Manufacturing co. to expand facilities; Company growth would mean 30-40 new employees

MILFORD – Hitchiner Manufacturing Co., the town’s largest private employer, is planning to build onto its Elm Street plant, an expansion that will require 30 or 40 new employees.

The addition is for new product lines and new contracts, Earl Blatchford, of Hayner/

Swanson in Nashua, told the Milford Planning Board recently. Engineers and company representatives offered the board a conceptual proposal for adding 31,000 square feet to Hitchiner’s Milford headquarters.

The company, which also has two plants in Mexico, makes parts for the automotive, aerospace and other industries. Tim Sullivan, vice president for corporate affairs, said the new products and customers are confidential.

Sullivan said the

family-owned company has demonstrated an “ongoing commitment to Milford, to New Hampshire and to manufacturing.”

In 2012, the company moved into a new multimillion-dollar expansion of the Elm Street building, and at that time President John Morison said more expansion is possible.

The company has been in Milford since 1951 and has two facilities here: the Elm Street headquarters with its vacuum-casting operation and a ferrous-casting operation on Savage Road.

“It’s an exciting opportunity for Hitchiner,” said Blatchford, who said the engineers are on a “fairly aggressive schedule” and have already submitted an application to the Zoning Board of Adjustment. The company is asking to expand an existing nonconforming use and encroach into a front-yard setback.

There will actually be two additions, he said: 29,000 square feet of manufacturing space and some offices, and a 2,250-square-foot mechanical room.

Board members said they liked the plans and will probably focus on parking and landscaping.

“So far it looks like a really good plan,” Vice Chairwoman Janet Langdell said. “Bravo to Hitchiner for expanding here and not elsewhere and not taking it out of the country.”

The company was founded in 1949 by John Hopkins Morison, who took over a bankrupt Manchester manufacturing company owned by Fred Hitchiner and moved it to Milford in 1951. It remains family-owned, with John H. Morison III as chairman.

About two years ago, the company announced that it was closing its Littleton plant for the sake of efficiency and bringing some of its operations here. In Milford, there are now about 335 employees who work over three shifts, Blatchford said.

The company makes parts using investment casting, a manufacturing process dating back thousands of years, in which molten metal is poured into an expendable ceramic mold. The mold is formed by using a wax pattern – a disposable piece in the shape of the desired part.

The firm has had some large industrial customers over the years, including General Motors and Rolls-Royce Engines for its gas-turbine division.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@cabinet.com.