As the home of companies like U.S. Pipe, L&R Precision Tooling and Banker Steel, the City of Lynchburg has a storied legacy and sustainable future for Metals and Machinery Manufacturing. While other areas across the country struggle to preserve a viable production sector, Lynchburg has maintained its competitive advantage. Not to mention, the community has built a reputation for combining traditional manufacturing with advanced capabilities, as demonstrated by its growing expertise in the development of Conveyor Systems and Moving Equipment, led by the likes of Automated Conveyor Systems, Inc., and Alliance Industrial Corporation. As the analysis below indicates, the City of Lynchburg has a skilled talent base from which to draw expertise. As these legacy industries change, the City and its private and public partners must continue to expand this cluster by developing a skills pipeline.
Defining the Cluster
Our analysis used the following NAIC codes to define the cluster:
- Fluid Power Cylinder and Actuator Manufacturing (333995)
- Iron Foundries (331511)
- Fabricated Structural Metal Manufacturing (332312)
- Cutting Tool and Machine Accessory Manufacturing (333515)
- Metal Window and Door Manufacturing (332321)
- Sheet Metal Work Manufacturing (332322)
- Electroplate/Pat/Polish/Anodizing Coloring (332813
- Machine Shops (332710)
- Conveyor and Conveying Equipment Manufacturing (333922)
Competitive Advantage and Key Takeaways
Our analysis of the City of Lynchburg’s Metals and Machinery Manufacturing and Conveyor Systems and Moving Equipment cluster yielded the following key takeaways:
- A legacy traded, but growing cluster. Both a strength for the City of Lynchburg and a target sector for the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance.
- Associated with pathway opportunities such as on-the-job skills training and employee benefits.
- Offers a continued means of building family-supporting jobs in the City.
- An estimated 17 Metal and Machinery firms, with a firm LQ of 2.89, or nearly three times the national average.
- Lynchburg experienced a loss of three Metal and Machinery firms in the past five years. Provides an opportunity for business retention, support and expansion within this cluster.
- Cluster consists of nearly 870 workers with an employment LQ of 17.27, or 17 times the U.S. average. Although firm growth has declined slightly, employment grew 7.8 percent from 2012-2017.
- Consistent number of firms offering Conveyor Systems and Moving Equipment Manufacturing expertise (4 firms over the past five years), with a firm LQ of 4.44.
- More than 434 workers employed in Conveyor Systems and Moving Equipment—an increase of 14.8 percent since 2012.
- In addition to Conveyor Systems and Moving Equipment, specializations for this target sector include: Fluid Power Cylinder and Actuator Manufacturing (LQ 42.75), Iron Foundries (12.42), Fabricated Structural Metal Manufacturing (4.70), Cutting Tool and Machine Accessory Manufacturing (1.42), and Machine Shops (1.76).
- Robust business engagement and retention program offers insight into how this sector might lend expertise to a growing Nuclear Technology cluster, or other sectors requiring industrial capabilities.
The City of Lynchburg’s Metals and Machinery Manufacturing and Conveyor Systems and Moving Equipment cluster will need to draw upon skilled manufacturing and production talent:
- Approximately 2,100 Lynchburg workers have the foundational manufacturing and production skills needed to participate in this cluster.
- Lynchburg’s manufacturing skill base is 42 percent larger than the U.S. average.
- The cluster’s talent base is expected to maintain steady employment from 2017 to 2023.
- On average, workers with manufacturing skills earn $39,500 annually.
- Education levels required for this cluster include a high school diploma and technical training.