Ont. grain equipment maker to consolidate into new plant

An expansion-minded grain and feed handling equipment maker is set to build one new plant in southwestern Ontario to replace its two smaller facilities in the region.

Lambton Conveyor, now based at Florence, Ont., about 60 km southeast of Sarnia, with a second plant at nearby Bothwell, announced it will renovate a former auto parts facility at Wallaceburg, about 25 km northwest of Chatham, as its lone 130,000-square foot manufacturing plant.

The company said it also plans to invest in new equipment and increase production and storage capacity for its equipment manufacturing operations, maintaining 110 jobs and create up to 150 new ones in the region by 2015.

The family-owned company on Thursday announced public funding toward the project through two separate programs, the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario’s (FedDev Ontario) Prosperity Initiative and the provincial Southwestern Ontario Development Fund.

The federal program will loan Lambton up to $3.1 million, while the provincial fund can provide grants for up to 15 per cent of eligible project costs up to $1.5 million. For larger projects such as this one, the provincial fund can also provide loans for up to $5 million in total provincial support.

Lambton’s current product lines include bucket elevators, chain conveyors, tube conveyors, screw conveyors, flow system accessories, grain bins, bin unloads, bin dryers, gravity screen cleaners, pellet mills, hammer mills, mixers, coolers, crumblers and custom fabrications.

The company, which has operated in the region since 1965, supplies food processing and feed manufacturing businesses as well as agrifood companies and has sold its wares into 25 countries.

With the public funding, "we’re strengthening our foothold in the region and expanding our market reach around the world," company president Chris Moorhouse said in the province’s release Thursday.

Lambton’s expansion and consolidation also marks the first project to be funded under the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund, provincial Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid noted.

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