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February 16, 2013

ON A ROLL: New machines at Roll Forming expected to generate 20 new jobs for metal manufacturer

JEFFERSONVILLE — With two new machines, Roll Forming Corp. expects to double its output.

The metal manufacturing company located in the Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville that creates products for companies like John Deere and Toyota hosted a ribbon-cutting for the launch of a new production line and a laser cutting machine Friday afternoon.

With the addition of the $7.5 million in equipment upgrades, the company is expected to add 20 positions at the manufacturing plant, said Plant Manager Tim Teegarden.

One piece of equipment is a roll-forming mill with in-line welding capabilities — the cost totaled $6.5 million — that takes steel in a flat form, rolls it through the machine that shapes and molds it into whatever specifications their clients need, explained Manufacturing Manager Ed Reynolds.

“With the extra line it allows us to double our capacity,” he said.

The other piece of equipment is a multiaxis laser cutting machine — which cost about $1 million — and allows the company to make customize cuts to the manufactured metal pieces.

“We have a very unique set of capabilities that allows us to do really what no other manufacturer in the U.S. is able to do in regards to the products that we supply,” Teegarden said. “We can supply an entire finished component [to a customer].”

It has been 12 years since the company broke ground on the facility in Jeffersonville. And Mayor Mike Moore thanked Roll Forming Corp. for making the investment in the city.

“Thank you for your trust and faith in Jeffersonville,” he said. “$7.5 million goes a long way in our local economy and the jobs that will come from this ... that’s big news for Jeffersonville.”

The expansion will increase the company’s Jeffersonville work force from 70 to 90 and once they are hired, the site will have the capacity to run a third eight-hour shift. The additional manufacturing line that took two years from concept to completion can produce up to 120 tons of formed metal per day. And with the addition of the new line, the 120,000-square-foot manufacturing plant is at its capacity.  

“Once they are commissioned we’ll declare this plant full,” said Roll Forming Corp. President and CEO Ray Leathers, of the two new machines. “The good news about that [is] we’re going to be able to make a lot of product here. But the better news about that is that when we land the next opportunity, we’re going to knock this wall out behind me and we’re going to create another hall just like this one,” he said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Roll Forming has high expectations as it comes out of the national recession and growth around its Jeffersonville plant continues.

“What were seeing now that the recession is ending is volumes are returning,” Teegarden said.

Both the companies it manufactures products for and the Roll Forming’s location have helped it emerge from the recession in a strong position.

“The agriculture tractor business has been one of the most resilient during the recession and we’re seeing some of the greatest volumes now as a result of it,” Leathers said. “We are the demographic center of the U.S. All the rivers cross here, all the highways cross here, all the rail crosses here and we have UPS.

“From a location standpoint, we have the most advantageous location in the United States.”

Leathers added that the development of the east-end bridge will also increase the likelihood of another plant expansion.

“That will be a huge advantage,” he said of the bridge. “ I think that bridge ... will be one of the largest economic impacts to the Southern Indiana, Northern Kentucky area that you will have seen in the last 50 years. It’ll make a huge difference in how we address our business here.”

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Judy Lunsford works on a lesson plan for her students with fellow teachers, Ellen Rothstein and Adam Stephens, in her classroom at Northaven Elementary in Jeffersonville Wednesday afternoon. Lunsford, a new addition to Northaven, will be teaching second grade.

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