Highlighted by a customized Niigata all-electric press 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 [N.H.] — 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,” President Jim Umland said at a Feb. 1 open house in Hudson.
The company leased the building, which had been used by Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., 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 JPI is offering now.
The highlight is a 5,000-square-foot clean room housing five presses, including a newly installed Niigata MDVR55X vertical unit with a rotary table. A Yushin sprue picker will be added soon. It is a part of program to overmold catheters for a multilumen 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 toolroom and offices.
“We knew we wanted to move to a world-class facility,” he said.
The firm focused on choosing an area that was convenient for its employees and clients. All 60 employees made the move. JPI picked out its best machines and now has 18 presses from 28-200 tons. It also operates an IQMS system and has trained staff in lean manufacturing and quality control.
Umland said the business is about 80 percent life sciences, including surgical supplies, medical devices and analytical laboratory equipment.
“It is hard to get in to see medical customers, but once you are in, you have to perform. If you can perform, there are a lot more opportunities,” Umland said.
In 2011, the company did about $10 million in sales and he expects to reach $20 million to $25 million in five to seven years.
The plant culminates a process begun in 2001 when Umland bought West Lebanon, N.H., prototype toolmaker and short-run molder CEPS Inc. That firm grew by adding value with processes like assembly. In 2007, it formed joint ventures in Malaysia and China, and has built almost 200 molds in Asia in the past five years.
It bought JPI in 2010, and the merger led to the decision for a new facility.