Hyundai WIA Moves to Chicagoland

The machine tool builder’s new, more centralized location is more convenient for customers and dealers, and it provides greater capabilities for service and support.

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Attendees gather at the entrance to Hyundai Wia’s new 10,000-square-foot showroom, which can accommodate as many as 20 machines under power at any given time.

Last Monday, I began the workweek with a roughly 5 ½-hour drive to Itasca, Illinois for the grand opening of Hyundai Wia Machine America Corp’s new headquarters facility. Given the abundance of manufacturers and technology suppliers in the surrounding area, Chicagoland is a common destination for me and other editors at Gardner Business Media, the Cincinnati, Ohio-based publisher of MoldMaking Technology and various other titles. And although our well-worn route through Indiana cornfields isn’t particularly exciting, I couldn’t help but reflect on how convenient this trip was compared to the last time I visited the headquarters of this particular machine tool builder. Back then, the company was based in Carlstadt, New Jersey. That trip required a plane ticket, and—at least for a Midwesterner like yours truly—a harrowing drive down Route 17, one of the state’s busiest thoroughfares.

As it turned out, convenience is one of the primary reasons why the company decided to set up shop in Itasca rather than Carlstadt. At least, that’s what John Crean, national sales manager, said at a press conference during the grand opening event. Chicago’s centralized location and robust manufacturing industry makes it more convenient for not just Cincinnati magazine editors, but also many of the company’s customers and dealers. As a major hub, O’Hare International Airport is easily accessible even to those located too far away to drive, and the headquarters facility is only minutes away from there. In fact, Crean noted that the new location had already attracted more visitors than the previous headquarters did in the past two years.  

Convenience isn’t the only reason Crean cited for the increased number of visitors. The new location also has more to offer. For one, the 10,000-square-foot showroom and areas dedicated to working on customer applications are better equipped to handle multiple machines under power. Additionally, the company has invested in a barcode-based automatic storage and retrieval system and a new database that enable it to cost-effectively maintain a much greater inventory of spare parts. In fact, Crean noted that the facility is well on its way to housing more than $10 million of parts inventory by the end of this year, a dramatic increase from the $2 million the company held as recently as two years ago. The facility also offers more space for events geared toward training and education, an area in which the company plans to ramp up its activity in the coming years. Finally, Crean noted Chicago’s status as a hub of manufacturing activity provides access to a larger pool of employees with the skills required for top-notch service.

In all, the move shows Hyundai Wia’s commitment to not just selling machines, but also supporting customers, dealers, and even the broader industry. Given the resurgence in North American manufacturing, that will likely be critical to reaching the company’s stated goal of becoming a top 5 machine tool builder worldwide by 2020. 

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Among the machines at the event that might interest moldmakers was the F750B three-axis VMC, shown here with a rotary fourth axis. Notable features include wide, hardened and induction-ground guideways for stability during heavy cutting; a spindle with a two-step gear drive for both high speed and high low-end torque; and 30-bar/427-psi through-spindle coolant, which is said to minimize overheating and distortion and improve cutting speed by flushing chips out of holes.

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