New Richmond Shriners take tour of local industryWhen president of the St. Croix Valley Shrine Club Mike Kastens took office, one of his goals was to tour business and industries who are making a difference.
When president of the St. Croix Valley Shrine Club Mike Kastens took office, one of his goals was to tour business and industries who are making a difference.
Kastens, a retired police officer whose beat included Phillips Medsize in the Industrial Park in New Richmond, knew the business well.
Several members of the Shrine Club and their wives joined Kastens and Zor Shriners President Larry Riemenschneider and his wife Julie in a conducted tour of Phillips Medisize on May 5.
Maintenance manager Matt Rominski conducted the tour and gave the Nobles an idea of what goes on behind the walls of the 52,000-square-foot facility.
The Phillips Co. was started in the Town of Phillips, in 1964 as a plastic injection firm. One of their first jobs was creating a plastic Batman and Robin figure popular in that time. Today Phillips is made up of 19 facilities all over the U.S., 13 of which are in Wisconsin and six are located in Europe.
They now specialize in modeling parts for the medical industry. Phillips works for many medical firms and are constantly coming up with new components that ultimately save lives. On the Saturday of their visit, Shriners got an opportunity to see the unit being modeled that is used to monitor breathing of patients in hospitals.
The company just recently opened an automation center in Menomonie. This center accounts for $20 million in sales alone. Phillips lost one of their clients to Mexico due to lower price, but the client returned when they found the U.S. operation was more productive and more efficient, using only six people to perform a job done by far more and with less efficiency out of the country.
Rominski said some staff were concerned that the automation would cost jobs, but they soon found they were able to do more in less time, so sales and production went up and so did the hours worked.
The New Richmond operation began working two shifts and now operate 24/7. They employ 300 people in New Richmond alone, using 32 injection modeling machines and 500 pieces of auxiliary machines. The operation also has plenty of room for engineering designers. The innovative company is constantly creating new and better devices to aid the medical industry.