In Endress+Hauser’s brand new temperature manufacturing facility, the tiny components essential to the success of automated manufacturing come together.
Workers do flange welding and sensor fabrication at individual stations using complicated machinery inside the Greenwood complex. They use gun drills and laser machining to make precise cuts in thermowells and casings for thermometers.
A tiny fluctuation in temperature can cost a company millions of dollars, making Endress+Hauser’s newest facility so vital.
“Temperature is probably the most critical measurements in terms of keeping a process in control, and from a safety standpoint,” said Todd Lucey, general manager of the Endress+Hauser sales center. “You never want things to get too hot or too cold, to solidify in a line or overheat and vaporize in a line.”
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The new $8.1 million facility is the latest in a series of expansions and investments that have only increased Endress+Hauser’s standing as one of the top manufacturing companies in Johnson County. The firm, which makes instruments to measure flow, level, pressure and temperature for automated production lines, has experienced massive expansion since 2010.
New homes for the flow, level, analytical and pressure operations have all been built since 2009. The new temperature facility pushes total employment to 410 people.
The facility was unveiled to the public during an inauguration ceremony Wednesday, which brought together company executives from Europe, Greenwood campus leaders and local officials, such as Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers.
“It’s been so exciting to see your factory continue to grow and add jobs to our community. Now you’re one of the largest employers we have here in the city, and what you bring to us is the talent we need to continue to be a leader in Indiana,” Myers said.
The new facility is where Endress+Hauser makes advanced thermometers and components, such as sensors, communication hardware and protective tubes to house the electronics. Those parts are used in industries ranging from chemicals to food and beverage to oil and gas production.
Every automated process uses specific measurements to keep its production moving at the most efficient level.
“In the U.S. market, the single largest measurement in terms of quantity of units is temperature. Temperature is the largest measurement variable out in industries today,” he said. “Anything you eat, drink, consume, it all requires these measurements.”
Endress+Hauser opened the 42,000-square-foot temperature manufacturing facility in September 2016. Currently 30 people work in the temperature manufacturing department, and Endress+Hauser has the capability to add new lines to support the growing market, managing director Patrick McGlothlen said.
The temperature manufacturing division was moved to the U.S. 11 years ago, and at the time, it was housed in a small section of the sales building. In 2014, it moved into a 12,000-square-foot building next door to the existing site.
But rapidly increased growth in the need for this kind of equipment made a larger facility necessary, McGlothlen said.
Endress+Hauser has grown from a $58 million company in 2004 to earning $300 million this year. Already a large employer in Johnson County, the recent growth has pushed it towards the top manufacturers in the county, according to Dana Monson, manager of community development initiatives at the Johnson County Development Corp.
KYB employs 800 people, Cat Reman has about 700 workers and Ulta features around 500 people, putting Endress+Hauser in that group.
From 2008 to 2016, the company added more than 100 jobs to the local market, and invested $66 million. Endress+Hauser has made $160 million in investments in the Greenwood facility. Much of the construction work has been done by local businesses.
“We’re creating jobs. Not just our own jobs, but all the construction people and contractors who are here, that’s a good thing for central Indiana and Johnson County,” Lucey said. “We’re part of the community. It’s our brand and our image of who Endress+Hauser is.”
Greenwood has been an important part of the company’s global network since moving to the city in 1993, said Matthias Altendorf, CEO of Endress+Hauser.
“We moved from Massachusetts to this place because we found the environment that suited us. We found people who had the skill set we needed and like to live here; they’re loyal to our company, and from this place we can reach all of our customer base,” he said.
The new temperature building was designed to be very modular and flexible, McGlothlen said. That means if Endress+Hauser has a rush on a particular type of product, such as a food and beverage product, officials can shift resources on its lines to meet the demand.
“Think of it as building blocks. If this line is overloaded, I can set up in a similar location the exact same line, since the infrastructure is already there,” McGlothlen said. “That benefits the manufacturing side, which ultimately benefits sales with that flexibility.”
Such flexibility in a temperature facility in the U.S. means that Endress+Hauser can serve its customers more quickly if they need a part or some equipment, Lucey said.
Of all products that Endress+Hauser sells in the U.S., 85 to 90 percent are manufactured either in Greenwood or the company’s other facility in Anaheim, California. That’s a major selling point, Lucey said.
“Customers are expecting delivery times to make sure their projects stay on time, their plants stay operational. If they have a temperature sensor fail, they can’t wait three weeks to get a product from overseas. They need it tomorrow, or in some cases today,” he said.
Top manufacturing employers in Johnson County
KYB: Approximately 800 employees
Cat Reman: Approximately 700 employees
Ulta: Approximately 500 employees
NSK Precision and America: 414 employees
Endress+Hauser: 410 employees
Nachi: 350 employees
— Information from the Johnson County Development Corp.
What: A new building where Endress+Hauser will make products for its temperature division, including sensors, housing and advanced thermometers.
Size: 42,000 square feet
Cost: $8.1 million
Opened: September 2016
Employees working at the facility: 30