Rotarians learn about Advanced Composites

Staff report

SIDNEY — Jody Collier, of Advanced Composites, addressed the Sidney Rotary Club, recently.

Collier attended Shawnee State for his undergraduate studies and has been with Advanced Composites, where he started as an engineer, for more than 22 years.

Collier explained the Advanced Composites business structure: it is a Japanese-owned company and are deeply rooted with Honda.

“Honda has given us a lot of opportunities,” Collier said. Honda and General Motors are its two largest customers. More recently, a lot of its growth has been from opportunities from companies other than Honda. Advanced Composites’ headquarters is in Sidney, but has two other plants, one in Nashville, Tennessee, with the other in Aguascalientes, Mexico.

“(The) total number of employees (is) probably right around 520 right now,” Collier said.

For General Motors, Advanced Composites provides around 200 pounds of material per vehicle, used for GM trucks and SUVs. Collier explained the processes: “What happens is, we buy raw fee stock from our supplies, mix it all together; it goes through a twin-screw extruder, many tanks that require a recipe for the mix, and after we mix it up, we heat it up and mix it up and then it comes out in little spaghetti strands. We cool it back down in water, cut it up, and then we get the tiny little pellets. Those little pellets are then shipped to our customers who use a process called injection-molding. What happens after they mold the part is a bumper, instrument panel, steering wheel or center console. Potentially anything you touch in a car could be ours,” Collier said.

“Our employees are our most important asset. We can’t do what we need to without our employees,” he added. Collier then discussed safety initiatives, including tools that allow employees to observe each other while they are working to help ensure a safe working environment.

“Employees can observe and mark if another employee does something safe, or if they do something at risk,” Collier said. After the observation, the employees discuss the observation, and “the goal is to come up with a solution together” for those at risk activities.

Collier then discussed expansion activities in Sidney. The new expansion “has been our first expansion since 1995,” he noted. Additionally, Collier mentioned storage expansion behind Menards in Sidney, that will add about 400,000 square feet of storage to store raw materials and finished goods.

Staff report