CARPINTERIA, Calif.—Freudenberg Medical has expanded its extrusion and molding clean rooms at its silicone operations in Carpinteria.
The firm said the project includes a floor expansion, updated layout and optimized work cells to accommodate future growth. In addition, its clean room now complies with ISO Class 7 guidelines to serve original equipment manufacturers throughout the region.
Freudenberg Medical CEO Jorg Schneewind said the firm invested between $2 million and $2.5 million on the project.
“We see a lot of business opportunities not only on the West Coast, but throughout North America,” Carpinteria General Manager Mark Ostwald said. “We get a lot of feedback from big OEM customers who tell us that they want to bring business back to the U.S., not only from China but from Mexico. They feel that even for their Mexican facilities, California is considered local, and they're looking for local suppliers. With our technical focus, with our silicone expertise, we're a preferred partner for those silicone OEM customers.”
The firm didn't add more floor space; rather it removed operations from the floor that were not value-adding and increased productivity by redesigning the layout, allowing it to add capacity.
“When we acquired this business, it was a fraction of the size in three buildings, and now we have multiplied it and it's in two buildings,” Schneewind said. “Generating efficiencies on the shop floor to improve output on the existing manufacturing footprint is definitely one objective here.”
The 50,000-sq.-ft. Carpinteria facility is the global business unit for silicone processing, with capabilities for silicone extrusion. It offers silicone extrusion, molding and a variety of molding technologies and assembly in both Class 7 and Class 8 clean rooms. Freudenberg Medical operates other silicone sites in Massachusetts, Germany and China.
The firm ultimately will add nearly 12 machines at Carpinteria—about seven for extrusion and five for molding. Freudenberg Medical already created new jobs in 2015 and is about to add a permanent third shift for its extrusion operation. Over the course of 2016, the firm projects to add 50 more to its work force of 200.