The Fall River Foundry will add on to its current facility on Main Street and move its machine shop from South Milwaukee into the new addition by the end of the year, company officials announced.
“Our main goal for this whole process is to become more efficient as a company,” said executive vice president John Vick.
Customer expectations have changed over the last five years, president and CEO Brennen Weigel said. While most customers used to do their own machining on castings they bought from the foundry, many are now asking for that service to be provided for them.
That means a lot of the castings — about 85 percent of them — are being shipped to the South Milwaukee machine shop, which operates as a separate division of the company known as Fall River Manufacturing. Putting both facilities under one roof will save time and money, Weigel said.
The company plans to build a 60,000-square-foot addition to the northwest side of its current 120,000-square-foot facility to house the shop.
“By May, we should be moving dirt and starting to do construction,” Weigel said. “We should be done by the end of the year.”
The local machine shop is expected to employ roughly 50 skilled machinists. Employees who work at the South Milwaukee location are being offered a chance to transfer to Fall River, but Weigel said he expects the company will probably be looking to hire about 25 people initially.
In addition to machining jobs for outside customers, Fall River Manufacturing also produces a line of concrete finishing tools that the company sold under the brand name Gator Tools. The manufacturing of those tools will also be coming to the Fall River facility in the move.
The company also plans to build a 40-by-40-foot, two-story addition onto the front of the office, to make room for the additional managers and office staff that will be moving from Milwaukee.
“That’s what you’ll see building first,” Weigel said.
The company currently has 90 employees at the Fall River Foundry, and about 170 in the Fall River Group overall, which includes the foundry, Fall River Manufacturing and Rheocast, a die cast foundry in Germantown which will not be affected by the consolidation. Published April 2016.