Feb 15, 2016

Janesville’s A.M. Castle ramping up as ‘supermarket of steel’

Excerpted from Janesville Gazette

By Neil Johnson

At an open house Monday morning, an A.M. Castle Metals official said the company’s new steel distribution warehouse on the city’s east side already employs 70 people.

Each of those workers earns at least $16.50 an hour, and the company is looking to add 10 or 15 more employees in Janesville, possibly in the next couple of months.

Boom time came quickly, considering the company just opened its doors in December at the brand-new, 208,000-square-foot warehouse it’s leasing at 3800 Enterprise Drive.

The new warehouse, one of a few large-scale distribution companies to locate in Janesville last year, is quickly assuming its role as A.M. Castle’s Midwest hub, which is what the multinational company had planned.

“We’re getting to where we thought we’d go in Janesville, but fast. It’s been big-time exciting,” Knopp said. “We’re a supermarket of steel, and we are now open.”

A.M. Castle is based in Oak Brook, Illinois.

Demand continues to grow in two of the three biggest manufacturing and industrial markets the company serves. Castle is now buying $35 million to $40 million in steel and other metal material to keep the Janesville warehouse’s inventory replenished.

Ron Knopp, chief operation officer and executive vice president of A.M. Castle, believes the Janesville facility could be ramping up near its inventory capacity over the next year.

Right now, two of three major sectors that Castle Metals supplies—the aerospace and industrial markets—are ramping up production, and demand for precut steel and aluminum angle pieces is growing fast.

Castle trucks in metal to its Janesville warehouse, machines and cuts it to order and ships it out for use in aerospace production machines or for aircraft.

Its major customers include aerospace giants Cessna and Beechcraft and contractors that produce the military’s new Joint Strike Fighter aircraft. In its industrial manufacturing markets, John Deere and Bobcat are two of Castle’s largest customers.

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