TOPEKA, Kan.—HF Mixing Group is consolidating its entire batch mixing machinery business to HF Rubber Machinery Inc. in Topeka, Kan.
All Banbury equipment will be transferred to Topeka, effective Sept. 3. Farrel began making the rubber industry workhorse Banbury mixer, invented by Fernley H. Banbury, at a facility in Ansonia, Conn., in 1916.
The move not only will bring all batch mixing together under one roof, it will allow the Ansonia plant to dedicate all its resources on the HF Mixing Group's new continuous mixing business.
The continuous group was created as part of the HF Mixing Group's worldwide business realignment and combines technologies from both Far¬¬- rel and Pomini. The company name for the continuous group is Farrel-Pomini.
"It made no sense to have two sites," said Ian Wilson, business unit director of tangential mixers. "We had a more modern manufacturing site in Topeka, and we were looking to expand it, which we are in the process of doing now. It made more sense to consolidate the activities of the tangential rubber business and relocate this into Topeka."
Wilson said the move will increase response time, stocking of component parts and streamlined support because of improved synchronization with the engineering department. The company said the Ansonia plant now has the required capacity to accommodate significant growth in its continuous mixing plastic business.
"We can consolidate and manage this in one location," Wilson said. "Engineers have direct access to field service crews. It's a lot easier if this is done in one place."
Mark Meulbroek, a member of the HF Mixing Group's board of management, said the company will inaugurate an extension of the Topeka site in November. The company is building an assembly hall to help support the influx of business inherited because of the transition.
The firm will not reveal the exact cost, but Wilson said it represents a seven-figure investment. He also said jobs already have been created at Topeka, and with the expansion, more likely will follow.
"We are strengthening the engineering team in Topeka to be able to meet the additional volume as a consequence of this transition," Wilson said. "We have increased the head count in Topeka and probably there will be further increases in the future as well."
The company does not anticipate having to cut jobs or relocate employees as a result of the transition, as the move is part of the HF Mixing Group's larger business realignment to consolidate various divisions under one roof. In addition to Topeka gaining the batch business and Ansonia shifting its focus toward continuous mixing, Farrel's Rochdale, England, plant will focus on tangential mixing; Pomini's Castellanza, Italy, factory will be centered on convex mixers; and HF's site in Freudenberg, Germany, will concentrate on intermeshing mixers.
All plants will continue to focus on their various core processing applications.
"For each portion they gave up, they gained a business unit in exchange so to speak," Wilson said.
"Due to the focus, we will be more efficient," Meulbroek said. "We will now have capacity and time to focus on the continuous business unit. We have already shifted the main focus for Ansonia on the continuous business itself. Before a lot of people were in both disciplines, they are now focusing and working on the continuous mixing part of the business."
Harburg-Freudenberger Maschinenbau GmbH acquired Farrel Corp. in 2009.