Providing innovative industrial rubber parts for 125 years

Thought Leadership: Anniversaries

RK Rubber team.
RK Rubber team.

Originally founded as Baumbach Reichel, RK Rubber started as a brewing industry supplier of hops, kegs, hose, seals and other brewery related products. 

In 1898 a young German immigrant, Ludwig Korfmann became a partner in the business. In 1908, Korfmann became president of the company. 

In 1922 the company rebranded as Reichel-Korfmann and operates today as RK Rubber for short. Korfmann son, Calvin, succeeded Ludwig as president of the company and continued the company’s brewing tradition by owning several brewing companies including Stevens Point Brewery, among others. 

In 1967, employees Don Gutknecht, Lou Miller and Bill Ehlers purchased the business from Calvin and for the next 30 years focused the company’s distribution on power transmission, industrial hose, conveyor belt and specialized fabrication.  

RK Rubber products
RK Rubber products

Over the past 25 years, industry changes coupled with several strategic merger and acquisitions created a perfect opportunity for the company to focus on rubber fabrication.  

Today, over a century later, the company still carries on as a family-owned business under the leadership of Dell Gutknecht and his son Andy. The main goal is supplying OEM as well as end user customers but rather than V belts and hose reels it has evolved into fabricated parts and finished conveyor belts.  

What is a fabricated part? The list is endless, whatever our clients can dream up we strive to develop a solution to meet their needs. It may be a tank gasket, a sleeve for a concrete batch plant or a 1” thick 10-foot diameter seal for a tunnel bore machine. 

We produce a wide range of products. We offer straight and tapered sleeves of all sizes in a wide variety of rubber compounds.  Round, square and rectangular gasket from small die cuts to the extremely large hand fabricated sizes.  

We manufacture a large variety of endless seals in machined or extruded profiles and a variety of sheet rubber services.  

For conveyor belts we produce a large number of cleated magnetic separator belts cut to length and spliced (mechanical or vulcanized endless) along with many other made to order belts shipped direct or installed on site.  

Going forward RK Rubber is actively looking to move into a larger facility to increase capacity and offer an expanded line up of in-house services.  

Being resilient for the last 125 years just like our products we will continue to stretch our way towards our next milestone. 

Reichel-Korfmann Rubber Co. Inc
1987 West Purdue Street
Milwaukee, WI 53209

Dell Gutknecht works as a General Manager of Reichel-Korfmann. He has been with Reichel-Korfmann for 42 years and purchased the business in 2017. He has served on the board of directors and numerous committees for their trade association, NIBA - The Belting Association, in addition to being an instructor for technical trainings sharing his years of knowledge.