Polyurethane equipment maker Gusmer Machinery Group Inc. is cutting jobs at its Gusmer-Admiral Inc. plant in Akron, as the company shifts production of standard reaction injection molding machines and mix heads to company headquarters in Lakewood, N.J.
Gusmer-Admiral's work force of 35 is being cut by nine employees, mainly RIM equipment production workers, said Douglas Commette, vice president of sales and marketing of Gusmer Machinery. The standard product lines moving to New Jersey include the AlphaRim and OmegaRim machines.
Overall, Gusmer employs about 300 people making PU machinery for the automotive, appliance and construction industries.
Although the 52,000-square-foot Akron plant will no longer make off-the-shelf machines, Gusmer-Admiral will continue to build automation components for turnkey lines - including dry-side equipment, turntables, conveyors and computer systems. Akron employees learned the news Feb. 8.
Commette said the moves are part of phase two of a three-part corporate restructuring program put in place in mid-2001 and aimed at improving manufacturing efficiencies while streamlining new technology development. Commette said it's not likely the firm will make further reductions, and ``we may go in the other direction.''
The firm is following ``the same game plan we came out with in June,'' he said. Gusmer-Admiral ``is shedding some machines and mix heads. Basically, we're putting the blue marbles in the blue marble pile and green marbles in the green marble pile. Single RIM machinery and mix head manufacturing will be handled at our New Jersey plant, which is ISO 9001 certified and larger than the Akron plant. We make a lot of parts in Lakewood - so it made sense to combine them. This will help us maintain prices in the future.''
Gusmer Machinery also plans to expand its three-building, 100,000-square-foot Lakewood complex within the next year, as part of phase three. Commette said a final decision on the expansion will be made later this year, when Gusmer Machinery has a better handle on the 2002 economic picture.
``But that's our current strategy,'' he said. ``We have three buildings on 10 acres. We'll be able to absorb the RIM and mix head manufacturing because we have the resources. But eventually as we grow we'll run out of those resources.''
Gusmer Machinery's three-phase plan unites all polyurethane equipment units - Gusmer-Admiral, Gusmer Corp. and the Equipment Automation division of Sauk Rapids, Minn.-based Komo Machine Inc., under one management team headed by Michael D. Kolibas.
Komo makes computer numerically controlled routers and PU foam fixtures and tooling for the appliance industry.
Gusmer Corp. serves as the lead firm in the consolidation.
Gusmer came to Akron in 1994 when it purchased Admiral Equipment Co. from Dow Chemical Co.
Plastics News senior reporter Bill Bregar contributed to this story.