Sign Up For Updates

Manufacturing is the engine that made America prosperous.

Modern manufacturing will play a pivotal role in our long-term economic vitality.

Welcome to


Snow Machines Inc: R&D Helps Optimize Snowmaking at Ski Resorts around the Globe

  • November 30, 2014

During ski season, resorts and skiers alike depend on snowmaking equipment to keep the slopes in top form. Who makes the machines that make the snow? One of the leading manufacturers is Snow Machines Inc., which has served over 800 resorts around the world, including the site of the 2014 winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

The company was founded in 1969 and adopted Midland, Michigan as its home in 1974. Through the years, the company’s engineers have enhanced the machines’ production capacities and efficiency.

Those improvements don’t occur by mere happenstance. More than $1 million is invested each year in snowmaking research and development. The SMI factory is equipped with what the company touts as the only dedicated and integrated snowmaking research and testing facility at a snowmaking production facility in the world. The factory also includes four CNC machines, allowing SMI to make many of its own parts.

Snowmaking equipment must be integrated with advanced water pumps. As SMI’s web site notes, “From sophisticated and complex intakes with icing conditions to high velocity rivers to alpine lakes and reservoirs, SMI engineers can assist with the engineering details behind getting the water to the pumps.” In projects such as the snowmaking for the Olympics in Sochi, SMI worked closely with an expert pump manufacturing company for several years to produce, test and maintain the equipment in the lead-up to the winter games.

ElectroLux: Manufacturer Sees the U.S. as a Great Place for R&D and Production

  • January 9, 2014

Electrolux is a Swedish-based manufacturer that offers appliances under its own brand name, as well as Kelvinator, Eureka, and Fridgidaire. Its global workforce is an impressive 58,000 people. While the U.S. is not the fastest-growing market for appliances – that distinction goes to developing countries that are on a fast growth curve – Electrolux nonetheless sees the U.S. as one of its key markets for R&D and production.

As of 2014, the company employed 1,500 associates in North Carolina, about half of them at its North American headquarters facility in Charlotte. The others work at a dishwasher-manufacturing plant in Kinston and a distribution center near Asheville. That corporate footprint is about to expand in a positive way.

The company plans to build a new 675,000 square foot facility that will accommodate R&D, marketing, and other corporate functions. R&D activities will occupy two floors in the planned six-story building. Electrolux has committed to creating more than 800 jobs by 2017, with an average compensation of $100,000 plus benefits. That constitutes a doubling of its corporate presence, and a great example of the types of careers available to candidates with the right skills in modern manufacturing. The company will also invest $85 million in plant and equipment.

In achieving those targets, Electrolux’s investments and job creation will trigger $27 million in performance-based Job-Development Investment Grants, paid to the company  over a period of 12 years. The grants will be funded from a portion of the state income tax generated by the new positions.

Electrolux is also expanding in Memphis, Tennessee, where it currently employs 550 workers. That will rise to 1,200 employees by 2019, as the factory, which produced its first kitchen ovens in October 2013, kicks into full gear. The plant is designed to produce as many as 600,000 kitchen ranges and ovens in a single year. It features advanced robotics and lasers that make for some of the most efficient appliance manufacturing in the world.

Coincidentally, on the same December 2013 day that the North Carolina expansion was announced, the unemployment rate in North Carolina reached a five-year low. As this story shows, manufacturing and R&D continue to be the source of excellent jobs.

McCormick Spices: Great Taste Starts with a Commitment to R&D

  • January 9, 2014

It would be hard to find a company that does more to bring life to the taste of food than McCormick Spices, whose products can be found in residential and commercial kitchens around the world. McCormick is celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2014 with its annual Flavor Forecast, new recipes, videos, and opportunities for its customers to share their ideas.  

The company was founded in Baltimore. Today, it operates plants in Hunt Valley, Maryland; Gretna, Louisiana; South Bend, Indiana; Atlanta, Georgia; Irving, Texas; and London, Ontario; and one in Mexico, as well as a number of plants overseas. About 40% of sales come from non-U.S. operations.

Consumers are often surprised when they learn how much R&D goes into the company’s products. McCormick typically will invest between $52 million and $58 million in R&D each year at its research labs and product-development facilities. These efforts focus on developing new products, improving existing ones, and finding ways to lower sodium and calories, to help consumers more easily comply with recommend dietary guidelines that often include reducing salt, fat, and added sugars. McCormick is also involved in studies of diets in a variety of global regions.

Through the years, McCormick has grown its business not only by developing its own products but also through acquisitions. Its purchase of A. Schilling of San Francisco in 1947, enabled distribution across the entire continent. Canada’s largest spice company, Gorman Eckert Ltd, was acquired in 1962. Then came a frozen-foods acquisition, Gilroy Foods, in 1973. McCormick added an interest in Old Bay seasonings in 1990 and purchased Lawry’s seasonings in 2008. Today, the company employs about 8,000 people worldwide.

Raw materials, such as peppers and onions, are sourced both locally and internationally. McCormick’s manufacturing processes are highly efficient, yet the company continually works to minimize waster. Instead of relying on landfills or incinerators, McCormick recycles its scrap metals, cardboard, office paper, plastics, and food waste whenever it can. The London, Ontario plant recycles nearly 45% of its solid waste, and the Monteux, France plant now recycles 75% of waste. Packaging is minimized whenever possible.

Spices, rubs, and seasonings make food more delicious, and in that process, bring people and even different cultures a little bit closer together. And that may be, as McCormick celebrates its 125th anniversary, the company’s greatest achievement of all!