Industrial controls: Demand rises; expansions proliferate

Rosslyn, VA, Wuxi, China, and Atlanta, GA —National Electrical Manufacturers Association’s (NEMA) Primary Industrial Controls Index, which registered a 0.6% gain between the second and third quarters of 2007, rose more than 12% over last year. In other growth, General Electric and the Industrial Institute of Engineers announced recent expansions.


Rosslyn, VA, Wuxi, China, Atlanta, GA

National Electrical Manufacturers Association’s (NEMA)

Primary Industrial Controls Index, which registered a 0.6% gain between the second and third quarters of 2007, rose more than 12% over last year. In other growth, General Electric and the Industrial Institute of Engineers announced recent expansions.

NEMA’s index surpassed the previous cyclical high set last quarter, showing an increase of 32% from late 2003. Growth was slightly stronger in the Primary Industrial Controls and Adjustable Speed Drives index, a broader measure of demand for industrial control equipment, which rose 2.5% from the second quarter and 12.8% versus Q3 2006, the organization says. Domestic economic activity expanded during the third quarter 2007. Real GDP increased 3.9% following 3.8% growth during the second quarter.

Although measures of confidence among manufacturers have slipped in recent months, indicators of the industrial sector’s performance remain healthy, NEMA says. Weaknesses exist, with domestic auto manufacturers and industries tied heavily to residential construction, but overall data on industrial output, capacity utilization, and orders for durable goods steadily improve, NEMA says. The outlook for manufacturing is positive, but not particularly strong, according to the report. Near-term growth in industrial output will rely on business investment and export demand. As businesses wrap up major capital spending projects of the past few years, enough demand should remain to keep durable goods production expanding through next year. The weakening dollar has increased price competitiveness of domestically-produced industrial equipment; NEMA says since global economic growth is expected to continue moving forward, and the dollar remains under pressure, export demand for U.S.-produced capital goods should remain high.

GE Water & Process Technologies

, a unit of General Electric Co., has announced an $8.9 million investment to expand its advanced water and process manufacturing facility in Wuxi, China.vanced solutions that will help China meet its growing water, process and infrastructure needs,” said Steve Bertamini, chairman and CEO of GE East North Asia. “As China’s water demands continue to grow, our investment will help China implement sustainable solutions that will benefit its industries, businesses, and the environment.”

Originally constructed in 2004 with a U.S. $10 million investment, GE Wuxi Manufacturing Facility produces advanced water filtration membranes and associated equipment, plus thousands of tons of specialty chemicals used in water and process treatment applications. The expansion will be 30,000 square meters with a new manufacturing area to produce additional advanced water solutions, such as reverse osmosis (RO) membranes, RO machines, and hollow fiber ultrafiltration (UF) membranes used in potable water, wastewater, and water reclamation solutions. The facility will improve GE’s specialty chemical and equipment distribution throughout China and Asia.

Zhou Weifang, president of GE Water & Process Technologies China said, “Our Wuxi manufacturing expansion is just one way we are delivering on GE’s company-wide ecomagination commitment, an initiative to develop and bring to market the technologies that will address our environmental needs, promote energy efficiency, lower harmful emissions, increase supplies of water, and reduce our use of fossil fuel.

And an industrial engineering conference on the campus of Tec Milenio University in Monterrey, Mexico, accompanied the grand opening of the first international office of the

Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE).

The IIE Latin American office, housed on the university’s campus, will support more than 60 chapters and 1,100 IIE members throughout Latin America. More than 1,000 students and professionals attended the conference. Day-to-day operations will be managed by IIE staff member Nydia Moreno, a graduate of Tecnológico de Monterrey in Monterrey, Mexico.

“The hundreds of people attending the grand opening of our Latin American office along with the number involved in the industrial engineering conference on this campus is ample testimony to the burgeoning growth of the industrial engineering profession in this region,” said Don Greene, IIE executive director. “We look forward to being a resource and partner in the further growth of the profession in Latin America.”

According to Louis Martin-Vega, Ph.D., dean of

engineering at North Carolina State University

and president of the IIE board of trustees, “This represents a significant milestone in bringing our vision of IIE as a truly international organization to fruition. We can now provide our Latin America members with more immediate access to the many services IIE offers.”

“This is an exciting time for us,” added Felipe Quintanilla-Flores, professor at Tecnológico De Monterrey, and IIE senior vice president of international activities. “The office in Monterrey will both support our members in the region and serve as our prototype for additional offices worldwide.”

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