The Greenfield YPPI facility now houses the entire propeller casting operation, while the YPPI location in Ritter, Ind. will serve as the manufacturer’s post casting and finishing facility. YPPI is one of only two marine propeller foundries in the U.S. and one of the largest stainless-steel investment casting foundries in the world.
“Yamaha built the Greenfield facility with additional capacity in mind – not only to meet today’s demand, but tomorrow’s as well,” said Ak. “As key customers of many vendors that supply U.S.-sourced products, we’ve been at the forefront of receiving the raw materials we needed to keep up the pace.“
To achieve greater levels of efficiency and increased production, the YPPI team brought in several new equipment advancements including a first-of-its-kind pouring system in addition to higher levels of space-efficient automation, i.e. robotic processing. The robotics created the need for new technical roles to support the equipment and technology.
“Many jump to the conclusion that introducing robotics into the manufacturing process eliminates jobs; that’s the opposite of what we’ve experienced with our expansion,” said Ak.
“Not only did we retain all our employees, we added new positions for highly-skilled technicians – and we’ve grown and trained these professionals from our in-house team. Our overall headcount for the new facility increased, rather than decreased, with the introduction of new efficiencies. Our employees are now earning more while our company increases efficiency and production – it’s a win-win.”
Investments in personnel
YPPI employees have the advantage of on-the-job foundry training and expert skill development that is directly transferrable to other manufacturing industries. The manufacturer also offers world-class benefits and competitive salaries that start well above minimum wage, giving employees comfortable lifestyle options within the cost-of-living factor in Greenfield.
“The strongest and most valuable component of a career with YPPI is our culture,” Ak continued. “We are not your traditional manufacturer. We care for our employees. We are Yamaha with a ‘mom and pop’ feel. We invest in our people, giving them opportunities to grow and learn along the way”.
The group broke ground on the 55,000 square foot building on five of 28 acres in July of 2019. Yamaha plans to further expand the YPPI campus in the future.
“The new foundry is phase one of a multi-part development in Greenfield,” said Ak. “Each phase will further support the Yamaha U.S. Marine Business Unit mission to be a leader in boat component and system integrations that allow customers to enjoy easier, more satisfying boating experiences.”
Expert craftsmanship delivers exceptional performance on the water
Did you know that YPPI propeller manufacturing processes and key variables resemble those of the aerospace industry? Proper jet engine turbine blade functionality is critical to the safety of the pilot and crew. The YPPI teams requires the same level of accuracy and control of blade geometry when it comes to manufacturing marine propellers.
While other manufacturers use a blueprint process to produce propellers, YPPI props are 100% matched to the original design specification of each model to ensure they deliver top performance on the water every time.
Increasing the level of automation through new robotics in the Greenfield facility helps decrease the chance for variability in the casting process, inherently increasing the quality of the product and propeller.
YPPI team members play the biggest role in delivering the best propellers in the market. Yamaha built the Greenfield location from the ground up to ensure the foundry preserves the existing YPPI workforce while enhancing the skills of the team that has mastered the craft. The overall result is the production of quality propellers that deliver top performance every time.
World’s Best Foundry Equipment
Much of the foundry equipment found in YPPI’s new Greenfield facility came from VA Technology and LBCC, two key supply companies located in Sheffield, England, the foundry capital of the world.
During the COVID-19 outbreak, the YPPI team navigated shutdowns and delays during the final equipment implantation phase of the new foundry. Realizing they could not open the doors in Greenfield on time without getting these vendors to the U.S. to install the new equipment, the broader U.S. Yamaha team stepped in to help.
“John O’Keefe on the Yamaha Marine Government Relations team worked with federal officials to help get the work visas secured to allow the teams for VA Technology and LBCC to travel to the U.S. to install the new foundry equipment,” said Batuhan Ak, Plant Manager of YPPI Greenfield.
“His great efforts kept us on track to open in July and underscored the ‘One Yamaha’ approach to business. The overall Yamaha team has a true work together/get it done mentality. We are a global company with vast resources and team members willing to go above and beyond to help – even when the task falls outside of their daily job descriptions.
In my opinion, this approach to teamwork is one of the greatest values of a partnership with Yamaha and YPPI. Dealers and builders who work with Yamaha experience all the pros of working with a big, global company while also reaping the benefits of a ‘roll-up-your-sleeves/mom-and-pop’ approach to business relationships. To put it simply, Yamaha cultivates a culture of great collaboration in the name of delivering premium products.”