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I recently toured the York Manufacturing facility in Wichita, KS. I was impressed to learn that all of the residential packaged product line was made at this facility and not overseas.

Since Johnson Controls acquired the York International brand in 2005, many changes have been implemented to keep the York brand strong in the HVAC industry. One recent change has been the movement of the residential packaged product line from the Norman, OK, facility to the Wichita, KS facility. Sources say the move allows for production line realignment, improved material flows, standardization of residential components, and enhanced focus on those residential packaged products. The move allows the Norman facility floor space to use for their plant revitalization activities for the York commercial products produced there.

The Wichita plant consists of 20 buildings on 60 acres of land and houses over a thousand employees. All of York's residential split systems are manufactured in this facility. The Wichita plant recently added advanced manufacturing tools and processes and a new material flow in the manufacturing part of the plan for added efficiency and improved quality.

An important focus of the plant is the Customer Quality Focus Area, where manufacturing operations managers meet daily to inspect the appearance and workmanship of randomly selected “shipment-ready” equipment.

Continuous improvement activities are managed by cross functional groups called, Value Stream Teams, focused on product/process improvements that directly impact product quality. Successful projects include: reducing transit damage with better packaging; eliminating refrigerant leaks by improving the brazing processes with design changes; and better fixtures and assembly methods. Increased training for production personnel and working with suppliers to improve the quality of parts used are also results of the Value Stream Teams.

The facility's engineering department features certified labs, where heating, cooling, sound and vibration, and airflow testing occur.

The lab also has a Lansmont Transit tester, where the vibrations and impact of transporting York equipment is simulated, to test the durability of the equipment when exposed to the rigors of transportation.

New products are developed through a formalized, Product Development Process (PDP), where the focus is on achieving product development results that consistently meet quality, performance, sales, reliability, and service targets.

In addition to manufacturing operations, the site houses purchasing, safety, shipping/distribution, accounting, engineering test labs and technical services departments.

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