Schaumburg company offers help to Japanese colleagues

March 15, 2011 7:13:56 PM PDT
A company in suburban Schaumburg is waiting to see when it can send volunteers to Japan to help their colleagues.

Mazak Corporation is a metal-cutting machine maker that is owned by a company based in Japan.

The company's president and several of its employees spend a great deal of time in the country. Over the years, they have cultivated very close relationships with many Japanese people. If needed, the company is willing to send over teams of employees to help customers in areas affected by the earthquake and tsunami.

Mazak is known as a leading manufacturer of machines that cut metal. The company's products are used for aircrafts, construction, mining, autos and hip and knee placements.

While Mazak's North American headquarters is in Schaumburg, the company is a subsidiary of a family-owned company in Japan.

"We have literally millions of square feet of manufacturing space in Japan. There's five manufacturing plants," said Brain Papke, Mazak president.

Papke says none of the Japan-based employees were hurt, and there was only minor damage to two of the plants. But he says there are 6,000 Mazak machines throughout the devastated region.

"In Japan, they have created some teams of people to go around to help those customers. I think we can, perhaps, send some people over from the U.S. and that they could help play a role in those teams and going to help customers," said Papke.

If needed, Mazak employees Alan Huber and Neil Desrosiers are ready to go.

"If we can help in any way, we'd certainly be willing to go. I think there wouldn't be any problem just getting volunteers that would go over there for any period of time," said Huber.

"We have a lot of close friends over there that we have worked with and as we make trips over there they take care of us and vise versa," said Desrosiers.

Employees say it is vital for the American economy to get production in Japan back on track as soon as possible.

"The sooner that those customers are making things, it will be good for everybody in the world and particularly for the economy of Japan," said Papke.

Papke says if one component part is in short supply it can affect the entire production. He is concerned the power shortages in Japan will slow down production.

Many manufacturing companies in America rely on Japanese suppliers and vise versa.

In the auto industry, Suburu and Toyota have suspended some production in its North American factories since they may not have parts from Japan.