For anyone who has driven into the Rocky Mountains during winter, seeing road signs declaring “chain law in effect” is a common occurrence.
But this product awareness wasn’t the reason that pewag Inc. chose Pueblo, Colorado in 2014 for the company’s first North American production facility.
While the Austrian company considered many different locations around the world for the site of its first manufacturing facility outside of Europe, it was Pueblo’s industrial leadership, established steel mill, centralized location and skilled workforce that eventually won the day among pewag’s executives.
“Throughout North America, we considered several locations for the site of our newest manufacturing plant,” said Ron Francis, plant manager at pewag Traction Chain Inc. “With an industrial legacy stretching back five generations, Pueblo not only provided a skilled workforce that we could tap into, but also offered customized training programs that would continue to feed the region’s talent pool for years to come.”
Driving south on Interstate 25 toward Pueblo today, it’s hard to miss the 30,000 square-foot facility painted in the company’s signature colors of red and blue. As impressive as the building is from the outside, it’s what’s happening on the inside that’s truly remarkable.
The state-of-the-art facility is a model of manufacturing innovation, with customized equipment and skilled workers at each step of the production process. In one year alone, the Pueblo facility produces an astonishing 750 tons of chains.
With a legacy tracing back over 500 years, the firm is manufacturing a “new generation of chains” produced through the use of friction welding technology. While this innovative process has long been used by the aviation and automotive industries, pewag was the first manufacturer to apply the innovative technology to the production of chains.
“By leveraging pewag’s centuries worth of experience with the community’s industrial leadership, we’ve been able to achieve a great deal since we first opened in 2014, and I expect our partnership will only continue to build on this momentum far into the future,” Francis said.
Since opening in 2014, the company has grown to 26 employees in the state and expects to double its workforce in the next few years. Thanks to an apprenticeship program through Pueblo Community College, created in partnership with other local manufacturers, and collaboration with local high schools, training is well underway for pewag’s next generation of skilled workers.
From its humble beginnings based in the Austrian Alps to its promising future staked in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, pewag shares Coloradans’ passion to live larger and achieve the extraordinary thanks to the epic landscapes that inspire each and every day.
pairs of chains were manufactured in Pueblo in the first year
day a year the whole company works together on a community project, for 2016 they will be painting bedrooms at the Pueblo YWCA
More than 40% of the employees are female
Southern Colorado Manufacturer of the Year