Workers at the nation’s largest yogurt manufacturing facility came to management in the recent past to devise a way to make the cups on the same line as yogurt production so they could streamline the entire process at the plant located in Auglaize County.
During a media teleconference on Wednesday, Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown talked about the innovation exhibited at the Minster-based Dannon plant, where they installed a 50- to 75-foot manufacturing line which takes sheets of plastic, heats the plastic, extrudes the plastic and manufactures the plastic cups to hold the yogurt they produce, as an example and reason his colleagues should support a bipartisan bill being debated on Capitol Hill.
Brown and Republican U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, of Missouri, worked together on the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act of 2013 bill to help create advanced manufacturing methods through a network of public-private innovation hubs.
“The innovation took place on the shop floor and that is why having the production so close to where the innovation is because it keeps the production and jobs in this country,” Brown said referring to the Dannon example he used during testimony before a committee Wednesday for their support on the bipartisan bill. “That is fundamentally why Blunt and I are introducing the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act of 2013 because it creates a network for manufacturing innovation to position the U.S. as the world’s leader in advanced manufacturing.
“We do better when we work together and this would establish a public-private
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partnership among small business, industry leaders, research institutions giving them the tools they need to compete
in a global economy,” the senior senator from Ohio said. “These are regional industry-led hubs which will leverage local expertise, they will work with colleges, they will work engineering schools, they will work with local business and labor unions.”
Brown and Blunt introduced the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act of 2013 to ensure that the United States can out-innovate the rest of the world while creating thousands of high-paying, high-tech manufacturing jobs.
The act is modeled on the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII) in Youngstown, a public-private manufacturing hub.
Brown’s legislation is designed to bring together industry, universities and community colleges, federal agencies, and all levels of government to accelerate manufacturing innovation in technologies with commercial applications.
It would establish public-private institutes to leverage resources to bridge the gap between basic research and product development.
M-7 Technologies President and CEO Michael Garvey, who testified before the Senate Commerce Committee Wednesday, supports Brown and Blunt. His company is dedicated to improving the productivity and cost efficiency of manufacturers.
“If America intends to compete in the 21st Century Innovation Economy, we must have the tools,” Garvey said. “One critical tool currently missing are manufacturing hubs. Without them, we surrender American ingenuity and prosperity.”
Brown’s bill would particularly benefit a state like Ohio which has nearly 650,000 manufacturing jobs, third most in the United States.
Brown provided statistics on the employment and wages for each county with Auglaize County having 84 manufacturing facilities employing 6,401 workers with wages totaling $312 million, or $938 per week.
Allen County has 138 manufacturers with 7,783 people employed bringing home a total of $490 million, or $1,213 per week. Mercer County has 88 facilities with 5,182 workers making an average of $782 per week, while Shelby County has 121 manufacturers and 10,331 workers making an average of $1,054 per week.
These hubs would protect these jobs and hopefully increase those numbers, Brown said.
“It is not just the innovation we do, it is the manufacturing and the innovation that comes out of that,” Brown said. “We know that in Ohio that manufacturing has been a ticket for the middle class for all of our lives, but for too long Washington has made choices that leaves manufacturing behind — bad trade deals, failure to enforce trade laws, unfair tax system and not focusing on innovation and technology.”