ASYST Technologies LLC

Kenosha County Business Excellence Awards

Injection molding machines at ASYST.

ASYST Technologies LLC
Address: 5811 99th Ave., Kenosha
Industry: Manufacturing
Employees: 115

Asyst Technologies manufactures automotive components.
Asyst Technologies manufactures automotive components.

Diversification and innovation drive Kenosha-based ASYST Technologies LLC’s growth. The company manufactures components for the automotive industry.

Previously, ASYST’s primary focus was exterior lighting components, but diversification into interior lighting components, automation and other markets have contributed to the company’s unprecedented success.

ASYST recently added an additional 48,000-square-foot automation center across the street from its existing facility, and it has more than doubled the number of employees since 2010, from 49 to 115 today.

“In the last five years, we’ve grown a lot. We’ve more than doubled our physical space, and our employees,” said Gerold Hackenbracht, president of ASYST. “We’ve experienced year-over-year growth in revenue, too.”

From 2011 to 2015, the company has experienced more than 125 percent revenue growth.

At ASYST, growth can also be measured by the number of machines in which the company has invested. In 2010, it had 11 molding machines; today, it has 30, according to Hackenbracht.

“Before we had a very strict strategy of finding a niche and then dominating it,” he said. “We developed really, really focused systems for the industry.”

ASYST grew at a slow but steady pace.

In 2010, the company expanded its focus to include additional components like insert moldings for electrical components used in the automotive industry, as well as injection molding components used in the medical field.

“It’s been great for company growth,” Hackenbracht said. “Now, if the automotive industry takes a little dip like it did back in 2008, we have other products and industries to balance it out.”

ASYST was formed in 1996 through a joint venture between EJOT Holding and ATF Inc. It moved from Illinois to Kenosha in 1998.

Injection molding machines at ASYST.
Injection molding machines at ASYST.

Its new facility was completed in September, and houses the firm’s automation division.

ASYST employs a staff of highly trained technical engineers to develop and maintain its own automation machines, as well as third party projects for other companies, including several in the southeast Wisconsin region, Hackenbracht said.

The third party automation business employs approximately 12 people and brings in less than a quarter of the firm’s revenue – but the advantages are immense.

“We have to realize that we cannot compete with wages in Mexico,” he said. “In Europe, the same is true. Because of that, we increase the level of automation in the plant.”

Thanks to the automation division, ASYST has the capability to sell components and assemblies, and also continue to develop automation machines without giving away knowledge of process or components.

The company currently holds 17 U.S. patents, three European patents and one Japanese patent, and also holds the licensing rights for another 17 U.S. patents.

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