Stoesser Industries Inc. has entered the automotive arena and expects that niche to account for 8 percent of this year's sales. The family-owned firm in Mountain View, Calif., is producing covers for steering columns on robot-equipped, 550-ton injection molding presses. Stoesser makes just-in-time deliveries to New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. in Fremont, Calif., 16 miles away.
Toyota Motor Corp. and General Motors Corp. formed Nummi as a joint venture in 1984.
"We have been pursuing this relationship since 1996 and have geared our operation and procedures accordingly," President Bob Stoesser said in a telephone interview.
The new Tier 1 supplier has beefed up its distribution center for multiple deliveries each day and intensified personnel training.
The molder began producing Nummi parts Dec. 15 on an expedited basis.
"We are ramping up for a significant increase with the new model years," he said.
Stoesser Industries employs 105, operates 28 presses of 50-550 tons and has full mold-building capabilities. The firm was established in 1948 and, in recent years, has made molds and produced parts mostly for medical and telecommunication applications. The firm does not disclose sales figures.
A 2002 vehicle launch could provide Stoesser with more work at Nummi and possibly also at the Cambridge, Ontario, plant of Toyota Canada. Looking two years ahead, the company expects significant increases in automotive and medical businesses, Stoesser said.
Nummi is monitoring Stoesser Industries' performance.
"Basically, we want to gauge how they are doing," said Mike Andjus, a senior buyer with Nummi. "We are giving them an opportunity."
The supplier lacked automotive experience but drew praise.
"Everybody thought they did a wonderful job during the transition," Andjus said.
Each production day, the Fremont plant manufactures 800 Chevrolet Prizm and Toyota Corolla cars and 620 Toyota Tacoma trucks, said Jean-Yves Jault, assistant manager with Nummi community relations.
Nummi uses output from numerous plastics processors and also has in-house molding capability. Nummi began making truck panels and rear bumper covers for cars in 1994, on three Milacron presses of 3,000 tons. In 1997, it started producing bumpers on three Ube presses of 2,860 tons.
In addition, the Nummi shop molds instrument panels, panels for bumper and grill assemblies and plastic trim, and produces all items for aftermarket distribution channels.
Plastics processing and related paint booths and ovens occupy a dedicated building at the 100,000-square-foot Fremont complex.