PHOTO CAPTION: CEO Nicolas Garcia and United Airlines flight attendant Amy Colombo poised to make millions of N-95 masks at The Kona Mask Co. Image Source: SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE
Despite the Pandemic, U.S. manufacturers continue to establish new facilities and expand existing ones as the sector progresses in its slow climb back from heavy losses sufferend in April and May of 2020. Manufacturing activity is now firmly in expansion territory, though production took a step back this month.
We’ve been reporting on new plant announcements and expansions through most of 2020 and October saw some major announcements, with two new PPE operations, several food processing facilities and a massive new steel operation.
Encompassing eight states and representing a diverse set of industries, these are the major new or expanded U.S. manufacturing operations announced in October.
Last month, we reported on Thermo Fisher Scientific’s opening of its new $40 million facility in Lenexa devoted to producing COVID-19 testing supplies and viral transport, while soap company Henkel, announced it has invested heavily in its U.S. soap and sanitizer plans.
In October, we saw a few related announcements, starting with another soap manufacturer, Vi-Jon, which is investing $70 million to expand soap and sanitizer operations in St. Louis and Smyrna, Tennessee.
The expansion will add 400 new jobs to the two facilities.
Maine-based Puritan Medical Products, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of COVID-19 testing swabs, announced it will be opening up a second factory in Pittsfield to expand production of the swabs.
The company reports that the second plant will allow them to produce an additional 20 to 40 million swabs per month.
Puritan was awarded the $75.5M agreement when called into service by the Defense Production Act, which requires increasing domestic capacity for materials needed to combat COVID-19. “We are proud to join the federal government in helping to ensure that every American has access to quality testing supplies,” said Timothy Templet, Executive Vice President of Global Sales for Puritan Medical Products.
Meanwhile, Hawaii saw the opening of its first N-95 mask factory. Kona Mask Co. was founded by Nicolas Garcia, a retired United Airlines pilot responding to the urgent need for PPE.
Kona Mask Co. will be making N95 and flat masks, with the new venture representing a $750,000 investment housed in a 4,000 square-foot facility in the Kona Trade Center. Once operational, the company aims to produce one million masks over a 20-day period.
This month, we saw confectionary giant Haribo’s big announcement 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.
As reported by the Wisconsin State Journal, Melissa Hughes, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp Secretary said Monday: "What's really exciting is Haribo is moving forward despite the pandemic. It really gives us a lot of optimism for our future in that Haribo is still coming to town and they're coming soon."
This comes amid the not-so-pleasant news that Foxconn’s proposed $10 billion tech manufacturing project in the same region (e.g. “Wisconn Valley”), has amounted to little more than a storage facility currently standing at 1/20th of its proposed size despite raking in millions in state incentives.
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Next up, Terex Utilities opened its new manufacturing headquarters in Watertown, South Dakota. The facility ties together ten separate production facilities a 55-acre lot. Terex announced October 5th that the first production units have rolled off the line, including a C6060 digger derrick for Otter Tail Power Company in Minnesota, an HR46 aerial device for Xcel Energy in Minnesota, a LT40 aerial device from NiSource in Indiana and a General 65 digger derrick for Brazos Electric Cooperative in Texas.
Meanwhile, next door in North Dakota, South 40 Beef broke ground on a new meatpacking facility in Mott, ND. The new 5,500 square foot plant will employ 10-20.
Tissue paper manufacturer Sofidel announced it has opened its second U.S. greenfield facility in Inola, Oklahoma, as consumer demand for paper products continues to surge.
The new plant encompasses 1.8 million square feet and represents a $360 million investment. Now among the largest manufacturers in the state, the Sofidel facility employs more than 300.
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In Virginia, Rose Holm, a Denmark-based manufacturer of bolts has opened its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Henrico County. The new plant will manufacture bolts for the heat exchange and wind turbine industries. Despite the scale of the project, representing an investment of $1.3 million and encompassing 25,000 square feet, the new plant is largely automated and will employ roughly ten employees once fully operational.
The well-funded cannabis industry continues to rack up new facilities and enterprises this month, starting with the opening of Golden Piedmont Lab in South Boston, VA, the state’s first large-scale hemp processing plant.
According to the Virginia Department of Economic Development, Virginia is the nation’s fourth-largest state for truck manufacturing. Access all 6,984 manufacturers and 16,572 executives with our Virginia data.
Also making headlines this month was steel giant Nucor’s announcement that it has broken ground on its proposed facility in Kentucky. The Nucor Steel Brandenburg plant represents an investment of nearly $2 billion and will eventually employ 400 once fully operational in 2022.
Headquartered in Charlotte, NC, Nucor is the nation’s largest steel and steel products producer.
The state of Kentucky received more good news this month when custom framing company Framebridge, announced plans to establish a new high-tech framing facility in Richmond, Kentucky, to help meet rapidly-growing demand for high-quality, handcrafted custom frames that ship directly to consumers.
The new 100,000-square-foot production facility will immediately increase Framebridge's operational capacity six-fold, as well as make delivery times more efficient throughout the United States, eliminating multiple days in transit to specific regions.
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