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Komatsu Mining ramps up production at new $285M Milwaukee plant

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Komatsu Mining’s new $285 million campus on a brownfield site in Milwaukee’s Harbor District was four years in the making and the company is preparing for an official opening later this month. See the slideshow from the Milwaukee Business Journal’s tour of the offices, plant and outside areas this week.

Although Komatsu Mining broke ground on the project in September 2020, initial city of Milwaukee approvals go back to 2018 and the company was in planning stages before that. Matt Beaudry, project manager and general manager for the company, said he’s incredibly proud of his team and the contractors and professionals who partnered on the project.

The office staff moved to the gleaming new office building last fall from Honey Creek Corporate Center on Milwaukee’s west side and Komatsu’s historic campus in West Milwaukee. Manufacturing started in March at the new plant and continues gradually ramping up as more equipment is installed.

“To physically see what we’ve accomplished here and also see the manufacturing processes actually happening — seeing it in operation — it’s amazing,” Beaudry said. “We still have a ways to go continuing the relocation of equipment, but to see it get to this point — it’s like nothing else.”

Komatsu Mining executives are proud to contribute to the ongoing redevelopment of Milwaukee’s Harbor District in the Walker's Point area south of downtown, said Caley Clinton, director of corporate communications and brand.

“We’re very glad to have been able to accomplish re-use of this site,” Clinton said.

And what a re-use it is.

Komatsu’s 180,000-square-foot office building represents the company’s efforts to support contemporary office activities with an environment that’s employee-friendly. It includes a full-service cafeteria, multi-media conference rooms, laboratories and more than ample natural light.

The 430,000-square-foot manufacturing facility produces the major components of large mining machines, including electric rope shovels, hybrid shovels, draglines and blasthole drills. The location serves as the large gearing center of excellence and the large fabrication and machining center of excellence for Komatsu’s global mining division.

The new plant is well lit and under one roof compared with the West Milwaukee campus that was expanded over the decades and includes 35 buildings.

The new plant will be more efficient and is designed to provide a high level of employee safety and ergonomics, Beaudry said. The oldest sections of the West Milwaukee plant go back to 1905.

“The whole plant was purpose-built,” Beaudry said. “We wanted to make sure we had the best process flow of our parts.”

The equipment in the plant is being sourced from a combination of machinery and devices at the West Milwaukee facility, new purchases and Komatsu facilities in China.

Komatsu Mining's partners on the project were Hunzinger Construction, EUA and Graef.

See photos from the Komatsu slideshow. 

Rich Kirchen
Milwaukee Business Journal

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