NORTH CANTON, Ohio—Seco Machine, a manufacturer of cast urethane products and a division of A. Stucki Co., will move to a new facility that increases floor space by about 60 percent in the first quarter of 2019.
The move to a new $8 million facility in Green, Ohio, has been a few years in the making, said Tom Seccombe, general manager at Seco. The new facility will have 120,000 square feet of manufacturing, distribution and office space, an expansion from the 75,000 square feet at its current facility in North Canton.
"It was pretty apparent by about 2014, 2015 that it wasn't our ideal building," Seccombe said.
The North Canton facility wasn't intended for the heavy industry, and wasn't a location that would impress customers, Seccombe said.
"Our workmanship and our people do, but getting customers there was always a problem," he said.
As it became a division for A. Stucki, Seco grew from a two-bay section of the North Canton facility, taking on its urethane line in addition to its machine shop capabilities, said Jon Kaufman, product manager of urethanes and polymers for A. Stucki. The company worked with Seco to develop its capabilities and bring more processes in-house, which calls for a larger footprint.
The North Canton facility did give the company room to grow without needing to move right away, but the new planned facility in Green will improve on that as well, Seccombe said. The way the building is designed, it gives Seco an additional 50,000 square feet of infrastructure as a knockout that can be added in the future. The location also has additional land that could be used for expansion.
The new site already is being excavated, Kaufman said. The majority of the space used in the new facility will be covered by the machine shop, with the urethane line taking up a smaller footprint.
Seco also worked with the city of Green because of a tax abatement in which any improvements to the site have taxes abated by 100 percent for 15 years, Seccombe said.
"It was one of the only cities around that was willing and able to do this sort of thing," he said. "The city of Green is really aggressive in bringing in retail as well as industrial business, and we just really felt like they were a fit."
As part of the abatement, the company is required to create a certain number of jobs over time, so employees will be added in the future, he said. Seco still will pay taxes on the land, and pay the city's 2 percent income tax on payroll from the first day in the new facility.
The new facility also will give the company more accessibility options, with close proximity to the Akron-Canton Airport, Seccombe said. Seco is looking into working with the Ohio government to establish itself as a foreign trade zone to take advantage of import and export incentives. From a transportation standpoint, being near the airport also will assist traveling employees, as the company logs more than 100 flights per month.
A. Stucki has 17 global locations, and moving near an airport will provide a facility as a central hub for meetings, Kaufman said.
The firm already is purchasing new equipment for its machining line, Seccombe said. On the urethane side, the company is looking at adding another line specifically to build inventory for the move and then to add capacity for when they move into the new facility.
The company also will be using the move as an opportunity to try to replace some older equipment, Kaufman said.
"When you get into a nice, new place, you want to upgrade some equipment," he said.
As they continue to grow, Seco will be focusing on more opportunities for automation, Seccombe said. The company already has three robot work cells, and rather than taking away jobs, they've allowed Seco to add more employees.
"Our goal is not to reduce labor," Seccombe said. "It takes the monotony out of some of the jobs, and I think it just makes the quality of the job better."
Seco recently hired its first robotics engineer, and the company is looking at several projects especially in its urethane line that could benefit from automation, Seccombe said.
The move also will give Seco the ability to diversify its offerings as it grows more toward industrial customers, Kaufman said.
"Even though Stucki in general has been a rail-based company, it's an opportunity to get into more of the industrial segment as a whole, to be able to provide turnkey solutions, whether it's just a machining job or urethane, or a component that combines both of those to diversify the product line and reach outside of rail," Kaufman said.
With both its urethane and machining lines seeing growth, the new facility will prime Seco for the current economy, Seccombe said.
"We really feel there's some great opportunities to grow business in the U.S.," he said. "For our urethane, our manufacturing across the board, we just couldn't be more excited about what's going on."