Cashmere Molding Inc. (Woodinville)

Greg Herlin, Cashmere Molding
Greg Herlin, president of
Cashmere Molding, oversaw a period both of automation and increased hiring.

Typical business formula: install
automation to cut production costs. Lay off employees.

Cashmere Molding’s formula:
install automation to cut production costs. Add employees.

The 19-year-old plastics molding
company, which makes products for diverse industries ranging from medical
devices to consumer and marine products, figured the depths of a recession were
a good time to invest in a new robotic tool that doubled production capacity
for a part and reduced labor costs by 70 percent, resulting in a 40 percent cut
in the overall cost of the part.

But instead of cutting employment,
Cashmere added 20 employees to help with the new business the company hoped to
snare by offering lower prices on that part.

Cashmere says it brought in five
customers who had sent their plastic-molding work to China.

Such oft-contrarian thinking
helped boost sales by 10 percent last year, Cashmere says. The company also
says the additional revenue helped provide all 51 employees with full health
care coverage, retirement plans and vacation time.

Cashmere boosted its count of
molding machines and robots from 10 to 17 in 2009. Co-founder and President
Greg Herlin hopes that continuing to invest ambitiously in innovation and
technology will keep his firm globally competitive as well as bring back
manufacturing work once thought lost for good.

“If our prices are competitive, then we will
get the work back in this country because our customer service and our
engineers are unmatched,” he says. “I’m out to prove that American
manufacturing can be competitive again.”

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The 2016 Washington Manufacturing Awards: Legacy Award

The 2016 Washington Manufacturing Awards: Legacy Award

Winner: Belshaw Adamatic Bakery Group
Legacy Award
Belshaw Adamatic Bakery Group
Auburn ›
When it’s time to make doughnuts — or loaves of bread, or sheets of rolls — it could well be a Belshaw Adamatic piece of equipment that’s turning out the baked goods. From a 120,000-square-foot plant in Auburn, Belshaw Adamatic produces the ovens, fryers, conveyors and specialty equipment like jelly injectors used by wholesale and retail bakeries.
The firm’s two legacy companies — Belshaw started in 1923, Adamatic in 1962 — combined forces in 2007. Italy’s Ali Group North America is the parent.
It it takes work to maintain a legacy. A months-long strike in 2013 damaged morale and forced a leadership change. Frank Chandler was named president and CEO of Belshaw Adamatic in September 2013. The company has since strived to mend workplace relationships while also introducing a stream of new products, such as a convection oven, the BX Eco-touch, with energy saving features and steam injection that can be programmed for precise times in baking. The company energetically describes it as “an oven that saves time, reduces errors, makes an awesome product, and is fun to use and depend on every day!”
So far, more than 3,000 have been installed in quick-service restaurants, bakeries, cafés and supermarkets in the United States. They are the legacy of Thomas and Walter Belshaw, former builders of marine engines, who began producing patented manual and automated doughnut-making machines in Seattle 90 years ago. They sold thousands worldwide and, today, Belshaw Adamatic is the nation’s largest maker and distributor of doughnut-making equipment.