Weidmüller USA, a provider of smart industrial connectivity products and solutions, recently broke ground on a new engineering, production, and warehouse facility at its current Southlake location in Chesterfield County near its Richmond, Virginia, headquarters. The $16.4 million expansion will create more than 100 new jobs for the area, allowing the company to engineer and manufacture products closer to domestic customers as part of its “Made in the U.S.A.” initiative. Below, Bernd Schröder, president of Weidmüller USA, shares his thoughts on what the new facility means for his company.

MPT: How does this new facility connect with Weidmüller’s larger goals?

Bernd Schröder: Innovative electrical connectivity and software-driven automation continue to transform industrial production and smart manufacturing across the United States, including new clean energy industries that rely on increasingly sophisticated products and solutions. Drawing on more than 170 years in manufacturing, electrical connectivity, and first-to-market innovation solutions like SNAP IN and u-remote, Weidmüller is positioned to be a leading supplier for Industry 4.0 and the future of engineering and manufacturing, right here in the United States.

MPT: What features will be brought to the facility itself to reflect these goals?

Bernd Schröder: The new building features solar panels generating 392,000 Kwh annually, high efficiency HVAC, recycled materials, and EV charging units (AC Smart). Further green technology aspects include that the building structure utilizes recycled materials, and prefabricated roof panels offer reduced construction costs and increased energy efficiency.

For the facility’s high efficiency HVAC equipment, fresh air is supplied vertically, down to the employee level to improve comfort and health. Fumes, heat, and odor are exhausted from the molding machines to increase employee comfort and reduce cooling costs. The average cooling efficiency of the HVAC equipment serving the addition is a 27 percent improvement over the energy code.

Also, we plan to install 360 solar panels and are researching possibilities to add additional panels to existing structure (providing 20 percent of energy demand for ten machines). We will have EV Charger (AC Smart) and loading stations—our own Richmond-produced eMobility units!

MPT: What timeline do you see for this project’s completion?

Bernd Schröder: Construction begins summer 2023, and is estimated to be done by May 2024. Production will start in Q3 2024. Products being made first include terminal blocks with other products to follow. Richmond, Virginia, was selected for expansion due to excellent universities, very good infrastructure with highways, the airport, and seaports. Furthermore, it is a good location for local sourcing with a lot of technology partners.

Weidmüller is known as a pioneer of smart industrial connectivity and this pioneering spirit continues to blossom in Richmond. We look forward to manufacturing automation solutions with local engineering and production talent and together, shape the way to digitalization. 

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