Wabash National, the Indiana-based maker of high-test, lightweight truck trailers, reopened earlier this month in the former Larson Boat plant in Little Falls, Minn.,
Wabash bought the facility for $3 million earlier this year.
A Wabash spokesman, said the plant opened its doors to 60 new employees and the company expects to employ at least 100 within five years.
Wabash invested $11 million in plant-and-equipment in Little Falls.
The company’s “advanced composites” technology” that has been incorporated in Little Falls, is a next-generation system designed for lightweight, energy-efficient trailer and truck lines and other yet-to-be-announced products. Molded structural composites are lightweight manufactured plastics that become interior thermal panels and doors. Wabash National’s Cold Chain series of truck bodies keeps products colder using only 75 percent of the energy previously used, Wabash said.
Previously, Little Falls officials said the company, in return for some state-and-local incentives, would pay minimum wages of $18 per hour plus benefits. Wabash has been guarded in its growth projections.
“We selected the Little Falls location as the launch facility for molded structural composite products because of the unique combination of an experienced and highly skilled workforce in composite manufacturing processes, along with a fully equipped and highly engineered facility capable of producing large-size parts at high rates of volume,” Dustin Smith, a Wabash vice president, said in an e-mail last spring. “We are excited to be a meaningful and positive contributor to the community.”
Publicly owned Wabash National, which says it is North America’s “leading producer” of semitrailers and refrigerated transportation systems, reported record operating income of $202.5 million on net revenue of $1.85 billion in 2016.