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Nelson Manufacturing and Ohio MEP Build Strong Relationship


In 1946, Jack and Virginia Nelson saved up enough money to buy a 1946 International tractor and a small trailer, load the trailer with watermelons and head north. They used a second floor storefront in Leipsic, Ohio, to sell the melons, and profits from sales bought them enough steel to build the first Nelson Trailer. In 1947 Nelson Manufacturing was founded, and remains a family owned business to this day. Nelson Manufacturing Company specializes in the design, manufacturing, and sales of specialty semi-trailers for the crane, rigging, construction, heavy haul, over size, and aerospace markets. Nelson Manufacturing employs 80 individuals in Ottawa, Ohio, and has customers throughout North America, Australia and Europe.

The Challenge

CIFT, part of the Ohio MEP and the MEP National Network™,  first connected with Nelson Manufacturing as a result of a "cold call" to the company's Ottawa facility in 2018.
CIFT/Ohio MEP is very easy to work with, and they respond promptly to questions. They make it easy for small companies to pursue investment opportunities that benefit Ohio manufacturers.
— Amy Niese, Secretary/Treasurer

MEP's Role

Since then CIFT has partnered with Nelson on a variety of projects involving energy, automation, a COVID assessment, and Workforce through high school internships. For the energy project, CIFT coordinated an arc flash turnkey electrical safety project that would put Nelson in compliance with all relevant OSHA mandates. Regarding workforce, Nelson has taken advantage of the Ohio MEP High School Internship Program for many years, and all participating students have been extended employment opportunities with the company. Finally, the welding automation implementation project was necessary to improve the consistency of Nelson's weld quality by switching from manual to automated welding.

Specific to the automation project, CIFT/Ohio MEP worked with CLOOS Robotic Welding, Inc., which provides customized automated turnkey welding solutions throughout North America. CLOOS partnered with Nelson to design, develop and fabricate a system that would ensure optimum compatibility. The project included offsite and onsite programming and training, installation, maintenance training and preventative maintenance for one year. The automation resulted in increased output, reduced waste, and lower production costs.T he implementation of this project could potentially save Nelson over $200,000 per year with reduced labor costs and increased productivity.

Created August 4, 2022