the two countries to explore new opportunities for exports, investment and collaboration.

“This trade mission is about helping Alabama companies identify new markets for their goods and services, so they can create jobs and make new investments in their communities back home,” Canfield said.

“We are constantly working to open doors for state business targeting connections in countries such as Romania and Bulgaria because it sparks growth in Alabama’s economy.”

Promising markets

Romania is a market with excellent potential, a strategic location and a favorable business climate, according to Hilda Lockhart, director of the International Trade Division at the Alabama Department of Commerce. Its economy expanded 6.9 percent in 2017, the highest level in a decade, making it one of the European Union’s fastest-growing economies.

Sectors with the best prospects include agricultural products, machinery and equipment, energy, transportation, and information and communications technology.

Bulgaria represents an emerging market providing very good potential for companies new to exporting. Wages are low by European standards, and the labor force is well educated, young and possesses good language skills, Lockhart said.

Bulgaria’s top imports include medical instruments, industry machinery and vehicles.

Alabama companies exported $6.8 million in goods to Bulgaria in 2017, an increase of nearly 1,400 percent from the previous year, according to Alabama Department of Commerce data. Alabama exports to Romania totaled $2.2 million last year, a jump of more than 170 percent.

Trade mission agenda

The trade mission kicked off Monday with a briefing at the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest, followed by scheduled one-on-one business appointments in the afternoon and a networking reception hosted by U.S. Ambassador Hans Klemm.

After additional meetings today in Bucharest, the Alabama group will travel to Sofia on Wednesday. Representatives of the Alabama businesses will engage in meetings with Bulgarian counterparts on Thursday, followed by a networking reception led by U.S. Ambassador Eric Rubin.

More company meetings follow on Friday, and the group returns home on Saturday.

“Alabama has never traveled to these markets on a multi-industry trade and business development mission,” Lockhart said. “Many of the businesses on the mission are mature small and medium-sized businesses, and we know these emerging markets can provide excellent potential for partnering opportunities.”

Alabama companies on the mission are:

–Huntsville’s Baron Services, which specializes in advanced weather radars and visualization software.
–Daphne’s Irrigation Components International, which provides parts for irrigation systems to dealers and manufacturers.
–Montgomery’s Knox Kershaw, a maker of railway maintenance equipment used worldwide.
–Warrior’s Mid-America Engine, which provides power generation equipment used on five continents and many of the most remote locations on the planet.
Okra Energy, a developer of advanced small-scale liquified natural gas technologies that has an office in Jackson.
–Huntsville’s R2C Support Services, which provides products and services to the U.S. Department of Defense and other clients.
–Birmingham’s Thompson Tractor, a major sales representative of Caterpillar heavy equipment for the construction and other industries.

Also represented on the mission is the University of Alabama Center for Economic Development, the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and the Alabama National Guard.

The mission is coordinated by the Alabama Department of Commerce, the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, and the U.S. Commercial Services’ Birmingham U.S. Export Assistance Center.

“Going into emerging markets can be daunting for small companies,” Lockhart said. “Having assistance from Alabama’s state, regional and federal partners in putting together the logistics and appointments helps our companies focus on selling their products. Also, we’re able to identify new collaborations and forge long-term partnerships for the future.”

An earlier Alabama trade mission this year traveled to Argentina and Ecuador.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

6 months ago

Continental Motors embarks on $75 million Alabama factory project

(Made in Alabama)

Continental Motors hosted a groundbreaking ceremony in Mobile for its “Blue Marlin” project, which involves the construction of an advanced manufacturing facility for the production of piston and turbine engines for light aircraft, along with parts.

The new facility will be nearly 275,000 square feet, mostly dedicated to advanced engine and parts manufacturing for all Continental Motors Group product lines. It will be outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment and include a special area designated for evaluation of new manufacturing techniques and processes, including additive manufacturing and automation.

Earlier this month, Continental Motors said the foundation work for the new factory had begun.

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“Continental Motors has been a big part of the local Mobile community for over 50 years and is pleased with the community support that allows us to renew our commitment to the region and our great team members for many years to come,” said Michael Skolnik, the company’s executive vice president of global operations.

“The ‘greenfield’ facility will modernize our manufacturing processes into a world-class, high-productivity, vertically integrated center of manufacturing excellence among the aviation cluster in Mobile, Alabama, USA,” he added.

‘BLUE MERLIN’

The “Blue Merlin” project was first announced in March 2017. The company says it chose the name because the sport fish embodies the strength and versatility it aims to achieve with the new factory.

The new facility will allow the company to consolidate operations that are now scattered among around a dozen different buildings.

Continental Motors said building the new Alabama factory is a key step in a plan to profoundly transform the company and the way its designs, manufactures, certifies, and support products. It plans to build a new customer and technical service infrastructure and environment that will allow assisting customers around the world at all times.

The new Mobile factory will be operational by 2020.

The Alabama Department of Commerce, through its AIDT workforce development agency, has assisted in the project.

Continental Motors is owned by China’s AVIC International Holding Corp.

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)

6 months ago

Walmart opens $135 million distribution center in Alabama

(Made in Alabama)

Walmart on Tuesday officially marked the opening of a $135 million distribution center in Mobile that will create 750 jobs and strengthen the retailer’s supply chain network.

During a grand opening ceremony, Governor Kay Ivey highlighted how the new facility will contribute to economic growth in the region while providing career opportunities for residents.

“Walmart proves to be a great corporate partner to the state of Alabama, year after year, by investing in its stores, its employees and the surrounding community,” Governor Ivey said. “Their commitment cannot be better proven than by the opening of this new distribution center, which, when fully operational, will provide approximately 750 quality jobs in the Mobile area.

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“We are grateful to Walmart for supporting the economic health of the Port City, and for the large role they play in propelling our great state forward.”

‘WARM WELCOME’

The Arkansas-based retailer announced plans for the 2.6 million-square-foot facility in March 2017. It will supply several regional distribution centers that support approximately 700 Walmart stores in Alabama, Mississippi and beyond.

“We are excited about how this facility will help us better serve our customers across the South and beyond, while creating a positive economic impact locally through job creation and future development,” said Jeff Breazeale, Walmart vice president, direct import logistics.

“We are grateful to the State of Alabama, Mobile County, the City of Mobile, the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce and the Alabama State Port Authorityfor the warm welcome we have received here, and we look forward to a strong partnership with the community for years to come.”

The Mobile facility currently employs 575 full-time workers, with plans calling for a total of 750 once it’s fully operational. Pay for associates starts at $16.50 an hour, while managers earn $50,000 a year or more and are eligible for additional annual incentives.

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)

6 months ago

Briggs & Stratton to open Alabama distribution hub, creating 20 jobs

(Made in Alabama)

Briggs & Stratton Corp. announced plans today to open a 400,000-square-foot distribution center in Alabama, adding 20 new jobs to its significant manufacturing presence in Auburn.

The new Alabama distribution hub, focusing on Briggs & Stratton engines and other products, will allow the company to reduce delivery times to its customers in the Southeast region. The new facility is expected to be operational by spring 2019.

The Auburn center is part of a broader strategic plan by Briggs & Stratton to consolidate a number of smaller warehouse operations throughout the U.S. into two large operations. The company will also open a new distribution hub in Germantown, Wisconsin, under this plan, which will be in addition to the company’s existing service and parts distribution center located in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin.

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“By consolidating our current footprint into two large distribution centers, we’re increasing efficiencies to more effectively serve our customers,” said Bill Harlow, director of global distribution and warehousing at Briggs & Stratton.

“The locations in Germantown and Auburn will provide a North American enterprise distribution footprint that supports our strategy and customers with optimal inventory and order delivery while managing space and capital investment.”

GROWTH PLANS

Briggs & Stratton’s decision to add the Alabama distribution hub comes less than one year after the Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based company launched a major expansion at its Auburn manufacturing facility.

In October 2017, the company announced a $12 million project to begin production of Vanguard commercial V-twin engines in Auburn, eventually creating 50 jobs. The new warehouse will be used to store these engines, along with other products, for final shipment.

“I’m encouraged to see Briggs & Stratton expand again in Alabama because I know that means that they are finding all the ingredients they need for success right here in our state,” Governor Kay Ivey said.

“This represents a powerful endorsement from a leading manufacturer and shows once again that we are open for business.”

Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said the addition of the distribution hub reflects the high level of confidence Briggs & Stratton has in its Auburn operation and the workforce there.

“Supporting world-class companies like Briggs & Stratton that are looking to grow in Alabama is a high priority for the state’s economic development team,” Secretary Canfield said.

“They’ve been a great corporate citizen in Auburn for many years, and we look forward to seeing them continue to grow in the state.”

‘EXCITING TIME’

Briggs & Stratton, which began operations in Auburn in 1995, is one of the city’s largest industrial employers, with more than 430 workers. Its existing manufacturing facility primarily produces twin-cylinder engines for lawn-mowing equipment.

“Auburn is happy with the continued commitment of Briggs & Stratton to our community,” Mayor Bill Ham said.

Dave Rodgers, senior vice president and president — engines and power at Briggs & Stratton, said the decision to open the new distribution hubs aligns with the company’s commitment to invest in being a “partner of choice” in the communities where it operates.

“We’re already enhancing two of our existing plants in Auburn, Alabama, and Statesboro, Georgia, to bring production of our commercial Vanguard V-Twin engines back to the U.S., and we’re continuously investing in our research and development efforts to create products that help make work easier and lives better — it’s an exciting time to be at Briggs & Stratton,” he said.

Briggs & Stratton is the world’s largest producer of gasoline engines for outdoor power equipment.

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)

6 months ago

Two firms form artificial intelligence joint venture in Florence

(Made in Alabama)

Nevada-based Sierra Artificial Neural Networks announced plans today to locate its headquarters in Florence and form a joint development partnership with IPWatch Systems Corp. to advance artificial intelligence products.

Sierra Artificial Neural Networks said the Florence area represents an ideal location for the firm to pursue application creation and ongoing development. The region is home to the University of North Alabama (UNA) and provides access to the talent needed for AI research and commercialization, the company said.

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Sierra said Florence-based IPWatch Systems’ accomplishments in AI make it a great choice for the joint development partnership.

“It has a solid track record of developing and commercializing disruptive technology utilizing artificial intelligence, machine learning and Big Data,” Sierra CEO Terry Bartz said.

“We are confident that by combining our respective technologies and commercial backgrounds, we will be highly competitive and successful in the global markets for artificial intelligence applications. “

AI and artificial neural networks have been used in many applications across a broad range of industries through activities such as medical diagnosis, finance, data mining, manufacturing, and much more.

TECH GROWTH

Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said the partnership in Florence will help advance AI research and product development in the state, while also providing a boost to Alabama ’s emerging technology sector.

“We’re committed to facilitating the growth of technology-focused jobs across Alabama and to building a robust tech sector involved in cutting-edge activities that add vitality to the state’s economy,” Secretary Canfield said.

“This partnership will help us expand our expertise in a technology that’s poised to play a critical role in the future.”

Collin said IPWatch Systems has benefitted from a highly talented tech workforce produced by UNA, as well as support from local leaders such as state Sen. Tim Melson and Rep. Lynn Greer, state government officials, and the NFIB Alabama. In addition, the firm received a grant from the Shoals Economic Development Authority.

“We are proud that Sierra has chosen Florence to make this investment, and it would not have been possible without this strong local support,” Collin said.

SEDA President Forrest Wright called the partnership an “exciting project” for the Shoals area.

“We are thrilled to have new high-paying jobs and an increased presence in the tech industry,” he said. “We support this project and look forward to watching it grow in the Shoals.”

Florence-based IPWatch Systems said the partnership will allow the firm to enhance its existing product line utilizing AI.

“This initiative will continue to grow IPWatch’s success in the artificial intelligence space and continue to contribute to local and state economic development in tech,” said Sean Collin, CEO of IPWatch Systems.

Sierra said Florence-based IPWatch Systems’ accomplishments in AI make it a great choice for the joint development partnership.

“It has a solid track record of developing and commercializing disruptive technology utilizing artificial intelligence, machine learning and Big Data,” Sierra CEO Terry Bartz said.

“We are confident that by combining our respective technologies and commercial backgrounds, we will be highly competitive and successful in the global markets for artificial intelligence applications. “

AI and artificial neural networks have been used in many applications across a broad range of industries through activities such as medical diagnosis, finance, data mining, manufacturing, and much more.

TECH GROWTH

Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said the partnership in Florence will help advance AI research and product development in the state, while also providing a boost to Alabama ’s emerging technology sector.

“We’re committed to facilitating the growth of technology-focused jobs across Alabama and to building a robust tech sector involved in cutting-edge activities that add vitality to the state’s economy,” Secretary Canfield said.

“This partnership will help us expand our expertise in a technology that’s poised to play a critical role in the future.”

Collin said IPWatch Systems has benefitted from a highly talented tech workforce produced by UNA, as well as support from local leaders such as state Sen. Tim Melson and Rep. Lynn Greer, state government officials, and the NFIB Alabama. In addition, the firm received a grant from the Shoals Economic Development Authority.

“We are proud that Sierra has chosen Florence to make this investment, and it would not have been possible without this strong local support,” Collin said.

SEDA President Forrest Wright called the partnership an “exciting project” for the Shoals area.

“We are thrilled to have new high-paying jobs and an increased presence in the tech industry,” he said. “We support this project and look forward to watching it grow in the Shoals.”

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)

7 months ago

Alabama ranks #1 in business climate; Huntsville and Auburn-Opelika ranked in top cities

(Made in Alabama)

Business Facilities, an economic development-focused publication, ranked Alabama’s business climate tops among the states in a new analysis that examined performance in several key economic categories.

The publication cited Alabama’s successful recruitment of the Toyota-Mazda joint venture automobile manufacturing plant to illustrate the state’s appeal. The project, announced in January 2018, calls for a $1.6 billion investment and 4,000 new jobs in Huntsville.

Besides the No. 1 ranking for Best Business Climate, Business Facilities also gave the state high marks for growth potential and workforce training.

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 “In Alabama, they’ve nailed the economic development fundamentals — maximizing resources with regional cooperation, a diverse growth strategy, world-class workforce training — and they’re running up the score with one big-ticket project after another,” the publication writes.

“These rankings are a powerful testament to the hard work that’s been put into positioning Alabama for economic growth.”

Business Facilities said Alabama’s business climate “is hitting on all cylinders,” citing the growth plans of GE Appliances, which is investing $115 million in an expansion in Decatur, and Amazon, which is opening a 1,500-worker fulfillment center in Bessemer.

Governor Kay Ivey said the high rankings from Business Facilities confirm that Alabama is on the right track for economic growth.

“I’m committed to facilitating the creation of good jobs across Alabama and expanding opportunities for the state’s hard-working citizens,” Governor Ivey said.

“Our efforts have produced a lot of success lately, and we’re going to keep moving forward at full speed on this mission.”

Alabama’s other rankings from Business Facilities were:
–2 among state Workforce Training Leaders
–4 for Economic Growth Potential
–5 for Manufacturing Employment concentration
–6 for Automotive Manufacturing Strength
–3 for Free Trade Zone Activity (exports)

TOP-RANKED CITIES

In addition, Huntsville and Auburn-Opelika scored highly in Business Facilities’ 14th annual performance rankings, which appeared online this week and will feature in the publication’s July/August print issue.

Huntsville ranked No. 1 for Economic Growth Potential among mid-size U.S. cities, while Auburn-Opelika was No. 1 in the same category among small cities.

Business Facilities also ranked Auburn-Opelika No. 3 for job growth among small cities and Huntsville No. 7 for diversity in types of occupations.

“Increasingly, high-performing companies from around the world are discovering that Alabama offers a great business climate and a support system that includes top-flight job training services,” Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

“These rankings are a powerful testament to the hard work that’s been put into positioning Alabama for economic growth.”

Business Facilities is a leading full-service media brand specializing in the site selection marketplace, with a bi-monthly magazine, e-mail newsletters and an online news portal. It is owned by New Jersey-based Group C Media.

Alabama was selected by Business Facilities as its “State of the Year” in 2015.

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)

7 months ago

Carpenter Technology plans Alabama Emerging Technology Center

(Made in Alabama /Carpenter)

Governor Kay Ivey joined executives of Philadelphia-based Carpenter Technology Corp. at the Farnborough International Airshow today to announce plans for adding an Emerging Technology Center at its campus in Limestone County in northern Alabama.

The facility will initially focus on additive manufacturing (AM) technology development, with future investments slated for soft magnetics and meltless titanium powder.

Over time, Carpenter is expected to invest $52 million in the Emerging Technology Center, which is vital to accelerate the company’s key growth initiatives and is aligned with its business strategy of becoming an end-to-end solutions provider in the AM area.

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Approximately 60 jobs will be created over the next five years.

“Carpenter’s decision to locate this facility at its existing Athens site reflects the company’s confidence in its Alabama operation and the workforce there,” Governor Ivey said.

“I know that the discoveries made at this center will power many advances in high-tech manufacturing for Carpenter.”

Governor Ivey and Carpenter officials announced the project during a ceremony today at the Alabama Department of Commerce’s “Made in Alabama” booth at the Farnborough Airshow, the industry’s premier 2018 trade show.

Stephen Peskosky, Carpenter’s vice president of corporate development, stressed the significance of Carpenter’s expanded operations in Alabama.

“Our relationship with the state of Alabama has flourished since we selected Limestone County for our forging facility in 2011. With the addition of the Emerging Technology Center, our Athens, Alabama location continues to be a key location in supportingmany of the key markets we serve.”

GROWTH PLANS

Carpenter’s 500,000-square-foot Alabama manufacturing facility, which began operations in 2014, produces high-end specialty alloy products, primarily for the aerospace and energy markets.

It later expanded the Athens site to produce superalloy powders used in applications including jet engine disks and 3-D printed aircraft engine components and other products.

“We are excited that Carpenter Technology has once again decided to expand their presence in Limestone County,” County Commissioner Mark Yarbrough said. “They have been, and will continue to be an outstanding community partner.”

To date, the company has invested $575 million in its Alabama operations.

“This new facility is vitally important to the growth of Carpenter’s AM industrialization,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

“It not only complements the company’s ongoing AM investments and recent acquisitions in this evolving space, but it also creates high-paying jobs in Alabama while also expanding the capabilities of the state’s already robust aerospace industry.”

Carpenter  is a recognized leader in high-performance specialty alloy-based materials and process solutions for critical applications in the aerospace, defense, transportation, energy, industrial, medical, and consumer electronics markets.

Founded in 1889, Carpenter has evolved to become a pioneer in premium specialty alloys, including titanium, nickel, and cobalt, as well as alloys specifically engineered for AM processes and soft magnetics applications.

Carpenter has expanded its AM capabilities to provide a complete “end-to-end” solution to accelerate materials innovation and streamline parts production.

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)

7 months ago

Alabama aerospace connections on display at Farnborough Airshow

(A. Doumenjou/Airbus)

The Farnborough International Airshow is the global industry’s grand event in 2018, highlighted by thunderous aerial flyovers and mindboggling billion-dollar aircraft purchase announcements.

The airshow also represents an opportunity to showcase Alabama’s deep connections to the dynamic aerospace industry and to spot glimpses of developments that could shape the future of the sector in the state.

One them stood just off the runway at Farnborough – an Airbus A220 passenger jet.

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The aircraft, developed by Canada’s Bombardier as the C Series, is expected to be produced at Airbus’ Alabama manufacturing facility through an alliance between the two companies.

No formal timeline has been announced, but officials of the two companies have said the investment to add a second assembly line for the A220 in Alabama will amount to $300 million. The line would create an estimated 400 jobs at the Mobile facility.

While at Farnborough, Gov. Kay Ivey and Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield met with Jeff Knittel, CEO of Airbus Americas, and Florent Massou, who heads the A220 program.

Not far away, another aircraft was on display that could one day be produced in Alabama – Leonardo’s T-100 jet trainer.

The plane is competing to become the U.S. Air Force’s next training platform for fighter pilots. If it’s selected, the T-100 would be manufactured at a new facility in Tuskegee that would provide a massive economic boost for the area.

A decision is expected later this summer.

Meanwhile, there were many other Alabama connections on view at Farnborough, including the state’s close ties to Boeing. The company’s 737 MAX aircraft, which is supported by a design center in Huntsville, flew at the air show.

Read about Boeing’s growing presence in Alabama.

NASA administrator Jim Birdenstine greeted Ivey while in London, reflecting the importance of the space agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville.

Ivey and the Alabama team also talked with Raytheon executives about the company’s cyber security and missile defense programs. Raytheon produces its SM-3 and SM-6 missiles at a futuristic Huntsville factory.

Alabama’s contributions to GE Aviation and the LEAP engine were also on display at Farnborough.

The fuel-efficient LEAP engine, produced by a partnership that includes GE Aviation, was spotted on Boeing and Airbus aircraft. A 3-D printed fuel nozzle made by GE Aviation in Auburn is an important feature of the engine.

In addition, the engine features components made from ceramic matrix composites, or CMCs, unique materials that are ultra-lightweight and can withstand tremendous temperatures. GE recently opened a $200 million factory complex in Huntsville to produce the raw material for these CMCs.

Lockheed Martin, which has a large presence in Alabama, showed off a Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile, or JASSM, at a static display at Farnborough. The JASSM is produced at the company’s facility in Pike County.

This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.

More from Farnborough: Read about the Alabama team’s work at the 2018 Farnborough International Airshow and announcements of major Alabama investments by Carpenter Technology Corp. and BAE Systems.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)