Delta Manufacturing shows off locomotive wheel lathe

A Delta County business held an open house this afternoon to highlight a manufacturing field that it currently has all to itself.

Delta Manufacturing of Escanaba has been making heavy equipment for the railroad industry since 2006. The company started making a portable wheel lathe shortly after that. Rail companies can bring the lathe into the field to work on locomotive repairs.

“We have sold these units all over the country and also all over the world,” assistant plant manager Steve Coble said. “We’ve also seen a need for a larger model, an in-floor model, to do locomotives and freight cars, loose axles (and) trucks.”

“We have had excellent success and we’re getting a lot of attention,” plant manager and lathe technician Tim Coble said. “By the end of this year to next year, we’re probably going to double our sales.”

Delta Manufacturing is the only company based in the U.S. that makes this type of railway wheel truing machine. All of its competitors in that market sector are located in Europe.

“We’ve got an excellent staff that work here,” company president Jean Ross said. “We’re really proud of the people that actually built both the gear cases and the truing system. Without them, Delta Manufacturing would not be here.”

Delta Manufacturing has 22 employees. Jean Ross says she’s proud that the company was largely spared from the layoffs that many manufacturing businesses had to make in the height of the 2008-’09 recession.