Uway Extrusion LLC, a 4-year-old company that builds extruders in China using components from the United States and Europe, will begin U.S. production June 1 at a 50,000-square-foot factory in Warren, Ohio.
Co-founder Dustin Kremer said Warren is a good location because the area is a center of extrusion expertise, near screw and barrel maker Nordson Xaloy in New Castle, Pa., and USA Rolls, which makes chill rolls for sheet extrusion in Canfield, Ohio. There also is skilled talent in the area from the former NRM Corp.
“That's why I'm moving to the area,” he said. “Right there, you can just move in and call people up.”
Kremer said Uway has hired screw designer Tim Womer, who lives in nearby Edinburg, Pa., as a consultant.
The building, a former injection molding facility in Warren, is set up for machinery production, with water, electric power and overhead cranes. Kremer said Uway will use the Warren plant to produce large-output extrusion systems that can run 1,500 pounds an hour or more and machines that need high-end rolls and dies, for global markets. The plant also will make smaller extrusion lines for U.S. and European customers, he said.
Kremer plans to build an extrusion laboratory at the U.S. plant, to develop screw technology.
Having U.S. manufacturing will shorten delivery times, and simplify production, since Uway already is sourcing screws and barrels and rolls locally for machines shipped to U.S. customers. And the China factories are running at a high rate. “That's the reason we're going to move our high-end business to the U.S.,” Kremer said.
The Warren plant initially will employ about 15 people.
Two factories in China
Dustin Kremer and his partner, Will Wood, started the company in 2011. After fast growth, Uway now employs about 120 people at two plants in China. One factory, in the Jiading district of Shanghai, makes complete extrusion lines for sheet and other applications. The second, in Nanjing, produces twin-screw extruders for PVC profiles and compounding.
The company builds extruders ranging in size from 16-300 millimeters. Kremer said the company made about 40 sheet lines at the Shanghai plant in 2014, and is turning out about 10 to 12 twin-screw extruders a month in Nanjing.
Kremer has a solid background in extrusion, since his family owns Futurex Industries Inc., a custom sheet extruder in Bloomingdale, Ind. His grandfather founded Futurex in 1969.
In just a few years in business, he said, Uway has become a global player in extruders. The company has an office and warehouse in Marshall, Ind.
Uway has sales and warehousing operations run by its U.S. distributor, Plastics Machinery Group in Solon, Ohio. Uway also has sales agents in Belgium, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and India. It maintains technical service teams in the United States, India and China.
For the Chinese-made extrusion lines, Uway builds the frames and does assembly in China. But major components include Siemens controllers, ABB drives, WEG electronics, Zambello gearboxes and Schneider Electric components.
Uway exhibited at NPE 2015, showing a polyethylene extruder and calendering line. The company will exhibit at Chinaplas 2015 May 20-23, and also later this year at the Society of Plastics Engineers' Thermoforming Conference in Atlanta.
Kremer graduated from Indiana University in 2005 with a finance degree. While in college, he spent a semester abroad at City University in Hong Kong. After graduation, he joined an international furniture company that had production in China.
“I wanted to work for a company with manufacturing in Asia, so I could learn how to manage people in Asia,” he said.
He returned to Futurex in 2007, working to source plastic extruders from China.
His partner, Wood, graduated from Beijing University of Chemical Technology with a focus on plastics extrusion machinery. He began working in the industry in 2001. They met when Kremer was buying extruders and Wood was head engineer of a Chinese extruder builder.
Kremer said his third-generation background at Futurex gives him a unique perspective on extrusion lines.
“I focus on keeping the machinery simple and reliable, while making the extruders generic enough that parts can be locally sourced to prevent production delays,” he said.
Uway's main business is sheet lines. But the company also has done well by making compounding lines that feed extruders to make sound deadening components for automotive applications, he said.
“We're a custom extrusion house and we make the machinery to fit the customer's need,” Kremer said.