Wisconsin Manufacturing News

State investments will help create 550 more jobs in Wisconsin; Spanish company picked Milwaukee out of 80 sites; Weyauwega company acquires Wiza Industries in Muskego; Quad/Graphics signs exclusive contract with Talbots; Sites in Milwaukee, Racine, Janesville and Appleton bidding for Talgo plant; Greenheck to expand in Mexico

State investments will help create 550 more jobs in Wisconsin

Gov. Jim Doyle announced Friday that the state will provide about $2.2 million in financial assistance to help three Wisconsin companies create a combined 550 jobs in the state.

Walter USA Inc. of Waukesha will receive $300,000 in state economic development tax credits for a $2.7 million consolidation and expansion project that will create 46 jobs and retain 78 jobs.

The economic incentives were integral to Walter USA’s decision to consolidate in Wisconsin and create new jobs. Walter USA’s parent company, Sandvik AB of Sweden, has decided to close its facility in Madison Heights, Mich., and move work, equipment and employees to the Waukesha location. The company will use the Wisconsin tax credits to construct and equip an addition to the Waukesha plant.

Founded in 1919, Walter USA manufactures tungsten carbide tools.

“My No. 1 priority this year is helping our businesses create jobs and giving our workers the opportunities to get those jobs,” Doyle said. “Wisconsin is definitely open for business, and we are pleased to help Walter USA expand its company and create new jobs for hardworking families in Waukesha County.”

Minitube of America Inc. of Verona will receive a $370,000 technology development loan from the Wisconsin Department of Commerce. The loan will help create 136 new full-time positions in addition to the 120 employees already employed at Minitube in Wisconsin.

Minitube will utilize the new funds for working capital to prepare animal sperm sexing technology for commercialization.

Doyle said the Wisconsin Department of Commerce is providing a $1.5 million loan through the Wisconsin Development Fund loan to Logistics Health in La Crosse to help the company expand its operations and create 290 new jobs in Wisconsin.

Logistics Health provides health care solutions to government and commercial organizations. It will grow its La Crosse operations to accommodate expanded contract opportunities.

Doyle said Wisconsin now has some of the most powerful economic development tools in the country.

As a result of the tax credits, numerous companies have expanded or moved operations from other states to Wisconsin – including Walter USA, Republic Airways in Milwaukee, Mercury Marine in Fond du Lac, and Oshkosh Corp.

Today, Wisconsin’s ranking among the states for highest business taxes has dropped to 30th, according to a study by Ernst and Young, prepared for the Council on State Taxation. The study ranked each state’s business taxes as a share of the state’s private sector Gross State Product (GSP).

Spanish company picked Milwaukee out of 80 sites

Milwaukee was selected from a field of more than 80 sites to be the home of a new North American production plant by Ingeteam, a Spanish renewable energy company.

Ingeteam plans to construct a $15 million, 100,000-square-foot facility in Milwaukee’s Menomonee River Valley. The complex will span about 8.1 acres at 3757 W. Milwaukee Road at a site that is south of a new Charter Wire plant.

Ingeteam, headquartered in Bilbao, Spain, said it will begin construction of the complex in April, with completion set for December. This will be Ingeteam’s first manufacturing facility in the United States.

The company expects to begin manufacturing operations in January 2011 and will employ about 275 workers by 2015.

Milwaukee was chosen to be the site of the new plant after a coordinated effort that included officials from the Milwaukee 7 economic development team, We Energies, Milwaukee City Development Commissioner Richard “Rocky” Marcoux and Wisconsin Commerce Secretary Richard “Dick” Leinenkugel, who went to Spain to seal the deal.

When completed, the plant will focus primarily on the renewable energy industry, producing Indar wind power generators and Ingeteam converters and solar power inverters for the North American market.

“They could have located this $15 million facility anywhere in the nation. Believe me, Michigan tried very hard,” Leinenkugel said.

The deal was made possible by $1.6 million in tax credits through the federal stimulus program, up to $4.5 million in state tax credits and another $500,000 forgivable loan from the state.

"After carefully analyzing our company’s needs, we selected Milwaukee for our new production facility because the city is conveniently located for distribution of our products and has a solid industrial base from which Ingeteam can source materials," said Ander Gandiaga, Ingeteam’s corporate director for international development.

“Milwaukee also has a labor pool experienced in electrical manufacturing. In addition, the area boasts prestigious universities with some of the highest-ranked engineering departments in the country that offer specific courses in renewable energy, which will be very useful when it comes to finding specialized staff," said Aitor Sotes, chief executive officer of Ingeteam Inc., Ingeteam’s subsidiary in the United States.

Gandiaga also said City of Milwaukee and State of Wisconsin officials "made an impressive effort to sell Ingeteam on the virtues of locating in this community. The Ingeteam project perfectly fits the model of the clean energy economy and job creation goals that the city and state are pursuing.”

Ingeteam already has an office in Mequon that has provided operations management and maintenance services for United States wind turbine farms since 2008.

The company currently has a 12- to 15-percent worldwide market share of wind power components. However, Ingeteam has identified the United States as a growth market for wind energy and expects its global market share to rise by having a U.S.-based manufacturing operation to supply the North American market.

At full capacity, the Milwaukee plant will supply equipment capable of producing 7,500 megawatts (MW) of electricity each year. It will produce generators and converters for 1.5 MW to 5 MW wind turbines, and solar power inverters that range from 2.5 kilowatt (kW) units for residential use up to 500 kW units for utility-scale installations. Ingeteam also plans to add a facility for system testing in the future.


Weyauwega company acquires Wiza Industries in Muskego

Wiza Industries LLC, a Muskego industrial machine shop that entered Wisconsin Chapter 128 protection last year, has been acquired by Weyauwega-based World Class Manufacturing Group.

Before it entered Chapter 128 protection, Wiza Industries had about 250 employees. The company now has about 40 workers in its 200,000-square-foot plant, said Darold Paisar, president of World Class Manufacturing.

“Long-term (growth) is to be determined, but we’re calling a few people back every week,” Paisar said. “I can see there being 100 people working there by the end of the year.”

World Class Manufacturing has effectively been operating the Wiza facility since Dec. 30, Paisar said. The company was able to reach terms with Wiza’s owners and its court-ordered receiver last week.

“We were able to save five or six good clients,” Paisar said. “We’re trying to put a (long-term) plan together.”

The agreement with Wiza’s former owners is only effective for one year, Paisar said.

“We’re taking one hell of a risk. We did this to save jobs in Wisconsin. If this facility is going to be open next year, I don’t know.”

At its peak, Wiza Industries had about $56 million in annual revenues. While it will take several years to rebuild the company, Paisar sees an opportunity for significant sales there this year.

“I think we could do about $10 million worth of business this year,” he said.

Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Quad/Graphics signs exclusive contract with Talbots

Under terms of a new multi million dollar agreement, Quad/Graphics Inc. will become the exclusive print provider for all Talbots catalogs this summer.

The new contract covers pre-media services, printing and distribution of all catalogs annually for Talbots, a leading multi-channel retailer of women’s apparel, shoes and accessories based in Hingham, Mass.

Quad/Graphics has printed millions of Talbots catalogs annually since 1997, but until now has shared the work with a competitor. The Wisconsin-based printer now will produce 100 percent of Talbots catalog work.

Quad/Graphics’ state-of-the-art Premedia Solutions Center in Braintree, Mass., near Talbots’ headquarters, will handle pre-media production for the catalogs. The catalogs will be printed at Quad/Graphics’ Lomira, Wis., plant, the world’s largest printing plant under one roof, and distributed via its fleet of trucks.

“Performance is what counts, and winning an exclusive contract like this with a leading retailer like Talbots is proof that Quad/Graphics employees have performed beyond Talbots’ expectations,” said Quad/Graphics chief executive officer Joel Quadracci said. “With this new agreement, Talbots has exhibited its trust in Quad/Graphics’ people and capabilities, and our veteran Talbots teams in Massachusetts and Wisconsin are ready to show that trust is justified.”

Sites in Milwaukee, Racine, Janesville and Appleton bidding for Talgo plant

Talgo Inc., the Spanish train company that plans to establish a manufacturing facility in Wisconsin, has considered sites in Milwaukee, Racine, Janesville and Appleton for the plant.

BizTimes Milwaukee obtained a list of the sites that were submitted in response to Talgo’s request for proposals (RFP) for a factory site in the state.

Those sites are:

  • The Tower Automotive site, 2900 W. Townsend St., Milwaukee.
  • Super Steel, 7100 W. Calumet Road, Milwaukee.
  • 3441 S. Memorial Dr., Racine.
  • Former ThyssenKrupp headquarters, 214,900-square-foot facility, 305 W. Delavan Dr., Janesville.
  • Helgesen Industrial Center (former LSI plant), 700,000-square-foot facility, 2929 Venture Dr., Janesville.
  • A 246,700-square-foot facility at 1840 W. Spencer St., Appleton.

The Midwest Transportation Center on 77th Avenue in Kenosha responded to the RFP, but has since withdrawn.

Talgo spokeswoman Nora Friend said the company plans to lease a facility with an option to buy. The company is not interested in outsourcing the manufacturing work to a subcontractor, she said. That could rule out Super Steel’s bid. A Super Steel executive declined to comment when asked if the train manufacturer would lease space to Talgo.

“Internal analysis (of the bids) is still going on,” Friend said.

The state of Wisconsin agreed to purchase 2 train sets from Talgo for $47.5 million. Talgo has agreed to establish a manufacturing operation in Wisconsin and will build those trains at that plant.

The state will also purchase 2 more train sets as part of the $810 million allocated by the Obama administration for the Milwaukee to Madison high speed rail project. Those train sets are expected to be purchased from Talgo, Friend said.

The company is hoping to use its Wisconsin manufacturing facility to build several additional trains if it can sell more trains for services funded by Obama’s $8 billion high speed rail initiative.

“We hope this is just the beginning,” Friend said. “This is just the tip of the iceberg. We’re hoping there is going to be a lot more down the road.”

Greenheck to expand in Mexico

Schofield, Wis.-based Greenheck Fan will soon enlarge its manufacturing footprint in Saltillo, Mexico.

The company has signed an agreement with The Offshore Group to expand the leased space at the La Angostura Industrial Park from its current 35,000 to 70,000 square feet. The doubling of production space will eventually result in a proportional increase in the plant’s workforce.

Greenheck general manager Dave Kallstrom said, "The decision to expand our Mexican manufacturing operation was driven by the significant opportunities we see to sell our products duty free into Mexico, and further south, in the near future. In addition to the North American Free Trade Agreement, Mexico has cemented similar bi-lateral accords with Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Venezuela and others. Mexico is an excellent platform from which to make inroads into these potentially lucrative markets."

Greenheck is a supplier of air movement and control equipment that includes fans, dampers, louvers, kitchen ventilation hoods, and energy recovery and make-up air units. Greenheck equipment is used in all types of commercial, institutional, and industrial buildings in applications from comfort ventilation to manufacturing processes.


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