Maxon Industries Inc.

Maxon Industries Inc.

3204 W. Mill Road, Milwaukee

Industry: Concrete placing equipment for large municipal projects

Employees: 24

When concrete is poured for road projects and even many construction projects, it is usually transported in cement trucks, which have the traditional rotating, cylindrical drums mounted onto a truck chassis.

But when large amounts of concrete are being moved for bigger projects like hydroelectric dams, nuclear power plants and municipal sewer systems, developers and municipalities frequently turn to Milwaukee-based Maxon Industries Inc. for solutions.

Maxon Industries designs and builds systems that move concrete from production sites to where it will be placed.

Maxon Industries usually sells its projects to large municipal projects. About 80 percent of its business is done with overseas customers that are building dams, nuclear power plants, large tunnels, highway systems and airports.

“We chase large civil projects on a global basis,” said Bill Maxon, president and chief executive officer of the company. “In 2010, we did business in Russia, India, Pakistan, Turkey, Romania, Brazil and Spain.”

Last year, Maxon Industries also sold concrete-moving systems to the Panamanian government for the construction of the second Panama Canal, a $4 billion project that is expected to be complete in 2014. In Milwaukee, the company’s equipment was used to build the Deep Tunnel project.

The Maxon Agitor is the company’s best known product. It is similar to traditional cement and concrete trucks, but open at the top, which allows for fast loading and quick discharge.

“We transport (concrete) to the final placing equipment,” Maxon said. “We want to do thousands of cubic yards per day or millions of cubic yards over multiple years.”

The Maxon Agitor has an 8-foot by 8-foot opening on the top, allowing it to be loaded in a matter of seconds. The agitor can be mounted to a truck chassis, rails or skids. They are frequently used in mines, underground tunnels and over-the-road transportation systems.

“Most of them are mounted to truck chassis, but we did some barge mounts in New Orleans for the barrier wall,” Maxon said. “We’ll use rail mounts for underground construction. We’ve done a lot of that kind of work in New York’s subways, as well as freshwater supply, stormwater and sewer systems.”

Maxon Industries also makes surge hoppers, which its agitors can dump large quantities of concrete into, and other niche products that transport concrete to hard-to-reach areas.

Maxon Industries is owned by the Maxon family. The company was started by Glen Maxon, Bill Maxon’s father, in 1972.

The company occupies about 25,000 square feet of space on Milwaukee’s north side. Because each of its agitors and other systems are built to order, the company is able to fulfill its orders with a relatively small footprint.

Maxon Industries has 24 employees. The company hired six new workers in 2010, Maxon said, and anticipates hiring another two to three this year.

The company has seen significant sales growth in the last five years. It had about $6.5 million in revenue for 2010, an approximate 30 percent increase over its 2009 sales. Its sales in 2009 rose about 30 percent over 2008.

Maxon is expecting about 10 percent growth this year.

“It will be tough to duplicate the sales increases we had in 2009 and 2010,” Maxon said.

Later this year, the company will introduce the TekCrete, a new, patented, precision mobile concrete plant. The truck-mounted plant will weigh individual ingredients for concrete, allowing it to produce a measured amount of specific concrete mixes.

“Concrete mixes are engineered (for different designs), and there are a lot of applications where you need the opposite of the mass amount,” Maxon said.

The TekCrete is now being used in a mine in Montana, where it is difficult to truck concrete into before it sets up. The TekCrete system is able to bring the ingredients to the job site and produce the exact amount of concrete needed for each specific job.

“Before, their options were limited,” Maxon said. “They can now produce quality in remote locations in small quantities.”

Maxon is also considering opening a small production facility in India because of the large amount of systems it is building for customers in Asia.

“There are three times as many people there and the infrastructure is a quarter of ours,” he said. “We’ll be strongly considering that for the next few years, and it would serve the central Asian market.”

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