Sperling Industries To Build Automated Fabricated Structural Steel Plant
SPERLING Industries is spending up to $10 million to build a new automated fabricated structural steel plant.
Jeff Nicolajsen, one of the owners of the Sperling plant, located about 50 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg, said the decision to go ahead with the expansion was made t least partially with an eye to bidding on the transmission tower construction work that will be part of Manitoba Hydro's Bipole III line, according to the press release.
"We knew we needed to get more automated and we figured this was as good a time as any, with the Canadian dollar at par and interest rates still pretty good," he said.
Excavation work has begun and Nicolajsen said the foundation work will begin shortly on the 35,000-square-foot addition.
The company has been in business since 1978. It employs about 120 people and Nicolajsen said when the new building is commissioned, Sperling Industries will need as many as 30 new employees.
"We intend to keep operating our existing plant and so we will need additional people to work in the new plant," he said.
The company has done a lot of work in the past for the local food processing industry, building and installing conveyor systems for the likes of McCain, Simplot and Maple Leaf Foods.
Sperling has become associated with a consortium of Manitoba companies that intends to bid on the Manitoba Hydro project. Industry players had originally thought the tender bids were going to be out in February, but now they are expected sometime in the next few weeks.
Vince Reidy, a spokesman for the consortium called USM Steel Products, said the motivation to put the group together was to at least create the opportunity for Hydro to use a local supplier for a large piece of the transmission line construction project.
Reidy said Hydro had been working on the assumption that the capacity to build the towers did not exist in Manitoba. A Hydro official confirmed that was the general understanding.
Early estimates are that the line will require about 3,000 towers in about seven different configurations. The total price of the work could be in the neighbourhood of $65 million.
"We wanted to do the automation project so that we could beef up our own competitiveness," Nicolajsen said. "We want to see work stay in the province. We think we can be competitive."