EJ —the group that produces and distributes municipal and infrastructural castings in North America, Europe, and Australia — is laying plans to relocate from its original location in East Jordan, MI, to a new foundry at a greenfield site. "We are at the very early stages," cautioned Tom Teske, vice president & general manager, Americas, “and this project is not final, as there are still many details to be worked out with state and local officials." But, in a statement the company confirmed it intends to build on a site in Warner Township, MI, within 20 miles of its current location, with manufacturing at the new plant to begin in 2019.
A local report indicated EJ is working with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the Northern Lakes Economic Alliance to finalize details of the move. No investment cost has been indicated for the project.
The East Jordan operation includes a cupola melting shop for ductile iron, three molding lines — automated green-sand molding, no bake molding, and HWS molding for parts up to 76x60 in. Also in East Jordan is a highly automated operation for finish machining, coating, and assembly and testing for fire hydrants and valves.
None of the 350 jobs at the current foundry would be at risk, it was reported, and the site selection was guided in part by considerations of the current work force.
Long known as East Jordan Iron Works, EJ renamed its organization in 2011, establishing a global brand for products it manufactures at foundries in Australia, Canada, France, and Ireland. It has a second U.S. plant in Ardmore, OK. The Michigan foundry has been operating for 133 years, producing parts for agricultural, forestry, marine and railroad equipment, though now its focus is supplying castings for water, sewer, and drainage systems, and telecom and utility networks.
EJ’s corporate headquarters, pattern shop, product development group, water products and Northern Michigan sales office would remain in East Jordan after production is shifted to the new plant.
“Our family is very excited about this announcement, and we hope our employees are too. We continuously look for opportunities to improve our business operations across our company. This investment in a new manufacturing facility, utilizing our current workforce, will help ensure the sustainability of our business,” stated EJ president Tracy Malpass, whose family has owned and operated the business since 1883.