Preco Inc. expands in HudsonPreco Inc., a leading maker of laser packaging and manufacturing machines, has expanded to a facility in Hudson.
Preco Inc., a leading maker of laser packaging and manufacturing machines, has expanded to a facility in Hudson.
The trade magazine Package Printing reported last week that Preco would be moving into the building at 2251 Willis Miller Drive in St. Croix Business Park, formerly the home of Eagle Packaging Inc.
Judging from the cars in parking lot of the facility last week, the move has already taken place.
Ken Arvey, general manager of Preco’s Somerset facility, didn’t return a phone call seeking information on the expansion.
Preco announced last July that it would be expanding to the Hudson facility in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Arvey said then that the company looked at more than 30 facilities in the region before picking the Eagle Packaging building in Hudson, which was constructed 1995.
“We decided on Hudson and Wisconsin because of a more friendly business climate and affordability,” Arvey was quoted as saying in the Star-Observer. “It is perfect for the customer base that includes medical device companies, small business owners and international customers.”
He said the Hudson facility would employ 40 people initially and double the number in the future.
Package Printing magazine called Preco “a global leader in providing laser, die-cutting, lamination and screen printing equipment and services.” The company was said to be expanding its production capacity and capabilities.
“The move is part of a continuing effort to respond to steady and strong growth in Preco’s medical and clean-converting markets,” the magazine reported. It said the new contract-manufacturing facility would offer “laser-processing and die-cutting services for the medical, packaging and converting industries.”
The facility will have “ISO-certified clean rooms, dozens of laser and die-cutting work stations, and Ph.D.-level application engineers,” according to the magazine.
Preco is said to employ 300 workers at facilities in Somerset, Kansas, England, Sweden and China.
The company started in 1956 as Gramling Tool and Die Co. The founder, G.T. (Bill) Gramling, was a tool and die maker.
In 2002, the company acquired Laser Machine of Somerset, which is now the center of Preco’s laser operations.
The Somerset plant had 200 employees, including 150 engineers, when Preco announced its expansion plans last July.
Arvey said there were two parts to the Somerset plant’s operations when interviewed for a story in the 2010 Business Review published by the Rivertown Newspaper Group.
“We’ll either build a system and sell it to the customer or we’ll build the system and contract out the service,” he was quoted as saying. “It’s a really neat synergy we’ve got going in this business. No one is recession-proof. If one side of our business is doing poorly, the other is doing well.”
The Somerset facility added a clean room in 2009 for the manufacture of medical devices, renewable energy products such as solar-panel components, packaging, optical products, electronics and more.
In 2010, the company was adding employees and in need of additional space.