RoMan Manufacturing® Completes Expansion

February 16, 2015

To accommodate substantial growth in its welding equipment line, RoMan Manufacturing Inc.® recently completed an expansion and internal remodeling project.

The project, which has been in the works since August 2014, will allow RoMan to double the capacity for its IRCO Automation Inc.®, an Ontario-based subsidiary, that has significantly grown in revenue over the last two years, said Bob Roth, president of RoMan.

To accommodate that growth, the company enlisted the help of Wolverine Building Group Inc. to complete a 15,000-square-foot expansion and 9,000-square-foot remodeling project.

“We were very pleased with the outcome of the expansion,” Roth told MiBiz. “Wolverine was very conscious of putting an expansion on a building we were still working on. They didn’t interrupt our production and were safe while meeting the time frame.”

IRCO grew revenue to $12 million in 2014, twice the amount as the prior year, Roth said. Roth expects revenue to double again as the global gas and oil industry continues to develop despite the drop in the price of crude oil. The company manufacturers automated welding equipment for heavy fabrication, primarily in the energy, transportation infrastructure and defense industries.

Wolverine also remodeled RoMan’s two-story office space, with new drywall, flooring and other improvements to accommodate an increase in office staff and improve workflow.

The company spent approximately six months on the internal remodelling project, Roth said.

RoMan hired 20 additional employees as a result of the expansion in 2014 and plans to fill an additional eight positions this year.

The project illustrates the larger construction requirements for regional manufacturers that prefer modest additions and remodeling rather than large-scale expansion projects or new building construction, said Mike Kelly, president of Wolverine.

Despite the improving economy, manufacturers are still wary of adding additional space to their operations until absolutely necessary.

“Last year, I thought we’d see more greenfield buildings, but that hasn’t happened and is still a couple of years out,” Kelly said. “Manufacturers were stung pretty bad in the recession and they don’t forget. They’re focusing on how much space they can get by on versus how much they need.”

Approximately 80 percent of Wolverine’s projects fall between 5,000 square feet and 20,000 square feet, Kelly said.

Manufacturers have also changed their philosophy on how new space is built post-recession, Kelly said. Companies are allocating less space for raw materials and finished goods as they attempt to maximize floor space for production.

Despite the resurgence of manufacturing activity in the state, Wolverine hasn’t seen as consistent of a construction market as in previous years, he said.

“I am hoping that – unlike the last two falls – when the market heats up this summer, it has some legs to it that lasts through the year and not have this start/stop mentality,” Kelly said.

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