Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Equipment Manufacturers; Bright Spot In Darkening Market

BE&E's Twin Drag Conveyor is built for biomass processing

 With the rise of renewable energy quickly overtaking fossil fuels in cost, labor force, and investment, the US manufacturing landscape is going through a period of uncertainty as it redefines itself. On one hand, new sources of energy are shirking off old limitations of supply chains, attracting more and more investment and incentive. On the other, however, the models being discarded also serve as the lifeblood of communities all over America, of every kind, and cannot be replaced so easily without detrimental impact on them.

Where does manufacturing fit into this? The US has a multi-faceted quilt of industries embedded with each other, responsible for so much of world demands. Yet, according to many projections, some may be obsolete by the 2030's. In looking at what industries can survive the oncoming changes brought on by renewable energy, one of the most promising fields is equipment manufacturing.

Many companies are already seeing equipment manufacturing as a sector for the US to assert itself into an increasingly accelerating international renewables market it is in danger of lagging behind. One such example is Biomass Equipment & Engineering, a division of Veneer Services. Based in Indianapolis, Veneer Services specializes in manufacturing timber products, but its sub-division BE&E converts equipment products suited for a rapidly ascending biomass industry. Offering products such as chip screens to enable sorting for cyclical models, or twin drag conveyors that are designed for future additions and adaptations, Veneer's BE&E serves as evidence equipment manufacturers are already taking advantage of their flexibility in the renewable market.  

In his op-ed in The Oklahoman, Terex Corporation's CEO John Garrison emphasized his Oklahoma City-based company of 34,000's commitment to making machinery suitable to new global markets. 

"Equipment manufacturers build products big and small", Garrison says, "but what distinguishes our industry is how the men and women in Oklahoma make the equipment that helps improve the lives of people around the world.:
"Our American workers continue to produce world-class products, and they deserve the chance to sell these products in every corner of the globe. That means strengthening trade agreements to grant manufacturers access to international markets; we cannot afford to simply walk away from agreements that form the cornerstone of the international economy. It also means we must continue to strengthen our training and technical education programs to ensure our workforce continues to develop to meet the future needs of manufacturers." 

 Indeed, equipment manufacturing may prove to be the most crucial card the US can play in the global market. Adaptability is proving to be a value for companies in these turbulent times. Equipment manufacturers like Terex can use this distinct advantage better than other industries. While renewable energy is dissimilar in many ways from oil and gas, issues of operations, labor safety, and development, are universal for both. Converting many products and plants to serve the next energy landscape is possible. What is more, with its unique and spanning playing field, it is more doable in the US than anywhere else.

Donal Thoms-Cappello is a freelance writer for Rotor Clip Company.

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