Mayer Industries is an industry-leading machine manufacturer that is known worldwide. Mayer Industries’ custom parts, machines, contract manufacturing, service and engineering are second to none, and it plays a significant role in the automotive, aerospace, energy and textile manufacturing markets it serves.
Though Mayer Industries USA was founded in 1970, the company’s history and experience dates to 1905. Mayer’s parent company, Mayer & Cie in Albstadt Germany, was first formed in 1905 as a mechanical engineering workshop. Their first export order was a Circular Loopwheel Knitting machine to Romania in 1918. Since then, Mayer & Cie has grown to build Circular Knitting Machinery for world-wide distribution.
Mayer Industries USA was established by the Mayer family. The family wanted to expand the sales of its circular knitting equipment into the United States market and did so by establishing a core design and manufacturing facility at its Orangeburg, South Carolina facility.
“The company was building knitting equipment in Germany at the time,” explained General Manager Paul Lunny. “The then-leader of the company, Emil Mayer, wanted to expand the manufacturing base into the United States because there was a good business for their knitting equipment at the time.” The company is currently under the leadership of the fourth generation of the Mayer family.
“The company then invested in and bought the rights to what is known as a high-pile knitting machine which is used for high-line fashion, as well as diverse products such as paint roller cloth, stuffed animal fur, and so on. Along the way, they also invested in building braiding equipment for the hydraulic hose industry.”
These product lines reinforced Mayer Industries’ reputation for high-quality machines, as its patented braiding technology offers superior performance. With its expansive global supply, sales and service network, Mayer Industries quickly became a leading manufacturer of quality textile and braiding machinery.
Combining advanced technology with the skills and expertise of industry professionals, Mayer Industries designs, engineers, manufactures, sells and services its high-quality braiding and knitting equipment. Mayer Industries has expanded to offer contract manufacturing services, machine installation, technical service and technical training as well as the design, engineering and project management of specialty machines, contract machining, grinding, electrical and assembly services, remanufacture and rebuild services.
At its peak, Mayer Industries employed as many as 350 people. Then, in the mid-1980s, offshoring heavily affected the textile manufacturing market in the U.S. Industry was moving to take advantage of lower cost machinery, fabric and labor. The Mayer family continued to manufacture in the United States, though on a smaller scale.
Mayer Industries made the decision to consolidate its knitting equipment operations in Germany. “We continued on with just the high pile machinery and the braider equipment, maintaining the workflow through those years at a lower staff, lower overall revenue stream, along the way changing to just building the braiding equipment,” said Lunny.
Braiding equipment is now Mayer Industries’ primary product, and the line employs fifty-four full-time staff. The company has also expanded into contract manufacturing and is identifying other ways in which its technology and impressive engineering and manufacturing abilities can be applied to other industries.
The company has been making further improvements to its operating procedures and bringing costs down without sacrificing quality. It seeks out new customers and new applications for its technology in varied markets to bring the company back toward what it was in the seventies. There is a potential that Lunny would like to see used more fully.
“This is an effort to expand, attract new customers, and my personal hope is that the fifth generation of Mayer family will eventually run this company. Personally, I want to see the parking lot as full in my tenure as the old photos.”
“I think the active efforts in seeking new customers, seeking new uses for our capacity, that’s almost one of the biggest bangs for our buck in the next year, the next two years,” explained Lunny. “Along with that, continued emphasis on lowering our costs for our prime product, the braiding machine, expanding its market footprint as we can and then in the longest term moving towards other product families, looking for other growth opportunities for products.”
Mayer Industries can manufacture or rebuild its customers’ equipment to specification, including upgrades and integration of the latest technology to aid clients in getting the most out of a piece of equipment. “The machinery is high quality,” noted Lunny. “Our customer base is typically multinational customers who have locations around the world, so we have similar equipment, similar quality and a methodology to produce the machinery, so it’s useable by the same customer base in multiple locations.”
Mayer Industries is ISO 9001:2008 certified and its employees have extensive CNC machining, CNC turning, milling and grinding experience. “We have all the modern equipment able to handle four-axis, five-axis, [inside diameter and outside diameter] grinding,” says Lunny. “In addition, one machine we have is a horizontal and vertical turning center,” which, he explains, can machine material nearly the size of a refrigerator.
“There’s not a lot of people that have that, and it’s one of the key things that is a unique capacity of Mayer. We are very well integrated. We have two full-time quality technicians who know our systems internally and externally quite well.”
As well as its standard equipment, Mayer Industries has two coordinate measurement machines that coordinate measurements on even the largest pieces of material. Quality is then checked via internal gear inspection, hardness testing and optical comparators, among other methods.
At the heart of the company’s quality products are its longstanding staff who bring decades of industry knowledge and expertise. “We still have some employees who have been with us for forty-plus years.”
Collectively, the team’s diverse background with experience in many production disciplines can bring any concept to reality, from design to production. Mayer Industries intends to apply the knowledge and skill sets to its contract manufacturing opportunities.
“They’ve looked out for the family, while the family has looked out for the operations here.” Mayer Industries has created a family-oriented work culture that Lunny jokes, has, “as many ups and downs as you can have with a family, good and bad.”
He attributes some of the company’s success to its culture. The continuous desire to succeed and build quality equipment is apparent on the shop floor. Mayer Industries has developed a mentorship program for experienced employees to share the industry knowledge with new employees to secure the company’s workforce for the next forty-plus years.
“My concentration right now is the contract manufacturing marketplace,” said Lunny, “Finding partnerships for those who need our capacity, or where our capability can service their needs, in addition to manufacturing their parts.” The company has an active group that has been looking for new market penetration potential.
The South Carolina region in which Mayer Industries is located is strong and showing signs of recovery in the manufacturing sector. “The area is a really good area,” Lunny noted. “We have the capacity and the school districts locally – the technical college. They try to support industry in the area to try to make sure that we have students on tap.”
The strong labor pool has the commitment of the local and state governments as well as the local and regional education systems. There is currently a plan to build an apprenticeship program.
“We’re situated between two areas of South Carolina that are doing quite well,” Lunny said. “South Carolina, as a whole, has been doing quite well. South Carolina is a pro-business environment that is working on attracting new business from the state level. We are really well situated. We have direct interstate access, directly near crossroads of interstates, so it’s ideal.”
For all machine design and manufacture, engineering and design service as well as prototype design and build, Mayer Industries has the parts, products, machines and, most importantly, the knowledge. Mayer Industries is committed to quality and customer satisfaction and has the industry expertise to guarantee it.