Ariens invests $3.8 million to upgrade office and R&D center

Ariens Company announced Jan. 6 that it has invested $3.8 million to expand its office and research and development facilities at 655 W. Ryan St. in Brillion, Wis. The project includes the addition of a geothermal heating and cooling system. The Plant 1 upgrade will include increased workstation capacity, a new employee “kaizen” learning center, a new foodservices area, new product development and testing labs, and a revamped main entrance.

“Our goal was to create a more efficient and cohesive work space and learning environment where we can have all the employees who design, build, and support a given product line all working in proximity,” said Dan Ariens, president & CEO of the Ariens Company. “This new physical structure will better support our Lean management philosophy.”

The new geothermal system will replace an outdated and inefficient 40-year-old boiler system in the building. Using the earth as a heat source in the winter and as a heat sink in the summer, it will pump heat to or from the ground.

“When you approach business decisions with long-term thinking, geothermal is a simple choice,” added Ariens. “The initial investment made sense for us because this system is far more sustainable than other options and meets our commitment of creating a green enterprise. The building’s previous HVAC equipment lasted 40 years. If we use 40 years as a benchmark and the investment in geothermal is recovered in 12 years, we are left with 28 years of nearly cost-free heating and cooling with far less environmental impact.”

The geothermal system will be the second installation of its kind at an Ariens Company facility. A new geothermal system was recently installed at the Ariens plant in Auburn, Neb.

The plant expansion project is scheduled for completion in July 2011. Parking and traffic patterns at the plant will also be reconfigured as part of the project. Performa Inc. of De Pere, Wis., is the architectural firm for the building project. Miron Construction Co., Inc. of Neenah, Wis., is the general contractor.

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