Plymouth-based compactor wheel company plans national expansion

Terra Compactor Wheel Corp., a Plymouth-based designer and manufacturer of compacting wheels for use in landfills, is planning to expand its sales, manufacturing and distribution throughout the country.

Terra currently uses Sheboygan-area manufacturers to build its wheels, said Bob Brockway, the company’s president and owner. The company’s distribution is limited now, because of the high cost in shipping the wheels and related products across the country.

Terra’s distribution will increase significantly by the end of the first quarter of 2009, when Brockway is set to complete the acquisition of a Gadsden, Ala. manufacturing company.

“They’re my competitor and a wheel builder themselves,” Brockway said. “It’s both one way to get rid of a competitor and pick up a shop in the south. With these guys, I’ve found a nice group of guys who know what to do and have experience (in compactor wheels).”

Brockway declined to name the company in Alabama he intends to acquire, saying that negotiations are continuing. The company there employs 11 workers, and he intends to hire another four when the deal is completed, he said.

The current group of suppliers that Terra Compactor Wheel Corp. uses in Wisconsin will likely see increased business with the company as a result of the acquisition, Brockway said. The company currently contracts with Union Forge to produce teeth for its wheels, which will likely increase, and is also in negotiations with Milwaukee’s Finnco Fabricating LLC.

“They will make the big drums that go around the outer portion of the wheels,” Brockway said. “They will also do re-cleating, rebuilding and make new products.”

Terra Compactor has an exclusive contract with Waste Management to build compactor wheels for its landfills in the U.S. and Canada, Brockway said. The vehicles are built by Caterpillar, who puts the wheels onto them before shipping them to Waste Management.

To help fulfill that contract, the company is working on a contract with a metal fabricator in the San Diego or Riverside area of southern California, Brockway said. That fabricator will send products to a distributor near Stockton in northern California, he said.

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