Commercial HVAC maker Daikin Industries plans to open a third factory in southern Minnesota by next summer, company officials announced Thursday.
The Japan-based company’s division — Daikin Applied North America — bought a building just north of Faribault and expects to renovate and staff it with 200 employees by mid-2019, said Daikin Applied General Manager Will Fort. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The effort would add to the 900 employees now working in Daikin Applied’s two plants in Faribault and Owatonna. Employment between those two manufacturing sites has swelled in recent years, growing from 500 to 900 since 2013, Fort said.
The company, in a news release, said it chose the new location because of the area’s “skilled talent base and past achievements designing and producing complex and highly specified equipment.”
Fort, who will oversee the expansion, said Daikin has operated in Faribault for 50 years. In 2000, it opened its Owatonna factory; in 2014, it tripled in size in an approximately $9 million expansion. That project received state assistance, a feat officials hope to replicate with the new expansion north of Faribault in Rice County.
Jim Glen, a Daikin manufacturing liaison engineer, is working with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Rice County and the city of Faribault to finalize state and local government financial assistance approvals to support the infrastructure, investment and employment needs of the new facility.
“Our strong growth in recent years is the result of having highly skilled people in the plants, expert product design and marketing teams in our Plymouth headquarters, and the commitment from Daikin Industries to manufacturing excellence,” Fort said.
Matt Alexejun, senior director of human resources for manufacturing, said the company succeeded in Minnesota by hiring good people and investing in training.
Daikin Industries participates in programs at local high schools, recruits and trains at local technical colleges and separately runs training programs in its factories using local and Japanese manufacturing experts. The certified “dojo” training programs teach new workers copper brazing, electrical skills and techniques for sheet metal fabrication.
Daikin Applied CEO Mike Schwartz said “We have some of our best people in Minnesota and Japan partnering on this important project.”