The Richmond Region has a long list of successful advanced manufacturing companies including DuPont’s Kevlar-producing plant and AdvanSix’s advanced fiber facility.

Advanced manufacturing technologies, including computer-aided engineering, computer-integrated manufacturing, robotics and automated materials handling, are applied across the manufacturing sector to improve efficiency and productivity. Specific target clusters include fine chemicals, packaging equipment and materials, and defense.

Companies in this cluster with a history of success in Greater Richmond include DuPont and Honeywell (advanced fibers), Alloy Polymers (plastics), Flexicell (robotic packaging equipment) and Spec Ops Inc. (mobile emergency command centers).

Subcategories of this cluster include:

  • Machinery
  • Fabricated Metal Products
  • Fine Chemicals

Representative Companies

Richmond Firsts

Reynolds Metals Company (now Alcoa) developed the recyclable all-aluminum can in 1963 in Richmond.

In 1619, the nation’s first ironworks were established at Falling Creek in Chesterfield County.

In 1888, Julian Frank Sprague put into operation the first commercial streetcar system powered by overhead electric lines from a central station.

The nation’s first coal mining began in the mid-1700s in the Richmond area.

Reynolds Wrap was pioneered in Richmond in 1947 by Reynolds Metals Company (now Alcoa).

Tethered balloons, the first military “aircraft,” were used for aerial reconnaissance in Civil War campaigns around Richmond.