Four days before his inauguration, President-Elect Barack Obama paid a visit to a company in Northeastern Ohio that uses forging as a key production process. The reason: to focus attention on his Recovery and Reinvestment Plan. Executives from several wind turbine manufacturers were invited to attend the event, along with politicians and company employees and their guests.
The company, Cardinal Fastener and Specialty Co. in Bedford Heights, southeast of Cleveland, was selected because it has found success in producing products needed by the fast-growing wind power industry. As a measure of that success, in the days leading up to Obama’s visit, the company added 15 jobs to meet growing demand for its high-strength fasteners used in construction of wind turbines.
In manufacturing its products, Cardinal Fastener uses state-of-the-art induction heating, closed die vertical forging, CNC machining of standard items and blueprint specials, and equipment to provide either rolled or cut threads. The hot forging step is used to shape the heads of bolts and other fasteners.
One of the keys to the growth of Cardinal, according to its president, John Grabner, is its implementation of lean manufacturing principles in all its operations. Grabner introduced lean manufacturing to company employees in 1998, and today the production area has several production cells for turning out bolts for wind power equipment manufacturing and other industries. Because of the implementation of lean thinking throughout its organization, Cardinal is able to respond to tight delivery demands, often shipping an order the same day it was placed.
More than 500,000 Cardinal fasteners have been installed in working wind turbines. The company celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2008. It currently employs 65 associates.