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Manufacturing Company Developing Neumade Facility Into Diversified Hub



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Manufacturing Company Developing

Neumade Facility Into Diversified Hub

By John Voket

The CEO of a Danbury-based manufacturing enterprise told The Newtown Bee this week his second-generation company recently completed the acquisition of a Botsford industrial facility, which has languished on the market for several years. And in a somewhat unique move, Patrick Wind said he also acquired the stock and machinery from Neumade, the former owner, as well as some of its staff.

Mr Wind said he plans to keep, improve, and expand Neumade’s capabilities on site, while relocating and ramping up operations of three other independent companies under his management — all within the Newtown facility at 30 Peck’s Lane. 

The nearly 11-acre site, which was a huge attraction to Mr Wind, has M2 zoning, permitting a wide range of R&D, warehousing, and manufacturing. There is also space for as much as 40,000 square feet of expansion possible.

The facility has four loading docks, two drive-in doors, overhead cranes, well, septic, natural gas service, shop offices, and lunch room. Its 7,920 square feet of office space accommodates two large executive suites.

The company’s flagship enterprise, Wind Hardware & Engineering is an industrial hardware supply resource, specializing in the manufacture and supply of cam locks, drawer slides, furniture locks, hinges, fasteners, handles and other industrial hardware solutions. Mr Wind said the company was established by his father in New York City in 1949, before making a series of relocations and expansions to Greenwich, Stamford, and Danbury, where the company has operated since 1999.

Wind Corporation’s clients include makers of office and industrial furniture, dispensers, displays, woodworking, electronic enclosures, security, luggage, and cases, as well as supplying US government agencies and construction industries.

Mr Wind said in 2001, the company established Zephyr Lock, a subsidiary supplying school and employee locker rooms, recreation and health clubs, and many other industrial and municipal clients with built-in combination locks and a newer line of electronic and built-in key locks.

Another subsidiary, Zephyr Fluid Solutions, manufactures products for the bottled water and beverage industries — primarily five-gallon bottled water storage and water bottle display racks. The company’s self-service, modular merchandising systems permit retailers of different sizes and requirements to customize displays on Zephyr’s water bottle racks and return bins.

The company’s water bottle systems can accommodate up to 36 full bottles on its heavy duty steel shelf unit, which can be outfitted with electronic bar code receipt devices. Zephyr also distributes hot/cold water cooler dispensers typically used in homes, schools, or offices.

Mr Wind said that company developed through a partnership with Nestle Waters.

Neumade Becoming Windmade

While the Newtown acquisition included the existing supplies and machinery still owned by Neumade Products, Mr Wind said that division under his ownership would eventually be rebranded as Windmade — and all four companies would continue to operate and expand under the brand Windmill Enterprises.

According to company marketing material, Neumade was founded in 1916 by Oscar F. Neu , an actor in silent films. The company was incorporated in 1924 in New York State. Since then, Neumade has progressed from a source for film exchange and cutting room equipment to the largest manufacturer of a complete line of film handling, servicing, cleaning, storage, and accessories for the motion picture, television, education, commercial, and photographic industries.

Although the digital age may have doomed the company’s continued growth in the film processing and storage, Mr Wind said he plans to continue manufacturing products for the entertainment industry, and that the company has also diversified its output to accommodating the manufacture of parts for Sikorsky. He said supporting the company’s goal of attaining its ISO 9000 manufacturing designation would only open up more doors of opportunity in the future.

Mr Wind said as he was in the process of looking for a new facility in which he could centralize all the subsidiaries’ operations, storage and shipping, he was taken by the location and natural features surrounding the Botsford site.

“Neumade was actually a customer of ours, so we knew about the company before we decided on the site,” Mr Wind said. “But when we started looking, I was really attracted to that piece of real estate. We couldn’t build for what we paid to buy it, and I believe it was on the market for three or four years.”

Mr Wind said that in Stamford, he and his staff were surrounded by stark, urban landscapes, but here in Newtown, his staff will enjoy being “surrounded by trees, wild turkeys, and deer.”

He said Wind Hardware & Engineering will maintain in-house product design and engineering capabilities on site that utilize computer-aided design systems, rapid-prototyping and rapid-tooling technology to provide customers with turnkey services from product concept through delivery. Mr Wind said that by the end of 2012 he will likely grow his workforce at the new facility by about 25 percent, and he has already added a CFO, Newtowner Mike Malotta, to his team.

And by keeping the company here in the US, Mr Wind said he can continue to promote product speed-to-market.

“We can prototype and customize products here, make new products with smaller runs, and get them to market much more quickly than if they were coming from Asia,” Mr Wind said, adding that the competitiveness and quality of labor output, especially from China, is waning because of inflation spurred by the country’s new consumer economy.

“I believe our company will [be among those] riding the tide that is returning manufacturing to the United States,” Mr Wind said.

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