Manufacturing

Funding for Made in Connecticut, an ongoing reporting series which examines Connecticut’s manufacturing future, from high-tech to handmade, is made possible by our Founding Sponsor, KBE Building Corporation, to promote science, technology, and innovation in Connecticut.

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Corporate Leadership
2:15 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

Mystery Surrounds UTC Change of Command

New UTC CEO Greg Hayes
Credit UTC

Investors and employees have been left baffled by the sudden resignation of Louis Chenevert, the chief executive of United Technologies. 

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Three-Wheelers
8:59 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Manufacturer Seeks Connecticut's OK to Sell New Vehicle

The Slingshot is a reverse tricycle with two wheels in front and one in back.
Facebook

The maker of a new vehicle called the Slingshot is meeting with state motor vehicles officials to discuss whether they may sell the three-wheeler in Connecticut. 

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Connecticut Business Briefs
9:12 am
Mon November 17, 2014

Pfizer, Merck in Cancer Drug Partnership

Cancer cells in a 3D rendering. Merck and Pfizer will initially target lung and ovarian cancer.
Credit iStock / Thinkstock

Pfizer has signed a major cancer drug deal with German firm Merck. The news dampens speculation that Pfizer is still interested in a renewed bid for British drug maker AstraZeneca. 

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Automobiles
4:29 pm
Sat November 15, 2014

For Best-Selling Truck, Ford Bets Big On Aluminum

A 2015 F-150 rolls off the assembly line at the Dearborn Truck Plant in Dearborn, Mich. The aluminum-sided F-150 could set a new industry standard — or cost the company its pickup truck crown.
Paul Sancya AP

Originally published on Sat November 15, 2014 5:30 pm

The first 2015 Ford F-150 rolled off the assembly line this week, and it is no normal truck. The new F-150 pickup is the first with an aluminum body, making it hundreds of pounds lighter than its predecessors.

Ford isn't taking this gamble on just any truck — the F-150 is the company's most important vehicle. Morgan Stanley estimates the F-Series truck line and SUV derivatives represent 90 percent of Ford's global profits.

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History
10:55 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Life After the Last Shift

Underwood Typewriter Factory, Capitol Avenue, Hartford. Drawing by Richard Welling, 1960s.
Connecticut Historical Society Gift of the Richard Welling family, 2012.284.5705

What do the Bigelow Carpet Company of Enfield, Underwood Typewriter Company of Hartford, and Cheney Brothers Silk Manufacturing Company of Manchester have in common? They, and many other companies, had factories in Connecticut which survive to this day, while the companies that built them do not.

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Climate Change
4:05 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

U.S. and China Announce Historic Climate Change Agreement

Flickr Creative Commons / why 137

A new agreement between China and the United States to reduce carbon emissions will send strong signals to the global community, according to a Wesleyan professor who has studied climate change for the Obama administration.

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Gun Safety and Sales
8:27 am
Tue November 11, 2014

Connecticut Religious and Civic Leaders Press Gun Manufacturers

Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch in a WNPR file photo.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

A coalition of municipal leaders, police and clergy gathered in Bridgeport on Monday, calling on gun manufacturers to make their weapons safer.

Public entities like police departments make up a significant share of the U.S. gun industry’s market. 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Connecticut's Plan for Energy Efficiency; Roundtable Looks at CL&P Rates

Kevin Dooley Creative Commons

According to a new scorecard from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Connecticut has dropped to sixth place in the national ranking of state energy efficiency. 

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The Business of Governing
10:31 am
Thu November 6, 2014

Catherine Smith Looks Forward to Economic Development 2.0

DECD Commissioner Catherine Smith
Credit Chion Wolf

Economic development was a major part of the campaign rhetoric this election season, and it seems destined to be a high-profile part of Governor Dannel Malloy’s second term.

WNPR sat down with the administration’s economic development chief, Catherine Smith to talk about what a second term will look like.

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American Made: The New Manufacturing Landscape
3:24 am
Thu November 6, 2014

In South Carolina, A Program That Makes Apprenticeships Work

John Harris makes a weld for a test during a welding class at Spartanburg Community College in Spartanburg, S.C., on Oct. 22.
Mike Belleme for NPR

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 6:41 pm

Several years ago, South Carolina had a problem: a shortage of skilled workers and no good way to train young people for the workforce. So at a time when apprenticeship programs were in decline in the U.S., the state started a program called Apprenticeship Carolina.

"We were really, really squarely well-positioned at the bottom," says Brad Neese, the program's director.

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Rocket Explosion
4:02 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Russian Engines Could Be Focus Of Antares Launch Failure Probe

The Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares rocket suffers a catastrophic anomaly moments after launch at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on Tuesday.
Joel Kowsky AP

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 9:34 am

NPR's Geoff Brumfiel reports that as investigators examine what went wrong with the launch of an unmanned Antares rocket on Tuesday, they'll likely take a hard look at powerful engines originally destined to send cosmonauts to the moon, a project that was scrapped by the USSR more than four decades ago.

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Massachusetts
4:11 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Gov. Patrick Announces State Contract To Build Subway Cars In Springfield

Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 6:11 pm

The administration of Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is recommending a Chinese company be awarded a contract to build new subway cars for the MBTA.  The railcars will be assembled at a new factory that is to be built in Springfield.

Gov. Patrick made the announcement Tuesday standing in front of an empty 40- acre lot on Springfield’s east side,  where the CNR Changchun Railway Vehicles Co. has said it will build a $50 million factory creating over 250 new construction and manufacturing jobs.

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Manufacturing
9:09 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Made Locally, Sought Globally: Connecticut Small Town Products a Big Hit

Bovano of Cheshire has crafted glass enamel sculptures since 1952.
Sujata Srinivasan WNPR

The city of Waterbury claims many firsts. The first brass in America was rolled here. It’s where the first pewter buttons were made, and the first Mickey Mouse watch was produced. One historic store on Bank Street sells products that are still uniquely made right here in Connecticut. 

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American Made
7:06 am
Fri October 3, 2014

U.S. Manufacturing: A Remembrance And A Look Ahead

A worker cuts slabs of steel at a mill in Cleveland in 2004.
Ron Schwane AP

Originally published on Fri October 3, 2014 11:28 am

If it weren't for American manufacturing, I wouldn't be here today.

Literally.

A century ago, my grandfather moved from Poland to Youngstown, Ohio, to work in a steel mill. At the time, Ohio factories were cranking out steel slabs, tires and cars — building a mountain of wealth that the next generation could climb. And the generation after that.

But what will happen in the 21st century? Is the path that led to higher ground blocked now?

The answer is complicated.

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Business of Defense
7:48 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Sen. Murphy: Pentagon Spends Billions Overseas, Costs Jobs

Big contractors like Pratt & Whitney should be required to source more of their parts in the US, according to Senator Chris Murphy
Pratt & Whitney

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy said that in the past seven years, the Pentagon has spent more than $160 billion of taxpayer money on foreign-made goods. He’s accusing the defense department of abusing legislation that requires it to buy American.

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American Made
3:27 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Rochester Focuses On A New Picture Of American Manufacturing

Tom Worden works on a fixed-abrasive grinding table at Exelis Inc. in Rochester, N.Y. Exelis is an aerospace and defense company, and employs numerous former Kodak workers in its facility.
Mike Bradley for NPR

Originally published on Mon September 29, 2014 7:17 am

Rochester, N.Y., was once the imaging capital of the world, home to Kodak, Xerox and the eye care company, Bausch + Lomb.

Led by these companies, the manufacturing sector once employed 60 percent of Rochester's workforce. Now, that's less than 10 percent. And so, like many cities in this country, Rochester is trying to build something new from its manufacturing heritage.

If you want to understand the story of Rochester, says historian Carolyn Vacca, you need to come to High Falls, where from a bridge visitors see a waterfall and a panoramic view of downtown.

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Next Generation Weapons
10:20 am
Thu September 25, 2014

Replacing Ballistic Missile Subs "Key to National Defense"

The new subs would replace Ohio Class boats including the USS Alaska

The Groton shipyard of Electric Boat may be looking forward to making two Virginia Class submarines per year, but members of the state’s congressional delegation say they’ll continue to push for an additional major building program.

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Hardware City
8:19 am
Thu September 18, 2014

Remembering New Britain's Industrial History

Fafnir Bearing Company.
New Britain Industrial Museum

What was Hardware City like in its heyday? Today, it’s hard to imagine: a packed downtown, with 35,000 factory workers, and life revolving around the factories.  

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Industry Revival
9:18 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Why a Banker is Re-opening a Textile Mill in Connecticut

The main offices of the American Woolen Company in Stafford Springs.
J Holt WNPR

The slow death of the textile industry in the U.S. was underscored last December by the closure of the last operating mill in Connecticut, the historic Warren Mills in Stafford Springs. That same mill is celebrating its re-opening under new owners. 

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Space Flight
6:03 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Boeing And SpaceX Win $6.8 Billion In NASA Contracts

In an image provided by NASA, astronaut Randy Bresnik prepares to enter Boeing's CST-100 spacecraft for an evaluation at the company's Houston Product Support Center. NASA awarded Boeing with a $4.2 billion contract Tuesday.
AP

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 7:29 pm

NASA has chosen Boeing and SpaceX to build the vehicles that will transport its astronauts to the International Space Station, putting the two American companies on a course to take over a job that NASA has recently relied upon Russia to perform: carrying out manned space flights.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden says vehicles from the two companies are expected to be ready for service by 2017.

Announcing its decision Tuesday, the space agency included these details:

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri August 8, 2014

Where Does All Our Trash Go?

Credit Vuilnis bij Essent Milieu / Wikimedia Commons

Ever wonder what happens to all the stuff you throw away?

Chances are, you've watched it get hurled into the back of a garbage or recycling truck. But what happens after it leaves the curb? Well, the story of trash is a lot more fascinating and complex than you probably think. 

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Industry Revival
2:12 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Stafford Springs Textile Mills Back in Action

American Woolen has restarted production at Stafford Springs.
American Woolen Company

Textiles are once again being produced in Stafford Springs. Eight months after the Warren Corporation mills closed, ending the industry in Connecticut, the newly-reopened company has taken its first work order.

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Business Confidence
1:16 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Manufacturers Optimistic About Economic Outlook

Credit monkeybusinessimages/iStock / Thinkstock

Manufacturers are increasingly bullish about the state of the economy, according to a new survey.

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Manufacturing
4:40 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Connecticut Leading on 3D Printing in Industry

Pratt and Whitney design engineer Louis Porretti uses an electron beam melting machine that is part of the new Pratt & Whitney Additive Manufacturing Innovation Center at the University of Connecticut.
University of Connecticut

Additive manufacturing — what’s commonly known as 3D printing — has technology geeks buzzing about its potential to turn your desk into a mini-factory. It’s actually not as new as you might think -- 3D printing traces its roots back to the 1980s, and it's been the subject of industry research ever since. What effect is it having now on manufacturing in Connecticut?

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The Faith Middleton Show
2:53 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Craft: Why Making Things Matters

Credit spinster cardigan/flickr creative commons

Carving birds? Knitting sweaters? Paper cutting? Blowing glass? If you're a crafts person, paid or unpaid, please call and tell us what it adds to your life.

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Manufacturing
1:51 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

What's Behind the Connecticut-Made Brand?

Bob Torrani, director of the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology’s (CCAT) Advanced Manufacturing Center in East Hartford, explains how CCAT helps smaller firms to optmize new technology.
Sujata Srinivasan WNPR

What consumer product comes to mind when you think of Vermont? Maple syrup, Cabot cheese, or Ben & Jerry’s, perhaps? If that's what comes up in a kind of consumer word association, marketing gurus would nod their heads knowingly.

A strong product is great, but if you don’t build a strong brand, it won't sell. How are businesses and policy makers branding Connecticut-made products?

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Hard Hittin' History
2:48 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Voices From the Hardware City

Fafnir Bearing Company.
New Britain Industrial Museum

New Britain may lose its baseball team to Hartford, another blow to a city that, over the years, has lost many of its jobs, and many of the the iconic brands associated with the city.

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Preserving Michelangelo
11:58 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Carrier to Install New HVAC System in the Sistine Chapel

The famous frescoes of the Sistine Chapel
Antoine Taveneaux Wikimedia Commons

Farmington-based Carrier is to install a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system in the Sistine Chapel as part of an effort to preserve the frescoes of Michelangelo.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu June 19, 2014

The Second Amendment, Colt, and Tracing Guns

Emily Stanchfield Creative Commons

The Second Amendment is just 27 words long, but it has caused more debate than just about anything else in the Constitution. "It’s confusing and self-contradictory and we spend a lot of time trying to figure out what its clauses and commas mean," said Michael Waldman, author of the new book The Second Amendment: A Biography. We talk to him about the history and odd syntax of this Amendment and the debate over it that was renewed by the tragedy in Newtown.

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Made in Connecticut
9:26 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Connecticut Vaccine Company Gets $50 Million in Federal Funding

The Meriden labs of Protein Sciences.
Credit Harriet Jones / WNPR

Meriden’s Protein Sciences has been awarded a multi-million dollar extension to its contract with the federal government to provide flu vaccines.

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