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Kongskilde Industries Inc.: 64 Years and Growing in the Agricultural and Industrial Markets
For more than 64 years Kongskilde Industries Inc. (Kongskilde) has covered the needs within the agricultural and industrial sectors with a wide selection of machinery and innovative products. The Illinois-based U.S. division covers a majority of the United States and Canada, but Kongskilde also employs various international operations.
Hans Rasmussen, president of Kongskilde North America, has been with the company for nearly half of its 64-year run, bouncing in between various locations. “I started with the company in Canada in 1987,” recalls Hans. “I worked there for 10 years and then I was transferred to Europe for five years before being brought back here to start up the U.S. division.”
The company’s origins are deeply rooted, as Kongskilde’s parent company, Kongskilde Industries A/S, was founded in 1949 in Denmark. By 1960 the company had expanded operations into Canada and now has a well-established presence in 11 countires with seven production facilities.
Today, Hans heads up Kongskilde’s U.S. Hudson, Ill., operation that covers United States and Canada. “We’re aggressively looking to expand our footprint,” adds Hans. Over the last couple of years, the company’s North America operations have grown through the addition of a larger facility.
“We purchased Progressive Farm Equipment in 2010,” details Hans. “We merged all three locations into one, because that purchase gave us the opportunity to begin manufacturing our Kongskilde tillage products and fertilizer application equipment from one site.”
The acquired facility spans an impressive 105,000 square feet and is still growing. “We’re adding another 4,000 square feet now and we plan on adding another 100,000 over the next five years,” reveals Hans.
Supporting Multiple Industries
Kongskilde divides itself between the agricultural and industrial sectors. “On the industrial end, we produce air conveying equipment for the plastics and paper industry,” says Hans. “Our agricultural production is focused on tillage and fertilizer equipment, which we market through our expanding North American dealer network and also through our sister companies located in South Africa and Russia.” With increasing product demand, growing establishing dealership relations is critical. “We’ve added new dealers and dramatically increased our sales presence in the last year,” adds Hans.
Kongskilde also builds long-standing relationships with some of the largest corporations in the U.S. The company has worked for a Colorado-based division of Boeing for the past decade. “Boeing makes flight maps for airlines and pilots across the country,” explains Hans. “We take care of all of their scrap removal needs using air handling equipment.”
The company also boasts McDonalds and Burger King as part of its long list of high-profile clients. “We did a project in Wisconsin at a plant that produces paper cups for both the fast-food industry giants,” reveals Hans. Kongskilde has also worked for several car part manufacturers. “Our separators for plastic streamline the manufacturing process, grinding up scrap material that can be used in further production,” Hans continues.
Hans admits Kongskilde is always looking for an innovative, new idea. On the agricultural side of the business, Hans says the company is investing in several new technologies. “We have a strong focus with our R&D department in designing equipment for the North American farmer to make him more efficient in his crop production,” he says. “We have several new products in the works, including one we released about a year-and-a-half ago, and one we’ll launch this year.”
Kongskilde is at the forefront of development for vertical tillage equipment and liquid fertilizers applications. “We’re working on GPS steering liquid fertilizer,” shares Hans. “We already have the patent on the product and we’ve recently finished test runs this past spring. It will soon be packaged and shipped to the U.S.”
The company is also expanding its vertical tillage program and introducing a new range of cultivators designed for handling high-crop residue conditions. “This product will support corn and bean crops,” explains Hans. “These products are also having high interest from our sister company in South Africa to drive the sales up.”
In an effort to bump up production and increase efficiency, Kongskilde has added new robotic welding stations. “We’re finishing the installation this month,” details Hans. “This will improve our manufacturing time and efficiency and allow for more consistent quality.”
Although Kongskilde currently outsources some components of the operation, Hans says the company is trying to bring more in-house technology along with the right people for the job. “Building up qualified staff has been our biggest challenge lately,” he adds.
Kongskilde continues to grow rapidly, with sales in the U.S. reaching an all-time high. Hans is confident that the company can expand into the future by focusing on innovation and supporting multiple markets, something Kongskilde Industries Inc. has been doing for more than 64 years.
For more information about Kongskilde Industries Inc., please visit: www.kongskilde.com.