SIC 3629

This category covers companies that primarily make industrial and commercial electric apparatus, such as fixed and variable capacitors and rectifiers for industrial applications.

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.

NAICS Code(s)

335999 (All Other Miscellaneous Electrical Equipment and Component Manufacturing)

Nonelectric rectifying apparatus used to convert alternating current to direct current accounted for about 50 percent of industry output. Nonelectric capacitor equipment made up about 12 percent of revenues. Other major product groups included coil windings (3.7 percent of sales), solenoids (2.5 percent), and cathodic protection equipment (1.7 percent). About 50 percent of output was sold to other manufacturing industries, and 30 percent was made for the U.S. military. Federal non-defense purchases contributed 10 percent of revenues. The remaining output went to other sectors, such as the automotive repair and communications industries.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau's Statistics of U. S. Businesses, 979 establishments operated in this category for some or all of 2001. Industry-wide employment totaled 42,546 paid workers receiving a payroll of more than $1.78 billion.

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 with a healthy forecast.

The industry leader for 2001 was American Power Conversion Corp. of West Kingston, Rhode Island, with sales of more than $1.4 billion and 6,200 employees. In distant second place was Andover, Massachusetts-based Vicor Corp., with $153 million in sales and 1,700 employees. Federal Warning Systems took third place, with sales of $129 million and 900 employees.

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.

Industry leader American Power Conversion Corp. (APC) was recognized for its technology advances. In 2003, the firm was named one of the fastest growing technology companies by Business 2.0 Magazine. 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 of 2003, APC grew exponentially in a very short time. APC's product InfraStruXure was another company innovation, designed to combine all the components of the network critical physical infrastructure (NCPI) into an integrated network.

Overall job prospects for this industry, at least for production workers, were projected to decline. Automation, restructuring, and foreign labor could reduce positions for U.S. production workers such as electrical assemblers, machine operators, and coil winders. However, there could be more industry jobs for engineers, salespeople, and technical support staff.

Further Reading

"American Power Conversion Named One of the 100 Fastest-Growing Technology Companies by Business 2.0 Magazine." 27 October 2003. Available from .

"APC Moves Beyond Power with InfraStruXure." The America's Intelligence Wire, 5 January 2004.

"Backup-Power Systems Venture APC Grows into $1 Billion Company." Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News, 22 December 2003.

Baker, Deborah J., ed. Ward's Business Directory of US Private and Public Companies. Detroit, MI: Thomson Gale, 2003.

Hoover's Company Fact Sheet. "American Power Conversion Corporation." 3 March 2004. Available from .

Infotrac Company Profiles. 2000. Available from .

"Q4 2003 American Power Conversion Corp. Earnings Conference Call." The America's Intelligence Wire, 5 February 2004.

Sternstein, Aliya. "Electrifying." Forbes, 12 January 2004.

U.S. Census Bureau. 1997 Economic Census-Manufacturing. 2000. Available from .

——. Statistics of U.S. Businesses: 2001. 1 March 2004. Available from .

U.S. Department of Commerce. Annual Survey of Manufactures. Washington: GPO, 2002.

U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Economic and Employment Projections. 11 February 2004. Available from .

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