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Confidence in Manufacturing Equals Expansion

Alan Rooks
By Alan Rooks Editor in Chief, Manufacturing Engineering

One of the measures of business confidence is the willingness to invest in new facilities based on anticipated future growth. By that measure, the manufacturing industry is confident.

I rounded up news of some of the facility expansions that Manufacturing Engineering covered in 2018 and 2019, and the list is a healthy one.

In June, Methods Machine Tools, Sudbury, Mass., held a grand opening of its new Precision Center in Acton, Mass. for tight-tolerance test cuts (see page 28), and in November 2018 held a grand opening of its Memphis (Tenn.) Technology Center.

In June, Zeiss Industrial Quality Solutions held a steel topping out event for its new facility in Lyon Township, Mich. (it will open next June).

In June, GF Machining Solutions celebrated its revamped Microlution facility in Chicago, where it builds micromachining centers.

In May, Twin Disc Inc., a power transmission technology maker, was completing a North American Aftermarket Distribution Center.

In January, Mazak Corp. announced an $8.5 million investment in new manufacturing technology for its Florence, Ky. iSmart Factory operations; in April, the company said it will open a new Florida Technical Center in the Orlando area; and it will hold a grand opening of its new spindle rebuild department at the Kentucky campus this November.

In September 2018, Bystronic Inc. held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new North American headquarters in Hoffman Estates, Ill.

In June 2018, Amada Holdings broke ground on its newest North American Technical Center and Manufacturing Center in High Point, N.C., which will build press brakes and blanking automation.

In June 2018, Aero Gear, which makes aerospace gearbox assemblies, completed an expansion of its Windsor, Conn. facility.

And in May 2018, ANCA, a producer of CNC tool, cutter grinders and manufacturing software, opened a new plant expansion in Wixom, Mich.

I’m sure there are countless other expansions as well. The robust performance of the manufacturing industry—and its prospects for future growth—led these companies and others to invest in the facilities they need to be more competitive.

With the manufacturing industry cooling somewhat, these announcements may slow a bit, but the people who decided to make the investments outlined above understand that manufacturing is cyclical and still pulled the trigger.

What is also interesting in the above list is how many of the companies are the U.S. headquarters for overseas firms.

Manufacturing is one of the most globalized industries and depends on the free flow of information, investment and people around the globe. In this age of real and threatened trade wars, manufacturing is one of the best examples of why throwing up barriers to foreign investment and trade is almost always a bad idea.

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