Ixonia manufacturer expands with heavy cutting capacity

Metalcraft Tool & Die Inc., an Ixonia-based tool and die and heavy fabrication shop, recently added a new plasma cutting machine capable of cutting steel plates up to three inches thick.

The new capability makes the company the only manufacturer in the state able to plasma cut material that thick, according to Chris Broege, vice president of the firm.

"We’re the first ones in the country to be shipped one of these machines," he said. "It came in about two and a half weeks ago."

The plasma cutter allows Metalcraft Tool & Die to cut steel that would normally require traditional flame cutting, Broege said. Plasma cutting allows for a smoother edge on the finished product, he said, similar to a laser cut piece of steel.

Since moving into heavy fabrication three years ago, Metalcraft Tool & Die has grown from two employees to 15. In January 2008, the company moved into a new 12,500 square foot facility in Ixonia. Because of its growth, it will likely need to add another 10,000 square feet this summer, Broege said.

Metalcraft currently does heavy fabrication for manufacturers of heat treating furnaces and frame chassis used for heavy equipment. The company is hoping its new heavy plasma cutting machine will help it gain new customers in the mining equipment and other industries.

"We’re going to go out and try to get those customers – we thought ‘If you build it, they will come," Broege said.

Despite the tumultuous economy, Metalcraft has maintained a steady work flow and has been able to keep most of its 15 employees busy.

"We’re on the teeter point where we’re holding our own," Broege said. "We have confidence in the economy that we will be able to hire three to five (employees) by the end of the year. We’ve been very fortunate. Our sales have doubled every year for four years in a row."

For more information, visit http://www.metalcrafttoolanddie.com.

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