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Foxconn smart manufacturing center approved on way to October start

Foxconn smart manufacturing center approved on way to October start Banner Image

Foxconn Industrial Internet’s proposed manufacturing facility for server parts gained a design endorsement Wednesday from Mount Pleasant’s Plan Commission, advancing one step closer to a mid-October construction start.

Pending approvals, the smart manufacturing building could be enclosed by May 2020 and ready for occupancy by September 2020, according to Fii’s application to Mount Pleasant. Mount Pleasant's Plan Commission approved it Wednesday after a short review.

“We are going at lightning speed,” said project manager Eric Gebhardt of designer Eppstein Uhen Architects.

It is among two facilities expected to start production later next year at Foxconn Technology Group’s Mount Pleasant campus east of Interstate 94 between Braun Road and Highway KR. A larger LCD screen fabrication plant that started construction in June is to begin production in the fourth quarter of 2020.

The two facilities could have about 1,800 combined workers.

The Fii smart manufacturing facility would produce components for computer server racks, and house about 300 expected employees. Over time, the worker count could grow to 500, according to Fii’s application to the village.

As described, it would make a wide variety of products in relatively lower volumes. Gebhardt said it is intended to make parts for Foxconn. He described the process as parts being laser cut for the needed server rack and stamped onto the finished project.

“This is truly a high-tech manufacturing facility,” he said.

The smart manufacturing center would have about 261,600 square feet, including its production and warehousing on the ground floor and about 40,000 square feet of office space in a mezzanine, according to plans submitted to Mount Pleasant.

Fii, an affiliate of Foxconn Technology Group, also submitted plans this month for a globe-shaped glass building to house network and data center operations. The company then withdrew those plans to work on redesigns to meet future company needs, and needs of business, academic or community partners, according to Foxconn’s Wednesday press release.

Joe Lambke, operations director for Foxconn’s Wisconsin Data Center, said those buildings will “support smart manufacturing, AI initiatives, high-performance computing and more.”

Foxconn on Wednesday announced that Mortenson will be the construction manager for the Fii manufacturing and data center buildings. The contractor is based in Minneapolis, but has a large Milwaukee-area presence with 235 local workers last year, according to the Milwaukee Business Journal’s Book of Lists.

Those Fii buildings are the latest two proposed in Foxconn’s Mount Pleasant campus. The company currently is building a nearly 1 million-square-foot LCD screen fabrication plant, and a power substation. The fabrication plant is to start operations in the fourth quarter of 2020, and could have about 1,500 workers.

The only completed building on the campus is an approximate 100,000-square-foot multi-purpose industrial facility. Foxconn owns about 900 acres in the village. Contractors have been moving dirt on the site since spring 2018 to prepare for new buildings.

Gilbane Building Co. and Exyte, formerly M+W Group, are the construction managers for the overall development.

Sean Ryan
Milwaukee Business Journal

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