Interfacial Consultants Move in to Innovation Center
May 4th, 2018
Interfacial Consultants, which has three facilities located in River Falls and Prescott, has started operation in a fourth space within the new St. Croix Valley Business Innovation Center.
“This is a beautiful space that’s conducive to creativity and collaboration and we’re excited about being the first tenant in the facility,” said Jeff Cernohous, Interfacial Consultants president.
Interfacial Consultants develops materials for companies in the plastics industry, taking the developments all the way from the initial idea in order to solve a problem to commercial production.
The business started in 203 as Interfacial Solutions, and was acquired by Stratasys in 2014 before picking up again under Interfacial Consultants in 2016.
Currently about 40 people work in the three commercial facilities, two in River Falls and one in Prescott.
“There’s a bunch of family that are in this particular business,” Jeff Cernohous said, something he himself can attest to. Both Jeff Cernohous and his son Brandon Cernohous work at Interfacial Consultants, with Brandon joining in the Stratasys acquisition.
The new space at the innovation center will serve as a hub for research and development for Interfacial Consultants. There the company will work on specific products that will be launching that will require a cleaner, more controlled environment, Jeff Cernohous said. These products are small-rung, high-value products, Brandon Cernohous added.
“This is really niche custom manufacturing,” said Jeff Cernohous.
This custom manufacturing includes, for example, the specialty-colored components used in the doors and windows at Andersen Windows.
It’s a start that might lead to a bigger facility.
Interfacial Consultants has the option to use property across the street from the innovation center, a total of about 7 acres. There they would build an 80,000-square foot facility that would fulfill a similar purpose to the space at the innovation center.
“this is kind of a, we’ll call it a baby step, before we build more of what I’ll call a clean manufacturing plant across the street,” Jeff Cernohous said. “So, it worked well for us because we’ve been growing rapidly and we needed space but we weren’t quite ready to build the 80,000 square foot facility across the street yet.”
A move won’t necessarily mean abandoning their new space at the innovation center.
“It’s just across the street,” said Brandon Cernohous.
“We may even expand certain things here,” Jeff Cernohous added.
While Jeff Cernohous said one of the main draws of the center was the convenient and cost-effective space, he said it also provides flexibility for the company as it pursues other projects now and in the future.
“This facility could be conducive to other spinoffs,” he said.
Currently Interfacial Consultants is working to build the infrastructure needed to get the machines running in its new innovation center space. Jeff Cernohous said about half million dollars of new equipment is being moved into the facility, in addition to another $1 million worth of equipment coming from other facilities.
“Overall there’s probability upwards of a million and a half dollars of equipment that will be in this little space,” Jeff Cernohous said.
Brandon Cernohous will lead the new facility, and said he is excited to get his research and development team, like the equipment, consolidated into one facility.
“Getting that coordinated into one space and being able to share the staff a little better should help a lot with some of our day-to-day logistical struggles,” Brandon Cernohous said.
Five staff members will be working daily from the new space, with an additional five to 10 floating in and out as needed.
“We’ve hired a couple of new people specifically for this project,” Jeff Cernohous said.
Operation in the new innovation center has begun this past April for Interfacial Consultants, and Jeff Cernohous said they will likely be running two shifts by the fall.
The St. Croix Valley Business Innovation Center is committed to helping entrepreneurs and small businesses access resources and support to take their organization to the next level. Services include free business consulting, and space for rent including light industrial, office, co-working and meeting rooms. Call us at 715-425-3066 for more information!
(Article content credit: River Towns and Forum Communications Company)