Machine tool builder Mazak is increasing the production rate at its Florence, Ky., manufacturing plant, in response to sustained strong demand. The current output there is about 120 CNC machines per month but Mazak aims to reach 130 units per month by midyear, and hopes to be producing 150 units per month by year’s end.
“In terms of dollar value,” the company states, “this will represent the largest output ever produced at the plant, due largely to market demand shifting the production mix to favor larger and more complex multi-tasking models of machines.”
Speaking to reporters in 2009, in the midst of the recession and at the bottom of its demand cycle, Mazak president Brian Papke indicated the Kentucky plant was producing 50 CNC machines per month.
The increase in demand has been steady since last summer, and particularly since last September in the aftermath of IMTS 2010, the industry’s biennial equipment expo.
The Florence, Ky., plant has been the site of a $13-million expansion program recently. “Over the past two years, Mazak continued to invest heavily in the ongoing productivity of our U.S. production facility, despite the poor economic conditions of 2009,” Brian Papke said.
Further investments are continuing this year, including another five-axis double-column machining centers for large-part production and a laser-processing cell for sheet metal fabrication.
“We have further refined and improved our Production on Demand system to become extremely responsive to real-time customer needs,” Papke said. “Additionally, a high level of vertical integration allows us tremendous control in reacting to market conditions. With the present value of the dollar, we will be exporting more machines in future months from our Florence plant, in addition to building for domestic manufacturers.”
“Production on Demand” is a manufacturing strategy that coordinates resources, technologies, and manufacturing processes to reduce waste in the production process. Mazak states that “continuous training and development of the workforce has created a ‘lean’ culture,” that makes its U.S. manufacturing operation globally competitive.
Mazak Corp. is the U.S. subsidiary of Yamazaki Mazak, and its Kentucky plant manufactures over 100 different machines tools.