Berkshire Hathaway Inc. recently announced a $9.8 billion write-down for its Precision Castparts Corp. (PCC) unit. PCC’s aircraft components business has been ruined by the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing the company to reduce its workforce by 10,000 this year. PCC reported a $78 million pre-tax loss in the second quarter of this year, compared with earnings of $481 million in 2019. Berkshire Hathaway bought PCC in 2016.
Howmet Aerospace (formerly Arconic) recently shed 131 of the 600 workers at its manufacturing facility in Niles, Ohio. The workforce reductions – through direct layoffs, attrition and voluntary retirements – are the result of a weakened economy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Pittsburgh, Pa.-based Howmet Aerospace produces engineered products and forgings such as engine components, fastening systems and forged wheels.
India’s Bharat Forge announced that it will partially resume manufacturing operations at its Mundhwa, Chakan and Satara plants pursuant to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bharat Forge is commencing operations in a gradual manner pending the completion of mandatory safety checks and training personnel on physical distancing, health and hygiene per guidelines stipulated by India’s Ministry of Home Affairs. The training for employees includes: mandatory self-declaration of good health before joining; the wearing of face masks; regular sanitization of personal items and work stations; maintaining social distancing; and thorough sanitization of all workplaces, buses and other official vehicles after each trip.
The Executive Committee of the Forging Industry Association’s (FIA) Board of Directors has decided to cancel the International Forging Congress (IFC) 2020 scheduled for September 19-21 at the Marriott Magnificent Mile Downtown in Chicago, Ill. This step has been taken because of the safety concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. FIA could not be assured that the configurations in the venues where IFC 2020 activities were scheduled to be held could be arranged in a manner to provide sufficient protection for delegates and exhibitors against the transmission of COVID-19. Delegates who have registered and paid to attend IFC 2020 will be reimbursed 100% of their registration fees. Those companies that have reserved and paid for a booth or tabletop at IFC 2020 will be reimbursed 100% of their registration fees. Emails will be sent to both groups explaining the reimbursement process.
Fortin Ironworks, a third-generation, family-owned and operated ornamental iron and metal-fabrication company, is creating new products driven by a surge in consumer safety. These American-made products are destined to be an integral part of the “new normal.” The Columbus, Ohio-based company has manufacturing products designed to keep people safe, such as fencing and gates, for nearly 75 years. With the recent COVID-19 pandemic, however, Fortin Ironworks is getting requests for new ways of doing things.
Sheffield Forgemasters is devoting its 3D-printing facility to help protect vulnerable, frontline national health service (NHS) workers and assist in the U.K.'s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The company’s Research, Design and Technology (RD&T) department has started to produce 3D-printed components for protective visors used by NHS staff. The initiative coincides with the request of the mayor of the Sheffield City Region for South Yorkshire businesses to join the national effort and help make life-saving medical equipment during the pandemic. RD&T uses its 3D-printing output to produce models and prototypes for ultra-large, complex steel components, but – with the ability to 3D-print the visor components – the business is more than happy to play its part in assisting the fight against the pandemic.
According to research conducted by Clear Seas Research (a BNP Media Company) April 2-6, 63% of active business and 57% of planned business throughout the manufacturing industry is still on schedule during the coronavirus pandemic. These numbers show a decline from the last survey March 24-26, which showed 67% of active business and 63% of planned business was on schedule. Along those lines, 9% of active business has been cancelled, which is an increase from the 7% reported in the last survey.
Ford is delaying the restart of production at its North America plants to help protect its workers. The company aimed to restart production April 6 at Hermosillo Assembly Plant and April 14 at several key U.S. plants but has now further postponed those dates. The Rawsonville Components Plant will restart the week of April 20 to produce the Model A-E ventilator, in collaboration with GE Healthcare, supported by paid volunteer UAW workers. The Model A-E ventilator is a basic, cost-efficient design that addresses the needs of most COVID-19 patients. Production will quickly scale up to produce 50,000 ventilators by July 4.
The nation's small businesses are facing an unprecedented economic disruption due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. On Friday, March 27, 2020, the president signed into law the CARES Act, which contains $376 billion in relief for American workers and small businesses.