The GPTMC featured community members that the GPTMC team visited in person or had meetings with during the quarter and shared their capabilities.
HIX Corporation (Pittsburg, Kansas) is a global producer of heat transfer and screen print equipment for the graphic printing industry, dough and meat presses for the commercial food industry, and ovens and dryers for the industrial manufacturing operations industry.
MAC Fasteners (Ottawa, Kansas) is a trusted, world-leading producer of high-quality aerospace-standard fasteners for critical applications in support of commercial and military platforms. They specialize in cold and hot heading on a combination of single-die and multi-station heading machines.
Ross Manufacturing (St. Francis, Kansas) is an innovative machine shop in Northwest Kansas that has been producing quality parts with small-town service for more than 25 years. The company is also the sole supplier of No-Bull Enterprises' Callicrate SMART Bander.
TerraKat (Fort Scott, Kansas) grows the future of what's left behind with their manure spreaders. This agricultural equipment company is owned and operated by a Kansas dairy farmer that strives to meet the needs of other fellow farmers in the region.
The GPTMC is sharing news and social media updates from community partners. Click on the bold font to go to the main social media posts. Give them a like and a follow!
The State of Kansas approved Integra Technologies' Attracging Powerful Economic Expansion (APEX) application to expand in the Wichita area. This 1 million square foot expansion will onshore semiconductor production and create 2000 new high tech jobs in Kansas.
Steel and Pipe Supply is going "green" by trialing orange EV yard trucks in their Tulsa, Longview, and Kansas City facilities this year. EV yard trucks in a warehouse setting provide an innovative way to handle materials going through the operations.
Peerless PRoducts partnered with Smart Lift Solutions to provide customer with a glass transport system to carefully install windows at job sites. The rental model allows clients to realize benefits, while eliminating the need to make significant investment in robotic lifting equipment.
The Skarda Sales Team joined Certified Power Solutions for their annual sales meeting. The team had opportunities to connect with colleagues, learn new strategies, and gain valuable insights for continuing to drive their business forward.
Our member spotlight this month is Wenger Manufacturing from Sabetha, Kansas. The company is an industry leader and pioneer in delivering extrusion and drying process solutions for aquatic feed, pet food, and various industrial products.
Wenger's strong innovation culture has always been the key to their success. During the Dust Bowl era, Wenger developed mixers for molasses and field stubble for suffering cattle, and have since grown to manufacture and export extrusion processes for food and feed industries worldwide. In addition to world-class manufacturing capabilities and processes, the Wenger Technical Center supports very active research programs to test new concepts and develop new extrusion-based products. This allows the company to remain resilient during global crisis and stay highly competitive in terms of quality, innovation, and customer service.
As part of their innovation culture, Wenger engages in innovative partnerships with many universities, including the K-State Technology Development Institute (TDI). TDI assisted with the design and build of a lab dryer, and will be providing redesigns for the company as well. "We have worked with TDI on several projects for many years and look to them for insight and capability. We greatly appreciate their support and look forward to future projects." Lafe Bailey, Wenger.
Throughout its history, the company has always stayed true to its small-town roots and has reinvested aggressively to support Sabetha, Kansas. Wenger connects with its community by providing high school career training, manufacturing day tours, scholarships and local funding, while encouraging employees to serve in civic positions. In June 2022, Wenger closed on a long and challenging transaction process to sell the family-owned company to Marel, an Icelandic food manufacturer. The Wenger family selected this company because of its promise and commitment to continue supporting Sabetha, the Wenger brand, its employees, and customers. Marel and Wenger have also recently created a foundation for Sabetha and surrounding communities that their employees call home. "Leaders must learn the subtle cues from their culture, employees, and key customers...but most importantly, leaders shoudl have the confidence ot lead towards those cues. That's why Wenger has always kept their employees and communities first for 87 years and counting." Lafe, Wenger.
Under its new ownership with Marel, Wenger looks forward to further growing the already globally renown brand and developing strategic and budgeting plans for the future. This also includes a continued effort to connect with even more Kansas based companies for outsourced specialty manufacturing. For more information visit their website at www.wenger.com.
The GPTMC featured community members that the GPTMC team visited in person during the quarter and shared their capabilities.
Custom Wood Products (St. Mary's, Kansas) has been designing, manufacturing, and installing high-quality custom cabinetry since 1981. The company utilizes both industrial technologies and hands-on assembly and finishing in their 100,000 sq. ft. facility to develop precise products for residential and commercial needs.
Ernest-Spencer Metals (Meriden, Kansas) provides metal fabrication, machine shop services, custom coatings, and specialty services. Their production facilities allow them to serve customers throughout the Midwest and beyond. The Terramac Crawler they produce was also selected as the "2022 Coolest Thing Made in Kansas"!
Etezazi Industries (Wichita, Kansas) manufactures multi-axis and sheet metal parts for aerospace clients throughout the region. The company is AS9100, ISO 9001, Boeing DPD-0MBD, and ITAR certified, and utilizes cutting edge technology and seasoned professionals to design and deliver their products.
Hydro-Flex (Topeka, Kansas) is a specialized fabricator of metal, Teflon hose, coiled, and custom bent tube assemblies. They pride themselves in providing the highest quality possible in hydraulic and pneumatic solutions. With their full line of products and services, Hydro-Flex can cover most fluid-connecting needs.
Kendall Packaging (Pittsburg, Kansas) is the preferred flexible packaging manufacturer for your company's custom-manufactured barrier needs. With state-of-the-art equipment and certifications, the company is able to specialize in cold seal, stand-up pouch making, expanded gamut, and more.
Safari Belting (Olathe, Kansas) manufactures plastic modular conveyor belts that move everything from tic-tacs to cars. With over 400 belting solutions that are operating in plants around the world, Safari Belting continues to grow and challenge industry norms by focusing on solutions to assist their customers.
The GPTMC is sharing news and social media updates from community partners. Click on the bold font to go to the main social media posts. Give them a like and a follow!
Burger & Brown is actively connecting with future manufacturing employees in their region. The company's president, Corey Brown, visited students at the State Technical College of Missouri to share about the opportunities, operations, and company culture at their facility.
Cashco Inc of Ellsworth, Kansas was the winner of the Statewide Manufacturing/Distribution Award from Kansas Department of Commerce's To the Stars Kansas Business Awards! The company is a leading manufacturer of industrial control products in a 120,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility.
Hess Services hosted students from the Hays High School JAG Program to tour the facility and learn about the operations. The tour allowed the students to understand what skills are needed to operate the machines and what types of careers are available.
MetalQuest continues to "think outside of the box" and is excited to take the next step in their automation journey. The company recently became an authorized Fanuc Robotics Systems Integrator - Internal Systems Group.
Our member spotlight this month is Heatron, Inc. The company designs and manufactures custom heating elements, circuits, LED boards, and modules for OEMs in various industries including medical, aviation, LED lighting, and industrial and commercial device components. Their operations are based out of two facilities in Leavenworth, Kansas, where the corporate headquarters is located, and one facility in Erie, Pennsylvania.
In 2016, the company was acquired by NIBE Element Group, a global organization that owns companies like Heatron to produce eco-friendly and energy-efficient solutions worldwide. This partnership has been fruitful for Heatron, allowing them to work on larger projects, operate autonomously, and be part of a network of companies that can work together. This opportunity gives Heatron the flexibility to be innovative and work with OEMs at any stage of development while following an engagement framework to accommodate every project.
The company continually invests in new technologies to streamline operations, improve values, and deliver a competitive advantage to meet the needs of their OEMs. Heatron has worked closely with the K-State Technology Development Institute (TDI) for several years to develop custom, automated machines and testing operations. These processes ensure high-quality parts are being produced while saving time and eliminating waste. "TDI is a nimble resource for unique problem solving. Their input and assistance are both insightful and expedient. We are grateful for the partnership we've had with them throughout these years." Craig Schmidling, Executive VP of Engineering and Quality
Heatron has experienced steady growth and will soon be expanding into a new site, as well as extending their reach into semiconductor manufacturing equipment, medical devices, and heating for battery and fuel cell system industries. For more information or to learn how you can work with the company, please visit www.heatron.com.
Our member spotlight this month is Viaanix, Inc from Wichita, Kansas. The company is a comprehensive Internet of Things (IoT) solutions provider that works closely with manufacturing companies throughout the region. Their services include IoT enablement, software and hardware development, product development, device manufacturing and more.
Viaanix is one of the only end-to-end IoT solutions and ecosystem enablement providers in the Midwest, making them a valuable resource for Kansas manufacturing industries, including GPTMC members.
In addition, Viaanix recently attended the Ag Equipment Manufacturing breakout session at the Kansas Ag Growth Summit, as they are providing smart agricultural solutions to companies and farmers in the region. One of their recent agricultural projects was implementing water-monitoring solutions on an irrigation system. ies for enhancing advanced manufacturing in the state.
In addition, Viaanix recently attended the Ag Equipment Manufacturing breakout session at the Kansas Ag Growth SUmmit, as they are providing smart agricultural solutions to companies and farmers in the region. One of their recent agricultural projects was implementing water-monitoring solutions on an irrigation system.
As the Industry 4.0 concept is still new to many small manufacturers, the biggest challenge Viaanix faces is building awareness around the benefits of IoT technologies. Manufacturers risk being left bhind if they don't act on digitizing their systems. "A company's true threat is COI - the cost of inaction. Without any strategy, Kansas businesses run the risk of being left behind enemy lines in the next Industrial Revolution that is already here," says Bruce Fritz, Director of Partnerships.
For companies that are new to digitization, or exploring new solutions, Viaanix suggests that htey do their research on the total costs of maintaining equipment and the potential value of optimization. The advantageous ROI of digitization may not seem obvious at first, glace, but it's most always there.
Viaanix has a big vision for the future, which is to deploy a Kansas-wide IoT network ecosystem, an inexpensive medium onto which small manufacturers can connect at a low cost. The company strives to accomplish this by continuing to build awareness of technologies and advantages, cultivating current and new customer relationships, seeking new partnerships, and retaining a high performance and happy workforce. For more information or to reach out to Viaanix, please visit www.viaanix.com.
Our member spotlight this month is Farmada from Salina, Kansas. The company manufactures and distributes 30 to 65 ft working width fertilizer toolbars and tillage equipment. Founded in 2018 by Daniel Rauchholz, former International Division President of Great Plains Manufacturing for many years, the Farmada core team has over 100 years of engineering, design, manufacturing, marketing and international experience to product ground-breaking implements worldwide.
Internationally, Farmada has seen the impacts that supply shortages have on ag equipment manufacturers, including previous lock downs in China during SARS. Therefore, the company anticipated supply chain issues early during COVID-19. They stocked up on components immediately and diversified their supply chain to lessen dependence overseas. The company's international experience has also allowed them to integrate best practices from around the world on machine design. Daniel believes that the secret to Kansas' future success is not for each manufacturer to have its own training system, but to employ a common apprenticeship program. A committed 2 to 3 year apprenticeship program, employing curriculum developed from both industry and academia, could help keep people in rural Kansas communities. "When people have worked in one area for 2 to 3 years, the likelihood of them moving away is much slimmer." says Daniel. This effort could potentially be led by an official ag equipment manufacturing association. Toward this goal, Daniel participated as a panelist in the Ag Equipment Manufacturing sector breakout session during the 2022 Ag Growth Summit, during which he was selected as an "Ag Hero" for supporting Ukrainian friends in agriculture fighting for their country.
Farmada believes in local sourcing, always striving to source as many parts as possible from Kansas manufacturing companies who understand the farm operations. In fact, 80% of the components parts for Farmada products are supplied by Kansas companies! "With Kansas being a strong agricultural state from a cropping perspective, we believe that improved application practices of putting fertilizer in the ground in the right place, at the right time, and in the right amount will yield many positive dividends for the state," says Daniel.
In the next few years, Farmada will work to develop a strong dealer network in all major US corn and soybean growing states. The company is always interested in connecting with additional suppliers and dealers to assist them with this growth. To learn more, please visit www.farmada.net.
Our member spotlight this month is Bergkamp Inc. of Salina, Kansas. The family-owned company is a domestic leader in manufacturing micro-surfacing pavers, spreader boxes, pothole patchers, mastic asphalt applicators and a variety of supporting equipment throughout the world. All of their equipment is hand-built in Salina, Kansas, USA!
For over 40 years, Bergkamp has continued to be a great company to work for through a positive culture that benefits its employees. By embracing their core values, communicating its company purpose, and providing employee leadership training at all levels, they have created a place that attracts potential employees and continues to motivate existing employees as well. This has resulted in 4 years of no lost time accidents. They also share this positive culture with its customers by navigating the unknowns of COVID-19. One of the challenges they are resolving is practively ordering chassis to avoid the delay of a customer supplied chassis and maintain normal delivery expectations. In order to get in front of this issue, Bergkamp now offers the option to purchase the chassis themselves to help their customers maintain normal delivery expectations. We are a build to order company so every product and machine we produce has a customer's name on it. We understand our customers' needs and do what is necessary to get them the equipment needed to operate and Make Roads Better. - Randy Galle, COO.
Bergkamp has provided value to customers across the world by standing true to their company purpose, "Making People's Lives Better by Making Roads Better." They pride themselves in producing a quality product with state-of-the-art technology in every machine they produce. To improve this, the company reached out to the KSU Technology Development Institute (TDI) for engineering assistance in developing a semi-automated machine to produce the belt conveyors on their equipment. This new process improved the ergonomics and safety of their employees, and allows them to focus on other value-added tasks. The machine is used every day and produces the belts for their paver machines in a safe and time-efficient manner.
The company is always interested in connecting with other manufacturers and partners throughout the region. As the company is a low volume, high variability manufacturer, Bergkamp would like to work with fabrication shops that can handle low volumes and provide quick turnaround times. If you are interested in connecting or want to learn more, please visit https://www.bergkampinc.com.
Our member spotlight this month is Machinery Midwest of Derby, KS. The company is a manufacturing equipment representative that specializes in metal prep and steel fabrication equipment from suppliers throughout the region. Many of their products include lasers, band saws, press breaks, blast and wash equipment, coolants, facility care products and more.
The company serves manufacturers throughout the country, but has a large focus of supporting manufacturer in the Midwest, especially Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri. This service range provides a valuable opportunity for GPTMC manufacturing members to have access to a machinery and equipment resource close to home. In addition, Machinery Midwest has been closely connected with the GPTMC community by sharing ideas, supporting new initiatives, and was able to utilize its Website Development Program to update their existing website. "The GPTMC was amazing to work with on our website. They were able to update the existing website and even offered suggestions to make it more user-friendly. I am excited to continue working with them to expand my website even further due to business growth." - Michael Wigart, Owner.
Machinery Midwest's knowledge on current market demands, industry consulting and training, and ability to listen allows them to consistently satisfy the needs of the customers. As the challenges of supply chain delays continue, the company works with its customers' by having close communication of lead times, and determining alternative options until the equipment arrives. They strive to always have a solution to their customers' questions and challenges.
"We work with the resources we have to not let this issue become another issue. If a customer needs new equipment and doesn't want to wait or can't afford to wait for several weeks, we work with them to access other equipment or parts from suppliers in our network close to their facility that can assist with their needs. We are thankful for the network we've built to be able to accomplish this." - Wigart.
The company is always interested in connecting and networking with manufacturers that are ready for new and/or used machinery and equipment. Their customer service, guidance and hard work to fulfill manufacturers needs makes them a valuable resources for companies in the GPTMC community. For more information about the company, visit www.machinerymidwest.com
Our member spotlight this month is Tiger Jaw, a company that manufactures and sells a vareity of easy-to-use ratcheting hand shears, loppers and pruners worldwide. At a recent 3i Show in Dodge City, KS, the company connected with the GPTMC and was interested in being a part of its Great Plains regional network to access manufacturing resources to assist their company.
One of the resources that the company was interested in accessing was a new tool design for the Cedar Lopper, a successful product that helped move the company forward during the pandemic. The GPTMC was able to connect them with an engineer at the KSU Technolgoy Development Institute (TDI) to begin developing options for a new design of the product.
In addition to design assistance, Tiger Jaw is looking to find potential manufacturers in the region that are capable of producing their products. The owners of the company see the impacts that the supply chain has on companies and would like to have more local and regional suppliers and manufacturers to work with. "Through strategic planning and ensuring our product inventory amounts stay high, we have been able to navigate through supply chain issues and will continue to plan and be flexible with future orders should we encounter delays. Our goal is to have our product completely manufactured locally to avoid these issues." - Kevin Stafford - Owner.
The owners of Tiger Jaw have been involved with the industry for 25 years, and are very passionate about their products and business. Through close relationships with their customers, they continue to discover and meet their needs through innovative features on their tools that provide more leverage and less fatigue, which is beneficial for users that suffer from arthritis or carpal tunnel. The company has big plans to enter into retail stores and would like to connect with manufacturers in the GPTMC community that can assist with producing their products and/or parts. If your company is interested in connecting with Tiger Jaw to help with their production, please visit and contact them through www.tigerjaw.com.
Our member spotlight this month is Nutri-Shield Preservatives of Courtland, Kansas. The company is a small manufacturer and supplier of food grade preservatives made from ingredients such as calcium and sodium propionate, potassium sorbate, and more for food manufacturers and bakery businesses worldwide.
Nutri-Shield was founded over 30 years ago out of the interest in food preservation from overseas connections. They develop approximately 10 product blends - 9 dry and 1 liquid - as well as custom blends of the same ingredients that they currently have on-hand. What makes Nutri-Shield stand out to other food preservative manufacturers is that they have a patented manufacturing process that eliminates the color, smell and taste that is commonly associated when using chemical preservatives in food, and are SQF certified. The company also has the capability to run all sizes of orders, and will produce made-to-order products for their customers, which allows for flexibility to meet their customer’s needs.
The company experienced a number of challenges in regards to supply chain and manufacturing issues throughout the pandemic. They dealt with this by leveraging multiple vendors to bring down costs and improve lead times, and were also diligent about communicating with their current customers about lead times and prices changes as well. Through the tremendous help of the Republic County Economic Development organization, Nutri-Shield was able to connect with local and state resources, such as the Kansas Department of Commerce (KDC) and USDA, to access grants to make their production lines more efficient and to further expand into international markets through the KDC’s Mexico office. “It is so important to ensure that you have the right people and culture to move your company forward. By tapping into our local and state resources, we have been able to overcome many issues and are preparing for future growth. We greatly appreciate the assistance from our economic development group to help us get these grants!” Mandi Sandberg, Plant Manager. Nutri-Shield’s goals for 2022 and beyond are straight forward: achieve steady revenue growth, recertify their SQF certification, and capitalize on growth opportunities in several key international markets. The company is interested in connecting with new suppliers that can assist with raw materials, packaging and transportation, as well as companies that service stainless steel food grade equipment. For more details about the company, please visit their website at https://www.nutri-shield.com/.
Our member spotlight this month is MJE Livestock Equipment (MJE LE) of Montezuma, Kansas. The company designs and develops livestock equipment, and is a full-scale manufacturing division of its parent company, MJE, LLC, a leading contractor in dairy and feedyard construction.
With over 45 years of experience, MJE LLC is a leading company in the agricultural industry. The company started out with excavating work, and then transitioned to dairy and feedyard facility development. As the company continued to install livestock equipment at many feedyards, they utilized their expertise and expanded a manufacturing division in 2018 where they create custom livesock fence panels, materials, handling equipment and more. Although MJE LE is young, it has proven to be successful. Their newest wheel corral, The Conquistador, is the only one of its kind and comes with road-ready features. Another successful product, the Calf Hutch Latch, was named one of the Top 10 Products of the Year at the 2020 World Ag Expo in California.
The company strives to make their facility a positive work environment for all employees. To accomplish this, MJE LE put new incentives in place such as: $500 sign-on bonus, additional $25/day per diem if employees live more than 15 miles from the facility, and a "refer a friend" bonus if employees refer someone who applies and is hired. Since starting these incentives, the company has seen a positive increase in their employment. "These incentives have really helped with workforce issues in both our manufacturing and construction crews. We highly recommend doing some kind of incentive to solve workforce challenges." - Megan Elsey, Public Relations. The company also sends quarterly newsletters for their employees to inform them of company updates, events and incentive programs.
In addition, MJE LE stays connected with the community and surrounding resources by being active in the Montezuma Chamber of Commerce, working with local businesses to make parts, and by participating in a recent manufacturing roundtable with the GPTMC. These connections have allowed them to become familiar with the community, learn from other manufacturers, and to share new ideas.
MJE LE strives to make the jobs of farmers and ranchers easier and to keep livestock happy and healthy through their innovative, American-Made equipment. The company plans to expand their product line to include more Equine livestock equipment and will continue to build upon their Dealership Network. Learn more about the company at www.mjelivestockequipment.com.
This month's member spotlight is Curtis Machine Company from Dodge City, Kansas. The company is a certified, woman-owned small business that designs and manufactures gearboxes and precision machined parts for the military, agricultural, petroleum, food processing and other industries.
In 1946, Curtis Machine was founded with a lathe, milling machine and welder at the Curtis family home, where its first contracted job was to manufacture a gearbox. Today, in a 56,000 square foot facility, the company continues to stick to its roots, and has become one of the largest manufacturers in North America of right-angle and off-angle bevel gearboxes, reverse engineered units, and a variety of gears. Throughout these years, Curtis has achieved many awards, including the WKMA New Product of the Year award in 2017 for their Stainless Steel 1:1 Spiral Bevel Gearbox, as well as a GSA Schedule Contract.
The company's 76 years of technical and engineering experience allow them to design various gearboxes in custom ratios and dimensions. A feature that makes their products stand out is its unique straddle mounted bearings design, which allows the gearboxes to have more horsepower capacity per unit, as well as better lubrication, symmetry, and compactness. With over 6000 assemblies and ISO 9001:2015 and AS9100D certifications, Curtis Machine is well-known by many OEMs and is capable of creating customized products to meet their needs.
To continue to meet demands and increase capabilities, Curtis Machine is adding members to its team by working with the Great Plains TMC's Talent Search Program and creating new marketing efforts. The company is also interested in developing new relationships with customers, suppliers and distributors throughout the region. If you are interested in the company's services and products, please view their video at https://streamable.com/f3lz58 or website at www.curtismachine.com.
Our member spotlight this month is Osborne Industries from Osborne, Kansas. The company is one of the largest employers in the North Central Kansas region and has two main divisions: manufacturing and distributing a proprietary line of livestock management equipment, and custom molding services for domestic original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) across several industries, including military, construction, medical and agriculture.
Osborne Industries was founded in 1973 by local community leaders interested in providing jobs for the community and surrounding areas in the region. They produced the Stanfield heat mat, which is an electric, under-body animal heater developed through a method of fiberglass-reinforced plastic molding. Since then, the company has grown into a fully diversified, 100% employee-owned organization with products distributed to more than 40 different countries.
The company strives to be a leading manufacturer of thermosetting composites via Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) and Reaction Injection Molding (RIM), and has been recognized by many of their top OEM customers with suppliers’ awards, on-time deliveries, and high-quality parts. As the company is located in a rural area, they have become self-reliant to support their manufacturing process, but have also been able to utilize partners, such as the K-State Technology Development Institute (TDI) to assist with adding value to their products and capabilities. Osborne has had a long partnership with TDI that has resulted in many collaborations, including the exploration of automated manufacturing technologies.
With nearly 50 years of experience, Osborne Industries is a valuable resources for the Great Plains region in custom-molded plastic parts and livestock equipment. The company is always looking for opportunities to connect with new companies, suppliers and partners to develop new products, access new markets, and improve their manufacturing capabilities. For more information, please visit. https://osborne-ind.com.
Our member spotlight is Titan Trailers from Waterville, Kansas. The company manufacturers a full line of trailers, including livestock, flatbed,utility, dump and cargo trailers to fulfill their customers needs.
As a family owned company with a large dealership based across the US and Canada, Titan Trailer is known for developing trailers that are built to last and “Titan Tough”. Their trailers can withstand the wear and tear of livestock and heavy materials through everyday use. The company’s technical knowledge and manufacturing flexibility allow them to build a line of standard trailers as well as develop custom trailers to fit their customer’s needs.
Titan met a growing need in the marketplace for a smaller, lightweight trailer to transport side-by-side recreational vehicles by developing a trailer that could be quickly constructed in between larger production runs to fill any downtime. In an effort to document the design and structural integrity of the new trailers, the company applied for an EDA CARES Act Innovation Stimulus Program grant from the K-State Technology Development Institute for engineering validation of the design. TDI was able to provide Titan with a complete CAD model, conducted FEA analysis to verify loading capacity and suggested design improvements to further enhance the strength of the design.
Titan Trailers continues to manufacture trailer which exceed customer expectations and are always seeking to develop innovative products to suit their customer’s needs. If you are interested in learning more about the company, please visit their site at www.titantrailer.com.
Our member spotlight this month is SmartGunz, LLC in Baldwin City, Kansas. The company is developing the next generation of personal security through the integration of RFID technology with firearms. The technology is designed to prevent unauthorized users from firing the weapon as well as reduce the possibility of an accidental discharge event.
The company states “Our sole purpose for launching SmartGunz LLC is to save both law enforcement and civilian lives –full stop.”In an effort to accomplish this, the company uses a patent pending lock-out technology that is integrated with an RFID reader that is installed in the firearm. The smart fun is supplied with an RFID tag that can be placed in a ring or glove that is worn by the individual authorized to use the firearm. When the tag Is in close proximity to the firearm, the lock-out mechanism disengages and the firearm operates in a traditional manner.
SmartGunz, LLC has worked with a number of Kansas resources to both validate the market opportunity and develop the technology inside the firearm. These critical business partners include the KU Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and the K-State Technology Development Institute (TDI). The company was recently awarded a Proof of Concept Grant through the Kansas Department of Commerce to complete its electronics board designs and move them into commercial production. The product is in its final development stages and plans to begin beta testing in January 2022.
The company is currently taking pre-orders for the smart gun through their e-commerce website and is seeking to expand sales and growth through the creation of a distribution network across North America and worldwide. If you are interested in learning more about the company or its innovative technology, please visit their website at https://smartgunz.co.
Our member spotlight this month is ShieldAg Equipment from Hutchinson, Kansas. The company designs, manufactures and distributes an innovative line of agricultural products throughout the U.S. and world. These products include fertilizer application tools, conservation and primary tillage tools, subsoilers, disc rippers, chisels, fertilizer knives, cultivators, planters, grain drill parts and more.
ShieldAg’s history begins in Hutchinson, where it was originally founded as Welders Supply Co. Through the years, it became more involved with agricultural tools and equipment,and eventually became Shield Ag Equipment to reflect its focus on modern agriculture. The company is a well-known leader in their industry, as they partner with over 2000 distributors and dealers across the US and 6 foreign countries,and are involved with many community and regional organizations.
The company’s president, Mike Bergmeier, is very passionate about his company and about developing new relationships within the whole agricultural industry. He is involved with the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s Marketing Advisory Board and the annual Ag Growth Summit each year. Through this summit, his company has benefited from new relationships developed with Kansas agricultural companies that resulted in new products and export market expansions into Europe. In July, he participated in KDA’s Ag Equipment Manufacturing industry sector event in partnership with K-State TDI and Kansas Manufacturing Solutions that focused on supply chain. His company will also be represented in the October Ag Equipment Manufacturing event that will also feature ShieldAg’s partnering companies, Farmada and SureFire Ag. They will talk about their collaborative relationship to innovate and market the Farmada NH3 toolbar.
ShieldAg is always seeking synergistic opportunities to form partnerships, launch new products, reach new markets, and grow the agricultural industry. For more information about our member spotlight, please visit https://www.shieldag.com/.
Our member spotlight this month is Dragon-Line from Ulysses, Kansas. The company develops a patented, agricultural technology that combines drip irrigation with pivot irrigation. This process applies water and nutrients directly to the soil and prevents evaporation, water runoff, wheel track issues, plant shock and potential plant diseases.
Southwest Kansas entrepreneur and CEO, Monty Teeter, has many years of experience with center pivots and drip irrigation systems. His development of the Dragon-Line was to help conserve water and ensure that natural resources were being utilized as efficiently as possible. Water conservation has become especially important in the Southwest part of the state where the Ogallala Aquifer continues to be depleted at an alarming rate. The reduced amount of fresh water reserves is becoming an increasing problem around the world which is driving demand for more efficient irrigation systems. Through his passion and determination, Dragon-Line has become a recognized brand name around the world and was named the Kansas Department of Commerce Exporter of the Year in 2020.
In an effort to continue the company’s innovative initiatives, the company was researching new ways to improve the functionality by developing a series of quick connect brackets. In order to evaluate alternative designs and to test functionality, the company reached out to the K-State Technology Development Institute (TDI) for assistance designing and prototyping several designs and different materials needed to meet the customer requirements. Through several prototyped brackets of different designs and metal compositions TDI was able to identify a material and design that provided the spring functionality the company desired.
Dragon-Line continues to be a leader in water conservation technologies for the irrigation industry and is always looking for local suppliers to provide them with component parts for their assemblies. For more information about the company, please visit www.dragonline.net.