Wisconsin Shop Avoids “Survival Mentality”

When the economy tanks, it is easy to get stuck on survive. Smart shops focus on growth.


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KLH Industries, a contract machine shop in Germantown, Wisconsin, is doubling its square footage for the fifth time in the company’s history. For the first time, though, KLH will operate out of two buildings simultaneously. A second facility, opening soon, will create expansion room for all of the company’s departments—EDM, CNC, waterjet and dimensional inspection. 
CNC is the biggest beneficiary. This department will get 180 percent more floor space. CNC manager Steve Cruz says a big share of the need for new space can be credited to one machine.
“Our Puma 480 lathe takes up a lot of space,” he says. “Not just the machine, but with 80 inches of Z-axis travel, the parts are taking up a lot of space, too.” The company purchased this Doosan machine (seen in the photo) to pursue large turning work, particularly for the aerospace industry.
KLH CEO/President Ken Heins says the shop was out of space three years ago. However, “the economy made it very easy to move sideways for awhile.” 
He continues, “I realized how important it was not to get stuck in that survival mentality.” As business rebounded, he became determined to focus on growth.

KLH has appeared multiple times in Modern Machine Shop. Read here about the company’s approach to training employees in lean manufacturing. Read here about water reclamation in waterjet machining.