AKRON—HF Mixing Group GmbH's Farrel Corp. subsidiary is getting ready to open a new site for its Continuous Mixers business unit.
The firm has consolidated its operations in Ansonia, Conn., from four buildings into one modern one. HF Managing Director Andreas Limper confirmed on Sept. 14 the project was complete during the International Tire Exhibition & Conference on in Akron.
Financial details were not disclosed, but Limper said the new building represents a double-digit million dollar investment.
When the project was first announced, HF said the building would span 60,000 square feet with the ability to add 10,000 to 15,000 square feet of space on the lot to accommodate future growth if needed. The facility will help modernize Farrel's operations. Limper said the previous buildings, while historic, were old and the main operation did not include a lab. Engineers would have to travel about 15 miles between sites.
“I think it will have a very big impact,” Limper said of the new facility. “The factory is opposite of what we are leaving. We're leaving an historic, old, factory and offices of Farrel, which represent nearly 200 years of history. It's a historic place, but we were asking ourselves whether or not to pay to modernize or to start new. We decided to start new to bring a new spirit into the company. It's a very nice open building with a lot of light, a lot of glass and an integrated technical center.”
HF's previous Connecticut operations were spread out through four facilities—three in Ansonia and a research and development center about 15 miles away in Oxford. The youngest of the four buildings was constructed in the late 1960s, and some date back to the early 1900s. The firm said inefficiencies of operating these facilities largely is what inspired HF to invest in an upgraded plant.
The new building will include many energy efficiency upgrades and a better building envelope. Farrel also designed an optimized manufacturing flow for the assembly of continuous mixing machines.
The move is projected to further facilitate growth and comes on the heels of a similar move to increase operational efficiencies throughout HF's global operations. In 2013, HF relocated Farrel's entire batch mixing machinery business to Topeka, Kan., allowing the Ansonia operations to focus solely on continuous mixing.
The firm also realigned its other sites to focus exclusively on one type of mixer. 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.
Limper said the move has had a positive impact on the group.
“We see strong growth already from this business unit as people are concentrating on this product,” he said. “They are more focused in the technical developments, sales efforts and so on. This led to a quite big growth rate in Ansonia. It's already growing at a nice speed. We are convinced that we will even strengthen this in the future with this more modern facility.”