Member Spotlight - Erick Ajax

October 2016

Each month, the PMA Member Spotlight features an outstanding member sharing his/her insights into the latest industry trends and technologies.

Erick Ajax

PMA is pleased to highlight Erick Ajax, co-owner of Ajax Metal Forming Solutions, Minneapolis, MN. A contract manufacturer of progressive metal stampings and sheetmetal fabrications, the company serves numerous industries including appliance, construction, heavy truck and electronics.

Read Erick's thoughts about Manufacturing Day, what’s on his wish list for his plant and more!

Q: What is your company planning for Manufacturing Day and why are events like these important?
A: The Twin Cities District (TCD) of PMA is working together to host the bus tour. We have more than a dozen metalforming companies hosting several hundred Career Technical Education high school students from across the Twin Cities area. The TCD PMA is a major sponsor of this tour, providing as much as $500 per school tour to help TCD PMA members offset the cost of the buses and the lunch provided to students. Ajax Metal Forming Solutions believes that parents and educators are key influencers in the students’ decision-making processes. To reach these key influencers, Ajax Metal Forming will showcase all of our “Ships:” paid internships, scholarships and apprenticeships. We call these programs "the other college without the debt.

We provide a four-year registered apprenticeship to qualifying students, giving them the opportunity to earn while they learn. Our main point: Metalforming apprentices will earn nearly $150,000 during a four-year apprenticeship and can continue on to a great career as a Class A Journey Worker earning well over $20 per hour plus outstanding benefits, including all college tuition fully paid up front.

Q: What is on your wish list for your shop within the next year and why?
A: Ajax Metal Forming Solutions embarked on a fantastic new production-cell investment during the third quarter of 2016. Phase One of this investment includes a new AIDA ServoPro press line with hand transfer between a 220-ton mechanical blank, a 220-ton mechanical form, and a 220-ton servo final form with four cam-actuated toggle locks. All new tools for this line.

Phase Two will add transfer automation by the end of Q1 2017. That phase includes a custom-built servo transfer system between each press with a robot arm pulling the finished parts out of the servo press and stacking product for shipping. We believe that this investment will reduce customer lead times and double our throughput by the end of 2017. Moreover, we will reduce labor requirements on this line by 75 percent, enabling us to reassign workforce to other areas of our plant.

Q: What would be on the agenda of your ideal metalforming conference?
A: We believe that the following will soon have significant impact on our business:

  • Industry 4.0
  • Ongoing automation and integration
  • Addressing problems before they happen
  • Modularization of changeovers
  • Factory traceability

Q: What keeps you up at night about the metalforming industry and why?
A: The greatest threat to our business is the current scarcity of young adults who are interested in preparing for a career in advanced modern manufacturing. We believe that manufacturers with access to skilled human capital will be successful in the decades to come. We're making very large investments today to make sure we are among tomorrow's success stories.

Q: What was the best piece of business advice you were ever given?
A: Keep doing enough things right and it will catch up with you.

Q: If you could have a dinner party with three famous people (living or dead), who would you invite?
A: Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Barack Obama. I would seat Trump in the middle between Clinton and Obama. LOL!


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