Like a “Phoenix”
New facility that will help bring company to the next level is unveiled in Illinois.
submitted by Phoenix Modular Elevator
Nearly 100 people attended the grand opening of Phoenix Modular Elevator’s (PME) 25,000-sq.-ft. modular manufacturing facility in Mount Vernon, Illinois, on March 8. The event marked a new beginning for PME, which, since its inception in 1994, had been located in a 1920s, multistory former shoe factory downtown that was only 15,000 sq. ft. As the anchor tenant in a brand-new industrial park on the outskirts of Mount Vernon, PME doubled its manufacturing capacity, streamlined operations and is well equipped to handle growth.
Employees at the new facility are able to produce two complete modular elevators per week, versus one per week at the old location. Russ Ward, PME marketing manager, states:
“We had been looking at moving to a new location since 2014 as sales continued to climb. With the old building, shipping finished elevators was a challenge, because flatbed trucks had to back in from a narrow city street. The new facility, which has delivery doors for each build team to help with receiving, has enabled us to cut hours off the loading and shipping process. We now also have lineside storage for inventory and a computerized order-tracking system.”
Due to the larger production area and the factory being on a single level, the manufacturing process is smoother and easier with organized inventory and assembly areas. New equipment was a major part of the project, which commenced in August 2016 and finished in December 2016. Four overhead cranes, two permanent welding stations, a permanent cab-building shop and new jigs and saws were incorporated. Three new employees have brought the staff to 23, and the company is taking applications.
Festivities included a ribbon cutting and words from Mount Vernon Mayor Mary Jane Chesley and PME President Allison Allgaier, as well as a tour of the facility, which PME maintains is the largest of its kind in North America. “There may be a (limited use/limited application) or residential manufacturer that is bigger, square-foot wise, but we are the biggest commercial-quality modular elevator manufacturer,” Ward states.
Visitors witnessed the production process and heard from the team that assembles the elevators. The new building will enable PME to handle larger jobs and assemble more elevators. Once elevators have been assembled, installation takes approximately one week, compared with several weeks or months for a traditional system, Ward says. “Our product consists of a hoistway and elevator car inserted in the hoistway that’s prewired and ready to install,” he says. “It is literally hoisted into place, plugged in and adjusted.”
PME is proud to be the first resident of the new industrial park and is appreciative of assistance from the city, Jefferson County Development Corp. and others that helped make the plant a reality. The land on which it sits was donated, and the project is eligible for tax-increment financing.
PME’s new location paves the way for its growing workload and promises to generate work for its suppliers. While PME builds its own cabs and machine rooms, it receives other components from companies including Elevator Equipment Corp., GAL Manufacturing/Hollister Whitney, Gunderlin Ltd., Innovation Industries Inc. and SmartRise Engineering. The outlook for the city, industrial park, PME and its business associates is bright. Chesley observes, “It’s wonderful to see a plant thriving and growing in Mount Vernon.”