Foxconn says work on LCD plant in Mount Pleasant will begin this summer

Contractor sessions planned in early April


Foxconn Technology Group said Monday it will begin construction of its Gen 6 LCD fabrication facility this summer with the goal of beginning production by the fourth quarter of 2020.

The company has told local officials it anticipates hiring 1,500 employees for the initial phase of operations at the facility, Racine County executive Jonathan Delagrave said. The company has also repeatedly said its committed to eventually creating 13,000 jobs in Wisconsin.

The plant will make LCD screens for products in the education, medical, entertainment, security and smart city markets. When Foxconn originally announced plans for a manufacturing campus in Wisconsin it planned to build a Gen 10.5 facility aimed at making the largest screens in the world. The company changed plans to a Gen 6 plant in 2018 because it offered additional flexibility.

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But as recently as January, Foxconn confirmed it was reconsidering what kind of plant it would build amid shifting demand in the display industry, slowing global growth and rising trade tensions. After several days of speculation and conversations with the Trump administration, the company recommitted to building a Gen 6 plant.

The March 18 BizTimes Milwaukee cover story explores the importance Foxconn places on making LCD screens in Wisconsin as part of its vision to create an 8K+5G ecosystem in the state. Company executives said having a manufacturing presence is critical to attracting a critical mass of engineers and other technical talent to drive innovation.

“Our commitment from day one has been to establish a winning formula for Foxconn and for Wisconsin,” said Louis Woo, special assistant to Foxcon CEO Terry Gou. “We continue to expand our presence around the state, create jobs, and deepen our partnerships while innovating and adapting to meet changing market needs. We’re investing in Wisconsin because we know manufacturing here is going to drive even greater success and growth for Foxconn and for the community.”

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Foxconn had not, however, said when the Gen 6 plant would be built and also said it would be building a number of related facilities in the next 18 months.

On Monday, the company gave its clearest timeline yet for upcoming construction activity at the nearly 800-acre site it is building on in Mount Pleasant.

The company said it would announce the winners of bid packages for site utilities, roadways and related storm drainage by April 1.

Bid packages for the Gen 6 fabrication facility and ancillary buildings will be announced in May, Foxconn said.

The company and its general contractor, M+WǀGilbane, also plan to hold information sessions for potential subcontractors on April 3 and April 10. Additional details for those sessions have not been announced.

Jenny Trick, executive director of the Racine County Economic Development Corp., called the announcement of a specific timeline for the LCD plant construction “a major milestone.”

“The fruits of our labor are finally happening,” Delagrave said.

Delagrave and Trick both said the project has already required significant coordination between Foxconn, Gilbane, state and local officials and other partners and those efforts would need to continue to meet the project timelines.

They also said they expect to see continued development interest in the area spurred by the presence of Foxconn. Mount Pleasant has already seen a number of major health care, residential and industrial projects proposed since Foxconn arrived.

Asked if a clear timeline for the LCD plant would lead to Foxconn suppliers moving into the area, Trick noted many of those companies in the initial phase might be integrated into Foxconn’s facilities.

“That was our experience when we were in Japan and we saw their facility there. You might walk across a number of different manufacturing operations without knowing within that same facility that you’ve actually encountered three or four, if not five and six, different supplier companies,” she said. “We anticipate that will be similar in this initial phase.”

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