By Kevin Pechumer

Mitch Larson grabs a shovel and begins to dig. The hot, summer sun beats down mercilessly as he struggles to dig a drainage trench in his cornfield near Waupaca. Then, in the distance, he spots his savior rolling toward him – the MX Towable Mini Excavator. With the TMX, the trench is effortlessly dug, saving Larson hours of back-breaking work.

That scenario explains how Chris Osswald, founder of Extend Manufacturing, hopes to revolutionize home and commercial excavating with his state of the art, towable excavator.

“We wanted to develop an excavator that could handle tough commercial jobs but was easy enough for the average person to tackle a weekend project,” Osswald said.

The TMX is a product of Extend Manufacturing, located in the Marathon County city of Weston. Over the past couple of years, Extend Manufacturing has performed market research about current products and services in an effort to find niche markets in areas where the company’s products will excel.

Along with the TMX, EXM has developed numerous other products aimed at tackling tough construction projects.

One product in particular, the ProHandler, can perform a variety of tasks that would usually require the use of multiple pieces of equipment. It can handle the job of a Skid Steer Loader, Compact Track Loader, Rough Terrain Telehandler, Forklift, Aerial work platform, and a rough terrain straight mast forklift.

What does that mean for construction companies and everyday consumers? One machine can replace many. That means only one machine to transport, one machine to service, and one machine that will free up other workers to perform other tasks.

The agricultural and the construction equipment industries are constantly looking for ways to lower equipment capital costs and be more efficient in the work place.

Extend Manufacturing is also exploring the equipment rental market. With recent sales of three TMX units – such as the one purchased by Waupaca’s Larson – to one of the largest equipment rental companies, United Rental, the company hope to expand significantly into the equipment rental market.

Although there are many large equipment manufacturing companies that exist in the market today, Extend Manufacturing has numerous patents on its equipment and technology. Osswald said he believe that intellectual property is part of what sets the company apart and gives it a competitive advantage in today’s market.

Before the new product line was introduced, Extend Manufacturing had developed its company’s financials so could break at roughly $2 million in annual sales. With its new product line, it is projecting 2015 sales to top $50 million.

Extend Manufacturing plans to hire marketing and engineering employees as the new ProHandler line grows. For now, it is relying on a related company, Applied Laser Technologies, for management, production and other contract services.

Extend Manufacturing is among 26 companies selected to present Nov. 13-14 during the Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium ( in Madison.

Pechumer is a student in the UW-Madison Department of Life Sciences Communication.