About Cambridge Brass
A century-old Cambridge Business is investing solidly in its future

 

Cambridge Brass plant tour including City councillors Shannon Asdhade, Frank Monteiro and Cambridge MPP Kathryn McGarry.ambridge Brass general manager Ed Hesselink, left, leads a tour of the plant Friday for visitors, including, from left, city councillors Shannon Adshade and Frank Monteiro, and Cambridge MPP Kathryn McGarry

Cambridge Brass

Brent Davis,Record staff

 

Waterloo Region Record

By Brent Davis 

CAMBRIDGE ? A century-old Cambridge business is investing solidly in its future.

Cambridge Brass?will invest about $5 million over the next five years in its Orion Place facility, aided by a provincial grant of more than $380,000 from the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund.

"I look at this as an opportunity to improve our processes, improve our technology," general manager Ed Hesselink said Friday. "Our goal is to grow and to compete and to be a leader in the waterworks industry."

Cambridge Brass produces municipal water supply components for the North American market, making recent inroads into Mexico and the Caribbean.

The investments could see another 18 or so employees added to a workforce that presently numbers over 100, Hesselink said. "We've made a commitment to increasing jobs."

The new investments in equipment, processes and automation will improve efficiency and expand the plant's capabilities, allowing the company to bring in new work, he said.

It should also increase the firm's flexibility and enable it to be more responsive to customer requests, Hesselink said. "In order to remain competitive, you've got to bring in new technology."

Hesselink likened one of the plant's newest pieces of equipment, a high-precision CNC lathe, to something straight out of the space age.

The high-tech machines and robotics being introduced at the plant represent the 21st-century face of an industry that still sees glowing molten metal poured into moulds.

"We've transitioned tremendously from where we were before," Hesselink noted.

Cambridge Brass traces its roots to the early years of the 20th century, with the establishment of the Galt Brass Manufacturing Co. Ltd. in 1905 and the Canadian Brass Co. Ltd. two years later.

In 1969, Wallaceburg Brass purchased Galt Brass, becoming Waltec Industries. Waltec purchased Canadian Brass a decade later, and in 1980, the two facilities combined and moved to the new Orion Place plant under the new Cambridge Brass name.

The 100,000-square foot plant has the capability of producing eight million pounds of finished product a year, Hesselink said.

The company also has a distribution centre in British Columbia.

Today, Cambridge Brass is owned by the A.Y. McDonald Manufacturing Co., based in Dubuque, Iowa.

"It's a very impressive facility," said Cambridge MPP Kathryn McGarry, who visited the plant on Friday to announce the provincial grant. "This has been a stable workplace for many years in our community."

McGarry was joined for the announcement and a tour by a number of municipal politicians.

Hesselink said the investments will also give employees the opportunity to work with the latest equipment and technologies. "If individuals develop, the benefit to the company is tremendous, too."