A Tour of the New Isola Factory: Investing in America

I recently toured Isola’s new 118,000-squarefoot low-volume, high-mix manufacturing facility in Chandler, Arizona. The facility’s construction began in 2020 and, like many building projects, was delayed because of the COVID19 pandemic. Building a new factory during the pandemic was certainly a challenge but the team persevered and the new greenfield facility is now operating to meet the needs of the North American market.

During the tour, I met with Travis Kelly, Ed Kelley, Sean Mirshafiei, Jenny Inocencio, and Walt Niziolek. We covered a range of topics, including lab operations, hiring, the supply chain, R&D, and the concept of the new facility. The factory was designed to extensively utilize automation to improve efficiencies and, as Travis Kelly stated, “to de-risk the labor shortage issue.” As we walked through the facility, it was clear that automation efficiencies were in action as material moved from one process to the next with well-orchestrated choreography.
However, automation does not handle every step in the process. There is a vibrant workforce, and their contributions are highly valued. The following are excerpts from this wide-ranging, daylong tour

 

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23 December 2021

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