REHAU’s First North American Plant Celebrates 50 Years in Operation
REHAU announces the 50-year anniversary of establishing its first North American plant and headquarters location in Montreal, Québec. The company’s regional presence, which began with the establishment of a single-extruder operation in Montreal for the production of handrails, stair nosings and cove bases, has expanded several times over the past five decades in tandem with growth of and demand for REHAU’s polymer-based innovations throughout Canada, the U.S. and Central America. Today, REHAU employs more than 200 people in sales, customer service and manufacturing positions across its facilities in the nearby town of Baie d'Urfé, Quebec. In addition, the company presently operates out of 6 plants, 1 logistics center and 11 sales offices in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, and a North American headquarters facility in Leesburg, Va.
“REHAU’s 50-year history in Montreal and Baie d'Urfé also represents 50 years of establishing the company’s polymer solutions business across all of North America,” said Terry Barnaby, REHAU North America vice president of operations and former Baie d'Urfé plant manager. “We’ve come a long way since the days of our first polymer profiles to making complete systems solutions, and in that time our strength in quality and innovation has been evident in automotive, construction and industry. Looking toward a future of continuing to meet the needs of these markets, and developing products and systems that deliver on efficiency, durability and environmental responsibility, we are excited about how much more can be achieved in the next 50 years.”
To celebrate its anniversary, REHAU held a reception at its Baie d'Urfé facilities on Thursday, May 31 from 3:00 to 5:00 pm. More than 200 REHAU Baie d'Urfé employees and nearly 25 retirees were present at the event, which also included remarks from REHAU North America CEO Dr. Kitty Saylor, current plant manager Steven John, and human resources manager Monika Irchenhaeuser. An employee barbeque will additionally be held at the facility on Friday, June 1.
REHAU has achieved several notable milestones at its Montreal and Baie d'Urfé locations, including becoming the company’s first North American plant to achieve Ford Q1, Ford Full Service Supplier and QS9000 certifications. The Baie d’Urfé location was also the first REHAU North American plant to produce automotive products for direct shipment to OEMs and to establish in-house extrusion tool design and construction capabilities.
Presently, Baie d’Urfé manufactures products for the automotive and industry business divisions. Main product lines in the industry division’s furniture business unit include PVC, ABS and PP edgeband and custom profiles. These products are available in custom color-matched options and in more than 200 standard colors and prints. Main automotive product lines include windshield and roof ditch profiles.
“Of its many strengths, the REHAU Baie d'Urfé operation features an experienced workforce that is also well-entrenched in our flexible manufacturing model,” said Steven John, REHAU Baie d'Urfé plant manager. “This model gives us a competitive edge as we are able to shift our workforce across product categories to meet dynamic demands, particularly as they ebb and flow. In this manner, we’re working lean and efficiently, while also providing cross-training opportunities that keep our workforce fresh, engaged and current in their skill set.”
Additional information on the history of REHAU’s activities in Montreal and Baie d'Urfé are included in the timeline below.
REHAU Montreal and Baie d'Urfé Operations Timeline:
· Production begins with a single extruder for manufacturing handrails, stair nosings and cove bases in 1961.
· Operations move to an 80,000 sq. ft. building at 9195 Charles de la Tour in Montreal in 1971.
· Operations have expanded to include a North American headquarters, a sales office, engineering, chemistry and production departments, and more than 10 extrusion lines with multiple fabrication steps.
· Products being manufactured in the early 1970s include: handrails; U-channels; scuff plates for BMW; stair nosings; small rubber wheels for tricycles; garden hoses; cable ducts for electrical wiring; T-moldings; pressure hoses; cove bases; roller shutters; and clear tubing in a variety of sizes.
· By the late 1970s, production is expanded to include edgeband, refrigerator gaskets and fuel-line tubing for Volkswagen.
· Production of bumper trims and Revel windshield moldings for Volkswagen begins.
· Plant Montreal becomes REHAU’s first North American plant to be involved in high-volume automotive production via the award of business with Ford.
· REHAU moldings begin to appear on various North American Ford models including the Taurus, Topaz, Tempo, Cougar and T-Bird.
· An additional manufacturing space at 650 Lee Avenue in Baie d'Urfé is purchased in 1985 to accommodate the extra fabrication steps needed for producing automotive windshields, backlites and quarter-lite moldings. This location is also used for a year to extrude rigid sewer pipe for REHAU’s construction business.
· Automotive extrusion, sales and administrative offices move from Montreal to their present location at 625 Lee Avenue in 1992.
· An additional location is purchased in 1994 to serve as a distribution center for window extrusions.
· By 1998, REHAU’s second and third buildings are connected to accommodate production for Nissan, BMW and GM, in addition to that for the company’s existing Ford business.
· A notable number of new automotive products are manufactured out of Baie d'Urfé, including windshield and roof ditch moldings for in excess of 15 different car and truck models.
· At its height, REHAU’s Baie d'Urfé operations employ more than 500 people in the region.
· In 2005, the plant is re-tooled to accommodate an expanding edgeband range.
· The plant’s industry product mix continues to grow and adapt to market trends, including a desire for "greener" materials which lead to the development of components made of PVC-alternative polymers such as ABS and PP.
· Sales office operations move to Ville St-Laurent in July of 2005 due to the need for additional space.
· Automotive and industry extrusion operations move to the combined second and third buildings in 2008 to make room for sales office operations to return to the original 625 Lee Avenue location.
· Baie d'Urfé becomes the Canadian customer service center for REHAU’s industry business division.