Production starts on GE's new high efficiency washing machines

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by Johnny Archer

WHAS11.com

Posted on November 20, 2012 at 3:05 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 20 at 3:05 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Production has started on General Electric’s high-efficiency top loading washing machine and the enthusiasm is high at GE’s Building in Louisville's Appliance Park.

“It’s an adventure,” said Anitra Wiggins, who is a platform press operator. “It’s been a long process trying to get going and now that we're up and going it's just exciting."

The new topload washing machine has created new jobs in Louisville and stability for GE workers.

“Knowing that I have job to come to everyday means a lot,” said Wiggins. “A lot of people feel the same way that I do.”

Wiggins is a single mother of three children. She has seen the 150 new workers come to GE over the last year because of the new topload washing machine. Officials at GE say topload washing machines are used in about 70 percent of the industry and have grown in use about 30 percent in the last year.

“We saw the opportunity to grow in the future and that’s why we invested in this building and invested in that platform,” said Peter Pepe, product general manager for GE. “We are able to add jobs here as well as the suppliers that support us here locally.”

GE has invested $60 million on the new topload washing machine facility and product. It is an investment many workers are happy to hear about, especially after the economy tanked in 2008.

“It got a little scary,” said Cynthia Bennett, who works on the repair deck at the plant. “But, with the launch of all the new products and all the new people coming, it really put us a little more at ease.”

Overall, GE will invest $800 million into Appliance Park that will create about 1,500 production jobs by 2014. Preparation is underway to open another plant to make frontload washing machines and matching dryers in early 2013. 
 

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