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The Future of Manufacturing in America

What many call the fourth industrial revolution or industry 4.0 is upon us. Disruptive technologies are changing the way modern manufacturers improve their processes, interact with their customers, and develop their workforce. Executives from major manufacturers offer their perspectives on how these trends will impact the future of manufacturing in Virginia and beyond.

Q4 2019
Editor's Note: The following collection was provided by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. It provides a perspective on changes that are disrupting the manufacturing industry. These articles originally appeared in the Virginia Economic Review’s second quarter 2019 publication.

Huntington Ingalls Industries: Investing in Human Capital

For more than a century, HII’s Newport News and Ingalls shipbuilding divisions in Virginia and Mississippi have built more ships in more ship classes than any other U.S. naval shipbuilder. HII’s Technical Solutions division provides a wide range of professional services through its Fleet Support, Mission Driven Innovative Solutions, Nuclear & Environmental, and Oil & Gas groups. Headquartered in Newport News, HII employs more than 41,000 people operating both domestically and internationally. The company reported sales of $8.17 billion in 2018 and is ranked No. 371 on the 2019 Fortune 500 list.

WestRock: Late-Stage and Mass Customization

WestRock is one of the world’s largest paper and packaging companies, with multiple locations in Virginia, including corporate offices in Richmond and manufacturing facilities in West Point and Covington. In September, the company announced a nearly $250-million investment in its manufacturing operations in the City of Covington and Alleghany County. These investments will be used to purchase new equipment to improve productivity at the paper mill and extruding facility, as well as to increase employee training.

Northrop Grumman: Faster Market Cycle Times

Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems, formerly known as Orbital ATK, headquartered in Dulles, builds and delivers space, defense, and aviationrelated systems including the Antares launch system, which handles resupply services for the International Space Station launched from Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems employs approximately 15,000 people in facilities in 18 states and several overseas locations.

Liebherr: Arming the Workforce With New Skills

Liebherr manufactures large trucks for the mining industry, including the world’s largest diesel-electric mining truck. These gigantic machines are partly assembled, tested, and certified at the plant in Newport News with complete assembly carried out at the mine. One hundred percent of the vehicles produced in Newport News are exported. Liebherr USA, Co. headquarters and three of its eight divisions are also based in Newport News.

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