INCREASED CAPACITY: Production of B-train tankers such as this one has increased from two per year to two per month at the plant.Photo by James Menzies
TORONTO, Ont. – Hutchinson Industries has more than doubled capacity at its Toronto assembly plant where Hutchinson and Tremcar tanker trailers are built.
Capacity has been ramped up from 140 units per year to more than 300. Company officials showcased the enhancements during a recent open house and plant tour. Further improvements are slated to take place which will ultimately increase production to 400 tankers per year.
Currently two shifts operate the plant with 75 working the day shift and 20 at night. The company is now building two B-train tanker trailers per month, compared to just two per year not long ago, company officials said.
Hutchinson’s facilities have been re-organized to improve efficiency and productivity and new technology such as overhead welders and cranes have been installed.
Tremcar acquired Hutchinson in July, 2006 and has since committed to investing heavily into the company. Jacques Tremblay, president of Hutchinson Industries Canada, said more than $1.2 million has been invested into the plant to date.
Phase 2 of the upgrades is slated to take place later this year at an additional cost of $1.25 million. Further enhancements will include installation of a new seamer and 24-foot roller which should be up and running by Christmas, Tremblay told Truck News.
In an address to employees, Tremblay said “We want to provide our employees with the best high-tech equipment, and it will certainly help to increase productivity by 50% in the next year.”
The company has been faced with numerous challenges in recent months, not the least of which is the increasing cost of raw materials and a rapidly rising Canadian loonie.
“We are very concerned about the fact we live in a very highly competitive world,” Tremblay admitted. “The Canadian manufacturing sector is facing the toughest challenge in Canadian history…Hutchinson Industries Canada is committed to facing these new challenges with the support of our loyal customers and the willingness and support of all the employees.”
Other recent enhancements to Hutchinson’s facilities include installation of a new CAD and 3-D computer programming system, re-designed workspaces and revamped assembly lines.
The Toronto plant is now comprised of four separate areas, each dedicated to a separate part of the production process.
An auxiliary bay has also been added so trailers requiring extra work can be finished up without slowing down the line.
User-friendly electric shop doors have also been installed.
“It’s all about planning and how to be more efficient,” explained John Newington, shop foreman.