Cool refrigeration technology is hot on the factory front now that GE is investing $432 million to establish four U.S.-based refrigeration design and manufacturing centers of excellence. Today’s move, part of the dramatic transformation happening across GE’s lighting and appliance businesses, will create 500 new “green” jobs by 2014 and brings GE’s total U.S. investment in appliance manufacturing announced since 2009 to more than $1 billion and jobs created to 1,300.Cool refrigeration technology is hot on the factory front now that GE is investing $432 million to establish four U.S.-based refrigeration design and manufacturing centers of excellence. Today’s move, part of the dramatic transformation happening across GE’s lighting and appliance businesses, will create 500 new “green” jobs by 2014 and brings GE’s total U.S. investment in appliance manufacturing announced since 2009 to more than $1 billion and jobs created to 1,300.
Located in Louisville, Kentucky; Bloomington, Indiana; Decatur, Alabama; and Selmer, Tennessee; the redesigned and expanded plants will give GE the distinction of having the highest percentage of U.S.-made refrigerators among full-line appliance makers.
The factories are using a top-to-bottom redesign process that maximizes efficiency known as “Lean” manufacturing. It not only increases productivity and saves costs, but it makes the U.S. factories globally competitive. Importantly, the products rolling off the assembly lines hit the mark on the environmental front. Most of the new units will be smart-grid enabled to save energy and cut costs. They’ll use refrigeration insulation that dramatically cuts greenhouse gas emissions. And the plants themselves will reduce carbon emissions 90 percent.
|At the Lousiville plant on Oct. 18, employees cheered the news that another 300 jobs would be added as part of the expansion.|
Jim Campbell, President & CEO of GE Appliances & Lighting, explains today’s news in the video below:
In Louisville, GE is investing $194 million and creating 300 jobs with a focus on bottom-freezer refrigerators, a new product for that plant. It marks the third new product for the Kentucky factory following the GeoSpring Hybrid Water Heater and a new frontload washer and dryer — part of a $600 million investment creating 830 jobs announced earlier this year.
The Bloomington facility was once slated for closure. Now, it’s leapfrogging competitors on the technology front with a $93 million investment that will create 200 jobs. It follows a $68 million investment announced on Oct. 1, bringing the Bloomington total to $161 million.
In Decatur, top-freezer models will get a $43 investment — which follows a $16 million investment made earlier this year. The move will help retain more than 1,000 jobs at the site. And the Selmer plant is getting $32 million to redesign their built-in refrigerators.
See videos in our companion story, “How it Works: The ABC’s of Making Lean, Green Refrigerators.”
Other manufacturing and technology development investments — which we’ve previously described on GE Reports — include the new Michigan technology center near Detroit; a New York battery plant; GE Energy’s Smart Grid Center of Excellence in Atlanta; a new Aviation research center in Ohio; and Aviation manufacturing for the new GEnx engine.
|The news had a special impact at GE’s Bloomington, Indiana plant (seen above), which has staged a comeback thanks to the marriage of high-efficiency manufacturing and green technologies.|
|In Louisville, the jobs are part of an across-the-board transformation of the plants.|
* Read today’s announcement
Learn more in these GE Reports stories:
* “In 1 Day: $128M for Manufacturing; 630 Jobs Created or Retained”
* “GE’s plan to add 830 jobs to Louisville draws VP Biden”
* “Re-inventing factories: The Kaizen/‘moonshine’ method”
* “GE’s new KY deal marks a great time to be in hot water”
* “American Renewal: Immelt addresses Detroit Econ Club”