YKK Celebrates Expansion

YKK AP America completed Phase I of its capacity expansion at its Dublin, Ga., commercial products plant in December 2006. But that didn't seem to dampen the spirit of the company executives and local dignitaries who came out on Thursday to celebrate the official opening of Phase I and the ground breaking for Phase II.

It's easy to see why there's such enthusiasm. Atlanta-based YKK, whose Japanese parent company is well-known for manufacturing zippers and fasteners, expects the new additions to double the amount of architectural building products, such as curtainwalls, that it produces, fabricates and ships out of the Dublin facility. Phase I of the expansion expanded the plant's raw materials capacity by adding a new melting and casting operation. Phase II will add additional floor space, new machinery, in the company's profile and fabrication operations, and more office space.

"The technology [in the expansion] is a newer version of what we have," says Oliver Stepe, senior vice president for YKK AP America.

These new machines will mean more efficiencies and possibly shorter lead times, according to Greg Hultquist, vice president of manufacturing for YKK AP America. "These processes will be more efficient than the ones we have today, probably as much as 30 to 40 percent more efficient," he says.

Political officials from Dublin and nearby Laurens County were pleased because the expansion could add up to 200 jobs to the local economy when it's completed in 2010. YKK AP, which opened the Dublin facility in 1992, is already one of the biggest employers in the area.

The expansion comes a year after the company opened up a residential products plant less than an hour away in Macon. That plant heralded the company's arrival in the North American residential market.