Manufacturing began in Wight Aluminium's new state-of-the art plant in Mill Rd on January 13, the company's group general manager Des Benson says.
The building is a huge 8000 square metres in size. It's in a new industrial area being developed in Castlecliff.
It has been in development for two years. It is the head office for Wight Aluminium, one of the biggest providers of aluminium windows and high-rise facades in New Zealand.
Whanganui-based company director Damon Wagstaff said Wight Aluminium had grown considerably, particularly in the last five years.
It now has a total of 120 staff, with 60 in Whanganui. It opened another new purpose-built factory in Hamilton a year ago and has a design and project management office in Auckland.
Manufacturing has been kept in Whanganui because the company began here and has a stable workforce here, Benson said. The new factory also reflects the company's confidence in the New Zealand building industry and in this region as a high-value and strategic location.
Wight Construction Co began in Whanganui in 1965, and took on aluminium manufacture in the 1970s, finally quitting construction in 1994. It's a family business and three of its four directors are members of the Wight family.
Most of its product is used outside Whanganui and in the North Island, especially in Wellington and Auckland.
The establishment of the large manufacturing plant and head office concentrates all of Whanganui's Wight Aluminium operations in one place. Previously the company had three different operating sites in town.
Working from three separate locations has been challenging at times.
"The new factory means we can consolidate our operations, driving efficiencies and providing a more connected working environment for our people," Wagstaff said.
Wight Aluminium and its installers and contractors aim to produce the kind of joinery that enables greener and healthier homes.
Its raw material is low eco-footprint aluminium from New Zealand's aluminium smelter (NZAS) at Tiwai Point, and aluminium offcuts are recycled there.