Hastreiter Industries: Purpose Driven Manufacturing
Location: Marshfield, WI
Employees: 20 employees
Equipment: 4 Okuma machine tools
Hastreiter Industries has set out to be not only a top industry performer in advanced manufacturing but also a great place to work. As Modern Machine Shop magazine’s 2018 HR Top Shop winner, they’re renowned for their employee-centric approach as much as they are for their tight tolerances.
Their unique approach to manufacturing doesn’t stop there; Hastreiter Industries is committed to donating 50% of its net profits to the community. They’re also developing a 501(c)(3) nonprofit called Shiloh Bound, with a mission to impact communities and industry/workplace through dynamically mentoring and empowering individuals from challenged backgrounds, those with limited opportunities, or those who simply need direction or help in life.
Located in Marshfield, WI, the shop opened its doors in 1988. The family-owned company has come a long way since then, and Okuma machines recently played a role in their move into a brand-new facility. But before we talk about the Hastreiter of today, it’s important to look back at their unassuming start.
FROM THE SHED TO BIGGER JOBS
After graduating from Mid-State Technical College’s Machine Tool program in 1983, Ken Hastreiter worked as a machinist for an aerospace company before deciding to start his own operation with help from his wife, Sondra. They set up their business in a wood shed paying $50 a month in rent. Originally founded in 1988 under the name Universal Tool and Machine, and later known as UTM Inc., the company possessed only a single manual lathe.
As Hastreiter Industries grew into a machining and deburring shop, the company found its niche when Ken was approached to produce a part nobody else could for a hospital bed. Ken figured out how to machine a double helix on the 2-axis manual lathe—something that should not have been possible at the time.
Hastreiter Industries bought its first CNC lathe in 1990, and then moved the machine shop to the basement of the Hastreiter’s home in 1995. The company continued to grow, adding capabilities and capacity to further serve their customers. However, after losing a large customer at the end of the first Gulf War when they closed their Wisconsin plant, the company had contracted back into a smaller shop—which Ken preferred—and operated that way for years until his kids decided to join the family business.
A SECOND HASTREITER GENERATION STIMULATES GROWTH
As recently as 2016, Ken was semi-retired, Sondra was still handling the books, and they had one full-time employee. Their biggest client was a Fortune 500 company within the energy industry, a customer they still serve today. Though Ken had never pressured his three sons to join the company, telling them all to “go find their own thing,” they were all drawn into the family business in 2016. And since then, they’ve spurred unprecedented growth.
Kody, Kylan, and Keegan Hastreiter took on different roles within the company, which was renamed Hastreiter Industries Corp in July of 2018. That same year, they received Modern Machine Shop’s “Top Shop” award by ranking in the top 1.5% of machine shops. The selection was based on performance metrics, with special recognition for their HR practices. The company touted some impressive stats: 98.9% on-time delivery, 99.75% of jobs with no defect parts, and zero debt, as well as zero employee turnover over an 18-year span.
THE QUEST FOR LONG-TERM RELIABILITY LEADS TO OKUMA
As the company grew, their production capability needs grew as well. The Hastreiters made the decision to purchase a 5-axis machine tool, something they knew they needed in order to take on more jobs and stay competitive, so they set out to expand with a new partner.
“We put 500 hours’ worth of evaluation into who was going be our next partner, who was going to have the machine that would take us to the next level,” says Kylan, now vice president of Hastreiter Industries. “That became Okuma.”
The 500 hours of evaluation included fruitful conversations with their distributor Morris and an eye-opening trip to IMTS. A visit to Okuma America headquarters in Charlotte, NC after the purchase of their first Okuma machine tool validated their decision. According to Kylan, they decided to go with Okuma because “Nobody’s better in-class for having a machine that is long-term, rigid, and reliable.”
To further support customer and industry demand, Hastreiter Industries expanded into a 42,000-square-foot facility in August 2019. The decision to purchase Okuma machines coincided with this expansion, as the company added a GENOS M460V-5AX and an LB3000 EX to their arsenal. So far, according to Kylan, Hastreiter Industries and Okuma have been a perfect match.
THE ADVANTAGE OF HAVING “BETTER MACHINES”
The GENOS M460V-5AX is the ideal machine for shops looking to manufacture high-precision parts and deliver impressive metal removal rates via 5-axis vertical machining. For Hastreiter Industries, this newfound reliability meant they could handle tight tolerances for complicated aerospace parts—which often includes one-off prototypes. Kylan also notes that technologies like our Machining Navi and Super-NURBS makes his machinists’ lives much easier. Now they can make a better product—and cut down on how long it takes to make that product, too.
Additionally, the GENOS M460V was the ideal machine to meet their low-volume, high-mix production needs for the aerospace and defense industries. Kylan says they saw the Okuma difference immediately.
The LB3000 EX is a horizontal lathe with unrivaled quality and rigidity that delivers heavy to high-speed cutting, ideal for Hastreiter Industries’ expansion into medium-volume production. With its high rigidity and horsepower, it has been a perfect match for their Inconel® castings and large forgings that require a significant amount of material removal.
“We realized that an Okuma was a better machine. It handles tighter tolerances and has more technology packed into it,” he says. “And when you amortize the cost of the machine per hour over its lifespan, it’s actually cheaper to run an Okuma than other brands we owned or evaluated.”
Continuing their strong partnership with Okuma, Hastreiter just ordered two more machines, a GENOS M560-V and a GENOS L3000. Their total equipment capacity now includes 12 CNC machines, with four of those being Okumas that were added in the past eight months.
PROVIDING SOLUTIONS BEYOND THE SHOP FLOOR
Hastreiter Industries experienced 75% growth in 2017 and 50% in 2018, all while remaining committed to their charitable giving endeavors and the development of their 501(c)(3), Shiloh Bound. Their growth doesn’t just benefit the company; since they’re donating 50% of their net profits to the community, those benefits ripple far beyond their walls, supporting local citizens and developing the machinists of tomorrow.
While the company already has that impressive Top Shop award under their belt, the accolades keep coming. In 2019, Ken was named Distinguished Alumni of the Year by Mid-State Technical College for his community support and involvement in technical education, including sponsoring the construction of a new 52,000 square feet manufacturing and engineering center. Within the shop and outside of it, the company’s ambition isn’t letting up anytime soon.
“We have to find partners that think long-term,” Kylan says. “In a way, you’re marrying your company to them. So, Okuma’s success is our success, because we have their equipment.”