Vermillion firm opens Canadian operations

A Vermillion manufacturing firm has expanded its horizons northward.
MASABA Mining Equipment recently opened a new branch of the company in eastern Canada in Brampton, Ontario, several hours north of Detroit. Company president Jerad Higman says the quality and custom design options MASABA offers has created demand for their products.

"Word about the quality and reliability of our products continues to spread throughout all of North America and the world," Higman says. "We've positioned ourselves as the premier custom equipment designer and manufacturer in the industry. Our success is driven by a high level of engineering and the quality and durability of our equipment."

Joe Elmes, a Canadian citizen with a rich history in the aggregate, mining and process industries, will serve as president of MASABA Canada. MASABA Mining Equipment is a global supplier of aggregate, mining and agricultural equipment. A third-generation family owned business, the company originated in Akron, Iowa, and has been providing equipment and services since 1962. The company developed a 100,000-square-foot facility in Vermillion in 2005.

MASABA'S product line includes portable and stationary conveyors, crushers, screening and washing structures and a wide variety of heavy duty handling materials for the aggregate, mining and agricultural industries. Their corporate headquarters, engineering design center and 160,000 square foot manufacturing facility are located on 26 acres in Vermillion.
Vice President of Marketing & Operations, Heath Johnson, says MASABA Canada, the company's expansion into Canada, was driven by demand for their equipment in that country.

"We've had a dealer in Brampton for some time and our equipment has been very well accepted in the Canadian market," Johnson says. "In large metropolitan areas like Toronto, there's a lot of building and development going on. Expansion there drives a need for rock, sand and gravel equipment and we've been able to help meet that need. Because of Canada's cold climate, the durability and reliability of our equipment has caused us to stand out in that market. But we see the need for durable equipment in places like Arizona and New Mexico where heat is the issue and can be just as big a problem."

MASABA's new facility, which opened in June 2009, is comprised of a sales office with some fabrication and manufacturing capabilities. Johnson says the company has no immediate plans for developing a facility like the one they've established in Vermillion.

"In opening this facility, we formed a partnership with our former dealer and developed MASABA Canada," Johnson says. "Over time, the facility is likely to evolve into a manufacturing center in order to eliminate shipping costs. Just as Americans prefer to purchase products made in America, Canadians like to buy equipment made in their own country. That's also a factor we'll take into consideration."

MASABA expanded their Vermillion facility to a total of 60,000 square feet in 2008 in anticipation of the growth they will see in the Canadian and other world markets.

"Short term, we don't plan to make any additions to the Vermillion facility," Johnson says. "However, we did beef up our engineering capabilities to meet the growth our Brampton office will generate. We added several more mechanical engineers to our engineering design center. We've used a lot of the space in our fabrication facility but at this point, we're not fully utilizing that area. It's possible that production at our Vermillion facility will increase over the long term."

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