Over the Lake and Through the Woods

Nov. 1, 2008
Wacker Neuson opens a new climate control facility in Michigan, rebrands its entire light equipment lineup and launches its compact equipment line.

Over Lake Michigan and through the woods sits Wacker Neuson's new, state-of-the-art Norton Shores, Mich., facility, just south of Muskegon. The 168,500-square-foot climate control facility was built to output a higher volume of the company's heaters, dehumidifiers and light towers for the construction and restoration industries.

The 37-acre site offers room for future expansion and allows the company to keep everything related to climate control under one roof. When Wacker Neuson purchased the Spring Lake, Mich.-based Ground Heaters operation in 2006, its facility was just two miles from the new one in Norton Shores.

“A primary consideration for locating the new building so close to the existing facility was to utilize our talented workforce,” said Ed Jaroszewicz, director of climate control for Wacker Neuson.

The new facility uses a Factory Focus model to develop two factories within the new building. One factory produces climate control products and the second is used to assemble light towers. This manufacturing concept merges all aspects of the production process into a single area of concentration. The new “factory” is then further divided into a series of production stations. Every employee on the line is trained to know the process at each station so the worker can move with the product from start to finish.

Wacker Neuson started the Focus Factory manufacturing process in 1995 and has realized significant gains from its use. As a result, lead times have been significantly reduced as have inventory levels, resulting in a shorter lead time for the customer.

Beyond the new facility in Norton Shores, there are still a lot more changes going on at Wacker Neuson. Earlier this year the company announced it was rebranding its entire line of light and compact equipment products. The new brand name of Wacker Neuson will be clearly marked on more than 250 light equipment models along with a new color scheme and corporate symbol. The products, which include compaction, concrete, demolition and utility equipment, have received a face lift that features a new gray and yellow color scheme as well as a red and gray button-like symbol. The refreshed-looking product lines will continue to roll off the line throughout the first part of 2009.

The first machines to unveil their new face lift are the BS-2i rammer series. Formerly featuring a green bellows and silencer cover, the new look features gray bellows with a yellow silencer cover. Also, the very visible front crank case showcases the company's new WN symbol and the Wacker Neuson name appears on the sides.

“Don't let the color change of this rammer fool you,” said Rebekah Gallert, compaction product manager of Wacker Neuson. “With an update to the engine cylinder, our engineers were able to further lower total emissions by 38 percent.” This reduction in emissions places Wacker Neuson's WM 80 two-cycle engine well below the Environmental Protection Agency's emissions regulation for both carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides emissions. And in addition to lower emissions, the new cylinder also reduces fuel consumption by 15 percent, lowering overall operator costs.

The updated rammers also feature a new low-profile muffler, which wraps around the curved shape of the engine, bringing the muffler an additional 1-inch further away from the outside edge of the rammer. The low-profile muffler allows the rammers to compact closer to structures such as trench walls and footings, plus protects the muffler from any damaging impact. Because the muffler outlet is nestled under the engine, there is less chance that it can get plugged during operation.

The company also recently introduced its first compact equipment line to the United States market. The line includes wheel loaders, excavators and dumpers. The introduction of the new compact equipment line represents a major expansion of product offerings to the landscape, rental and construction contractor markets.

The new line of wheel loaders includes four articulated units and two all-wheel-steer machines with standard bucket capacities of 0.26 to 1.1 cubic yard. Each unit is compact in size but designed to provide power, performance, maneuverability, operator comfort and safety. In addition, the compact wheel loaders are engineered to perform the same tasks as a higher-powered skid-steer loader, but deliver up to 30 percent in fuel savings. The wheel loaders also have a complete line of attachment tools available for added jobsite versatility.

The new compact excavator lineup ranges in size from 1.4 to 8 metric tons and features models that include everything from a mini-sized unit to units with high-output engines as well as zero tail swing. Independent boom swing, increased flow hydraulic systems, rubber tracks, dozer blades and a control pattern selection are standard on all models.

Dumpers round out the line with three machines offering payload capacities from 2,205 to 13,228 pounds. These articulated dumpers are designed for landscape, rental and contractor customers.

“We now have new machines that will lift, load, move, dig, plow, haul and more,” said Jay Baudhuin, compact equipment product manager. “It's a natural progression for our company's goals to have the Wacker Neuson brand involved in as much of the construction process as possible. And we plan on introducing additional compact equipment to complement the line in the future.”