WURTLAND, Ky.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The transformation in material sciences and advanced manufacturing was evidenced today during a joint announcement by Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin and Craig Bouchard, Chairman and CEO of Braidy Industries, Inc. (“Braidy”). The Governor and Mr. Bouchard announced that Braidy, in partnership with the State of Kentucky and the Ashland Alliance, will construct the nation’s first Greenfield aluminum rolling mill in over three decades.
The Braidy rolling mill seeks to become the nation’s low cost producer of high quality auto body sheet aluminum, plate and ultra-high strength alloys for the Aerospace industry. The mill will open with capacity of 370,000 tons per annum, producing series 5000, 6000, and 7000 aluminum sheet and plate products. Braidy is also exploring new scientific nano-crystaline technical advances capable of improving molten metal-based manufacturing.
“Braidy Industries’ decision to locate in Eastern Kentucky has the potential to be as significant as any economic deal ever made in the history of Kentucky,” said Gov. Bevin. “This $1.3 billion investment will create enormous opportunity for people in the region, and would not have been possible without our recently passed right-to-work legislation. I look forward to the success of Braidy Industries as they leverage the incredible work ethic found in Eastern Kentucky. The ripple effect of this investment will be significant and will produce positive change in the region for generations to come.”
Ground breaking at the 370 acre South Shore site will occur in the first quarter of 2018. Over $1.3 billion will be spent on the mill located in Greenup County Kentucky, close to the city of Ashland. The mill will be 2.5 million square feet under roof, with an ideal location on the great Ohio River, and already-permitted barge capacity. The CSX railroad runs through the property, and highway I-64 connects the mill site to some of the nation’s largest auto-making and aerospace customers. The State of Kentucky exports more than $10 billion per year in aerospace products, ranking it second among all states in the U.S.
Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development Sec. Terry Gill said the project holds the promise of transforming the region. “Both in the immediacy and over the coming decades, Braidy Industries’ investment – and the jobs its high-tech mill will create – promise to make a tremendous positive impact on Greenup County and Kentucky’s eastern region. In bringing us to today’s announcement, major efforts by local, regional and state partners, including the Legislature’s actions to improve Kentucky’s business climate, proved key. In its entirety, this work helps us deliver the clear message that Kentucky is open for business.”
Craig Bouchard is joined on the Braidy Board of Directors by Dr. Michael Porter of the Harvard Business School, the world’s foremost expert on competitive advantage, Dr. Chris Schuh, Head of Materials Science at MIT and one of the worlds most accomplished metallurgists, John Preston, renowned technologist who commercialized intellectual property at MIT for nearly 30 years, and Charles Price, a well known industrialist from the State of Kentucky.
Braidy’s second investment will be a soon-to-be-announced acquisition putting it on the forefront of the advanced manufacturing of ultra-high strength and light weight parts for the inside of cars and airplanes, and for defense purposes. The company intends to lead the development of science applying nano-crystaline technologies to the rapid implementation of high-strength and lightweight alloys.
“By combining an advanced production capability with advanced metallurgical science, there is a great opportunity to reinvigorate metals manufacturing in United States,” said Christopher Schuh, MIT metallurgist and member of the Braidy board of directors.
The company selected Eastern Kentucky as its partner because the region is home to an abundance of hard-working skilled workers trained in the metal and mining industries. It is also a perfect logistical location to serve auto and aerospace customers.
Kentucky becoming a Right-to-Work state made a significant difference. The State provided additional incentives which will help Braidy in becoming the low cost producer of aluminum sheet and plate in the United States when the mill is completed in 2020.
Dr. Michael E. Porter, professor at Harvard Business School and a global expert on competitiveness and economic development, serves as a Braidy Industries board member. Porter assisted the company in assessing Kentucky’s competitive advantage versus other potential locations.
“Eastern Kentucky has significant competitive advantages, including its proximity to the leading automotive and aerospace customers, low energy costs and a skilled and available workforce for heavy manufacturing,” Porter said. “The decision to locate in Greenup County will provide an opportunity for Braidy Industries and the community to work together to transform the region’s business environment as well as attract related companies.”
Braidy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Craig T. Bouchard said: “This is an historic moment. The best time in the past 50 years to invest in American infrastructure and advanced manufacturing is right now.”
Mr. Bouchard added, “We believe that a large scale greenfield investment in aluminum and other materials will create a substantial competitive advantage. We will do this by optimizing logistics on water, rail and highway, a non-union work force, no environmental legacy, no pension legacy, very low plant maintenance costs, industry leading electric cost infrastructure, state-of-the-art equipment and work process flow, and fewer employees per ton. From our location in Greenup County we can import, and reach the majority of our customers in the United States same-day by water, rail or highway. The cost advantages are stunning.”
Kentucky Power is partnering with Braidy in the provision of low cost energy. Both companies share a vision with Governor Matt Bevin and his Economic Development team led by Terry Gill of establishing Eastern Kentucky as the nation’s leader in advanced manufacturing excellence.
John Preston said, “The last decade has seen rapid advances in material science similar to advances in the computer/Internet fields in the 1990s. These advances both in processing equipment and new materials are now ripe for full scale deployment which enables cost effective material substitution – reducing the weight of vehicles and planes, saving vast amounts of energy and reducing dependence on scarce materials.”
Braidy will partner with the Kentucky Community and Technical College system (KCTCS) to enhance and develop a specialized Associates Degrees in Material Sciences and Advanced Manufacturing which will be used to train its work force on an evergreen basis while developing a pipeline of human talent for its mill and future manufacturing businesses in Greenup County, as well as surrounding counties.
“KCTCS is one of the nation’s leaders in providing workforce credentials that fuel highly-skilled, high-demand jobs in Kentucky,” said Dr. Jay Box, KCTCS President. “We look forward to working with Braidy Industries to prepare their needed workforce. Our Ashland Community and Technical College will lead the effort by providing onboarding services as well as delivering the AAS in Material Sciences degree needed by Braidy.”
For more information on Braidy Industries, please visit: www.braidyindustries.com.