Turner celebrates topping out at Aerojet Rocketdyne plant

Turner Construction’s Lee Holland signs the I-beam during the topping-out ceremony. (Photo by Nathan Bivens)

Turner Construction recently celebrated the topping-out for Aerojet Rocketdyne’s Advanced Manufacturing Facility in Huntsville. The facility began construction in March and is set for completion in December.

The 136,000-square-foot industrial facility, sitting on 18.25 acres at the corner of Pulaski Pike and Prosperity Drive, will be used to produce subcomponents of the AR1 rocket engines, composite cases for rocket motors and 3D-printed rocket engine components.

The plant will also bring approximately 180 jobs.

Project executives and site leaders at the event included James Ramseier, senior manager at Aerojet Rocketdyne; Chip Cherry, CEO of Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce; Medora Gaddes, assistant project manager at Hoar Program Management; Justin Lanfair, Turner Construction project manager; and Denny Lulfs, Turner Construction superintendent.

Lulfs, along with the project team, raised the final beam during the celebration.

“Turner’s extensive background in aerospace and manufacturing work made them ideally suited for this project, and we’re excited to see the progress so far,” said Ramseier. “Their team’s high level of knowledge and experience gives us great confidence in their ability to complete this highly technical and complex project on schedule.”

Rendering shows the Aerojet Rocketdyne facility that is expected to be completed in December.

The building’s exterior is a conventional steel framing, with site-cast insulated load-bearing tilt-up wall panels. Inside, there will be several 5- and 10-ton cranes and process-driven utility systems. Turner is collaborating on the project with Fuqua & rtners Architects and engineers at LBYD, SSOE Group and S&ME.

“Having already built a number of large aerospace facilities across North Alabama and the nation, our team was well prepared to take on a project of this magnitude,” said Lee Holland, project executive at Turner Construction’s Huntsville office. “We’re proud to be a part of this high-profile facility, which will continue to build Huntsville’s reputation as an emerging aerospace and technology hub.”

Delegation from North Alabama meets with international partners in Japan

The delegation from the city, county and state visit Toyota officials. The group later met with Mazda and GE Aviation officials and will take part in the Southeast U.S./Japan Association meeting this week.

 

A delegation from Huntsville, Madison County and the state is visiting Japan this week to further strengthen the area’s ties with its international partners.

The team includes elected officials, Chamber of Commerce leaders and company representatives of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama. On Monday, the team visited Toyota City and met with members of the Executive Team for Toyota USA.

“We have been traveling to Japan for many years, and we are pleased to be able to meet again with our Toyota partners in their home country,” said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle. “This provides us with the opportunity to tour their plants and facilities and to visit with our new partners at Mazda.”

The group also toured the Toyota Motomachi Plant and Toyota Kaikan Museum, seeing some of the company’s newest automotive technologies and smart cars.

Tuesday, the delegation met with leaders of Mazda.

“I can’t stress enough the importance of relationships in doing business with our overseas partners,” Battle said. “If we had not already established a long-standing collaborative relationship with Toyota, we would not have landed the new Mazda-Toyota plant.

“These commitments don’t just happen in 15-minute meetings or phone calls. There is a long process of communication, listening, and work toward mutual respect before we develop a trusted business relationship.”

Mazda-Toyota Manufacturing U.S.A. is building an automotive plant in the Huntsville city limits of Limestone County. The two companies will build the facility on 2,400 acres near Interstates 65 and 565. The plant will be able to produce 300,000 cars annually and employ about 4,000 people.

“These meetings in Japan with the Mazda and Toyota corporations have created an even greater sense of understanding of the partnership and commitment that has been created with two of the world’s most renowned automakers, while engineering, road design and site prep continues on more than 2,000 acres locally,” said Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong. “It is truly exciting to be one of so many working together at so many levels to ensure the success of the largest economic development projects in the history of the state of Alabama. This project will be a redefining moment for North Alabama.”

Production will be divided evenly into two lines for each company to produce Mazda’s crossover and the Toyota Corolla. Operations are expected to begin in 2021.

“The plant will bring thousands of jobs to our area,” said Chip Cherry, president and CEO of the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber. “We secured this new plant because of a trusted relationship we have built over many years with our Japanese partners. In fact, much of it goes back to Toyota’s engine plant locating in Huntsville nearly two decades ago and becoming a true community partner.”

Members of the North Alabama delegation will also meet with GE Aviation and NGS Advanced Fibers, their Japanese partner in developing the silicon carbide for ceramic matrix composites. NGS is in Toyama, where the delegation will tour the sister facility to the one being built in Huntsville. These plants are the only two in the world to mass produce silicon carbide and ceramic matrix composite materials.

The delegation will also attend this week’s annual meeting of the Southeast U.S./Japan Association in Tokyo.

The group includes Cherry; Battle; Strong; Greg Canfield, Alabama Department of Commerce; Hollie Pegg, Alabama Department of Commerce; Madison Mayor Paul Finley; Limestone County District 3 Commissioner Jason Black;   Lucia Cape, Huntsville/Madison County Chamber senior vice president of Economic Development, Industry Relations & Workforce; 2018 Chair-Elect Huntsville/Madison County Chamber Kim Lewis; Rick Tucker, executive director, Port of Huntsville; Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama President David Fernandes; Kim Ogle, corporate communications, Toyota Motor North America.

 

Woodbridge celebrates grand opening of Huntsville facility

The Rocket City is quickly becoming the Auto City.

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and Woodbridge Alabama officials cut the ribbon on the company’s plant in the Tanner community of Limestone County. (Huntsville/Madison County Chamber Photo)

On Wednesday, Woodbridge Alabama held a ribbon-cutting as it opened its Huntsville manufacturing facility.

The company is an automotive parts supplier and manufactures polyurethane seating foam for the Nissan Titan, Altima and Rogue.

Woodbridge Alabama recently established its newest location in Southpoint Industrial Park in Tanner, inside the Huntsville city limits of Limestone County.

Currently, the plant ships to its customers located in Tennessee and Mississippi. In 2019, Woodbridge will begin supplying armrest parts and seating foam for two additional customers.

Woodbridge Alabama created 130 jobs already and is looking to hire about 25 more teammates at various levels. People interested may send their resumes to: woodbridge_alabama_hr@woodbridgegroup.com or go online to apply at www.woodbridgegroup.com.

 

‘Strong community partner’ LG Electronics expands in Huntsville with solar panel plant

Life’s good in Huntsville – literally and figuratively.

LG Electronics, a long-time player in Huntsville has business announced plans for a $28 million solar panel assembly plant.

The plant will create 160 jobs and workers will assemble LG’s “Neon 2” series 60-cell modules. The high-performance solar panels will generate more than 17 percent more power than most conventional panels. The factory is the first solar panel manufacturing plant in the state.

“LG has a long history as a leading corporate citizen in Alabama. Now, LG is launching our state’s first solar manufacturing plant, which represents a major milestone both for Alabama and for the company,” said Gov. Kay Ivey. “We look forward to seeing where this great partnership takes us in the future.”

The panels will be produced on two production lines at a building on the company’s 48-acre campus in Huntsville, where the company has had operations for four decades. The new jobs will increase LG’s employment by 60 percent, to more than 400 workers.

Starting in early 2019, the new plant is expected to produce 500 megawatts of high-performance solar panels annually.

“That’s over a million solar panels a year,” said Soon Kwon, global president of the LG B2B (Business-to-Business) Company.“LG has long called Huntsville home, and the solar panel assembly factory will add a significant new dimension to our Alabama campus.

“Huntsville’s high-quality workforce and LG’s established presence in the Rocket City point to a bright future for LG in Alabama.”

The new solar panel assembly plant in Huntsville underscores the company’s commitment to investing in the U.S. and to driving environmental sustainability, Kwon said.

“LG has been a strong community partner in Huntsville for many decades – a relationship that has deepened through visits to the company’s headquarters in Korea and successful advancements in technological innovation,” said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle. “LG chose Huntsville as the place to do business in the U.S. more than 30 years ago, and they’ve chosen Huntsville again as a place to prosper with the new solar module plant.”

The company’s new solar module plant builds on LG’s legacy of leadership in Huntsville. After starting as the company’s first U.S. manufacturing subsidiary in 1981, Huntsville became the home of LG’s service division in 1987, which expanded over the years to support LG’s growing presence in the United States.

“With the expansion of LG in the Huntsville-Madison County region, LG will utilize the latest technology in a high-growth market to produce these solar panels,” said Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong. “The diversity and worldwide recognition of the Madison County economy demonstrates we continue to thrive with our finest hours still ahead.”

As the headquarters location for North American service operations in the Jetplex Industrial Park at Huntsville International Airport, the facility includes the technical call center, service training center, field service operations and parts warehouse.

“The Jetplex continues to grow with this most recent announcement from LG, a global leader in home appliance, consumer electronics and mobile communications,” said Rick Tucker, executive director of the Port of Huntsville. “LG’s sole customer service division for the North American market is onsite already, so to see the company make a further investment in our community by expanding at our facility speaks volumes and is very exciting news for us to be able to share with other business partners who are considering making North Alabama and the Jetplex Industrial Park their home.”

Planes, drones, special missions aircraft on display at Sierra Nevada Industry Day

MERIDIANVILLE — A cost-effective solution for retrofitting old Black Hawk helicopters with the most technologically advanced electronics and equipment was unveiled recently by Sierra Nevada. The event was held during Sierra Nevada’s Industry Day at the company’s facility at the Huntsville Executive Airport.

SNC acquired the older model Air Force UH-60L Black Hawk through Huntsville’s Black Hawk Exchange & Sales Team (BEST) program. They removed the outdated analog gages and Marconi strip radar system and replaced it with an all glass cockpit, a fully certified state-of-the-art digital avionics suite, and mission-specific equipment including an external mounted camera, rescue hoists, and a 200-gallon auxiliary fuel tank. Now known as the Sierra Force Rotary-Wing Aircraft, the newly retrofitted helicopter is valued at an estimated $19 million.

“At the end of the day, each Sierra Force aircraft returns a significant portion of the production cost to the U.S. government,” said Bill Morris, vice president of business development for Sierra Nevada. “We make it possible for the U.S. Air Force to acquire the most cost-effective replacement aircraft available.”

Also, on exhibit was a King Air 350ER Mission Enhancement Kit.

King Air 350ER Mission Enhancement Kit with five-blade propellers that enable the aircraft to climb to 30,000 feet in 17 minutes.

“We bought the standard King Air as a green aircraft,” he said. “… using the Independent Research and Development (IR&D) program to determine what modifications were needed, we created a Mission Enhancement Kit that involves installing a new engine, an electronic braking system, and a light weight battery that removes 20 pounds from the aircraft, while increasing the capacity to fly at airspeeds up to 340 knots.”

Morris said Sierra Nevada replaced the four-blade propeller with five blades, which enable the plane to climb to 30,000 feet in 17 minutes instead of 40 minutes. It mitigates a lot of the noise from the engine so passengers can have a reasonable conversation without headsets.

“On an ordinary 90-degree day at 7,000 feet, you would have only about 30 minutes of fuel available,” said Morris. “With our newly designed kit, you can fly for eight hours under the same conditions – a significant increase for our Army forces who fly very long distances on manned surveillance and intelligence missions.”

The King Air and the SNC Scorpion Aircraft are fully-integrated multi-role special mission aircraft whose configurations include a lightweight interior, LED lighting, an extended nose to accommodate camera and sensors that surveil targets on the ocean up to 200 nautical miles; and a Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) satellite communications system on top that transmits data in real time to a ground station.

Also on display during Industry Day was a battery-operated surveillance drone. The aircraft is housed in a case with a Unified Ground Control Station, a hand-held controller and manned and unmanned teaming functions.

Powered by software designed by Kutta Technologies, the unmanned aircraft system can be dropped from an aircraft and deployed remotely from ground or air and has autonomous landing capabilities. It has a payload bay and a powerful camera that can see around corners. The drone can be programmed with waypoints or set to loiter and wait for updates from the controller.

 

EOS selects Huntsville for flagship manufacturing facility

Electro Optic Systems (EOS), a leading Australian technology company in the aerospace and defense markets, has selected Huntsville for its flagship U.S. manufacturing facility.

The company made the announcement Wednesday, joined by state and city leaders at the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber.

“EOS is very happy to have the opportunity to formally join the Huntsville community,” said Phil Coker, the company’s U.S. president. “North Alabama is an area of incredible people, outstanding institutions and immense potential and we are thrilled to have the chance to establish a business in this area.

“We look forward to working with the Defense Department, federal, state and local government leaders and local businesses to improve the community and serve our country and its citizens.”

Within the first year of operation, EOS will hire up to 100 full-time employees. A state-of-the-art production facility on Wall-Triana Highway has been scaled to grow to at least 250 employees if contract awards continue on the current trajectory.

“EOS is a natural fit for the Huntsville community, and we’re pleased our new Australian partners chose Huntsville as their preferred place to invest and do business,” said Mayor Tommy Battle. “This addition continues our momentum to add more manufacturing in support of Huntsville’s excellent research and development capabilities.”

EOS is a leader in the development and production of robotic or remotely controlled weapons systems (“RCWS” or “RWS”) where it has built a strong reputation as a major provider for more than 25 years to the U.S., NATO and ANZUS markets. EOS products currently dominate the global market for next-generation lightweight weapon systems with unprecedented accuracy and firepower.

“EOS’ decision to locate its new manufacturing center in Alabama is a reflection of the state’s attractive business climate and its skilled workers, who prove their capabilities each and every day,” Gov. Kay Ivey said. “Huntsville will make a great home for the company because Alabama’s ‘Rocket City’ offers every advantage a business needs to succeed.”

EOS, which is based in Hume, ACT, operates in military space, missile defense and surface warfare sectors. Its products incorporate advanced electro-optic applications based on EOS core technologies in software, lasers, electronics, optronics, gimbals, telescopes, beam directors, stabilization and precision mechanisms.

“Huntsville serves as a critical hub for high-tech defense work, and that makes the city a smart choice for EOS as it develops a flagship U.S. manufacturing facility,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “We look forward to building a strong partnership with the company and seeing it grow both its business and its workforce in coming years.”

More information visit, http://www.eos-aus.com/

 

Huntsville’s T-H Marine Supplies acquires Blue Water LED

T-H Marine Supplies has acquired Blue Water LED, a producer of LED light kits and components for recreation vehicles.

Jeff Huntley, president of Huntsville-based T-H Marine, made the announcement of the deal Monday.

“We are so excited to announce the acquisition of the Blue Water assets,” Huntley said. “We have long admired the quality of their products and the market share leader status they enjoyed in the aftermarket LED Light Kit market.

“The team at Blue Water have built a great company of super quality products, with a lifetime warranty,
and we are looking forward of taking their ‘vision’ to the next level.”

Blue Water designs, assembles, and sells a broad and unique line of LED light kits and lighting components for boats, kayaks, autos/trucks, trailers, ATVs/UTVs, golf carts, RVs, off-road vehicles, public safety vehicles, and
utility trucks.

Blue Water has also long been known as the pioneer and market leader in LED light kits for bass boats and
professional bass anglers.

“It’s been an awesome experience to grow our company and to meet so many of our customers and dealers,” Jeff Hillard, one of the original founders and president of Blue Water LED said. “Our faith-based company has operated on the principles of providing superior quality products, excellent customer service, and an unprecedented lifetime warranty.

“We have loved serving our loyal customers over the years and we are excited that even more customers will now have access to Blue Water products through an industry leader, T-H Marine. We know T-H Marine cares about quality, stands behind its products, and really cares for its customers, so it’s a great fit. We are proud to know they will nurture the line of Blue Water products into the future.”

T-H Marine is known as an industry leader in supplying LED lights to the boat manufacturers, Huntley said. “But Blue Water was the visionary in creating easy to buy, easy to understand, and easy to install LED light kits.”

“It is astonishing to me that Blue Water has been doing LED kits since 2005 – yes 13 years! – so they have an established and diverse dealer network in place across the U.S., and a customer base like no one else in the boating market. We look forward to continuing and growing all of those dealer relationships and establishing even more thru our wide distribution network, so that more dealers and do-it-yourself customers can really light up their boats.”

Huntley said that the Blue Water assets are being moved to T-H Marine headquarters in Huntsville, where future
assembly and shipping of the product will occur. There will be no disruption to Blue Water customers or suppliers, just more access to the products through more locations than ever. Blue Water LED products will be up and running as a T-H Marine brand in a matter of days.
“Quality brands and products like Blue Water are what we seek to add to our strong portfolio of brands,” Huntley said. “This is our fifth acquisition in the past five years along with many product license acquisitions. We love being known as the go-to company for launching and acquiring innovative brands and products . We have proven our ability to take great ideas, from inside our plant, from our boat building customers, from inventors, and from smaller
companies, and really blowing them up in the market. We have experienced compound annual growth of over 20% per year over the past 8 years and we are not planning to slow down.

“The acquisition of the Blue Water assets puts us into a clear market leadership position in aftermarket LED light kits that we looking forward to growing even more. This brand also gives us immediate access to several other markets outside of boats.”

T-H Marine is celebrating its 43 rd Anniversary of business and has grown to be one of the largest manufacturers of boating and fishing accessories in the U.S.

To learn more about T-H Marine, www.thmarine.com; to learn more about the Blue Water LED Enterprises products, please visit www.bluewaterled.com.

New International Cargo Connection for HSV: Panalpina Launches Flights to Mexico

Panalpina has added Queretaro International Airport in Mexico to its charter network which also connects Mexico City and Guadalajara with Panalpina’s air freight gateway in Huntsville, according to a news release from Huntsville International Airport.

Querétaro’s addition to the regular connections of the Panalpina Charter Network means Panalpina is the only freight carrier to serve three international airports with scheduled flights within and out of Mexico.  Panalpina is also the first and only company to offer a transatlantic flight from Querétaro to London Stansted Airport in the UK and to Luxembourg via Huntsville.

Government representatives, members of the Huntsville Port Authority, partners and customers were on hand Thursday to celebrate the first scheduled landing of the Spirit of Panalpina at Querétaro International Airport.

“Panalpina has been committed to Queretaro for over five years now,” said Matthias Frey, global head of the Panalpina Charter Network. “We have been working closely with Queretaro airport operatives and government authorities, strategic airline partner Atlas Air, and Huntsville International Airport to build on the continued success of the network.”

 

Remington Outdoor emerges from Chapter 11

Remington Outdoor, which has a facility in Huntsville, emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy Thursday after completing a debt-cutting deal with creditors.

Remington, America’s oldest gunmaker, filed for bankruptcy protection in March.

Under the reorganization plan, more than $775 million in Remington debt has been converted into equity. Remington also received a $193 million new lending package funded by seven banks, including Bank of America Corp.

“It is morning in Remington country,” said Anthony Acitelli, Chief Executive Officer of Remington. “We are excited about the future – producing quality products, serving our customers, and providing good jobs for our employees.”

The facility near Huntsville International Airport employs nearly 1,000 people and makes rifles, shotguns, handguns and silencers.