Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear checks out the latest digital tools at GE’s Appliance Park production complex.
Two-year initiative expands plants, adds product lines
By Alan Wolf, YSN
The completion of two new GE Appliances dishwasher lines, which represented the culmination of a two-year, $450 million production overhaul at Appliance Park, brought Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and other state and local dignitaries to the sprawling manufacturing complex in Louisville last month to mark the achievement.
The investment fueled significant upgrades at three of the park’s five major plants, including new assembly lines and fabrication equipment and the addition of new top-load washer and four-door refrigerator models. In addition, the newly expanded dishwasher facility can now accommodate five brands of dishwashers and is positioned as the largest plant of its kind in the U.S., GE said.
Like the enhanced dishwasher plant, GE’s manufacturing facilities are vertically integrated, turning rolls of coiled steel into finished product thanks to new fabrication equipment that produces millions of tubs, doors, racks and other components onsite. GE also utilizes new state-of-the-art tools such as 3D scanning, automated guided vehicles and control tower technology to achieve end-to-end visibility of inbound parts and keep them flowing through the plant, resulting in improved problem solving, craftsmanship and quality, the company said.
At the same time, GE is focused on improving the work experience for employees. The new dishwasher manufacturing lines, for example, were designed with experienced production employee input and 3D scanning technology to ensure the jobs and workstations are ergonomically friendly. New stationary robots and automated guided vehicles handle heavy work and reduce traffic in crowded aisleways, and have led to the creation of new, highly skilled jobs to manage the modern technology. Employees are also benefitting from the addition of four filtration and cooling towers and a new employee cafeteria into the plant footprint, GE said.
“From design to production, our team is always finding a better way to bring the latest appliance technology to homes and families across America,” said Kevin Nolan, president and CEO of GE Appliances, at the Appliance Park event. “We are committed to U.S. manufacturing and to Louisville, Ky.”
Added Gov. Beshear, “With Manufacturing Month kicking off in October, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than being here today and celebrating GE Appliances and their expansion at Appliance Park. I want to congratulate the Louisville community on this important investment and thank the leaders at Haier and GE Appliances for their commitment to the commonwealth.”
Since 2016, GE Appliances has invested more than $2 billion in its U.S. manufacturing and distribution operations, created more than 4,000 new jobs and contributed $7.5 billion to Kentucky’s GDP last year.