GE will invest more than $80 million to keep production of its next-generation, smart grid-enabled GE Profile front-load laundry line in Kentucky.
Production will begin in 2012 at GE’s Appliance Park facility, here, and result in the creation of 430 new manufacturing and engineering jobs.
GE worked with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and the metro Louisville government on a package of economic development incentives to keep the jobs local rather than outsource them to offshore facilities or manufacturing partners.
Currently, 90 percent of GE’s front-load washers and dryers are manufactured outside the U.S.
The next-gen GE Profile project will result in a significant increase in the number of engineers at the Appliance Park operation, and the local manufacture of appliance components, a function the majap industry has generally outsourced in recent years.
The new laundry platform will meet proposed 2014 Energy Star standards and will be smart-grid enabled, the company said.
“These new highly featured, energy-efficient laundry products will be a terrific addition to our portfolio and significantly enhance our leadership position in front-load laundry,” said Jim Campbell, president/CEO of GE’s consumer and industrial division, which manufacturers appliances, lighting products and industrial equipment. “We are making big investments in new products and in energy-efficient technologies that are creating American jobs.”
The smart-grid technology incorporated in the new laundry line will enable the products to communicate with utility smart meters to help reduce energy demand during peak usage times with features that will empower consumers to control their energy consumption and save money in areas where time of use pricing is in effect.
Other features will include steam technology, specialty fabric cycles, advanced vibration-reduction technology and washer-dryer communication.
Washers would go into production in the third quarter of 2012 and the new dryers in the third quarter of 2013.
“This new washer and dryer line not only brings new jobs to Louisville, it brings green and energy-efficient appliances to our city,” Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson said. “The future of GE in Louisville, which once was in jeopardy, is now very bright.”
“We can’t make these products in the U.S. competitively without everyone coming to the table — unions, the company, employees [and] local, state [and] federal officials,” Campbell said. “We are grateful to the state and the city for their continued support in bringing these new products and jobs to Appliance Park.”