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12th Annual Made in PA

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Manufacturing has a proud history in Pennsylvania. From companies focused on electronics, machinery and medical devices to food production, rubber, plastics and fabricated metal products, the Commonwealth boasts some of the greatest examples of modern manufacturing in not only the United States, but also the world.

These companies have adapted and innovated to global competition and current market conditions, and, yes, the unexpected. In fact, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many manufacturing companies quickly switched their production capabilities to manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE) within a few short months, providing critical health and safety equipment for individuals and businesses.

There is no question that manufacturers have played a pivotal role in Pennsylvania’s prosperity and will be critical in its post-COVID-19 recovery, as well. According to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), manufacturers help to drive Pennsylvania’s economy, with $36.84 billion in manufactured goods exports in 2019. Today, Penn- sylvania is the eighth largest manufacturing industry in the country, including more than 14,430 establishments throughout the state and employing over 558,000 individuals.

What makes PA manufacturers so unique?

Manufacturing in Pennsylvania is directly linked to innovation and investment fueling growth in the state and other support industries.

For example, Eriez, a world authority in separation technologies headquartered in Erie, recently completed a major expansion of its Wager Road manufacturing and testing facility. The expanded space supports Eriez’ strategic growth initiatives for global research and development (R&D), aftermarket repair and testing, and recycling equipment technology.

According to Eriez-USA Vice President and General Manager Tim Gland, “The expanded repair, testing, demonstration and R&D areas will allow us to complete even bigger projects and pilot tests, speed up and enhance product development activities, and offer additional aftermarket repair capabilities with faster turnaround times.”

Plastikos in Erie also recently announced the second phase of construction on its Plastikos Medical facility. The company completed the first building in its medical business in 2019 and has added 10 medical injection molding machines since then. The second building will more than double the size of the current ISO-7 cleanroom to 24,000 square feet to accommodate an additional 15 medical injection molding machines to meet increased demand from the medical sector of its business. The company also plans to use more automation and Industry 4.0 principles and technologies to reduce risk and boost quality assurance and production efficiency.

For Matthew Lucco, president and chief executive officer of Precision Profiles, LLC in Titusville, Pennsylvania, the amount of high-precision, high-value manufacturing activity taking place in Pennsylvania is significant, particularly as it relates to space and national defense programs. “We are very proud to serve in these supply chains, which support high quality manufacturing jobs in our home state,” he states.

Precision Profiles is a manufacturer of high-precision, tight-tolerance components for the power generation industry. The company has been a trusted manufacturer of turbine components since 1994.

“Our manufacturing team is continuously focused on innovation, whether that involves identifying improvements that will increase operating efficiencies or developing new manufacturing processes and/or recommending new investments to meet the ever changing needs of our customers,” Lucco says. “Outside our facility, our leadership team invests time in local economic development initiatives (such as the NWIRC-led GR8T Manufacturing group) aimed at bringing manufacturing revenues and jobs back to Western PA.”

At Ridg-U-Rak, Inc. in North East, Pennsylvania, one of the largest and most successful industrial pallet rack and storage rack manufacturers in the United States, the family owned company has made longstanding contributions to advancing manufacturing and career opportunities in the region. In fact, the Pellegrinos and their highly skilled workforce supply over 140 million pounds of steel storage racks to warehousing, distribution and retail operations located all across North America.

“Our family and highly committed employees are very proud of this success,” states Ridg-U-Rak President and CEO John B. Pellegrino Sr., P.E. “We feel fortunate to have such a deep-rooted organization here in northwestern Pennsylvania.”

Over the past few years, the company has invested significant capital in a new 250,000-square-foot warehousing and distribution operation, the 25,000-square-foot expansion of its Lake Street facility, and various other roll-forming and powder painting technological advancements.

New products have been introduced as well, including its RamGuard™ pallet rack impact protection and the Pellegrino™ seismic base isolation system for storage racks. “Ridg-U-Rak will certainly continue to invest and innovate going forward,” Pellegrino says. “In this rapidly changing world of distribution, logistics and e-commerce, remaining nimble and embracing change is a key to success and Ridg-U-Rak is committed to do just that.”