Electrical Industrial Apparatus, NEC

SIC 3629

Companies in this industry

Industry report:

Product examples in the miscellaneous electrical industrial apparatus industry include battery chargers, non-electronic condensers, non-electric rectifiers, surge suppressors, and thermoelectric generators. Companies that make capacitors and rectifiers are classified elsewhere.

During the late 2000s, 745 establishments operated in the miscellaneous electrical industries apparatus industry. Together, they employed 17,400 people. In 2008, the U.S. Census Bureau valued the industry at $8.78 billion. The majority of establishments employed fewer than five employees, and the average operation generated $2.5 million annually. A major category in this industry is miscellaneous electrical industrial apparatus manufacturers, with shipments valued at an estimated $65.8 million in 2009. Top performers within the electronic generation equipment category were manufacturers of power conversion units (a.c. to d.c.: static electric) and manufacturers of rectifying or nonrotating battery chargers. Another top performing category included the manufacturing of capacitors and condensers.

The industry is divided into several categories, with non-electric rectifying apparatus, which is used to convert alternating current to direct current, accounting for about 19 percent of shipment values in 2005. Laser generator power supplies and components were responsible for about 13 percent of 2005 shipment values, while non-electric capacitor equipment made up about four percent. The segment of other electrical equipment for industrial use comprised about 12 percent of 2005 shipment value totals and included electrical coil windings, surge suppressors, and cathodic protection equipment; this same category, but excluding items for industrial use, accounted for about three percent, and included electric gongs, chimes, bells, and electrical door openers (except garage door openers). Amounting to slightly less than three percent of the industry was ultrasonic equipment (except medical and dental). Most output was sold to other manufacturing industries, the U.S. military, and federal non-defense purchases, while the remaining output went to other sectors, such as the automotive repair and communications industries. California, Illinois, and New York were the leading states in this industry.

The beginning of practical electronics applications was marked by American Lee DeForest's patent of an electrical vacuum tube in 1906, based on a design by Thomas Edison. Technological breakthroughs during both world wars also broadened the scope of the electronics industry. As electrical apparatus sales surged during the U.S. economic boom after World War II, miscellaneous electrical industrial apparatus shipments swelled. By the beginning of the 1980s, the industry was generating revenues of about $1.1 billion per year and employing a workforce of more than 16,000.

Industry growth lagged during the 1980s, due in part to foreign imports. Also, more popular solid-state components reduced demand for traditional electromechanical equipment produced by this industry. Even greater U.S. defense spending did not bring much growth. Sales increased to just $1.5 billion by 1990, reflecting a decline in inflation-adjusted revenues since 1980. The industry emerged from a U.S. recession in the mid-1990s, and shipment values rose to nearly $9.4 billion in 2000. This slipped nearly 26 percent by 2003, to $7.0 billion, but by 2005, the industry improved to $7.8 billion. For the general industry category of "other electrical equipment and component manufacturing" modest gains in output were predicted by 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

As with many manufacturing industries, the challenge in the 2000s was to create new products that were more efficient, cost-effective, and automated. Technological developments were becoming more important within this industry in order for companies to compete.

The industry leader was American Power Conversion Corp. (APC) of West Kingston, Rhode Island, with 2008 revenues of $3.7 billion and 12,000 employees. In distant second place was Rockford, Illinois-based Woodward Governor Co., with nearly $1.43 billion in 2009 revenues and 5,660 employees.

APC has been recognized for technological advances within the industry. In 2003, the firm was named one of the fastest growing technology companies by Business 2.0 Magazine. In November 2006, the company announced it had been purchased by France-based Schneider Electric SA for $6.1 billion. APC's main products focused on backup power systems, a necessity in the age of computers and electronic information. Buoyed by corporate fear after the massive power failure that swept the Northeast states in August 2003, APC grew exponentially in a very short time. APC's product InfraStruXure was another company innovation, designed to combine all the components of a network critical physical infrastructure (NCPI) into an integrated network.

Schneider Electric's Critical Power & Cooling Services posted revenues of $3.7 billion in 2008 with 12,000 employees, while parent Schneider Electric employed 114,000 workers scattered throughout 100 countries. APC continues to be recognized for its technological advances in the area of "power protection and management" earning the top vendor award in March 2010 from CRN Channel Champion.

Overall job prospects for this industry have dimmed. A job loss of approximately 30 percent occurred in 2005, with employment falling from a high of 47,766 employees in 2000 to 33,553 at mid-decade. The U.S. Department of Labor projected that employment for the general industry category of "other electrical equipment and component manufacturing" would fall by 10 percent (14,000 jobs) from 2004 to 2014, following another actual loss of 41,000 jobs between 1994 and 2004. Automation, restructuring, and foreign labor have had a major negative impact on positions for U.S. production workers such as electrical assemblers, machine operators, and coil winders. However, potential opportunities exist for engineers, salespeople, and technical support staff.

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