Maeda Corporation USA

MaedaMaeda Corporation USA completes work on a new automotive factory in Indiana.

By Kat Zeman, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Media

There are many challenges to building a factory. Cary Myers has faced most of them. The U.S. Army veteran, who built schools and bridges while serving in the military, works for Livonia, Mich.-based Maeda Corporation USA.

As one of the company’s project managers, he’s accustomed to overseeing the construction of large manufacturing facilities, Maeda’s bread and butter. The company, a branch office of Japanese-based Maeda Corp., specializes in the design, build and management of such projects.  

“I spent most of my career building large factories,” Myers says. “I think the smallest I built was a 9,000-square-foot addition and the largest was 420,000 square feet.”

Advancements in automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, cloud computing and big data play an increasingly important role in how factories are built and operated. “But one of the biggest challenges in building a factory is determined by what your client will bring into the building,” Myers says. “Some machinery requires special foundations. Maybe they need a unique ventilation system or a special process for their water supply.”

Planning Ahead

Most modern factories house heavy equipment used for assembly line production, laboratory testing and other machines for manufacturing production. Large factories also tend to need access to multiple modes of transportation, with some having rail, highway and water loading and unloading facilities.

“Many need heat-treating equipment and that requires large amounts of electricity and cooling water capacity because you have to keep machines at certain temperatures,” Myers says. “So we have to determine the electrical requirements for each machine and work with utility companies to make sure there is enough electricity and then work with mechanical contractors to make sure that the machinery will be properly cooled.”

Planning ahead for future machinery installation presents another challenge. “They don’t always put all the equipment into the building at one time,” he adds. “If they are building equipment in stages, we have to size the process equipment to meet the final demand.”

All Shapes And Sizes

Maeda tackles projects of all sizes. They range from minor renovations to new facilities. The manufacturing facilities that the company builds tend to range from 100,000 to 400,000 square feet. In March, Maeda completed a project for a large automotive manufacturer in Anderson, Ind. The project broke ground in April 2017. Maeda Corporation USA box

“We broke ground in spring and immediately got six inches of rain,” Myers says. “It’s challenging to start building under those conditions. But we were able to continue to make the drainage ditches and retention ponds and Filson Earthwork (Company) used pumps to remove water from areas that would not drain. No significant time was lost. Long hours and weekends kept the job on schedule.”

But the 320,000-square-foot project was completed on time. “It will take them three to four years to get to full speed with all machines and staff,” Myers says, adding that the project also included roughly 20,000 square feet of office space.

Although Maeda USA tackles projects throughout the entire United States, its focus territories are located in the Midwest. The company generally has one large manufacturing facility under construction each year. “This allows Maeda to concentrate on providing the highest quality and attention to detail its clients have come to expect,” Myers says. “During the course of a year Maeda may also handle a few small jobs like assisting with a remodel of an office or managing a machinery change out or upgrade.”

Standing Behind Work

Founded in 1919 in Japan, Maeda Corp. is known for its construction services in southeast Asia and North America. Today, the company’s home base is in Tokyo, with offices in many Asian countries as well as in Mexico and the Republic of Djibouti.

The company expanded into the United States in 1985 by forming MKK Technologies, a wholly owned subsidiary to assist Japanese clients with building in the United States. In 2010, MKK was dissolved and Maeda Corporation USA was formed. It specializes in all phases of construction management, design and build.

“Maeda Corporation USA consists of a small group of people that combine to make an effective team,” Myers says. “It takes all of us to get the job done.” The U.S. office operates mainly in the Midwest, with projects in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Kansas and Tennessee.

The company prides itself on being trustworthy and building quality projects that stand the test of time.

“We stand behind all the work we do,” Myers says. “We take care of our clients long after the project is completed.  Most companies don’t do that. That’s why our clients keep coming back to us. Our company’s motto is ‘willingness, integrity and technology.’ We really do what it takes to get the job and do it honestly, and we use the latest materials and technology to get it done.”

The company takes its three motto pillars seriously. Maeda acknowledges that a company must produce a profit to remain in business, but that focusing solely on profit prevents the company from prospering. That’s why integrity is fundamental to a business.

Maeda also places a heavy focus on technology. It prides itself on  technology that is original and that its competitors want to learn. It believes that it has an advantage over its competitors thanks to its use of the most current technology at fair prices. 

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