Locations -- Siemens Hears Sounds Of Success

High-tech hearing-aid facility in La Mirada, Calif., is on former movie theater site.

Plant: Located in La Mirada, Calif., about 10 miles southeast of Los Angeles, the plant was once the site of the Gateway 5 Edwards movie theater, a place where patrons heard soundtracks as well saw the pictures. Since Jan. 10 the location has been the site of a 28,000-square-foot Siemens Hearing Instruments Inc. facility making state-of-the-art devices that, among other things, allow hearing-impaired people to have a better movie experience anywhere. Designed specifically with workflow in mind and incorporating proprietary technology for the digital manufacture of hearing aids, Siemens Hearing Instruments Inc., a Piscataway, N.J., Siemens Medical Solutions subsidiary of Germany's Siemens AG, built the facility from the ground up rather than retrofit the old theater building. The theater was closed in 1999. The new building in La Mirada is 40% larger than the subsidiary's former California production and service facility in Cerritos and features 30% more hearing instrument production space. The new facility employs 120 people including an audiology team, customer service, sales, and repair workers -- as well as manufacturing personnel. The facility serves the western U.S. and uses Siemens' Laser Accurate Scan Replication (LasR) manufacturing process. The process is designed to bring together digital mechanical assembly technology, precision laser scanning and advanced computer software for the production of more accurate and comfortably fitting hearing instruments. Introduced in 2001, and currently accounting for about 50% of all orders produced by Siemens Hearing Instruments, LasR totally automates the manufacture of custom hearing instrument shells, including the use of a laser to build the shell from a bed of powdered polymer material by selectively sintering the material. Corporate Strategy: "We were very fortunate to find this location in La Mirada," says Christopher J. Marxen, director of manufacturing and operations for Siemens Hearing Instruments. "By designing the building in the way we did, we not only met our needs but assisted . . . La Mirada with rejuvenating some of their city space. The site is only three miles from our former facility in Cerritos, so we are not dramatically changing the environment for our employees but are enhancing the work environment with the most advanced manufacturing equipment available." Says William J. Lankenau, president and CEO of Siemens Hearing Instruments, "We are committed to building the most advanced facilities and to employing the most progressive technologies, enabling us to develop the products vital to advancing the quality of life for the hearing impaired. Our LasR technology and this new facility are truly the beginning of the next generation of manufacturing hearing instruments." Locations profiles selected siting and facility strategies by manufacturing companies. Send submissions to Senior Editor John S. McClenahen at [email protected].

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