Manitowoc has officially opened its new production facility in Brazil, with more than 400 people attending the ceremony and celebrations.
The facility, the company’s first in South America, is located in Passo Fundo, in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul and played host to the opening event on Saturday – March 31st.
The first products to be built there will be Grove Rough-Terrain cranes, to supply both the Brazilian and surrounding markets. The 25,000 square metre facility currently has 55 full time employees, but this is expected to rise to 300 as production ramps up.
Customers and crane owners from Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Panama and Uruguay attended the inauguration, along with senior politicians, including Michel Temer, Brazil’s vice president and Fernando Pimentel, Brazil’s minister of development, industry and foreign trade.
Manufacturing will begin next week, with the first deliveries likely to take place in mid-June. The design of the factory is tailored to local manufacturing methods and materials, but it also includes operational elements and best practices from Manitowoc’s other Grove production sites in Shady Grove, Pennsylvania and Niella Tanaro, Italy.
In the beginning the cranes produced at Passo Fundo will comprise 30 percent locally-sourced components, while the other 70 percent will be imported from the U.S.A. Manitowoc says its goal is to reverse these figures over the next three years.
Larry Weyers, executive vice president for Manitowoc in the Americas, said: “The number and prominence of our guests shows just how important this factory is to the regional crane industry. The Brazilian crane market is one of the fastest growing in the world, and Manitowoc has a long history, both here and throughout Latin America.”
“Over the past five years we’ve expanded our sales and Manitowoc Crane Care operations to ensure we have the best infrastructure to serve our customers. Now, with this Passo Fundo factory, we can give them locally-manufactured cranes that are ideally suited to their needs.”
The general manager of the new plant, Mauro Nunes da Silva, who joined Manitowoc in 2006 serving in roles in finance and control before taking on the job at Passo Fundo.
“Once we received local government approval to build the factory, we wanted to start making cranes as soon as possible. Overall, it’s been less than 12 months between the signing of initial agreements and this inauguration. The construction timeline was very tight, and we encountered delays from severe weather along the way. But we achieved our timetable and it’s all thanks to the fantastic efforts of the team here,” said Nunes da Silva.