Another Day, Another Manufacturing Plant for Obama

June 27, 2011
The president will tour Alcoa's Davenport, Iowa, facility today.

President Obama is scheduled to visit aluminum producer Alcoa Inc.'s Davenport, Iowa, facility on Tuesday, as he continues to focus on the role of advanced manufacturing in creating jobs and boosting U.S. exports.

The plant, which opened in 1948 and employs 2,000 people, is "one of the most advanced manufacturing plants in the world," Alcoa boasts.

Pittsburgh-based Alcoa has spent more than $200 million over the past decade to update the plant, which makes aluminum sheet and plate for the aerospace, defense, automotive and building and construction markets.

The plant, which is the manufacturing hub of Alcoa's $3 billion aerospace business, produces high-tech alloys and wings for all major aircraft, including Airbus' A380 and Boeing's 747-8 and 777.

"Davenport remains the only facility that can manufacture airplane wings as a monolithic structure, delivering enhanced structural integrity and lighter-weight aircraft," Alcoa said in a news release.

The Davenport facility generates approximately 25% of its $800 million in annual revenues through exports.

The Davenport facility soon will begin manufacturing with the company's third-generation aluminum lithium alloys, which make planes lighter, corrosion-resistant and more cost-effective to manufacture, according to Alcoa.

"We have more jobs in Davenport today than before the crisis as we capture growing global demand for innovative products," said Alcoa Chairman and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld. "We welcome the opportunity to share with the president our American manufacturing success story."

Last week, Obama pledged $500 million to his new Advanced Manufacturing Partnership initiative, which aims to harness the power of public-private partnerships between universities, industry and governmental agencies in an effort to streamline innovation and bring products more quickly to market.

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About the Author

Josh Cable | Former Senior Editor

Former Senior Editor Josh Cable covered innovation issues -- including trends and best practices in R&D, process improvement and product development. He also reported on the best practices of the most successful companies and executives in the world of transportation manufacturing, which encompasses the aerospace, automotive, rail and shipbuilding sectors. 

Josh also led the IndustryWeek Manufacturing Hall of Fame, IW’s annual tribute to the most influential executives and thought leaders in U.S. manufacturing history.

Before joining IndustryWeek, Josh was the editor-in-chief of Penton Media’s Government Product News and Government Procurement. He also was an award-winning beat reporter for several small newspapers in Northeast Ohio.

Josh received his BFA in creative writing from Bowling Green University, and continued his professional development through course-work at Ohio University and Cuyahoga Community College.

A lifelong resident of the Buckeye State, Josh currently lives in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland. When the weather cooperates, you’ll find him riding his bike to work, exercising his green thumb in the backyard or playing ultimate Frisbee.  

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