Monday, May 18, 2015
Stella & Chewy’s transitioning to Oak Creek
May 18, 2015 09:26 AM
Pet food manufacturer Stella & Chewy’s LLC is transitioning into its new 164,000-square-foot facility in Oak Creek’s OakView Business Park.

“Our front office staff moved in about a week ago, and we have three new freeze driers in the manufacturing plant that have been installed and are up and running,” said Katie Wassil, director of communication and public relations. “We will continue to migrate pieces of our manufacturing processes (patty making, packaging, etc.) over the course of the summer.”

Currently, the only step in the manufacturing process that is operating from the new facility is freeze drying, Wassil said.

Once the transition is complete, Stella & Chewy’s plans to host a grand opening celebration in mid-July.

The new manufacturing facility, the company’s third in nine years, is located on an 18-acre parcel of land in the 220-acre OakView Business Park southwest of West Oakwood Road and South Howell Avenue. A groundbreaking was held for it last June.

The facility Stella & Chewy’s is transitioning out of is a 50,000-square-foot building at 2842 S. Fifth Court in Milwaukee. Prior to that, it was located in a 13,000-square-foot Muskego facility.

As the first tenants in the OakView Business Park, Stella & Chewy’s has the option to expand to 280,000 square feet of space in the future.

The new facility will support more than four times the company’s current overall production capacity.

Stella & Chewy's, which is expecting more than $50 million in sales in 2015, is considered southeastern Wisconsin’s fastest-growing company. Last year, it topped the “Fastest Five” list compiled by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce's Council of Small Business Executives.

For more information on the company, read the Oct. 27, 2014 cover story “Bow WOW! Stella & Chewy's is on the fast track.”

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Dorner Manufacturing plans 25,000-square-foot addition
May 18, 2015 09:31 AM
Dorner Manufacturing Corp. is planning a 25,000-square-foot addition to its 100,000-square-foot manufacturing facility.

“The business has been growing over the last two years to a point where the volume requires us to have more manufacturing space,” said director of operations Randy Meis.

The conveyor systems manufacturer has achieved growth in the high teens to low 20 percent range each year for the last two years, he said. The growth is attributed in part to expanded sales in all markets, more aggressive marketing and sales plans, and new products.

Meis said the plan is for the addition to be completed by late November and for it to be fully operational by the start of 2016.

Dorner also anticipates buying a laser and brake press in addition to hiring four people over the next six to nine months.

Hartland’s Architectural Board and Plan Commission will consider the building plans later today. Then the Hartland Village Board will make final approval on May 26.

“Assuming all goes as planned, we’ll break ground shortly after June 1,” Meis said.

Meis did not disclose financial details of the addition.

Dorner is located at 975 Cottonwood Ave.

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Lakefront Brewery launches new gluten-free beer
May 18, 2015 09:37 AM
Milwaukee-based Lakefront Brewery Inc. has launched a new gluten-free beer called New Grist Ginger. The specially-formulated beer is the second gluten-free beer in the brewery’s portfolio since introducing New Grist Pilsner in 2006.

Brewed with rice, sorghum—instead of malted barley—hops and natural ginger, the relatively low-alcohol beer (4.7 percent alcohol by volume) is available in all of Lakefront’s markets in six-packs with limited draft availability.

The brewery experimented with different flavor additives before arriving at ginger, including lavender, lemon zest and several herbal teas, according to Lakefront Brewery’s co-founder and president Russ Klisch.

“None of them complimented the sorghum flavor in New Grist more than ginger,” he said, adding that the brewery opted for fresh ginger instead of flavor extract. “It tastes authentic and doesn’t make the beer too sweet or too bitter.”

Started in 1987, Lakefront Brewery produces 45,000 barrels of beer per year and distributes its products to 36 states, Canada and Japan.

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Cardiac Science introduces the Powerheart G5 AED
May 18, 2015 09:42 AM
Cardiac Science, a manufacturer of automated external defibrillators headquartered in Waukesha, has unveiled the Powerheart G5 AED. It is the first FDA-cleared AED to combine fully automatic shock delivery, dual-language functionality, variable escalating energy, and fast shock times to help rescuers save a sudden cardiac arrest victim's life.

Sudden cardiac arrest, otherwise known as SCA, kills more than 369,000 people a year, according to the American Heart Association.

"Every day there is an instance where an AED has made, or would have made, the difference between life or death," said Al Ford, Cardiac Science general manager and senior vice president of sales and marketing. "Cardiac Science has pioneered life-saving AED technology for over 20 years, and the Powerheart G5 is the next chapter."

In addition to professionals, the Powerheart G5 can be used by first-time responders through user-paced instruction from the RescueCoach voice and text prompts. Pads can be placed on either side of a victim's chest, and the Powerheart G5 only provides an automatic shock when it is required.

During a rescue, the Powerheart G5 uses variable escalating energy to deliver customized energy needed to a patient. For instance, defibrillation energy automatically escalates if additional shocks are needed with a fast shock time of 10 seconds or less. If more than one shock is required, the AED does not repeat the same effort. Rather, it increases the energy input to an appropriate higher level.

The Powerheart G5 features a Rescue Ready indicator that communicates rescue status and confirms that the internal circuitry, medical-grade battery and rescue pads have passed daily, weekly and monthly self-tests.

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Walworth County Manufacturing Job Fair set for Tuesday
May 18, 2015 09:45 AM
In response to the recent layoffs at East-Troy based Erik Buell Racing and other area companies, the Walworth County Job Center is hosting a Walworth County Manufacturing Job Fair on Tuesday. The fair is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Walworth County Job Center, 400 County Road H, in the South Building at Gateway Technical College in Elkhorn.

Current companies planning to participate include Anderson Machining Service Inc., Brunk Industries, Echo Lake Foods, LDV Inc., MicroPrecision, MPC, Pinnacle Foods, Prop Shaft Supply, R&L Spring/Medicoil, Serta Simmons Manufacturing LLC, and Synerject.

Many of these companies asked if there was a way to reach out to those from Erik Buell Racing as well as others who recently lost their jobs, according to the Walworth County Job Center. Erik Buell Racing closed on April 15, affecting 126 employees.

The free event requires pre-registration, which can be done at the Walworth County Job Center or other local job centers. Job Center personnel are also available to help prepare or update resumes, offer tips for a successful interview, and provide other services to help job seekers get hired.

For more information, call Rick Heine from the Walworth County Job Center at (262) 741-5194 or call the job center’s resource room at (262) 741-5180.

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ZBB Energy profit down on lower license revenue
May 18, 2015 09:49 AM
Milwaukee-based ZBB Energy Corp. reported a fiscal third quarter net loss of $3.5 million, or 9 cents per share, compared with net income of $8,930, or 0 cents per share, in the third quarter of 2014.

ZBB, which develops energy management systems solutions for the utility and commercial and industrial building markets, reported an operating loss of $3.4 million, compared with an operating loss of $4 million in the same period a year ago.

Revenue totaled $584,817, down from $4.6 million in the third quarter of 2014. During the quarter, the company received no license revenue, compared with $3 million in license revenue in the third quarter of 2014. Product sales were down to $287,644 from $822,318 in the same period a year ago.

ZBB recently announced a global strategic partnership with Solar Power Inc., through which it has completed an initial supply agreement valued at between $80 and $120 million. The partnership also includes a $33.4 million initial equity investment.

“We think the impact that the SPI deal will have on ZBB is on par with the market changing announcement that Tesla made last week,” said Eric Apfelbach, chief executive officer of ZBB. “SPI's comfort with ZBB's product capability and leading value model in real applications has led to this major initial supply agreement. As other customers and partners determine the same advantages, we expect to see continuing backlog and revenue growth. SPI also offers ZBB opportunities to expand our strategic vision to other products and additional applications for our existing products that will lead to more revenue growth. It's an exciting time for ZBB.”

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MATC to offer free summer welding certificate program
May 18, 2015 09:52 AM
Milwaukee Area Technical College is offering a two-month, entry-level welding certificate program from May 26 to July 24 at the MATC Mequon campus’ new welding laboratory. The program has a capacity of 16 students, and it is free to students as the cost of the courses is covered by a U.S. Department of Labor grant.

Classes will be held during the daytime or late afternoon/early evening, depending on which time is most convenient for the majority of applicants. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age.

The certificate includes classes in Gas Metal ARC Welding Practices, Blueprint Reading for Welders, Welding Trades Mathematics, Academic Math Support and a Manufacturing Skills Certification Safety Class. Students must take all five classes. Some of the courses can be applied to MATC’s welding technical diploma program.

The U.S. Department of Labor Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant is part of a "Making the Future" project to develop, expand and improve advanced manufacturing career pathways. The 16 colleges that make up the Wisconsin Technical College System are sharing the four-year, $14.9 million “Making the Future” grant that was awarded to WTCS in 2012.

For more information, contact Christine Woda at (414) 297-6402,; or Elan Namath at (414) 297-6655,

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Water Council names director of Alliance for Water Stewardship
May 18, 2015 09:56 AM
The Water Council has named Matt Howard as the first director of the Alliance for Water Stewardship, North America.

The Milwaukee-based Water Council was named the North American headquarters for the Alliance for Water Stewardship in June. The AWS is an international organization dedicated to sustainable water resource management.

Howard has worked as sustainability director for the City of Milwaukee or the past five years. There, he implemented programs and policies that reduced costs and helped drive long-term sustainability for businesses, residents and the city. Among his projects was Milwaukee’s first sustainability plan, ReFresh Milwaukee. He also helped raised $100 million for city initiatives and led programs that upgraded more than 1,300 homes and 200 businesses in Milwaukee, generating $30 million in economic activity.

Howard, who has almost 20 years of experience in policy development and also previously created a national Sustainable Manufacturing Initiative at the U.S. Department of Commerce, will join The Water Council beginning on June 8. In his new role, Howard will be responsible for developing The Water Council’s sustainability and stewardship programs.

“I’m thrilled to be a part of the dynamic team at The Water Council,” he said. “Water put Milwaukee on the map and now The Water Council and AWS North America will ensure the city’s flag is the global epicenter for water sustainability thought leadership and manufacturing. We’ve taken fresh water for granted too long. When implemented at sites across North America, the new AWS Standard will change water stewardship for generations.”

“We are extremely pleased to have Matt join our team as we help locations address their water issues through innovative technologies and novel water management approaches,” stated Dean Amhaus, president and chief executive officer of The Water Council. “With the Western half of the United States seeking solutions for the ongoing drought, Matt’s talents and experience could not come at a more important and pressing time.”

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Telkonet narrows loss
May 18, 2015 10:01 AM
Waukesha-based Telkonet Inc. reported a first quarter net loss of $744,078, compared with $778,208 in the first quarter of 2014.

The company makes in-room automation solutions aimed at optimizing energy efficiency, comfort and data collection that are part of the emerging Internet of Things.

Telkonet reported an operating loss of $671,837 in the first quarter, compared with a $715,782 operating loss in the same period a year ago.

Revenue totaled $2.6 million, flat from the first quarter of 2014.

The company is expanding its channel relationships and internal sales team, and has seen increased activity in its target markets and a strong pipeline for its EcoSmart intelligent automation platform.

"While typically our slowest quarter each year, we are pleased to report gross profit improvement of 21 percent, and gross margin percentage increased to 48 percent, despite flat year over year revenue,” said Jason Tienor, chief executive officer. “While the year began slower than hoped, we’ve since seen our deal flow increase rapidly as we’ve entered our busiest season, especially for deployments within the education market. This activity should enable our continued year over year topline growth while driving profitability for full year 2015.”

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Midwest Refrigerated Services to consolidate Pleasant Prairie operations in new building
May 18, 2015 10:18 AM
Midwest Refrigerated Services, a frozen and refrigerated logistics and distribution services company serving the food industry, plans to consolidate its Pleasant Prairie operations into a new facility.

The company currently operates two distribution centers in Pleasant Prairie through a subsidiary, Prairieview Distribution Services LLC. It plans to consolidate operations from those facilities and from a facility in Illinois into a 411,000-square-foot facility that is currently under construction at 11681 88th Ave. in Pleasant Prairie. The company plans to occupy the facility in September.

The building was being built on speculation by a joint venture of Oak Brook, Ill.-based CenterPoint Properties and Milwaukee-based Wispark LLC. The joint venture was also building a 521,052-square-foot spec building at the site, which will be occupied by Uline.

The Midwest Refrigerated Services building will be used to warehouse bottled beverages, canned cranberry sauce and jelly manufactured by a local food processing company in Kenosha, with additional space available for other food processing customers.

The company will move 60 employees to the building and plans to hire an additional five employees.

Midwest Refrigerated Services currently occupies space at the northwest corner of 88th Avenue and 113th Street in Pleasant Prairie and in the Jelly Belly warehouse building at 10100 Jelly Belly Lane.

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Baird analyst: The worst may be over for mining sector
May 18, 2015 10:21 AM
Mircea Dobre, vice president of equity research at Milwaukee-based Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc., says the worst may be over for the mining sector.

Mining equipment manufacturers like Milwaukee-based Joy Global Inc. and Caterpillar Inc., which has a significant presence in the area, have been struggling for several quarters as the mining industry has stagnated.

But Dobre has upgraded both companies on the evidence that commodities have hit rock bottom. Commodities are still in a deflation cycle, but the deflation has become broad-based across commodity sectors, she said.

While demand is still soft for mining equipment and OEM commentary is very negative, CAT has never underperformed the broader market for five consecutive years going back to 1930. This year would make five consecutive years of underperformance for the mining magnate.

“Mining and commodity cycles last a long time, and the news is still bad – we acknowledge that,” Dobre said in a letter to investors Monday. “But, there are signs the worst might be over and history shows that being early pays off.”

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Illinois manufacturer relocating corporate headquarters to Pleasant Prairie
May 18, 2015 10:25 AM
Pressure washer manufacturer FNA Group Inc. recently announced that it is relocating its corporate headquarters from Elk Grove Village, Ill., to Pleasant Prairie.

The headquarters will be located in a $3 million, 176,000-square-foot industrial facility in the LakeView Corporate Park. The facility, which opened earlier this year, will also serve as a manufacturing and distribution facility.  At least 165 jobs are expected to be created, according to the company.

“I would like to welcome FNA to Wisconsin, and I applaud the company for once again showing its commitment to growing in the state,” said Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, who joined company and local officials for a ribbon-cutting ceremony today. “Just last week, a national survey of CEOs ranked Wisconsin as the 12th best state in the nation to do business – and we’ve seen a big jump in the rankings over the last four years. That’s a clear sign that company executives all over the country are becoming more aware that Wisconsin is a great place in which to start or grow a business.”

“All of us at FNA Group are impressed by the manner in which state and local officials worked independently and together from day one,” said Gus Alexander, president and chief executive officer of FNA Group and OEM Solutions. “They did everything within their power to help us solve our challenges. And we are all extremely proud to call Pleasant Prairie our new home.”

According to FNA spokesman Jack Pariseau, Pleasant Prairie was selected as the new corporate headquarters site because FNA needed to expand its facilities.

“Pleasant Prairie allows us a great opportunity for controlled growth over the next several years,” he said.

Besides jobs, Pariseau said FNA’s move to Pleasant Prairie will result in “spending with local vendors.”

In December, FNA announced it was locating part of its OEM Industries Division operations, which manufactures hoses and distributes pumps and replacement parts, from Arkansas to Pleasant Prairie. The company selected Wisconsin after taking part in a site selection process that involved numerous states.

In addition to housing the company’s corporate offices, the facility will enable FNA to manufacture new products, accommodate demand for existing products, and establish a research and development/engineering/product development center.

To support the company’s move and the creation of new jobs, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation has authorized FNA to receive up to $700,000 in state tax credits. The actual amount of credits awarded will be contingent upon the number of jobs created.

The Kenosha Area Business Alliance is providing the company with a $1 million loan funded through a combination of revolving loan funds, including one that originated with a contribution from Pleasant Prairie’s Tax Incremental Finance District #2.

“Near the end of 2014, the village welcomed the FNA Group to Pleasant Prairie as a new and growing business,” said Pleasant Prairie Village President John Steinbrink. “With the announcement that FNA will now move its corporate headquarters to Pleasant Prairie, the village is absolutely thrilled. We have a great deal of respect for the businesses that locate in our community and deeply appreciate this display of confidence in our region.”

Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser added: “We’re excited about the investment the FNA Group has made in Pleasant Prairie and its decision to now relocate its headquarters here. We have been preparing for this announcement for years with the investments we’ve made in LakeView Corporate Park, our infrastructure and amenities as well as the steps we’ve taken to make Kenosha County attractive to businesses. We are happy to see the results of these actions and welcome the FNA Group to the community.”

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New hires and promotions
May 18, 2015 10:28 AM

Milwaukee-based Prolitec Inc., which manufactures ambient scenting and odor remediation solutions, promoted Matthew Ansley from chief engineer to vice president of engineering and technology.

Ansley, who is responsible for directing all engineering and technology initiatives, joined Prolitec in 2013 after spending 12 years at Motorola Mobility Inc. in Libertyville, Ill., where he served as principal staff mechanical engineer.

Patrick Inman has joined Wixon Inc., a St. Francis-based manufacturer of seasonings, flavors and technologies for the food and beverage industry, as operations demand planning manager.

Inman’s responsibilities include oversight of comprehensive forecasting and scheduling activities associated with customer orders. He has more than 20 years of experience in planning and operations roles for a variety of consumer packaged goods industries.

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Best Practices: How to get your 5S initiative up and running
May 18, 2015 10:32 AM
Those of you grew up with Sesame Street may recall that each episode was brought to you by a different letter of the alphabet. I experienced my own version of this phenomenon three years ago, when much of my job suddenly became all about the letter “S”—or more accurately five of them.

I’m referring, of course, to 5S—sort, straighten, shine, standardize and sustain. Countless companies throughout the world have used this well-known Lean tool to significantly improve their workplace organization and maintenance. And in late 2011 my company decided to become one of them in a really big way by challenging 36 of our facilities to become fully 5S’d at once—and tapping me to oversee their efforts.

Read more.

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Made in Milwaukee: Tower Machining thrives in its first year
May 18, 2015 10:34 AM
In the one-year period since Milwaukee-based contract manufacturer Tower Machining began in April 2014, it has doubled in revenue and tripled its customer base.

“It’s been a challenging first year, but good challenges —growing pain challenges, which are always good things,” said Dirk Smith, a partner for Accelity Group, which established Tower Machining, a manufacturer of precision, close-tolerance machined parts and components.

Read more in the current issue of BizTimes Milwaukee.

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Hilary Dickinson This exclusive news bulletin is compiled by BizTimes Milwaukee reporter Hilary Dickinson. This bulletin is published every Monday morning. Send manufacturing industry news and tips to or call her at (414) 336-7123.

Manufacturing resources
Manufacturer Associations » Association of Equipment Manufacturers
» The Association for High Technology Distribution
» APICS – the Association for Operations Management
» Fabricators and Manufacturers International
» National Fluid Power Association
» Polyeurethane Manufacturers Association
» Precision Metalforming Association, Wisconsin District
» Society of Manufacturing Engineers - Chapter 4
» Society of Plastics Engineers - Greater Wisconsin
» Tool, Die and Machining Association of Wisconsin
» Wisconsin Truss Manufacturers Association
» Wisconsin Biotechnology and Medical Device Association
» Wisconsin Sign Association
» Wisconsin Electrical Machines and Power Electronics Consortium
» Water Quality Association of Wisconsin
Manufacturing Advocacy, Leadership Training and Continuing Education » Center for Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM) at the University of Wisconsin
» Independent Business Association of Wisconsin (IBAW)
» FET - Federation of Environmental Technologists Inc.
» MSOE's Corporate Partner Network
» The Paranet Group
» TEC Midwest
» UW-Milwaukee Center for Continuing Engineering Education
» Waukesha County Business Alliance-Manufacturing Alliance
» Waukesha County Technical College Center for Business Performance Solutions
» Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership
Other resources » American Society for Quality
» Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation
» MATC's Energy Conservation and Advanced Manufacturing (ECAM) facility
» Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce
» Milwaukee Export Assistance Center – U.S. Commercial Service
» Milwaukee World Trade Association
» MSOE's Applied Technology Center
» MSOE's Rapid Prototyping Center
» Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.
» Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce
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