Manufacturing 4.0 Has Arrived

Locations that have diversified their high-tech growth sectors are well-positioned to thrive in a new age of manufacturing efficiency. The factory of the future has arrived, a.k.a. manufacturing 4.0.
Locations that have diversified their high-tech growth sectors are well-positioned to thrive in a new age of manufacturing efficiency. The factory of the future has arrived, a.k.a. manufacturing 4.0.

Manufacturing 4.0 Has Arrived

Locations that have diversified their high-tech growth sectors are well-positioned to thrive in a new age of manufacturing efficiency. The factory of the future has arrived, a.k.a. manufacturing 4.0.

Manufacturing 4.0 Has Arrived

“Intel has operated in Arizona since 1979, and has invested more than $21 billion in building high-tech capabilities in the state since 1996. In 2017, Intel announced plans to invest more than $7 billion to complete Fab 42, which is expected to be the most advanced semiconductor factory in the world. The factory is expected to create more than 3,000 high-tech jobs. NXP Semiconductor operates one of its three U.S. wafer manufacturing fabs in Chandler, as well as several business units. ON Semiconductor and its legacy organizations have operated in Arizona since 1952. ON employs 1,000 at its U.S. headquarters in Phoenix, which also serves as a design center. Microchip Technology, a leading provider of semiconductors and electronic products, is headquartered in Chandler and employs more than 1,800 people in Arizona.”

Semiconductor manufacturing provides 21,236 direct jobs, well above the national median of 2,751, she said, and Arizona ranks among the top five states for semiconductor manufacturing employment. Arizona also is among the top five states in the nation in aerospace and defense manufacturing and is home to more than 1,200 aerospace and defense manufacturing and supply chain establishments.

Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson employs 13,000 people. Honeywell Aerospace, the world’s largest manufacturer of aircraft engines and avionics, headquartered in Phoenix, employs 8,300. Boeing manufactures helicopters in Mesa and employs more than 3,700 people in the state.

“Arizona exported $19.5 billion worth of manufactured goods in 2018—$3.8 billion of that total was in semiconductors, and $3.3 billion was in aerospace and defense goods,” Watson said.

While semiconductors and aerospace dominate among the state’s manufacturers, other industries also have a significant presence in the state. Medical device industry leaders include Medtronic, manufacturing electromedical devices, and W.L. Gore, manufacturing implantable medical devices. Stryker also has facilities in Arizona. Accelerate Diagnostics, a publicly-traded company that develops medical instruments for detecting pathogenic organisms, moved its U.S. headquarters to Tucson from Denver in 2012. Dexcom began manufacturing its continuous glucose monitors in Mesa in 2017. Biotech giant Celgene produces its Abraxane cancer treatment in Phoenix.

Optics and photonics are integral to many advanced technologies and play a critical role in many of Arizona’s manufacturing outputs, such as precision missile guidance systems, medical imaging and autonomous and unmanned aerial vehicles. The sector employed 5,488 Arizonans in 2018, and saw 15 percent growth from 2014 to 2018, well ahead of the national average of 7 percent growth.

The growth in technology, Watson said, will continue to drive accelerated growth across all sectors. “Advances in high-tech devices, cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) are expected to drive continued growth in Arizona’s manufacturing industry.”

And recently, Watson said, the state has seen strong interest in Arizona from next-gen mobility companies, driven by the state’s talent, business-friendly policies and close proximity to Mexico, she added.

“Lucid Motors will manufacture its luxury electric cars in Casa Grande, which is in Pinal County. Nikola Motor Company will design its hydrogen-electric powered vehicles in Phoenix and manufacture them in Coolidge, also in Pinal County. Collectively, these projects will create over 4,000 new jobs and $1.7 billion in capital investment in Arizona. Local Motors also is manufacturing its Olli low-speed automated shuttle vehicle in Chandler. As consumers increasingly look for electric and alternative fuel vehicles, the products these companies will make in our state are sure to be in high demand for the long-term.”

Reaching global markets comes readily for the state’s manufacturers. “Manufacturers operating in Arizona can easily access some of the world’s largest economies: California, Mexico and Texas. 85 million consumers are within a one-day trucking radius,” Watson said.

The new SkyBridge Arizona development at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport is facilitating in a new era for cross-border commerce, she added. “SkyBridge Arizona is the nation’s first inland air cargo port housing both American and Mexican customs, allowing users to more efficiently export products to Latin America.”

“Under Gov. Ducey’s leadership, Arizona has continued to grow and strengthen our ties with both Mexico and Canada. Our relationships with these two nations are critical to our economy, representing more than $20 billion in bilateral trade and supporting more than 228,000 Arizona jobs. The signing of the USMCA is an exciting step forward and one that will allow us to increase cross-border collaboration. The Arizona Commerce Authority is grateful for the incredible efforts made by so many, including Gov. Ducey and Arizona’s federal delegation, to reach this significant accomplishment.”

Watson attributed Arizona’s skilled talent as a strong factor in attracting and retaining advanced manufacturing companies. The state’s university network is nurturing the advanced manufacturing talent pipeline. In 2018, 52 Arizona schools awarded 34,039 degrees and certificates in programs relevant to manufacturing.

Arizona State University (ASU): ASU was ranked the #1 Most Innovative University an unprecedented five consecutive times by U.S. News and World Report. ASU’s Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering has more than 22,000 engineering students enrolled, with high concentrations in computer science, information technology and software engineering. ASU offers a master’s program in robotics and autonomous systems with more than 20 world-class robotics and engineering labs, and in fiscal year 2017 ASU had more than $150 million in computer information sciences and engineering research and development expenditures. ASU’s supply chain and logistics program ranks second in the nation for undergraduate students and third for graduate students by U.S. News & World Report.

The University of Arizona: The College of Optical Sciences is one of the premier educational and research institutions in the world for optics and photonics. Specialty research programs in the College of Optical Sciences provide students with cutting-edge training in fields such as optical engineering, optical physics, photonics and image science.

The Arizona Advanced Manufacturing Institute (AzAMI): This unique center of excellence was created to help Arizona business and industry partners stay competitive and to provide a pipeline of career educated and ready-to-work employees. From enrollment to employment, AzAMI connects workforce opportunities with local and regional businesses, building a technical trained, talented supply of motivated and skilled individuals.

Advanced Technology Network: Under the guidance of the Arizona Commerce Authority Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO)—and with the assistance of private sector companies, including Boeing, Raytheon and Lucid Motors—the Maricopa County Community College District, Central Arizona Community College and Pima Community College signed a charter and formed the Arizona Advanced Technology Network. These schools are now offering a unified curriculum to meet rigorous third-party industry credentialing standards. Arizona Advanced Technology Network students can earn Industrial Technology certificates from the highly regarded National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS) as well as an Associate’s of Applied Sciences in Automated Industrial Technology degree from four colleges, two of which are in the Maricopa County Community College District.


When you think of Kentucky’s major industries, bourbon and fine racehorses may come to mind. But Kentucky also is home to a variety of advanced manufacturing firms, from automobiles to whiskey to aerospace.

As the state’s signature distilled spirits industry continues to lead the nation in exports of whiskey, bourbon and rye, its manufacturing base is contributing greatly to the state’s growth in exports.

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