High Technology Production Will Boost Manufacturing Sector

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To put it succinctly, the British economy isn’t doing all that well these days. However, as with all things there is hope in the fact that high technology manufacturing might be the answer to a much-needed boost to the economy. Of course, this will take a year or two to manifest in terms of the growth of jobs as well as output.

According to a survey taken by the industrial group known as General Electric, more than a quarter of these businesses have revealed that their sales have gone above 10 years over the last year, and they are pretty optimistic about the fact that they will be able to increase employment and turnover during the course of this year.

The sectors involved in this growth would be those for car parts, electronics, general engineering, and machinery as well as those companies that are involved a substantial amount of research and development or that create technically advanced products.

This comes during a time when the UK manufacturing sector has reduced to about 12 percent of the economy in recent years, and which is clearly indicative of their performance over the last few years that will be discussed at a ‘manufacturing summit’ hosted by the government in bringing together top companies to find ways to boost output and employment as a result.

However, this survey should provide a brighter outlook for this part of the manufacturing industry, and will be of particular interest to the coalition government that seems

US Manufacturing to Learn Lessons From Recovery of The Three Auto Manufacturers

With the recovery of the big three auto manufacturers such as Chrysler, General Motors and Ford over the last two years, Ron Bloom, when visiting a Detroit auto show, said that this can also be replicated every area of U.S manufacturing.

He attributes the recovery of this industry due to the combined efforts of Americans working together to build the industry back up. While an intervention was required from the government, Ron still attributed the success of this recovery to the efforts of the people involved in getting the single most important industry (due to the number of jobs it offers) back on its feet.

Of course during the crisis, the government did what it had to do, and backed out when they had done their part with General Motors, leaving the people to continue to good work from the front and bring these three manufacturers back to a point where it could being to function normally as always.

Ron Bloom also said that other US manufacturing industries can learn from this particular instance, where the government intervened to a certain extent but left the rest to the people to take care of, and perhaps in replicating these lessons, they can also come back to normalcy going forward in the future.

However, the government has not fully backed out but will continue to offer support to the auto industry, albeit playing a subdued role for some time to come as the industry resume functioning normally again.

SoloPower Will Create 170 New Jobs in Oregon

SoloPower, a startup which produces thin-film solar cells and modules, has announced its plans of opening a new manufacturing plant in Wilsonville, which is south of Portland. Of course, this plan for expansion has come due to the fact that the company has received a $ 20 million loan from the Oregon’s State Energy Loan Program.

While the intention of the organization is to keep their corporate headquarters and research and development in Silicon Valley (San Jose), this decision to set up a factory employing 170 workers in Oregon has come after considering several areas in the United States that seemed beneficial for scaling up production.

According to Oregon’s governor, these jobs are exactly the kind that Oregon needs, as this supports their vision of being a stronger clean-technology manufacturing state, and while SoloPower has 127 people at its current headquarters, that number will pale in comparison to the 500 strong employees that this manufacturing unit will grow to in the coming years.

At another level altogether, the company’s sales and marketing vice-president declined to comment on whether California was considered or not for these expansion plans, and perhaps this is due to the fact that the Silicon Valley Leadership Group have been very vocal about improving the State’s performance so that hi-tech jobs are not moved elsewhere by the creation of a Cabinet-level post to oversee this.

And while this might be a cause for concern, the truth is that the company has carefully looked at several areas both in the United States and abroad before making this decision.

Columbus Manufacturing to Cough UP $ 850,000 Over Ammonia Leak in August 2009

With the hospitalization of 17 people at a South San Francisco Columbus manufacturing facility due to an ammonia leak, the company has decided to cough up $ 850,000 as well as carry safety upgrades at the plant.

These actions were agreed upon by the company due to the lawsuit filed by the San Mateo District Attorney’s Office that accused the sausage-making giant of not training employees on how to handle hazardous materials along with not updating safety information as well as not conducting proper safety reviews of new safety equipment.

These accusations were due to the fact that in August 2009, a new refrigeration system installed on the roof exposed seventeen workers to about 200 pounds of ammonia.

The District Attorney’s Office viewed this whole incident as serious, and in making a settlement with the company, ensured that $ 550,000 of the total amount was in civil penalties while the rest of the amount was to cover for the emergency response to the plight of the workers as well as the investigation that led to the lawsuit.

Of course, the company did not accept any wrongdoing to the incident, and blamed it on the contractor who had apparently not done a professional job with the refrigeration unit in question.

As a part of this settlement, Columbus Manufacturing now has to install ammonia-leak sensors as well as a system that will notify employees and neighbors if an ammonia leak ever occurred again.

Evergreen Solar Manufacturing Plant in Devens, MA Will Close Down

Devens, MA has become the latest manufacturing casualty, thanks to an uncertain solar market and with the company in question, Evergreen Solar, making an attempt to cut costs in order to stay in the game. The truth is that they have had no choice but to set up shop in September in China in order to compete with Chinese based manufacturers.

With over 800 employees at this facility, the operations of this manufacturing plant will come to a complete halt before March 31, while also expecting a total charge of $ 355 million due to the closure. There is no doubt that this amount will affect the Q4 2010 and Q1 2011 results substantially.

Of course, it’s obvious that the company did not have a choice as competing globally while being a manufacturer in the United States makes it well and truly difficult to keep up with their competitors. However, the good news is that the company has decided to keep its high temperature filament plant open in Michigan.

According to the company’s CEO, El Hillow, China has received considerable government and financial support, and in also being able to keep manufacturing costs low, they have become price leaders of the solar market despite the continued pressure on selling prices throughout 2010.

And while the United States will continue to benefit from these low-cost solar units, yet this does not bode well for manufacturers to set up their plants in the United States at least for the short-term.