CHICAGO (June 28, 4:40 p.m. EDT) — Auto supplier Cadence Innovation LLC knew it had a tight deadline as it looked at the timing needed to launch a new molding plant.
Actually, Scott Warren admits it was more than tight. It was “unreasonable.”
It was so tight company leaders expected that the only way they could get a fleet of 23 injection molding machines in-house fast enough was to buy used presses.
But the facility, which will launch production in July in the Detroit suburb of Chesterfield Township, was planned to be state-of-the-art, and the company wanted state-of-the-art presses to go with it. At the same time, it needed the machines to fit within a tight budget.
So Warren, senior vice president of global supply-chain management and chief procurement officer for the Troy, Mich.-based Cadence, wanted to make at least an attempt at getting new equipment. He contacted Demag Plastics Group's Van Dorn Demag unit, which attended NPE 2006 in Chicago.
“I gave them our unreasonable timeline, and they committed to meet it,” Warren said.
Cadence needed the first press within 30 days — and the entire fleet in less than six months.
They did better than meet it, he said. Demag had the first machines ready before Cadence even had the factory floor ready to install them.
“These are brand-new machines, built to our specifications with the options that we wanted,” Warren said. “They stepped up to meet some highly unusual requirements.”
Demag got the final order in November. The final press was delivered May 23.
The HT presses, with clamping forces of 300-2,200 tons, are a centerpiece of the Chesterfield Township facility.
“The entire Demag organization … played important roles in fulfilling the Cadence Innovation order,” said Demag President Brian Bishop.
Bishop said DPG had some of the presses in stock. But he also credited the Strongsville plant's lean manufacturing, and the ability to customize presses in the field, for the machinery maker's fast response. DPG technicians installed some of the options for Cadence in the new plastics plant, he said.
Cadence's buying spree with Demag may not be over. The company already is making plans for the other presses it wants to add in Chesterfield as business grows there, Warren said.
Warren has worked with the Demag group in the past. He knew its reputation for delivering on a tight schedule.
Cadence executives are putting a lot of emphasis on the Chesterfield site. It will represent their view of what the firm can do, with every element of lean manufacturing the industry can create.
“We've made a very significant investment in a new facility,” Warren said.
Cadence's existing plants were once part of former Venture Holdings Co. LLC, bought out of bankruptcy by a financial group in 2005.
But time and money constraints had led everyone to believe they would have to buy and retrofit existing presses to the requirements of the new site. Warren said he wanted to take a shot at getting new machines, though, hoping to use a slow period in the machinery businesses to Cadence's advantage in both time and money.
The company has not provided full details on the 735,000-square-foot facility, but it is slated to begin full production later this year.