Here is today's summary of economic development news, a free service of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, representing Alabama's private sector investment in economic development. If you enjoy NewsFlash, thank an EDPA Partner.
Honeywell company UOP expanding Mobile production facility
Published: Tuesday, April 03, 2012, 11:31 AM Updated: Tuesday, April 03, 2012, 11:50 AM
MOBILE, Alabama -- UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, announced today that it will invest $20 million to expand its production facility here to produce adsorbents and catalysts.
The investment will expand production of Honeywell's UOP IONSIV Ion Exchange adsorbents, which remove radioactive material from liquid, and are currently being used in Japan in response to last year's nuclear disaster. It will also support the production of a new adsorbents and catalysts used by petrochemical producers and refiners. The expansion is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year.
"This investment helps us meet the demand for our newest advanced materials, as well as established products that are in demand by customers around the world," said Mike Millard, senior vice president and general manager for Honeywell's UOP Catalyst, Adsorbents and Specialties business. "We continue to invest in new technologies that will help meet refiners and petrochemical producers' needs for materials that offer more flexibility, increase production and lower cost."
IONSIV Ion Exchanger adsorbents are crystalline materials that can selectively remove radioactive ions from liquids. At Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, these adsorbents are successfully being used to reduce radioactive cesium to non-detectable levels in the plant's contaminated wastewater after the earthquake and tsunami last year. These materials have been used commercially for more than 30 years to remove radioactive ions from liquids, such as radioactive waste streams in commercial nuclear power plants, alkaline tank waste, and spent fuel storage pool water.
Southern Research Institute takes aim at new ideas for breakthrough research
Published: Monday, April 02, 2012, 11:51 AM Updated: Monday, April 02, 2012, 11:59 AM
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Southern Research Institute is launching a program aimed at uncovering new research ideas with the potential to make an impact.
The Birmingham-based organization today announced it is soliciting proposals from established investigators with novel multidisciplinary research ideas as part of "Innovation at the Interface," a new program.
"We want to aggressively expand our research environment by finding, encouraging and supporting new innovative, creative research initiatives that integrate different disciplines to address real-world technology challenges, especially those not commonly addressed in more conventional research silos," CEO Jack Secrist III said in a statement.
"Our objective is to identify cutting-edge, visionary research that will set the stage for future technological breakthroughs, and execute those programs by adding talented investigators to our growing team," he added.
Guidelines are set out on Southern Research's website. Investigators can submit their ideas in a brief, non-confidential white paper that includes a discussion of the nature and scope of the research and the proposed technical approach. A group of senior-level leaders at Southern Research will review proposals.
Group meets to map plans for Birmingham's former Trinity Steel site
Published: Tuesday, April 03, 2012, 2:15 PM Updated: Tuesday, April 03, 2012, 2:41 PM
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- The Trinity Advisory Committee met for the first time in four years this morning to discuss plans for the former Trinity Industries property in Titusville.
Robert Simon, president of Corporate Realty, said the 27-acre site's main challenge is access.
Tucked between Interstate 65, two railroad tracks, Golden Enterprise's headquarters and Golden Flake plant and Memorial Park, the only direct access into the property is off Sixth Avenue South and Sixth Street South.
Simon said he is aware of plans at the Alabama Department of Transportation that would improve access to some downtown streets off of I-65 north and south bound and it might be possible to get a direct access to the Trinity site included in those plans.
Simon also introduced the thought that the single biggest user who comes along offering the biggest price may not be the best use for the property.
"I think we've got an asset and I think we've got a valuable asset," he said. "We've got to define what that value is."
That value, by any definition, has likely increased since the last time the group met.
The site is where the proposed Parkside District, UAB's master plan and the Titusville neighborhood come together.
Pace of growth quickens as Alabama industry recovers, governor says
Published: Thursday, March 29, 2012, 1:43 PM Updated: Thursday, March 29, 2012, 2:31 PM
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Alabama made significant progress toward economic recovery in 2011, with the addition of 17,248 jobs and more than $4 billion in new investment in industry, Gov. Robert Bentley said today.
According to a report by the Alabama Department of Commerce, the number of new jobs announced in the state last year increased 9.3 percent over the number announced in 2010, and the total invested in new or expanding industry increased 87.7 percent.
"These new figures confirm Alabama is headed in the right direction as we continue to recover from the economic downturn," Bentley said in a prepared statement.
Among counties, Jefferson County ranked fourth in the state for job creation last year, with the addition of 749 announced jobs. With $193 million in announced capital investment, Jefferson County was not among the top counties for industrial growth.
Shelby County reported 207 new jobs and $1.3 million in announced capital investment.
The largest economic development announcements in the state in 2011 included:
--Navistar International Corp., 1,800 jobs and $87 million in capital investment for the production of heavy duty trucks in Colbert County.
--Mercedes Benz U.S. International Inc., a 1,000-employee expansion and a capital investment of more than $289 million for vehicle production in Tuscaloosa County.
--Carpenter Technology Corp., 203 jobs and $500 million in capital investment for a stainless steel manufacturing plant in Limestone County.
Korean auto-parts maker opens 2nd Auburn facilityRibbon-cutting marks 2nd industrial expansion in a week
Korean auto-parts supplier Seung Chang Airtek Inc. officially opened its second Auburn facility Tuesday during a ceremony in the city's industrial park on Pumphrey Avenue.
SCA executives said the new facility, which will produce foam and other sound and vibration dampening materials, is part of ongoing growth within the company, which was founded in 2004. The company has an existing facility for injection-molded parts in the city's north technology park.
"We are very excited to launch our new foam business," SCA President Daniel Yu said.
CEO Man Hong Park said he is confidant the business will grow as it continues to supply Korean and American automakers with injection-molded plastic parts.
Auburn Economic Development director Phillip Dunlap said the new facility is occupying an existing building that was formerly a small machinist company. Dunlap said the city's Industrial Development Board is leasing the facility, which is approximately 22,000 square feet, to SCA.
Dunlap said the company would have the ability to grow at the site, noting SCA was predicted to employ 400 citywide when its operations are fully ramped up.
"Obviously, this company has a goal to expand their base, their footprint in the U.S.," Dunlap said.
Dick Phelan of the Auburn City Council said the facility would employ approximately 25 to 50 once it was ramped up. Phelan said the new positions will add to the city's manufacturing base, which employs approximately 5,000.
SCA is the second industrial ribbon-cutting in a week for the city. On Thursday, Korean plastics maker HPM Alabama Corp. opened its new facility in Auburn Technology Park North, across the street from SCA's injection-molded parts facility.
Auburn Opelika News
Korean company's growth pleases Auburn, state leadersExecutives, officials attend ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday at petrochemical facility
By: Ed Enoch | Opelika-Auburn News
Published: March 29, 2012 Updated: March 29, 2012 - 5:23 PM
State officials and executives of a Korean petrochemical company predict a new manufacturing plant in Auburn is only the beginning of the company's expansion in local and U.S. markets.
"We have already become a member of this community, and we hope to continue to contribute to job creation," said HONAM Petrochemical Corp. President Soo Young Huh.
During a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday, Huh said the company's first American-based production facility, HPM Alabama Corp. in Auburn's Technology Park North, would serve automakers in Alabama and other industries that rely on plastic parts. The company will produce fiber-reinforced plastic for use in injection molding and other applications.
During a tour of the facility Thursday, onlookers watched as machines produced pellets of the reinforced plastics, part of the company's initial tests of equipment and production lines.
Auburn economic development director Phillip Dunlap said the company, part the Lotte Group conglomerate, was attracted to the site because of the potential for future expansions. The 149,000-square-foot facility is located on a 36-acre site, according to the Economic Development Department of Auburn. Dunlap said the company will employ almost 100 when it is fully ramped up. HPM spent about $9.2 million renovating the former Leggett & Platt facility in the north technology park, according to Mayor Bill Ham.
"This is a great project for Auburn," Dunlap said.
Alabama Development Office director Greg Canfield predicted the plant's effects would ripple though the state's economy and presented Huh with a commemorative great seal of Alabama.
Opelika Auburn News
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