Preco expands to Hudson facilityIn 1978, Hudson High School 1964 graduate Bill Lawson, founded Laser Machining in his home town of Somerset.
By: By Margaret Ontl, New Richmond News
In 1978, Hudson High School 1964 graduate Bill Lawson, founded Laser Machining in his home town of Somerset.
The company was a leader in what was then cutting edge technology of using lasers to work far beyond anyone’s original dreams.
In 2002, Lawson’s company was purchased and renamed Preco Laser and in 2004 it was wrapped into the international company and became Preco Incorporated.
Today, the Kansas-based company has 200 employees in its Somerset location, nearly 150 of them are engineers. A quick tour of the 110,000-square-foot facility indicates just how diversified the company is and how much room it needs for expansion.
“We have been looking for some place since 2009,” said Ken Arvey, executive VP and general manager, CMS (contract manufacturing services), of Preco. With the downturn in the economy, they slowed down the hunt. However, their business continued to grow, resulting in the need to rent storage space in Somerset.
“2010 was one of our best years ever,” said Arvey. “So far 2011 is looking good as well. We are doing everything we can.”
Many of the production units run 24/7 in the Preco plant resulting in a backlog of tractor trailers waiting to pick up loads on Monday morning.
The depth and breadth of Preco’s capabilities is staggering to the average person. With several divisions, they can be working on everything from anti-graffiti film for the New York Transit Authority to landing boots for jet aircraft to diesel particulate filters.
“We looked at over 30 facilities before we picked the Hudson site,” said Arvey. “They were primarily in Wisconsin and Minnesota.”
They ended up with a 20,000 foot pre-existing building in the St. Croix Business Park located at 2251 Willis Miller Drive. They expect to employ 40 people initially in Hudson with plans to double the number in the future. The building originally constructed in 2005 by Eagle Packaging offered four loading docks and room for expansion.
“We decided on Hudson and Wisconsin because of a more friendly business climate and affordability,” said Arvey. “It is perfect for the customer base that includes medical device companies, small business owners and international customers.”
The company’s several divisions include: Lasers for Metals; Die Cutting Systems; Flexible Packaging; Laser Converting; Screen Printing Systems and CMS contract manufacturing services which can be used in any of the divisions.
They also build and design their own production and fabrication machines to meet their customer’s needs.
“To conceive of, design, fabricate, acquire and sell unique systems and processing services which convert raw material into controlled, processed, counted, inspected and packaged products – automatically — in a way that gives our customer a distinct competitive advantage,” is the goal stated on Preco’s website.
The Hudson location is expected open in the fourth quarter. For more information about the company, go to www.precoinc.com.