SAN JOSE, CALIF. — Contract manufacturer Jabil Circuit Inc. introduced its new Blue Sky innovation center as a knowledge base, collaboration point and co-development space.
The company used an April 30 event in San Jose to bring attention to its extensive capabilities. The Blue Sky innovation center employs 200 and occupies a leased 102,000-square-foot space.
William Muir, Jabil chief operating officer, noted end market consumer trends for “customization of products and instant gratification,” the factory-of-the-future technologies such as three-dimensional printing and the movement toward connected technologies.
Jabil has never held an “event of the magnitude” it devoted to the opening of the Blue Sky center, relying usually on its work with “250 of the best brands on the planet across 12 markets,” Muir said. He joined Jabil in 1992 as a quality engineer.
On the plastics side, Jabil highlighted major product development efforts and significant expansion of the Nypro Packaging business.
Nypro is growing rapidly and plans to target additional global locations.
“We are growing faster than the packaging market segments,” said Joe Stodola, Nypro Packaging's vice president of global business development.
In mid-2013, Jabil acquired Clinton, Mass.-based Nypro, a global custom injection molder and contract manufacturer with $1.2 billion in sales. The deal included Nypro's health care and Radius design operations and its 10-year-old packaging segment, which had evolved into a separate business unit in 2008.
Among developments, Nypro Packaging anticipates introducing new barrier-layer technology for rigid packaging this year. Work on the barrier-science polymer development began in Clinton in 2011 and could lead to replacement of glass and metal packaging for certain single-serve preservative-free and non-refrigerated food, beverage and non-prescription health care containers.
Nypro Packaging is expanding in Mebane, N.C.; Itasca, Ill.; Guadalajara, Mexico; and Hungary.
The Mebane site employs 40 to 50, is getting a technical center and adding 75,000 square feet to its existing 113,000 square feet.
The Itasca rail-served warehouse location of 204,000 square feet is converting 50,000 square feet to white-room food-grade manufacturing capabilities with 30 injection molding machines, probably from Milacron Inc., one of Jabil's machine suppliers. The Itasca site, which employs 75, was established as an adjunct to a Hanover Park, Ill., facility that operates 40 presses, mostly from Netstal and Husky with clamping forces of 350-650 tons.
For other manufacturing capacity, Nypro Packaging has converted 40,000 of 140,000 square feet in Guadalajara and 25,000 of 80,000 square feet in Hungary. The Guadalajara site employs more than 200 and the Hungary facility more than 25.
Joanne Moretti, senior vice president of marketing and sales enablement, said customer expectations are going “through the roof,” citing a supply-chain trends survey that Dimensional Research of Sunnyvale, Calif., conducted for Jabil.
Of the respondents, 89 percent said the existence of “challenges with visibility into the end status of your end-to-end supply chain,” and 96 percent indicated the lack of visibility introduced risk in areas of their supply chain including long lead times, extra shipping time and difficulty in managing capacity.
Erich Hoch, executive vice president of engineering and technology services, identified speed, connectivity, energy harvesting and 3-D printing as critical factors today. Hoch noted the Jabil capability to pursue “ideation through industrialization” in serving customers.
David Wahl orchestrated development of the Blue Sky center and, as general manager, led tours of the facility's Internet of Things laboratory, digital manufacturing area and the intelligent control tower.
The IoT lab deals with “smart” advanced developments involving health care, cities, transportation, buildings and factories.
The digital manufacturing area included demonstrations with Epson, Fanuc and Baxter robots.
For collaborative technology, 3-D printing examples used Stratasys Ltd. Fortus 450mc and Objet 60 Connex 3 units, a 3D Systems Corp. ProJet 6000, an EOS M290 and an Epilog Corp. Fusion Laser.
The intelligent control tower responded quickly to the Nepal earthquake. Jabil checked on the safety of its 150 employees of Nepalese descent and the status of 131 suppliers within 500 miles of the earthquake's epicenter.
St. Petersburg, Fla.-based publicly traded Jabil had profit of $241.3 million on sales of $15.76 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31. Those results compared to profit of $371.5 million on sales of $18.34 billion for the previous fiscal year.
Explaining the sales drop, Adam Berry, senior director of investor relations, said Jabil disengaged with Blackberry, its second biggest customer, and sold its after-market services business to iQor. Berry indicated Jabil is on track to achieving $18 billion in sales during its current fiscal year.
Jabil manufacturing and aftermarket facilities are certified to the ISO 9001:2008 standard, and most are also certified to ISO-14001:2004 environmental standards and, in many locations, to additional market-related certifications.
Jabil has plants in 24 countries.
Jabil provides turnkey and other services to customers in the aerospace, automotive, computing, defense, digital home, energy, health care, industrial, instrumentation, lifestyles, mobility, mold, networking, packaging, peripherals, storage, telecommunications and wearable technology industries.
The company accounts for its sales to unaffiliated customers on Jabil's location. For the most recent fiscal year, net of intercompany eliminations, Jabil reported sales of $3.61 billion in China, $2.94 billion in Singapore, $2.48 billion in Mexico, $2.44 billion in the U.S., $1.30 billion in Malaysia, $902 million in Hungary, $308 million in Brazil and $1.78 billion elsewhere.