SHEBOYGAN, Wis. (AP) - Stainless steel equipment manufacturer Polar Ware Co., which was founded in Sheboygan 100 years ago, says it will close its plant here by the end of the year and move operations to Kiel, approximately 18 miles away.
The firm is building a 110,000-square-foot facility adjoining a Kiel firm, Stoelting Inc., which Polar Ware purchased in 2002, said company president David Sachse.
The combined facility will employ about 300 people, including almost all of the 120 workers at the Sheboygan plant, he said.
''It's a 100-year-old facility in Sheboygan, and to take this company to the next 100 years this is what we had to do,'' said Polar Ware chairman Walter Vollrath.
Polar Ware broke ground on the addition last month and plans to be moved in by the end of the year, when the 200,000-square-foot Sheboygan facility will be shut down, Sachse said.
''This will give us a state-of-the-art layout,'' Sachse said. ''(In Sheboygan) we have a lot of buildings that are randomly placed around the property. This will be one gigantic open space that we can lay this equipment out in cells.''
Stoelting manufactures finished machinery industrial washers, cheese makers and ice cream machines while Polar Ware makes components pans, trays and canisters used primarily in food service, retail and medical applications. Both companies use stainless steel almost exclusively.