Komatsu Mining expands Milwaukee presence with South Harbor Campus

Marcia Doyle
Updated Oct 1, 2018
Komatsu Mining released this artist’s rendering of the new South Harbor Campus in Milwaukee.Komatsu Mining released this artist’s rendering of the new South Harbor Campus in Milwaukee.

Komatsu Mining says it will continue its nearly 135-year heritage in the Milwaukee area by building a $285 million, 2.5-million-square-foot South Harbor Campus, located in the city’s Harbor District. The facility is expected to employ nearly 1,000 people within 12 years.

“The new campus provides us opportunity for advancement in state-of-the-art facilities on a global scale,” says Jeff Dawes, president and CEO, Komatsu Mining. Komatsu says the move reinforces its commitment to Milwaukee as “a large machining, heavy fabrication and engineering center of excellence for P&H mining shovels and drills.”

Construction of the new campus means closing facilities in West Milwaukee, part of operations it acquired in its 2016 purchase of Joy Global.  Joy Global, founded in 1884 with manufacturing facilities across the world, manufactured the P&H, Joy and Montabert brands of equipment.

One factor behind the decision, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: the Harbor District offers efficient machinery loading on Great Lakes freighters. With the current West Milwaukee site, the company is forced to truck large mining equipment over a circuitous route.

Within 12 years, Komatsu Mining says it expects to add nearly 400 jobs on top of the 600 employees who are expected to relocate from the company’s 1.1 million square-foot West Milwaukee operations and corporate offices.  Completion of the 60-acre complex is expected by 2022. The company anticipates breaking ground by fall 2019 on the 2.5 million square foot campus, says the newspaper.

Komatsu Mining’s South Harbor Campus will eventually include:

  • Machine, heat treat and fabrication shops, in addition to technology, R&D and robotics labs
  • An office complex, including training, conference and data center facilities
  • A museum and store, selling mining equipment models along with Komatsu merchandise.
  • A City of Milwaukee public riverwalk adjacent to the campus.

The initial phase includes 170,000 square feet of office space, 420,000 square feet of manufacturing space and a 20,000-square-foot museum and training building, the newspaper says.

Komatsu intends to build the campus with near-zero carbon emissions using solar panels, wind spires, a remotely operated closed-loop heat treat system, green spaces and LED lighting to reduce energy consumption by 75 percent and water consumption by 80 percent in comparison to its present facilities.