Strathroy lands $45M plant that will make insulated metal panels

By Calvi Leon   

Business Operations Manufacturing

A Quebec company that manufactures insulated metal panels is expanding to Ontario with a $45-million plant west of London.

Norbec, which also manufactures walk-in coolers and freezers, is building a 14,492-square-metre (156,000-square-feet) plant on nine hectares of industrial land in Strathroy.

Along with two plants in Quebec, the facility at 990 Wright St. will help Norbec ramp up production of insulated metal panels to meet growing demand, said Jan Lembregts, president of Norbec.

“It’s a manufacturing plant that is a highly automated, state-of-the-art facility to increase our capacity of that product and further develop the markets in Ontario and the United States,” he said.


Insulated metal panels are used as cladding for walls and roofs in commercial and industrial buildings. Norbec manufactures the panels for various markets, such as refrigerated warehouses and food processing plants.

“These prefabricated, steel, insulated walls that we make are (increasingly) being used as the predominant way to construct industrial buildings,” Lembregts said.

He said the main reasons for the rise in demand are the panel’s insulation values, durability and energy efficiency. They’re also faster to install, important for construction companies facing a labour shortage, Lembregts said.

“The demand for more energy performance in buildings, the speed of installation and reduced labour requirements are really strong drivers behind the adoption of this product in construction.”

Construction of the plant at 990 Wright St. already has begun, with an official groundbreaking ceremony slated for early September. The facility will employ 70 people and is expected to open in the summer of 2024.

The jobs will focus on technical skills in automation and engineering, Lembregts said, adding Norbec will hire people from the region, “as close by as we can.”

Strathroy-Caradoc Mayor Colin Grantham said his municipality hopes to attract more businesses like Norbec.

“It’s great news,” he said. “Like everywhere, we need more industries like that. We need more jobs.”

Lembregts said his company considered several other locations for the new plant but settled on Strathroy because of its access to the Ontario and U.S. markets. The site is located just south of Highway 402.

There also is massive potential for growth in the region, he said, citing two new electric vehicle battery plants coming to St. Thomas and Windsor.

“We feel very confident about the economic development in Southwestern Ontario,” Lembregts said.

Calvi Leon, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LONDON FREE PRESS


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