A. Raymond Inc. celebrated its 150th anniversary with the grand opening of an expanded Rochester Hills, Mich., facility that is 40 percent larger and now occupies 105,000 square feet.
The company's Rayconnect Inc. division invested more than $12 million, adding 30,000 square feet of space as well as machinery, to position itself for further growth.
“The building is only six years old, but we were at full capacity,” said Gary Warren, Rayconnect's operations manager.
He said the expansion enables the company to run three eight-hour shifts five days a week, and also gives room to add more machinery. The building, which is situated on 10 acres, overlooks a lake and a natural habitat.
Rayconnect makes quick connect fittings for fluid handling systems for automotive, heavy truck, recreational, off-road vehicles and the industrial market. The fittings are used for fuel lines, fuel vapor lines, coolant hoses, oil hoses and other fluid applications.
Warren said that the company recently added five Milacron Roboshot machines — one 110-ton and four 165-ton machines — to boost its total number of injection presses to 32. It also has room to add 14 more as needed. It has 12 assembly machines and is looking to run that total to 18. The company also will add injection tooling and auxiliary equipment.
“We run all Milacron — we try to keep simple. We have a good relationship with them,” he said, noting that Rayconnect can get quick delivery on parts and machinery.
Warren said the Milacron base also fits into its strategy of focusing on the right employees and training them in-house. With all Milacron machines, it makes standardization of training a lot easier.
A. Raymond opened its first U.S. factory in Rochester Hills in 1986 and that plant is still producing engineered injection molded fasteners for the auto industry.
Antoine and Alain Raymond, fourth and fifth generation members of the family that started the company, were on hand for the festivities.
The A. Raymond Network got its start 150 years ago in France with the invention of a press stud that fastened buttons onto gloves and high-top shoes. It is currently headquartered in Grenoble, France, and has 5,500 employees in 25 countries. It operates 25 production sites and 11 design offices worldwide. A. Raymond global sales topped $1 billion last year.
In North America, the company operates Rayconnect, which makes fluid connectors, and A. Raymond Tinnerman, a maker of clips, fasteners and connectors.