In an equal and opposite reaction to the offshoring of the late 1990s, momentum is growing among U.S. advanced manufacturers to expand production facilities and capacity at home.
Cost savings, primarily as a result of lower labor costs, once made offshoring an attractive option. But technology and automation, such as 3D printing, have eroded wage differentials over the past decade, and manufacturers’ tolerance for the quality-control and supply-chain challenges inherent in distant manufacturing has decreased.
In early June, the U.S. Senate passed the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, the most expansive industry policy in U.S. history. The bill would invest nearly $250 billion in building America’s manufacturing and technology capabilities to counter supply chain issues caused by international competition, mainly from China, and laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic. Areas affected include semiconductor manufacturing, artificial intelligence research, robotics, quantum computing and other technologies in the aerospace and aviation spheres.
This 5-year effort, which still must pass in the U.S. House of Representatives, would boost domestic manufacturers, assist in overcoming the global chip shortfall and attract international semiconductor manufacturers to keep and bring their business to the United States.
Whether it is spurred by legislation or private-sector demand, the reshoring of advanced manufacturing production capability is a viable movement. After years of growth and adaptation continually partnering with sophisticated Aviation, Aerospace, and Advanced Manufacturing clients, Haskell is uniquely positioned to facilitate the process.
“We offer our clients a valuable depth of background and experience with large industrial factories and technology-oriented manufacturing,” said Mike Helton, Haskell’s Vice President of Planning and Development. “Not only from an understanding of how the machines inside the facility function, but how to design and build the building and interior environment to properly house an advanced level of manufacturing equipment and assure production through-put, all the way to understanding the supply chain and the front-end elements of a real estate transaction.”
Haskell has personnel in Fort Worth, Texas, this week for the Spring 2021 Professional Forum for the Industrial Asset Management Council (IAMC), where they will interact with a host of prospective Aerospace, Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) and Advanced Manufacturing clients.
Managing water usage is a necessary consideration in effective Advanced Manufacturing, and the expertise Haskell developed over its long history of working with many of the largest brands in the Food & Beverage industry transfers seamlessly.
For example, Haskell’s industrial Water team helped Bush Brothers & Company undertake sustainable upgrades at a Bush’s Beans manufacturing facility in Dandridge, Tennessee, ensuring compliance with current and future state environmental and conservation requirements while incorporating sustainable practices that reduce long-term operating costs. What was formerly classified as production waste now is harnessed, cleaned and distributed for use by the very process that creates it.
Now, apply that approach at a microchip manufacturing facility, where each tiny chip requires roughly 10 gallons of water, much of which must be disposed of because of toxins, treated before release or re-use.
“Chip manufacturers use a tremendous amount of water in their production,” said Tiffany Shaw, Haskell’s Market Leader for Industrial Water. “This includes rinsing and the introduction heavy metals and toxic solvents. You can’t just dump the water; it requires significant treatment. We work with many companies, across various industries, on water re-use. Using water more efficiently and being good environmental stewards benefits everyone.”
Haskell’s capability to assist companies to reshore Advanced Manufactured operations is on display in more than a dozen locations but none more impressively than SAFT America Battery Manufacturing Facility in Jacksonville, Florida. The Department of Energy sponsored the project for lithium-ion battery supply chain protection as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The facility, opened in 2011, is one of the most advanced, automated lithium-ion battery factories in the world and drew a visit from U.S. President Barack Obama in 2016, when he praised SAFT for providing high-tech manufacturing jobs in the U.S. and hiring nearly 40 percent military veterans.
SAFT develops advanced technology batteries – with a low environmental impact – for the aviation, defense, energy storage and renewables, marine, medical, oil and gas, railways, space, telecommunications and utility metering industries. In particular, the Jacksonville facility produces state-of-the-art battery solutions for telecommunications, transportation, defense, smart grid support and renewable energy storage. Haskell combined manufacturing, administrative and support areas into a smart, sustainable structure that produces 4.8 million cells annually.
“We can see real, tangible evidence of what a new economy looks like,” President Obama said during his visit. “It looks like this facility right here.”
Haskell delivers more than $2± billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,300 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.
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