Medford told Biden how Entek produced separators for lithium batteries in Oregon from 2001-13 with early sales to China.
"So we primarily exported until 2013, when there was a massive decline in our sales because China, through state-sponsored competition and high tariffs, made it really difficult, if not impossible, to compete," Medford said.
"We continued to innovate and remained confident that the U.S. domestic lithium battery market and the EV market would develop here," she added.
The patience paid off. While 2022 had been slower at Entek compared with 2021, there is much excitement about the federal grant, which will help the machine builder scale up production to supply the insulative material for 1.4 million electric vehicles annually.
Meanwhile, for Davis-Standard LLC, a Pawcatuck, Conn.-based manufacturer of extrusion and converting equipment, 2022 will be another year of record sales. Founded in 1848, the machine builder offers 11 product lines for plastics processors in the automotive, consumer products, construction, medical and packaging markets.
"At the moment, all of our end markets are thriving with record delivery numbers for all segments," President and CEO Giovanni Spitale said in an email.
Spitale stepped into the position in February with experience on his resume from machine builder Milacron, which is now part of Hillenbrand Inc.
At Reifenhauser Inc. in Maize, Kan., 2022 started off flat but has since rebounded for the maker of blown and cast film equipment.
"I would say we are over by at least 10 percent now," President and General Manager Steve DeSpain said. "Our strongest markets are all over the place, from trash bags to medical and food packaging with MDO'd [machine-direction orientation] films gaining traction in the North America. Sustainability is the driving force in the market now."
Hosokawa Alpine American Inc. in Northborough, Mass., had an "exceptional" financial year in 2021 and 2022 was a repeat for the blown film extrusion equipment manufacturer serving the flexible packaging market, according to President David Nunes.
"While the range of equipment changed, the bottom-line results were essentially the same," he said, adding many markets remained strong in 2022 with food packaging leading the way.
In McPherson, Kan., Battenfeld-Cincinnati USA is having a strong business year in all market sectors, President and CEO Paul Godwin said. "This is likely influenced by the recovery from COVID-19 constriction," Godwin said of the machine builder for manufacturers of pipes, window and door profiles, conduit for communication cables, and food packaging in the form of boxes, blister packages and sleeves.
Sales flirted with records at Krauss-Maffei Corp., which supplies machines and systems for manufacturing nearly all extruded plastic and rubber products.
"Our extrusion division had one of the strongest years in the history of the company, which is attributed to our experienced hardworking team in Florence, Ky.," Extrusion Sales Director Aaron Gordon said.
A lot of the newly built extruders went to processors serving the construction market, which Gordon said was "very active" in vinyl window replacement, fencing, decking, pipe and recycling applications.
At Windmoeller & Hoelscher Corp. in Lincoln, R.I., President Andrew Wheeler said the company measures its business in years not quarters. "It has been strong and steady. Order intake has never been higher," he added.
Back at Entek, Campbell said 2022 started off strong and then soften midyear as one of the company's two main end markets, which had performed well since the pandemic, weakened. "Packaging remains strong, however, building has slowed," Campbell said. "We attribute this to the increase in interest rates."