MINSTER — What does the automotive supplier industry have in common with beer and beverage distribution?
Both rely heavily on manufacturing presses built in the west-central Ohio town of Minster to carry out their respective production operations.
From its beginning in the southern Auglaize County village as a manufacturer of agricultural equipment, and later capitalizing on the turn-of-the-century oil boom to produce clutches for oil wells, Minster Machine has been a leading supplier of stamping machines for industries far and wide for the past 100 years.
After more than a decade as a domestic enterprise, the company has gone global. In 2012, Minster Machine was acquired by Nidec Corporation, a technology corporation with headquarters in Kyoto, Japan. Today the Auglaize County facility goes by the name Nidec/Minster Machine Corp. It is one of 13 Nidec locations in five countries.
Steve Gruber, president and chief operating officer, started at Minster Machine as an engineer 31 years ago. He said the company’s acquisition by Nidec “gave us the ability to grow.”
And grow is just what the company has done. The Minster workforce has swelled from 400 employees in 2011 to more than 620 today. Ground was broken recently on a 25,000 square-foot addition that will add 25 more jobs, Gruber said.
The company designs and constructs presses for a wide range of industries. Stamping machinery churning out parts ranging from motor mounts and seat belt buckles is made in Minster. So, too, are manufacturing presses that produce 90 percent of all aluminum cans for the world’s largest beer and soft drink companies, Gruber said.
“A typical press built here costs $1 million, and it will run parts for the next 50 years,” said the chief operating officer.
Asked to describe what sets Nidec/Minster Machine Corp. apart from its competitors, Gruber said, “What we are really good at is very heavy metal working. Second, I would say, is our design expertise. We’ve got a pretty great group of designers and engineers here.”