Chesapeake , VA – Sumitomo Machinery Corporation of America (SMA), US headquarters for Sumitomo Drive Technologies, hosted an open house on April 19, 2013, celebrating completion of Phase I of the company’s Cyclo Bevel Buddybox (Cyclo BBB) Domestic Manufacturing Initiative.
As part of a 2015 Manufacturing Vision, the company committed to increasing bevel gear manufacturing capabilities in response to an expanding market along with the need for shorter lead times and competitive costs. This event commemorated SMA’s successful accomplishment of its Phase I milestones, which included the implementation of gear machining equipment, vertical milling machines and a hollow shaft machine; generation of bevel gears; installation of new assembly lines for the Cyclo BBB 4 and 5 Series products launched in 2012; and the opening of a centralized distribution centre.
The open house offered Sumitomo’s North and South American sales teams, as well as local employees and invited guests, a chance to see the transformation taking place as the company expands its manufacturing capabilities at the 250,000-square-foot facility, located in Chesapeake’s Cavalier Industrial Park. Activities included a luncheon, followed by a guided factory tour with video presentations highlighting SMA’s manufacturing/assembly processes.
The factory tour also recognized Sumitomo vendors, Toshiba, Lovejoy, Altra Industrial Motion Formsprag, Fastenal, Gleason, Mitutoyo, Orion/Southpoint Solutions, Peaklogix, and Safety Kleen, for sponsoring the event.
“It gives me tremendous pleasure to officially announce the completion of Phase I of our three-year strategic vision to bring manufacturing back to our Chesapeake factory, said Ron Smith, SMA president and CEO. “Sumitomo has invested nearly $6vmillion in brand new state-of-the-art machine tools. For the first time in over 14 years, we are cutting gears right here in Chesapeake, Virginia! I mean no disrespect when I say this, but let China make stuff for China. The Bevel Buddybox is now made in the United States of America!”
Completing Phase I of the initiative required more than just an investment in machinery. Smith also pointed out that new machinery and expanded capabilities resulted in SMA not only hiring new employees, but also offering current employees opportunities to acquire new skills. “With the help and support of Tidewater Community College, 18 people from our operations team invested their personal time attending classes in the evenings and on Saturdays to successfully complete machine shop math and blueprint reading classes in 2012. SMA is a job creator, not a job eliminator.”
SMA’s next challenge will be Phase II of the Cyclo BBB Domestic Manufacturing Initiative. “We have begun to update and refine our plans for Phase II, which will expand manufacturing again to include the remaining three major components of the BBB; housings, covers, and pin carriers,” said Smith. “This will require an additional investment of over $5.5 million and will take at least a year to complete.”