Volume 12, Issue 9 - November/December 2011

What's News

Economy Continues to Impact Manufacturers, as Several Close Plants
In the past few months a number of door and window manufacturers have felt the negative effects of the poor housing market and several have announced plant closings throughout the country.

Pella Corp. will close its West Columbia, S.C., vinyl window manufacturing site, which employs 147 people by the end this year.
The company has operated the facility since 2004. Production will move to other Pella plants.

“We consider plant closures and workforce reductions as a last resort, but new home construction has dropped more than 70 percent since 2006 and construction activity is predicted to remain soft,” says Pella spokesperson Kathy Krafka-Harkema. “Therefore, unfortunately, we must reduce excess manufacturing capacity.”

The company also is offering incentives for team members to retire or leave voluntarily the workforce at some of its facilities. The move is a result of the continued recession in the U.S. housing economy that is projected to continue.

“That’s why we’re now offering incentives for those who wish to voluntarily leave, to align our workforce size with business needs that continue to be impacted by low consumer confidence and the struggling U.S. economy,” adds Krafka-Harkema.

Pella is not alone. JELD-WEN also announced it is closing its Cheyenne, Wyo., window plant, which employees 112 people. The company is encouraging employees to seek job transfers/relocation within JELD-WEN, which has also engaged the services of NextJob, a national reemployment company that will offer employees personalized job coaching.

Milgard is also closing a number of its facilities.

According to company spokesperson Kathleen Vokes, “In response to the challenging economy and state of the new residential construction and remodeling industries, Milgard Windows and Doors will close the Chicago; Hollister, Calif.; and Phoenix facilities.  Milgard will continue to provide products and services to all markets served by the Hollister and Phoenix locations. Although Milgard is discontinuing manufacturing operations in Chicago, it will maintain service personnel to support warranty obligations. The Denver location will continue to provide products for Midwestern markets that have been served from the Denver location.”

Vokes added that in August the tempering facility in Tacoma, Wash., was closed; the Dixon, Calif., facility remains open.  

Likewise, Simonton Windows will close its plant in McAlester, Okla., by the end of the year. Company officials say production lines for its impact-resistant vinyl coastal products will be relocated at its West Virginia operating sites. Approximately 246 employees at the facility will be offered severance packages and support with job placement. Additional manufacturing operations will be relocated to Simonton’s facility in Paris, Ill.

DAC Products Launches New Company, Smith Case
Display and sales presentation producer, DAC Products in Rural Hall, N.C., launched a new company on September 1, 2011. Called Smith Case, the new company will focus solely on the design, development and manufacture of sales presentation portable carrying cases for door, window, hardware and other OEM industries.

“DAC and Smith Case will continue to work closely together. The mission for both companies is to become more focused,” says Durward Smith, president of DAC.

“The strategic move to form two focused, creative, design, engineering and manufacturing teams will allow us to expand our services, commit and energies to be a better display company and a better custom case company,” adds Tony Smith, president of Smith Case.

OSHA Slaps Bostik with 50 Safety Violations; Company Plans Consolidation
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Bostik Inc. for 50 alleged violations of workplace safety standards following a March 13 explosion at the company’s Middleton, Mass., plant in which four workers were injured. The adhesives manufacturer faces a total of $917,000 in proposed fines.

OSHA’s inspection identified several deficiencies in the company’s process safety management program. Officials say they found that the process safety information for the solvation process was incomplete. OSHA alleges that Bostik’s “analysis of hazards related to the process did not address previous incidents with a potential for catastrophic results, such as forklifts that struck process equipment, and did not address human factors such as operator error, communication between shift changes and employee fatigue from excessive overtime.” In addition, the company did not ensure that a forklift and electrical equipment, such as a light fixture, switches and a motor, were approved for use in Class 1 hazardous locations where flammable gases or vapors are present.

As a result, OSHA has issued Bostik nine willful citations, with $630,000 in proposed fines, for these conditions. Bostik was also issued 41 serious citations, with $287,000 in fines, for a range of other conditions, including an incomplete and deficient emergency response plan.

In other news from Bostik, the company plans to consolidate its research and development resources from multiple facilities to the Bostik Americas Corporate Center in Wauwatosa, Wis. Additionally, it will consolidate its key business management functions there as well.

The plan will be implemented over a two- to three-year period and is expected to create new jobs, in addition to the retention and relocation of existing personnel. Approximately 75-100 jobs will be added to the Wauwatosa site. Among those slated to relocate are technology and business professionals and managers from facilities in Warminster, Pa., and Middleton, Mass.

Two Companies Team up to Purchase Florida Powder Coating; Form New Company
Steve Howes, CEO of Glasslam, in a partnership with Pat Argento, owner of Hurricane Impact Glass and Aluminum, has purchased Florida Powder Coating in Lantana, Fla., and formed a new company–Cirrus Powder Coating. The facility will include two automated spacer manufacturing systems that will produce Air-Tight™ S silicone spacer.

“Because of the size of the facility, we decided to expand our spacer manufacturing with our new in-line technology spacer systems,” says Howes. “There turns out to be a lot of synergies with powder coating and our other businesses that we can utilize in this new plant. The powder coating capability fits well into our product categories of laminating, insulating, coloring and decorating.”

Howes says the two spacer systems are currently being installed and will be operational by the end of the year.

The purchase price was not disclosed.

Masonite Acquires the Assests of Birchwood Best
Masonite Corp., announced that it has completed the acquisition of Birchwood Best headquartered in Birchwood, Wis. Birchwood is a producer of commercial/architectural wood flush door skins; as well as a producer of hardwood plywood. Birchwood employs approximately 240 people, with one facility in Birchwood, and a smaller location in Thorp.

Birchwood’s 2010 revenue exceeded $40 million, according to a press release from Masonite; No other financial details of the acquisition have been disclosed.

“The acquisition of Birchwood enhances our position as a leader in the manufacturing and distribution of components for residential, commercial and architectural wood doors,” says Fred Lynch, Masonite’s president and chief executive officer. “We are excited about the capabilities this acquisition adds to Masonite.”

“Birchwood’s facilities in Wisconsin are a natural complement to Masonite’s existing commercial and architectural businesses,” adds Cody Wickersheim, vice president of Birchwood. “We look forward to joining the Masonite team and to the exciting new possibilities this creates for our customers.”

Wickersheim will join Masonite and lead the integration effort.

Caldwell Acquires Unique Balance
The Caldwell Manufacturing Company based in Rochester, N.Y., announced that Caldwell Hardware Company LLC has acquired Unique Balance, based in Pence Springs, W.Va. The court-approved purchase will enable Caldwell to expand its product line offerings to the fenestration market.

“Unique Balance had a very good reputation until recently when they encountered some problems,” says John Kessler, vice president, sales and marketing, Caldwell. “They offered some product lines that we don’t have, so this presents us an opportunity to expand our products.”

Unique Balance stopped producing products from its West Virginia location earlier this year. Kessler says that while a re-opening date has not yet been determined, the company intends to service customers from the Pence Springs location.

“We plan to re-open the facility,” says Kessler. “We have hired a plant manager who is looking for staff—the wheels are in motion.

Quaker Says Expansion is a Necessity
While few companies are expanding right now, Quaker Windows in Freeburg, Mo., plans to spend an estimated $11 million, over a five-year period to do just that.

Phase one of the plan includes replacing Quaker’s current paint area with a paint facility housed in a new 105,000-square-foot building. This expansion will also free up 45,000 square feet of manufacturing space currently used for the existing paint line. The company plans to utilize this space in expanding its impact-rated products.

Phase two, which is scheduled for 2013 and 2014, is a 200,000-square-foot building expansion that will allow Quaker to expand all door and window product offerings in vinyl, wood and aluminum. Upon completion of both phases, the company expects to create 95 new jobs.

The announcement prompted Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to visit the Quaker manufacturing facilities and congratulate the company on the new endeavor.

Quanex to Close Kentucky Plant; Restructure IG Operations
Quanex Building Products Corp. in Houston will close its Barbourville, Ky., location and let go approximately 200 employees, said George L. Wilson, general manager of Quanex Insulating Glass Systems.

The Barbourville plant and the Cambridge, Ohio, plant produce warm-edge spacer products, and the equipment used to manufacture the company’s single-seal spacer system in the Barbourville plant will be relocated to the Cambridge facility.

In terms of salaried employees, there will be a few jobs created in Cambridge, “and we anticipate most will be filled locally,” Wilson said. “In terms of hourly union employees, it’s all being negotiated now with the union.”

The 400,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Cambridge can handle all the existing equipment, and has 200,000 square feet open, Wilson said. “All the equipment from the Barbourville plants is being transferred,” he said. “We are not adding additional capacity, and will continue with the existing capacity. Customers are being contacted about the closure.”

“While it was a very difficult decision to close our spacer facility in Kentucky, we believe this consolidation will allow us to better serve our customers through streamlined operations,” said David D. Petratis, president and chief executive officer.

The restructuring plan also includes the consolidation of administrative functions, as well as research and development, making Wilson the general manager of Insulated Glass Systems.

The consolidation of operations and the subsequent closure of the Barbourville facility are expected to be completed during Quanex’s fiscal third quarter 2012.

is exiting the garage door business, a segment that accounts for about one-tenth of one percent of the company’s total sales. No plants will be closed as garage door manufacturing occupied a single production line within a larger plant that also makes other products … BF Rich Co. , was selected for the 2011 Best of Wilmington Award in the vinyl windows and doors category by the U.S. Commerce Association … Vinylmax Windows, an Ohio-based manufacturer of custom wood and vinyl replacement windows, has achieved one full year, more than 300,000 man hours, without a lost work time accident … Trojan Powder Coating Co. , in Bay Shore, N.Y., has opened a 97,000-square-foot facility in Sarasota, Fla. Company officials say they decided to open a shop in Florida because several major clients are in the area ... Royal Building Products, formerly Royal Group, has a new look and image. The new brand is “Working together to build neighborhoods of lasting value.” A new logo also was designed to retain the legacy of the company’s original symbol, the crown, while shifting emphasis from manufacturing to what Royal’s products do to transform neighborhoods … Gorell Windows and Doors, based in Indiana, Pa., says it has lowered the number of OSHA recordable accidents its company experienced over the past year significantly. The company reported 42 recordable accidents in 2010; so far this year it has just 17 … Architectural Testing Inc., based in York, Pa., has acquired the assets of Hurricane Test Laboratory, based in Riviera Beach, Fla. When making the announcement Architectural Testing says it is now comprised of approximately 300 professionals and more than 20 testing facilities and regional offices … Casadei-Busellato has moved its showroom and training facility to Concord, N.C. The new address is: 4715 Corporate Drive, Suite 100 Concord, NC 28027. All existing phone numbers and email addresses will stay the same.


© Copyright 2011 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved.
No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.