Stoughton company plans major expansion in Beloit

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Jim Leute
Tuesday, August 27, 2013

BELOIT—A Stoughton-based manufacturer that acquired a Janesville company this year is planning a significant expansion in Beloit.

Universal Acoustic & Emission Technologies, a global designer and manufacturer of acoustic and emissions products for the power generation, oil and gas, industrial and original equipment markets, has signed a long-term lease at the Ironworks campus in Beloit.

Universal, which already has a manufacturing facility and 16 employees in Beloit, will lease 106,000 square feet of production and office space with an additional 67,000 square feet in reserve for potential expansion.

The added space will allow Universal to increase its manufacturing and distribution capabilities. The company said earlier this year the new operation could result in 100 new jobs.

"We think that there will be 50 new jobs in the next two and one-half years, but if business conditions continue to be good, we think that could double,: said Ron Jake, Universal's marketing manager. "We are leasing this facility with the expectation that our business will continue to grow."

The Beloit facility will become the home of Universal's “Center of Excellence” that will put engineers, designers, business staff and manufacturing specialists under one roof.

Established in 1959, Universal does business around the world from its headquarters in Stoughton. The company has about 80 employees in Stoughton.

Universal has particular expertise with diesel engine and gas turbine applications. It also offers products for blowers, engines, fans, compressors and other industrial products requiring silencing or air filtration.

The Ironworks campus is a 750,000-square-foot mixed-use property that is home to more than a dozen companies representing a range of industry sectors. Hendricks Commercial Properties owns, manages and develops the property.

For nearly 150 years, the Ironworks site was home to the Beloit Corp., which began as a foundry but evolved into a manufacturer of papermaking machines. It closed in 1999.

Diane and the late Ken Hendricks purchased the Beloit Corp. site and renamed it the Ironworks.

“We are excited to be a part of the renaissance of this historic business complex, all while growing our capacity to provide better service to new and existing customers,” Jake said.

Mark Membrino, vice president of Hendricks Commercial Properties, said the agreement with Universal is a significant step for the Ironworks and the community.

“Beloit has a proud manufacturing heritage, and Universal's long-term commitment here will help the city rebuild its strong industrial reputation,” Membrino said. “They are a world-class manufacturer that brings much-needed high-quality, sustainable jobs to our community.”

Less than two months ago, Universal bought Ojibway Enclosure Systems, a small Janesville designer and manufacturer of sound-attenuating enclosure systems.

Ojibway also provides generator set packaging services for the standby power generation industry.

With two sites in Janesville, Ojibway and its 16 employees do laser cutting, welding and forming of metal products.

Universal retained all Ojibway employees who work at two sites in Janesville. Jake said the Ojibway operation likely will move to the Beloit facility later this year.

The acquisition allowed Universal and Ojibway to better serve their common customers: engine distributors who source silencers, emissions treatment products or complete power generation packages for data centers, hospitals and other large-scale facilities that require standby power generators.

Founded in 2009, Ojibway makes massive enclosures that protect diesel generators that back up some of the largest computer server farms in the world.

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