Transcraft plans to close Anna plant Union County plant employs nearly 80 people

The planned closing of a major Union County manufacturing facility was made public early this week.

The closing of the Transcraft Corporation trailer manufacturing plant in Anna was announced Tuesday night.

The plant, which began operations in 1962, employs about 80 people

Transcraft Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Wabash National Corporation, which has its headquarters in Lafayette, Ind.

Wabash National Corporation posted a press release about the future of the Anna plant on its website Tuesday, Nov. 3.

The press release stated:

Wabash National Corporation today announced that it’s wholly owned subsidiary, Transcraft Corporation, a manufacturer of flatbed, drop deck, dump trailers and truck bodies, has agreed on the terms of a sale of its Anna, Illinois, production facility and will consolidate its operations into its Cadiz, Kentucky, facility.

Platform production at the Anna facility will cease sometime in the first half of 2010, at which time the new production lines at the Cadiz production facility will be fully operational.

“These types of decisions are always difficult to make, especially when it affects associates, but due to the current economic climate we are faced with the need to further right size our operating footprint and reduce our cost structure. We expect this to be a seamless transition in production due to utilization of excess manufacturing equipment, which should have no impact to our customers, “ said Terry Campbell, general manager of Transcraft Corporation.

Transcraft plans to sell the facility to a prominent, local business owner, Rusty Flamm.

Mr. Flamm is the owner of Rusty’s Home Center, a lumberyard and home center business with locations in Anna and Vienna, Illinois.

Mr. Flamm originally approached Transcraft to purchase an unused portion of property in Anna.

After this initial inquiry, Transcraft offered to sell the entire facility to Mr. Flamm in conjunction with Transcraft’s plan to consolidate its production facilities.

“My current plans are to expand my business and hopefully bring new business to this area,” said Flamm.

Transcraft will consolidate production of all product lines from two production facilities to one in Cadiz, Kentucky, which will also serve as its corporate headquarters.

The Cadiz manufacturing plant is a modern, purpose-built facility that currently produces all of Transcraft’s aluminum platform and dump product lines.

“This will complete the consolidation process of the company’s platform business, which began in October 2007 with the closure of the Mt. Sterling, Kentucky, plant. Similar to our Lafayette Transformation Project completed earlier this year, this consolidation initiative continues the optimization of our production facilities and overhead cost structure that we have been focused on throughout the current economic climate,” said Wabash National president and chief executive officer Dick Giromini.

Announcement about closing at Anna City Council meeting

An announcement about the closing of the plant came at this week's regular meeting of the Anna City Council. The meeting was at Anna City Hall.

Anna Mayor Steve Hartline reported that he and Union County Board of Commissioners chairman John Garner were notified of the plant's closing Tuesday morning by Transcraft officials.

Transcraft representatives informed the city and county officials about the closing at a meeting held Tuesday morning. The meeting was at Transcraft's offices in Anna.

Employees at the plant were notified of the plans following the meeting with local officials, Hartline said. He said the plant employs 76 people.

Hartline said company officials told local officials that the decision to close the plant was not a reflection on the City of Anna, Union County or the work force. The decisions was "strictly economic," the mayor said.

Hartline voiced disappointment about the news,  but said Anna would be "aggressive" in working on economic growth and development.

"Hopefully, it will work out," he said.

The mayor said that a local business person was interested in buying the plant; however, he was not willing to announce any more details at the meeting.

45 years of production

The Transcraft website stated that the company has been producing flatbed and drop deck trailers to meet the needs of the commercial vehicle and construction industries for nearly 45 years.

Transcraft has a complete line of flatbed and drop deck trailers produced in Anna, and sold through its extensive North American dealer network.

The website also highlighted the history of the plant:

1962: Transcraft was founded by William Cunningham who started the company to build trailers for trailer manufacturers such as Strick & Clark-Brown.

1968: Mr. Cunningham began marketing a durable, heavy-duty flatbed trailer under the Transcraft trademark.

Over the years, numerous product innovations were developed including the widely recognized “lightening holes” and the Transcraft “Superbeam."

In the 1990s, Transcraft’s marketing focus was on a niche owner-operator market which allowed the company to produce only three standard models with limited options, the most successful of which was the Eagle.

1995: The broad appeal of Transcraft’s Eagle flatbed in the owner-operator market required the construction of a dedicated facility to producing that product line.

1999: William Cunningham sold Transcraft Corporation to Lincolnshire Management Inc., a New York-based investment group, which provides growth capital to middle market companies.

2000: New growth initiatives were developed to increase Transcraft’s existing 21 percent market-share through dealer expansion and fleet market penetration.

In March 2006, Transcraft Corporation was acquired by Wabash National.

Today, Transcraft has approximately 150 dealer locations, nine standard flatbed models, three standard drop-deck models and is the nation’s leading manufacturer of flatbed and drop-deck trailers.


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