Ace Opens in Clinton, Closes in Knoxville, Tennessee
Electric overhead traveling (EOT) crane and wire rope hoist manufacturer Ace World Companies has opened its third facility—in Clinton, Tennessee.
The company, headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, is a specialist in the design and manufacturing of lifting solutions for some of North America’s most demanding applications. Its equipment is widely installed in steel mills, power plants, ship-building and aerospace facilities, to name just a few.
In 2010 it opened a second facility in Knoxville, Tennessee, to increase crane building capacity. Two years ago, a dedicated panel shop was also opened in Pewaukee, in Waukesha County, Wisconsin.
The Fort Worth site, which opened two years after the formation of the company (1987), is approx. 80,000 sq. ft. and serves as a manufacturing facility for its engineered wire rope hoists, trolleys, bridge cranes and end trucks. Ace opened the slightly smaller, 49,000 sq. ft. location in Knoxville to expand overhead crane manufacturing capacity. However, this operation will move 30 minutes up the road to the sprawling 180,000 sq. ft. Clinton factory this month (March), to facilitate manufacturing of larger cranes and increase annual production. Ace is currently building cranes at both locations but will cease all activity in Knoxville.
Kevin Beavers, executive vice president at Ace, who will oversee production in Clinton said: “We will primarily be focused on the fabrication of the bridge and the full assembly of the overhead cranes, including completion of the factory acceptance test with the customer before shipment. It will not change what happens in Fort Worth. We have ruled out expansion of other existing facilities at this time.”
Relocation to Clinton is expected to result in a doubling of the company’s workforce. Currently, 50 people work in Fort Worth and eight at the satellite facility in Pewaukee; 13 workers will ensure production begins in earnest at the latest site having made the transition from Knoxville. Steel mills and the aerospace sector will be the primary drivers of business in the immediate term, although Ace remains active in a myriad of heavy-duty marketplaces.
Beavers revealed that the new, 45-acre property was originally purchased by a company that relocated itself. 60,000 sq. ft. of the property was demolished and a taller building was constructed, complete with high-capacity overhead cranes, a 280-ft. girder table and automated gantry welder.
He added: “This is an exciting new dawn for the company. Inevitably, we, like many others, have been negatively impacted by the pandemic but RFQs [request for quotations] are picking up and enhanced manufacturing capacity will help us respond to that demand with world-class production capability and reduced lead times.”