Above: Georgia-Pacific employees and guests celebrate the completion of a $100 million expansion of a Dixie manufacturing facility in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The expansion increases production of plates and bowls, adds more than 70 new jobs. Photo credit: Georgia-Pacific via PR Newswire
Amid unprecedented times, U.S. manufacturers continue to open up new facilities and expand existing ones as the sector progresses in its slow climb back from pandemic lows.
In November, several new facilities opened up in response to the pandemic, along with some major wins for the transportation equipment and food processing industries. Today, we are going to explore the new manufacturing or expanded operations announced in November.
Related: Top Manufacturing Cities in the U.S.
With the COVID-19 pandemic headed into its second year, more pharmaceutical plants are heeding the call to increase drug production in the United States. To that end, biologics company Cambrex announced this month that it is expanding capacity at its facility in Charles City, Iowa.
The $50 million expansion will allow the company to meet demand for small molecule substance development and manufacturing. The expanded operation will increase capacity by 30% and the number of workers at the facility will increase to 400. Cambrex focuses on small molecules and provides drug substance, drug product and analytical services across the entire drug lifecycle.
Joe Nettleton, President of Cambrex's Drug Substance Business Unit, in a release, "This expansion in the U.S. for API manufacturing capacity comes at a time when our customers increasingly require high-quality partners to ensure reliable supply chains within the pharmaceutical sector."
Meanwhile, Germany-based contract manufacturer Vibalogics GmbH announced plans to open a new facility in Massachusetts for late phase clinical and commercial virotheraphy manufacturing.
The new 118,000 square-foot plant, located near Boston, in Boxborough, Mass., represents an investment of $150 million. The company plans to hire more than 100 workers. Vibalogics is a global contract development and manufacturing organization and has been selected by global pharma giant Johnson & Johnson as a manufacturing partner for a forthcoming COVID-19 vaccine.
And, in light of the ongoing pandemic, demand for nutritional supplements continues to soar. We saw some evidence of this in November, when the Clorox Company announced an expansion of its vitamins and supplements division in Durham, North Carolina. The new project will bring the division’s headquarters to the city and expand existing operations, representing an investment of $7.5 million that will bring 158 new jobs to Durham.
In Wisconsin, Comar, a supplier of packaging solutions and custom medical devices, is joining the COVID fight with its recent expansion, announced November 11th. The company unveiled plans to relocate and expand its West Bend manufacturing plant, moving into a 160,000 square-foot facility that will allow it to expand its rigid plastic packaging production and injection molding solutions that help deliver supplies to health care facilities.
“The pandemic affecting our society has brought an unprecedented surge in demand for Comar's rigid packaging, especially for disinfecting wipes used in hospitals, homes and institutions. We recognize the critical role our injection molding and blow molding solutions play in delivering essential supplies to the frontlines in the battle against COVID-19,” said Mike Ruggieri, CEO of Comar, in a statement.
And as more people eat at home and restaurants seek out more disposable paper products, Georgia Pacific announced this month that it has completed its expansion of its Dixie facility in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Built in 1991, the Bowling Green operation produces the famous Dixie brand paper plates and bowls. This $100 million expansion adds another 80,000 square feet to its manufacturing capacity and 70 additional workers, bringing total employment to 200 people.
David Duncan, executive vice president for Georgia-Pacific's Consumer Products Group, said in a statement “Demand is strong and growing for our Dixie plates and bowls, and this expansion will allow us to produce more of those products that are valued for their unique combination of convenience and performance."
This follows COVID-19 testing swab manufacturer Maine-based Puritan Medical Products plans to open a second factory in Pittsfield and the establishment of a new N-95 mask company in Hawaii. Read more in our new plants announced in October.
Meanwhile, a few announcements were made in the U.S. transportation equipment industry. First up, automotive supplier Advics Manufacturing announced plans to hire 100 workers at its Lebanon, Ohio facility. The company’s Lebanon plant also serves as its U.S. headquarters and supplies automakers with braking components such as front brake disc calipers, electronic stability control unites and electronic parking brakes.
Camso, a manufacturer of off-road tires, wheels, rubber tracks and undercarriage systems for the material handling, agricultural, construction and powersports industries, announced it has opened a new manufacturing plant in Junction City, Kansas. The new 140,000 square foot facility will manufacture agricultural tracks, employing 50.
Earlier in the month, Arbor Vita8, a seed-to-sales commercial hemp company, announced it has opened a new hemp processing facility in Phenix City, AL. Encompassing 75,000 square feet, the new facility boasts the latest in processing technology, including an industrial dryer able to dry 10,000 pounds of biomass per hour and an industrial extractor that can extract 5,000 pounds of crude and distillate per day.
Ending on a sweet note, chocolate manufacturer Ferrero announced plans to build its first North American chocolate manufacturing plant in Bloomington, Illinois. This new $75 million manufacturing facility will allow the company to produce chocolate for well-known confectionary treats such as 100Grand, SnoCaps, Raisinettes, Goobers and Ferrero Rocher, encompassing 70,000 square feet of manufacturing capacity. The new plant will create 50 new jobs.
This follows confectionary giant Haribo’s big announcement last month of its plans to begin construction on its first North American plant in the state of Wisconsin. Haribo announced its intention to build the new gummy bear facility back in 2017, but has just only now announced it will begin construction of the factory on the 130-acre lot in Pleasant Prairie.
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