Windkits LLC, a Pennsylvania wind turbine components manufacturer, will close its manufacturing plant in the Lehigh Valley, and is shifting its work to Mexico. The company will also fire 67 people, according to a notice filed with the state, an internal memo and multiple sources familiar with the company’s thinking, quoted by the Moring Call paper.
Firstly, the closing of the facility will happen by Aug. 13, according to a summary of the notice posted online Friday by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry. The plant locates at 7346 Penn Drive in Upper Macungie Township.
Secondly, while there is no official statement on the reasons behind the closure, the intel did say that the manufacturing work of the company will be transferred to a plant built in 2019, in Matamoros; northeastern city in Mexico, close to the U.S. border.
Thirdly, the letter accesses by the media coverage, came from CEO of Windkits, Brent Taylor, which was filed to comply with Worker Adjustment Retraining Notification Act. In the letter, Taylor said. “During the past year, we have experienced challenging market conditions; as the near-term market in North America has indeed been influenced by consolidation.”
He also remarked. “This led to a reduction of the blade manufacturing footprint in North America as well as reduced production at the continuing locations. Furthermore, we see a market that demands a more comprehensive offering; from a different footprint, requiring also a very close collaboration between kitting and materials.”
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Windkits to be closer to raw materials in Mexico
“Accordingly, and in combination with the current global market situation; we see a need to consolidate our footprint and also have made the decision to relocate our core kit manufacturing in Allentown to Matamoros.” The letter said.
On the other hand, Windkits has a parent company, Denmark-based JSB Group. JBS is a provider of core kits to the wind industry, and has also numerous manufacturing sites throughout the nation. All of them, “strategically at the center of several wind blade production clusters.” One of those locations being precisely Mexico.
Consequently, the shifting to Mexico could be a move to be closer to raw materials, or to feedstock needed to manufacture the components. One of those materials is balsa wood. Major raw material for the company’s manufacturing operations; which comes from Central and South America.
Finally, as Windkits is one of 29 manufacturing facilities in Pennsylvania that produce components for the wind industry; the fired workers will have enough opportunities to find labor in the area; where indeed wages are rising to attract employees.