Wisconsin Manufacturing News

Magnetek is hiring again; Manitowoc Company sells division; WMC survey calls for regulatory relief for businesses

Magnetek is hiring again

Magnetek Inc. has received production orders of more than $8 million over the past five weeks for its E-Force power inverters, prompting the Menomonee Falls company to begin hiring again.

After trimming its workforce by 20 percent during the Great Recession, Magnetek has resumed hiring, with about 15 open positions, company chief financial officer Marty Schwenner told BizTimes.

Magnetek’s modular utility-scale power inverters regulate and transform DC power generated by renewable sources into utility-grade AC power, which is distributed to the power transmission grid. The orders received include inverters for wind turbines as well as an initial production order valued at nearly $1 million for inverters to be used in the operation of variable speed turbine generators for combined heat and power (CHP), a new market for the company. The orders are scheduled for delivery between April 2011 and July 2011.

"We are pleased to receive these additional inverter orders. The use of our E-Force inverters in CHP turbine power generation is an exciting new application for our products and furthers our goal to become a major provider of utility-scale power inverters for renewable energy applications," said Ed Butte, Magnetek’s director of renewable energy. "We continue to actively quote applications beyond wind and see this order as a solid sign that the benefits of variable speed technology are being recognized in other markets."

Most of the new positions are in sales and engineering. The company has about 275 employees in Menomonee Falls.

Magnetek’s quarterly sales grew about 40 percent from the same period a year ago, Schwenner said.

Manitowoc Company sells division

The Manitowoc Company Inc. has completed its previously announced divestiture of Kysor/Warren and Kysor/Warren de Mexico to Lennox International for $138 million.

Manitowoc will use the net proceeds of approximately $124 million from the sale to further reduce its secured debt and financial leverage.

Manitowoc is a multi-industry, capital goods manufacturer with nearly 100 manufacturing, distribution, service, and/or office facilities in 26 countries. It is recognized as one of the world’s largest providers of lifting equipment for the global construction industry, including lattice-boom cranes, tower cranes, mobile telescopic cranes, and boom trucks. Manitowoc also is one of the world’s leading innovators and manufacturers of commercial foodservice equipment serving the ice, beverage, refrigeration, food prep, and cooking needs of restaurants, convenience stores, hotels, health care, and institutional applications.

WMC survey calls for regulatory relief for businesses

In a new survey by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC), CEOs report the state’s business regulations are out of line, hamper job creation and are in need of major reforms.

“This survey demonstrates that we need to find a better way to regulate industry in Wisconsin,” said James Buchen, vice president of government relations for WMC. “The CEOs we surveyed said Wisconsin regulations are more costly than federal rules, more costly than rules in other states, are more than what’s necessary to achieve policy objectives, and hamper job creation. It’s a stunning indictment.”

Gov. Scott Walker is proposing a series of reforms aimed at improving Wisconsin’s business climate.

“The survey shows those reforms are needed now,” Buchen said.

About 95 percent of the survey respondents said Wisconsin’s state regulations are burdensome, with 46 percent saying they are very burdensome.

Fifty-five percent said Wisconsin regulations are more burdensome than federal rules, with 17 percent reporting the rules are much more burdensome.

Seventy-two percent said state rules hamper employee retention and 92 percent report Wisconsin regulations burden the company’s ability to executive its business plan.

“Gov. Walker is on the right track with his ideas for regulatory reform,” Buchen said.  “And, his regulatory reforms would show that Wisconsin is truly open for business.”


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