02/04/2016 - Press release

Hutchinson Opens North American Innovation Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Hutchinson Innovation Center Michigan
GRAND RAPIDS, MI – (GRAND RAPIDS, MI) –Global automotive and aerospace innovator & manufacturer, Hutchinson opened its first North American Innovation Center at a private grand opening event on January 20 in Grand Rapids.  The center, which occupies 13,400 SF of a renovated third floor of its 30-acre campus at 460 Fuller Avenue in Grand Rapids, is dedicated to research, development and innovative thinking for all of Hutchinson’s divisions.
 

This is only the second innovation center that Hutchinson operates, with the other being the 507 Fab House, located in Montargis, France, near Hutchinson’s Paris world headquarters. That facility was constructed by the legendary Gustave Eiffel. The company chose Grand Rapids due to its central location to major clients and vendors and its 30-year history with the location (Grand Rapids was Hutchinson’s first location in the United States).

More than 170 invited guests attended the event, which included formal remarks, guided tours, educational presentations and product displays. Remarks came from Hutchinson Global President & CEO Jacques Maigne, Hutchinson North America President & CEO Cedric Duclos, The Right Place, Inc. President & CEO Birgit Klohs, and a recorded video message from Grand Rapids’ Mayor Rosalynn Bliss.  Hutchinson’s global board of directors all attended as part of a 3-day visit to Grand Rapids.

The facility includes a mix of meeting rooms, videoconferencing technology, product and robotic displays and banquet facilities.  Specifically, the 616 Fab House, the center’s formal name, includes:

  • Interactive Product Showroom
  • Process & Robotics Interactive Showroom
  • Fabrication Lab & 3D Printer Center
  • Interactive Lightboards
  • Telepresence Center (instant, immersive connection to Hutchinson’s other locations)
  • Training & Conference Center
  • Board Room
  • Breakout and Lounge Seating
  • Reception  Kitchen

Although the Grand Rapids facility focuses on developing, engineering and manufacturing NVH (Noise/Vibration/Harshness) systems for the automotive industry, the 616 Fab House is intended to be used by all five of Hutchinson’s global divisions.

“It is our intent to use the 616 Fab House as a place to connect using our state-of-the-art video and audio conferencing systems to bring customers together with Hutchinson’s global capabilities.” said Hutchinson North America President and CEO Cedric Duclos. “Additionally, we aim to use this space to foster innovative thinking and brainstorming.  Using our touch screen technology and a variety of meeting spaces, we provide a setting that inspires creative, problem-solving thinking that drives Hutchinson’s business forward.”

The interactive product display area shows all products made by Hutchinson’s North American operations in their environmental use.  For instance, there are replicas of an airplane fuselage, a full-size automobile and military tank treads with actual Hutchinson parts inserted.

The advanced telepresence capabilities at the 616 Fab House provide a unique, immersive experience.   One room has a 3-screen video monitor that, when in use, gives participants the sensation that the person on the screen is sitting directly across from them. 

The space, which formerly served as a storage area, was constructed in just under eight months with Pinnacle Construction serving as general contractor and R.O.I. Design handling architectural and design services.  There is approximately 10,000 SF of unused space on the 3rd floor, which allows for the 616 Fab House to be expanded for future use. 

Hutchinson’s Grand Rapids campus consists of 30 acres of land and 260,000 SF of space spread over six inter-connected buildings. Approximately 300 people work at the facility.

Several meetings a month will occur at the 616 Fab House, to bring together customers with all of Hutchinson’s global technical resources in a space that encourages creativity.  As a result, Hutchinson is expected to hire a facility manager and additional staff to manager the center.

The addition of the 616 Fab House is welcomed by City leaders as well.

“A global company like Hutchinson has many choices on where they can invest their resources.  We are delighted that the company has chosen Grand Rapids as the new home for their North American innovation center.  Hutchinson can now provide a setting that inspires innovative thinking, which can only mean good things for our region,” said The Right Place, Inc. President and CEO Birgit Klohs.

“The City of Grand Rapids is very proud to have a longtime business such as Hutchinson invest in our City, particularly in the manufacturing and technology sectors. This innovation and dedication to advancing research and development is exactly what the City of Grand Rapids needs to be a leader in this country,” said City of Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss.

“This facility is over 100 years old, so it’s full of footsteps from the past. In fact, if you look closely at some of these floors, you can still see those footprints. We felt it important to keep some of those footsteps visible, not just as a way to reflect on the past, but to also use it as a reminder that it takes the footsteps of many people to create things, to innovate, to collaborate, to create,” Duclos notes. “Perhaps in another 100 years people will be standing here reflecting on the historical changes this innovation center had for our company, for our city and region and for our state.”Global automotive and aerospace innovator & manufacturer, Hutchinson opened its first North American Innovation Center at a private grand opening event on January 20 in Grand Rapids.  The center, which occupies 13,400 SF of a renovated third floor of its 30-acre campus at 460 Fuller Avenue in Grand Rapids, is dedicated to research, development and innovative thinking for all of Hutchinson’s divisions.