ARMOR USA Celebrates 20 Years in the Americas

Published 28/11/2019

ARMOR USA Celebrates 20 Years in the Americas

Published 28/11/2019 in
The ARMOR Group, headquartered in Nantes, France, is a pioneer in Thermal Transfer Ribbon technology. Manufacturing in Europe since 1983, the group opened a facility in Hebron, KY (adjacent to Cincinnati Airport) in 1999, and opened another in Singapore shortly thereafter. The global footprint has been expanding ever since with now more than 13 manufacturing sites all over the world.

ARMOR USA has grown to a staff of just under 90, many of whom reside locally in the Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati area. Scott Morgan is one of the original employees that continue to work as the North American Technical Sales Manager: “ARMOR USA started with 8 people and 11,000 square feet and has grown to 81,000 square feet” This is only part of the success story at the Americas headquarters. An expansion is planned for 2020, which will bring the total square footage to over 100,000 square feet. 

Morgan continues...“The most significant change is the automation we’ve added over the years. We’ve pioneered robotic automation for the converting and handling of Thermal Transfer film, which was conceived and designed solely by the ARMOR Group. This separates ARMOR from other actors in our industry and brings a level of productivity, quality, and consistency that is unrivalled.” 

Vice President of Operations of the Americas Ryan Heitkamp, notes: “We have become more automated in many ways beyond robotics, including adding vision systems, scanners, MES... which have also brought a lot of process improvements and efficiencies” 

Heitkamp is proud to add... “ARMOR’s automation and innovation doesn’t necessarily replace our most important asset - our employees. It helps existing workers increase productivity, improving competitiveness, and reduces work-related physical stress.” 

An example of this is the 2018 addition of a robotic palletizer, added to one of their high-speed packing lines, which precisely places cartons onto a pallet and is responsible for palletizing 63% of ARMOR USA’s total volume of packaged rolls. This results in an estimated 2.9 million pounds of weight that is no longer handled by operators. 

Randy Culman, Vice President of Finance & Administration, says: “In parallel with automation, our expansion in the Americas has been impressive. ARMOR has opened production facilities in Brazil (2007), Mexico (2014), Canada (2017) and Colombia (2018)… All of these were projects led by ARMOR USA administrative and operational personnel.” 

Since 2011, ARMOR USA’s sales volume has increased by 170%. Furthermore, in the American zone, they have grown by 240%. This is all thanks to an initial employee base that has paved the way for new personnel and projects.  

As testament to the longevity of ARMOR’s commitment to their global workforce, 18 employees in ARMOR USA have remained with us for 15 years or more,” proudly adds Chris Walker, VP & General Manager, who celebrated 20 years in ARMOR USA and 30 years with ARMOR Group Industrial Coding and Printing (AICP) in 2019. 
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