ST. LOUIS — Hunter Engineering Co. has made significant changes in the last year at its St. Louis headquarters and production plants in Mississippi in an effort to ease supply strains and keep products moving.
In 2022, Hunter opened a 106,000-sq.-ft., 37-bay distribution center in Madison, Miss., between its plants in Durant and Raymond, Miss.. The new site is designed to open more production room at the existing plants and dramatically decrease shipping times.
Finished products are now stocked and consolidated in Madison before being delivered to customers in an efficient, single shipment, the company said. The Madison facility quickly set a company record by shipping more than 30 alignment racks in one day, Hunter said.
Earlier in 2023, Hunter restructured its St. Louis service center to streamline procedures and make the most efficient use of space.
The service center installed a new automated pack-out line, which allowed the packing team to completely rearrange operations for an improved flow. The receiving team can now process critical inbound parts two days faster, sending them into the field sooner and easier, Hunter said.
Hunter also moved teams to other parts of the building, allowing them to remove walls and create more space for warehousing and other uses.
Other improvements include:
- Bringing bench lathe parts manufacturing in-house for more quality control and reduced lead times;
- Adding a new tube-cutting laser in Durant to allow all RX leg and cross-member cutting to be performed on-site. The plant also installed a 10k Trumpf laser to keep pace with demand;
- Bringing additional press brakes, robotic welding cells and a panel former online to the Raymond metal fabrication plant, as well as adding new assembly operation cells to build Hunter's new Ultimate ADAS system and Maverick tire changer; and
- Commissioning a second full Panasonic pick-and-place line and state-of-the-art automated inspection technology at the Raymond electronics plant, allowing Hunter to build boards with the latest high-speed technology. The plant also added new cable processing technology to improve quality and add capacity to its wire and cable department.
"The equipment and continuous improvement efforts from Hunter Excellence Teams yielded significantly increased throughput to keep pace with growth," Hunter said.
"Hunter has always prided itself on not only producing innovative equipment but making sure it's always kept in constant use by our customers," said Mike Redfearn, vice president, manufacturing. "We're very proud that we've been able to maintain our usual standard of performance despite numerous supply chain obstacles."