INDIANAPOLIS—Nitta Corporation of America is expanding its plant in Suwanee, Ga., and it recently acquired Connect Conveyor Belting Inc. to extend its capabilities and boost its capacity.
It also is adding machinery and hiring additional employees at the Suwanee site, where it has a work force of about 100, of which 80 work in the factory.
A maker of conveyor belts, hose and other products, Nitta is in the midst of adding about 50,000 square feet to its 80,000-sq.-ft. facility in Suwanee, according to Atsuhito Wake, technical and quality control director for Nitta Corporation of America.
Construction of the addition is expected to be completed in late 2016, he said at the NIBA—the Belting Association conference, held Sept. 14-17 in Indianapolis. The certification of occupancy should be added by the end of January, he added.
“Sales have gone up, so production needs to grow,” Wake said.
Nitta, the Western Hemisphere subsidiary of Nitta Corp. in Japan, decided to expand the facility after it looked ahead at the next 10 years of forecast growth for the company in the Americas and saw the need for additional production capacity to cover an expected increase in demand, he said.
“That was the focus of the plant expansion: adding more production for product lines currently manufactured at Nitta Corporation of America, expanding our product range with new items and manufacturing some of the products we have been importing from other Nitta factory locations in Asia,” he said.
“We are trying to be a complete manufacturer in Suwanee,” Wake added.”We're an engineering driven company and primarily serve the industrial market.”
For instance, he said once the expansion is complete, the Suwanee plant will be able to manufacture heavier styles of PolySprint belt materials, which the U.S. operation has been sourcing from Japan up until now. PolySprint belts use urethane in the middle for greater tension.
“This will give Nitta Corporation of America an even wider range of truly American-made products to serve even better our customers in the Americas, further setting Nitta apart in the belting industry,” the executive said.
Its Suwanee factory currently manufactures nylon core flat belting, called PolyBelt, and aramid cord flat belting, called CarryFlex. It also produces hydraulic hose, pneumatic tubing and industrial wiper products.
New machinery will be used to produce PolySprint and boost the firm's PolyBelt power transmission belt capacity. In addition, the firm is adding fabrication equipment.
Meanwhile, Connect Conveyor Belting became part of Nitta in the last few months, Wake said, to allow Nitta Corporation of America to be more self-reliant and import less in the future than in the past.
Among other things, Connect provides specialty rubber covers for Nitta's belts, said Erik Dewit, sales manager for the Milton, Ontario-based company.
Connect, founded in 1992 as a belt fabricator, has a long history with Nitta, having worked closely with the company since 1992 as a primary distributor in the North American market.
Its fabricated products are used in the hygiene, extrusion, automotive and paper converting industries, and the addition of its products to the Nitta line will help serve customers better not just in North America but globally, Nitta said.
Nitta Corp. was founded in 1885 in Japan and was the country's first manufacturer of power transmission belts.
Today it is involved in all types of industrial belting, conveyor systems, air infiltration, engineered rubber products, plastic hose and tubing, industrial wipers, and mechatronic sensor systems.
It operates several affiliates and in the 1970s branched out into the U.S. with a small sales office in the Northeast. At that time, the U.S. operation was mainly focused on the textile industry and moved its sales office to South Carolina.
In 1980, the subsidiary expanded and began fabricating belts in a small facility in an Atlanta suburb.
Since then, it has gained continual growth, according to the company, and today occupies its expanding plant outside of Atlanta where it operates four manufacturing lines and stocks hundreds of belt types.