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YH America doubling size of Kentucky plant, adding jobs

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YH America will double the size of its facility Versailles, Ky, adding a handful of jobs..

VERSAILLES, Ky.—YH America Inc.'s Sealant Division is doubling the size of its Versailles-based manufacturing facility as part of a $5.3 million project, the company said.

The division was established in 1998 as a subsidiary of Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. With 40 employees in its Kentucky plant, the YH America Sealant Division manufactures an array of urethane adhesives and primers used for bonding auto glass windshields, back lights and side lights for vehicles, buses and military vehicles.

The multi-million dollar investment will add 12,000 square feet to the plant and bring a handful of new jobs to the region, according to Al Harrington, YH America Sealant Division operations manager.

"Our plant is automated and extremely updated with the latest in technology, so while we're not adding that many jobs to our current staff, the capabilities for manufacturing urethane adhesives is significant," Harrington said. "This positions us for future growth so that we can provide exceptional service and support to an even larger customer base."

The growth in YH America's Sealant Division is due largely to new plants that clients Honda and Mazda have built in Mexico that require these types of bonding adhesives, Harrington said. The immediate needs of those two automotive OEMs, and other clients such as Toyota, General Motors and Mitsubishi, necessitated that a second line be created at the Kentucky plant to increase capacity.

Ground was broken in March 2013 and urethane adhesives were being manufactured on the second line beginning the week of Nov. 13.

"We were at capacity for a while, and it hasn't taken us long to get into mass production based on the increased demand," Harrington said. "We were doing trials on the new line for the last few weeks."

Demand continues to rise as auto makers regularly are reporting record sales. Harrington said his division's clients expect demand for new vehicles to remain steady for the next couple of years.

"You hear that there are a lot of cars on the road now that old consumers are driving in the U.S. and globally when people stopped buying cars (during the economic downturn of 2008-10)," Harrington said.

YH America's Sealant Division was founded in 1998. The division is a global supplier of high performance glass bonding adhesive systems to the transportation industry.

As the division's growth continues, Harrington feels that YH America is well positioned to meet OEM needs well into the future.

"With some of the investments we have made, we know our technology is really solid," Harrington said. "If there is a significant change in the industry that will occur, we expect that it would be for the process to not include primers, which is OK for us because there still would be the demand for adhesives. We see this market as being very stable in the short and long term."

YH America supplies the automotive industry with a variety of automotive power steering, air conditioning, and brake components and other related products.

It also serves the heavy equipment industry with hydraulic components. The company provides an array of urethane adhesives and primers used for bonding stationary glass windshields, back glass and slice glass into automobiles, buses, trains and military vehicles.