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Nishikawa develops the manufacturing system they dreamed of

Nishikawa develops the manufacturing system they dreamed of - with help from Zünd & GTK - installing 10 Zünd cutters, and more to come…

NISHIKAWA COOPER LLC, NISCO, is a sealing systems manufacturer and Tier 1 supplier to the automotive industry. Its U.S. headquarters and manufacturing facilities are located in Topeka and Bremen, Indiana, with design & sales offices in Novi, Michigan. The company was founded in 1986 as a Japanese-American joint venture between Nishikawa Rubber Company and Michigan-based Cooper Standard. With a U.S. workforce exceeding 1,000, Nishikawa’s extensive customer base includes, among others, Honda, Subaru, Nissan, Chrysler, Toyota, and Lexus.

Signed, delivered, and sealing - ten times
As part of a $12.7 Million expansion announced in April 2013, Nishikawa was aiming to automate, and relocate to the U.S., a manufacturing process previously handled by its Chinese manufacturing operations. „In China they were sheeting and then running the PE plastics and EPDM foam rubber we use for door hole seals through presses - a rather labor-intensive process. Instead, we wanted to explore the possibility of having Zünd cutters process these materials more efficiently from rolls,“ says Chad Klopfenstein, VP of Program Management, Advanced Technology, Corporate Engineering, and Cost Estimating. NISCO looked to Zünd for cutting equipment that would deliver the required through-put, reliability, and precision. Less than a year after the announcement, ten S3 cutters are firmly integrated with Nishikawa’s robots and PLCs, cranking out parts affectionately known as «shower curtains» 24/7.

Tailor-made for savings
Since they are essentially single-purpose machines, most of the Zünds installed to date at Nishikawa are configured as S3 M-1200 conveyorized cutting systems, with Universal Module and Universal Cutting Tool. All of them are equipped with custom roll-off and robotic off-load systems for fully automated roll-processing. The labor savings, especially compared to the original process, are significant, and so are the material and cost savings gained from 25% improved material usage. The latter is partly a function of working from rolls instead of sheets but can also be attributed to the GTK nesting program the company has implemented.

With more to come
„We couldn’t be happier with our Zünds and the process we have developed“, says Chad. „We made Zünd think outside their «normal» box, but with their help and GTK’s, we fully developed the system we dreamed of. The savings and returns in all aspects - labor, material, cost, and productivity - have more than met our expectations.“ In a next step, NISCO is exploring the possiblity of expanding the Zünd-based manufacturing model to other applications, paving the way for further additions to its customer base - and fleet of Zünd cutters.