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Lure dangled for $1 billion project


DetroitMan

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I'll have to check with my boss.

I hope HSC's expansion will encourage more businesses to come. The bio-medical and high tech industries are coming to the Saginaw area, but the pace doesn't seem fast enough to out weight losses from de-industrialization. Population growth has been pretty stagnant in Saginaw Co in the past years.

EDIT: Finally, I'm no longer a burg but a town. 2500 posts baby!

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Really? I'm sure a few have. Universal 3 did recently. I mean some of the stuff being phased out in Saginaw County was obsolete industry. They were producing parts that weren't being made anymore period. I've heard of more things opening in the tri-cities than closing as far as industry goes. What has essentially declined is job numbers.

When I was young, my dad was safety supervisor on the assembly line at Malleable and for awhile at SMCO. My mother would take me to visit him in the afternoons since he worked late shifts and I vividly remember the dirty dark plant floors filled with hundreds of employees. Although there was a lot of automation, people still controlled individual machines. After he moved up in the company I never saw the insides of those plants until almost a decade later. Things really changed. I mean REALLY changed. The insides were extremely bright. The paint shined, not a speck of dirt anywhere. Massive polished machines with their intricate maneuvers and multi-tasking has replaced all those plant workers. It was a quiet place. Maybe a couple dozen or so worked in the casting portion of the plant (although the entire plant had far more employees (somewhere in the hundreds). But still, you could see the losses, and you knew these people had either gone into retirement or packed up and went elsewhere.

These plants will stay open for sometime as the technology has allowed them to survive. What is different now is the number of autworkers is slowly decreasing in Saginaw County

The sad thing is, while the economy is switching over, the people who work the skilled jobs are not moving into the city where the autworkers once lived, rather the far flung suburbs west of Saginaw. I still can't believe the number of new homes going up across the county.

HSC will only to contribute to this type of growth, although I welcome their expansion regardless.

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BTW, I'd love to show you guys the renderings. Really they are wonderful. But I'm going to have to wait until I get the okay from my boss and the project details are all worked out. I don't want to post an early rendering that might change.

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I should have said job losses, not nessesarliy closings, though i have i heard of some.

That metal casting plant sounds quite a bit different than the Truck and Bus plant that my dad works at. It still has these brick floors in a few places. It has a lot of automated machines, but still a lot of people operating machines themselves. Its a pretty interesting place.

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It typically depends on what is being manufactured. For example, a casting plant doesn't require a whole lot of manual labor. Really, I think it has always been this way historically since its a very simple standarized process. Although... the casting process technology has dramatically changed within the past 20 years. Up intil the 90's hot iron was poured into sandforms. It was the most environmentally unfriendly process imaginable. General Motors then developed new cleaner technology that employed ceramic coated foam molds that would either be dissolved and/or recycled after their use. Machines were better at this work, and aluminum replaced iron. With that, the plants really cleaned up. No longer did it look like the inside of a steelmill, rather the manufacturing floor of some high-tech company.

Processes like casting is still cheap to do in the US. In fact, some of the tasks involved are outsourced to smaller companies nearby in Mid-Michigan. SMCO doesn't even heat their own aluminum! They have another company bring it to them in molten form in large containers. I always found that incredibly strange, but I guess these smaller companies can do it cheaper. With that said, as GM develops new manufacturing technologies, you may see smaller companies open across the Saginaw area to supply specific needs. Companies that cater to technology that has become outdated, will either close or have to switch over. In some cases, entire manufacturing facilities will become out of date. That's why GM is set on closing Malleable Iron. I don't think it has ever lived up to expectations and has been around on borrowed time.

You won't see much of negative impact out of this. The plant is slowly being phased out. Much of the work there is through temporary workers or people who will go into retirement.

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