Tax break approved for Wawaka’s B&J Specialty

May 3rd, 2017

Company is purchasing new 3-D metal printer

By Steve Garbacz | KPC News- The News Sun

A month after county council members granted a tax break for new equipment at one B&J facility, company representatives were back this month to request another for even more new machinery at a different plant.

This time, council members approved a nine-year tax abatement for B&J Specialty, Wawaka, for a new $705,000 3-D metal printer.

That comes after the council approved a nine-year abatement for $915,000 in new equipment for the B&J Medical facility on U.S. 6 west of Kendallville in April.

Plant manager Kerry Leitch told council members the new equipment works similarly to small, commercial 3-D printers that create items by squirting out hot plastic, except their industrial version prints stuff with metal and lasers.

“We can actually build a metal part. You program it and then you get it in the machine, you start it, it uses powdered metal and lasers and it shoots it in, lasers it and welds it. And you come out with a part when it’s done.,” Leitch said.

The 3-D printer allows the company to draft and then print components that have holes or notches or other features to connect with other components without having to machine those details in. That can reduce the amount of steps to produce new pieces.

“It adds a new capability for us,” Leitch said. “It’s a pretty fantastic system.”

The nine-year abatement will phase in taxes by a percentage each year until the company pays full taxes on the new equipment. Tax abatements typically save companies about 50 percent of the taxes they otherwise would have paid.

The new machinery should create at least two jobs, although Leitch said B&J will likely hire more than that.