Back in January, Milwaukee Tool announced their plan to build a new USA factory for the production of hand tools.
Yes, that’s right, made-in-USA Milwaukee Tool hand tools are coming.
The new factory will be in West Bend, WI, around 20 minutes from their headquarters, and the current plan is for that facility to manufacture new-to-market hand tools for professional electricians and utility linemen.
At the time of the January announcement, the plan was for Milwaukee Tool to break ground for the new manufacturing plant in April 2020, and with production expected to begin in early 2021.
We have not reached out to Milwaukee to see if or how the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted their schedule, but it stands to reason that there could be some delays.
Steven Richman is quoted in the press materials as saying:
We will continue to invest, we will continue to grow, and we will continue to change the game. In 2020 alone, we will invest over $100 million, and create 350 jobs in the United States to diversify our operations and better serve the professional trades.
This move does indeed follow a pattern of investment and expansion of their USA operations over the years. Milwaukee Tool has massively expanded their headquarters and acquired and invested in USA-based companies – Empire Level and Imperial Tool.
Milwaukee Tool’s additional plans for 2020 includes expanding operations in Cookeville, TN for power tool manufacturing and assembly, and this could be where their new made-in-USA Packout vacuum is built. Additionally, Milwaukee Tool will be expanding operations in Sun Prairie, WI, for power tool accessories manufacturing.
Milwaukee Tool’s bi-metal and carbide Hole Dozer hole saws, Sawzall reciprocating saw blades, and step drill bits are among the accessories they already make in the USA.
Press materials track the growth of Milwaukee Tool’s footprint in the United States:
The company has grown from 190,000 sq ft and 300 jobs in Brookfield in 2011, to 390,000 sq ft and over 1,400 jobs this year. With an additional 329,500 sq ft of space slated to open in 2020, and a recent announcement of 65 acres of land purchased in Menomonee Falls, WI, Milwaukee Tool is positioned to stay in the heart of Wisconsin long term.
At this time there is no additional information about Milwaukee’s USA-made hand tool plans, but “electrician and linemen tools” could lead to some good guesses.
Knowing Milwaukee Tool, it is also likely that this is just the start.
What types of hand tools might you wish to see come out of Milwaukee’s new USA factory?
I never understood why simple hand tools were Made in USA while bluetooth enabled, lithium ion powered, microprocessor controlled, brushless power tools were made overseas. You’d think the state of the art stuff would be made here.
From a regulatory standpoint is very challenging to produce electronics in the USA, would get quite expensive to comply. Plus, China heavily subsidizes certain industries making competitive products an impossibility.
Just speculating – but it seems that assembling small power tools might be more labor intensive than forging/assembling/plating/finishing hand tools. So you go to the cheap labor market. Then if the Chinese government further subsidizes production costs – it gets tough to compete.
The environmental issues (China turns a blind eye to most of these) associated with electronics production also works against USA production of small power tools.
Good for Milwaukee to bring production back to Wisconsin. They have been positioning themselves to compete with folks like Klein and Ridgid (the Emerson plumbing tool giant – not the licensed brand name power tools made by Milwaukee’s parent company TTI) – and this should help. Meanwhile Klein seems to be sourcing some of their tools outside the USA (China, Taiwan, Japan, Slovenia.)
The US doesn’t actually have most of the state of the art facilities. Want to get some chips made? You are probably going to be talking to a place like TSMC in Taiwan. Need a board put together? There are a million and one manufacturers ready to go with strong, diversified supply chains for all the components. I’ve seen some companies try to make this stuff here and simply getting component stock is next to impossible.
Sure the direct labor costs of making this stuff are a challenge, but the challenge of dealing with the entire manufacturing chain is next to impossible.
Agree to those above. I work in HVAC in the bay area – theres a whole strip of commercial real estate out here that MUST use 100% outside air at the air handlers, so that no air is recirculated from inside the building.
The reason? Because fairchild semiconductor used to occupy that space. The soil is toxic…it’s a superfund site.
Good for Milwaukee. It seems to me Milwaukee is looking to grab some of Craftsman’s old market share, and they will probably succeed because a) the tools thy’re making seem to be high quality, b) they have excellent distribution via HD, and great brand recognition and c) Snap-On can’t compete on price, GearWrench can’t compete on distribution, and Icon is limited to Harbor Freight and isn’t Made in the USA.
To be fair, I think Craftsman is a bit closer to getting their USA made hand-tools to market than Milwaukee. From their media releases, they’re installing the forges at their Fort Worth plant now.
If they start getting those tools out before Milwaukee, it’s going to be hard to take that market share from them.
Where have you read that?
They had posted it to their Instagram.
I wonder what the price point will be?
I’ve heard the new Milwaukee Hand Tool will be $26.99
Well I was still waiting for the SBD craftsman USA made ratchets, sockets, etc to come to market. Since Milwaukee is getting deeper into automotive. I’d like to see them follow up with full 1/4, 3/8 and 1/2 inch USA made ratchets, and sockets etc. with bit drivers and the like. I know it’s a lot to ask for but easy enough for them to clone. I did sort of like their squared socket sets but not enough to buy one.
But if they had something I would give it a look for my next update. This will sound odd but my OCD wants to get rid of my Stahlwhile stuff that is mixed and get a quality common set. I’ve replaced the ratchets with SK so far – but Haven’t bit on full socket sets and wrenches.
Also I could see them going after Klein Electrical tools. While a slightly crowded market it would make a good pack out offering to go with buying their other power tools.
Go an email today that International Tool is offering 20% off on Milwaukee items.
I should have waited on snatching the 10% off deal at ToolUp
I can’t find 20% deal on their site.
They seem to have pulled it down
Great to hear , make everything you can in USA , if every country did the same and avoided China with their trade practices and human rights issues it would be great , they are screwing us here in Australia right now over beef , barely and now wine , hopefully they will drink their own wine to punish themselves!
Milwaukee locking flex head ratchets would be nice.
High & Mighty
I don’t think sb&d plan on having a full scale manufacturing plant here in the US. At least that’s what I gathered from the last post on the matter. I don’t recall seeing anything about forging or casting taking place in the facility. I don’t recall seeing anything about not using imported steel to make these tools either. So that pretty much discounts any suggestive notions of made in the USA. Imported blanks stamped and laser etched and polished in the USA doesn’t mean made in the USA. But I hope I’m wrong about that. On the other hand I’d like to see everything under the sun as far as hand tools are concerned being made in the USA not only by Milwaukee, but every major competitor. Of course made with 100% American steel all the way from the ore to the store and everything in between. Anything besides that isn’t made in the USA. So don’t get it twisted and try to make it seem that partially made in the USA is just as good. It ain’t! Global materials is not American materials, now is it? No, it’s not. There’s too many manufacturers leading on the facade that they are manufacturing American made tools when in fact they’re not. This somehow became an acceptable standard. It stinks! And it shouldn’t be encouraged to be thought of as a replacement for an American made tool. I’m not saying that imported tools are junk because I have a lot of them and I make my living using those tools. But I like my old American made tools just a little bit more. Most of which are older than myself. I don’t concern myself with the whole diplomatic thing about my money and politics involving overseas manufacturing either. What goes on over there is over there. Not in America. Not my problem. There’s the way it is and there’s the way it ought to be. I don’t subscribe to the way it ought to be. But they really need to cut the crap with the American made global materials thing. Especially hand tools.
6 days ago on Instagram they showed the construction crew installing a cold header machine for making sockets. As far as Made in USA with Global Materials goes, I used to think the same way, I thought that meant everything or almost everything was imported then assembled here and slapped with the sticker. Then I carefully read the FTC’s guidelines and I had a bit of a change of heart. Here’s the link for more information: https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/complying-made-usa-standard
But basically the global materials part would equal domestic and imported materials since global means the entire world obviously that includes the U.S. I found out on Lowe’s website that the steel used in the tool cabinets/chests is U.S. made, but the slides, locks, aluminum trim and side handles are foreign unfortunately. On Garage Journal I started a thread discussing where the different parts of tools are made. Some things are even 100% made here. https://www.garagejournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=460182
To be honest with you I still have mixed feelings about it, but I feel a bit better about it after researching it more.
Milwaukee keeps producing updates and promising road maps of things to come. Good on them. Meanwhile, pretty much crickets from Dewalt.
Tool boxes! Please have a USA made tool box. The craftsman ones are just ok. The Proto 550s are super nice. Something in between, with an in between price, is something I would buy. I like the current Milwaukee boxes but refuse to buy “made in China”. Make it here and charge me an extra $500-$700 and I’m in
Try Waterloo. They used to make the USA craftsman, and have multiple lines.
Ignore me. What a difference a couple years makes in this industry.
Granted some tool manufacturers began outsourcing in the 2000s. Yet, there is a poetic justice in how tool tool makers and retailers like Husky, Kobalt, etc… followed Sears Craftsman outsourcing to factoring in China. Now under SBD ownership returning tool making to the USA, others makers are following again. This time in the right direction. Looking forward to the
new made in USA MIlwaukee hand tools.
Any update on this?
Not yet. =(
Still have not seen any new Milwaukee hand tools at Home Depot. Any news?
We’ll know more soon. They’re hiring at the West Bend, Wisconsin facility, which is a very good sign.
Saw new Milwaukee Tool Made in the USA products at Home Depot during the Christmas Holiday season of 2022!