October 2023 saw the U.S. manufacturing sector abuzz with exciting developments. From a new battery plant in Massachusetts to mycelium-grown textiles in South Carolina to innovative modular housing in California and a smart pet food factory in Kansas, the new manufacturing operations announced in October were all about innovation and ingenuity.
Spanning ten states, representing billions in investments and thousands of jobs, let’s take a look at the most exciting new plant announcements made in the month of October.
Factorial Energy, a U.S. company developing solid-state batteries for electric vehicles, has opened a new battery manufacturing facility in Methuen, Mass. The facility represents a $50 million investment and is expected to create over 150 local jobs. The facility will produce automotive-sized solid-state batteries with Factorial’s proprietary FEST ® technology, which offers higher energy density and safety than lithium-ion batteries. The facility will also have the largest solid-state battery assembly line in the U.S. with a capacity of up to 200MWh.
“We are thrilled to open our next-generation battery facility in Massachusetts as we scale our batteries for mass production,” said Siyu Huang, CEO of Factorial. “This facility will enable us to manufacture cells to meet the needs of our automotive partners and progress our mission to commercialize solid-state batteries.”
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster joined MycoWorks Chief of Culture Sophia Wang, COO Doug Hardesty and CEO Matthew Scullin to celebrate the opening of the biomaterials company's Fine Mycelium factory in Union, S.C with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Photo courtesy of MycoWorks and PR Newswire.
MycoWorks, a biomaterials company, celebrated the opening of its first full-scale Fine Mycelium™ facility in Union, S.C. on Oct. 25, 2023. The facility, which cost $30 million and created over 150 jobs, produces Reishi™, a luxury leather-like material made from mycelium, the root structure of mushrooms. Reishi™ is used by partners such as Hermès and Ligne Roset to create high-quality and sustainable products. “Our outreach to the region is critical to our success. Our partnerships with the Upstate educational ecosystem and the leadership in South Carolina will enable us to bring continued training and high quality jobs,” said Doug Hardesty, Chief Operating Officer of MycoWorks.
Modular housing company indieDwell has opened a new manufacturing facility in Brawley, California. The $15 million, 105,000 square-foot facility will create 200 jobs and produce affordable and energy-efficient housing solutions for the regions of California, Arizona, and Nevada.
Said "We selected Brawley for our expansion after considering a number of different locations," said Pete Gombert, Executive Chairman and Co-Founder of indieDwell, in a press release. “Our Brawley facility is strategically located in the Southwest region with easy access to four major metropolitan areas and over 40 million people within 500 miles. Most importantly, the Imperial Valley offers a strong workforce and phenomenal partnership opportunities. Workforce development is one of indieDwell's guiding principles, and our sincere desire is to work with our community partners to create new jobs and construction trade training."
Bayer has invested $250 million to build a 100,000-square-foot cell therapy facility in Berkeley, California. The facility will produce cell therapies for late-stage clinical trials and potential commercial launch, including bemdaneprocel, an investigational treatment for Parkinson’s disease. The facility will also support other cell and gene therapies in Bayer’s pipeline and help break the industry-wide bottleneck in manufacturing capacity for regenerative medicines. Jens Vogel, Sr. Vice President and Global Head of Biotech for Bayer’s Pharmaceutical Division, said that the facility will enable Bayer to bring transformational cell and gene therapies to patients on a global scale.
“Cell therapy represent a groundbreaking class of medicines and is an area where Bayer is making a significant investment to research potentially transformative treatment approaches for people with unmet medical needs,” said Sebastian Guth, President of Bayer U.S.A. and Pharmaceuticals North America.
Plasser American, a company that makes machines for the railroad industry, has opened a new 82,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility in Chesapeake, Virginia. The facility will increase the company’s production capacity and efficiency, using state-of-the-art technology and four interior/exterior rail tracks. The project represents a $52 million investment and will create 75 new jobs in the area. Plasser American’s CEO, Thomas Blechinger, said that the company is ready to meet the growing demand for sustainable and environmentally friendly rail transport.
IDT, a global genomics solutions provider, has completed its new Therapeutic Oligonucleotide Manufacturing facility in Coralville, Iowa. The facility will produce cGMP grade cell and gene therapy reagents, including sgRNAs and donor oligos for CRISPR genome editing. The project represents a $250 million investment and enables IDT to support researchers from research use to clinical development. Demaris Mills, president of IDT, said that the facility will help accelerate the pace of genomics and bring transformational therapies to patients.
Said Demaris Mills, president, IDT. “Now, with our new cGMP manufacturing facility, IDT can provide a complete CRISPR workflow—from design to analysis—that supports cell and gene therapy developers in all stages of therapeutic development, with the same support and expertise they have come to know from IDT. These new manufacturing capabilities, which have been informed by our decades of oligonucleotide synthesis manufacturing expertise, evolves IDT’s business model from Research Use Only to cGMP, and enables us to help more people.”
JCB announced plans to build a new factory in North America which will create 1,500 new jobs over the next five years. Photo courtesy of JCB.
JCB, a global manufacturer of construction equipment, announced that it will invest in a new 720,000 sq ft factory in San Antonio, Texas. The factory will produce machines mainly for the North American market, which is the largest in the world. The project will create 1,500 new jobs over the next five years. JCB CEO Graeme Macdonald said that the new factory will bring JCB closer to its customers and help it grow its business in the future.
JCB CEO Graeme Macdonald said: “North America is integral to the growth and success of JCB’s business in the future and the time is now right for JCB to expand its manufacturing presence there. Texas is a vibrant and growing economy, and the State offers great advantages in terms of a central location, as well as good highway and port access, The city of San Antonio also has a well-established skills base, which makes it a very attractive place to set up a factory.”
Hill’s Pet Nutrition, a global leader in science-led nutrition, has invested in a new 365,000 square foot manufacturing plant in Tonganoxie, Kansas. The plant will use artificial intelligence and state-of-the-art technology to produce more than 170 varieties of wet pet food for Hill’s Science Diet and Prescription Diet brands. The project will create more than 100 jobs and help meet the growing demand for pet health products. Hill’s President and CEO John Hazlin said that the plant will “help enrich and lengthen the special relationships between people and their pets.”
IPEX, a global leader in genomics solutions, has opened a new 200,000 sq. ft. injection molding plant in Pineville, North Carolina. The plant will produce fittings for plumbing, electrical, industrial, and municipal applications, using fully electric machines and cloud connectivity. The project represents a $200 million investment and will create 150 new jobs in the area. IPEX’s CEO, Alex Mestres, said that the plant is "an important part of our North American growth strategy to expand our U.S. footprint and better serve our customers."
Large diameter Viega ProPress fittings coming off the manufacturing line. Photo courtesy of Viega and PR Newswire.
Viega, a plumbing and heating, ventilation and air condition solutions manufacturer, will build a new manufacturing facility for its ProPress® and MegaPress® products in Shalersville, Ohio. The 180,000 sq. ft. plant will break ground in November 2023 and is expected to be operational in early 2025. The 80-acre parcel in Shalersville and the construction of the new plant represent an investment of approximately $200 million in Ohio. The new facility will be completely carbon neutral from the start, supporting the company’s long-term goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions for all their plants by 2035. “The expansion of our operations into Ohio shows our commitment to creating highly skilled jobs in the U.S.,” said Marki Huston, Head of Manufacturing for Viega LLC. “Our goal is to build more sustainable manufacturing processes and continue developing tomorrow’s workforce. With production scheduled to begin in early 2025, we expect to start hiring for positions as soon as January 2024, bringing more than 68
new jobs to the area over the next few years.”
Thermo Fisher Scientific, a leader in biologics production, has invested in expanding its manufacturing capacity in St. Louis, Missouri. The expansion adds 58,000 square feet of space and enables the company to produce more biologic therapies for diseases such as cancer, autoimmune conditions, and rare genetic disorders. The company has received state and local tax incentives for the project, which will create more than 1,000 jobs in Missouri. “We are proud to support our customers’ efforts to develop and deliver life-changing medicines to patients around the world,” said Michel Lagarde, executive vice president of Thermo Fisher Scientific. “Our investment in St. Louis strengthens our global network of biologics manufacturing sites and enhances our ability to provide innovative technologies and services for the biopharma industry.”
US Pillars, a manufacturer of display shelving and other products, will invest $981,000 to expand its headquarters in Cookeville, Tennessee. The company will acquire a wood garage door product line from Hörmann, a German company that has its North American headquarters in Sparta, Tennessee. The acquisition will increase US Pillars’ manufacturing capabilities and strengthen its partnership with Hörmann. The project will create 56 new jobs in Putnam County. “It is a privilege to be able to continue and expand the offering of this beautiful product nationally and to grow the craftsmanship capabilities here in the Upper Cumberland,” said Dave Uhrik, general manager of US Pillars.
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