Ariens Co. is halfway through a $30 million transformation of its Plant 1 that will allow the Brillion company to meet growing demands for its zero-turn mowers.
Ariens’ five-year trend of double-digit growth is spurring the project, which should be complete next summer.
“This 18-month initiative will allow Ariens Co. to increase capacity of that plant by more than 50 percent using the same square footage,” says Larry Weyers, chief operating officer and president of Ariens Power Equipment, adding the company is looking to hire another 150 workers for various manufacturing positions to meet Ariens’ continued growth.
The transformation project touches all areas of the 320,000-square-foot plant and includes a new $19 million paint system, lasers, robotic welders, steel delivery bay and shipping docks. It also focuses on workplace enhancements in ergonomics, safety, air quality, automation to assist with heavy tasks and automated guided vehicles to move products.
“It was like we were given a blank sheet and were able to design the plant to fit what we’re doing now,” says Pat Weller, senior director of operations for Ariens. “We are utilizing our floor space better and have optimized the lanes for better production flow. Overall, we have greater capacity.”
Demand for zero-turn mowers is fueling Ariens’ growth, says Matt Meden, the company’s vice president of marketing. “That market is increasing by 500,000 per year, and each year, our share of that continues to grow,” he says. “We’ve done a lot of work on brand awareness, so when they get to a power equipment dealer or Home Depot or Lowes — where we also sell our products — they’ll be looking for us.”
Ariens is hosting walk-in interviews from 9 a.m. to noon on Sept. 7 at Plant 3 to find additional employees. For more information, visit ariensco.com/careers.
“Ariens provides people (a way) to get their foot in the door on a great career in manufacturing,” says Tony McNamara, Ariens’ recruiting lead. “We look for personality and cultural fits. For people in retail, which has seen a lot of ups and downs, for example, it’s a great way to start on a new career path. We’re a big company, but since we are family-owned and members of the family work here, it has that small business feel.”