Editor’s Note: The following remarks were made regarding the “Carrier to Relocate Indianapolis Operations” article, published Feb. 29, 2016, in The NEWS.


At the AHR Expo in Orlando this past January, I kept hearing that offshore manufacturers still have an advantage over U.S. manufacturers, mostly because of lower labor costs.

And, yet, General Electric Co. announced last October that it’s bringing air conditioning production back to the U.S. as part of a $250 million investment the company is making over a three-year period at its Appliance Park manufacturing location in Louisville, Kentucky.

GE Appliances is adding a new product category, GE Zoneline®. It’s a through-the-wall heating and air conditioning unit mainly used in hotel/motel and nursing/rehab facilities. Full production will start in the first quarter of 2016. These units are called PTAC (packaged terminal air conditioners) units. They were made at Appliance Park from 1961 until 1987, when manufacturing of the product was outsourced overseas.

Of the $250 million being invested in Appliance Park, $40 million has been used to build this new Zoneline production line.

Recently, we read that United Technology’s Carrier Corp. was shutting down its air conditioning plants in Indianapolis and moving to Mexico.

Although this plant produced central residential and light commercial units, the same rationale exists when compared to GE Zoneline and PTACs.

Getting back U.S. manufacturing from offshore manufacturers is not only possible, but should be a top priority for the country’s new administration, no matter which
party wins in November.

We need to establish a committee to study the issue for keeping manufacturing in the U.S.

To make matters worse, sometimes I hear that foreign aid is being given free to the same offshore manufacturers who replaced U.S. manufacturers not so long ago.

We’ve totally lost TV manufacturing and are now very close to losing the PTAC market. As John McEnroe, a famous tennis champion used to say to the referee, “You can’t be serious.”

William G. Wright Jr.
ASHRAE life member
Independent consultant on dehumidification research

Publication date: 4/4/2016 

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