Company and state officials took part in the ceremonial ribbon cutting at the expanded Aisin Chemical IN plant in Crothersville last Tuesday. The event was a double celebration of the second plant opening locally and a celebration of 10 years in business in Crothersville.
Taking part in the ribbon cutting were: Kyle Stanfield, Toshio Tanaka, Steve Akard, chief of staff with the Indiana Economic Development Corp., Kanichi Shimizu, Scott Turpin and Masayuki Isogami. At the podium is Tim Carter, general manager of Aisin Chemical Indiana.
Photo courtesy of ACIN
Aisin Chemical IN held a dual celebration last week observing their 10th anniversary in business in Crothersville and the official opening of their second manufacturing plant in the local industrial park south of town.
Aisin Chemical Indiana manufactures wet friction material, spray type dampening material and anti-corrosion paint for the automotive industry. Customers include Toyota, Subaru and Nissan. ACIN is the only manufacturing plant in the US for their products.
Aisin officials from North America and Japan were joined by local and state officials for Tuesday’s celebration. The event featured speakers, a presentation of $2,500 gifts to Crothersville Community Schools and Crothersville-Vernon Township Fire Department, a ribbon-cutting ceremony, a plant tour and lunch.
Production of clutch plates and sound dampening products started at ACIN’s sister company Aisin Drivetrain Inc. with 18 employees, recalled Tim Carter, plant general manager. Now, there are 94 employees at two plants with plans to add more full-time positions in the future.
In 2011, the sound dampening production and office were moved into a 70,000-square-foot facility. That building grew by 30,000 square feet in the fall of 2013 to localize unique production processes for the clutch plate business. Then earlier this year, a second 100,000-square-foot plant opened for additional production and warehouse space.
“I was here three years ago for our ground breaking and I am pleased to be back in Crothersville to speak to you for our grand opening of a second manufacturing plant and celebrating our 10 anniversary,” said Kanichi Shimizu, president of Aisin Chemical Co., LTD of Japan. “It is good we are celebrating growth.”
“We hope to continue growing in the future into the land we still have undeveloped,” he said. “Today is a great day of celebrating the past but also a celebration of what is yet to come.”
“Since I was here 10 years ago, I have many stories I could tell both good and bad, funny and sad,” said Masayuki Isogami, president of Aisin Chemical Indiana.
“The underlying theme in any story of Aisin Chemical Indiana would be a tremendous sense of family and teamwork between our team members,” he said. “It is these people with their dedication to their co-workers and Aisin Chemical Indiana that help to make this company what it is today.”
“We were cautious to not grow so rapidly that we could not maintain our corporate philosophy of ‘Quality First,’” Isogami said. “We are very proud of our track record in quality.”
ACIN has earned several awards from customers for quality over the years, including the Toyota Excellent Quality Award five times in 10 years.
ACIN has added a paper mill at its Crothersville facilities to manufacture paper used in the wet friction material in transmission clutch plates
“Although the paper we produce is only used in our friction material process, the process of making paper was new for Aisin Chemical Indiana,” Isogami said. “We have worked very hard over the past two years to ensure that the paper we produce meets our high standards for quality.”
Last year, another new line was added to produce structural adhesive. That currently is manufactured at Aisin Chemical in Japan and is being replicated in Crothersville.
“The structural adhesive business gives us an opportunity to grow into a new area of the automotive industry,” Isogami said. “We look forward to the challenge of developing a core strength in structural adhesive.”
And the company designed their facilities with future expansion in mind.
Plant 1 in Crothersville is designed to expand to the north for an additional 30,000 square feet for production or warehouse space, and the parking lot of Plant 2 can be expanded. Aisin also owns acreage to the east for a third plant if it’s needed for future growth.
When Aisin Chemical Indiana was established Jan. 5, 2006, it joined Aisin USA Mfg Inc. in Seymour, formed in 1987, and Aisin Drivetrain Inc. in Crothersville, which came along in 1996. Today, those three facilities employ more than 1,900 people.
Scott Turpin, president of Aisin World Corp. of America, said some people might question the concept of having three related manufacturing facilities located so closely to each other in a small, rural setting. But it has worked quite well, he said.
“It has worked well because the business leaders of the three Aisin manufacturing facilities work closely with each other in an effort to not only improve their individual companies, but to improve the company as a whole,” Turpin said.
Stephen Akard, chief of staff with the Indiana Economic Development Corp., thanked Aisin’s Japanese leaders for choosing Indiana for some of its manufacturing facilities.
Ten years ago, Indiana was home to about 200 Japanese companies employing 40,000 Hoosiers. Today, more than 250 Japanese companies employ more than 50,000 Indiana residents.
“That is a remarkable trajectory of growth and prosperity,” he said.
“This sector of the economy, advanced manufacturing, is on a roll and is driving Indiana forward right now,” he said. “We are the envy of the nation in where we stand in terms of our growth. We are at record employment in the state of Indiana, our personal incomes are on the rise, so we look forward to continuing relationships with companies from Japan. In particular from Aisin and the growth of Aisin Chemical, we look forward to the next 10 years.”