BIZ VOICE: $35M expansion at Ridgetown Martinrea 

(Image courtesy Google Maps)

By Michael Bennett
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Ridgetown Independent

Martinrea International Inc. is expanding its Ridgetown plant to house a new stamping press.

Martinrea announced the nearly $35 million expansion to its 100,000-square-foot facility on June 6.

The new SIMPAC 3000 metric ton stamping press will allow the production of larger and more complex parts, including body-in-white components, battery enclosures and chassis parts.

It will also enhance production efficiency and quality, minimizing waste and energy consumption.

The Ridgetown plant, established in 1987 and acquired by Martinrea in 2006, currently employs approximately 150 people and produces several metal stampings and welded assemblies for the automotive industry.

The plant is one of Martinrea’s 56 locations across 10 countries, serving the global automotive industry.

“We are proud to expand operations, build quality products and increase services for our customers with the Municipality of Chatham-Kent,” said Don Gillier, general manager of Martinrea Ridgetown. “This investment will continue to create opportunities for our employees and their families, ensuring a bright future for all.”

The project is expected to be completed early in 2025.

The addition to the Ridgetown facility is a part of Martinrea’s strategy to expand its presence and capabilities in the North American market, addressing the increasing demand for lightweight, high-strength metal solutions in the automotive industry.

“This expansion demonstrates our commitment to innovation, operational excellence, and customer satisfaction,” said Pat D’Eramo, chief executive officer of Martinrea International Inc. “It further expands our capabilities as a global supplier in Canada and prepares us for future growth opportunities.”

“We thank our employees, customers, and the local community, who have been instrumental in our success,” D’Eramo said.

Martinrea is a diversified and global automotive supplier engaged in designing, developing and manufacturing highly engineered, value-added lightweight structures and propulsion systems.

The company is a leader in developing and producing quality metal parts, assemblies and modules, fluid management systems, and complex aluminum products focused primarily on the automotive sector.

Martinrea currently employs more than 19,000 people and operates in 56 locations in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, Slovakia, Spain, China, South Africa and Japan.

Bike for Hospice

Jeff Thibert and Van Hoof Siding are in the middle of an effort to raise $10,000 for the Chatham-Kent Hospice.

Thibert will bike 1,000 kilometres in 75 hours in this fundraising effort. His journey begins July 4.

To donate, contact Van Hoof Siding at 519-354-0368 or visit the website and click on the “Donate” button.

All donations of $10 or more are eligible for an income tax receipt.

Certified Collision Care

CSN Chatham has been officially Certified by Certified Collision Care, a division of OEC, for maintaining the right tools, equipment, training, and facilities necessary to repair participating automaker brand vehicles according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

In achieving their certification, CSN Chatham is now an integral part of the most advanced repair capable and efficient certified repair network in the country, according to a press release.

Adding to their credentials, CSN Chatham is officially certified by Certified Collision Care, Fiat Chrysler (Mopar), Ford, Genesis, Honda & Acura ProFirst, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota.

To become Certified by the various Automakers, CSN Chatham passed the rigorous Certification process essential to help ensure a proper and safe repair of the new generation of advanced vehicles.

45 years of planters

Kearney Planters celebrated its 45th anniversary recently.

The company held an open house at its Turin Line location

Guests were able to meet suppliers and view products from their many dealers and Kearney’s modified planters.

Barry Kearney founded his namesake company in February of 1979 when he could not find a particular piece of equipment on the market.

Kearney modified his own planter, which caught the attention of neighbouring farmers.

“He was having trouble finding a planter to do what he wanted, so he modified a planter,” said Chris Lambier, director of business development at Kearney. “The neighbours saw it, and they all said, ‘Wow, if you can do that, can you do this for me?’”

Lambier said the major brand companies were unable to produce planters at a reasonable price to meet farmers’ needs.

“You had to have a grain drill, or you had to have a corn planter or just a bean planter,” he said. “Barry designed a planter that can do both corn and beans out of the same machine, so you don’t have to buy two separate machines.”

The business progressed over the years, and along with modifying equipment, Kearney began selling brand-name products.

Kearney Planters is a major dealer for Kinze, Vaderstad and Drago, and over 50 aftermarket brands.

Along with selling new and used products, Kearney’s experts design and custom-build equipment to meet the individual farmer’s needs.

“If you had a John Deere when buying John Deere row units, and we modify your planter for the extra rows and offset them so you can do six rows of corn at 30 inches wide or 11 rows of beans at 15 inches wide,” Lambier said.

Kearney’s experienced staff provides education and technical support for its products as each planter is field-tested before being shipped.

Along with sales, Kearney also specializes in hydraulic repair, planter setup, and service for mechanical, electronic, and automated planters of any make or model.

The parts department is well stocked with aftermarket and genuine parts for all agricultural needs, which can be shipped across Canada.

The service department provides full coverage during farming season and can go straight to the field to make repairs to replace parts.

Kearney also keeps up with the evolution of farming with innovative hydraulics, GPS and high-tech electronic services.

Kearney initially set up a shop on the family’s Howard Twp. farm before purchasing the land to build the facility at 14232 Turin Line in 1984.

The building has undergone several expansions to its present state with a showroom, service bays, parts room and business offices.

Kearney has 23 employees, including administration, management, office staff, salespersons, mechanics, fabricators, meter testing and hydraulics.

While the company started out locally focused, Kearney products can be found across Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes, as well as overseas in Europe, Romania, Africa and New Zealand.

Kearney Planters is located at 14232 Turin Line, just east of Glassford Road between Kenesserie Road and Orford Road.

  • Business Voice is a bi-monthly column in The Chatham Voice that highlights some of the achievements made and efforts underway in Chatham-Kent’s business community. Send your information to


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