Johnson Precision adds plant

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Jim Umland, president of Johnson Precision, at his Hudson, N.H.-based firm’s open house. (Plastics News photo by Frank Antosiewicz)

HUDSON, N.H. (Feb. 9, 5:50 p.m. ET) — Highlighted by a customized Niigata all-electric machine running in its Class 8 clean room, Johnson Precision Inc.’s new 50,000-square-foot home offers plenty of efficiencies.

“We were in two buildings in Amherst — tooling and molding — but this gives us everything under one roof. We gain operating efficiencies. It reduces travel time. There’s better product flow. There’s even better communication among employees,” said President Jim Umland said at a Feb. 1 open house in Hudson.

The company leased the building, which had formerly been used by Thermo Fisher and spent the last half of 2011 getting it ready. The 15-mile move was staggered over three phases and Umland was eager to show customers and investors what it was offering now.

The highlight was a 5,000-square-foot clean room housing five presses including a newly installed Niigata MDVR55X vertical press with a rotary table. A Yushin sprue picker will be added soon. It is a part of program to overmold catheters for a multi-lumen drug-delivery application.

The building is set up for efficiency with the clean room, a major molding room, two assembly areas, a quality-control room as well as a tool room and offices.

“We knew we wanted to move to a world class facility,” said Umland.

The company focused on choosing an area that was convenient for the employees and its clients. All 60 employees made the move. The company picked out its best machines and now has 18 injection molding presses ranging from 28 to 200 tons in the new facility. It has an IQMS system and has spent a great deal of time training its staff in lean manufacturing and quality control.

Umland said that the company’s business is about 80 percent life sciences, including surgical supplies medical devices and analytical laboratory equipment.

“It is hard to get into see medical customers, but once you are in, you have to perform. If you can perform, there are a lot more opportunities,” he said.

The company had about $10 million in sales in 2011 and Umland expects that they will be able to reach $20 to $25 million in the next five to seven years.

Umland said that the new building culminates a process that he started when he purchased a West Lebanon, N.H. based prototype tool and short-run molding business in 2001 called CEPS, Inc. The company grew by adding value-added processes like assembly. In 2007, it formed joint ventures with Malaysia and China partners.

It partners with plants in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, and Shenzhen, China, to provide more options on tooling and production. Umland said that it has built almost 200 molds in Asia the past five years.

The company bought Johnson Precision in January 2010, and the new combination led to the decision for the new facility.

Umland said that Johnson had a blue chip medical client list and that by adding Asian sourcing and value-added services such as assembly, pad printing and laser etching, it now has a better portfolio to deal with customer’s needs.