NAI Reshores Some Connector Molding

After closing U.S. manufacturing in 2009 following the telecom and broader market collapse, NAI is opening a new production site in Michigan, including injection molding.

NAI, a leading manufacturer connectors used in the industrial technology, telecom, data and medical industries will open its newest production facility in Gaylord, Mich., representing the return of manufacturing to the U.S. and the Midwest for the company.

Back in 2009, NAI moved its manufacturing operations out of the U.S. in response to the telecom market collapse. The return was prompted by customer requests to provide support from a U.S. location for certain products and projects.  

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The new 25,000-ft2 Gaylord manufacturing facility will begin production in June, with initial staffing of 40 employees. By 2019, that number will reach 125. The new plant will produce various interconnect assemblies, eventually including electro-mechanical units such as box-and-panel builds. Manufacturing capabilities will include injection molding, with nine large presses to start, ranging in clamp force from 50 to 500 tons. A company spokesperson said NAI will transfer some existing machines from its facility in Hermosillo, Mexico and purchase two new machines The facility will also offer sterilization and assembly of finished goods, serving all three of NAI’s customer segments: medical, industrial, and telecom. Primary materials include copolyester, nylon, copolymer polypropylene, urethanes, polyethylene, and vinyl.

Initially, the company spokesperson said NAI would likely outsource sterilization. Eventually the company will install either “through-the-bag” Gamma-Cobalt 60 sterilization equipment or a E-Beam irradiation system. The spokesperson said that projects currently in the queue do not require clean room processing, adding, “However that’s not to say something requiring a clean room doesn’t arise in the coming year.”

The plant development plans also include eventual certification for both ISO-9001-Rev.2015 and ISO-13485 Rev.2016. The company is reconfiguring an existing building that was previously used as a window, door and siding distributor.

NAI noted in a release that it had considered Indiana and Ohio, but chose Michigan due to its high concentration of engineers and other skilled workers, as well as supportive business climate, strong schools and optimal logistics. In addition, the proximity of the Gaylord plant to some of NAI’s customers, as well as to its Troy Solutions Center, was also a consideration.

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