AP America Nears Completion of $36 Million Expansion
YKK AP America Inc. has added 250,000 square feet to its facility
in Dublin, Ga., bringing its existing footprint on the site to just
over one million square feet of manufacturing space. The company
has invested approximately $36 million into Phase II of its expansion
HERE for information on Phase I), and already has set plans
to invest an additional $30-$40 million by 2010 for initiatives
to further increase capacity, but also enhance quality, reduce energy
consumption and reduce emissions.
part of our strategic planning to increase market share in the United
States," explains Oliver Stepe, senior vice president of YKK.
"The existing major assets of that plan had started reaching
their capacity lines, so it was just very simply a strategic decision
to continue to grow in the USA and needing to deploy assets to do
The facility already has been completed and the company is currently
working on bringing in new machinery, most of which is expected
to go into production by the middle of May. Among the new equipment
brought into the plant are three highlights, Stepe says.
First is the addition of a second melting and casting machine.
"We're the only ones in the USA that do it ourselves,"
Stepe says. "We actually start with the raw aluminum and we
control our own alloys."
To keep in line with the company's goal of energy savings and reduced
emissions, the new machine features regenerative burners that take
exhaust gas and reuse it to help with the melting. "Roughly
speaking, that type of option saves about 30 percent on natural
gas versus, machinery that does not have that option," Stepe
The company also has added a second high-performance fluorocarbon
paint line. The new computer-controlled line is a continuous flow,
"three-coat one-bake" line. "It helps deliver a higher
consistency on the quality," Stepe says.
In addition, a third extrusion press has been added to increase
efficiency. The 9-inch 3,000 metric ton press features extended
cooling/run-out tables, as long as 200 feet.
With regard to efficiency, the company is also aiming at increasing
automation in its lines. Stepe explains that the facility recently
has deployed an automated custom door line.
"We're really starting to move on to a lot more automation
in aluminum door and window production," he says. "Where
these types of machines are really headed is they're integrated
and connected to the order entry systems. What can be projected
in the future is that a customer can do an estimate, turn it into
a quote online themselves and that will eventually run right into
the machinery itself."
Despite the trend toward automation, the large amount of space
that has been added to the facility begs the hiring of additional
"We've already added new jobs," Stepe says. "It's
projected that this whole deployment could add up to 200 jobs by
With the expansion nearly complete, Stepe expects that the additional
capacity will help improve the company's ability to offer aluminum
"Our focus is just having the shortest lead-time and the best
on-time delivery," he says. "The only way you're going
to gain market share in a down market is to be better than the next
guy, so that's what we're trying to do."
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