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Kongskilde Industries Inc.: Industrial and Agricultural Equipment
Hans Rasmussen has been with multinational equipment manufacturer Kongskilde Industries Inc. (Kongskilde) for 25 years. Kongskilde specializes in a variety of machinery for several industries, including agriculture, paper and printing, plastics, packaging and more. “I started with the company in Canada in 1987,” recalls Rasmussen, president of Kongskilde. “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 United States division.” Kongskilde’s parent company is based in Denmark, and has established a presence in 11 countries with production facilities in seven.
Over the last three years, Kongskilde’s North American presence has been compacted into one large facility in Illinois. “We purchased Progressive Farm Equipment [Progressive] in 2010,” says Rasmussen. “We merged all three locations into one. The purchase of Progressive gave us the opportunity to begin manufacturing our Kongskilde tillage products along with the fertilizer application equipment from the former Progressive facility.” Rasmussen says Kongskilde has added warehousing and changed up the production area. “We’re constantly upgrading,” he says. The facility spans 105,000 square feet and is growing. “We’re adding another 4,000 square feet now and we plan on adding another 100,000 over the next five years,” continues Rasmussen.
Industries and Applications
Kongskilde’s operations are broken down into two main divisions: agricultural and industrial. “On the industrial end, we produce air conveying equipment for the plastics and paper industry,” says Rasmussen. Kongskilde completed a system at Colorado-based Jeppesen, a division of Boeing. “They make flight maps for airlines and pilots across the country,” says Rasmussen. “We’ve been working with them for the last 10 years. We take care of all of their scrap removal needs using air handling equipment.”
The company’s equipment is an important part of many major manufacturing facilities worldwide. “We did a project in Wisconsin at a plant that produces paper cups for McDonald’s and Burger King,” says Rasmussen. “We’ve also done work for several car part manufacturers.” Some of the machinery is used to streamline manufacturing processes, especially in businesses that use plastic for materials. “They grind up scrap plastic and it can be used in further production,” he says. Kongskilde manufactures separators for plastic recycling that cut down on materials costs and plants’ waste output.
“Our production is focused on producing tillage and fertilizer equipment, which we market through our expanding North American Dealer network and also via our sister companies located in South Africa and Russia,” explains Rasmussen. “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.” Establishing dealerships is important to the company’s success, especially with a growing demand for the products.
The company has found success in building sustainable divisions worldwide by maintaining a streamlined, efficient operation and pursuing promising markets, as Kongskilde has been around since 1949. Rasmussen has backed a major push to boost volume of sales in the North American market with success, despite a few economic setbacks.
The recession hit the American manufacturing industry hard. “We faced the same challenges as everybody,” recalls Rasmussen. “In 2008, when everything crashed, our industrial division was almost at a standstill.” The Kongskilde’s diversity kept the business afloat. “The success of our agricultural division is also related to other factors like commodity prices and weather,” says Rasmussen. “We have to be continually aware of this.”
With the economy getting back on track and the agricultural side continuing to be strong despite draught conditions in some areas in 2012, Kongskilde is growing again. Aside from facility expansion, Rasmussen says his team will be seeing some technological upgrades. “We are in the process of adding two robotic welding lines this winter,” he says. Additionally, he foresees an expansion of the agricultural division over the next two to three years; of course, he says, “That’s barring any unforeseen external conditions.”
Kongskilde has gained a global reputation for quality, innovative products. The driving force behind the business is its staff, which embodied the company’s excellence through professionalism, experience and approachability. Kongskilde embraces each employee as part of an international family, a tradition implemented by founders Mogens Petersen and Hans Tyndeskov at the company’s inception. And it has worked, as Kongskilde’s employees’ dedication to the business has powered Kongskilde through the tough times and allowed the business to reach its current size.
Rasmussen continues the company philosophy at the North American branch, where Kongskilde employs over 80 people. These employees work in sales, service and manufacturing to provide a strong supply of machinery to American businesses from small and large farmers to major manufacturers. Drawing from its internal strengths, Kongskilde Industries Inc. provides the United States and Canada with some of the world’s leading agricultural and industrial machinery.