Some employees rehired after Infratrol assets acquired

After New Berlin-based industrial oven manufacturer Infratrol Manufacturing Corp. filed for receivership in early May, the company announced on Monday that its assets have been acquired by a Chicago-based industrial group. Four employees have so far been hired back, and it is actively recruiting more.

Twenty-four of Infratrol’s 37 employees were laid off after the company filed for voluntary receivership on May 4, according to former president Steven Onsager.

Infratrol continued to operate its assembly department for the last six weeks, working on projects that had already been started, he said.

Shortly after the news of the receivership was publicized, Echelon Capital LLC of Chicago made an offer to acquire Infratrol’s assets. Echelon also owns Precision Quincy Ovens LLC, which has manufactured custom and standard batch ovens for more than 50 years.

“Infratrol was sold as a going concern,” Onsasger said, meaning that the company has the resources needed to operate indefinitely. “They want to preserve the Infratrol name because it’s been around for so many years and keep it as a brand.”

The closing is expected to take place later this week. Infratrol, which has been designing and manufacturing customized industrial ovens, washers and heat processing equipment since 1956, will then be known as Infratrol LLC.

Onsager said Infratrol’s engineering and sales staff will stay in the Milwaukee area, but the rest of Infratrol’s staff will likely move to Bryon, Ill., where Precision Quincy Ovens is located. That move is anticipated to take place in a few months after the lease ends on Infratrol’s 55,000-square-foot New Berlin facility.  

Onsager said the positions that will not be hired back include administrative and human resources staff, as those functions will be fulfilled through Precision Quincy Ovens.

“We are excited to add the capabilities of Infratrol to our group,” said Bill Diemel, president of Precision Quincy Ovens. “Infratrol adds significant expertise in conveyorized and highly automated processing equipment.”

After the closing, Diemel will become president of Infratrol, and Onsager will serve as vice president of engineering.

Onsager said he expects Infratrol’s engineering and sales staff to be relocated to another smaller facility in New Berlin after the current facility’s lease ends.

“Overall, I view this as a good opportunity for Infratrol to keep going,” Onsager said.

Infratrol had 62 employees as of last fall, but it since reduced its workforce to 37 before it filed for receivership. He said the company had seen a decline in sales, received orders that did not materialize, and experienced some cash flow issues.

Echelon is the equity sponsor of a manufacturing group that owns companies operating under the brands of Lyon, Republic Storage Products, Viking Metal Cabinet Co. and Austin-Westran in addition to Infratrol and Precision Quincy Ovens.

“The acquisition of Infratrol is a next step in making our industrial oven group more robust,” said Matt Zakaras, partner at Echelon Capital. “Infratrol’s engineering talent and established customer base strengthen our business, which we hope will become a catalyst for future growth.”

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