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At 6 a.m. on Sunday, May 20, Uponor reached another milestone in the company’s history: manufacturing PEX pipe in its new facility in Hutchinson, Minnesota. Surpassing the goal of pipe production six months ahead of schedule, the 237,000-square-foot facility was purchased, renovated and received regulatory approval in less than a year’s time.
“Getting initial production launched at the Hutchinson plant on schedule is a major accomplishment,” said Jon Sillerud, vice president, operations. “More than 50 employees and 14 workstream leads dedicated approximately 23,000 hours in less than one year to bring this project to fruition. Accomplishing this remarkable task required focused teamwork from all departments across the company, including operations, engineering, supply chain, finance, IT, human resources, communications, project management and senior leadership.”
Uponor North America announced the $6.35 million Hutchinson investment in July 2017 after signing an agreement to purchase the existing facility to support the company’s growing U.S. manufacturing operations.
At the time of that announcement, the company estimated operations in Hutchinson would begin in “early 2019.” The opening of this plant marks Uponor’s 11th expansion since 1990.
Sillerud, who has spent half of his 30-year career managing new growth projects for large manufacturing facilities, said the Hutchinson plant is modeled after Uponor’s Apple Valley facility, which was honored with the Minnesota Manufacturers Alliance Manufacturer of the Year Award in both 2013 and 2018.
“To ensure our facilities function at maximum efficiency, we are heavily involved in the areas of operational excellence and lean manufacturing,” said Sillerud. “We are using strategic digital technology tools and targeted planning to ensure our existing and new manufacturing spaces run with minimal waste, high efficiencies and increased flexibility.”