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Siemens Mobility Injects $200M into NC Rail Manufacturing

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As anticipated early on, funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, along with a slew of related government actions, are being used to drive advanced manufacturing in the U.S., signaling a boom in 3D printing and other technologies. The latest company to take advantage of this influx of funds is the country’s largest passenger rolling stock manufacturer, Siemens Mobility, which is pumping $220 million into its North Carolina operations to build an advanced manufacturing and rail services facility in Lexington.

According to the company, this will result in the creation of over 500 new jobs and make the facility one of the city’s largest employers. Located on 200 acres, with operations beginning in 2024, the site will feature robotic welding, 3D printing, and virtual reality welder training. Siemens also claims that the facility will be carbon neutral.

“America’s investing in rail – and we are investing in America,” said Dr. Roland Busch, CEO of Siemens AG. “Siemens has invested $3 billion in manufacturing expansions and M&A activities in the U.S. over the past four years alone, including nearly $400 million to grow its U.S. manufacturing footprint and over two and half billion dollars in strategic U.S. acquisitions. This latest facility will build rail technology to help transform the everyday for millions of passengers around the country, particularly as the country sees a resurgence in public transit and intercity travel.”

From company descriptions of the project, one can see how the investment strategy recently described by Macro Analyst Matt Kremenetsky can play out. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is seeing a drive to improve the state of rail transit in the U.S. To execute its project, Siemens Mobility will be receiving a 12-year Job Development Investment Grant from the state of North Carolina, with estimates suggesting the state’s economy will grow by $1.6 billion.

Due to the great deal of government interest and investment in the use of advanced manufacturing for infrastructure projects and supply chain resilience, there is significant opportunity to find many sources of funds and areas of investment throughout the country. While the Lexington facility’s sibling site is located in Sacramento, California, this new operation will be situated not far from Siemens CATCH office for advanced manufacturing in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“Thanks to President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, rail is positioned as a central player in our transportation and economic future, and we are positioned to advance the world-class passenger rail Americans deserve,” said FRA Administrator Amit Bose. “Today’s investments in American manufacturing by Siemens, in a State that has been a leader in rail innovation and safety for decades, will further modernize passenger rail with quality and convenience to riders across the country.”

The exact level of funding to be directed toward 3D printing has not been stated, but as a key element of advanced manufacturing, it won’t be small. We’ve already seen GE devote $16 out of $500 million explicitly to additive manufacturing (AM), with many more investments likely including AM build up, as well. Kremenetsky noted in a separate article that some forms that these investments will take will involve small- and medium-sized businesses in the AM supply chain.

For Siemens Mobility, in particular, the recent string of rail incidents has drawn attention to the need to modernize U.S. infrastructure. Where there’s modernization, there will be AM and, given Siemens’ significant activities in AM, there’s no doubt that AM will be deployed in great force. This makes a quote from Congresswoman Valerie Foushee (NC-04), Vice Ranking Member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials, particularly important:

“This announcement is exciting news for the City of Lexington, the Piedmont Triad region, and all of North Carolina. The new Siemens Mobility manufacturing and rail services facility will bring hundreds of good paying jobs to North Carolina, while working to meet the increased demands for high-speed passenger rail and modernizing our nation’s rail infrastructure.”

Images courtesy of Siemens Mobility.

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