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Materials and Machinery Manufacturing

Construction worker
Photo by Christopher Burns, Unsplash

Three important trends have highlighted the need for advanced materials and machinery manufacturing in the United States: 1) the decades-long calls for reshoring manufacturing through more automation, 2) the COVID-19 pandemic’s exposure of the fragility of the nation’s manufacturing supply chain, and 3) increasing calls for lighter, sustainable, and eco- friendly materials.

GOVA Region 2 has a long history of producing materials, parts and machinery for their downstream manufacturing partners both in and outside the region. From creating new polymers that offer lightweight materials that reduce fuel costs in transportation, food packaging that preserves freshness and reduces waste, and membranes that reduce energy consumption in water and air purification, to applying 3D printing technologies in machine shop work to save on time and material costs, advancing this industry poses a distinct opportunity for significant regional growth and industry leadership.

Subclusters of regional significance include: 1) Chemical, 2) Plastics and Polymers, 3) Metalworking, and 4) Machinery Manufacturing.

Examples of cluster companies are AkzoNobel, Bentech, Belvac Production Machinery, Celanese, Cooper Steel, Framatome, Hollingsworth & Vose, Liebehr, MELD, Mersen, P1 Technologies, Patrick Enterprises, Precision Steel Manufacturing Corp, Steel Dynamics, TekniPlex, Tessy Plastics, Thomas Industrial Fabrication, and Wolverine Industrial Materials.

Prioritized Strategies and Activities

  • Implement talent retention and attraction programs, particularly for engineering and middle management professions, centered on local universities and regions that may currently draw talent from this region (e.g. North Carolina)
  • Develop clear career pathways from entry through senior level employment to illustrate a lifetime of career opportunities in the region.
  • Identify, implement, and support innovative strategies for worker retention
  • Increase technical, engineering and industry-driven training among in-demand occupations
  • Develop and market a cluster identity
  • Strengthen and diversify the cluster supply chain to mitigate business cycle effects
  • Catalyze technology adoption among cluster businesses (e.g. innovative materials, additive manufacturing technologies, and other green and automation technologies), including identifying and catalogue regional university IP.