By Brian Papke, President
Technology has changed the world, and nowhere else is that more evident than in today’s manufacturing industry. Advancements in machine tool technology, automation and digital connectivity, for instance, have evolved yesterday’s stereotypical dirty, smoke-stack factories into those that can only be described as sleek, lean, agile and extremely productive.
For Mazak, the path to advanced technology started with Terry Yamazaki. Driven by a lifelong passion for manufacturing, he decided, in 1968, that Mazak had to be closer to its North American customers and took the company international with a small office in Long Island, New York. Six years later, Mazak’s North American manufacturing operations began in Florence, Kentucky, with a modest 12,000-square-foot facility.
From the time we powered up our first machine in the Kentucky plant, we’ve maintained a strict continuous improvement and investment philosophy when it comes to manufacturing advancements and technologies and especially in incorporating the same technology we offer our customers.
In fact, we constantly evaluate and re-evaluate our operations and are more than willing to quickly replace perfectly operating machines with those that are more advanced and offer greater flexibility and higher output to fulfill our customers’ demands.
Furthermore, the advancements we’ve made in our manufacturing technology (machine tools and automation) have continuously ensured the success of our customers, while also shaping our current North American operations into what they are today. And just last year, we were the first in the machine tool OEM industry to convert our entire plant over to the MTConnect open communications protocol, which allows us to gather valuable data to further improve our manufacturing operations.
Today, we have an 800,000-square-foot, five-building Production-On-Demand manufacturing campus with all the necessary resources to design, export and support our products. Plus, our network of eight Regional Technology Centers across North America puts technical and applications expertise in close proximity to all of our customers.
Over the past 40 years, our continuous improvement strategies and investment in our manufacturing operations have been the key to our success. And 99.9 percent of the time, customer needs drive those strategies and investments that apply to practically every industry. No one realized this more than Terry Yamazaki, and no other company continues to live by this credo more than Mazak.