It might be the dog days of summer, but U.S manufacturers were hard at work, announcing plans for major new industrial projects across the country. This month, we saw continued investment in the EV industry, while innovation in biotech continued to soar. Food production, packaging, and HVAC products also took a front seat, offering further evidence that while current business conditions are challenging, the future is bright for U.S. manufacturing.
Making everything from electric vehicles and biotech products to pallets and Goldfish crackers, today we’re exploring some of the most exciting new manufacturing operations announced in July.2023.
A new report out July 26th from Markets and Markets finds the EV market is projected to grow from USD 388.1 billion in 2023 to USD 951.9 billion by 2030, registering a CAGR of 13.7%, driven by advancements in battery technology, charging infrastructure, and improved driving range. Rapid growth in this industry was further evidenced by a number of new EV enterprises opening up in July. First, let's take a look at some of the major EV announcements from the month.
First up, Lion Electric, a manufacturer of zero-emission vehicles, celebrated the official opening of its 900,000 square-foot facility in Joliet, Illinois, on July 21, 2023. The plant is the largest all-electric U.S. plant dedicated to medium and heavy-duty commercial vehicle production. The facility is expected to have a manufacturing capacity of 2,500 all-electric school buses at the end of 2023 and 20,000 vehicles per year in a combination of both buses and trucks at full scale.
The plant is estimated to create around 1,400 skilled jobs in the region. Lion Electric chose Illinois for its resources, central location, and vision for a more sustainable future.
Marc Bédard, CEO-Founder of Lion Electric, said: "We are at the forefront of a manufacturing rebirth in the United States, and together with Governor J.B. Pritzker and his team, industry stakeholders and EV advocates, we are creating the next era of transportation in the Midwest."
And in other EV news, VinFast, a member of Vingroup and a leader in smart electric vehicles, has announced the groundbreaking ceremony of its first electric vehicle factory in the U.S. on July 28. The factory will be located at the Triangle Innovation Point in Chatham County, North Carolina, and will have a capacity of 150,000 vehicles per year in phase 1. The factory will produce batteries for fully electric VinFast X models and will use battery cells from AESC, a partner company that is building a new battery cell factory in Florence, South Carolina. The project is part of VinFast’s $1.7 billion investment in its U.S. operations and will create thousands of new jobs. The factory is expected to start production in 2025.
Madam Le Thi Thu Thuy, CEO of VinFast Auto, said, “The manufacturing facility in North Carolina is one of VinFast’s key projects. When it begins operations, the factory will be VinFast’s primary supplier of electric vehicles to the North American market, allowing us to optimize production and business activities. We hope the construction of the factory in Chatham County will contribute to advancing the clean energy economy in the U.S. and help to support North Carolina’s green mobility strategy.”
Meanwhile, Mersen, a global expert in electrical power and advanced materials, announced the opening of its new manufacturing facility in Columbia, TN, on July 11, 2023. The company has invested $70 million in the facility and plans to invest more over the next 1-3 years. The facility will produce extruded graphite, insulation felt and isostatic graphite for green technology products used in solar panels, semiconductors and electric vehicles.
The facility will have the capacity to produce 4,000 tons of extruded graphite, 120 tons of insulation felt, and 2,000 tons of isostatic graphite per year. The company has hired nearly 100 employees from the region and plans to hire 50 more in the next 12 months.
Luc Themelin, Mersen’s CEO, said: “It is now a key site in our manufacturing base, bringing together production capacities for extruded graphite, isostatic graphite and insulating felts. This important strengthening of our industrial capacities will enable us to achieve the objectives of our 2027 plan.”
And in more automotive news, automotive supplier Magna, announced plans to invest more than $790 million and create approximately 1,300 new jobs in Tennessee. The company will build two facilities at Ford’s BlueOval City supplier park in Stanton, Tennessee, and one facility in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. The facilities will produce battery enclosures, truck frames and seats for Ford’s electric trucks. Production is expected to start in 2025.
Eric Wilds, chief sales and marketing officer of Magna, said, “These opportunities not only strengthen our relationship with a valued customer, but also reflect the depth and breadth of our capabilities across the vehicle. We are thankful to the state of Tennessee for their support and partnership.”
Crossing into the biotech industry, Ayana Bio, the plant cell technology company, announced the opening of a new state-of-the-art laboratory in Boston’s Seaport District on July 12, 2023. The lab will advance plant cell-cultivated production systems to create a diverse range of health, wellness, and nutrition ingredients. The lab is in the same building as Ginkgo Bioworks, Ayana Bio’s strategic partner, increasing synergy with Ginkgo’s biological technology and resources.
Ayana Bio’s plant cell technology is a means to create plant materials without growing plants in the ground, yielding ingredients with molecular compositions and equivalent health and wellness benefits as their source plant counterparts. The lab will support Ayana Bio’s pipeline of high-value botanicals, including cacao bioactives, echinacea, and lemon balm.
Frank Jaksch, CEO of Ayana Bio, said: "This new lab stands as a testament to our unwavering dedication to providing the most essential plant bioactives for nutrition-rich formulations.”
Meanwhile in Pennsylvania, Gelest, Inc., a Mitsubishi Chemical Group company and a leader in specialty silicones, organosilanes, metal-organics, and acrylates, has started the construction of a new 50,000 square-foot production facility at its global headquarters in Morrisville, PA. The new building is expected to be completed by September 2024 and will enhance Gelest’s capabilities to serve advanced technology markets such as medical devices, life sciences, microelectronics, and personal care. One of the key technologies that will be operated at the new facility is the precursor production for dry photoresist technology for EUV lithography, a breakthrough semiconductor manufacturing technique that Gelest is developing in collaboration with Lam Research Corp.
Jonathan Goff, Vice President of the Custom Synthesis Division for Mitsubishi Chemical Group and President of Gelest, said, “We are leveraging the technical expertise of the local workforce and recruiting from local universities. In addition, we are supporting the trend towards on-shoring business, thereby fortifying the U.S. supply chain for crucial materials for advanced manufacturing.”
Conner Industries, Inc., a leading provider of lumber, industrial wood crates & pallets, and integrated packaging solutions, announced the opening of a new manufacturing facility in Guthrie, Kentucky. The new facility will serve large manufacturing customers in both the southern Kentucky and Tennessee markets, with a focus on pallets and mixed material transportation packaging.
The facility has 75,000+ square feet of manufacturing space and 3,000 square feet of office space. David Dixon, CEO of Conner Industries, said: “The new site will serve as an ideal platform to broaden our integrated packaging products to new and existing customers. This expansion illustrates the Conner commitment to adapting to our customers’ ever-changing need for solutions that reduce the total cost of packaging.”
AAON, a world leader in HVAC solutions, announced a major expansion project to its facility in Longview, TX, on July 13, 2023. The company will invest $40 million to construct a 230,000-square-foot addition to its existing plant, which was previously expanded in 2021. The project will double the production capacity of current and new products, as well as coil production capabilities. The expansion will also create about 250 new full-time jobs in the region and improve the facility’s infrastructure and amenities.
Doug Wichman, Vice President of AAON, Inc., and President of AAON Coil Products, said: "There is a tremendous amount of growth opportunity for our Longview location, and we couldn’t be more excited. AAON will continue to support our local communities and team members for many years. We’re just getting started."
Leidos, a science and technology leader, announced plans to establish a new security systems manufacturing facility in North Charleston, South Carolina, on July 6, 2023. The company will invest $31.7 million in the new facility, which will be its third security systems manufacturing location in the U.S. The facility will produce security systems for aviation, shipping ports, border crossings and critical infrastructure customers.
The facility will have 150,000 square feet of manufacturing space and create up to 170 new jobs in the region. Jim Moos, Leidos Civil Group president, said: “This facility brings more manufacturing back into the U.S. and expands Leidos’ global security capabilities for the aviation and critical infrastructure markets.”
Campbell Soup Company, a leader in food and beverages, announced plans to invest $160 million in its Richmond, Utah, manufacturing facility to expand production of Goldfish crackers. The project will add over 80 new jobs and a new onsite flour mill that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The new line will increase the bakery’s output of Goldfish by 50 percent and produce over 5 million Goldfish per hour. The expansion is part of Campbell’s commitment to the growth of its brands and the communities where it operates.
Chris Foley, Executive Vice President and President, Campbell Snacks, said: "Goldfish is an iconic brand that is quickly approaching a billion-dollar business, and this investment demonstrates our commitment to the growth of our brands and the communities where we operate."
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