er, SawStop saws, and Evans Midwest
countertop production machines.
An estimated 750 countertops
are shipped per day throughout the
Midwest, with nationwide shipping also
available. In addition, three types of
undermount sinks – stainless, acrylic and
quartz – are also available.
Participants at the event also had
an opportunity to tour Weather Shield
Doors & Windows based in Medford.
Founded in 1955, the family-owned
company also ranks among the Top 10
fenestration firms in the FDMC 300.
Weather Shield specializes in wood,
aluminum clad and vinyl clad windows,
in double hung, casement, awning, slider
and specialty shapes. Door styles produced include hinged and sliding patio,
bifold and multi-slide.
Vertically integrated, Weather Shield
extrudes and fabricates vinyl, as well as
cuts and fabricates glass in-house, in addition to processing wood components.
Visitors to the Medford facility saw the
company’s lean strategies used in the
Millwork division, including ripping,
defecting and lumber sorting, tenoning,
fingerjointing and moulding operations. Of particular interest was the use
of Yasakawa robots in conjunction with
Weinig moulders. Weather Shield also
manufactures its own skins.
Company-wide, Weather Shield has
approximately 1,900 employees and
almost 2 million square feet for production and R&D, spread across facilities in
Medford, Ladysmith and Park Falls.
From windows and doors to whole
homes, plant tour participants saw it all.
Wausau Homes has been manufacturing custom single-family homes in the
Midwest for more than 50 years and is
considered one of the most recognized
home builders in the region.
“We work with potential clients to dis-
cover what they want,” Co-president Jay
Schuette told the crowd. “We guarantee
the home will be as you want it, at the
The company says its Component
Construction process allows customers
to customize every aspect of their home.
At the facility, the company literally pre-
fabricates the framework for the custom
homes from the ground up, includ-
ing the floors, walls, trusses and stair
stringers. Using automated machinery,
Wausau Homes has the capacity to pro-
duce 50 houses per week.
The facility spans six acres under one
roof, with 200,000 square feet for manufacturing and 100,000 square feet for
warehousing. Based in Wausau, the firm
has approximately 80 employees.
The sawmill operation at Kretz
Lumber also drew lots of interest. Based
in Antigo, Kretz Lumber has 16 kilns
with the capability to dry more than 13
million board feet per year.
Logs are obtained from the company’s own timberlands, as well as from
Michigan, Wisconsin, the Northern United States and Canada. Kretz produces 10
million board feet per year of lumber, in
a variety of species including maple, oak,
ash, aspen, basswood and birch.
Inside the 48,000-square-foot dimension facility, Kretz offers straight-line ripping along with custom rip and sanding
programs. Among the equipment used is
a Mid-Oregon system, Timesavers sanders, Rip Max ripsaw and tenoners.
Kretz Lumber, which traces its roots
back to 1929, became an ESOP in 2000.
It also has on staff seven field foresters
to manage the 6,500 acres of corporate
woodlands and many more privately-owned acres. The Ray Kretz Industrial
forest functions as an educational resource center and highlights Kretz’s role
as stewards of the natural resources. ✚
A look at the optimizing saw operation at Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork.