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Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories will officially begin fabricating printed circuit boards in its new, state-of-the-art facility in Moscow, Idaho, next week.
The 162,000-square-foot facility, which the company began constructing in spring 2021, will house the operation to fabricate the printed circuit boards used in its products that protect, monitor, control and automate electric power systems around the world. SEL manufactures its electronic devices in Pullman, Washington; Lewiston, Idaho; Lake Zurich, Illinois; and West Lafayette, Indiana.
“SEL folks with many different backgrounds, educations, interests and experience teamed up to conceive, design, build and produce these essential components of our products—all on our own dime without any government handouts or subsidies,” said President and Chief Technology Officer Edmund O. Schweitzer, III. “We committed to each other to do it right, and now we are safely producing the highest-quality boards in the cleanest plant, using the least amount of resources that science and engineering afford us today. This is $100M of employee owners’ money well spent on creating our future right here at home. I’m proud of our entire team and grateful for the economic and political freedom we enjoy in America.”
SEL has designed a highly automated and environmentally friendly process for manufacturing printed circuit boards that is focused on the health and safety of the community. The facility features zero-discharge water recycling and air filtration technology.
“We went into this not only thinking like a manufacturer but also like community members,” said Senior Director of Vertical Integration Jessi Hall. “So much research, learning and testing has gone into designing our fabrication processes and selecting the best equipment and tools for the job. We are excited to see everything come together and to really start realizing the benefits of these investments.”
The company will employ about 60 people in the facility. The positions range from a variety of engineering roles, including chemical, mechanical, software and computer-aided manufacturing to equipment operators and maintenance workers.
The printed circuit board process begins by layering fiberglass and copper to create a rigid and conductive base. The base board is then sent through a series of automated processes that include drilling, layering, copper plating and etching. The finished boards serve as the foundation of our manufacturing process, where integrated circuits and other electrical components are mounted to the board. Ultimately, the boards and added components serve as the information centers for our SEL products.
The SEL property team served as the contractor for the construction project and partnered with multiple companies local to the Pacific Northwest. The team was able to complete the project within the expected timeline despite global supply chain challenges.
“I am so proud of SEL’s partnership with dedicated subcontractors to find solutions when materials became scarce and timelines unwieldy,” said Vice President of Property Jana Schultheis. “Our construction teams are second to none. It is a proud day to see this factory come online as a result of their ingenuity.”
SEL plans to host a grand opening for the facility later in the year.