October 17, 2008

Modine building new plant in Austria

If you needed proof that U.S. jobs are going overseas, look no farther than Modine for a local example.

The Racine-headquartered manufacturer of thermal management technology, which laid off 20 managers here and cut post-retirement medical benefits less than three weeks ago, announced today that it is building a new manufacturing plant -- in Austria.

The company says it broke ground in Kottingbrunn, Austria, in September, it said, "to meet increasing demand for condensers from European automotive customers. Production is scheduled to start in the new facility in July 2009, with work being moved, in phases, from Modine's existing facility in Berndorf, Austria, by November 2009. In addition, the company has committed additional financial resources to expand its North American condenser manufacturing capabilities.

The company's statement continues:
"Modine has enjoyed a strong reputation in condenser technology dating back to the issuance of our first parallel flow (PF(TM)) condenser patent in 1986," said Paul Byrne, Modine's Managing Director - Global Powertrain Cooling Products. "Recent developments in condenser technology, including our Origami(TM) next generation heat exchanger tube, have strengthened our competitive position and heightened the need to enhance our global capabilities and continue to expand our refrigerant-based product line."

To fully leverage opportunities for its global condenser business, Modine has established a Refrigerant Components team within its Powertrain Cooling Group. Under the leadership of Dr. Stephen Memory, who has been appointed Director- Global Refrigerant Components, the new organization will be responsible for driving global standardization and new-product development activities for condensers and other emerging refrigerant component and system opportunities, as well as leading the company's North American condenser application engineering activities.

"Shifting our condenser-focused activity to our powertrain cooling initiatives fits well with our strategic business focus," said Byrne. "We are committed to developing front-end heat exchangers either for sale as individual components or as part of higher value-added integrated modules. This newly established center of excellence for refrigerant-based components and systems will position us to design and produce condensers that will satisfy increased customer demands for better performance and lighter weight."
On Oct. 1, when the job cuts here were announced, Modine said it was "restructuring" U.S. operations to increase cash flow. The 20 jobs eliminated accounted for 15 percent of its managers in Racine.


  1. Don't forget that Modine also entirely cut the retiree health benefits for 500 past workers effective the first of the year.

    They said that "fortunately," Medicare is there to take over. What a crock.

    This could cost these retirees $2,000 to $4,000 per year (double for a couple) to just get close to the coverage that they were promised by the employer they served while working.

    So much for promises.

  2. Um, how is it taking jobs FROM the US when the jobs being created over there are for an increase in European markets, not US markets? They're selling product IN Europe to Europeans. What's wrong with that? If they were making them there because it was cheaper and shipping them here, then I could understand your problem, but right now it is comparing apples to oranges.

    The changes in the US were to reflect the Amercan market and completely unrelated to what's going on in Europe.

    -Wife of Modine Engineer

  3. The SON OF GOD will punish Modine under his new plan of Socialism!
    All Hail The Sone of GOD!
    One People!
    One County!
    One Leader!
    Hail Obama!
    Hail Obama!

  4. Edelweiss, Edelweiss
    Every morning you greet me
    Small and white,
    clean and bright
    You look happy to meet me.
    Blossom of snow
    may you bloom and grow,
    Bloom and grow forever.
    Edelweiss, Edelweiss
    Bless my homeland forever.

  5. Wife of Modine Engineer -

    Your husband must still be employed and still be getting benefits. I imagine you would be singing a different song otherwise.

    (And songs seem to be popular now...)

  6. I don't think I would. If they were taking jobs from the US and giving them to Europe to move American production over there, then I might. They aren't. Modine isn't just an American company. It's a global company. They have acquired foreign companies and treat them as such. Consequently, if jobs are added there, it is because the European market is increasing.

    Consider this example. A company is in the business of making record players. They buy a company that makes cd players. Over time, the demand for record players decreases so fewer jobs are needed in that divison. In the meantime, the demand for CD players has increased, therefore the need for more workers increases.

    That's what's going on with Modine. It is not equitable nor is it prudent to hire or keep an American for a European job. Those jobs, were they to allow the Americans to keep them, would have been forced to move to Europe and be put into a position they possibly aren't qualified for. When the last series of releases at Modine took place, people from virtually every department were let go. I don't believe the job hiring in Europe was across the board but only in a few select positions.

    I still fail to see how we're comparing the same thing here.