Ever wonder how automobiles are made? Maybe; maybe not. The good news is you don’t have to because as Armando Diana found out the NARMCO Group has it all under control for the North American population.
Driving down the highway on a long journey with children usually turns into a game of naming cars and looking for different license plates. Inevitably, the game morphs into admiring various car chassis. To most, the metal that makes up the car is taken for granted but not to the NARMCO Group.
The NARMCO Group is a leader in metal stampings and assemblies and services some of the biggest names in the automotive manufacturing industry. Metal stamping is a metalworking process by which sheet metal strips are punched using a press tool loaded on a machine press or stamping press to form the sheet into a desired shape.
Founded in 1945 as National Auto Radiator Manufacturing Company by Matthew Rodzik, this privately held, family-owned Canadian company has grown into a family of 11 companies throughout Canada and the United States. The company is run by Matthews’s two sons, Don and John, and is staffed by a third generation management team.
NARMCO has supplied customers with competitively priced, high quality and dependable serviced metal stampings, assemblies, and coated products. The group has expanded to become a major full service supplier of metal stamped and assembled automotive parts.
With over one million square feet of modern manufacturing floor space strategically located throughout North America, the NARMCO group not only provides an end product to the customer but supplies concept and part development, prototype, simulation services, program management, tool design and build, fixture and equipment build, metal stamping, simple to modular assembly, E-coat painting, and decorative chrome plating.
The company began as a replacement radiator manufacturer and expanded to produce fuel tanks, hood panels and oil pans. Throughout the years the company expanded to include 11 member companies with international operations. The NARMCO Group has seven stamping and assembly facilities for the manufacturing of automotive parts and two full service tool-and-die facilities with over 120,000 square feet of manufacturing floor space. It also has a full service facility dedicated to the design and production of automation weld equipment, an electrocoat paint facility, and a decorative chrome plating facility.
A CLOSER LOOK
NARMCO employs over 1,300 employees and all of its facilities have electronic data transfer capabilities to customers, suppliers and company manufacturing facilities. In 1996 the company earned quality service 9000 certification for all manufacturing facilities and is also ISO: 9000 certified.
From the beginning the secret to success has been a dedication to quality while delivering the best service all at an affordable price, says Jonathan Rodzik, corporate sales manager. He says the company’s goal is to continually improve, while investing in the business.
All member companies follow the same principles and were established to meet a specific customer need. Moving forward to ensure another 60 years of running a successful family business, Rodzik says the family is especially proud of the auto parts manufacturing facility in Gasden, Ala., because it is set up to solve a market need. And since the opening of the 70,000-square-foot facility in 2004, it has seen such tremendous growth, adding another 65,000 square feet.
“We built the Gasden facility to solve a market need and customers flocked to it,” he said. “In the past we put up the facilities where the customers were but this approach is driven by market demand.”
The addition to the Gasden facility has meant employment for 60 to 80 people. Rodzik says this market-based approach is the lynch pin to the company’s future expansion strategy. He also says it shows the family’s commitment to continuous improvement.
The NARMCO Group has a wide range of stamping presses, which include transfer presses, high speed automatic and blanking presses, robotic tandem press lines and a sheet metal fluid forming press. The stamping product mix includes body-in-white stampings, structural stampings, and heavy gauge frame components. NARMCO’s long history as a tool provider and stamper has continued to evolve with new materials such as high strength and dual phase materials, laminated steel, and aluminum.
The company has seven facilities in the Windsor, Ontario area. The Metal Stampings Division specializes in large stampings, assemblies and Class A product. The 170,000-square-foot facility was built in 1970 and its key products include bumper stampings; exposed surface rear decks; side door apertures and roof rails. Falcon Tool and Die, founded in 1985, comprises a 33,000-squarefoot facility that specializes in medium-to-small stampings, assemblies and aluminum products. The company’s key products include aluminum heat shields and insulators; small brackets and transmission valve body plates.
Also in the Windsor area is a 190,000-square-foot facility specializing in large stampings and assemblies. This facility produces wheelhouse assemblies; dash panel stamping and assembly; dual phase cross member assemblies; high strength B pillar and reinforcements and oil pans. NARMCO also has a 32,000-square-foot, full-service tooling provider specializing in deep draw complex stamping dies, exposed class A panels and large body panels for the automotive industry.
The company’s tooling and equipment division includes a 38,000-square-foot facility in Oldcastle, Ontario that is a full service provider of final automated weld equipment, assembly fixtures, check fixtures and gauges. It is augmented by a full-service tooling facility that makes progressive dies, line dies and transfer dies for the automotive industry.
MORE THAN MANUFACTURING FACILITIES
The NARMCO Group utilizes the latest technology within its assembly processes. The use of flexible cells and inline processes allows the company to continue to benchmark against the industry for efficiency, technology, quality and costs. To supplement NARMCO’s in house abilities, the company owns and has close associations with many global manufacturers of automated assembly equipment and tooling.
In addition, the NARMCO Group provides corporate resources through a company support team to its customers and its manufacturing plants. NARMCO has committed Engineering, Program Management, Sales, and Estimating, as a cross-functional team, that manages all new product launches and support services to customers and other manufacturing facilities.
The corporate management team is highly involved in the program management process and holds formal meetings on a monthly basis to ensure all disciplines are integrated into the launch of new programs and the demands of the customer are fulfilled. In addition, NARMCO is committed to the introduction and implementation of new technology for the betterment of its customers and its processes.
The company accomplishes this by having the research and development center and automation group manage, build, test and maintain all internal and external assembly and automation equipment for the corporation. This is an operating philosophy that displays the constant commitment to efficiency improvements and gives the company a competitive advantage.
Rodzik says the company has a history of capital investments into the company and there are no plans to change that approach. A recent example other than the expansion of the Gasden facility occurred in 2006 when the company invested in a 35,000-squarefoot expansion of Canadian Electrocoating Ltd. This division produces small to medium stampings for the automotive industry and the expansion area houses integrated stamping presses and automated assembly cells.
For more than six decades, NARMCO’s ability to anticipate and adapt to the market have continued to grow, propelling the privately owned and operated Canadian business further in its field and no doubt keeping its footing firm well it further into the future.