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Rolls-Royce opens plant making part for Joint Strike Fighter

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Rolls-Royce on Friday morning unveiled a new, high-tech manufacturing site that could serve as a model for the future.

The new "focused factory" at 758 Columbia Drive in Plainfield will produce lift fans for the Joint Strike Fighter aircraft. The lift fan allows one version of the aircraft to make helicopter-like landings. Rolls-Royce had been developing the fan for two years and now has the production contract.  Full production will start in October, and the facility will employ 15 people at peak production in about 18 months.

"It's a high-tech facility and the only one like it in the world," said John Gallo, executive vice president of business operations. Rolls-Royce invested $6 million to outfit the space with the latest technology. One piece of equipment keeps track of tools, preventing them from becoming lost inside—and eventually damaging—the large aircraft components. The Department of Defense also spent $6 million on the build-out.

Gallo said Rolls-Royce won the lift fan contract because its latest contract with United Auto Workers Local 933 allows it to be more competitive. The focused factory will employ 12 UAW-represented workers, who are eligible for performance bonuses and trained to do multiple jobs. If necessary, Rolls can go outside the UAW for building maintenance workers.

"We're hoping through this same competitive set-up, we can win new work and new contracts going forward," Gallo said.

The Plainfield site is Rolls-Royce's 11th facility in Indiana. The British company employs 4,000 people in the state, including more than 1,700 in production in Indianapolis.

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  1. Aaron is my fav!

  2. Let's see... $25M construction cost, they get $7.5M back from federal taxpayers, they're exempt from business property tax and use tax so that's about $2.5M PER YEAR they don't have to pay, permitting fees are cut in half for such projects, IPL will give them $4K under an incentive program, and under IPL's VFIT they'll be selling the power to IPL at 20 cents / kwh, nearly triple what a gas plant gets, about $6M / year for the 150-acre combined farms, and all of which is passed on to IPL customers. No jobs will be created either other than an handful of installers for a few weeks. Now here's the fun part...the panels (from CHINA) only cost about $5M on Alibaba, so where's the rest of the $25M going? Are they marking up the price to drive up the federal rebate? Indy Airport Solar Partners II LLC is owned by local firms Johnson-Melloh Solutions and Telemon Corp. They'll gross $6M / year in triple-rate power revenue, get another $12M next year from taxpayers for this new farm, on top of the $12M they got from taxpayers this year for the first farm, and have only laid out about $10-12M in materials plus installation labor for both farms combined, and $500K / year in annual land lease for both farms (est.). Over 15 years, that's over $70M net profit on a $12M investment, all from our wallets. What a boondoggle. It's time to wise up and give Thorium Energy your serious consideration. See http://energyfromthorium.com to learn more.

  3. Markus, I don't think a $2 Billion dollar surplus qualifies as saying we are out of money. Privatization does work. The government should only do what private industry can't or won't. What is proven is that any time the government tries to do something it costs more, comes in late and usually is lower quality.

  4. Some of the licenses that were added during Daniels' administration, such as requiring waiter/waitresses to be licensed to serve alcohol, are simply a way to generate revenue. At $35/server every 3 years, the state is generating millions of dollars on the backs of people who really need/want to work.

  5. I always giggle when I read comments from people complaining that a market is "too saturated" with one thing or another. What does that even mean? If someone is able to open and sustain a new business, whether you think there is room enough for them or not, more power to them. Personally, I love visiting as many of the new local breweries as possible. You do realize that most of these establishments include a dining component and therefore are pretty similar to restaurants, right? When was the last time I heard someone say "You know, I think we have too many locally owned restaurants"? Um, never...

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