House bill includes $2.7 million for Milwaukee manufacturers

The Department of Defense Appropriations Act, passed last week by the U.S. House of Representatives, contains roughly $2.7 million in funding that will assist manufacturers in Milwaukee. The act still needs Senate approval.

Roughly $600,000 is being granted to C&D Technologies, a Pennsylvania-based battery and power conversion company that has a manufacturing facility at 900 E. Keefe Ave. in Milwaukee. C&D designs and builds backup power systems for utilities, hospitals and government installations, most of which use large batteries.

The $600,000 grant will help the company develop its large scale lithium ion battery, which is planned to be produced in Milwaukee. Once production begins, the new battery line could add up to 150 new jobs in the city. C&D now has about 250 employees in Milwaukee.

“This new generation of battery technology will greatly impact both military and commercial systems, providing essential cost-effective power to both vehicles and critical stationary systems,” said Jeffrey A. Graves, president and chief executive officer of C&D Technologies, Inc. “The batteries will be manufactured in our Milwaukee operations, providing a secure and reliable source for the product as well as high-paying manufacturing jobs to Milwaukee citizens for years to come.”

C&D is now in the midst of a $26 million upgrade to its Milwaukee facility, where the company is bringing in new machinery and systems to produce lead acid batteries, Graves said. The upgrade is being made to produce C&D’s True Front Access family of batteries that are designed to serve the telecommunications market.

The bill also allocates $600,000 for DRS Technologies Inc., a defense technologies company that has a manufacturing facility at 4265 N. 30th St. in Milwaukee. The company, which has more than 350 employees in Milwaukee, will develop and design a new lightweight HVAC system for the U.S. Navy. The project will allow the Navy to cut several tons of weight from its ships, making them faster and more efficient.

In addition, the bill allocates $1.5 million that will go to UW-Milwaukee to fund a research, training and development facility to manufacture and process new and high-performing nanostructured materials. The materials could be used in the aerospace, automotive, defense and consumer products industries.

“We believe the work made possible by this funding will be groundbreaking in the field of nanoscale manufacturing," said UWM Chancellor Carlos E. Santiago. “It will lay the foundation for significant advances in our country’s ability to compete on a global scale with other materials manufacturers."


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