YKK AP America Inc., a subsidiary of YKK AP Inc. in Japan, manufactures a complete line of aluminum entrances, storefronts, curtain walls, sunshades, and windows for use in commercial and institutional construction, as well as window products for residential construction. The company produces extrusion profiles on two presses at its plant in Dublin, Georgia, and manufactures architectural products at its sites in Dublin and Macon, Georgia; Coppell, Texas; and West Chester, Ohio. Recently, the company has been expanding its presence in North America through new operations, acquisitions, and research opportunities.
YKK AP America opened a new manufacturing facility in Cincinnati, Ohio, which will improve the company’s service capabilities for customers in the Midwest region. The facility offers 100,000 sq ft of space designed to increase the company’s local production capabilities and allow for more finished goods inventory. It will serve as a key U.S. distribution center for customers serviced both locally and across the country. Additionally, the facility will contribute to local economic growth, creating approximately 30 jobs in manufacturing and operations over the next three years.
“The opening of a manufacturing facility in the heart of the midwest will enable us to better serve and respond to customers in the midwest region by offering them more commercial facade systems closer to home,” said Oliver Stepe, president of YKK AP America Inc. “At its core, YKK AP is committed to exemplary quality and service. By expanding our manufacturing and distribution capabilities, we hope to extend this commitment and best service customers by bringing high-quality, innovative building solutions to the industry.”
YKK AP America acquired Erie Architectural Products Group, headquartered Lakeshore, Ontario, Canada. Erie is a high-performance aluminum and PVC facades solutions provider with over 250 employees in the U.S. and Canada. The company engineers, manufactures and distributes its ENVIRO|FACADES® curtain wall systems across the U.S. Increasingly tight schedules and rapid building close-ins along with a shortage of skilled labor have created a demand for fabricated, pre-assembled products — an area of specialization for Erie AP and of focused growth for YKK AP.
“Through YKK AP’s decade-long relationship as a supplier to Erie AP, we have learned that the companies share tremendous synergy when it comes to our core values and customer and employee-centric philosophies,” said Stepe. “As we looked to the future of our business, it was clear that we needed to grow our offering for prefabricated, pre-assembled products. By bringing Erie AP under the YKK AP umbrella, we are making a progressive move to meet what we see as a growing market demand for unitized products. At the same time, YKK AP’s broad product line will help enhance Erie AP’s position in the market and allow them to further serve their customers. I am excited for this opportunity, and I feel confident that these two great brands will come together as one great company.”
The acquisition includes Erie AP’s headquarters and manufacturing facility in Lakeshore, Ontario. With the completion of the purchase, YKK AP grows to well over 1,000 employees in North America.
Ron Stronks, who founded Erie in 1981, will remain integrally involved in the business and continue to lead Erie as its president. “As we explored what was next for Erie AP and what would bring long-term stability and continued growth to our customers and employees, we knew we wanted to take on a strategic partner that could help take our company to the next level,” said Stronks. “A decade of experience in working with YKK AP affirmed our belief that it as the right partner — and the only partner — for Erie AP.”
YKK AP Inc. signed an agreement with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to conduct joint research on advanced technology to install windows, curtain walls, doors, and products in buildings. The five-year partnership runs through April 2024, and an extension will be considered at the conclusion of the partnership period.
YKK AP researchers are working with CMU’s Computational Engineering and Robotics Laboratory (CERLAB), led by Professor Kenji Shimada, on the real-world application of IT, engineering, and robotics. In response to increasing global demand to counter the shortage of labor at construction sites and shorten the construction period, the purpose of the joint research is to develop cutting-edge robots and IT to improve construction productivity and quality. YKK AP and CMU will investigate virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality technologies and research new methods of installation to bring enhanced innovation to the construction industry.
“YKK AP is seeing future constraints on field labor not only in the US, but across the globe. Increasingly tight schedules, rapid building close-ins, and constraints on skilled field labor are demanding the development of advanced technologies,” said Stepe. “By partnering with Carnegie-Mellon University’s leading research team, YKK AP Inc.’s goal is to bring new and advanced construction technologies to market, creating efficiencies for the global construction industry.”