By Alan Wolf, YSN
Electrolux’s three-year-long revamp of its Anderson, S.C., refrigeration facilities is expected to come to fruition by the middle of next year.
According to a report by the local Upstate Business Journal, the $300 million project has incorporated new technologies and automation into its production lines that should help push the annual yield to about 2 million units.
The initiative, first announced in 2017, included the consolidation of Minnesota freezer factory and a secondary Anderson plant into a new 800,000-square-foot facility. Originally pegged at $200 million, the expansion has been slowed by technical delays, a disruption by a major U.S. customer, and the impact of the pandemic. But all four production lines are expected to be up and running by mid-2021, the company said, when the older facility will be converted into warehousing.
The changeover, explained Nolan Pike, president/CEO of Electrolux’s North American business, caused a 10 percent to 30 percent reduction in output, “just because we had to get used to this new way of producing appliances,” he told the business journal. But as the pandemic took hold, 80 percent of Americans began making most of their meals at home, placing greater demands on their kitchen appliances. “All of a sudden, all the types of refrigerators we make in Anderson were sold out,” he said.
The silver lining, he added, is that homebound consumers are learning to use their appliances in novel ways as they explore different approaches to food prep, which could lead to added product features and a faster pace of innovation.