Two Westfield companies benefit from grants


Two Westfield companies have received grants from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, in partnership with Conexus Indiana.

The companies were two of 44 businesses to receive manufacturing readiness grants.

Custom Cast Stone Inc., a manufacturer of architectural cast stone for masonry veneer in commercial and residential structures, received a $63,500 grant. Custom Cast Stone is replacing its batching system for blending raw materials with a new information technology system, which includes advanced sensors, data collection features and remote connectivity to better manage its batching process.

Westfield Steel Inc., a steel supplier, manufacturer and fabricator of machined parts serving numerous sectors, is embarking on an agile manufacturing initiative that entails changing its production layout, increasing capacity and adding advanced equipment for robotic welding.

Fritz Prine, president of Westfield Steel, said the grant of $23,700 will help with a $162,000 project.

“We do fabrication for a couple of specific customers using rebar and welding,” Prine said. “We are adding a whole other machine to cut rebar in an automatic fashion. We’re retooling our layout to make it efficient for storage and labor and then adding some automated welding fixtures so we can support our largest customers and a couple of others that are similar.”

Prine said the project, which was restarted in March 2021, was delayed because of COVID-19 issues.

Prine said $90,000 of the project’s cost is for equipment for a rebar straight-cut machine.

“Another $20,000 will go to electrical capacity for the new machines,” Prine said. “Everything else after that is concrete work, layout and storage racks. When we did everything as far looking at the benefits, it saves us approximately $12,000 per year in labor and approximately $17,000 in supplies and repairs.

“The payback even before the grant was less than two years, and with the grant, it makes the project pay for itself in one year.”

Prine said the project is scheduled to be finished by the end of March.

“The biggest challenge has been finding people to finish the work,” he said.